Thursday, 27 December 2012

Tot School: Pre-Christmas Week

We did some crafty stuff because I pinned some ideas
and I didn't want to be a pin-but-no-do person.

I printed a Santa from Google image and he went to work
with glue, Styrofoam peanuts and cotton.

 A simple wreath with Styrofoam peanuts.
Since he was so in love with gluing, I ditched the initial plan of glitter and shapes.

Or it could be a mask...

One of his favourite activity involves chalk and blackboard:
"Mama write"

Demonstrating H is for Happy

Still in the alphabet-craze phase.
All it took was a RM 1 alphabet sticker to get him to sit still for 20 minutes.

He seemed interested in time and clock, so I introduced the concept of time to him.  
We used a Hickory Dickory Dock puzzle + book from the Big Bad Wolf Sale
and a cheap clock model that he can manipulate easily.

 He was seen playing with this for the rest of the week.

Currently, his other obsessions include:

Video-taking himself on my new phone (Yay!) and laughing at himself.

Bullying Lil Dragon

Screaming for no reason

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Sensory Bin: Christmas fun

Here is our Christmas bin for 2012
I wrapped a Christmas-y ribbon around it for a more festive feel
since we don't have a large green or red bin.
Base: White styrofoam peanuts (from last year)
Christmas ornaments: gifts, bell, baubles, ribbons
Wooden "Christmas" trees from his train set
A snowmen snap-on wrist thingy that lights up
A small sock
A large sock (to play guessing games)
A red and a green containers
Red tongs
 If you have never tried a sensory bin, here are some fun ideas from 1+1+1 =1

You will LOVE it!

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Little Tiger: 30 Months

I came across this picture of my darling at 1 year plus taken
during D is for dinosaur week.
I miss his spiky hair and chubbiness.

In the blink of an eye, he is 30 months! Geez...
Before long, I will be shouting, "You are grounded, mister. No buts"

This is his interpretation of modelling
His trademark squinty eyes

He is a master narrator of his actions;
gives a running commentary of whatever he is doing
using 'and', 'then', 'somemore', 'because'

Calls himself "Mama daning (darling)"

Not only does he possess selective hearing,
sassy mouth can back talk now, at 2.5 yrs!
Good luck to me

Tiger has the habit of dragging a basket whenever we are shopping,
Mama: Can I hold the basket please?
Tiger: No, I can do
Mama: Can you stop putting EVERYTHING into the basket?
I've got no money
Tiger: I got money in ickey mau (mickey mouse case, ie: his wallet)

If I speak to him in Mandarin or Hokkien, he will reply in English.

He is torn between love and jealousy for his little sis.
Developmentally, he is regressing to babyhood.... throwing tantrums, carry me, etc
Everything that is Dragon's is his.
He squeezes himself into seats and strollers
Occasionally, he pokes, hit, and smack the baby.

Currently he still has 2 friends only: the guard and Lil J
Has a strict criteria for those considered friends.
He doesn't just like anyone, you know.

He can read words that are common in ABCs like
apple, ball, cat, dog, elephant, fish, gorilla, hat,
igloo, jug, kangaroo, lion, monkey, nose, octopus, panda,
question, rabbit, snake, turtle, van, watermelon, fox, yak,zebra.
You get the idea?

He is starting to warm up to math dots.
Loves counting with his abacus.
We are introducing skip counting by 2

Addicted to worksheets/markers

Focus and attention span is still good.

Right brain work:
Photographic memory: 5 objects
Grid memory: 5 objects
Mandala: 3 colours
Flash memory/spot the difference: good
linking memory: terrible

Odonata:  Collected 4 cards only

He requested to brachiate in the playground
but mama's too short to support him :p

Pretend play
Loves 'cooking'
I made him a menu for more fun
He also has a shopping trolley.
I believe toys are gender neutral...

Tiger: Mama, order? (hands me menu)
Mama: Hmmm, let's see. I will have the fried kai lan and some kiwi juice.
Tiger: Okay!
Halfway to his kitchen, he will always turn around and ask:
 Order okay ah?
Mama: Yes.
I think he is worried that I am a non-paying customer
Tiger: Nah. Vege and juice. (Hands me empty plate and glass, always)
Mama: What juice is this?
Tiger: Ermmm, orange?
Tsk, tsk, tsk.....the level of service nowadays

Toilet training: Sigh....enough said!

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Shopping: Big Bad Wolf Sale

Last Saturday night, a very book-obsessed mama dragged
a not-very-enthusiastic papa
to the Big Bad Wolf Book Fair at 11PM.

So bad, kan??
To be fair, I drove while he slept.

I wanted to take photos of the fair for you guys but ME at 12 MN,
not very attractive....
I was so super 'semangat' that I forgot my book trolley.  "__"
Felt like kicking myself when I got there.

"Papa: Eh, everyone look so nerd nerd here.
Me: You married one
Papa: Hmmm,,,
Me: All the non-nerds are clubbing laaa..."

The OLD me would have bought a truckload BUT
the NEW me have more self control..ahem..

Tiger's loot

Mama's books:
A National Geographic Album: Live, Laugh Celebrate.
(RM 15 only) For discussions with Tiger.
Perceptive Play by a local writer for more ideas to play with Tiger.
See the trend?
Nothing for me, except
Mandela's Way

All these plus a T-shirt (with a cape!) for less than RM200
Hmmm, that makes me feel like going again...
Last day would be 23rd December.
Do check out their website for more info and books available

Friday, 14 December 2012

Little Dragon: 5 Months

You will notice that she is wearing the same shirt because it has been proven that
you take way lesser pictures with Baby No. 2.
So, I was like, "Oh, 5 months, take photo, quick"

It's a been there done that thing
You no longer go, "Oooh, Day 53 of life, take a pic"

Ask my mom, there are barely 10 pictures of her No. 5...the poor thing.
I had a truckload since I was fat Baby No. 1.

Here's my little princess at 5 months.

I think so.....

*Please ignore the background in the last pic and focus on the smile*

I try not to compare my children but it is pretty inevitable even in a good way.

At 5 months, Tiger was already sprouting teeth number 3 & 4, weaned and crawling.

Lil Dragon is still all gums, lucky me...

Gross Motor
She is ermm, rotating and trying to crawl, hence she does a lot of butt lifts.
Very amusing, I assure you.

She is much easier to handle and people-friendly compared to Tiger.
Considering the fact that her sleep/naps are always interrupted by Tiger,

Such a happy, joyful child.

Still feeds at 3 AM

Have a great weekend you guys!

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Health: Choosing A Water Filter

I have been scouring the internet for more information on water standards in Malaysia and the types of point-of-use water filter available. Of course, thrown into the mix would be budget, maintenance and hopefully fuss-free (reliability) in the long run.

The water quality in Malaysia has always been bad but it is deteriorating to dismal level as indicated here.I cannot understand how some people in Malaysia can live in big houses but try to save money on water quality.

Previously, I have been using Diamond Classic filter but after much consideration, here are the reasons why I have decided to terminate my contract with Diamond water.

1. There was no deposit but installation itself came up to more than RM1000. Like I said, I was ignorant.
2. Monthly fee for indoor unit. RM83/month. So, in three years, we paid RM2988.
3. The contract states 3 years free maintenance but in REAL LIFE, they only change the filter for you in the first 2 years, the total cost of the filters was less than RM1000. In the third year, when you are required to change four filters, amounting to more than RM1000, you have to renew your contract. So CLEVER!
4. If I were to renew my contract, my new fee would be ONLY RM65 per month. (again, SO CLEVER!) In three years, it will amount to RM2340.

If I were to be so stupid and renew my contract, for six years of not that superior water, I would have to pay RM5328 + RM 1000 (installation) and the machine is still NOT MINE!!!!! So SAD :(

Out of the six filters, only two are certified.  
Diamond uses carbon filter but doesn't effectively remove harmful contaminants. Reports and news from Taiwan and Hong Kong claimed they have made false claims and banned them.

So, I set on a quest to find a new one.

What I am looking for in my system is disinfection and purification.
Alkalinazation, I am not convinced about the effect. Your stomach is acidic, for what? Kill bacteria and whatnot. Then you are taking alkaline water for what? Neutralize the stomach acid? Sorry, don't see the logic here.
Coway - RO water. Meaning it removes every single impurity up to minerals - so your water is mineral free. Can't eliminate virus. Mineral free water causes joint pains after years of consumption. Not very good in the long run.
The only way to kill bacteria without boiling the water is ultraviolet. I don't trust ceramic.

Now that I know what I want, which one to buy?

1. ESTABLISHED BRAND (It is afterall an investment)
Since I am no expert, I referred to these sites NSF and WQANSF independently tests, audits, certifies, trains and consults for the food, water, health science, sustainability and consumer product sectors.

So, my options were:
Picture from

1. Amway Espring.
Exorbitant pricing. RM3000 plus :(
Filter change every 6-12 monthly (RM500 per filter)
Certification: NSF 42,53 & 55

2. Aquasana AQ 4000
Price RM 790. Filter change every 1000 gallon. 6-12 monthly: RM 339
Certification: NSF 43 and 53
This is a well established brand in the states. I really, really wanted to get this but...

Customer service was really bad. Reliability is out but that was then. You will have to do more research to see if they have upgraded their customer service.
3. Philips UV water purifier WP3892/01 UV Class A Intellifill
When researching on this model, I was told it had been discontinued. I called Harvey Norman and confirmed with PHILIPS. Don't argue with me saying its still in the market.

Similar to Espring for a fraction of the price.

4. Panasonic TK7585
A friend recommended this. 
Rm1799 at Harvey Norman but hmmm, I want a bug killer, not alkaline ionizer.
Filter/cartridge: RM 175

5. Coway:
I like the hot water and beauty of the design for petit and mach but how to kill bacteria with just ceramic. Not sure if its fortified ceramic or not.
NSF 53

In the end, I bought the Espring with a 12 month installment plan in July 2012. To purchase the Espring, I registered to be an Amway member and was forced to pay RM90 for a beginner sales kit. WTH?

Update June 2013: Changed the filter once after 11 months. Love the beep beep function that basically tells you that the filter is dying on you, please change.

Picture from

Update Nov 2013: The rubber pipes/tubings cracked and leaked after 14 months. (indicated by orange arrow). I wrapped it with silver foil and plumber's tape to prolonged its lifespan. Otherwise, you may have to replace it every 4 months if exposed to sunlight. They cost about rm 43, which I have yet to pay my sister. I used her account because mine expired and I don't intend to renew.

I am still using Diamond's outdoor filter simply because I am used to its backwash function. Each time I back wash, the water is dark brown, rusty and disgusting. Note that I am doing it and not my husband.

Update March 2014: Replaced cartridge and filter by myself! The whole time I was stressed about damaging the damn thing. This time it only lasted 10 months. I blame SYABAS for providing Selangor with filthy water. Disgusting money sucking water concessionaires.

April 2015: Replaced filter and cartridge. Lasted 13 months in a household of 4 adults and 2 kids :) 
Must be partly due to the fact that I changed the outdoor filter too.


Tuesday, 11 December 2012


" Happy Half Birthday to my Little Tiger. You warm my heart each time I think of you :)

Happy 5 months old to my Little Dragon. You are just getting more adorable each day."
Allow me to make a Birthday wish for each of you since I selflessly carried the both of you for 40 weeks (plus 3 days in Tiger's case and went under the knife for Dragon). So, I am entitled to be selfish and wish that:

On behalf of Tiger,
"I wish I can use the potty by myself before 2013"


For Dragon,
 "I wish I will sleep through the night"

A woman can dream, right?

For the both of you, I wish you will always be in the pink of health and all the happiness in the world.

Ice cream tonight?

Parenting: A Reflection

Mondays are always crazy for me.

Is it me or the rest of the human population find it
 most difficult to get out of bed on Monday mornings?

Work was as always, busiest on Mondays.

Then, hubby's accountant called, "Hey, your document is not complete ah. I email the list"
"Audit due end of the month ah. Urgent okay?"
Nod head.
"okay "
The dreaded list. Happens every year.
Time to hunt for missing pieces of invoice, receipts,etc

Called banner people to tweak design. "Must be up by this weekend, okay?"
Banner man: "Okay email asap"
So, I asap-ed.
Tweaked banner says Chrismas promotion
Asap-ed the guy again: Errr, you mis-spelt CHRISTMAS!!! 
NO reply
Sigh again....

When you really need the phone,she (yes, a she) rebels
by catching some crazy virus OR the touch screen is having a bitchy fit.
*No energy to sigh*
I could hear the KWSP and SOCSO forms mocking me.

All this while MSN-ing with Lil J's mommy about Christmas party
Pinterest-ing Christmas craft for Tiger.

When I die, I demand for 'Multitasker' on my stone.
At the very least, I think I deserve a raise from hubby, no?
He is paying me peanuts, like peanuts, I tell you...pffftt

Then, while driving home, I started planning:
Do I cancel class today?
Guess what I did?
I took Tiger to the park
After that, we painted and showered together.
Later, we had our class as usual with Lil J joining us.

I came to realise that I always feel better after a class with Tiger.
Which is also the reason why we are still going strong after almost 2 years.
The fact that Tiger is enjoying the learning process and our special time together
is chicken soup to my soul :)

Yes, it is nice to have enough money
Nothing, I mean NOTHING is more important than my children.

So, that meant more work for mama till late but that's okay.

Writing this blog is another creative outlet for me, so this is not considered work.
If you are still reading this by now, I sincerely THANK YOU!

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Tot Trays: A Little More Structure

Frankly speaking, I am a little bored with the un-schooling method.
You know, when Tiger gets to choose what he likes. Puzzles, etc
After 4 months of doing that, we were not getting anywhere.
He was getting a little more playroom than study room.
Not challenging enough, I guess.
So boring.
So not for us.

So, we are adjusting our 'curriculum'
 A little more focus on language, music and math.
A little less on motor work.
Still the same amount of creativity and fun, I hope.

I am still searching for the perfect box to present these.
For now, they are on a tray.
  1. Game/activity: A spot the difference book. Instructions to be given in Chinese *gulp*
  2. Reader pen: First 600 words
  3. Odonata Book One (Again, I know. So inconsistent). The little black box is for him to keep the words that he can read ala Bao Bei Reading Wonderland.
  4. Story Book: This is a pop up book from his fav series.

Doman cards: If you have been following Tiger's progress, you will know he dislikes the red dots. I am just trying again because he is starting to count instead of subitizing.  *Gasp!*

He loves this mooncake box from Lavender (purple!)
In it, some flashcards:
  1. Dots (1-10)
  2. Spanish (1-10)
  3. Numbered cartoon mini pegs

English/Vocabulary/Sight Words
In addition to storybooks, we started this sometime ago.
Ladybird Book 1A with flashcards
He didn't really enjoy plain reading, so we added actions for each illustration/page.
Great fun for him to watch mama go crazy with exaggerated actions...hehe.
Words that he has mastered gets to be in the box :)

Of course, I have to indulge him with some ABCs.
He re-stickered the box and I gave him some wooden alphabets to match

We are starting with Middle C again

A little Christmas inspiration....
Fine Motor: Tweezing ribbons
I marked the muffin tin tray with bits of corresponding ribbon for a little more challenge.

Sorting colours:
Some IKEA cups, cheap ice cream spoons, and the drink holder from Chatime
LOVE the pop of colours

A Christmas sock stuffed with bells and drums.
Tiger is supposed to feel the object and tell me which it is. The ribbon is just to poke fun at him.

Flashcard center:
Since he is so keen on cards now (which explains the earlier trays), I removed his art material and created this in its place.

HIs art stuff was 'boxed' and placed nearby. **After I switch some old things around, suddenly he develops the passion for colouring, markers, dot painting and worksheets....pfftt.
Note to future Tiger: See the time on the clock. That would be 12.30 AM. The things I do for you.....

Now, if only I can toilet train him on a tray..hmmm...that's a thought....

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Celebration: Christmas Tree

On Monday night,
Tiger and I excitedly dug out the RM 12.90 Christmas tree from the storage.
When I removed it from the bag and held it upright, the tree 'patah'!!!
Exactly mid-tree, the trunk had snapped into two.
I just stared at Tiger, speechless.

Finally, he said, "Mama, tree fall down, die ah?"

Not to be beaten by a broken tree, I duct taped the menacing thing.
Here it is, a little crooked, shorter but more character, I think :)
Ok-lar I am too cheap to buy another one..haha. I love you, tree!

I requested, "Smile for the camera please?"
Tiger said, "NO!"
"Hmm, smile for the tree?"

There you go!

A kiss for the Star..muaks...
which nearly broke the tree again.
Hmm, think I should make a FRAGILE card?

Ho! Ho! Ho!

*Christmas tree and ornaments from Fun & Cheer

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Tot School: 29.5 Months

Tiger did not get new trays for the week.
Instead, we just extended his tot tray activities to keep them fresh.

Okay lar, mostly because I was lazy and wanted to spend more time with Fifty Shades.
FYI, I am on book II already. *Cheeky grin*

 *Clear throat* 
Back to Tot Schooling stuff....

We added his 'taking pen'/flags to his Geography lesson.
Some figurines from Happyland.

He requested for this Grid Memory game from Popular Bookstore.
Yay, money not wasted :)

Another extension.
We added some three-piece puzzles to his vocabulary/animals set

Some time last week, Little J joined Tiger's class
Tiger went bonkers because he simply loves having J around.
There is a little bro-mance going on cause Lil J ask for Tiger too
So cute!
It is really funny to watch the two of them since there is a language barrier.
Little J is primarily a mandarin speaker and Tiger is practically a banana.
Last week, I caught the two singing Oppa Gangnam together...LOL!
Who needs words when you have Oppa?

Fridays are Messy Arty Days since I usually return home late.
By the way, late would be eight-ish.
Yeah, once upon a time, 'late' was 3-5 AM. *wistful look*
Just kidding, wouldn't trade motherhood with noisy strangers,
 intoxication, secondhand smoke, hangover, etc.

Here he was feeling very artsy, hence the expert brush pose with palette in hand.
I was going to give him the plain art paper but he kept gushing over the cover.
"Wah, so nice".."Mama, nice"
So, I just said, "Nah, use the cover lah"
Environmental friendly, yes we are.

Most of the time, he did puzzles simply because he wanted to.
Like this one which is a copy-copy from M&D.
I LOVE this pic because he was bending his back so much, he looked pudgy,
Haha, like a 9 month old Tiger.

Human body puzzle.
Definitely not a hit. Infact, his exact words were:
"Mama, no nice. Keep."

I switched his art material from his art center with flashcards.
While I was doing that, he was doing this.
"Tiger help mama clean, nice hor?"
I just smiled at him but inside I was going, "Yes, my nice."
We are going easy on the compliments.

 Being the oppurtunistic mom that I am, we did these as well.
We traced A to Z, every single card.
These cards are available in MPH & Popular.
A nice alternative to sandpaper letters
Or you can use glue and sand to make them more tactile.

See the bulging diapers?
Reading, tracing, sounding phonics like a pro but still in diapers
Tsk, tsk, tsk, shameless.

He is seriously a phonics nuts.

He went to bed with these and then complain that the letters were coming out.
They were homemade, DIY!
That meant they were cheap, hehe!

This week, Christmas?
Oooh, rub hands with joy

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