Monday, February 10, 2014

The Words You Speak

During the 15 days period of Chinese/Lunar New Year, many Chinese families will pay a visit to family and friends (traditionally known as 拜年, translated as pay respect).

About a week back, an elder auntie came over to my place with my in-laws for a visit. I was busy keeping an eye on my little boy, while my older girl who is turning 4 years old soon sat quietly (just woke up from her nap) at the dining area doing her coloring.  I heard the auntie asked her a couple of questions and suddenly this auntie said "stupid(笨蛋)" to my daughter. Immediately, with a look of horror and shock I told her "how can you make such comment at my daughter?!" "Why do you speak negative comment at her???!!!"

My daughter may not have answered all her questions (i.e. do you know how to sing this song?) and/or requests (i.e. sing her a song), but it doesn't gives her the right to verbally abuse my daughter.

It may just ended there. But... the auntie questioned me and said: "Why can't I said that (referring to her negative comment)?" And... she went on to say that children cannot be praised.

The auntie did not even apologize for her rudeness and unacceptable comment! This is the FIRST time I have bad encounter with an elder who speak negatively at my children right in FRONT of my presence. (Argh! Aarrrgghh!!!)


I am not being over protective over my children. Kind words help; cruel words hurts. It's as simple as that. I find that a negative label or words spoken can dangerously cut and hurt a child. My girl may think of herself that way, undermining her confidence.

When you are about to say something, think about your words before you say it, not after. This is not  about children cannot be praised, but rather how should parents praise their children? I believe that effective praises encourage and motivate children to work harder, and have a positive outlook on their abilities.

What would you do you were in my situation or someone speaks negatively into your children's life?

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Work Off The Festive Bulge

We are almost at the half way mark of the 15days of Chinese Lunar New Year celebration, with all the mouth watering meals after meals, goodies... pineapple tarts, kueh bangkit, love letter, peanut cookies, bak kwa, etc. that comes with Chinese Lunar New Year, it seems inevitable that most of us will pile on the pounds (or extra pounds?).

Don’t fret at the growing bulge, is time to shake off the pounds you have gained during the festive period from Christmas to Chinese Lunar New Year.

Keep calm and exercise!
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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

1 Day Until Chinese New Year

Happy Chinese New Year
May the year of the horse bring you prosperity and good fortune!
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Monday, January 27, 2014

Raising A Bilingual Child

I always think that the kids will eventually be exposed to English once they enter formal education, or even preschool. So, I am enthusiastic to encourage my kids to speak Mandarin. Those of you who embark on the journey of raising a bilingual kids know that, it is definitely not an easy task. It requires more than just commitment, but also a sense of hyper-awareness because language is a day-to-day context.

I would share with you my simple list of do's and don'ts:

Do start exposing the child in the target language as early as possible. The earlier they start receiving consistent exposure to a language, the better.

Don’t panic if your child starts mixing languages. I look at it positively as the power of the brain being able to switch between the two languages. E.g. my girl will say: "mummy, I want to 买面包." (translate: mummy, I want to buy a loaf of bread)

Do have patient and keep going. It will take some extra effort to see the result.

Don't worry or be discouraged if your child does not speak the target language as quickly as his peers. E.g. I spent a year consistently converse in mandarin to my girl at the age of 2 years plus until she started to converse in mix languages at the age of 3 years plus.

Relentless routine = Breakthrough

我一直认为孩子在进入正式教育甚至在学前教育时总是会接触到英文。 所以,我积极的鼓励孩子讲华语。在培养精通双语的这个路途上的人都知道,这并不是件简单的任务,你需要的不只单单是执著,但也需要高度的警觉性,因为语言是每天生活的一部份。


要(应该 )尽早让孩子接触到你想灌输他的语言。孩子越早接触到另外一个语言越好。

不要(不应该)惊慌,如果孩子把两种语言混在一起时,用个正面的角度去看待是他大脑的功能正在两种语言之间交换着。比如,我女儿说:“妈妈,我要买bread。” (翻译:妈妈,我要买面包)

要(应该 )持之以恒。只要付出多一些的努力必看到成果。

不要(不应该)担心或气馁。如果孩子学习的进度/语言表达能力不比同年龄的孩子一样快。 比如,我花了一年的时间在女儿两岁多时持续的以华文和她沟通,她在三岁多时能把两种语言混在一起说。

不懈的惯例  = 突破

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Mum - The Multitasker

Doddle for today - super mom

Mums, regardless if you are a working mom or stay at home mum, you are the ultimate multitasker and you juggle many different roles. I have been there, done that, and am still doing that. You are not alone. Who are you today? personal chef (for picky eaters), teacher (specializing in nursery rhythms, ABC's, 123's , coloring), family nurse (day shift, night shift, overnight shift), personal assistant for the entire family (from shopping for groceries to toys), food tester... etc.

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Friday, January 17, 2014

Woodlands Terrace & Woodlands Loop - Food Factory Outlet

Woodlands Terrace factory direct sale is a very popular shopping place especially during festive season, Chinese New Year. This is the best place to get steamboat ingredients, frozen seafood and Chinese New Year goodies like yu sheng, love letter, pineapple tarts, prawn rolls, barbeque meat (bak kwa) to everything you need to use to cook for reunion dinner, even condiments. This is the reason why Woodlands Terrace is bursting with people, especially on Saturday morning.

First, we checked out the salmon factory, Fassler.
Fassler sells a variety of frozen seafood like salmon, cod fish, king prawns, scallop... etc., frozen soups like Hungarian goulash soup, clam chowder, minestrone soup... etc., as well as fresh mushrooms. There's a walk-in freezer, and you can check out what they have to offer in the large cold room.

Along the vicinity, there is Boon Tong Kee where you can place order for festive food like barbecued suckling pig, roast chicken, etc. Chuen Cheong Food Industries under "Tiger" brand where you can get condiments like soya sauce, chili, plum sauces, etc.. Melvados where you can buy cakes, ice-cream , pastries, etc. There's other factory outlet where you can find seafood ingredients. They are just one next to another.

Next, we checked out Fragrance foodstuff.
Fragrance sells a variety of Chinese New Year goodies like the barbecued meat (bak kwa), egg rolls, nuts, crackers, pineapple tarts, prawn rolls, etc. Plenty of choices to choose from.

Things to keep in mind while visiting:

1. Arrive as early as possible: Always better to arrive as early as possible, because when we left around 10am, the place is thronged by crowd. I assume those buses are shopping trip/group organize by community center bringing the aunties and uncles there to shop.

2. Have a fair idea what you intend to get: The variety of food range from dried food to frozen seafood. It is better to plan and if possible, bring a cooler box along to store your frozen purchase. You do want to risk eating rotten sashimi.

3. No bargain hard: The price of the items are fixed and cheaper as compare to supermarket. Don't expect or even attempt to bargain hard.

4. Bring cash: Most of the outlets do not accept credit cards or NETS.

This place is surely worth a visit!

Don't be in a hurry to rush off! Drop by 15 Woodlands Loop (a multi-story building), there is a hidden gem located here and may be the best kept secret in Woodlands - the J & C Bakery, located at #03-03. In my opinion, they sell one of the best cheese marble brownie. The cheese marble brownie is fresh and rich yet not too sweet, unlike typical brownie which is usually very sweet. Check out the banana walnut cake too!

~ Enjoy! ~

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Perth, Western Australia - Caversham Wildlife Park

If there is one thing you must do in Perth, it must be a visit to the Caversham Wildlife Park! Knowing that Gracelle loves animal, I wanted her to get up close to with kangaroos, and koalas. Thus, when I planned for our trip to Perth, I had it on my list as one of the priority.

Caversham Wildlife Park showcases many of Australia's unique native animals, including koalas, wallabies, possums, Tasmanian devils and wombats. The biggest highlight in the park is the opportunity for a close-up encounter to hand-feed the kangaroos, and have a photo taken with the koalas.

The kangaroo enclosure contain a variety of kangaroo and wallaby species wandering around and foods are supplied in a bucket in the area for visitors to feed them. Look carefully, you may notice a joey in the pouch.

Next, the koala enclosure. Interesting facts about the koalas:
  • Do you know that koala are not "koala bears", because they are marsupials.
  • Koala sleeps about 20 hours per day. (No wonder they are snoozing, sleep all the time)
  • Koala only eat eucalyptus.
The koalas are situated in waist and shoulder height trees and are very accessible for viewing and photographs. Visitors get a chance to touch and stroke the koala only at the instruction of the keeper.

Do take note of the Farm Show! I missed the Farm Show because my darling son was Zzzz... (sleeping). I missed out the sheep shearing, cow milking, bottle feeding lambs etc.
I managed to catch up later for the next show, "Meet the Wombat and friends". Gracelle spotted the Tiger Quoll, also known as the spotted-tail quoll. A cute looking animal in chocolate brown with white spots on the body to the tail. Cute looking as it may be, but it is a carnivorous marsupial. 

Last, but not least, before we left the park, a close up snap shot with wombat. Interestingly and surprisingly, wombat can run up to 40km/hour. Do you know that?

How to get there:

By train follow by bus
Take a train towards Midland and align at Bassendean station.  Catch a bus 955 from Bassendean to Ellenbrook. Get off bus at Whiteman Park. (Tips: Inform the bus driver of your destination in advance and they will stop at your designated location. No worries about don't know where to get off the bus.)

Walk towards the entrance of Whiteman Park, use the courtesy phone to call for a courtesy pick up to Caversham Wildlife Park.

Opening hour: 9:00am to 5:30pm (open daily except Christmas Day)


Monday, January 13, 2014

Daily Routines: Fruits

~ An apple a day keeps the doctor away ~
Like most full time working mum out there, between work and dealing with children, I try hard to squeeze in a home cooked dinner during weekday. Once I get the meal on the table, is hard to fit in recommended portions of fruit in daily routine. So, one of the thing I had recently started to do is to cut a small portion of fruits in the morning, every day, and store it in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. By the time we get home around 7pm, the children can eat the fruit either before or after dinner.
We all know that it is important for children to eat fruits and vegetables each day, but getting the children to actually do so can sometimes be a challenge. One of my creative ways to encourage the children, including the adult (husband), is to decorate it with cute animal food picks. Food picks is not just great for bento decoration, but also a creative way to make fruit looks adorable, fun and more appetizing. Does it looks more appetizing to you?
To be honest, sometimes, our fruit choices depend on what's in season. As for now, Korea strawberry is mine, or at least my daughter's all-time favorite. My girl is a strawberry fanatic! You can read about her love for strawberry here. I am happy that with the cute animal food picks, there's no "I don't want to eat" comment coming from my 4 years old girl; now she happily stuff a few cubes of pear into her mouth.
Healthy eating habits start early in life. Serving fruits should be part of our everyday routine. Have you taken your daily fruit intake today?

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Perth, Western Australia - Fremantle

I had always wanted to re-visit Perth after my undergraduate study. So, we travelled to Perth in Dec 2013 for our year end family trip. The most common comment I hear from the people is, " What a boring and dull city, and there is nothing to do". Well, why not? Is a great getaway from the daily hectic lifestyle with so much to see and do in and around this beautiful city.

The flight time from Singapore to Perth is only 5 hours 20 minutes. Perfect for families with young children, as compared to flight time of 8 hours to Melbourne or Sydney. I have a 14 months old baby and a 3 years old plus child travelling together.

One would often relates Australia travel with self-drive road trips. With a 14 month old baby, we decided to shelf the idea of self-drive for long distance road trips and rely on the public transport. Public transport is safe, efficient and easy to get around.

Getting around Perth by buses and trains are pretty straight-forward. The tickets/fares are calculated by the number of zones you travel through on your journey. If you travel within the one zone, you will be charged a 1-zone fare. If you travel over a zone boundary into another zone, you will be charged a 2-zone fare and so on. Click here to download the zone map. When in doubt of where to alight, speak to the friendly bus driver.

A visit to Perth would be incomplete without a trip Fremantle (also known as "Freo"). There are a lot of restaurants to choose from along Cappuccino Strip, but we headed towards the Fishing Boat Harbour for WA No. 1 Fish 'n' Chips, Cicerello's for a sumptuous lunch.
Next, is to walk around in Fremantle Market. This area (at the entrance of Fremantle Market and along Cappucino Strip) is a place with abundance of quality street performers, and you never need to watch Australia's Got Talent ever again. I am not sure if is a custom to tip if you stop to take photo or pause to watch/listen to their performance. Nonetheless, my girl tipped "Elvis Presley".

For those looking to shop for souvenir, a visit to E-shed market is a must. You can get Australia native animals stuff toys at 3 for AUD10, and the very unique cork hat. By the way, if you visit Perth during the summer, the cork hat is a very useful head gear to ward off the insects, mainly the flies during this period: the movement of the head causes the corks to swing, discouraging insects from swarming around the wearer's face.
Last, but not least, we also visited one of the main tourist attraction, the Round House, the oldest building in Western Australia. The children were running around or nearby the Round House, and to our surprise, they found the dandelion. This is like fairy tales comes alive, the children were busy making wishes by blowing off the seeds of a dandelion. Cool, this is definitely an unexpected bonus on this trip!
Make a wish on a dandelion! The children wished for happy family. (Feeling blessed!)
That round up our trip to Fremantle.
How to get to Fremantle:
By bus
- From Murdoch station, take bus route 98 and alight along Cappuccino Strip or the Fremantle Railway Station
By train
- From Murdoch station, take train to Perth city, transfer and alight at Fremantle
Explore Fremantle by foot or free CAT (City Area Transport) bus service.

Tips: Visit Fremantle on the weekend.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Motivational Mondays - Goal Setting Simplified: ONE Word for 2014

Happy New Year! I hope your year has begun well.

As we enter the new year, many of us are looking ahead in the same old way to set our new year resolution. Be honest. How many of you have written down a SMART goal? How many of you are guilty of being marked as a slacker for not setting any goals and being smacked with the advise "if you fail to plan, you plan to fail". I know, somehow, somewhere, someone, have fall short of their goals.

This year, I am keeping it simple by choosing just ONE WORD. I tapped into the wisdom of the authors of My One Word and One Word. That's right - one word. Not a long to-do list, not a phrase, not a sentence, no wish list. Just a single word to as the driving force and focus on every day, 365 days, all year long. One word that sums up what you want to accomplish. According to the authors, one word impacts 6 dimensions of one's well being: mental, physical, emotional, relational, spiritual, financial.

"When words are scare they are seldom spent in vain." ~ William Shakespeare

My one word for the year is GROWTH.

Growth is defined as development from a lower or simpler to a higher or more complex form. Growth doesn't just happen: it is not accidental but intentional.

As a full time working mom to 2 young children and spouse to a loving husband. I need to grow in relationships. As a daughter, a sister, a friend, I need to grow in character to become a better person. As an employee, I need to grow in my skill set to advance in my career. As a Christian, I need to grow spiritually.

Year 2014 is going to be the best year yet! In the comment below, let me know what is your ONE word is for 2014.