Parenting Tips

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Chicken/Prawn Apple Appetizer

Today, I am going to share with Singapore parents on using green apple as an appetizer.

1 medium size green apple (diced)
300 gms of chicken meat (diced) or 300 gms of prawns (scaled)
2 teaspoon of TABASCO pepper sauce
2 teaspoon honey
Half teaspoon of coriander roots
1 teaspoon coriander leaves
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
2 teaspoon lemon juice

Method (with CHICKEN):
  • Season diced chicken with 1 tablespoon of corn flour and 1 teaspoon of soy sauce
  • Heat wok and add 2 tablespoon of oil
  • Lightly fry till golden brown with medium heat
  • Dish out chicken and set aside to cool down before mixing with all the other ingredients
  • Chill well before serving
Method (with PRAWNS):
  • Scale prawns fully
  • Scald the prawns in boiling water (with a pinch of salt added to the water)
  • When the prawns turned to red colour, switch off the fire
  • Drain out prawns and let cool down before mixing with all the other ingredients
  • Chill well before serving
(You may want to retain the prawn water as stock for soup)

The above either version are simple enough to cook and is a really appetizer. So parents, do try them out. For those with smaller children, perhaps you should go easy with the pepper sauce.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Love Thyself

Hi Parents

In busy Singapore environment, very often, we are concerned with our kids and family. So much so, we tend to forget ourselves. Here's some pointers on HOW TO LOVE YOURSELF by Louise L Hay.


Criticism never changes a thing. Refuse to criticize yourself. Accept yourself exactly as you are. Everybody changes. When you criticize yourself, your changes are negative. When you approve of yourself, your changes are positive.


Stop terrorizing yourself with your thoughts. It’s a dreadful way to live. Find a mental image that gives your pleasure (mine is yellow roses) and immediately switch your scary thought to a pleasure thought.


Be gentle with yourself. Be kind to yourself. Be patient with yourself as you learn the new ways of thinking. Treat yourself as you would someone your really loved.


Self hatred is only hating your own thoughts. Don’t hate yourself for having the thoughts. Gently change your thoughts.


Criticism breaks down the inner spirit. Praise builds it up. Praise yourself as much as you can. Tell yourself how well you are doing with every little thing.


Find ways to support yourself. Reach out to friends and allow them to help you. It is being strong to ask for help when you need it.


Acknowledge that you created them to fulfill a need. Now you are finding new, positive ways to fulfill those needs. So lovingly release the old negative patterns.


Learn about nutrition. What kind of fuel does your body need to have optimum energy and vitality? Learn about exercise. What kind of exercise can you enjoy? Cherish and revere the temple you live in.


Look into your eyes often. Express this sense of love you have for yourself. Forgive yourself looking into the mirror. Talk to your parents looking into the mirror. Forgive them too. At least once a day say: “I Love you, I really Love you.”


Don’t wait until you get well, or lose the weight, or get the new job, or the new relationship. Begin now – do the best you can.

So parents, do spare some time loving yourself. Hope above tips help.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Delights and Woes of the Week 0704

This week, I would like to start with the woes first.

Yesterday, I lost my temper and scolded my husband. He was trying to help but what he did annoyed me so I blew my top. I have learnt to let out my frustration out instead of cooping inside me.

Parents, when you do have frustrations, do let them out or share them with someone instead of keeping everything to yourself. It will do your internal organs more good than harm and they will then function better. You will then have less ailments.

Now for the delights:
  • Kept my mum company on Monday and Friday. Physically, she is getting better. Mood wise, still need more cheering.
  • Accompanied my husband for his quarterly check-up at Singapore Toa Payoh Polyclinic on Wednesday morning. He lost about 1 kg, as compared from the last visit. Need to work harder to reduce more weight.
  • Completed my Reiki II course on Thursday. Hope to help more people achieve better wellness in their health.
  • Had a good night sleep last night from after midnight till 9 am this morning. It had been a long time since I last slept so well.
  • This afternoon, helped a comrade to enrol a Sec 4 student for advances learning techniques with MindChamps.
  • My youngest daughter, Yu Sin, shared that she won the badminton's tournament. Next week, 2 more games coming up.
So much for this week.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Showing Love and Respect for others

"The most important work you will ever do is within the walls of your own home!" - David O. McKay

Many people ask me how I manage 4 children and stay in workforce for so long, especially in Singapore context.

Well, showing love and respect for each other is very important. From young, I ENCOURAGE my children to:

E njoy doing chores for the family such as cooking and housework
N ote each other's likes and dislikes
C are for the younger ones and teach them when they are in doubt
O wn up wrong-doings such as telling the truth and face the consequence
U se appropriate decision-making skills
R ecognise that everyone needs privacy at times
A void criticism and name callings
G reet
their elders, be it at home or when they make visits to their homes
E xchange ideas when doing projects

Hope parents will find the above tips useful. As the saying goes, it is up to us as parents to teach important values such as love and respect to our family.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Where is my 5-year old?

Hi Parents
Tonight, would like to jolt your memory back to the time when you were a 5-year old kid. What was it like?

Well, as far as I can remember, my 5-year old had been a care-free one. No school yet, all I did with my siblings and neighbours was eat, play and sleep. Although there was no computer, we had fun doing things like:
  • playing marbles
  • throwing 5 stones
  • jumping the BIG balloon
  • rope skipping
  • playing catching
  • watching TV (black and white) in neighbour's house
  • blowing soap bubbles
  • tapping paper balloon
In Singapore, working life can be rather stressful. But no matter how old we are, there is always a child inside us. Should you feel very tense on certain days, why not go to a nearest playground and sit down. Just watch the children play. If you want to join in the fun, go ahead. Or, just be a 5-year for a day and do what you want to do as a 5-year old.

This is one good way to de-stress. Try it and you will be amazed that you find joy again.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Questions Children Ask About Animals and Plants

Hi Parents

Below are some questions that your children may ask about animals and plants:

About Animals

I wonder:

  • why do birds fly away together when the weather gets cold?
  • can they talk to each other and say "Let's go now"?
  • why does my cat hide her new kittens? I would not hurt them.
  • why do horses need shoes? Cats and dogs do not need them.
  • how can a bear sleep all winter? Does it not get hungry or thirsty? How does it know when to wake up?
  • how can a fly walk on the ceiling? Why does it not fall off?
  • how can a duck sit in the water without getting its feathers wet. I get wet when I am in the water.
  • why do squirrels and birds and fishes have tails?
  • how do fireflies make their tiny lights?
  • why does a turtle live in a shell?
About Plants

  • why does a morning-glory close in the afternoon? Can flowers tell time?
  • why do leaves turn red and gold in the autumn? Pine needles do not turn colour.
  • why do trees not die in the winter?
  • how do wild flowers get planted?
  • why do bees fly to flowers?
  • how can you tell how old a tree is?
  • how can you tell one tree from another tree?
  • how do plants eat? Do some plants really catch insects? Do they eat them after catching them?
  • were there always trees and flowers? What is the oldest plant in the world?

Well parents, for some of the answers to the questions, you do need to look up the encyclopedia. For some, how about making a trip down to the Singapore Zoo and some of the parks, gardens and nature reserves to explore further.

Below is the list of parks, gardens and nature reserves in Singapore:

  • Agriculture farms
  • Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
  • Chek Jawa
  • Chinese Garden
  • East Coast Park
  • Fort Canning Park
  • Labrador Park
  • MacRitchie, Peirce and Seleter Reservoirs
  • Mandai Orchid Garden
  • Marina City Park
  • Mount Faber
  • Pasir Ris Park
  • Singapore Botanic Gardens
  • Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Lotus Root Soups

Lotus Root Soups

Lotus root (莲藕) is the rhizome of the nelumbo, also know as the Egyptian lotus, Indian lotus or sacred lotus. It is an aquatic herbal plant with peltate leaves borne above and floating on the surface of the water. The edible pale yellow rhizome is submerged in mud.

It has been eaten as food for thousands of years. In the medicinal aspect, lotus roots purity the blood. The young rhizome when harvested for eating, tastes like artichokes. The older ones are considered diuretic and are harvested all year round. When sliced transversely for use in soups in Chinese cooking, each piece will see many holes in it.

(1) Lotus root soup with octopus (serves 4 – 6 persons)

(Lotus roots purify the blood & dried octopus improves blood circulation)


1 lotus root, washed well & cut into circular slices
200g Meat Bones, scalded in boiling water for 3 minutes
2 slices of old ginger
8 red dates (de-stoned)
2 pieces dried octopus, washed

Method (1) – using the crockpot:

  • Put all ingredients into a crockpot, fill ¾ full with HOT water.
  • Boil for 2 hours at medium heat.
  • Add light soy sauce (optional)

Method (2) – using the convention pot:

  • Put all ingredients into a deep pot, fill in 6 bowls of HOT water.
  • Bring to boil and reduce to low heat. Boil for 4 hours.
  • Add light soy sauce (optional)

(2) Lotus root soup with pork ribs (serves 1 – for confinement mothers)


1 lotus root, washed well & cut into circular slices
300g pork ribs (preferably the pig’s tail portion), scalded in boiling water for 3 minutes
red dates (de-stoned)


  • Put all ingredients into a deep pot, fill in 4 bowls of HOT water.
  • Bring to boil and reduce to low heat. Boil for about 5 - 6 hours until the soup is about one bowl for consumption.

(The pork ribs can also be eaten, with the red dates, the meat taste sweet.)

(3) Lotus root with chicken and sweet potato soup (serves 2 – 4 people)


Half lotus root, washed well & cut into circular slices
Half a spring chicken (chopped into smaller chunks), scalded in boiling water for 3 minutes

2 pieces sweet potatoes (the yellow/orange variety, cut into thick slices)

5 - 6 red dates (cleaned and soaked)

1 large onion (bashed)
1 knob ginger (bashed)

Method (1) – using the crockpot:

  • Put all ingredients into a crockpot, fill ¾ full with HOT water.
  • Boil for 1 hours at high heat.
  • Add light soy sauce (optional)

Method (2) – using the convention pot:

  • Put all ingredients into a deep pot, fill in 5 bowls of HOT water.
  • Bring to boil and reduce to low heat. Boil for 2 hours.
  • Add light soy sauce (optional)

Singapore parents, do try the above recipes out, especially (1) and (3). For recipe (2), it is more suitable for confinement mothers and older women folks. Men, avoid this.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Communication among siblings

I have 3 brothers and 2 sisters. When we were young, we play together, go to school together and do a lot of other things together.

When we grew older and started to work, things began to change. We talk lesser to each other. Lucky for our parents, we still have activities during the weekends. We would go to restaurants around Singapore to try out different special dishes.

After one by one got married, exchanges get even lesser. We would still meet at our parents' home during weekends. When our children came along, priority is on them and sometimes we see each other less than 20 times a year. Of course, Chinese New Year would be a rowdy one where all will bring their children to pay respects to our elders.

After my dad's demise last year, we had intended to spend more time with our mum. However, there seemed to be communication breakdown. Mum was left alone most of the time and that was how depression set in. Of late, we have been talking to each other more often, to help mum regain her old self.

It is rather sad that we had to wait for a crisis to happen before coming to unity again. For the sake of our mum, I sincerely hope this will continue.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Delights and Woes of the Week 0703

Finally, we got to see the sun this week in Singapore. So, I am delighted that:
  • I went to the Toa Payoh temple to pay respect to my dad on 17/1/2007 (his birthday).
  • The CPT event on Make an IMPACT in your presentations on 17/1/2007 at Suntec City Guild House was a success with 17 participants turning up.
  • I was able to spent a day with my mum and cheer her up a bit. She is now more agreeable to get a maid.
  • I enrolled my daughter, Yu Mei, for Reiki from 19/1 - 21/1. Hope she will benefit from these 2 half-day sessions, both physically and emotionally.
  • I get to meet familiar faces again and also made some new friends during these few days.
For the woes, have yet to do some spring cleaning this week and also filing of documents. Must kick this habit of piling up.

Parents, hope you have been doing the delights and woes with your children on a daily basis. I am also trying to my kids to share theirs with me.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Reunion dinner

This year, Chinese New Year is on 19 February 2007 which is about one month away. Trationally, Chinese families would gather for a feast one day before the start of the Lunar New Year. This meal is known as "tuan yuan fan" ( ) or "Reunion Dinner" since it is almost always eaten after nightfall as the last meal of the old year. The venue is usually held in the home of the most senior member of the family.

This is one of the most important meals for the Chinese. Members of the family, near and far, get together for celebration. The reunion dinner should be eaten with all immediate family members present as a symbol of strength and unity in the family.

There is usually an abundance of food prepared for this meal, even by poorer families. The Chinese believe that having an excess of food on the table symbolizes good fortune for the New Year, as it would bring excess wealth. Depending on which Chinese ethnic group and region, below are some traditional food or meals that are prepared on this special day:

  • "Jiao zi" ( ), or dumplings. Meat and vegetables are wrapped not with rice but with a skin made of flour. This is a food commonly eaten as a meal in Beijing or northern parts of China. Family members would join in to make the dumplings which can be eaten throughout the New Year.
  • Steamboat dinner, or "huo guo" ( ). This is popular in Singapore and Malaysia. A family sits around a pot of steaming soup, place uncooked pieces of food into it and fish it out when it's ready. This dish is easily prepared dinner since all is needed is uncooked food and the soup.
  • "Fa cai" ( ), or black moss, is eaten as the name of the moss sounds like "to become prosperous" in Chinese.
  • Fish (, yú) is a must but not eaten up completely (and the remainder is stored overnight), as the Chinese phrase 年年有餘 (nián nián yǒu yú), which means "may there be surpluses every year", sounds the same as "may there be fish every year."
  • Raw fish salad, or "yu sheng" ( ), may also be eaten. This dish is not found in China, but in Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong. Its name sounds like "growing luck". This dish is also eaten on the 7th day of the Lunar New Year.
  • "Nian gao" ( ), also known as year cakes, may be fried to usher in the New Year. This is a sweet, sticky and glutinous cake which the Chinese believe that would make the New Year sweet and bring prosperity.
  • Some Taoist or Buddhist families might abstain from meat throughout the New Year. However, for poorer families, this might be the only time of the year when they can eat meat in abundance. A kind of preserved meat, called "rou gan" or dried meat, is popular during this season.
  • Another popular dish is tamarind and star anise chicken.
  • Buddha's delight, also known as 罗汉斋 (luóhàn zhāi), is an elaborate traditional vegetarian dish comprising 18 ingredients. A type of black hair-like algae, pronounced "fatt choy" in Cantonese, is also featured in Buddha's delight and other dishes, since its name sounds similar to fatt choy, the Cantonese word for "prosperity."

This list is definitely not exhaustive as many Chinese communities living around the world may have their own unique food or dish for the reunion dinner.

Shou Sui

守岁(Shou Sui) is when members of the family gather around throughout the night after the reunion dinner. During this time, they will reminisce about the year that has passed while welcoming the year that has arrived. Some people also believe that children who 守岁 (Shou Sui) will help to increase the longevity of the parents.

So parents, do share with your children on the significance of Reunion Dinner and Shou Sui. It is a good tradition to be passed down.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Internet Usage by Youngsters in Singapore

On the front page of today's Straits Times - "Young children lead online charge in Singapore".

The annual IDA survey shows that:
  • 90% of children under age group 10 - 14 use the Internet to communicate, play and learn
  • 64% come from those in the age group 15 - 59
  • 20% are those above 60 who were the least Net-savvy
And what are the top online activities that are of interest to these children (10 - 14)?
  • 60% send email (42% uses MSN Messenger to send instant messages)
  • 58% play games
  • 52% use internet for learning
  • 33% visit chatrooms
  • 27% share personal data in social sites like the Friendster
  • 18% download music/movies
In this present era, the Internet is inextricably woven into the lives of today's kids. Like one student said: "I cannot imagine life without the Internet." While this may be a fact, parents still need to be aware of the time spent by children on the internet. This is to ensure that they are not addicted to computer gaming. Take note of the following:
  • Is your child spending more and more time on gaming?
  • Is he/she neglecting his studies, CCA, family and friends?
  • Is his/her study or CCA performance deteriorating?
  • Is he/she feeling restless, irritable or discontent when not playing computer game?
  • Is he/she going to bed much later than usual or waking up 4 am in the morning just to play the game before going to school?
  • Is he/she developing health problems such as eye strain, weight gain and backaches?
  • Is he/she lying to the family and teachers about his playing pattern?
  • Is he/she feeling guilty, anxious or upset because of his habit?
  • Is he/she denying or rationalizing the negative consequences resulting from playing too much computer game?
If you answer is "YES" to several of the questions, then your child could be addicted to computer gaming! Want to know more of these 'danger' signs log on to

" Be Alert! Before Your Child become a Computer Gaming Junkie "

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Baby Boom or Gloom in Singapore

In World news of today's Straits Times, there were 2 articles - one on "BABY BOOM in France" and the other on WEDDING GLOOM in the US". What irony?

For the first article, the France government had attributed the increase in population growth to its family-friendly polices, such as:
  • Offer of Euro 750 (S$1,500) a month to parents who take one year of unpaid leave after the birth of a 3rd child;
  • Large families get shopping discounts;
  • They also enjoy reduced fares on public transport;
  • French fathers are also guaranteed paid paternity leave.
Although the Singapore government also provide incentives to encourage parents to have more children, we have yet to see the fruits desired yet.

While sharing this news with my youngest daughter, she also related what happened in class today. The teacher was asking them who were the only child and how many have 2/3/4 children in their family. Guess what? My girl was the only one who has 3 other siblings. Many parents are still reluctant to have more than 3 children and I think this trend will continue.

For the 2nd article, the census shows that more American women now live without a spouse than with one. For Singapore, although this may not be the case, many career women prefer to remain single. The same goes for many men who choose to be free of marital commitments. How sad!

For my 4 children (3 girls and 1 boy), I do not know what they have in mind. All I ask is that they be happy and enjoy their school lives for now.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Papa's Birthday

Yes, today is Papa's birthday. Had he been alive, he would have been 80.

I was at the Toa Payoh Lorong 6 temple with my husband and elder 2 kids to pay our respect. At his tablet, I fought back my tears. Still miss him . . .

Papa, wherever you are, just hope you are happy. Mum is the surviving parent we have now. Please bless her with good health and may she be rid of worries.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Beetroot Juice / Agar-agar

Today, I am going to share with you a juice and a dessert, using beetroot.

Mixed Fruit Juice

Fruits required – One medium size beetroot, 2 stalks of celery, 1 carrot and 1 orange.

De-skin the beetroot and orange. Together with celery and carrot, just cut them into smaller size to fit into the juicer and there you go, a very refreshing juice to perk you up in the morning.

Beetroot Agar-agar

Ingredients – one large beetroot or 2 medium-size ones, 1 packet of 'Clear' agar-agar powder and half a tub of nata de coco.


  1. Extract about half a cup of juice from the beetroot and set aside
  2. Follow the instructions on agar-agar packet and cook accordingly. However, use half cup of sugar instead of one cup (the syrup in nata de coco also contains sugar)
  3. When the agar-agar boils, shut the fire, add in the beetroot juice
  4. Then add in the nata de coco and stir well
  5. Scoop into small jelly cups or a big bowl
  6. Leave them to cool for a while before putting into the fridge

Goodness of beetroot

It is known for its startlingly red flesh. This root vegetable is rather versatile. When roasted, it can be sliced and added to salads for a bright splash of colour. In Indian cuisine, beetroot is used in chutneys and curries.

Beetroot contains virtually no fat, has few calories and is rich in iron and Vitamin C. The flesh is also a good source of fibre.

Singapore parents, must try out the above juice and dessert. Your children and family will love them.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Delights and Woes of the Week 0702

It has been another rainy week in Singapore. Well, life still goes on. I am delighted that:
  • I managed to do some spring cleaning. It sure was good feeling to rid of some old stuff.
  • In the course of clearing up, guess what I found? An "Aiwa" radio that is still in working condition. It is now in my bedroom and I am able to enjoy some music in the morning.
  • I brought my husband for a free massage at The Adelphi and he sure enjoyed it.
  • The Graduation Nite on 11/01/2007 for the Certified Professional Trainer course was a fun and interactive one.
For the woes, my mum is still unwell. My siblings and I have been taking turns to take care of her.

Let's look forward to more sunny days ahead. And mama, may you also cheer up as the days get sunnier.