Parenting Tips

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Delights and Woes of the Week 0717

It has been a rainy week so I chose to stay home most of the time
. Well, still there are delights:
  • Glad that my eldest girl, Yulin, had enjoyed her trip at Phuket (24/4 - 27/4).
  • Accompanied my mother-in-law to the polyclinic at National Health Promotion Board, near Singapore General Hospital. She had fasted the previous night and had her blood test done. Despite her discomfort, she was in good spirit.
  • Invited Li Jing (the Chinese scholar) for dinner on Friday. She sure was a small eater. I suppose that is how she maintains her slim figure.
  • Got quite a number of families to attend the complimentary workshop on Saturday. Although some of them did not turn up, I still had one enrolment done.
  • This afternoon, met up with Valli, parent of the Indian boy who enrolled last week. After settling the balance payment, gave her a copy of Deeper Than The Ocean. Thereafter, took her around Toa Payoh Central to familiarize herself with the surroundings.
For the woe, my mum is finding difficulty in communicating with the new maid, Misti. My sister and I see it as a positive stress where she will be kept on her toes. We told her to take it as a challenge for both of them to get to know each other better.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Delights and Woes of the Week 0716

It has been another busy and eventful week. First, the delights:
  • Completed the 3 Artistry Beauty Workshops conducted by Amway spread over 3 Mondays (2/4, 9/4 and 16/4). Learned quite a number of tips on how to do a proper facial, scrub, massage and mask.
  • Was back to Methodist Primary school for the 2nd time and shared with class 4.3 on public sculpture.
  • Bought my husband for his quarterly check-up at Toa Payoh Polyclinic. Glad that that his cholesterol has gone down. So was his weight, about 1 kg lighter.
  • Did the time table for the young gentleman whose parents signed him up for the program at Mindchamps last week. Apparently, he is still spending a lot of time on computer. My colleague and I explained the importance of setting goal and prioritizing his tasks.
  • Bought my husband for his monthly massage at Adelphi. Thereafter, had curry fish head at the basement of Peninsula Centre.
  • The Singapore CPT Alumni Networking this week had 15 CPT attendees. Expect more participation next month as Teoh Poh Yew will be the guest speaker.
  • Attended the annual Sports Day of Cedar Girls' Secondary School. Also participated in the Parent cum staff race. Sure had fun.
  • Got my husband, 2nd sister and a friend to attend the Reiki preview at Le Meridien Hotel. Was glad that my friend had signed up for the workshop to be held in late Jun and early Jul. My sister also indicated interest to enrol. Will sign up for my husband too.
  • Got my first pay-check, after 4 months without income. Intend to see more of this coming. Yesterday, successfully closed 3 cases of enrolments for the learning technique programs.
  • The maid for my mum finally came in today. Quite a pleasant girl aged 23. My mum and I had quite a bit of hard time communicating with her in Malay. Was at Bras Basah tonight and managed to get a Chinese-Malay-English dictionary. Hopefully, this will improve our language barrier.
For the woe, my mother-in-law is still in pain, especially at night. My husband and eldest girl paid her visit yesterday. This Wednesday, I will be accompanying her to see doctor. Just wish I could cheer her up in some way.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Delights and Woes of the Week 0715

Until my new web page is ready, I will continue to update what are my weekly delights and woes . . .

For this week, the delights are:
  • On Monday afternoon, brought mum for facial at Modern Beauty Salon at Toa Payoh. This is her time attempt. She just enjoyed it but has no intention to sign on any package.
  • On Tuesday, finally selected the web hosting company and signed up with them. Thereafter, consulted my 'sifu' on how to switch to wordpress (still in progress).
  • On Wednesday afternoon, Courts delivered the new set of sofa to my house and disposed of the old one which had a bad tear on one side of the big sofa.
  • On Thursday afternoon, went to Jurong Primary School to share with Class 3G on the 6 elements of art, namely, line, shape, space, texture, colour and pattern. It was raining outside the classroom but that the children were just as responsive and chatty.
  • On Friday evening, was at Cedar Girls' Secondary School for Meet-the-Parent session as my youngest girl is Sec 4 this year. As usual, I get feedback from the teachers. Am glad that she will be released of her duties as Head Prefect soon. Then, she can concentrate more on her studies.
  • On Saturday afternoon, 5 other Reiki kakis turned up at my place for the monthly 'roasting' session. 2 of them joined us for the 1st time. Expect them to join us in future.
  • Today, one family attended the study workshop and the parents signed up after some deliberation. They are PRs from India and have been in Singapore for 3 years. Their only boy is somewhat addicted on computer games. Will be meeting them again next week to help draw up a time-table for the young gentleman.
For the woe, my mother-in-law needs to go for a bone scan next week after the doctor examined her on Wednesday. He wanted to make sure that there is no recurrence of cancer cells elsewhere in her body. She still cannot straighten her body when she lies down on the bed. Hence, her sleep has been affected. Really hope she will recover soon and resume her social activities.

Friday, April 13, 2007

New Look for my blog

Hi Singapore parents

I am in the process of upgrading my existing blog to a new look and at a more prominent web hosting site.

Will update you with more details soon. Be on the look out.

Bye for now.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Getting a Maid

The last time I had a maid was more than 5 years ago. Recently, because of my mum, we had to start sourcing for one again. To expedite the application process, here are some tips:

About the agent
  • A ttitude and service of agent must be good
  • G et checklist on documents required for processing of application
  • E nquire on processing time and expected 'delivery' of maid
  • N eed to know, besides the general charges, what other costs are involved, e.g. medical check-ups, maid levy, return air-fare, etc
  • T ake a look at their contracts between agent/maid and agent/employer - this is important because employer needs to know what is expected of them and that of the maid
About the maid
  • M ust match the requirements of the employer, e.g. willing to take care of the elderly, able to cook, etc
  • A ppealing and pleasant looking and to the liking of the employer (at least from the photo)
  • I ndicate what is expected of her on the first meeting, e.g. listen to whatever grandma says
  • D raft out a list of tasks to be done daily, weekly, monthly, for ease of management

Parents, hope the above tips help. We all love our children. Remember, she is also someone else daughter
so during her stay in Singapore, ensure that she is:
  • well fed
  • have enough rest
  • treated by a doctor when she is ill
  • not physically or mentally abused
  • not at risk when performing her task

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Brococli with Button Mushrooms

Singapore parents, do try out the following nutritious and healthy dish which is relatively easy to prepare and cook.

Ingredients (Serves 4 - 6)
300 g broccoli
100 g fresh button mushrooms
1/2 carrot, sliced
2 red chillies, cut into stripes
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tsp oyster sauce
1 1/2 dsp unsaturated oil


1. Wash broccoli and cut into small florets. Cook in 1 cup of boiling water for 3 to 5 minutes, remove and drain. Keep the balance water for boiling carrot.
If using a microwave oven, cover and cook on high for 30 seconds.

2. Scrub carrot and cook in boiling water for 3 minutes. Save the water as stock.
If using a microwave oven, cover and cook on high for 2 minutes. Remove carrots and slice.

3. Heat oil and fry chillies and garlic until fragrant. Add in broccoli, carrots and button mushrooms. Stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add in half cup of vegetable stock and simmer for 5 minutes.

4. Add in the oyster sauce and mix well. Remove from heat and serve.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Delights and Woes of the Week 0714

Yesterday was a day without computer as my family was at Changi Village. Occasion - my eldest girl's birthday.

So what are delights for this week???
  • On Monday and Tuesday evenings, we have review on the Neuro-Linguistic Programming. The trainer completed the belief and value aspects. The hands-on activities enable each of us to know our classmates better. Must put the tips offered to practice though.
  • On Tuesday morning, was at Pei Tong Primary School sharing with Class 5B on public sculptures. Less than 20 students were present with majority boys and they sure are talkative.
  • On Wednesday, called a number of prospects to invite them for the study workshop on learning techniques. So far, confirmed booking for 2 of them.
  • On Thursday, finally did the e-filing for my Income Tax.
  • On Friday evening, was at YMCA for the 1st Friday Writers Corner of The Society of Singapore Writers. Was glad to share with those present on Nurturing Kids on Literacy Appreciation (refer to blog dated 6 May 2007).
  • On Saturday morning, was at Cedar Girl's Secondary School to meet the scholar assigned to my family under the Parent Guardian Program. Her name is Li Jing and is a very pleasant and sweet girl from Fujian, China.
  • Yesterday (Sunday), I invited Li Jing to join our family outing. First, we had lunch at Sizzler, Toa Payoh. Then, we proceeded to Changi Village Hotel. 5 of us dip ourselves in the pool at the roof top level for an hour while 2 of them stayed in the room and watched TV. Dinner was a mixture of dim sum, satay, fried hokkien mee and fried oyster at Changi Village.
For the woe, my sister and I were rather annoyed that the maid agent has yet gotten the maid for us. So on Friday afternoon, we finally meet up with her to sort out the issues to expedite the application. It would still required another 2 weeks . . . sigh . . .

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Parent Guardian Programme

Cedar Girls' Secondary School offered this programme to foreign students since 2005. This year, I volunteered to be a parent guardian. This scheme aims to enable foreign students studying at Cedar to settle down in Singapore with much ease and reduce their home-sickness.

Today, I get to meet the scholar from China. Her name is Li Jing. She is 17 and an only child. Her hostel is quite near my place so I would expect frequent visits from her. During this morning's interaction, we got to know each other better.

Tomorrow, I have invited her to join my family for an outing to Changi Village. That will be the first time she gets to meet my whole family.

Well, will keep you people updated as we progress further . . .

Friday, April 06, 2007

Nurturing Kids on Literacy Appreciation

This evening, was at YMCA for the 1st Friday Writers Corner of The Society of Singapore Writers. I had been requested to talk on the above subject and below is what I shared with those present.

Literacy can be both spoken and written. Basically, we have to first look at the 4 developmental stages of children and these are:

1) Sensory Stage (from birth to age 2)

At this stage, the children learn through the 5 senses, namely, touching, tasting, seeing, hearing and smelling. It is more of physical knowledge exploration.

While children at this stage cannot write, parents can actually read to them. The more stories they are exposed to, the more they will be enticed to read once they get the thrill of what is written inside the books.

2) Pre-operational Stage (from 2 - 7 years)

At this stage, the children are more in the 'ME' world. The focus is on themselves, gathering information and the environment around them. They prefer the use of symbols to represent objects. They learn from concrete evidence, i.e. the non-abstract aspect. They are also unaware of another person's perspective.

While children at this stage may know more words, it is still too early to expect to be able to write well. It is still more of the spoken literacy that parents can inculcate. Continue to expose them to books and also let them know of the external environment affecting them.

3) Concrete Operational Stage (from 7 - 11 years)

At this stage, the children are able to think logically and there is increase awareness of external events. They are also in a better position to express literally in writing. Some may still not be comfortable with the abstract aspect though. Nonetheless, parents can still introduce abstract ideas to them and let them learn at their own pace.

For this age group, parents may want to arouse their interest in sharing their delights and woes of the day. It is a good way to interact.

4) Formal Operational Stage (from 11 and beyond)

At this stage, the children should be at secondary level. In terms of brain development, it is a 'critical mass' of experience to fully blossom before they grow into adults. They are inclined literally to more abstract associations. They are also able to plan and think ahead; reflect and evaluate; form and test hypotheses.

Until their frontal lobes of the brain are fully developed, teenagers tend to
react and interpret the external stimuli with emotional and 'gut feeling' responses. Pressing them to focus on different aspects of a problem simultaneously can produce an internal tension. This can lead to frustration or anger reaction.

To cultivate literacy appreciation for this age group, parents should feel free to discuss with them on any topic. Make it a routine or habit to set aside some time each day and talk on:
  • Happenings in schools (from child)
  • Happenings at work (from parents
  • Current affairs in Singapore
  • Current affairs around the world
  • Composition topics
  • Projects that they may be involved in
Hope parents will find the above tips useful.

Before I conclude, I read out the 'LOVE' letter that my youngest daughter wrote to me and my husband on 5 Jan 2007 (please refer to my blog dated 06/01/2007).

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Qing Ming

Yes, today is the actual Qing Ming day (the 18th day of the Lunar 3rd month). All Chinese Singaporeans, be it Buddhists, Christians, Taoists and whatever, will make it a point to pray respect to their lost beloved ones. This can be done 10 days before or 10 days after this day. It is a Chinese culture being practised all over the world too.

For my family, it is no exception. Previously, we prayed only my father-in-law and my husband's grandmother. This year, my dad has been included. As expected, be it the temples or crematoriums, they are packed by family members of parents and children, gathered together to give offerings to the dead.

As it is coming to a year, I thought I have gotten over my dad's demise. However, when I saw his photo on the tablet, tears just rolled down again. But it is a good feeling . . . it's just that I still miss him. Now I know why my mum is reluctant to visit my 'dad'. She just gets too emotional missing him.

I must say mum is coping well, of late. Hopefully, with the maid coming in, she will be her own self again. Come next month will be dad's 1st anniversary. But papa, no matter how many anniversaries, we are still going to miss you.
If you do have anything you want to tell me, do come into my dreams . . .

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Fantastic Mushrooms

Today, I would like to share with you the fantastic range of mushrooms available in Asia.

White button mushrooms

These are round, plump, creamy and mild. The fresh and canned forms are the most available. As they mature, their caps partially open and they are better known as cap or big mushrooms. Whites may be used raw in salads, stir-fried, braised, baked or sauted . They can also be cooked with other vegetables, nuts, meat, poultry, fish and shellfish, rice, pasta, noodles and breads.

Shiitake or black mushrooms
These are brown to black umbrella-shaped mushrooms with caps that are 1 inch to 3 inches in diameter. They can either be thin or thick with or without white fissures. Of all mushrooms, shiitakes are more preferred and more available in their dried form because these are more fragrant.

Soak these in boiling water for 30 minutes or warm water for a few hours or tap water overnight. Either way, your shiitakes will be tender but those soaked in tap water will be the tastiest. Reserve the soaking liquid for stock. Shiitake is used in soups, stir-fries, steaming, boiling and braising. It is also a favourite for vegetarian dishes because of their intense flavor and meaty texture. They combine well with bland ingredients.

Black mushrooms
These come mainly from
China and are known as "the plant of immortality" because of their legendary restorative properties. They have been used to treat colds, flu, poor circulation, stomach upset and exhaustion. Shiitake black mushrooms has two times more protein than button mushrooms.

Black tree ears or cloud ears
These are almost always sold dried. According to the Chinese, they "keep the blood fluid," or help improve circulation. Black tree ears are also used as medicines as they help fight atherosclerosis and improve blood clotting.

Although flavorless, these are delightfully crunchy. To use, soak tree ears in warm water for 30 minutes to an hour. When soft, trim off any gritty base then rinse thoroughly. Tree ears go well with soups, glass vermicelli, spring rolls and poultry.

Oyster mushrooms
These are cultivated or wild. They grow in clusters of fan-shaped caps that are creamy gray. They have a smooth texture and mild flavor reminiscent of the sea, hence the name. Large ones are torn and added to soupy, stir-fried and even grilled dishes during the last minutes of cooking.

Straw mushrooms
These are grayish brown mushrooms grown on beds of rice straw in
Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Java in Indonesia and the Philippines. Fresh straw mushrooms are available only in Asian markets. Canned straw mushrooms must be drained and rinsed thoroughly before use. These combine well with other ingredients in soups, saute braises and grilled fare.

Enoki mushrooms
These whitish with their tiny dot-like caps and long slender stems resemble needles. They can be bought at supermarkets in fresh clumps. Enoki is best added raw to salads or as half-cooked garnish for soups and other hot dishes.

Creminis (brown button mushrooms) or portobello mushrooms
These are the brown and stronger-flavored versions of white mushrooms available seasonally at high-end Asian supermarkets. Portobellos are full-grown creminis with thick, meaty and robustly flavored caps that can grow up to 6 inches in diameter. They are versatile mushrooms that are great for almost all types of cooking methods including grilling and broiling whole.

Singapore parents, hope you have found the tips on treatments of the various mushrooms useful.

Next week, will share with you more dishes using different mushrooms. . .

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Delights and Woes of the Week 0713

It was another busy week for me, going all over Singapore again. First, the delights:
  • Shared with my mum what I have been doing at schools. She was pleased that I am enjoying what I am doing.
  • Went to Balestier Hill and Fuchun primary schools on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. Talked to them on Public Sculptures. They sure had fun.
  • On Tuesday evening, attended Exam Strategies for Parents. Shared some of the tips I picked up during the session with my 2 younger girls. Just hope they will make use of them.
  • On Wednesday night, was glad to meet my colleague again and let her know more about the Certified Professional Trainer's programme that I had attended.
  • Thursday to Saturday, was busy trying to get another 3 enrolments to meet my target of 12 for the month. Must say my efforts paid off.
  • Today is relaxation day. Had slight flu this morning so I rested myself lazing on the bed and did some light reading. It has been a long long time since I last did this.

Now for the woe. My mother-in-law is still having her leg pains. My sister-in-law is arranging for a Chinese physician to see her tomorrow. I wish her speedy recovery.