Saturday, 30 March 2013

A morning with 'Little' Stars


Very rare, this day is. It's 7.45pm,  I look in the mirror and see myself smiling. Usually at this hour I would be frantically setting the table and getting my kids ready for dinner but not today, 28th March 2013.

Despite having 5 children in the house, a 14 months old baby, 4 years old toddler, 6, 8 and 12 years old girls. I am still smiling.


The night before

Making sure I have the right outfit and make-up. Called my fashion consultant, Fiona Biggs, to be certain and rummaged through my sister's cupboards too!
For a SAHM (stay-at-home mother), dressing up is something I do once in a blue moon. I ain't a Hollywood mama and no paparazzi wants to take my shot.
Made sure my diaper bag had all the essentials needed for my baby's needs.


All Systems Go

Got up early, you cannot trust KL traffic, got my baby showered while she was still asleep, which was a fuss-free experience since she loves her baths. Made it very early so had a cup of Joe while waiting for the rest.

This would be my first time officially demonstrating and sharing the benefits of baby wearing to the media along side Lina Teoh and Harith Iskandar.
Baby wearing Awareness Campaign by Bloom & Grow

Lights! Camera! Actions!

It was rather fun presenting along these two. When you share a common interest it's easy to jive and work together. Having so much time allocated to speak, I didn't feel nervous at all. Guess having baby S with me helped me stay calm and focused.

My little star wooed the crowd with her smiles and adorable demeanor. She didn't throw any fuss and was brilliant to work it. She allowed Jonathan (whom she met once 12 months ago) to carry her during our demonstration session.

Zander in Ergo Sports, Hip Carry

The other little star was Harith & Jezamine's son, Zander. 
A cheeky little fella who was chasing after the apple of my eye with 
his sloppy kisses.
This little boy has been well trained.
He is all smiles each time a camera approaches to capture him.

Sharing Session

I am a baby wearing enthusiast but little did I know I was able to confidently assist Lina Teoh trouble-shoot with her BabaSling.

BabaSling is a cross between a Soft Structured Carrier-SSC (example; Ergo) and a Ring Sling. With the BabaSling once you find the perfect fit for you, no need for readjustments at each wear.

BabaSling's shoulder pad is generously padded and comes with a safety strap in case the main buckle gives way. 

The cloth used is very light and has a nice feel to it. It's made of 100% cotton with a high thread count. Sounds like you are buying a bed sheet right?

I must add, of all the baby wearing gears I have tried (wraps, ring slings and soft structured carriers; which will be discussed in detail soon, stay tuned), sling has the longest learning curve. It's the trickiest to master and if you are in possession of a poorly made sling i.e. one with a slippery materials, weak rings and unsafe buckles, you will hate baby wearing. 

So take your time, read reviews and if possible borrow one from a friend. It's always good to know what you are getting into. 
TheBabaSling Lite (Fuschia Pink); Little Joey
I was very lucky to have found the right sling to start off with. I had the older version TheBabaSling. Apart from the cloth used for this sling everything else is the same. Still, I prefer the newer and improved version, TheBabaSling Lite and have fallen in love with the fuschia pink which was lent to me by my sis-in-law. 

Carry Position : Side Saddle
For more colours and carrying positions 
(I personally recommend the upright carrying positions, from birth)

Harith Attack

I did not harm Harith in any way, I just like the way 'Harith Attack' rhymed.

He hasn't carried his son on his back before (not sure if it was dislike for the apparatus...). So I assisted him, getting a snug as a bug fit and showing him how safe the Ergo really is. Thanks to the safety elastic loop attached to each strap.  Having said that, please take your time and read through the manual that comes with your Ergo. Please be very curious and find out why does the carrier come with features like the Safety elastic loops and Elastic holder.

Zander seemed quite comfortable in the back carry but Harith misses not being able to see his son.
That's the beauty of this carrier. It allows you to carry your baby the way it's most comfortable and feels right for baby and you.

I too love to front carry my baby because I love to kiss her head all the time. Also, it's easier for me to breastfeed her anytime and anywhere.

There are 3 main carrying position with the Ergo, Front Carry, Back Carry and Side Carry. With the right techniques shown, you would be able to master wearing this in no time.
Front Carry in Classic Ergo
Ergo would be the quickest and most convenient baby carrier. If you are able to fold it neatly, it may fit into your diaper bag too and 'come in handy at any moment in time'.

Back Carry
It's definitely worth having this carrier. It's good, sturdy and can last you a long time.
As mentioned by Doctor Moira Robertson of Scoliosis Bracing at the event, find a carrier which takes the weight away from your shoulders and upper back and is distributed evenly. Just like your backpack, Ergo works in the same manner. Most of the weight will be borne by the padded waist belt. Having said that, I honestly really discourage going for hiking and riding using this method.
Lets make baby wearing a safe and enjoyable experience.
Side Carry in my Dragon Ergo while showing the safety features on TheBabaSling with Jonathan Horsley
SSCs are generally more costly than a sling but start with the Classic Ergo, that wouldn't burn a big hole in your wallet.

Hippychick Hipseat

It is like a waist belt but with padded foam shelf developed to allow adults to carry their children naturally on their hip without the usual strains on the back.
When I first saw this hipseat, I thought how genius someone has turned their loaded and heavy waist pouch into a carrier. It's fairly easy to wear and is good for toddlers who constantly keep changing their minds from wanting to be carried and independently walk. It's also a good weight bearing exercise (with all the ups and downs movements) without hurting your back. After trying this out, thanks to Ashley and little Keylene who lent it to me, I think I need to get me one too.
Hippychick Hipseat
Hip Diagram

Back to warm cosy life

It was an eye-opener for me, but it was also such a rewarding experience to being part of such an event. I don't despise my life as a SAHM but getting out and rubbing shoulders with enthusiastic parents (being famous artistes adds the glamour, for sure), sharing with them my experience was precisely what I had needed to get out and see the world every once in a while.

For more pictures on this event check out Media Page & Babywearing Awareness Campaign


Now, where's my coffee this morning...? 

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Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Lets talk about baby & food

I prolonged as much as possible the day she should start eating solids. Two simple reasons. The first, its better for her because at 6 months old she is too young to fight any allergic reactions that might happen if a certain type of food doesn't jive with her system. Secondly, I get more time to rely solely on my breast milk; it's good, it's full of antibodies and it's the best for baby. There is a third too, I am just too lazy to cook for her. All the experimenting and cooking in small quantities only to have it spat out. Ouch!!!
B for Baby, Breast & Best

Finally at about 7 months, the inevitable had to take place.
I put on my chef hat and armed myself with Anabel Karmel's New Complete Baby and Toddler Meal Planner and began on a new culinary journey.

Sad to say, she disliked most of what the book had to offer. To name a few, Cauliflower Cheese, Baked Sweet Potato with Orange, Fillet of Fish in Cheese Sauce or Orange Sauce, and Baked Apples with raisins. There were a few hits too like the French Toast Cut outs, Popeye Pasta, Napolitana Pasta Sauce and Chicken Stock. Not wanting to give up, I turned to soups. This time with The Soup Bible by Debra Mayhew. That turned out to be a Mayhem. So much work and ingredients down the drain. Well, not entirely true. Luckily for me, my second daughter loved my experiments with the soup.

Still insistent. I called my mother. She said keep it S-I-M-P-L-E.
So that's what I did. Made chicken soup with vegetable like carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, celery, potato, water chestnut, turnip, watercress and baby spinach. Of course I didn't put all these vegetable at one serving. It would be a mix of two vegetables with the chicken bones.
This worked! I was elated and very happy.
The good thing about this was that, I could cook for all my kids and it required only a pot. My One-Pot Meal.


To date I have managed to make and feed her successfully with these few recipes:


1. Chicken porridge:

1/2 cup rice
1 stalk celery + some leaves
150 gm cauliflower.
150 gm chicken carcass
2 cups water
(don't let the water dry out, add more if needed)
Method :
Rinse chicken in hot boiling water. Chop up all vegetables.
Put chicken and water in a pot and bring it to boil. Remove any fat formed. Add vegetable and let it simmer on low heat for 20 minutes or till the vegetables are soft. I don't use any seasoning for the baby but if you want to then just add salt & grounded white pepper.


 2. Chicken soup:

Same as Chicken Porridge but omit the rice and add:
1 stick carrot diced
1 small potato skinned & diced

Once soup is ready remove chicken & blend for younger babies. For older babies (9 months ) I just mash it with a fork to give them some texture.


3. Vegetable Minestrone:

1 tomato skinned & diced
75 gm cauliflower
1 stick carrot diced

1/2 celery stalk, diced
1 small potato boiled (optional)
1 small onion chopped 

2 garlic clove chopped
1 tsp Dried Italian herbs

1 tsp fresh parsley
1 tbs tomato paste/puree
1 tsp sugar ( to cover the sourness taste of this soup)
50 gm baby pasta or any suitable pasta
2 cups water
(Chicken stock adds more flavour and body to this dish)
Use heavy sauce pan. Fry onion & garlic in some butter/oil till fragrant. Add tomatoes, carrot & cauliflower and fry further 5 minutes. Add paste, herbs & potatoes. Add water and pasta, and let it simmer for 20 minutes or until all ingredients are tender.
Serve with grated cheddar cheese & garlic toast.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Creative ways for my kids to learn

Sitting down and reading a book, sounds so blissful, right? Nah! Ask a child to do that and you'll see her running away.

Thanks to technology, books have become a thing of the past, being fully utilised mostly in schools and libraries. Call me old-fashioned but I still enjoy the sound of flipping pages and sometimes getting a paper cut. So, I devised a learning package for my kids. I realised they love acting so on some nights instead of watching television, the kids put on a little play for us.

Books come in handy at this point especially when they run out of play ideas. From here they also know the meaning of writing a script, directing and acting and are very familiar with the usage of words like scene, cut, it's a wrap, and other jargon.

Just because the world has gone digital doesn't mean it's doomsday for learning. In fact, it has become a little more interesting and interactive. So, to balance it all, my kids also get a huge amount of electronic time. I just have to be smart in selecting the right ones.

Some examples of fun stuff you can easily download for free are:
(You can find more at

Maily: This website claims to be the option for children's first email. This is a way for them to create digital drawings and messages, then send them to the inboxes of parents, and other family and friends. Good parental tools ensure it's a safe introduction to messaging.

Pixel'd by Disney: It involves taking some of Disney's most famous characters and creating your own pixel-art drawings and animations, which can then be shared online.

These are worth a read, spend some time checking them out. I was amazed at how much is available out there for our children.
Would you believe it, there are many kids radio channels too.
Google it (or Yahoo it as my brother would insist) you'd be surprised.

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The Switcheroo

 Time to swap my Coach to a diaper bag.

Time for the switcheroo because carrying two bags and a baby isn't possible, no matter how much I want to cling onto my Coach. I wouldn't pay an arm and a leg for a handbag but this Coach was a pleasant surprise from my husband. Little did he and I know that carrying a Coach for almost a year would have changed the way I felt about bags.

This would be the second time I am doing the switchover. It was not a big deal the first time in 2005, in fact I didn't mind lugging the trusted diaper bag every where I went. Then, I was using a very sporty, rocky Mothercare diaper bag. 
My trusted diaper bag holidaying with us, Singapore Hyatt 2008
 I felt very me using it. It was everything I was, boyish, sturdy, compact and functional. It was the perfect overnight bag too. I could fit enough clothes plus baby essentials.
The large openings available in this bag made reaching in for things easy and fuss free. Everything would remain as neat as the way I started off when packing this bag. Black, was another plus point. I didn't have to wash it that often!

When my two girls weaned off  baby milk and diapers, I packed away this trusted bag into my store, forgetting it ever existed.


Time for another switcheroo but this time it was very hard for me. I had  fallen deeply in love with my Coach.
When put next to each other, these bags resembled the Disney cartoon Beauty and the Beast. I just couldn't bring myself lugging my bulky and big diaper bag anymore.

New Love.

Luckily for me, I found  a pink Tote diaper bag, this too is from Mothercare. Pink isn't really my colour but I needed some colour. Although, this bag is not as good as the big, bulky rucksack but for time being it will do.I call it my little Bermuda Triangle because items goes missing in this bag. It is generous in size but its poorly design pockets swallows up everything that I put in-keys, wallet, hand phone and much more.
Short getaway; Renaissance KL 2013

I was asked, if I were to choose only three items from my diaper bag which would it be?
At first I thought, that's a silly request. When you have a baby sky is the limit. If possible I would like to take my whole house with me when I am travelling, even if it is to a store close by!
After long pondering about it these are my;
THREE (!) items from my pregnant diaper:
- Baby wipes to keep germs at bay.
- A change or two of diapers because babies are unpredictable.
- A big bottle of water to keep baby and mummy cool.

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Friday, 22 March 2013

Dinner time with guests

Ever since I have been on my own (ie without the wonderful luxury of a maid) inviting guests over for dinner has taken a plunge. Yes! I am not ashamed to say that I shy away from house work, especially washing up after a big get-to-gether. It's seriously no fun; staying up late, washing, wiping, sweeping and arranging my Chinawear.
However the dreaded day did creep up. My husband wanted to host dinner for a very close colleague. Going out for dinner was not a right option because we would have to rush back home by 9pm-kids bedtime. Why not send to a babysitter? You may wonder. My youngest, 14 months, is still being breastfed and she goes where I go.
Ok, back to dinner. I made sure I had well equipped myself and prepared everything in advance (like you would see in those Dinner Wars on TLC).
To cut to the chase, it turned out to be a very pleasant and wonderful dinner experience. The menu was gastronomical for me because I had never made any of these dishes before. Thank god for my friends Kavita and Rajinder, who assisted and guided me via the phone. Real-time cooking was fun!

'Real' Butter Chicken

I was most proud of my Butter Chicken, it was everything and more you would expect when you dine in Bombay Palace.
This is how my guest described it.

The recipe: 

Butter chicken marinate :

500gm boneless chicken
1 lemon juice
1 cup yogurt
1 1/2 tbs tandori masala
2 tsp ginger & garlic
Salt & chili powder to taste.
1 1/2 tbs tandoori masala
Vegetarian (mock meat) Butter Chicken

Butter chicken gravy:

3 tbs butter
2 cardamoms
1 cinnamon stick
1 can diced tomatoes (which you need to chop/blend)
1 tbs tomato paste
1 tsp garam masala
250 ml thick cream
extra butter or coriander or raw onions to garnish
Marinate the chicken cubes in lemon juice, salt, chili powder, yogurt, ginger, garlic and tandoori powder for at least half an hour. Overnight is best. Preheat the oven to the highest grill setting. Place the chicken on a baking tray closest to the grill and grill for at least 10 minutes on each side or until cooked. Allow the chicken to cook until it JUST starts to char.
To prepare the gravy, heat and melt the butter. Add to it the the cardamoms, cinnamon sticks. Stir fry for a minute before adding the tomatoes and tomato paste, Let this simmer on low to medium heat, half covered, for about 15-20 minutes. You will notice the gravy thicken and the oil will form a film on top. If the gravy is too thick, you can add a small amount of water. Add the rest of the ingredients as well as the grilled chicken and simmer for another 15 minutes. Garnish.
Serve with Jeera rice.

This recipe has been changed. Original recipe is from

Friday, 15 March 2013

Recipe: Inspiration

A big word but can come from little people. My 5 year old neighbour asked if he could come over and I cook him Tomyam Bihun. I have never made it before and since I was out of idea on what to make for dinner, why not give this a try. To my surprise I found a jar of Tomyam paste (hiding in my pantry-thank god the expiration date was still far). So without a recipe in hand I ventured into new culinary journey. Used whatever I could find my fridge box and made what seemed right.
The verdict; a delicious, simple and easy to prepare noodles.

The recipe in case it has tickled your fancy.
Do share your verdict.
Tomyam bihun:
1 onion diced
3garlic cloves diced
1/2 flower cauliflower (steamed)
1 carrot stick (steamed)
2 tbs Tomyam paste
Salt & pepper to taste
Bihun-enough for 2 (soak in water till soft) i used garlic flavoured bihun from Tesco-their in house products.
Method :
In wok fry onion & garlic till fragrant. Add cauliflower & carrot.
Add salt & pepper to taste.
Finally throw in the bihun and mix well.
Garnish with some fried onions

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Thursday, 7 March 2013

My lessons on baby motor skills

From the moment I had my children I jumped right into developing their motor skills. 

Individual activity:

I started off by getting my precious little one to follow an object with her eyes. I would use a big bright red soft ball and slowly move it to the left and right. Apart from teaching her to follow an object with her eyes, this activity assured me that she had good eyesight and was able to focus on the object. It is a good eye-tracking exercise which is vital for reading skills.

Another activity is getting your child to catch her toys during bath time. You could make it challenging by splashing water on her while she tries to retrieve her toy.

You can also try asking your child to weave a string through some holes in a piece of cardboard. Use yarn and make the holes big so it's easy for your child to do this task.

Group activity:

Sit in a circle (or opposite each other, if there are only two players) and roll the ball to each other. The aim is to keep the ball rolling straight to the intended person.

Once your child has mastered this, move on to an object relay. This is where I get my girls to stand in a line and pass the ball to the person behind them. You could pass it overhead, in between the legs or by twisting your upper body.

You could also turn this into a guessing game by blindfolding the last person and getting them to guess what is the object they are receiving.

A game of throwing and catching is a little tricky for beginners and mummy can get very tired picking up the ball. What I would do is tie the ball (or any other object) with a string and tie the string to a low beam or pole. This way, if the toddler misses the catch, the object won't fall down and roll away. The toddler can also play on her own.

This article is featured in Parenthots, click here for more information.

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