Monday, July 30, 2007

A Family That Plays Together Have Fun Together

Lately, I got hooked with playing puzzle games such as Travelogue 360 Rome and Death on the Nile. The objective of these games is to look for and click the objects in the given list. It could be fun and a good exercise for visual acuity. But it could also get boring and frustrating, especially if you have a hard time looking for the objects. Good thing there are hints to help you out.

I enjoy doing the puzzles by myself, but I derive more pleasure when the whole family is playing together. Everybody helps out in looking for the missing objects and even my toddler does her share. It's quite humbling to know that my kids can see some of the objects easily and if they can't find anything anymore they usually cheer me on. My 6 year old usually says, "Good job Mommy. You found it." When I place the cursor on the object to be found, my kids will both say, "There it is," as if they also helped in finding it.

Playing is fun and more so when there are others having fun with you. As a family we are a team and anything that we do together, whether work or play, is an opportunity for us to bond and appreciate one another.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

What's My Worth as a Mom?

According to, I should earn around $134,121 for being a stay at home mom. That's fantastic but not really accurate. After all, how do you put monetary value to genuine love and concern?

It's gratifying to know that my "job" as a homemaker can fetch more than $100,000. Of course, nobody's going to pay me that much as a homemaker. Truth is, I still need to do work outside of homemaking in order for me to earn a few bucks which will be used to keep our home in good shape.

Still, the fact remains that no one can really put monetary value to what a Mom does at home for her family. It's true that a professional housekeeper can do the cleaning, washing-up and everything, but can she lovingly kiss the hurt away from a bruised knee? Can she offer a prayer of protection to the owner of a shirt as she tries to remove the stains from it? Can she offer warmth from her loving arms as she comforts a child from troubled sleep?

To a professional housekeeper, housekeeping is just plain work. To a mom, it is a loving commitment for the holistic growth of her family and continued joy of living in their home.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

How's School?

During my daughter's first few days in school, I constantly inquire about her school activities. Once she gets home from school I usually ask, "So, what did you do in school?" Her usual response was, "Oh, nothing." It was so hard to get any details from her. I was actually getting frustrated.

One time, instead of asking about what she did in school, I asked, "How was school?" With a pleasant smile she replied, "I had fun." I was pleased and excited, I was finally getting something from her. I then asked, "What fun things did you do in school?" Without any hesitation, she answered, "Nothing."

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Confessions Of An ExtraSuper Mom

Out of the blue my husband asked what my dreams in life were when I was younger. He asked whether I dreamt about being a successful executive dressed in business suits and working in plush business offices. I gave this one a thought and I realized I am where I dreamt to be.

As far as I can recall, I never wished to be rich, powerful or even famous. When I was younger, I imagined myself as a wife and a mother and I really thought I would find fulfillment in being a homemaker. I do. I love being a wife and a mom to my 2 kids.

Although I have a college degree and I passed the board exam, having a successful career was never my top priority. Not that I'm no good as a career woman. I was considered an asset by one of our clients in my previous workplace. Even now that I'm a stay at home mom, I still try to give my best in everything that I do, whether in my online work or in taking care of my family.

Being a homemaker is never easy. I tend to become a catchall for everybody and everything around me. Others think that because I am always at home I have all the time in the world, but this is not true. Often, I don't have the time to do the things I need to do. There are times when I feel like I'm too busy doing things for others that I have no time for myself anymore.

But I am happy where I am now. Being who I am today gives my life a purpose and defines my reason for living. God is good! Life is good!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Big Things Come From Small Things

My daughter has been complaining about the bird's poop on our car's windshield for 2 days now. So, I made up my mind to get rid of it. My initial plan was to simply remove the bird's poop.

I told my husband about my intention and he directed my attention to another poop on top of the car. Fine. I can do both. It's no big deal.

I got a bucket of water and a squeegee and started cleaning up. As expected, the poop made a mess so I decided to clean the whole windshield and also included the car windows. The water dribbled and caused some marks on the car's body so I got more water and with a sponge, resolved to give our car a good wash.

It was in fact my first time to wash our car. It is usually my husband's responsibility since our car is his baby. Still, I was able to do it. Maybe not expertly but an accomplishment just the same.

Now I'm tired but mighty proud of myself. I just hope I still have the energy to do the laundry, not to mention the floor and the cooking. Who knows what big things you can do coming from little things out of small intentions. Oh well, that's what an Extra Super Mom is all about.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

You Don't Save By Being Cheap

My 6 year old hates to write. This week she has been taking home writing assignments almost everyday and she did not enjoy doing them at all. It took her 2 hours just to finish one page of her writing assignment.

Seeing the need to improve on her fine motor skills, I bought a pack of 2 dozen clothespins. Making it like a game, I let her clip the same color of clothespin on a piece of cardboard. She was eager to do it but complained after a while.

"I'm hurt," she sadly said. I thought she had difficulty handling the clothespins. It turned out she broke some. It's either she's super strong or simply uncoordinated. My husband had this to say, "You have been too much of a penny pincher. You bought the cheap kind."

So much for being practical. Now I have to buy another pack of clothespins. This time I will not look at the price but give more value on the quality.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Sleep Talking

My husband sometimes talks in his sleep, so does my 6 year old daughter. Between the two of them, my daughter talks more clearly. My husband usually mumbles.

I have read that sleep talking or somniloquy is pretty common, occurs more often in children than in adults and runs in the family. It is really not something to be worried about but could be irritating if it disrupts somebody else's sleep, especially mine. According to my husband, he seldom talks in his sleep and I should be thankful he is not snoring as that could be more irritating. I have to agree with him on this but it's still no fun to wake up from a deep sleep because somebody is sleep talking. I have to admit I got used to it and I no longer feel frightened when somebody starts talking loudly, it seems loud because everything is quiet, in the middle of the night. Sometimes it could be fun too.

One time, I woke up when I heard my husband talking. I immediately realized he was sleep talking. Out of curiosity, I asked him to repeat what he said and he did. He repeated the same unintelligible talk while still sleeping. I should have asked him some of his secrets but then again I still wouldn't understand because he was mumbling.

As for my daughter, I woke up hearing her call my name one night. I thought she wanted me to go with her to the toilet but was puzzled why she did not get up at all and instead said something else (I already forgot what she was talking about). It turned out she was just sleep talking.

I don't know if laughing is also considered sleep talking but I have witnessed my daughters and their dad, on separate occasions, laughing while sleeping. It's not the kind where you wake up in the midst of your laughter because they still continued sleeping. Now, I don't know if I'm also guilty of sleep talking because everybody in my family is a sound sleeper except me.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Colds And Vitamin C

It seems I've been wasting good money in buying Vitamin C supplements for my family. I've always thought it helps in warding off colds but the latest result of Australian and Finnish scientists proved otherwise. The Vitamin C we get from our meals is enough. Since I make sure I serve fruits and vegetables, I don't need to buy supplements at all. My kids enjoy drinking orange juice too so I'm assured they get an ample supply of Vitamin C.

Read more about this here.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Hawaiian Pizza

My two kids complement each other when we eat Hawaiian pizza. My older child loves the ham while her younger sister loves to eat the pineapple. They both love to eat the cheese. They seldom fight over cheese and they certainly don't fight over ham and pineapple. Now what about the crust? Well, that's all we, my husband and I, ever get to eat.

So how does the pizza taste? If you ask my older child she'll say, "It tastes good." My younger child will say, "Mmm... delicious." If you ask me, I'll say, "It's boring." My husband will say, "It tastes like bread with tomato sauce."

Are we full after eating pizza? I'm full. My husband is also full. My two daughters are complaining. They are still hungry.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Separation Anxiety

Lately my toddler has been very clingy to me. She doesn't want me out of her sight and she prefers to hold my hand when we're walking rather than her daddy. She has this irritating cry, more like a whimper actually, whenever she's calling for my attention. In some ways, it feels good to be wanted but on the other hand it's annoying especially when it hinders me from doing my other responsibilities.

I was buying medicine for my Aunt while my kids and their daddy were left in the car. There were lots of people buying at the pharmacy so I had to wait for my turn. More than 10 minutes passed and I felt somebody touching my shoulder. It was my husband carrying my toddler who was whimpering. She was a sorry sight with tears streaming down her face. She only stopped crying when she saw me. I learned from my husband that she was crying the whole time they were waiting in the car.

Another time, my two year old stirred in her sleep and I saw her edging to one side with her hand patting the bed. I guess she was still looking for me even in her sleep. After some time she woke up whimpering when her searching hand did not find me.

Whenever we go out somewhere, my daughter won't step out the door until she's sure I'm going with her. Sometimes she wants to be with me even in the toilet. I can no longer respond to Mother Nature's call privately.

It seems like my daughter has an on and off switch in her. When she's crying for me, she instantly stops as soon as she sees my face and magically turns back into a fun kid to be with.

I know this is just a phase and she will grow out of it. It's nice to be needed and wanted but it has its down side when I can't do what I need to. I'm not complaining. It's better this way rather than not being needed nor wanted.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Patience Is A Virtue

WordWeb defined patience as the "good-natured tolerance of delay or incompetence." Yesterday, my whole family's patience was put to the test. Surprisingly, our kids were more patient compared to me and my husband.

Here's what happened. We decided to buy food from a drive-thru restaurant. We could not get in immediately because of a slow walking pedestrian and a van hurriedly got in front of us. Ok, so he got to order first. That's fine with us. What we noticed was, even though we could not hear what was being said, he was either ordering a lot of food or making complicated instructions about his order. It was taking him forever to finish and pay up.

We were still pretty patient up to this point. Things like this happen and the restaurant crew was cheerful when it was our turn. Our kids were very patient too. They did not make any complaints or whine about the delay and my 6 year old even said hello and thank you to the crew. It took us less than 2 minutes to order and pay up.

My husband drove the car to the next window to pick up our food and the van was waiting there as expected. We saw the restaurant crew motion the driver to move forward to a waiting slot so others can move on. I guess their order was not yet complete. We got our food shortly but could not get out. The van was parked in front of us in such a way that its rear was at an angle, it would seem impossible to pass.

There we were ready to leave but we couldn't. My husband honked at the van to let it know we can't pass and patiently waited for the driver to move even just a little. The van did not budge at all. We assessed our situation. There was about 4 inches of clearance for either side of our car if we decide to go ahead and pass. If my husband makes a mistake, we either scrape the van or a concrete wall.

As much as possible, we don't want to take the risk because we have 2 small kids in the car. We were forced to sit there, waiting again. This time, we don't know for how long. The car behind us got their food and was ready to leave too. My husband was getting impatient. I have to admit, I was also getting restless. So my husband asked me to check once more how much space there was on the right side of the car, while he checked on the left side. There was about 4 inches. It was very tight.

We moved very, very slowly, watching the wall and the van close in on us. It was a bit scary but the kids were cheering their daddy on. Finally we were free. It was a relief.

What happened to us is a plain example of discourtesy and selfishness. The van driver could have moved just a couple of feet and it would have made a big difference. But he was protecting his space without thought for others behind him. Maybe he was thinking we can pass without problem if we wanted to. Well, we did, but it was an unnecessary risk that was forced on us. We felt he was very selfish and unreasonable.

My husband and I did not lose our tempers but impatience got the better of us. Although they were eager to get home and eat their food, I'm thankful our kids remained patient throughout the whole thing.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Hainan Chicken Rice

I got this recipe from another blogger. I haven't tried this yet but I hope I will soon. I forgot to ask her, but I think it's also called Hainanese Chicken. Maybe this one is simply Malaysian style.


1.5 kg whole chicken
2 cups long grain rice
14 shallots
12 pips garlic
half inch long ginger
1 tsp salt
half tsp pepper
4 tbsp cooking oil

Ingredients for Chicken stock: I'll probably use a store bought one to save time
quarter kilo of chicken bones
750 ml water
salt to taste

Ingredients for Chilli Sauce:

5 red chillies
4 pips garlic
1 lime
1 Tbsp sugar
half inch long ginger
one-fourth tsp salt

Garnishing Ingredients:
1 cucumber
1 tomato
1 sprig spring onion
2 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp light soya sauce


Boil chicken bones with water to obtain chicken stock. Add salt to taste.
Smash 8 shallots, 6 pips garlic and ginger.
Clean the chicken and stuff it with the smashed ingredients. Rub the skin with salt and pepper.
Finely slice the remaining shallots and chop the remaining garlic.
Pound red chillies, ginger and garlic together. Extract lime juice. Add lime juice, sugar and salt to the pounded ingredients. Set aside mixture.
Finely slice the cucumber and tomato.
Cut the spring onions into 2 cm lengths.
Mix the sesame oil and light soya sauce together.
Wash the rice grains.


Heat oil in wok. Fry the chopped garlic and sliced shallots until golden brown. Then add in the washed rice grains and continue to fry until fragrant.
Transfer the fried rice grains into a rice cooker. Add in the chicken stock and continue to cook until rice is done.

Steam the chicken in a wok or steamer for about 20 minutes or until the chicken is tender.
Once the chicken is cooked, remove from heat and cut into bite-size pieces.


Arrange the cucumber and tomato slices around the edge of a serving platter. Then place the chicken pieces in the centre of the same platter. Sprinkle the spring onions over the chicken and pour the mixed sesame oil and light soya sauce over it.
Serve chicken with the steamed rice and chilli sauce.

I'm thinking about just having plain rice so my kids can eat this dish too.

There are more recipes on WanNo's site. Do check it out.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Terrible Two

My toddler has been terrible this week. She is not agreeable to seeing empty spaces. So all her toys are on the floor. There's a thick carpet of books and toys. Arrrggg... you can't move without stepping on something. Her older sister gets irritated too as I usually ask her help in putting back the toys in place. And what's more, after cleaning-up the place, sorting the books and the sets of toys, my 2 year old will spend all of one minute to restore her mess.

Last month, my daughter was not this mess lover monster. Well, not that much anyway, and she doesn't really look like a monster. She still looks deceptively sweet and she still has lots of "I love yous" for us. She was also scattering her toys then, but not to this extent. There are times when I don't want to look at her mess anymore and just pretend it's non-existent. But then again, if I don't clean up she or somebody in our family could get hurt.

We're in a dilemma here. My husband suggests we bury all her toys underground until she is old enough to clean up after herself. Of course, he was just joking. But I don't agree with the idea of keeping the toys away. She is a child, a toddler in this case, and this is her time to enjoy her toys. But at the same time I don't want to spend too much time cleaning up. Just seeing the mess makes me feel tired already. So, what to do?

As I was gazing at my charming little girl gleefully pouring the toys out of a box and pondering on my next move, I realized that she was really enjoying what she was doing. This was a game for her. She was not scattering her toys because she wanted to mess up things. She was simply playing and having fun.

I got up from my chair and started putting back the toys inside the box while singing Barney's clean-up song. My daughter sang along with me and picked up a toy from the floor and placed it in the box. After a while we finished our cleaning-up game and I happily moved on to my other tasks. CRASH!!! Hmmm... burying the toys underground doesn't sound like a bad idea after all.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Money Matters

Although my kids sometimes get money for presents, they are still very innocent with what it is really about. My 6 year old knows it's for spending but she's ignorant in terms of its value. She actually gives more value to coins than bills. If you let her choose between a coin and a bill, she'll eagerly have the coin and consider herself rich.

My children don't usually whine or have temper tantrums whenever we don't buy them the stuff they fancy. Often, there are toys they'd like to have and we merely let them play with the toys inside the shop. They don't really feel bad if we leave the shop without buying anything. My kids, especially the older one, know why we are not buying the toys. During her Blue's Clues days, she would say, "We need Blue dollars." Nowadays she would say, "We need to buy money." Sigh!

One time, I was telling my first child of our plans to go visit her cousins. Being very attached to my sister's family, she was excited about it. I told her we don't have our plane tickets yet and asked her to pray to God to provide us with the means to purchase them. She readily complied and prayed about it. Later when we were in the supermarket, she found a small coin on the floor. She was very happy about her find and excitedly said, "Mommy, I found a coin. Now we can buy our tickets." I simply hugged her and said, "One coin is not enough. We need lots of coins in order to buy our plane tickets." Without any trace of disappointment she smilingly replied, "Yes! I'll go find some more." How I wish we all could view life through the eyes of a child.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Bond of Sisters 2

My older child has a penchant for eating and she's a fast eater too. After she is done eating her food, she usually stations herself beside her younger sister. Why? So that she can eat my toddler's leftovers. When my 2 year old is already full, she enjoys giving her food to her older sister. She carefully spoons out whatever food is left and lovingly feeds it to my 6 year old who gleefully opens up her mouth.

It's somewhat hilarious and at the same time heartwarming watching them together. God bless my children!

A Touching Moment

My 6 year old daughter was given a time out and she was made to face the wall for doing something she was not supposed to do. She was crying and her little sister was observing everything. While she was facing the wall, my 2 year old daughter approached her. She was very concerned and asked, "What's the matter?" She kept on saying, "Don't cry."

Her concern for her older sister was so real and touching that a parent just can't help but smile at that tender moment. The smile was covertly done however, lest my older child think she was already off the hook.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Baby's Breath

Have you ever smelled a baby's breath? I'm not talking about the flower but a little baby's breath. Did you ever wonder why it smells good (my husband says it smells sweet) even though a baby doesn't wash his or her mouth or even brush teeth (if they have the teeth to brush)?

I have always loved the smell of babies. They smell good all the time. My husband doesn't agree with me on this one, he says babies don't smell good when they have poo-poo but exclusive breastfed babies don't have foul smelling excrement. I should know, I'm the one changing nappies most of the time.

My two year old daughter is not exactly a baby anymore but she still has that sweet baby smell. It's just lately that I really took notice of her breath. It does not stink in the morning upon waking up even if she goes to sleep in the evening without brushing her teeth. Come to think of it, my 6 year old does not have stinky breath too. It makes me wish they will always have sweet smelling breath, but such is not the case. When they grow up, they'll have stinky breath too.

Remember the movie America's Sweethearts? Julia Roberts and John Cusack woke up with bad breath, prompting them to talk with their mouths covered by the blanket. I think that was the only real thing in that movie, the rest was well... too Hollywood.

Knowing that my baby's sweet breath will not last forever, I have been taking every opportunity to enjoy it. My kids will grow up someday but I have this moment now to enjoy them in their youth. I will therefore embrace this moment and savor it.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Learning From TV

There are times when I don't really pay much attention to my kids, especially when they are watching good TV shows. So it's really a delight for me when they learn something new.

It caught me by surprise when my 2 year old showed me a yellow toy and she said, "Amarillo." Another time, she was trying to reach something and she called for my help saying, "Mommy, help. Ayudame." All these she learned from watching "Dora the Explorer." As we are not Spanish speaking people, it's good to know that my kids can learn a new language just by watching TV.

My older daughter learned about fortissimo, adagio, crescendo and other musical terms. She also became aware of different classical compositions from watching "Little Einsteins." I sometimes catch her humming classical tunes while playing with her toys.

Because of "Elmo's World," going to the dentist was a breeze for my 6 year old and she actually had fun while having a prophylaxis. Watching an episode about babies also helped prepare her for the birth of her younger sister when she was just 3 years old.

There are so many things a child could learn just by watching television. I just hope more child-friendly and educational shows will proliferate on TV. Truth is, even I, do learn something new from watching these shows.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Armpits and Breastfeeding (Part 2)

I have talked about my kids having a penchant of placing their hands in my armpit while breastfeeding, but it's actually more than that. They also liked smelling it as well as rubbing their faces on it. Even though they only did this at home, I still feel embarrassed by their actions.

My 6 year old still likes to do things with my armpit. One time, she smelled it so I laughingly asked her, "How does it smell?" She cheerfully answered, "It smells good." She's like an armpit inspector who tells me "very good" whenever my armpits are newly shaved.

The sense of adoration they sometimes shower on my armpits is really laughable, not to mention embarrassing. But children are driven by their active senses after all. It is important for them to see, hear, touch, smell and even taste special persons in their lives.

Thinking about all these things brought back to mind what I had experienced when I was about 7 years old. I remembered taking my mother's used nightgown and smelling it. The smell was very comforting to me and I can honestly say it smelled really good then. She was breastfeeding my younger brother at that time, so maybe the smell of breastmilk has something to do with it also.

I am curious to know if bottle-fed kids do these things too. Feel free to post your comments.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Armpits and Breastfeeding

One thing I have to cope with while breastfeeding my daughter, is having her hand in my armpit. She likes to roll the back of her hand or sort of scratch my armpit which is not really painful but uncomfortable. Sometimes I feel like my skin will peel off because of her constant rubbing. Most often it's just one hand but there are times when both hands are busy in my armpits.

Both my kids tried nipple twiddling but I did not allow them to continue, so having a hand in the armpit is actually more of a compromise. Sometimes an errant hand gets lodged in my mouth but more often its the armpit that gets the honor of being given the loving attention.

I have read of this action being referred to as the free-hand habit. With no bottle to hold on to, the hands are free to explore and do things that could be soothing for a child. I can still remember clearly when I was about 3 years old and I love to twiddle my mother's nipple. She used to slap my hand so I will stop doing it.

I discourage my child from touching my armpit whenever I'm breastfeeding her. I usually remove her hand and put it somewhere else. Sometimes she whimpers, especially when she's very sleepy, but more often she allows her hand to be removed and slowly she'll place it back in my armpit when I'm not paying attention to her. Nowadays, it has become more of a game with her.

Chicken Vermicelli Soup

My toddler is starting to get picky with food lately, so I always make sure I cook something she'll enjoy. She loves eating noodles, any kind of noodles, that's why it's not uncommon to see a dish with noodles during mealtimes in our home .

With a quarter kilo of chicken, carrots, cabbage, vermicelli, garlic and onion, I can be assured that my 2 year old will enjoy her meal.

Saute the chopped garlic, then add the diced onions and then the thinly sliced chicken strips. Once the chicken turns brown, add the chicken stock and let boil. Add the vermicelli and wait for it to be cooked before adding the julienned carrots and shredded cabbage. You can add other vegetables if you like. Season to taste.

This is fast and easy to make, just the kind of thing for extrasuper moms who have lots of other things to do.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

BedWetting (Part 2)

Bedwetting or nocturnal enuresis is a pretty common occurence for kids 6 years and below. Most children will eventually grow out of it so it's not something that should bother any parent too much. However, it could be stressful to both parents and kids.

Although my daughter does not seem to feel any embarassment everytime she bedwets, she still does not want it to happen since she has to wash and change her clothes after getting herself wet. Personally, I don't worry too much about her bedwetting, it's the need to change the sheets as well as wash the soiled bed linens that I don't like.

Bedwetting is hereditary. It's more likely that a child will bedwet if a parent or both parents wet their beds when they were still kids. In my daughter's case, I think she got it from my side.

I remembered when I was about 7 or 8 years old, I woke up from a deep sleep with a wet bed. If my memory serves me right, I got up from my bed, covered the wet spot with a blanket, changed my clothes and went back to sleep.

My Aunt had her own story to tell. She laughingly recounted her experience when she was already in her teens. She remembered dreaming about going to the toilet with a need to urinate. "It just kept going on and on and on without giving me any satisfaction until I finally did it and felt relieved," she said. She woke up soaked but just laughed off the incident.

Monday, July 2, 2007

The Uniform

My 6 year old was very happy with her new set of school uniform. My mother, her grandmother, had sewn it for her. I called up my mother to thank her and my daughter excitedly took her turn over the phone. She sweetly said, "Thank you Nana. Thank you for the unicorn."

The Pothole

Feeling tired and sleepy after our trip to the mall, we had limited conversations in our car while on our way home. We were contented listening to Psalty the singing songbook when suddenly we ran over a pothole. My 6 year old looked at her daddy and said, "Daddy, you have to be very careful. I could get a booboo on my head and I will cry." My husband just had to apologize after that.