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Protecting my kids means…

I never knew I could love this much until I gave birth to my kids – all four of them.

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When I grew up in the 80’s, children wandering in the neighbourhood on their own without parental supervision were a common sight. I then thought to myself, “Why aren’t their parents with them? What if something happens to them?” Even though I was still a kid back then, I knew that a parent’s job is to protect his/her kids. I guess my mum has brought me with so much love and hence I know I must reciprocate when my turn comes to be a mother myself.

Being a mother means I need to always be ready to take care of my kids emotionally, physically and financially.

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I work from home and hence; I am there with and for my kids almost 24/7. And that also means that I am always updated with even the slightest change in any of my kids. For instance, I will detect it first when any of them is about to have fever. Mother’s instinct, you think? Super power, I think. But what’s the bigger picture here?

They may have just the normal fever now, and that’s fine. Nothing much to worry about. Medications are still affordable. But what if something even worse were to happen to them in the near future? What if the medical expenses or hospitalisation bill cost a lot more than I could ever afford? Will I be prepared financially?

I feel like it is my responsibility if anything bad were to happen to them – I am taking every extra step possible to ensure that I am not overprotecting my kids at the same time. When parents overprotect, that will create more problems for their kids in the long run. But I will save parental overprotection for another post.

Even though I am always with and for the kids, I can never quite prepare myself enough for my kids.

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But I can certainly protect them for the future.

Having children also means that we already have the basic instinct of parents to        protect them.

Our children are completely dependent on us for all their needs.

Of course, before we can attend to our children’s needs, we need to protect ourselves first, financially. In this way, if anything bad to happen to us, there is always something that we leave behind for our kids – financial safety net.

Financial safety net is meant to protect us AND OUR FAMILY from losing our financial security should an unexpected event like a catastrophic illness or personal tragedy happen to us.

Before anything, start with a rainy day fund.

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Rainy day fund is so crucial yet so hard for many to attain and maintain, especially due to the high cost of living here in Singapore.

The objective of a rainy day fund is mainly to be easily accessible in times of emergency. Without rainy day fund, many will resort to taking loans from the bank with high interest rates. That may help us in the short run but will add burden to us financially never in the long run. Something for us to think about.

Did you know that an average working Singaporean would require at least $626,000 to meet their Protection needs?

WOAHH.

Health care costs have also increased over the years, and hence we need to be adequately covered against life uncertainties.

How can we possibly achieve that?

(1) TM Term Assure: Covers mainly working adults and parents

  • Basic and affordable term plan that provides significant lump sum payout upon death, terminal illness and total permanent disability
  • For someone aged between 25 to 35 years, it is as little as less than S$1 a day for a 5-year TM Term Assure plan with coverage of S$500,000.

 

(2) KidAssure GIO Rider: A juvenile rider that provides coverage for 24 medical and hospitalization conditions

  • A death benefit is also payable regardless of prior claims.
  • Can be attached to most of Tokio Marine’s basic plans
  • Only need to pay 5 years of premium and coverage is till 19 years old.
  • A refund of 80% of the total annual premiums paid for the rider when the child reaches age 19.
  • Guaranteed acceptance with no medical underwriting required

For more information on how you can protect yourself and your kids, click on www.tokiomarine.com/protect

 

Or come on down to Baby World 2017 and visit the Tokio Marine booth (K15) for exciting fun and games!

Are you going? I definitely am!

 

Date: 30 June to 2 July
Time: 11 am to 8pm
Venue: Suntec City Exhibition, Level 4

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What my family means to me.

My kids mean the world to me.

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It’s saddening to see how people fall victim to dengue fever unexpectedly.

If it can happen to them, it can happen to anyone of us including our loved ones.

Dengue fever can lead to death. Even if it doesn’t, one does not have it easy when he or she contracts dengue fever. Do read up on my first blog post on Dengue Fever by clicking HERE if you have missed it.

It’s also worrying to know that dengue cases have increased from 11,298 in 2015 to more than 13,000 in 2016 and two-third of the cases occur between the ages 15-45 years old in Singapore. This means, I’m one of the potential candidates for dengue! Dengue can be contracted up to 4 times as the 4 sero-types of dengue (DENV-1 to 4) co-circulate in Singapore all year round.

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I often imagine how it would be like if any of my loved ones, including myself, were to get dengue fever. With four kids in tow and a baby to handle, dengue fever could actually cause havoc to my daily routine with my family. I don’t think I’d be able to cope – it would be an extremely tiring process. And when that happens, that would also mean that my husband would need to take time off from work to help me with the kids.

Just imagine the many things you would not able to do as a family and for your family if you were to get dengue fever!

  1. Who would take care of the kids?
  2. Who would settle their meals?
  3. Who would help the kids with their school work?

Family time means everything to me. Nobody can and should take that away from us.

With just a few simple changes to your everyday life, you can help protect your family and yourself from dengue.

How so?

Step 1: Follow the 5-step mozzie wipeout

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  • Turn over all water storage containers.
  • Change water in vases / bowls on alternate days.
  • Remove water from flower pot plates on alternate days.
  • Loosen soil from potted plants
  • Clear blockages and put Bti insecticides in roof gutters monthly.

 

Step 2: Protect yourselves from applying insect repellent

Dengue fever is passed on to humans through the bites of an infected female Aedes aegypti mosquito, which mainly acquires the virus while feeding on the blood of an infected person.

We can avoid being bitten by applying insect repellant regularly.

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Dengue cannot be stopped or controlled if it’s only you taking action for your family and yourself.

Let’s all play our part in preventing dengue so that it does not disrupt our lives. Share your dengue story or how would your lives get disrupted if you get dengue using the hashtag #BeAWallAgainstDengue

STOP THE VIRUS. STOP DENGUE.

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Share me your dengue fever experience by clicking HERE! The best comment will receive a little token of appreciation!

 

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Exam Smart kids?

I have been sending my girls to enrichment classes ever since they were three! Of course, the younger they are, the easier it is to tame our kids and to sculpt them the way we want them to be.

But our kids, like plants, will only grow well if all the conditions for growth are met. It is really not so much about the technique.

More often than not, parents like myself will get overly concerned about the kids’ studies and behaviour. The moment we think they need help on a particular subject, we will start panicking and look around for tuition classes.

WHY?

We want them to do well in school, that’s why!

So when I heard of this Secrets to Exam Success Seminar , I was intrigued to attend it and find out for myself whether it would be of any use to my kids, and my husband and me as parents.

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FREE ADMISSION, SOME MORE!

Besides, it would be a good way to spend our weekend together – by attending a workshop as a family!

Time to get the husband more involved! LOL

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CAN YOU SPOT TATEK? HAHAHAHA.

Parents, why are we only thinking on the surface most of the time? Why do we focus so much on how to change our kids’ behaviour?

Isn’t true growth actually more about the maturation of their emotional system and how they can bring themselves to express their inner world into language? As we all know it, the bigger our kids get, the bigger their emotions will get and the tougher it will be for us to reach out to them.

Suria Mohd who is no stranger really, if you ask me, conducted the workshop.

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WHO IS SURIA MOHD?

Suria’s biography is quite lengthy since she has done so much for the past few years!

Let me break it down for you.

  • She was a former school teacher and had taught in both elite and neighbourhood schools.
  • She is a mother of 2 kids.
  • She is a 3X Amazon best selling author
  • She is a celebrity nutritionist and have appeared in various TV programs, local newspapers and even on the cover of magazines. (Not a surprise since she is quite a stunner! HEHE).
  • She is a motivator, trainer and public educator, and gives regular talks at HPB’s events and forums.
  • She provides Positive Parenting seminars and workshops
  • She provides business coaching for start ups

And the list can pretty much go on and on and on.

INDEED A SUPERWOMAN.

Is Suria Mohd qualified to give talks then?

Let me see:

  • She received her Nutrition degree from Edith Cowan University in Perth, Western Australia and completed an exchange program with Illinois State University, USA.
  • Suria attained a Postgraduate degree in the teaching of Food Science and Nutrition Studies from NTU/NIE Singapore
  • She taught Nutrition in secondary schools

I BELIEVE SHE IS MORE THAN QUALIFIED.

The workshop was truly inspirational, and it made all of us cry like babies at the end of it.

I am not kidding you.

Read on.

So what was the workshop about?

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Suria Mohd covered the following:

  1. Five top secrets and shocking truths why smart students fail or underachieve in school
  2. Steps to help our child overcome low self-esteem
  3. Twelve MUST HAVE power techniques to help improve our child’s grades
  4. Six different ways our child can tap into his/her brain’s full genius potential
  5. Top brain booster foods for exam smart brains.
  6. How to make our child more motivated, confident and eager to study
  7. One Skill that can help our child do well

 

NAH. A LITTLE PREVIEW FOR YOU. 

 

 

Suria Mohd even shared with us some really awesome apps which we can download for our kids to play!

One good way to unleash their genius potential is via the apps which Suria Mohd recommended to us parents during the workshop.

WHAT APPS?

You go attend the workshop lah to find out.

I AM NOT TELLING!!

Come on, to tell our kids that they are not allowed to play with their phones or ipads is a bit ridiculous because almost everything involves technology these days. That said, our kids need to be IT SAVVY! It’s definitely an essential skill!

But of course, we need to constantly monitor what they are watching or playing online so that they do not get lost in their own world.

Listening to Suria Mohd made me guilty for always focusing on how to improve my kids’ grades rather than how to help them help themselves.

But what choice do we really have, especially if we are living in Singapore?

As parents, we only want to bring out the best in our kids.

And as such, we are always so ready to spend lots of money on private tuitions despite seeing no or little improvements.

Imagine this.

We spend $200 per child on tuition.

In a year, that’s about $2400

In 6 years (primary school), that’s $14,400

In 10 years (primary plus secondary school), that’s $24,000

And that’s only one child!

Imagine if we have more than one child!

I HAVE FOUR KIDS LEYYYYYYYY!

THAT’S A SUPER HUGE INVESTMENT WITH RESULTS HARDLY GUARANTEED!

It’s not just about having a high IQ.

EQ is just as important, if not more important.

Have we ever thought about this?

Kids with high EQs (also known as emotional intelligence) are known to be overall better performers in school than those with only high IQs

And that’s what Suria Mohd stressed on during the 2 hours workshop.

When our kids are equipped to handle high-pressure situations like exams better than their counterparts, they will perform better.

It’s a no brainer, really.

And don’t we want our kids to continue to have good relationships with us?

Suria Mohd tapped into a place deep inside ourselves, and we ended up in buckets of tears by the end of the workshop. I cried. My girls cried. I suspected my husband cried too. (Men and their ego!)

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It was so impactful, really. Crying in a way, is a survival mechanism – most of the time, it is a signal that we need to address something. And that was what happened during the workshop – Suria Mohd made us realise how much we love each other and how we have often let daily routines and the stress of life affect our relationship.

I shall not divulge too much because you need to attend the workshop with your kids in order to find out for yourself.

You will cry too, but you will definitely feel so good after that, trust me!

Suria Mohd will also be conducting other workshops during the March holidays, so take a look and try to attend them with your kids! Trust me, she is really good!

THANK YOU SURIA FOR MAKING US CRY! HAHAHAHAHAH.

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The next workshop will be on:

  • Sunday 19 February 2017 (that’s tomorrow! you still have time to sign up!)

  • Sunday, 26 February 2017 

 

If you have kids who will be sitting for the big exams like PSLE, must go for this one! Trust me, it’s really something!

I repeat, it’s FREE for parents and kids!

Register here: http://bit.ly/StudySmartExamSuccess

SMS: 9023 7147

Meanwhile, I am going to practise my HEART to HEART HUG with my kids!

What’s that? You will find out during the workshop too! LOL.

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What a waste!

 Do you remember secretly hiding food you could not finish until your parents were out of sight before throwing it?

I WAS GUILTY OF IT.

I would take a tissue, put the food I could not finish inside the tissue and throw it secretly. My childhood basically consisted of me not being able to finish my food before worrying about being scolded by my dad.

AND I THOUGHT NOTHING OF IT.

Actually, if you were to really think about it, it’s sad how we often waste food on a daily basis. Most of the time, we will just throw whatever food that we or our kids cannot finish because they will go bad anyway.

But did you know that in 2015 alone, SG generated 786 million kg of food waste – that’s two bowls of food waste generated by each person, EACH DAY!

Okay, some of you may be asking, “SO WHAT?”

See, at this rate of producing waste, SG will need a new incineration plant every 7-10 years, and a new landfill every 30 – 35 years.

Are you still asking me “SO WHAT?”

Grrrr.

Singapore is just a tiny red dot. You understand what that means, don’t you? Yes, we live in a super duper small country with limited space for EVERYTHING. As it is, we only have one landfill which may run out of space sooner than expected if our food wastage habits do not or cannot change.

GASPS.

It’s very worrying, guys.

Very, very, worrying.

Something for all of us to think about.

My experiences at home have led me to believe that kids like to waste food – their eyes are bigger than their stomachs most of the time! Their appetite change too easily – one day they can gobble up a glass of milk and ask for some more, the next day they can be so picky and get full too quickly.

Believe me, my girls are small eaters with super big eyes on some days. They simply cannot resist the urge to take more than what they can eat, especially right after school.

And when they cannot finish their food, the following excuses will be audible:

“I have a stomachache.”

(They will proceed to eat something else instead.)

 

“I think there’s something wrong with the food. It tastes funny.”

(Sometimes they speak the truth. Sometimes there’s really nothing wrong with the food)

 

“Mummy, can I eat this again later?”

(They will never eat it again later)

 

“Mummy, do you want some more? You can have mine!”

(Nadyas applying the concept of sharing here)

 

SMART THINKING NADYAS!

But I’m smarter because I was like you girls too. LOL 

So what I do with them nowadays is to tell them to take HALF THE AMOUNT of what they think they can finish.

“Huh? So little ah Mummy? Like baby eating like that!”

My reply?

“EAT LIKE A BABY FIRST, THEN TAKE SOME MORE IF YOU FINISH THE FIRST SERVING.”

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The food will always taste nicer when you have less of it on the plate.

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And true enough, someone finished her food and asked for a second serving!

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Meanwhile, the small eater like Mysha managed to finish her food.

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Tip: Always get them to eat first, and drink later. The more water they drink during mealtimes, the faster it is for them to be full.

My husband especially is very particular about the girls not finishing their food because he is not the sort to waste food. And nobody likes it when the husband starts to nag. LOL.

But of course I understand where the husband is coming from. If we don’t teach our kids from young about preventing or reducing food wastage, then it will just become another habit of theirs till they grow old.

Teach kids the value of food and the importance of not wasting resources.

Sometimes, our kids go to the supermarket and want things that they don’t need but they just feel like eating… because mummy or daddy will buy them anything! Obviously they have a hard time understanding the amount of work and resources that go into putting food on their table and so they take things for granted as a result. Thus it’s important to start teaching the kids from a young age the resources that go into producing food, so they will learn to respect the value of food. Implementing rules so that they use a bit of their allowance to pay for their food (giving them some practical motivation) also helps make them realize the cost of wasting money and food.

The more we get our kids involved, the more they may be likely to eat their meals instead of arguing about disliking something, and therefore not wanting to eat it.

I also did my readings to find out how we can prevent or reduce food wastage as a family because hey, doing so can actually help households save money as well!

 

  1. Shop smart.

Make sure we do not buy too much food, especially when we are doing grocery shopping. Making a detailed shopping list of what we really need at home is often what I do, and that helps us from impulsive buys. Whenever it’s a trip to the supermarket, the shopping list will always accompany me so that I will know exactly what to buy and not what I feel like buying.

My girls have pretty understood the concept of grocery shopping. When we run out of something at home, they will tell me to include it in the shopping list for our next supermarket trip. I am glad to say that our shopping list thus far contains needs rather than wants.

 

  1. When preparing food for the family, do not overcook or over serve food.

It’s pretty hard to gauge how much is enough for the family especially when you are not really an expert in cooking (like me!). But I think we all learn through trial and error.

Using small plates can help to ensure that we do not over serve food! Start with less food on your plate. If you want more, you can always have more.

  1. Save and actually eat the leftovers.

On days when there’s too much food cooked or prepared, save it in air tight containers, and date the leftovers so that we will know how long they have been in the fridge.

You can also have a cookoff with your kids repurposing leftover ingredients into new meals.

My mother will usually use the leftovers to prepare a totally new dish altogether. For instance, whenever we have leftovers from our steamboat or bbq session the night before, she will use the leftover meat to fry noodles for the entire family for breakfast the next day.

 

  1. Store food in the right places.

If we are throwing out food that has gone bad constantly, most likely it is because you are not storing them correctly. Yup, we often store food at the wrong places with the wrong temperature. Fruits and vegetables for instance, can last longer if we store them correctly.

I really like the infographics below about where to store your fruits and vegetables.

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Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/how-to-store-your-fruit-and-veg-to-make-it-last-longer_uk_5715e9ace4b0636a3f6d1b2d

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Source: NEA’s Food Waste Reduction Handy Guide, downloaded from www.cgs.sg

Wow! I did not know that:

  • Pineapples and lemons are best stored at room temperature.
  • Berries and grapes are firm fridge friends
  • Bananas have to be kept away from the other fruits and vegetables because they will result in most fruits or vegetables ripening too quickly and turning bad

I have actually been storing certain fruits like pears, lemons and avocados wrongly ALL MY LIFE!

The mentality used to be “Put it in the fridge if I want the food to last longer!”

  1. Monitor what you throw away so that you will be mindful of what to buy less during your next grocery shopping.

For instance, I used to buy the extra big loaf of bread instead of the normal sized ones so that I did not have to keep buying when we ran out of bread at home. But I noticed that half a loaf of the bread would not be eaten and by then, it was already past the expiry date.

So it’s just the normal sized bread for us these days.

 

  1. Tempt our kids!

It’s always good to work towards something when you have an end in mind. In the case of my kids, it’s always treats like…BUBBLE TEA or GUMMIES! Since I do not allow them to drink bubble tea and snack on sweets all the time, to be rewarded with such treats is a big deal to them! Not all the time though. This really works like magic especially when you want them to finish their meals.

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Planning your meals to prepare just enough food, and storing food properly can help your household waste less food and save more money.

Even though you may need to make some little changes in your routine to reduce the amount of food you’re wasting as a household, with a little commitment and focus, the suggestions above are very achievable, I reckon.

Less food wastage gives you a Clean and Green Singapore too! Want more tips on reducing food wastage at home? Download the Food Waste Reduction handy guide from www.cgs.sg

And of course, I know who will be the happiest after reading this post.

THE HUSBAND!

His naggings about food wastage have been justified…finally!

 

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#IThinkShakeelTalks: Drinking from the bottle

Hi ladies everyone! It’s me, Shakeel, taking over Mummy’s blog for a while first now…then permanently in future. But don’t tell her I told you that!

But first, Mummy needs to change her blog’s picture.

I mean,

I AM NOT IN THE PICTURE, HELLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO???????

Way overdue, Mummy. What have you been so busy with until you have no time to revamp your blog? Sheesh!

So what should I talk about?

Ah, I should mention the woes of a breastfed baby who is sometimes forced to drink milk from the bottle due to some unforeseen circumstances. Life sucks. It’s tough being a baby so what makes you adults think that only you have the biggest problems in the world? Babies like us have only one problem and it’s often milk problem. But hey, that’s big enough a problem!

Mummy does train me to drink from the bottle. She keeps telling me that drinking from the bottle is pretty much the same as drinking from her mammillas. I am sure. I feel like asking her whether drinking latte Starbucks is the same as drinking latte from McDees.

The answer is, “NO! IT’S NOT THE SAME!”

Whenever she asks me to drink from the bottle, it’s always the same ol’ process.

STEP 1:

I will hold the bottle like I am so eager to drink.

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STEP 2:

I will throw the bottle to the side or sometimes on the floor because ewww the milk does not taste as good from the bottle AND I am not good at pretending.

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STEP 3

I will get thirsty after some time and decide to drink from the bottle when Mummy refuses to give me her mammillas. And yeah, I will even finish the milk. Pretty embarrassing. I must say.

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Don’t believe me because it’s too good to be true? Watch this video then!

 

STEP 4:

I will pat the bottle to eternal sleep and wish never to see it again.

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Wishful thinking on my part, of course.

Yeah that’s pretty much what Mummy and I have to go through each time drinking milk from the bottle is involved.

But if you ask me, I want Mummy’s mammillas anytime!

I sincerely hope she will stop forcing me to drink from the bottle.

I promise I will be good!

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Lots of love & saliva, 

Shakeel Adly

 

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