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Friday, February 28, 2014

Alycia's Class Teachers

I am very thankful that since Standard 2, Alycia has been assigned very dedicated class teachers.  Ms L was Alycia's class teacher from Standard 2 through Standard 4.  She was one of the best teachers in the school.   Towards the end of last year, Alycia was telling me that she really hoped that Ms L would continue to be her class teacher.  Though Ms L is a very firm and strict teacher, she is nonetheless very caring and has all the qualities of a 5-star teacher.

I was really disappointed when Alycia told me at the start of the school term this year that Ms L is now teaching another elite class.   Her new class teacher is  Ms Y, who was the class teacher of the first elite class  in Standard 6 last year. There are 2 elite classes for each standard in the school and if Ms Y was the teacher for the first elite class in Standard 6, she must really be the cream of the crop in that school.   On hearing that, my hope was raised and boy was I happy to know that Alycia has another 5-star class teacher, woohoo!

A few weeks ago, when I was at the night market with Alycia, we bumped into Ms Y, Alycia's class teacher.  We chatted a bit and I could gauge that she is another very dedicated and caring teacher.  And I was right!  Alycia can now do revisions on her own without my constant nagging and reminders!  There is a 'watchdog' helping me to monitor her all the time and she can't escape from her grips muahaha!

Ms Y would use her own money to buy 'expensive cakes' (that's what Alycia said LOL!) to treat her students in her class for celebrations.  She would also use her own money to buy gifts for her students as incentives.

Throughout Alycia's four years of primary schooling in this school, I have never seen how hardworking like she is now.  In the past, revisions done were a result of me  nagging her to no end. Now, revision is a daily routine for her, done without me telling her.    Before Alycia hits the sack, she will go through her books every night. I know that all these are  fueled by Ms Y, through lots of pep talks,  motivation as well as 'threats'.

Ms Y would throw surprise mini tests to her class several times in a week.  In Alycia's note pad last night, I saw a handwritten note on some marks -- 80% - 85% along with some Chinese words.   I asked her what it was and she told me that this is just one of Ms Y's goals for her class.  Should anyone in the class get below 80% - 85% in any of the subjects that Ms Y teaches, which includes Math and Science in Chinese, the unlucky one would get 2 'gifts' from Ms Y, which is 2 work books on that said subject.  The student would have to complete the 2 workbooks before the next quarterly exam! 

I know that some of you may think that this 'Tiger Teacher' method of instilling fear in kids is not appropriate but I am ALL for it, 100% for it.    This teacher has been producing straight As students and ASEAN scholarship recipients too.  I am not placing hope that Alycia would get an ASEAN scholarship for I know her limits.  All I am hoping is for Alycia to get a dedicated, responsible and caring teacher to nurture my child and to propel her to achieve good results.  Don't get me wrong. Alycia is not terrified of her teacher. She loves this teacher and Ms L, her previous class teacher. She loves to attend school.  I think she has been blessed with the right teachers :)

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Water Rationing?

With daily newspapers headlines on high possibility of  starting water rationing in many parts of our country (it has already started in some areas), we are not taking any chances and wait till the eleventh hour to buy pails and containers.  After dropping Cass off in kindy, I zoomed to the mini mart to buy a pail.  Back home, I asked hubs to buy 2 huge water containers with covers to be placed in each of the bathrooms.

For landed houses, owners can rely on external water tanks for water storage. Living in a condo, you need to have your own water containers inside your unit.  In 1998,  the neighborhood that I lived in was hit hard by the water rationing that lasted for several months. We are still living in this neighborhood and this area is a hard-hit area whenever there is a water rationing.  During the rationing exercise in 1998, we had water supply to our houses every other day.  I remember that on days where the areas were to get their water, many of my colleagues took leave to stay home to do house chores! I was stressed to the max throughout the water rationing exercise, though I had no kids back then. With 3 kids and more chores now, I may very well land myself in the hospital with stress of having no water!

I read that in this impending water rationing, there will be 2 days of water supply and none for the next 2 days. I think this is not practical. We would need at least 10 water containers in our house should we be living without water for 2 days. Bigger families would need more water containers. We need at least 5 water containers for a day and that itself is not sufficient. We would have to eat out on days when we have no water.  Dirty laundry would have to be sent for laundrette service. Writing this is already making me stressed! Oh God, please send the rain to the entire country right away and let it rain for days to fill up all the dams!

If you are living in high risk areas, don't wait till the eleventh hour to scramble with everyone else to buy your pails and water containers. Go get some now before the traders jack up the prices. These water container traders will be the only ones laughing throughout the drought. And I still don't understand why our dear water management companies can never ever solve this recurring issue even after more than 16 years!!

Mouth Guards For Bad Sleeping Habits

Some people may develop a poor habit of grinding their teeth at night while sleeping. Such a habit can create multiple health problems. For example, the grinding mechanism can gradually chip away tooth enamel and lead to an increased risk of developing cavities and dental caries. Additionally, chipped teeth look unsightly and may require cosmetic dental procedures such as bonded veneers. In addition to causing problems in the mouth, teeth grinding also creates issues in other parts of the body. For example, excessive grinding can lead to earaches and headaches because of the strain placed on the jaw and surrounding muscles. Trying to stop teeth grinding at night is an example of an attempt to improve one's health due to a poor habit.

The best way to stop teeth from grinding against each other is to use a physical barrier. A mouth guard needs to be worn in order to prevent any contact between teeth. Some guards are made to fit anyone's mouth thanks to patented designs that automatically adjust to a unique layout of teeth. Sometimes, a dentist can make a custom molded mouth guard that can be worn at night to prevent too much grinding of the teeth.

Mouth guards should be washed daily with special solutions. Rinsing with water is simply not enough to remove all of the saliva and bacteria that may be on the plastic mouth guard. Sometimes, special heat solutions are applied in order to thermally clean a mouth guard that is worn daily.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Cranberry Cheese Scones

Earlier this week, the MIL baked some cranberry cheese scones for the kids to bring to school as the kids are totally fed-up with bread, cookies, biscuits, buns and cakes.

The scones tasted divine!  I like mine sandwiched with strawberry jam. The girls like theirs sandwiched with Surgers butter.  Sometimes, the MIL will whip up some fresh cream to go with the scones.

Do you like scones? How do you like your scones eaten?

Thursday, February 20, 2014

How often do you give your kids money to buy food from the canteen?

When tiredness and laziness get the better of me, there will be no lunch boxes for Alycia and Sherilyn. I will give them RM2 each to buy food from the canteen during recess. 

Alycia and Sherilyn are not simple girls who would accept  anything that is packed into their lunch boxes.  Due to time constraint, I can only prepare simple snacks like bread with strawberry jam, marmalade jam,  kaya, nutella or peanut butter chocolate jam.  These are the only jams that Alycia and Sherilyn have approved and they would not accept any other types of jams.  Sherilyn loves seaweed slices with her bread too.

Besides bread with jam, biscuits and cookies go into their lunch box.  Occasionally, edamame beans make a place in their lunch box, but that will depend on their mood. Alycia does not want edamame beans as she says she does not have enough time to eat them, duh! 

I have other easy to prepare snacks in my mind, which I used to give them when they were in pre-school. They are cut fresh fruits, bananas,  steamed sweet corn kernels, steamed sweet potato and hard-boiled eggs but the 2 fussy pots say that they do not have enough time to finish these kind of snacks. Hard-boiled eggs are messy and dry, that's what they said.

I know they would be delighted to have nuggets, sausages, SPAM meat and fries but in my house, these are forbidden food.

So, this means that besides bread with jam on Mondays, biscuits or cookies on Tuesdays, buns on Thursdays, Wednesdays and Fridays would be canteen food day. Sometimes when they tell me that they are sick of bread, bun and biscuits, they get money to buy canteen food for 3-4 times in a week. This makes all of us happier! :)

How often do you give your kids money to buy food from the canteen? And how much?

Monday, February 17, 2014

Sherilyn's Birthday Lunch at iCook Italian Gastonomia @ Plaza Damas

After turning the little social butterfly's plea to have a birthday party at home, she finally accepted a birthday lunch out of home, with her 3 besties.

The choice of restaurant was however her daddy's as he's heard good reviews and ravings on iCook Italian Gastronomia @ Plaza Damas.

Picture of the girls, all fresh before they ate, played and sweat...

Here's what the hubster ordered. We first started off with mushroom soup, pumpkin soup and an authentic Italian beef soup with fresh mushrooms and veggie. But no picture was taken. I was busy serving the girls.

We were served this very tasty flat Italian herbs bread, to dip with olive oil and vinegar, as appetizer. 

Then came the salad with buffalo cheese garlic toast and tomatoes.
 photo iCook6_zps94ee9d3b.jpg

Two types of pizzas. The one shown below is the mushrooms and sausage pizza, topped with a raw egg in the centre.

 photo iCook3_zpsdbc17283.jpg 

Grilled pork ribs with big onions and fresh mushrooms, which was super delish and stood out among all the dishes that we ordered.  Still can't get this out of my head. Will definitely order this dish again in our next visit.

 photo iCook7_zps7394ad57.jpg

Clamps tomato soup.
 photo iCook1_zpsf3b20220.jpg 
Not sure what this unusual dish is called.  It is fresh rockmelon wrapped with smoked bacon.
 photo iCook5_zpsfc3d2bd0.jpg

Seafood pasta.
 photo iCook4_zps251461fe.jpg

Squid Ink Tagliatelle with seafood. The pasta there is made fresh.  The Squid Ink Tagliatelle with Seafood is made with fresh pasta. — Pictures by Eu Hooi Khaw

As you can see, all the dishes were very authentic Italian, cooked by an Italian chef, who is the owner of the restaurant.   For those of you foodies who are keen to know the prices of the dishes, I have included the bill here for your viewing. I have no freaking idea what the dishes in Italian names are called in English.

 photo 3c47c211-b059-4522-837f-f67b4b2461b6_zps261b4d1d.jpg

Overall, the food was good and definitely worthy for another visit to try other dishes on their menu.

iCook Italian Gastronomia
Plaza Damas
3 Jalan Sri Hartamas 1,
Kuala Lumpur
+60 3-6211 4000

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Thoughtful Sweetie-Pie

Cass has always shown a maturity level above her age.  The things that she says and how she thinks are way above that of a 5-YO girl. 

Yesterday, as I was going through my kids apparel supplier's website, I could not resist those pretty dresses and wanted to buy a few for Cass.

Me - Baby, come and see these dresses. (showing her the pix on the website). Do you like this one?

Cass - NO!

Me - what about this one?

Cass - NO!

Me - this one leh?

Cass - yes!  But... I think you better not buy.  I have too many clothes.  You better not waste your money ok. I don't want any more new clothes. I have enough clothes to wear.

Awww, isn't she thoughtful? Not only is she a brave little soldier, she is also very thoughtful and sweet.  Throughout dinner yesterday, she peeled crabs and put the crab meat into my mouth coz she knew that I don't like to peel crabs as this makes my hands smelly.  I am totally awed by this sweetie-pie :)

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Paying For December Pre-School Fees. Norm or Overboard?

Towards the end of October last year, all the parents were asked to pay RM340 to the pre-school that Cass goes to.  That amount was for purchase of books for the first half of year 2014.

In January this year, at the start of the new school term, we parents had to pay RM1,060 for the following items:
1) January 2014 fees
2) Snacks for half the year
3) Insurance
4) Concert fees
5) Class photo
6) December 2014 fees - this is a new item to pay effective 2014. Previously, I never had to pay for December fees! Never during Alycia and Sherilyn's time at this kindy.

When I saw item no. 6, which is fees for December 2014, I was shocked. I called up the principal to get a clarification as to why I had to pay for December 2014 when (1) it is the school holidays and the child would not attend a single school day in December and (2) Cass would never have to return to the pre-school again as she will be going to Primary 1 next year.

The principal cum school owner replied me by saying that all the students MUST pay the December 2014 fees to help her pay the teachers' salaries and the rental of the school building!  Some of the teachers would still have to work to teach and care for children sent to the school's daycare program.  "But Cassandra will not return to your kindy anymore. She will go to Primary 1 next year. Do I still have to pay??" I asked.  Yes, all the parents have to pay.  At that moment, I felt like I was held ransom, with a gun at my neck and forced to pay.  I could not change kindy as Cass has been going to this kindy for 2 years already and this is her third year. She is happy at this kindy, she likes her friends and all her teachers and classmates know her health issue.  So I felt like I was forced at point blank to pay the principal.

For your information, come June, which is the third semester, we parents would have to pay in advance the fees for November.  In November, students only need to attend school for half a month, after which the 6-week long school holidays would commence.  This practice has been in place ever since Alycia attended this pre-school in 2007.  This practice serves to 'tie up' the parents and child to the kindy, so that they are unable to switch pre-school. Well, you still can switch but the November fees is non-refundable.

My question to all my dear readers -- is this practice of compelling the parents to pay the fees for December a norm?   IMHO, I think that it is still quite acceptable if the child is continuing attendance at the pre-school the following year. But for kids who will be starting Primary 1, I find this totally unacceptable.

What say you?

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


A girl in Cass' kindy really needs a detox of her body and mind from the iPad. She goes to school on most mornings crying and feeling sleepy. According to the teacher, the girl's parents are unable to control her. She is an only child, and very much loved and pampered. As they are both busy working parents, the girl is left at home with the grandparents, who uses the iPad to keep her entertained. When the iPad is taken away from her, all hell breaks loose. On most nights, she will play with the iPad till the wee hours. In the morning, she will have trouble waking up. This happened last year. I hope that by now, this girl is totally detoxed and weaned off the iPad. Some people may need an oxy detox. For electrical gadgets addiction, you can detox by killing the gadgets and engage yourself in something else.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Sweet Talks

Cass - I love you very much mummy. Thank you for all that you have done for me.  Thank you for doing all that you could to save my life.  When I grow up, I will also do the same thing for you. I will also do all that I can to save you. (like I am going to be very sickly when I am old lol!)

Me - you have to help yourself too. You have to do your exercises and try hard to help yourself ok?

Cass - when I grow up, I don't want to get married. I want to live with you. I will buy a bungalow and we will live together.  You will cook for me everyday.

This was one endearing conversation with Cass today :)

Cass at 5 years 10 months

Down The Happy Memory Lane

I was playing with some new photo apps installed in my new Samsung Note 3 and was pleasantly surprised to stumble upon a Gallery which showcases all the pictures in my Picasa gallery dated way back to 2007. Looking at the pictures brought me back to memory lane, when I was a newly turned stay-at-home-mom with Alycia and Sherilyn who were 3YO and 1.5YO respectively. I really do miss those days when my life wasn't that stress as I had a very capable and good live-in maid - kakak Su. I left the entire household to her to handle, with me giving her minor supervision. Plus I had only 2 kids then and I did not have any online business to run back then.  My online assignments got me lucrative pocket money until the global economy disaster towards the end of 2007.


My hands got itchy and I transferred the pictures to my computer and then did photo collages using this new app called Fotor on my new desktop computer running on Microsoft 8.

My 2 babies - cute moe?  And the cute things that they did -- plastering daddy's body with stickers, trying to eat flowers and lots more. And I miss those daily evening or morning walks and play time in the playground with them and kakak Su.  Back then, I made sure that they exercised every single day. I was a staunch believer of Glenn Doman who extols the benefits of exercise for kids.  And oh yes, those 3-4x a day of reading homemade flash cards! I actually had so much time to make flash cards and to flash the cards to them 3-4x a day to my 2 babies!

old pic collage 2    

 I so miss Alycia and Sherilyn's baby and toddler days very, very much!

Old pic collage 1

Friday, February 7, 2014

Bahasa Malaysia for 6-Year Olds

This is what Cass is learning in pre-school now.  She is going to turn 6 in April and this year will be her last year in kindy.

Cass school books

 Her kindy stresses the importance of  being able to read in Chinese, English and Bahasa Malaysia by the time the child is 5 and 6 year old. Some of the kids in this kindy could read very well when they were only 3 years old.   Cass only got the hang of reading late last year, at a little over 5 years old.  In her kindy, this is considered 'late bloomer'.

Some of the syllabus for 6-year olds in this kindy are similar to what Primary 2 SJKC pupils are learning.  I found out when I was doing revision with Alycia and Sherilyn three years ago. Both of them were learning the same thing! Alycia was then in Primary 2 (8YO) and Sherilyn was 6YO, doing her last year in kindy.

Some parents would say that this is too tough and too much for a 6YO kid to handle. For me, I think it is good as the pre-school is preparing the child for Primary 1.  I remember that when Alycia and Sherilyn went to Primary 1, they kind of breezed through that year as they had already learned most of the things when they were in kindy.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Lovable Girls

Here's a picture of my Charlie's Angels with their cutie cousin, Raelyne.  Raelyne is my eldest brother's only daughter. This picture was taken during CNY in Ipoh at my parents. My girls dot on their baby cousin, especially Cass, who treats her like a life doll.

It's funny that my 3 daughters and their baby cousin all have looks of their own and have very little or no resemblance  at all. Tell me, do you spot any resemblance in them? Hair color and skin color do not count ok. Only facial features ;)

Photo: My four most lovable granddaughters ....From left: Cassandra Yap (6), Raelyne Yong (2), Sherilyn Yap (9), Alycia Yap (10).

I forgot to mention that my daughters' trademark are their dimples!  Both Alycia and Sherilyn have dimples on both sides of their cheeks and Cass has one on her left cheek. I have none and I am forever thankful to God for making my dream come true by bestowing my three daughters with to-die-for dimples! I was obsessed with dimples when I was young and still wish that I was born with seductive dimples like my daughters teehee...

Saturday, February 1, 2014

2nd Day Of CNY - Train Back To Ipoh

For the first time ever, we took a train back to Ipoh on the 2nd day of CNY this year. We would normally drive back and for several years already, we had not gone back to Ipoh to my parents during CNY.

Our train ride was at 9am.  I woke up at 4:45am as usual to get some chores done and to get the girls ready. The taxi came at 8:30am to bring us to KL Sentral to catch the ETS.

Burgers for breakfast in the train...

CNY 2014 train ride 3

Cass playing with the iPad during the train ride...

CNY 2014 train ride 4

Finally reached Ipoh and waiting for my brother to fetch us to my parents for a mega reunion with my dad's siblings, my cousins and their kids before adjourning to the restaurant for lunch.

CNY 2014 train ride 2