Wednesday, 30 November 2011

DADS and STAY HOME DADS: Some Myths and Misconceptions

  1. Men can't multi-task.
  2. Men don't know how to look after a baby.
  3. A mother's love is always best; small children need their mothers with them more than their fathers.
  4. Men don't hear a baby crying at night.
  5. Stay home dads are lucky because they get to play at home with the kids all day.
  6. If you see a man out and about with kids on a weekday, it means he's babysitting.
  7. Dads are no good at shopping for kids clothes.
  8. Working Mums have to struggle with work-life balanca, but Working Dads don't.
  9. Men can't breastfeed. 
(Source: 'The Parent Voice' Spring 2010 by City of Darebin)

I believe that most of the above are actually only 'practice issues' more than anything else (well, take the 9th out of the list of course). What do you think?

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

LETS SPY: Homemade Binoculars for Little Investigators

a recycling idea

Do you feel bad about using so many rolls of paper towels and toilet paper at home on a regular basis but can't do without them? Well, at least you can try to reuse some parts of it, that may feel a bit better. Of course I only mean the clean rolls/tubes that are left over at the end.

This is a homemade beauty which will keep your energy bombs busy for quite a while, perhaps on and off though. It is homemade, cheap, and fun. If there is an elder brother/sister who can help the younger one, it is even better. If not, your child would appreciate your help and the time spent together making something fun. I am sure it will be one of the fond memories of childhood for them: Making things together with mum or dad.

The materials you will need for this activity can vary a bit depending on how crafty you would like to be or how much time you have got in your hands. The basic materials that you will need would be as below:
  • One paper towel roll (cut in half to make it shorter and make it the required amount) or two clean toilet paper rolls/tubes
  •  Some thick string, one shoe lace, or some ribbon (again, the length can vary depending on what you prefer and your child's size), 
  • A hole puncher or a pair of scissors to make some holes on the rolls where the string will be tied. 
recycling toilet paper rolls

You may also need these if you prefer something that is not only practical bus also looks good too:
  • If you prefer, you can also wrap the tubes to make them look nicer than the usual raw look in which case you will need a gift wrap or paper to wrap them with and glue to stick them on.
  • Or you could let your child's imagination take in control and let them paint or draw on the rolls according to his/her taste. If this is the case, you would need a pen/some paint etc.
The idea is that the rolls become the binoculars and the string goes around the neck to hold it there. You may also need to somehow separate the two rolls rather than sticking them side by side again depending on the size of your little precious one. The pictures above are not the first or the best looking ones that we have made at home. This particular one was made by Mr. Hubby and Mr. Junior a few weeks ago. The gap between the rolls isn't the best as Mr. Junior can use only one eye to look through a hole as the other roll is too far on the side for him. However, because it is a 'masterpiece' of both him and his daddy, he does not complain about the imbalance of it at all! 

Have fun spying today!

Monday, 28 November 2011


I was planning to browse the article that I am sending you the link of but the factual information in it was so interesting, informative and important that I could not help but share the whole article with you. Just click on the link below and have a good read through it. It is really good to know!

Link: Genetically modified foods | Better Health Channel

Sunday, 27 November 2011


Could anyone ever describe chips as above (especially 'healthy')? The answer is YES. I am talking about some homemade chips, of course.

This is one of our family favourites especially on Spring and Summer days. It is extremely easy and is definitely a healthy choice. It is much more inexpensive than the chips you can buy from today's almost every market. I am sure pretty much everyone in the family will enjoy this particular food.

Now, let me share with you this everyone-can-make type of recipe. First the ingredients of course:
  • Lebanese bread (flat/pitta bread) (most supermarkets as well as mini-markets and bakeries in Australia stock them these days. They generally come in a pack of 5 but I would doubt you can go through it all at once unless you have a big family or a party going on)
  • A working flat-bed toaster (sandwich press), grill or an oven (we generally use the toaster)
healthy chips

Cut up the bread to your preferred size and shape (you can separate the two layers of the bread or keep it double layered when cutting) and toast/grill/oven them until crisp. Don't walk away when you start cooking them as they need only a minute or two before they become nice and crispy. I recommend you dip it in your favourite homemade dip (we love our guacamole dip (the one with avocado) the most but experiment it with a variety before deciding on your family's favourite combination. You can also serve it with some spreadable cheese if you don't have a dip at the time. Just give it a try, you can't go wrong.

If you can think of another combination or a variety of it, please share with us.

healthy food recipes

Caution: It is addictive!!!

Note: If you have any leftover chips, just put it in an air-tight container until the next time or you can give it to your child to snack on (he is sure to love that crunchiness of it) or consume it with some homemade soup. You could even take it to work as a part of your lunch or snack. It is not going to leave you with a messy or smelly desk, nor will you have any oily fingers after eating it!



This overcast Sunday morning Mr. Junior got up begging us to take him to a museum where there are lots of dinosaurs on display. Explanation and distraction techniques haven't worked for us today. What do we do now? Help!

Saturday, 26 November 2011


Manuka honey is a 'must' for us at home. Even though it originates from New Zealand, the first time we learned about it was when Mr. Hubby and I were on a holiday in a beautiful tropical city of Australia, Cairns, about 5-6 years ago. Since then, we cannot do without it especially during cooler days when we are more prone to colds and bacterial infections.  We simply have a large teaspoonful generally in the morning when we feel that we are coming down with a cold etc (Note: when I say we, I exclude Miss Junior in this paragraph as she is too young to have honey yet. Please refer to my post titled WARNING: NO HONEY FOR BABIES -published on 11/11/2011- before deciding on whether to use honey for your children or not).  Below is some factual information I've found after researching for detailed information on active manuka honey.
Manuka honey is a form of monofloral honey that’s created by honey bees as they gather nectar from the flowers of the manuka bush (Leptospermum Scoparium).
It is possibly the oldest known medicine. Aristotle (384-322 BC) said, "It’s good as a salve for sore eyes and wounds" and Dioscorides (50 AD) referred to it as "Good for all rotten and hollow ulcers".
In New Zealand, Professor Peter Molan of the University of Waikato believes manuka honey is as close as you'll get to a medical magic bullet. According to a source, he says: "When it comes to serious infections, Manuka honey is particularly valuable because it has a much better anti-bacterial activity than other honey. When I cut my finger with a chainsaw quite deeply, quite a wide cut, I just put honey straight on it, wrapped it up and kept on working for the rest of the day — there's not a mark on it".
 According to professor Peter C Molan (MBE) BSc (Hons) Wales. PhD Liv. from New Zealand's University of Waikato, "It works on bacteria, fungi, protozoa. We haven't found anything it doesn't work on among infectious organisms."
Active Manuka honey is claimed to have 100 times more medicinal properties than the ordinary table honey. They have ratings and 10+ and higher are better than the ones with lower activity ratings such as 5+. 
Manuka honey is a healthy healing option and is often used for;
  • Skin ulcers, wounds, boils
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Stomach aches, ulcers and related conditions
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Heartburn
  • Sore throats, strep throat & colds
  • Gum disease
  • Acid reflux disease
  • Esophagitis
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Gastritis
  • Cold & flu symptoms & more

Friday, 25 November 2011


Play helps babies and toddlers learn new skills, gain knowledge, explore their abilities and develop in many ways. During this age group, they're undergoing heaps of growth and development and playing can aid this significantly. In fact, engaging your baby or toddler in age appropriate play can do wonders for their early childhood education and learning ability and give them a good foundation for future learning.

Baby Play Ideas:
  • Babies love songs, especially with repetitive words,
  • Books are great for children and getting them into books from a young age is beneficial. Books for babies are often brightly coloured, have touch-and-feel aspects or may be interactive. You can read them stories and engage their attention with the colour and pictures.
  • Hand and finger puppets are lots of fun and you can create your own stories to entertain your baby. Use funny voices or accents for an extra degree of entertainment!
  • Rattles and other toys that make noises are lots of fun for babies.
  • Baby play mats, which have rattles, scrunchy noises or other playful aspects included help gain a baby's attention. 
Toddler Play Ideas: 
  • Making towers of building blocks is great fun, but develops key skills too. Children will probably love the part where they get to knock things down too!
  • Many toddlers love dressing up boxes and acting out play themes.
  • Drawing, colouring and other art and craft activities are loved by many toddlers, plus it can help their fine motor skills.
  • Playing with a ball - either playing catch or kicking it around.
  • Walking and running around outside or playing in a children's playground.
  • For some outdoor activities, older toddlers can help in the garden, by watering plants or planting seeds.
  • Singing songs is loved by toddlers too and adding actions adds an extra element. 
The above are some notes from a 'Positive Parenting' course.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

DID YOU KNOW ... ? (1)

newborn elephant
A newborn elephant already weighs roughly 100kg.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011


polar bears

Full-grown polar bears have black skin under their white fur.


handmade toothpaste
I haven't tried this myself yet but am looking forward to getting the chance to do it soon as we are still not quite sure whether Mr. Junior's commercially claimed 'safe for kids' toothpaste is actually as safe as they claim it is. You may also prefer it for other reasons such as its much lower cost when compared with the packaged toothpastes. Here is a few homemade toothpaste recipes for you or your children (only if your child knows how to spit out and does not swallow it):

  • glycerin (vegetable base would be good)
  • sodium bicarbonate (baking soda/bicarb/bicarbonate) (which has antibacterial properties and helps whitening teeth)
  • hydrogen peroxide (has foaming action and helps to break down 
  • some natural flavouring oil (for freshness: peppermint or fennel oil preferred;  tea tree oil can be chosen for its antibacterial properties and doesn't taste bad; or a few drops of cinnamon oil for its delicious smell may be your choice)
Just mix them up (6 parts of baking soda, 1 part of vegetable based glycerin, 1 part hydrogen peroxide solution, flavour to taste) until smooth.

Caution: Both sodium bicarbonate and hydrogen peroxide can be toxic in large amounts. Also, if using for your children, encourage kids to spit out rather than swallowing the paste while brushing their teeth as ingestion of the paste may be harmful. 

Another homemade toothpaste recipe:
  • sodium bicarbonate (baking soda)
  • a few drops of olive oil
  • glycerin
  • a few drops of natural flavouring oil (peppermint oil etc)
One last recipe for you:

  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • a little bit of salt (less than the baking soda, approximately 1/2tsp)
  • some water
  • 1 drop natural flavouring/oil (spearmint, sweet orange, clove etc) (this is optional)
Combine the bicarbonate with the salt and add some water until the dry ingredients' consistency becomes similar to a toothpaste. Then use it like a toothpaste.

Caution: Even though using bicarbonate is a good way for skipping the chemicals in regular commercial toothpastes, it can damage your tooth enamel if used often due to its natural abrasive qualities. You should only use it for your teeth once or twice a week. In addition, do NOT use baking soda if you wear braces or a permanent retainer for it dissolves orthodontic glue.  

Tuesday, 22 November 2011


Below is a list by Napcan Foundation (The National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect):
listener sign
  • Listen the way you wish to be listened to
  • Stop what you are doing and look at your child
  • Listen to what your child is saying - rather than thinking about how you will respond
  • Let your child finish - without interrupting
  • Listen with all your senses - pick up on the cues you are given
  • Together, work out what needs to happen next
  • If you don't have time to listen, don't pretend. Work out another time to talk

Some recommended listening activities with children are;
  • Go on a special outing together and listen to their thoughts and feelings
  • Wash up together
  • Let your child plan and help prepare a meal
  • Share daily activities, like walking the dog
  • Watch TV shows your child chooses and show interest in them
  • Have meals together at the table
  • Read a book together and chat about your child's thoughts and feelings

Monday, 21 November 2011


Below, I am sharing with you some safe, easy, cheap, homemade and of course environmentally friendly cleaning tips for your baby products around the house:
  • Put the same amount of water and white vinegar into a bottle with a spray head. You can leave your baby's toys in this mixture for about 15 minutes before drying them. When they are dry, they are ready to be used again! 
  • Add 4 tablespoonsful of bicarbonate into a litre of warm water. Wash your little charmer's toys or pacifiers etc in this solution and then dry them before giving them to your baby again!
Note: I will be writing more on homemade cleaning products and ideas in the future as I am a bit unsure about and uncomfortable with using those harsh chemicals that are available at supermarkets. So, stay tuned!

Sunday, 20 November 2011


As a general rule we need positives to negatives at about a ratio of 9 to 1. So, spend a day noticing everything your child does right and notice the difference!

If we haven't paid much attention to this before, it is never too late, LETS START NOW!

Saturday, 19 November 2011


Playdoughs are really beneficial for toddlers and preschoolers in various ways.
handmade playdough

Easy play dough recipes
These two pictures were copied from here 

Some benefits of play-dough based games are;
  • they are good for developing their motor skills, sensory experiences, preschool skills such as poking, pinching, squeezing, rolling and cutting all of which also help with school readiness, 
  • good for their imaginative plays, 
  • useful in expressing their feelings and 
  • they are great fun! 
    • Additionally, many preschoolers would love to help making a playdough at home which has its own numerous benefits too such as encouraging and improving mathematical skills (eg. measuring, counting etc), language skills (eg. following instructions), teaching them concepts like full/empty or hot/cold and problem solving skills (eg. "I think this is too dry. What should we do?" or 'what happens when we pour water into flour?'). 
Here are a few homemade playdough recipes for you. 

Cooked Playdough

2 cups plain flour
1 cup salt
2 tablespoons cream of tartar
2 tablespoons oil
2 cups of water
Edicol colour (1/2 teaspoon)

How to do it:
Mix ingredients and cook gently stirring constantly until thick. Allow to cook and knead until smooth. Store and use.

Stretchy Playdough

Use and sort of container, cup, top or spoon
2,5 measures self raising flour
1 measure of cold water

How to do it: 
Mix together flour and water to make a lovely stretchy dough. Add more flour if necessary. Colour with Edicol dye or use spice, essence for a different sensation.

Uncooked Playdough

1 cup of salt
2 cups of plain flour
1 teaspoon colouring
1 teaspoon oil
Water to mix

1 cup of plain flour
Half a cup of salt
Half a tablepoon of cooking oil
Quarter a cup of cold water
Food colouring (optional)
Glitter (optional)

How to do it:
Place salt and flour in a bowl. Slowly add the oil and water with colouring until a dough forms. Knead until smooth.


2 cups corn flour
Cold water to mix

How to do it:
Place corn flour in a bowl and add a small amount of water until a thick dough consistency forms. Easier and fun to mix with your hands.

Glue and Paint

3 rounded tablespoons of corn flour
3 tablespoons of cold water to mix
500ml boiling water


Use any measure, eg, spoon, cup
1 part corn flour
1 part cold water to mix
3 parts boiling water to thicken

How to do it: 
In a measuring jug, mix corn flour with enough water to be runny. Add boiling water to the mixture to make 500ml stirring until thick and smooth. Use this for finger painting/glue, messy play or collage etc. or make paint by adding Edicol dye, and adding more cold water to thin.


It is recommended that playing with playdough doesn't start prior to the age of 18 months. 

If your homemade playdough dries, just add some water, knead it for a while and it should go back to normal soft-self again!

It is claimed that if you add some vanilla or some peppermint extract to your homemade playdough, it helps prevention of molding and preserves the dough while making it smell nice but be careful, it may smell so nice that children may not be able to resist tasting it!

Friday, 18 November 2011


Continuing with poems... This is a poem/song (written by George Orwell III) that I have read in a newsletter of a council in Melbourne. It is a pretty good read and is a good way to start or end the day with. Enjoy!

I think I'm going crazy, with all these kids around
I think I'm saying 'no' a lot, and 'put the stick down'

Get down off that wall/car/tree, can't you see the risk?
What do you mean, you don't care, and you've got another wrist?

Put your shoes back on you dag, your socks are getting soaked
I'm drowning in a sea of washing; the lines already choked

What's that smell, oh god, you can't take that into the pool
Didn't I change your bum before we fetched your brother from school?

And keep your shoes off the couch, your mum will have a fit
It's already been attacked by cordial, chips and lego bricks

Now if I had a dollar, for every time I said 'just wait'
I'd now have far more money, than what's his name, Bill Gates

A pram with rear view mirrors, yes, would make it easier to find
The hats and socks lost on the way (and to check out fit behinds)

So please don't think when you see me, 'he's just babysitting for his wife'
Like you, I'm only stressed because the kids, they give me strife

And that's because my job, it is to be there for them all
And all the time, which as you know, leaves not much left at all

Preparing meals and lunches, washing dishes, clothes and bums
I'm sure you realise how it can get a bit ho-hum

Yes, I do the cooking, washing and I do the shopping too
And cos I see so much of it, I even clean the loo

If you see me growl at our young brood, please don't assume I'm scary
I'm really not a monster, even if my back is hairy

I think I'd like to get a job, that pays, and gets me out
And lets me talk to grown-ups, cos with them I rarely shout

But they make me laugh, they make me cry, they keep me young inside
(and often I reflect how much my heart is filled with pride)

I'm pleased to say they're growing, and they're not doing too bad,
And I think they'll understand it takes a lot, to be a dad.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011


Isn't that amazing how people can come up with such great ideas that utilise not-needed items in hand so beautifully? Believe it or not the purses that you see the pictures of below are made out of yoghurt tub lids!

Recycled craftsrecycling kitchen items

Here is the link to the original blog entry. It has both pictures and instructions as to how to do it.

Enjoy your crafty days!

Sunday, 13 November 2011

AN EASY ART PROJECT: How to Draw a Monkey Face

I've just come across with a website where they teach how to draw a monkey face easily. Below is the copied set of instructions from the original website for you. (Click here to go to the website)

  1. Imagine two circles sitting on top of an oval. If you cannot imagine this arrangement, lightly sketch these shapes with an erasable pencil and remove them after the next step. 
  2. Trace around the outside of this shape. You should have an oval with two lumps on top. Notice that there are three inward points, one at the top, one at the left and one at the right. If you chose to sketch the two circles and oval, erase any unnecessary lines now. 
  3. Draw a larger circular shape that will closely circumscribe your previous drawing. This is the monkey's face. 
  4. Draw two circle shapes, one attached to each side of the face. These are the monkey's ears.  
  5. Draw a small oval in the center of the face. This is the monkey's nose.
  6. Draw two small vertical lines slightly above the nose. Notice that they look like the numeral "11". These are the monkey's eyes.
  7. Draw a mouth in the appropriate space. Experiment with different types of mouths. A short upward curve makes a good smile. Alternatively, try a small circle or broad line with creases on each end. Place the mouth higher or lower for different effects.
  8. Finish the monkey by coloring. Add other interesting details to personalize your monkey. 

Friday, 11 November 2011


honey for babies
Honey is  a great source of energy and also contains protein, vitamins and minerals.  The two types of sugar in it are quickly absorbed into the bloodstream and give the body a quick energy boost. It has less than 2% sodium (almost sodium-free) and has many medicinal properties. One of the most commonly known effects of honey is its antibacterial effect. It literally dehydrates the bacteria that causes the infection until it dies. In addition, enzymatic activities of honey contribute to honey's antibacterial properties too.

Normally, honey is a fabulous healthy, tasty, natural and wholesome food (It is also a part of our homemade remedies at home and I will be posting an entry on that in the near future). HOWEVER, honey is NOT SAFE for INFANTS and therefore should NOT be consumed prior to the age of one at all (many recommend to wait even until the age of two)! (This warning includes dipping pacifiers into the honey too! It is UNSAFE.)

Honey can contain spores of a bacterium called Clostridium botulinum, which can germinate in a baby's immature digestive system and cause infant botulism, a rare but potentially fatal illness.

These spores do not harm adults and older children as our developed digestive system prevents the bacteria from growing.

The symptoms of botulism include muscle weakness (a 'floppy baby'), constipation, slack jaw, sucking issues, crying, lethargy, drooling or swallowing difficulties and occasionally, respiratory arrest.

The baby foods should not contain honey but it is still worthwhile to check ingredients before you feed your precise baby any foods that you haven't cooked at home or aren't totally sure of the content. Don't forget, some baked breads and commercial foods may contain honey in them as well. Never take it for granted and double check if unsure.

Wishing all your babies a honey-free babyhood!

Wednesday, 9 November 2011


The National Recycling Week aims to increase the environmental benefits of kerbside, industrial and community recycling programs.

A few reminders in regards to Planet Ark's National Recycling Week:

  • You can recycle printer cartridges and mobile phones into everything from pens to jewellery at Australia Post outlets. (There are recycling boxes located in Australian Post retail outlets).
  •  Especially companies and offices are encouraged to participate in Friday File Fling (file cleanout: declutter your office and get good, reusable office paper back into circulation.).
  • You can check out the website or the newsletter of your council to see what they are doing or you can take a part in during this meaningful week. You can also visit some reputable and informative sites such as, or for more detailed information on the National Recycling Week and recycling in general.

Did you know that

...the most commonly made recycling mistake is putting PLASTIC BAGS in the kerbside recycling bin?

...Australians throw away 270 million (approximately 12 per person) (equal of about 8000 tonnes) batteries a year?

...aluminum  can be recycled over and over, infinitely?

Wherever you are or whatever you do, don't forget to reduce, re-use and recycle! 

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

PAPER BOWS: Tutorial

This is a project that I've found while browsing another blog (here). I've loved it and wanted to share it with you as well. They would be great as a kid activity or you can use it to decorate your gifts. They can also be used as a part of a party decoration too.

Square piece of card stock
One brad
Hole punch

paper bowsWith right side of paper facing down cut paper where you see dotted lines. Cut off bottom section (refer to right picture).

paper bow instructionsBend top flap down revealing right side of paper. Punch holes as marked by the five black dots. Fold bottom left corner up and add a brad. Click on images for a larger view.

paper craftsAttach top left corner to the brad. Attach bottom right flap to the brad.

easy paper bowsAttach top right flap to brad. Place brad through the center hole. Close brad in the back. Cut out bottom of bow (refer to dots). Done!

handmade bowsOnce your bows are made you can adjust the shape by trimming the bows if you wish.

Monday, 7 November 2011


These are some phrases that a private early learning centre recommends their teachers and the parents of their students to use. As you will notice, some of the phrases below suit only a classroom environment while others can be used at home too. It is also worth mentioning that the phrases below only emphasise the expectations and the positives rather than focusing on negatives.
  • "I need good listeners."
  • "I like the words you used."
  • "I like what I'm seeing right now, (and describe positive behaviour)."
  • "We're not doing that yet/now. We're still doing ... "
  • "Put up your hand if you want to ..." 
  • "Can you sit up (child's name), you must be tired today."
  • "I'd like to see you talking only when you put up your hand and I call your name."
  • "I need you to be patient right now. I know it is hard to wait sometimes."
  • "It's my turn to speak now."
  • "I'm choosing the children who are sitting quietly, with their hands in their laps and sitting nicely on the line."
  • "You need to sit over here today/now."
  • "I'm waiting for quiet."
  • "Good manners."
  • "Well done, next time maybe you could be a little quieter."
  • "Walking feet, inside voices."
  • "The only person I should hear now is ... "

 If you know of any other phrases that work for you and would like to share with us all as well, please let us know in the 'comments' section.

Friday, 4 November 2011


 It is so enjoyable to make some fun staff out of anything in hand. It is even more satisfactory when what you make is well appreciated. I love the idea of re-using and re-purposing and challenging myself with something new every time. If I can manage 'no waste', I feel that I have achieved quite a bit. Also, I try to teach myself that it is possible to let go of my strict rules and allow my imagination to go wild. This particular activity isn't the most unique or the challenging one. However, it is fun all the same.

There are endless number of things you can do using an empty egg pallet. One of the easiest and I guess the first thing that comes to mind would be that they make great finger puppets or faces. It is possible to use your drawn faces/people/characters/shapes in teaching in a classroom environment or at home too. You could draw shapes and ask your child to name them, you could ask your child to draw a certain shape, you may draw some faces that show emotions, you can make the drawn characters a part of a family, you can ask your child or your language students to tell you about the characters, you can ask your child/student to turn their back to you and as you tell them certain things, you ask them to draw them and then check how accurately they were able to do so (for instance, ask them to draw a smiley face and big eyes with a large nose and the hair falls towards left and has a tie etc. This involves a lot of language skills. Regardless of the language you are teaching, you can use it as a teaching activity), you can write numbers and see whether your child recognises numbers yet etc.

What I did with the last week's egg pallet was that I drew those simple characters on the inside and left it in Mr. Junior's play room at night for him to find it in the morning. When he sees something different, it always makes him curious. It wasn't an exemption this time either. He found the pallet in the morning, opened it up curiously, was surprised to see my drawing in it. He first spent some time alone and then came to me (I actually watched his first reaction without him realising it). We talked about it and I asked him to tell me about them. Their emotions, their names, their occupations, their clothes, their relationships to each other etc. He is only a young child with limited vocabulary and comprehension skills but he was happy to tell me about them as much as he could. It definitely made him busy for a while and I think he liked it even better when we had a 'conversation' about it. (He had a go at drawing as well after that but the pen he was using wasn't the best and he stopped trying it. He told me what to draw and I drew them at the back.)

As I mentioned above, there can be various ways of using this activity. I have just shared what I did only a few days ago as well as some other possible activities that came to mind. Looking forward to your comments on how you use/suggest using an empty egg pallet to keep your little ones busy or while teaching.

Enjoy your weekend!

recycling ideas
recycling egg pallets

Thursday, 3 November 2011



Broad beans (some call it fava beans or fava) come from the pea family and are a good source of copper. They also have niacin, folate, fiber and vitamin C. They are rich in calories and especially proteins. In general, they provide similar nutrients to beans. Overall speaking, beans are so rich in protein that they may replace meat in diet but they lack some certain elements (amino acids) that they need to be able to substitute meat. That is why it is good to consume beans with some grains, for example on toast or with some rice. 

fava bean plantThe flowers of broad beans are used for medicinal purposes but it is the pods and the seeds that we eat. The pods can be eaten when young and fresh (I can tell you that the raw pods are juicy when young) and the seeds can be consumed as dried beans (soaked and cooked well) or raw if fresh and tender (if cooked/boiled, I suggest peel off the skin before using it as it will help with digestion). We normally use the fresh ones when we have them in the garden and we eat them raw even though you can find many recipes of cooked foods made with them on the internet or via friends or family (we sometimes add it to our stir fried noodles or make salads with them. They can be pureed too and it is a pretty common dish in a certain part of Italy).  They are more digestible when they are tender.

We used to buy dry broadbeans from local groceries whenever they were in season. However, last year, we decided to plant some using the dried beans we had in hand at the time and have been enjoying some fresh ones since then. We noticed that it is quite easy to grow them (at least it has been the case for us here in Melbourne, Australia) and I may try to write about how to grow them for the ones interested in having their own in the garden when I get a chance in the future.
fava beans
We simply go to the garden, pick some, open them up and eat the seeds (and sometimes the pods too). Mr. Junior really likes the idea of picking something by himself from the garden and it actually makes him more interested in the food. He is happier to consume the foods that he plays a role in planting or growing or harvesting than the ones he just sees in the fridge or in his plate. When they are in season, we also take some fresh broad beans with us when we go out for him to snack on. 

Note: Some people may be allergic to this food and it is called favism. Even the inhalation of its pollens may cause an allergic reaction.

Did you know that according to a source, a fava bean is included in a Christmas cake in Portugal and traditionally, whoever gets the fava bean has to buy the Christmas cake the following year!

Also, it is claimed by a source that in the Netherlands, the velvet insides of the broad bean pods are rubbed against warts as it is believed to heal warts (it is a folk remedy in the Netherlands).

Tuesday, 1 November 2011


I truly believe that those tiny human beings are the most easily entertained creatures. They are so innocent and curious that anything and everything would work when trying to get a smile from them as long as they feel the love and care (and obviously as long as their essential needs are met).

kids having funThis easy peasy activity does not really require anything apart from a muslin wrap/scarf/a light piece of fabric and preferably two people. If you have an older child as well, this will be a nice little activity he/she may enjoy doing with you and the baby sister/brother (I manage to do it alone too at times). The other sibling can either help you do the activity by giving you a hand in holding the fabric or can lie down with the baby and enjoy it.
baby wrap

I often like to use a coloured muslin wrap or if possible a fabric with some patterns on it (Eg. some stars). However, if you only have a plain scarf, that will work too. The other thing that is optional but I like adding is a bit of classical music to the background.

All you need to do is that when your baby is nice and calm, put her on the floor facing to you. If you have a second person who can do this activity with you, the two of you hold the muslin wrap from each corner (two corners per person). So, the fabric is flat. With a smiley face, just move the scarf up and down slowly and just enjoy how much pleasure she has while you do that. Everytime the fabric comes closer to the baby, she is likely to move her arms and legs up to touch it and when the fabric goes further away from her and she can see your face again, she is likely to smile, or if lucky, perhaps even giggle. It is one easy, yet enjoyable and calming activity.

As they say, enjoy it while you can. These little moments when everyone is happy are all very precious and we should never take it for granted. It is also a period of time in life, both babyhood and parenthood, when little things can make us smile. Make the most of it!