Tuesday, 31 January 2012


I have learnt this from a kids' science TV program recently. I found it amazing and wanted to share it with you too.

If you cook red cabbage, you will see that its water turns dark purple. If you pour some of that water onto a cup of plain tap water, the water turns purple. Then add some egg white and stir it well, the water will become blue. Then add some vinegar, and it will turn into pink/red. Add some baking soda, it will be blue again. Put some lemonade in it and it will amazingly turn into purple once again! (I hope I remembered them all right!)

It is incredible!

If you would like to learn more about the activity or the reasons behind the colour changes, here is one of the good sources for you.

Monday, 30 January 2012


Homemade paint recipes


  • 1 cup of flour
  • 2 tablespoons of salt
  • 1 ½ cups of cold water
  • 1 ¼ cups of hot water
  • food colouring

  1. Place your flour and water in a saucepan. Beat with an egg whisk until smooth. The cold water will allow all the lumps of flour to be worked out to give you a smooth consistency.
  2. Add the hot water and boil on the stove until your paint thickens.
  3. Whisk again until smooth
  4. Add drops of food colouring until you get the desired shade.
  5. Store covered in the fridge.
Yes, it is that easy! However, if you like, you can try some other recipes too. Here are some more homemade paint recipes for you:


  • Starch
  • Sugar
  • Water
  • Liquid detergent 
  • Food colouring
  1. Cook starch and sugar in water. 
  2. When cooled down, add some detergent and food colouring. 

  1. A container (an egg carton would do the job)
  2. Cream
  3. Food colouring
  1. Break out a muffin tin or empty egg carton.
  2. Spoon some cold cream into the tin or carton. The amount you use is up to you. It will depend on how much paint you need in the end.
  3. Mix 1 to 2 drops of various colors food coloring into each cup. Feel free to mix colors to create your own variety.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

DID YOU KNOW ...? (10)

Rubik's cube puzzle
It is claimed that a Rubik's Cube has 4,325,003,274,489,856,000 possible positions. (That makes approximately four quintillion. Unbelievable!)

Friday, 27 January 2012


Matching game Montessori style

This is a cost-free and easy-to-do activity that you can do with your children at home. You can use different types (and number) of materials depending on your child's age, readiness level and also what you have in hand at the time. This is a great activity which will help your child with mathematical and language skills as well as coordination and motor skills. I almost always prefer various types of materials (which also helps with sensory skills) and sizes.  For this example, perhaps some glass jars as well as plastic ones in different sizes would work well.

The idea is simple: Your child matches the jars with their lids and can also try to put them on if he is at a stage where he can handle that much challenge. As usual, I recommend a demonstration first and then let him do it. You can also introduce some contrasting words such as 'tall/short, big/small, wide/narrow and so forth while playing/working on this activity. Additionally, you can count the jars/containers and their lids in a language (or languages) that you would like to teach your child.

This is such a hassle-free activity with lots of opportunities for fun and learning. It is a simple and free activity that you can easily use with your toddlers or preschoolers at home.

Thursday, 26 January 2012


Today is Australia Day. (Australia Day: Australia’s national day is held on 26th January in recognition of the arrival in 1788 of the First Fleet, a group of 11 ships that sailed from England to establish a colony in Australia). It is celebrated nationally and is a public holiday throughout the whole nation.

People celebrate Australia Day in various ways. Australia Day celebrations include Australia Day Honours, Australian of the Year Awards1, Citizenship ceremonies, concerts, carnivals and family entertainment (or a simple BBQ with family and friends at the backyard).

If you haven't got any other plans after the traditional celebrations or in general, but want to get out of your house with your children perhaps to a playground, then see the list below.

The list was published by Melbourne's Child Magazine in the Dec 2011/Jan 2012 edition.

  • ArtPlay Playground: Birrarung Marr, Melbourne.
  • Bayswater Park: Mountain Highway or King Street, Bayswater.
  • Harmony Park: 187-195 Gaffney Street, Coburg.
  • Hay's Paddock: Access via Lister or Longstaff streets, Kew East.
  • Malahang Reserve: Corner of Oriel and Southern roads, Heidelberg West.
  • Plum Garland Memorial Playground: Corner of Beaconsfield Paradise and Victoria Avenue, Albert Park.
  • Quarries Park: Corner of Ramsden and Field streets, Clifton Hill.
  • Ruffley Lake Park: Corner of Victoria Street and Muriel Green Drive, Doncaster East.
  • St Kilda Adventure Playground: 26 Neptune Street, St Kilda.
  • Wombat Bend Playspace: Duncan Street, Templestowe Lower.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012


This is another homemade remedy that we have included in our lives as a family (except for Miss Junior for the moment). When we notice that there is an indication of a cold or flu, especially when there is a sign that a sore throat is on the way or is present, we go to the kitchen, just put some salt in a cup of drinking water, go to the bathroom and gargle. Hard to believe but yes, it is that easy!

We taught Mr. Junior how to gargle when he was about 2 years old and since then, he does it too.

These are the possible reasons why it is good to use salt gargle:
  • SALT SUCKS: A salty water solution can draw excess fluid from inflamed tissues in the throat, making them hurt less,
  • SALT CLEANSES: gargling also loosens thick mucus, which can remove irritants like allergens, bacteria and fungi from the throat. 
  • gargling tends to attenuate bronchial symptoms
What I do and recommend everyone else to do as well is that you gargle with this salt solution when;
  • you come back home from a place where you were likely to be contaminated with a bacteria or virus (eg. from a doctor's clinic-waiting areas are likely to contain quite a few types of germs and can pose a risk especially during winter)
  • you experience some respiratory infection symptoms such as a cold or a sore/itchy throat
  • especially during cold times when there are many people affected by respiratory infections, even if you don't experience it at the time, use this remedy for prevention purposes.
I also strongly recommend that you gargle before you eat so that you clean your mouth before you push things down with food as you eat. 

Below are some suggestions by an article that was published in NYtimes (here) on September the 27th in 2010:
  • dissolve half a teaspoon of salt in a full glass of warm water and gargle the solution for a few seconds before spitting it out.
  • It is also suggested that for a better result, gargling three times a day is recommended.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012


I have recently learnt that some produces are more important to be bought in their organic version than the others as they tend to have the highest amount of pesticides when conventionally grown. If you can buy everything organic, lucky you, I'd definitely say go for it! However, if you have to choose, whether it is for you, your child or for the whole family, choose the ones that are likely to contain the highest pesticide levels normally organic and buy the ones with relatively less pesticide levels from not necessarily organic produce selling places. By doing so, you can reduce the amount of your pesticides intake by 90%!

Here is the list of the ones that tend to have the highest pesticides levels if not organically grown (so, try to buy these organic):
  • celery
  • strawberries
  • peaches
  • blueberries
  • spinach
  • apples
  • nectarines
  • bell peppers
  • cherries
  • potatoes (and more)
Now, lets look at the list of the produces with less pesticide levels:
  • Peas
  • Corn
  • Asparagus
  • Pineapple
  • Mangoes
  • Kiwi
  • Honeydew
  • Cantaloupe/Rockmelon
  • Onion
  • Sweet potatoes
I am aware that there are some standards in place especially here in Australia. However, it still doesn't mean that the foods that we consume everyday are pesticide free (unless stated so). There are ways to reduce the amount of pesticides and other chemicals we are exposed to by following some certain strategies. Some of those strategies are listed below:

Buy organic/biodynamic.
Grow your own.
Buy produces that pass particular standards (be extra careful with the imported ones).
Thoroughly wash all fruit and vegetables.
Peel or remove the outer layer whenever possible.
Do not over-consume certain types of foods. Instead, eat a variety of meats, vegies and fruit.
Cook meat/chicken well.
Trim visible fat from meats, as many residues are fat soluble.

There are many online sources available if you would like to do further reading on this topic. You can search for 'dirty dozen and clean fifteen', 'pesticide residue in fresh produce' and 'pesticides and other chemicals in food' and so forth. You can also visit some other reliable websites such as this or this

Monday, 23 January 2012


Easy napkin rings

Who would have ever thought some unwanted tubes around the house could easily be turned into some stylish napkin rings?

Recycling in style

They are unbelievably easy to make and are definitely good looking. This project shouldn't need more than half an hour and isn't costly at all. I think this is a great craft activity for you or your child. In my opinion, this is a very clever recycling idea beautifully put into action by a crafty person and published here.  You can check her website for more photos and step-by-step instructions if needed.

Easy handmade recycled napkin ring

Sunday, 22 January 2012


It is important to know the differences between praise and encouragement when working with children regardless of your position as a parent or a teacher. Praise and encouragement are two different terms. Here are some notes on praise's differences from encouragement.
  • praise gives personal judgement by an approving adult
  • can discourage belief in oneself
  • "If I'm not good then am I bad?"
  • can focus on end product
  • develops a competitive/superior belief

Saturday, 21 January 2012

DID YOU KNOW ...? (9)

Arabians are known as very temperamental horses with great stamina.

Friday, 20 January 2012


Yoghurt recipe

I must confess. I LOVE my fruity yoghurt! Especially when the weather is hot and I don't quite feel like having anything even though I am hungry due to the heat, some fruity yoghurt would be one of my first rescuers. It is refreshing, healthy, filling and delicious. It is quite flexible too and you can make your own fruit combination depending on your taste buds or the seasonal choices.

In the picture above, you see what Mr. Junior had the other day just before his daytime nap. Nuts and berries are his favourites and he decided on this particular menu by himself. He actually put the yoghurt into the bowl, washed some organic blueberries and blackberries and added them to the yoghurt, and Bob's your uncle!

Since Mr. Junior was able to eat yoghurt as a baby, I have been making him different fruity yoghurt meals and he has been definitely enjoying them. Now that Miss Junior started having yoghurt too, she does as well.

Depending on your child's age, readiness, allergy history, preferences and the fruit available, you can use many types of fruit for this dish. Berries (frozen or fresh), bananas, mangoes and strawberries are some of the best choices. You can also make it with grated (especially for babies) or chopped stone fruit (such as peaches), pears, apples, or grapes. You can even add some nuts (grated/chopped up almonds, for example)You may choose to have a single type of fruit or a combination in it.

It often has a good colour (depending on the fruit you use) and smells really nice. It is so easy to prepare that even your preschooler can make it. You may be surprised if your child wouldn't mind skipping his over-sugary treats and instead, asking for this snack/meal once he tastes it. Not many kids (or adults) would need more than one go to fall in love with it but if you don't get that big effect after the first try, just try it again with another combo. You are very likely to be pleased.


Thursday, 19 January 2012


I have recently come across with a website where there are lots of ideas, written and audiovisual instructions for you to learn from. Here is one of the craft projects that they teach on their site.

DIY card holders
The materials that are needed for this activity are below:
  • Colored paper
  • Toothpick
  • Card stock
  • Glue
  • Googly eyes
  • Clothes pins (2 per note holder)
  • Magnetic strip (optional)
Click here for their three step written instructions.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012


A child who lives with gentleness
will touch with gentle hands

A child who's understood becomes 
someone who understands

A child who lives with patience learns
a way to wait for things

A child who's taught to smile at life
is one who laughs and sings

When children find acceptance, that's 
another trait to learn
 and children who are loved a lot will give love in return

A while back I had learnt a similar (but a much longer) one as a part of my studies. I don't remember the exact words but I definitely recall the feel and the meaning of it. I often think of it when I work with people in my professional life or when interacting with my two beautiful children in my personal life. I came across with the above poem/writing just the other day and could not help thinking that there may be other people like myself who may learn heaps from it. I believe that it is a good reminder too and stays in mind well. 


Below are some of many-to-come ideas and recipes for you for homemade cleaning products. The ones below are for general use. 

Homemade Cleaner 1

Mix your own cleaner with these ingredients to kill bacteria and leave your surfaces shining:

1 tablespoon of Borax powder (find it in the laundry aisle of your supermarket);
3 tablespoons of white vinegar;
2 cups of water;
1 tablespoon of dish soap;
1 drop of essential oil such as peppermint for fragrance (optional).

Pour the mixture into a spray bottle, give it a shake, and you are ready to clean. To wipe windows, you also can use plain white vinegar on newspapers. To disinfect toys and other kids' products, fill a spray bottle with non-chlorine bleach (3% hydrogen peroxide) and wipe with a paper towel.

Homemade Cleaner 2

1 quart warm water
1 teaspoon liquid soap
1 teaspoon borax
1/4 cup undiluted white vinegar

Mix ingredients and store in a spray bottle. Use for cleaning countertops, floors, walls, carpets and upholstery.

So, it is not that hard or impossible to ditch all the toxic chemicals lurking under your kitchen cabinet, on the shelf in your bathroom, and out in the garage. Please share you ideas and recipes with us in the comments section below.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012


A Harvard Medical School study showed that children who regularly had meals with their family ate more fruits and vegetables per day than kids who ate alone. According to the study, most ate at least five servings of fruit and vegetables each day. 

So if you want your children to eat more healthy fare, serve it up and then sit down with them.

Here are some other suggestions for you:

  • Keep plant foods such as fruit and vegetables within your child's reach while leaving junk food out of his reach.
  • Don't make fuss about it too much but be a good example! (Don't forget, MONKEY SEE, MONKEY DO)
  • Start your child on a healthy diet as early as possible. However, if you believe that your child is too old for it, just remember: NEVER TOO LATE! It may take a bit more effort and time, but be consistent and never loose hope.  
  • Some kids go in and out of picky times. Stay calm and keep pursuing a healthy diet perhaps with a few adjustments.
  • Try different recipes with the same ingredient at times. For example; offer red capsicum raw, make a dip out of it, stuff it with some minced beef or rice, add some capsicum to your child's favourite salad or try red pepper and zucchini strips with hummus and so on. If you are experiencing some difficulty in feeding your child spinach in salad, then try giving it to him raw, just as is or add it into some soup, make an omelette with it or may be you discover that your child likes it in pies. 
  • Introduce colours. Some kids tend to like/dislike foods that have a certain colour. I have heard of people complaining about their kids not eating/even trying any food that is green or red. If that is the case, see whether she can pass this stage without missing out on too much. For instance, if your child dislikes zucchini because it is green (at least on the outside), what about peeling it before you cook it or offering him some yellow squash instead (every food is different but some have similar nutrients to the other)? 
  • Try including a wide range of fruit and vegetables in your everyday diet while keeping portion sizes right. Do not stick to only a few types. Be adventurous! Not a single type of food can do the job alone. Young babies can thrive on a single food, breast milk, but the rest of us need to eat a wide variety of nutritious foods to ensure our needs are met. Every food has a contribution to make – a small part to play in good nutrition, health and wellbeing.
Photo Credit
  • Make sure what you offer your child is fresh and looks appetising. 
  • Go fruit/vegetable picking as a family if possible. 
  • I highly recommend you to grow some veggies or fruit. I know it from my personal experience that whenever Mr. Junior is involved in the care or the harvesting of a certain type of fresh produce in the garden, he enjoys eating it better too. Encourage your child to grow a few herbs, vegetables or if possible, fruit in pots or in the garden and you are likely to see that your child will be more interested in consuming that food. 
  • Prepare meals/snacks with your children. Again, it is all about personal involvement. 
  • What else works for us most often is that we ask Mr. Junior his opinion when we make menus for the day or for dinner etc. We do it in a controlled way though. We don't necessarily give him all the options in the world but we often ask him what he thinks we should have, for example, for dinner and then we may list a few options: Celery soup, broccoli soup or mushroom soup?
  • Some people make funny faces or other shapes on plates. They believe that it makes it more attractive for their kids. I don't think it would hurt to give it a try. 
  • Be creative. There is almost always an option to everything. You can't feed your child rice? Try bulgur (cracked wheat) then. He won't eat spinach? What about offering him silverbeet then?
  • Many have found that going out of the way to cook for your child instead of offering your whole family a well rounded meal makes for picky eaters. If a child knows you'll give them hot dogs and mac-n-cheese, then that's all they'll want.
  • Serve small. Pay attention to the serving size as some kids find it overwhelming if they see a large amount on their plates. Just serve small first and then you can encourage them to eat more if you like.
  • You may decide to agree with some 'treats' at certain places or times depending on what your opinion on it is. Make sure that your kid understands the difference between meals and snacks and 'treats'.
  • There are some arguments on this particular one but you do what works for you the best. Here is the suggestion: Don't give your child options. Give your child what you have prepared for dinner (obviously make sure that it is suitable for your child as well) at dinner time. If your child refuses to eat it, be calm, but make sure that he understands that there is nothing else that he will be given for dinner or snack that night. It is the food for that day's dinner. This may take a few nights when your child goes to bed without dinner (which is where the different opinions come into the picture). I have learnt that there is a saying in Spanish which roughly translates to 'When you are hungry, there is no stale bread'. 
  • Educate your children starting from an early age! It is likely to take some time, but be consistent and never loose hope. 
Fruit cake
Photo Credit

I hope these suggestions have been helpful to you. If you can think of anything else, we would love to hear. Please share your ideas in the comments section.

Have a day that is as fresh and healthy as a freshly handpicked apple! 

Monday, 16 January 2012


More than 160 foods have been found to cause allergies. Approximately 6 percent of young children and 3 to 4 percent of adults in the United States have a food allergy.

 If your child has a food allergy, it's most likely to be to one or more of these.
  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Peanuts
  • Tree nuts (e.g., almonds, wal­nuts, pecans)
  • Soybeans
  • Wheat
  • Fish
  • Shellfish (e.g., crab, lobster, shrimp)
The list above may differ depending on the country you are in. However, in most cases (including Australia), the list above still remains the same. If you would like to read more about them, check out some reliable sources like this.

Note: If your baby has a strong family history or personal experience of eczema, food allergies or asthma, be more cautious, it may be the best to consult with your doctor before introducing especially foods with high risk of allergens. Also, ALWAYS READ PACKAGES well before consumption when you purchase any foods or drinks.  Additionally, after introducing any new food, wait at least three days before moving on to the next new food. That way, you can monitor for any reaction and know what's causing it.

Enjoy an allergy free and pain free day with your loved ones!

Sunday, 15 January 2012


An easy craft idea

I personally love coming up with my own stencils for my projects but it isn't always the easiest thing to do. Any tips and patterns are all welcome here!

DIY stencil instructions

I have recently come across with this website which teaches how to make a geometric stencil. The pictures say it all but there are worded instructions too on the website.

Homemade stencil

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Friday, 13 January 2012


The Open Range Zoo is our favourite for a few reasons but for Mr. Junior, it is the best because it has safari buses and a lot of open space for him to run around freely. We have a yearly family zoo pass which gives us an unlimited access to the three zoos in Victoria throughout the year, so we don't really mind it even if we don't have the whole day in our hands. Even if it is for a few hours, we still go and visit them (especially Werribee Open Range Zoo. Actually, we have been to Healesville Sanctuary only once at this stage, so I cannot comment on that particular one much yet).

Just recently, we have had a chance to go to the Open Range Zoo for a couple of hours. We were only able to go on a safari bus, visit the new gorillas, have a picnic, play in a few play areas, and also listen to some lovely African music. The video that I was hoping to share with you here but I can't anymore, since it somehow got deleted (!) belonged to a live African Jazz performance. There were two men on stage making some wonderful music.

Every time we go there, we learn something new. Here are only some pieces of information that we were provided with by the safari tour guide during our tour on 27/12/2011.
  • Hippopotamuses are vegetarian animals. However, they are extremely strong and are very dangerous. They can bite a 4 metre crocodile into half at once. 
  • Hippopotamuses can stay under water for 10-15 minutes without having to breath. Once they need to inhale some oxygen, they go above the water level, take a breath, and then 'sink' again (just sit on the bottom of the water until they need to breath again).
  • Despite the fact that hippos are very large, they are fast runners too. The tour guide told us that they can run upto 50km/h (even though it is claimed on their website that their speed can reach upto 30km/h).
  • A giraffe's neck is quite long as everyone knows but not many people are aware that its tongue is pretty long too. Its length is about 45cm!
If you are in Victoria, a visit to this particular zoo is recommended. Here is the website of Werribee Open Range Zoo.

Note: During school holidays, they have different hours and activities. So, check it out before you go to make the most of it or alternatively, when you go there, ask one of the friendly staff members about their schedules.

Enjoy what is left of your (school) holiday season!

Thursday, 12 January 2012


There are various homemade laundry detergent recipes that you may be able to find through family and friends or other resources. Here, I will share with you one of the recipes that you may enjoy working with. The original source of this recipe is here.


1 bar Fels-Naptha bar soap
1 cup Borax
1 cup Washing Soda
1/4 cup Baking Soda


1. Grate the Fels-Naptha bar soap finely.  (Use a hand grater or alternatively, you can use a food processor).

2. Add 1 cup Borax.

3. Add 1 cup washing soda.

4. Add 1/4 cup baking soda.

5. Find a helper and stir well (that is banana on his nose, if you are wondering -- no need to be grossed out).

6. You should have a nice powdered mixture.

7. Place in an airtight container.  Use 2 tablespoons per regular load of laundry. 

The original writer of this recipe has even created a label for you that you can access to through the link above. 
If you would like to check out more homemade detergent recipes, try these:




Wednesday, 11 January 2012


Chia seeds

This is another type of seed that we have been consuming since we came across with it a few years ago. We were really impressed when we learned that it contains really high levels of Omega-3.

Health benefits of chia seeds:
  • Reduces blood pressure
  • Energising
  • Helpful in
  • Reduces pain and inflammation (helps with arthritis as these seeds help lubricating joints)
  • Helps stabilising blood sugar
  • Boosts metabolism and promotes lean muscle mass
  • Helps cleansing the colon, absorbs toxins
  • Contains 20% protein
  • Provides high levels of antioxidants
  • They absorb large amounts of water and are good at hydrating our bodies
  • Has essential fatty acids (Omega-3 and Omega-6. They help to improve brain function including memory and concentration), fiber, iron, calcium, niacin, magnesium, zinc and phosphorus.
According to some sources, chia seeds have three times more iron than spinach and fifteen times more magnesium than broccoli.

How to use:

You can sprinkle chia seeds on your yoghurt, cereal, or salads. It is possible to use them in sandwiches. They can also be added into smoothies or soaked in drinking water. I personally don't enjoy it soaked in water as it becomes jelly like and I don't quite enjoy that particular texture but we are happy to include it in many types of our foods as a family. They don't really have a distinct taste or smell.

Have a healthy day!

Tuesday, 10 January 2012


We have recently been trying to look into fluoride in our drinking water in depth. We have been doing some reading on it and trying to weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of it on our health. We have been thinking about whether we should invest in a water filter to discard the fluoride in it. There are certain countries who do not provide fluoride in their drinking water and they have their points but there are others such as Australia, where water contains fluoride. As a family, we haven't been able to come to a conclusion yet and we would really appreciate your opinion on this particular matter. I am sure I would benefit from your input greatly but it may also be helpful for others too.

Please share your knowledge/thought/views on this topic either here, or on my facebook page: Why Bee .


What you can do when a child is sad:
    • talk about feelings, especially sadness and anger
    • make sure the children's teachers and carers know your child may be upset
    • be available for cuddles
    • make sure that they know what has happened isn't their fault
    • if death is involved, talk about it simply but honestly
    • talk to your child about the person or pet they have lost and encourage them to talk too
    • reassure them that it's OK for grown-ups to cry, but that you'll feel better soon and you still love them very much
    • don't burden your children with your grief. Get help from other adults
    • try to keep family routines going, as this helps children feel more secure
    • get active! it can really help when we're sad or stressed
    • try to end every 'sad talk' session with a bit of hope. Plan something special with your child-like playing with a friend.
Making memories:
    • remember together the good and funny times. You can still laugh when sad.
    • make a 'memory book' with photos, stories, drawings etc.
    • as well as helpful storybooks, you might like to make up your own story about a similar situation and show how those people managed.
(These are taken from a Positive Parenting Course's notes)

Monday, 9 January 2012


Handmade hangers
I found these hangers on this site. I thought they were unique, fun and good looking. If you are interested in learning how to make them, just click here and it will take you to the original page. There, not only will you find the instructions, but you will also be able to access to the patterns that are free and printable. Enjoy!
Easy handmade hanger tutorial

Sunday, 8 January 2012


Dr Oz's top 5 essentials for a natural medicine cabinet

1. Tea Tree Oil: Tea tree oil is a natural, essential oil derived from the leaves of a plant indigenous to Australia. It works as a natural antiseptic. It is used to soothe skin problems such as minor burns, athlete’s foot, and insect bites. When applied directly to the skin, tea tree oil has been found to have anti-microbial activity against strong bacteria and fungi.

2. SLS-free Toothpaste: SLS is the acronym of Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, a chemical that creates foam when you brush, but can also lead to mouth sores. Natural toothpaste alternatives aren’t as foamy but are also less harsh.

3. Tiger Balm: Tiger balm is a natural muscle relaxer. It has a substance called camphor, when used in small amounts, releases localized muscle-relaxing heat for aches and pains. It works as topical muscle relaxer/pain reliever. IMPORTANT: Remember it should not be ingested, so keep away from children.

4. Valerian Root
Capsules: Several studies in adults suggest that this herb may improve quality of sleep and reduce the time to fall asleep. It is a natural relaxer/sedative. IMPORTANT: This herb should not be mixed with other sedatives or anti-anxiety medications.

5. Bentonite Clay: This is an absorbent substance that may be able to relieve diarrhea. It may also be able to absorb toxic substances in the intestines and prevent them from causing nausea or upset. It may also be used to relieve diarrhea.

Here  is Dr. Oz's website for you.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

DID YOU KNOW ...? (6)

sea lion
Sea lions can dive to a depth of up to 40m when hunting.

Friday, 6 January 2012


Pumpkin seeds, also known as pepitas, make extremely healthy snacks. They have a subtly sweet and nutty flavour. They are really delicious and nutritious. The seeds are available all year round even though they are the freshest in the fall when pumpkins are in season.

Homemade pumpkin seed information and recipe
Below is a nutrients chart for pumpkin seeds but if you would like a more detailed one, click here

This chart was copied from here.

Medicinal properties of pumpkin seeds are briefly as below.
  • Pumpkin seeds may promote prostate health: Mostly due to the components in the pumpkin seed oil, as well as the carotenoids, Omega-3, and zinc in them.
  • Protection for men's bones: It is all thanks to the zinc in the seeds. According to a source, A study of almost 400 men ranging in age from 45-92 that was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found a clear correlation between low dietary intake of zinc, low blood levels of the trace mineral, and osteoporosis at the hip and spine.
  • Anti-inflammatory benefits in arthritis: The healing properties of pumpkin seeds have also been recently investigated with respect to arthritis.
  • A rich source of healthful minerals, protein and monounsaturated fat: Snack on a quarter-cup of pumpkin seeds and you will receive 46.1% of the daily value for magnesium, 28.7% of the DV for iron, 52.0% of the DV for manganese, 24.0% of the DV for copper, 16.9% of the DV for protein, and 17.1% of the DV for zinc. 
  • Pumpkin seed phytosterols lower cholesterol: Phytosterols are compounds found in plants that have a chemical structure very similar to cholesterol, and when present in the diet in sufficient amounts, are believed to reduce blood levels of cholesterol, enhance the immune response and decrease risk of certain cancers. Of the nuts and seeds typically consumed as snack foods, pistachios and sunflower seeds were richest in phytosterols (270-289 mg/100 g), closely followed by pumpkin seeds(265 mg/100 g). (100 grams is equivalent to 3.5 ounces.) Sesame seeds had the highest total phytosterol content (400-413 mg per 100 grams) of all nuts and seeds, while English walnuts and Brazil nuts had the lowest (113 mg/100grams and 95 mg/100 grams).
You can purchase pumpkin seeds at many health stores as well as supermarkets. However, I would recommend you make your own too, since it is extremely easy and fun to make at home.

How to Make Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seed recipeHere are two ways for you to choose from.

Method 1:

Preheat your oven 350º Fahrenheit (176º Celsius). 

Separate the seeds from the pumpkin glop (using 'jack-o'-lantern'). Rinse and pat them dry with a paper towel. Put the seeds in the baking pan.

Drizzle the olive oil over the pumpkin seeds and then sprinkle them with salt. Stir the seeds to coat them with oil, then spread them out evenly over the bottom of the baking pan.

Cook for 10 minutes, then remove the pan from the oven and stir the seeds. Return to the oven for another 10 minutes until the seeds are golden brown.

Let the seeds cool, then transfer them to a plate lined with paper towels to soak up the extra oil.

Alternatively, experiment by adding other spices to see what flavor works for you the best!

Method 2:

First, remove the seeds from the pumpkin's inner cavity and wipe them off with a paper towel if needed to remove excess pulp that may have stuck to them. Spread them out evenly on a paper bag and let them dry out overnight. 

Place them in a single layer on a cookie sheet and light roast them in a 160-170°F (about 75°C) oven for 15-20 minutes. By roasting them for a short time at a low temperature you can help to preserve their healthy oils.

Serving Ideas

Here is what we do with them. Basically, we open the airtight jar in which we store our pumpkin seeds, pour some into hour hands or into a little container and eat them! Mr. Junior also has a mixture of seeds, nuts and dried berries in his little snack container when out and about more of than not. Additionally, at times, we add some seeds such as pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds to our salads.

If you would like to learn about more serving ideas, read these:

Grind pumpkin seeds with fresh garlic, parsley and cilantro leaves. Mix with olive oil and lemon juice for a tasty salad dressing.  

Add chopped pumpkin seeds to your favorite hot or cold cereal. 

Add pumpkin seeds to healthy sautéed vegetables. 

Note: For further reading on pumpkin seeds, you can check out this website as well as this one.

Thursday, 5 January 2012


I don't know how you are but I am not the best when it comes down to ties. My husband doesn't have to use ties on a regular basis but there are times he is not that lucky. He has to keep at least one in hand (well, actually, in his drawer at work, there is at least one) at all times in case he has to use one. So, we don't tie ties very often and when you don't do things all the time, you can lack some skills. When we need to (but have forgotten how to) do it, we simply jump online and re-learn it.

There are different types of knots that you can choose from. The choice depends on the person's style, the ties' size, the occasion and the shirt being worn. You can find some written instructions with lots of clear pictures as well as some clear videos on how to tie a tie that you can easily follow. I will share with you a few websites and videos that I believe you will greatly benefit from if you need help with this particular skill.

Some sites for written (and pictured) instructions that you can check out are:


For videos on how to tie a tie, you can visit:

Also, youtube.com has a lot of videos available.

Here is one video recorded example for you:

Wednesday, 4 January 2012


beetroot dip recipeThis is another recipe that I have learnt from the same friend of mine who has taught me how to make the zucchini dip that I have recently shared the recipe of with you. Below, you will find an easy beetroot recipe, serving suggestions as well as nutrition information. Enjoy!


Grated beetroot (fresh or canned)
Natural plain yoghurt
Salt (optional)


If using fresh beetroot, peel and grate. Then simmer it in some water until tender. If canned, you can just grate it. After that, add it into garlic and yoghurt mix and stir well. Make sure there is no big lumps of anything in it. Serve cool.

This is yet another recipe that is great as a side dish. Due to its colour, it is also decorative and adds a nice colour to your lunch/dinner table.  It is also quite attractive for kids that especially enjoy the colour pink in their foods.

Note: Beetroot has a wonderful colour of red and it is known that the more vibrant the colours of our fruit and vegetables, the more they have to offer in terms of nutrients to help protect our bodies from damaging free radicals. It is highly recommended that you use gloves while peeling and grating the beetroot to avoid any stain on your hands.

Nutrition Information

Beetroot's distinct red colour comes from betalain antioxidant pigments. These nutrients have been shown to provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxification support. It also contains Vitamins A, B and C, sodium, potassium, calcium and chlorine. There is also some iron and magnesium in it too.

It can help with some cardiovascular problems, relaxing muscles, regenerating of the membranes of cells and cell respiration. It is known to be remarkably beneficial for slimmers. Additionally, it is known to be good for liver. Its other affects are below that it helps stimulate normal liver function, aiding detoxification and increasing its efficiency in processing fats, it is a splendid organic cleanser, not only for the liver, but also of the kidneys and gall bladder as well as being helpful in the digestion of fats, gall bladder infections, digestive problems, anaemia and toning and rebuilding the liver.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012


(Continuation of Positive Parenting Notes)

You can help your child to put a verbal label on the feeling by asking:
    • Did that make you feel ........................ when ...........................?
    • Were you feeling ..................................when ...........................?
    • It sounds like that made you feel ...............................................?
Some common ways to DISMISS a child's emotions are to:
    • offer advice ("You should have...")
    • ask why your child did or said that they did
    • talk only about yourself
    • tell your child not to worry
    • jump straight into problem solving
    • take the side of the other person (eg. teacher, brother) as opposed to listening to the child's perspective
    • offer distractions
    • moralise

Monday, 2 January 2012


The benefits of tongue twisters:

Regardless of the language that you are using or in the process of learning, I highly recommend the use of tongue twisters (in that particular language) for better articulation. In other words, it is beneficial for language learners as well as native speakers. It is also an activity that drama students use too to improve on their articulation skills.

You can use them any time of the day. However, I particularly recommend this articulation improving exercise in the mornings so that you can speak clearly during the day.

In addition, I strongly recommend tongue twisters if you are trying to learn to touch type (typing with your ten fingers without using the sense of sight to find the keys). Just type up some tongue twisters until competent.


According to HealthDay News (20/12/2011), the types of foods given to infants seems to affect their future taste for salt, a new study that was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has found.

Their study focused on starchy foods because they include processed foods -- such as breakfast cereals, bread and crackers -- which are often used as beginning foods for infants and often contain added salt.

It is claimed that early dietary experiences has influences on the preference for salty taste. 

It is also important to note that reducing sodium intake could prevent more than 100,000 deaths a year and save billions of dollars in medical costs in the United States, according to the news release.

Sunday, 1 January 2012


I wanted to share with you something refreshing, healthy and homemade on the very first day of 2012. I hope a healthy great new year is awaiting you all. 

Yoghurt is one of our essentials at home. We go through a few kilograms of natural plain yoghurt every week. Why yoghurt is good for people is a topic on its own just like how to use it and I hope to write about them sometime in the future. For now, lets look into how to make it at home.

Since Mr. Junior started eating yoghurt, I have been making some homemade yoghurt (on and off).

I make only some small amounts at a time but just to give you a good idea on how to make yoghurt for you or your family, lets work on a litre of milk for our sample here.

Homemade yoghurt

1litre of full cream milk (I suggest fresh organic milk)
1-2 tablespoonsful of yoghurt


First, heat up your milk in a pan on the stove and bring it to boil. Let it boil for a few minutes (if you want it creamy, you may want to simmer it for 10-15 minutes so that more water evaporates) . Then, let it cool down a bit. Here is the trickiest stage. The temperature needs to be just right for fermentation. It is about 40-45C.

One tip to understand whether the temperature of the milk is right is that you dip your little finger into the milk for 7-10 seconds and make sure it is warm but it doesn't burn you.

Once the milk's warmth is right, then add the yoghurt which was stirred with a little bit of lukewarm milk to make runny into the main milk and make sure it is mixed well. After this stage, simply, pour the mixture into a container/jar and close the lid.

Wrap some tea towels and even a blanket to keep the jar warm and in dark. It should stay there for about 6-7 hours and then you can place it in the fridge. After a few hours in the refrigerator, it is ready for you to eat!

Some Notes:
  • Do not use metal spoons while making yoghurt. It is better to use wooden spoons.
  • When the milk and yoghurt mixture is put in a container for fermentation and wrapped with a blanket, do not shake it. Make sure it stays still.
  • Most types of packaged milk do not have enough fat in them. That is why some people prefer to add some cream (or sometimes even milk powder) into the milk to make the yoghurt with a better consistency.
  • There are some starter kids available at many supermarkets. It may be good especially if you don't have a live cultured yoghurt at home.
Below is also a yoghurt making video for you. Enjoy!