Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Time Banking

Ever heard of time banking?  I tried google-ing it but only found information about opening bank accounts!

I heard of time banking for the first time today from fellow mommy Sandra. Sandra suggested this as an option to get children to do their homework or housework or chores, etc.  How it works is that you make an agreement with your child that he/she will do or finish the work in a certain amount of time.  If they manage to do so, then they get a credit of a certain amount of time to do what they want.  For example, if they can finish their homework in 30 minutes then they get 10 minutes of computer games time.  It sounds like a good idea, especially knowing how challenging homework time can be for Yasmin.

She's getting better though, our little Yasmin.  She used to get many 'incomplete!' remarks in her homework last year but this year it's gone down and we have managed to get her (sometimes pleadingly, coaxingly) to finish her homework.  But it's also mostly because now she has a fear that the teacher will scold her if she doesn't finish it.  That's not so good, kan?  I mean, I don't want her to do it just because of fear.  I want her to have fun in the learning and doing process.  So yeah, this time banking idea seems like a good one to try out.

Sandra also suggests that you keep check of their time 'account'.  For example, let it accumulate... they can only claim their 'time' when they have reached a minimum 30 minutes available in their accounts. :) Heee...  She says it is also a good way to teach them math at the same time.  How many minutes do they put in and how many have they claimed.   You can even create the time account book for them to keep record.  Another thumbs up idea!

For your info, Sandra home schools her daughter so I know she has a lot of experience and know how with these ideas to try for your kids.  Give it a try mommies! (Daddies too...)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sunday at the Park

Found a great way to spend Sunday morning! This morning we went to Perdana Park in Tanjung Aru.  Bestnya pergi pagi-pagi! Not as many people as there were on our first visit, which was in the evening, because we wanted to check out the musical fountain.  In fact, we practically had the place to ourselves.  There were just a few families there with their kids, playing at the playground.  It's better than bringing the kid to shopping malls or the indoor playground at Suria!  Here you only need to pay RM1 for parking inside.  The weather was nice too today - hot at times but mainly overcast and with light winds.  And we got a chance to walk around the pond and get some sweat out...weehee!

First stop - the kiddies playground..


The musical fountain pond... Musical fountain only at night though.. Not bad the musical fountain, terasa macam bukan di KK.. 

 

Free drinking water provided (L), the walking path surrounding the pond (R),  there's another path for joggers on the outer edge of the park.

Wah...looks huge eh?


 Jeng jeng jeng...the other PLAYGROUND

  Ada swings! Weeeeeeeeee....

 Because the park is managed by a water treatment company, so the playground is designed like a water treatment plant... good idea!

 Do not disturb! Kid is busy..

I liked these...they should have more of these around the city

The place is still new and so I do hope that the management takes care of it well and the facilities.  We really should have more parks like this in KK.  Want to go again next weekend.. Mau ikut? Mariii...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Living with Gratitude

I saw this post entitled Living with Gratitude by Randy Gage and it reminded me of this story I heard from my cousin a few weeks ago.

Cousin had brought her kid(s) to the local government hospital for a check up and whilst waiting for their turn, she went to the hospital canteen to grab a bite to eat.  She ordered a plate of fried noodles and it cost her RM4.50 - which was reasonable, she thought.  Then she sat at this table next to a family of 4 or 5.  They too had ordered the same plate of fried noodles.  But they were sharing the one plate amongst them.  Cousin then overheard them talking.  They were trying to figure out if they had enough money left for their bus fare back to their kampung.

I didn't realise this story affected me so much until I retold it to my husband and I ended up wiping off some tears.  How petty and silly do our own little problems seem when you hear that there are people who are going through that kind of situation.  Some people are buying designers goods, handbags and purses that cost thousands at a time and yet there are people who can't afford one meal.  How sad is that.  And whilst we are merrily enjoying our days here, people in Japan and Christchurch are dealing with such unimaginable loss.  How can we not be grateful?

What are you grateful for today?

The King's Speech

I've watched it!! And not in 2013 as I predicted..heeeee...What can I say, Colin Firth...my dear Mr Darcy, you righteously stammered (cursed and sang) your way to a great performance deserving of that Oscar!  What is more wonderous, I feel, is that we get to have this glimpse of this person (no doubt he was the King), his life and his flaws and what he did to overcome them.  Do you think any royals or politicians in Malaysia would allow such a portrayal of their family members?  Nooo.... here it is all about upholding their 'perfectness'.  And who would have thought that if King George's (Colin Firth's character) brother hadn't given up the throne... we wouldn't have Queen Elizabeth nor Charles and William in line for the throne today.

Anyways, if you are one of those people who stammer, you can try what King George did...curse or sing your way through it!  The only other help I can suggest is....join Toastmasters!

The King's SpeechBertie and Elizabeth: The Reluctant Royals - The Story of King George VI & Queen Elizabeth60 Minutes - The King's Speech (February 20, 2011)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Equilibrium

...was one of the first English scientific term that I came across when I started my A-Levels.  At the time, when our SPM and secondary school math and science studies was still in Malay language, I kept wondering - Apakah bendanya equilibrium ni?  Soon after, I learnt that it meant keseimbangan or simply, balance.  It was a term I came to be very well acquainted with in the years after, during my university years and later on whilst teaching.  Such a simple but underrated concept. The backbone to all of engineering and science studies and one may say, all of life itself.  It is a word I have come to love.  For its profound meaning and the way it sounds both strong and tender at the same time.

At a recent conference I attended, the speaker was talking about the psychology of stress and benefits of exercise and meditation and she mentioned:

'For everything in life, there is always equilibrium..'

Loved that.

I'm still searching/striving for my equilibrium.  You?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Doctor, I Need a Diagnosis..

Had my doctor's appointment last week.  Alhamdulillah, the blood test that I did in the previous visit came back with all normal results. (I'm a B positive, by the way).  I consider this doctor to be good because when he took my blood sample from the vein near my elbow joint, he only did it once.  I only felt a slight pinch.  And he told me after that it might swell a bit, but it didn't.  I've heard stories of how some docs and nurses really do a bad job when taking blood.. so thankfully, mine was all good.  The doc is good.

Blood pressure is normal.  No sugar or protein traces in the urine.  Weight is going up though..*gebu is in, gebu is in...* My other symptoms include back and hip pain, occasional heartburn, frequent visits to the toilet to pee pee, difficulty to sleep, a bit of swelling in my hands/fingers - I've had to take off my rings.

Want to play House and diagnose me based on the above symptoms?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Idol Talk

So the season has cometh.  American Idol is upon us again, pulling heartstrings and causing late dinners in households all around.  This time, with a table of new judges and what they claim to be the best group of talent..ever.  I think they said that last year as well.  Who cares though when we can have Ryan and his cheeky/cheesy smile on our tubes two nights a week and the occassional goof or moments of shine from Steven Tyler.  Alas, the weeknights have meaning again!

So far, the new judges seem to be doing well.  And so we say, 'Simon who??' And who were those other two ladies?? I like that this new panel is more animated, singing and grooving along with the contestants at times.  Where Kara made it look like she was showing off, J Lo and Steven Tyler make it look fun and like they are rooting for the contestants. Sometimes they seem to be too generous with their comments though.

American Idol has also lowered their age limit for auditioners this year - 15 year olds can now apply.  This is something I don't really agree on.  Sure, maybe they can sing but I also believe that contestants need to have a level of maturity to handle the pressure, to give good performances and have the required showmanship to be an idol.  My exhibit A - being.. the ever so sweet David Archuleta, runner up from season 7.  Whilst Archie has the chops vocally, I can't help feeling that he would've been so much better if he had waited maybe 3 or 4 years later to audition and take part in the show.  He maybe possibly could have won.  Surprisingly, many of those 15, 16 year olds did make it through this year's initial rounds - some, if not most, whilst being accompanied (and somewhat irritatingly cheered on) by their mums.  We'll see how far they go.

As a tribute, I thought I'd run down a list of my favourite Idols thus far with special mentions/moments as well.  Here goes:

Favourite Idols (so far):

No. 3
Kris Allen - Kris was the underdog of Season 8, competing in the finals with the Glambert Adam Lambert - sorry, not a fan, don't like the shrieking!  A lot of people thought Adam was a sure fire winner which made Kris' win soooo much more sweeter.  I liked him ever since he sang Man in The Mirror in the Top 24 round.  I like that he plays piano and guitar.  He's one of those singer/songwriter types. Loved, loved, loved his rendition of Falling Slowly.  And so far, I like his songs post-Idol as well.  Like this one.. (oh, love Pat Monahan of Train as well!)



No. 2
Daughtry - The most successful non Idol winner so far.  I love his tone of voice, it's so smooth and easy to listen to.  And I love that he is doing the type of music that really suits him.  Unlike a previous Idol rocker Bo Bice, Daughtry is the real thing.  He was destined not to win!



No. 1 - my favourite Idol
David Archuleta - Heeee....I know, I know. I said it above, he's just a kid.  But I can't help to love his tone of voice.  Sangat sedaps di dengar.  He had me at Imagine :) I think that performance of Imagine has to be the most stand out performance in Idol ever - so far.  Still now, I can listen to it over and over again and never get bored.  And I love listening to the judges comments as well.  His voice is distinctive and unlike so many other young singers out there.  And for this reason I think he will fare very well and have a long, long career as a singer.  Let's see how he shapes up (looks and maturity wise) in a few years times.



Special mentions

1.  I was a fan of Taylor Hicks during the season he competed, just because...he was different and quirky in his own way.  But sadly....where is he now??  His winning ballad Do I Make You Proud still gives me lumps in my throat when I hear it though... simply because, I do wonder... do I? Do I make you proud??

2.  One of my favourite performances on Idol has to be the Falling Slowly duet by Lee Dewyze and Crystal Bowersox on season 9.  Beautiful and haunting song, two powerful and soulful voices.

3.  Carrie Underwood - I still love her story.  The fact that she was this simple farm girl from a small, small town and look at her now!  Undoubtedly the most successful winner so far with a great career ahead.  I love her current single Temporary Home and I made the mistake of watching the video on Youtube the other day...cos...it made me cry! Uwaahhhh....

So that's it, that's my Idol report for now.  Let's see how this season's contestants do...
(Afee, Thia Megia reminds me of you!)  (Sorry) I do not like Scotty's low low voice.  James Durbin is a bit like Adam Lambert.  I'm inclined towards Paul McDonald and Lauren Alaina at the moment - heeee...I like the quirky ones! Have fun watching, Idol fans and may your 'chicken' win!

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Explore. Dream. Discover

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” - Mark Twain 


Quote of the day. Love!