Milo Bento Box Workshop

I can’t believe we are already in 2017!

This year is going to be a big year for Raina as she enters primary school for the first time. Sighhh… My baby girl is growing up so fast! Can’t believe I have 2 kids in primary school now. Makes me feel so old! *cries*

Anyways, I’m pretty sure mommies of school kids have been busy preparing for their kids to go back to school. Uniforms, books, stationeries, school bags, school shoes… Hmm what else?

Oh yes, lunch boxes!

I’m actually excited to make cute bentos for my girls to bring to school (well, let’s hope I’m rajin enough to do them everyday hehe). I went to Milo Bento Box workshop with Ayra the other day, and we learned how to make cute bentos using everyday food like rice, sandwiches and noodles. It was super easy and simple! Even kids can do it , I think (with adult’s supervision, of course).

 

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The cooking demo was done by Yan Diana from Kelab Bekal Bento Malaysia.

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Yan showed 3 types of bentos – giraffe chicken baguette, Japanese girl egg sandwich and Rapunzel noodle. So cute, right! Each bento box took only about 10-15 minutes to prepare, so that’s pretty quick. Yan’s tips is to prepare the ingredients (washing, chopping, marinate, etc) during the weekend or at least the night before so that you don’t have to rush in the morning.

Here’s our version of the giraffe chicken baguette that Ayra and I made. I did the giraffe baguette; she assembled the broccoli forest. Not bad, huh? Hehe.

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There was also a Senior Nutritionist from Nestle, Nurul Illiani Ahmad, who shared about the benefits of packing food for kids to school and how a proper nutrition can affect kids’ performance at school. Consuming the right foods with a balanced nutrition at regular intervals provides kids with sufficient energy and nutrients to help improve their mental alertness so they can focus in class, as well as keep them energised.

She also suggested packing bento boxes for kids before they go to school to ensure that we provide the right nourishment and sufficient energy for kids. It also eases our minds, knowing what our kids eat at school and that they will not go through energy deprivation when we pack a healthy meal or snack, together with a convenient pack of MILO®.

My girls are quite picky eaters so I have to pack food for them to bring to school. I have been packing food for them every day ever since they were in kindergarten, but it’s usually the same thing like sandwiches, pancakes, waffles and nuggets. Most days they would finish the food, but sometimes they won’t even touch it, especially if it’s something “new” to them (apparently, tuna sandwiches are new to them -__-). Because of that, I tend to pack the same food as I don’t know what else to pack for them and how to get them to eat “new” food. I think this bento box would be a great way to get my kids to eat their greens and introduce new food.

Illiani said that at the early stage, it’s ok to mix/cook fruits and veggies with something that is not exactly healthy to make it tastier and attract your kids to eat them. Then as kids started to eat them, slowly substitute the unhealthy ingredients with healthier ones. Why haven’t I thought of this before! LOL. My girls don’t like raspberries, so I’m thinking I could actually make MILO®UHT stuffed raspberries instead. They love MILO®, and I’m sure they would love raspberries with MILO®UHT. Or, I could also serve broccoli with chili sauce or even cheese dip. I think serving fruits and veggies with some kind of dips and sauces would attract kids to eat them. Did I mention that MILO®UHT come with Activ Go so that’s a bonus if you pack it alongside the bento box!

If your kids refused to bring packed food to school, try making them bentos. It doesn’t have to be complicated, maybe you can start off with a simple smiley face or something. After all, kids love cute things!

Do check out their page here: https://www.milo.com.my.

Also check out this video!



Go Natural with St. Ives

One of my favorite beauty regimes is exfoliating. I’ve been trying to make it a weekly routine to exfoliate my skin ever since I was in university, after reading in a beauty magazine about how important it is to scrub your face. And I still remember my very first brand of scrub. It was St. Ives! I was attracted to its natural ingredients, such as apricot extract, oatmeal, shea butter and soy bean oil.

My first thought when I came across St. Ives Apricot Scrub for the first time was, “How yummy!”. And the rest is history.

 

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So why is it important to exfoliate your face?

Clogged pores!

Here, read this explanation:

“As we age, the process of cell regeneration slows down. This means that the body is slower to shed skin cells and generate new ones. When old skin cells start to pile up on the surface of the skin, it can leave skin looking dull, rough, and dry. Furthermore, the build-up of dead skin cells can result in excess oil and clogged pores, leading to blemishes and acne.

Proper exfoliation removes the barrier of dead skin cells clogging the skin and uncovers fresh new cells below. This opens the way for moisturizing products to penetrate more deeply into the skin, which makes them more effective. In short, a regular exfoliating routine will leave your skin looking fresh and healthy”. – www.awomanshealth.com

Next time if you think your moisturizer or essence is not doing its job or that you don’t see any difference, it could be the dead skin cells that’s clogging your skin and preventing whatever moisturizer and essence you put from absorbing into your skin. So exfoliate, people. Using scrubs made of natural ingredients, like St. Ives, would be best. It’s paraben free and the best part is, they don’t do animal testing!

St. Ives has 3 types of scrubs – Fresh Skin Apricot Scrub, Blackhead Clearing Green Tea Scrub and Blemish Control Apricot Scrub.

 

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This St. Ives Fresh Skin Apricot Scrub contains walnut shell powder which helps to exfoliate deeply to reveal smooth and glowing skin. My skin feels squeaky clean and soft after using this scrub. I just wish the scent is not that strong though.

 

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The Blackhead Clearing Green Tea Scrub is the gentlest of all 3. Green tea contains antioxidants that help break up excessive oil in your skin and reduce inflammation. Smells nice too!

 

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If you have acne-prone skin, then the Blemish Control Scrub is for you. It contains 2% Salicylic Acid which helps to prevent blemishes and minimize pores.

Another thing I noticed is that St. Ives uses eco-friendly packaging, called Post-Consumer Resin (PCR) to have a friendlier environment without producing too much waste. I really like the fact that they are really all about going natural.

Anyways, St. Ives is currently having a photo sharing contest on Instagram with awesome prizes to be won, including a pair of tickets for 3D2N to Bali!

Here’s how to enter the contest:

  1. Post a photo of your DIY natural beauty remedy or to share a photo of what Natural means to you (it could be natural make up, natural ingredients, natural environment, etc.) on your Instagram.
  2. Share why your natural beauty remedy makes you happy in your caption. (Eg. Cost effective, Old family secret, etc.)
  3. Also, include the hashtags #StIvesMy #GoNaturalWithStIves and #ChurpMYWIN in your caption.

For more info, go to http://my.churpieblogs.com/blog/2016/09/01/churpmywin-go-natural-with-st-ives/.

This contest ends on the 31st of October 2016. Good luck!



Cleaner Air with Dyson Pure Cool Link Purifier Fan

I still remember the dreadful haze season last year. If I’m not mistaken, it was one of the worst haze ever in Malaysian history. Thick smoke and smog covered pretty much everything that even the skyline was shrouded in grey. The air was so polluted; it was like breathing smoke.

I thought staying indoor was safe and “healthy”. There’s no haze or any other pollutants at home, right? Well, apparently not.

Deterioration of air quality in cities globally is a rising problem, especially during the haze season in Malaysia that forces people to lock themselves indoors. But did you know that air pollution inside our homes can be up to 5 times worse than outdoors? And we spend 90% of our time indoors, trapped with the pollutants (well I’m a SAHM and I spend 24/7 indoors)! Modern buildings and houses are built sealed which trap ultrafine and potentially harmful particles indoor including pollutants, allergens, pollens and moulds that are invisible to the naked eye.

I was concerned about this as I just had a baby and we all know how very fragile babies are. They breathe much faster than older children and adults thus making them more vulnerable to some pollutants. My 2-month old baby had a cold and stuffy nose the other day and I was a little paranoid that I tried to do the best I can to ensure everything was clean for my baby. I washed his cot sheet every other day, I changed his blanket every 2 days, I vacuumed the house every day, and I wash my hands 6,458,899 times a day because I’m always touching him. Heck, if I could “clean” the air that my baby breathes, I would!

And that’s when I found out about Dyson Pure Cool Link purifier fan.

 

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This is not your average purifier, by the way.

 

IMG_2391The Dyson Pure Cool Link purifier fan combine a unique 360° Glass HEPA filter and active carbon filter, which captures 99.95% of ultrafine pollutants, allergens and odours down to 0.1 microns. To put things in perspective, 0.1 microns is 1000 times smaller than a strand of hair. That’s small enough to enter our bloodstream!

Dyson engineers have combined their expertise in fluid dynamics and filtration with software to develop the new Dyson Pure Cool Link. They built sensors inside the machine that could detect changes in air conditions and automatically adjust the airflow to maintain the target air quality.

 

IMG_2254It also comes with a remote control, which you can place at the very top and it won’t fall as it’s magnetized. Brilliant, right!

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The cool thing about this Dyson Pure Cool Link Purifier is that there’s an app that gives you an indication of the air quality in your home and automatically purifies the pollutants it detects, whilst reporting the live indoor air quality on your smartphone.

 

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I just set up the Dyson purifier in my living room yesterday, and it automatically detected the air quality in my home – FAIR. Well, that wasn’t good enough.

 

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So I put the Dyson Cool Link Purifier on auto mode and let it “clean” the air.

After about 2 hours (notice the time there), the air quality in my living room was reported GOOD. If it wasn’t for this app, I wouldn’t know how good or bad the air quality in my living room is. Pretty cool huh!

 

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You can also check the historical data tracker on the app which reports your daily and weekly usage, as well as air quality history.

 

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If you place this Dyson purifier in your bedroom, you can set it on night-time mode when you sleep. The machine will continue to monitor and respond to air quality using the quietest settings. Even the LED display will be dimmed so it won’t interrupt your beauty sleep.

 

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Besides purifying air, this machine also doubles up as a fan. My girls love it! They would put their heads inside the “hole” and pretend to blow the air. I remember when I was little, I used to love putting my face right in front of the fan and sing loudly with the wind blowing right in my face :P. My mom would always tell me to get away from the fan as she feared that I might hurt myself or my hair might get caught in the fan blades or something. With this Dyson Pure Cool Link purifier fan, I don’t have to worry as it is blade-less. Totally safe for children!

 

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Another thing I love about this purifier is the design. Just look how sleek and modern it is! I love how it’s not bulky like most purifiers. It fits any modern interior nicely 🙂

 

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This Dyson Pure Cool Link purifier fan also comes in a smaller version, which are suitable for desks and worktops in smaller room. For more info about the product, visit http://www.dyson.my/fans-and-purifiers/purifiers/dyson-pure-cool-link/overview-page.aspx.



Animate Your Child’s Imagination!

I love watching my girls pretend-play and create stories using their imagination. It’s darn cute and most of the time, hilarious!

Sometimes they pretend to be mommies, teachers, chefs, singers, doctors, talking animals, and of course princesses.

 

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One time, I overheard them playing pretend princesses who went shopping at a shoe boutique. I couldn’t remember the exact details, but there were cockroaches and vampires involved (I swear my girls never watched TVD!). But I remembered it was ridiculously funny!

Besides creating stories through pretend-play, my girls also love to draw whatever imagination they have in mind. They just loveee to draw. Every day there’ll be at least 1 drawing and then they’ll show it to me and explain what their drawings are all about. Apparently your child’s drawing is not just a drawing; there’s a lot more stories behind it.

 

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This is Ayra’s drawing of Elsa and Anna. She explained that Anna was sad because the weather was too hot so she asked her Ice Queen sister, Elsa, to make snow. But Elsa didn’t have much “snow power” left (the sun was probably too hot, LOL) that the snow melted and turned into rain and it began to flood. Anna was happy anyways because the flood looks like swimming pool. Hehe.

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And this is Raina’s drawing of Rapunzel, who was walking in the woods when some magical lanterns just flew up from the grass because it was almost midnight. She calls them the magic grass lanterns. Hehe

 

Does your little one have a big imagination with a story to tell? If they love creating stories featuring pirates on high seas, spacemen who have aliens as best friends or even brave princesses like Sofia The First, then your child needs to enter this Animate Your Imagination contest.

 

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Disney Junior wants to hear your child’s creative and magical stories, and they want to bring them to live and show them on Disney Junior. How awesome is that? Your child gets to be a “screenwriter” for a TV show! Hehe.

You can either share a photo of your child’s drawing, or a video of him/her narrating the story. The story must use either one of the following 3 themes: Pirates, Princesses or Space Adventures. You can then tune in to Disney Junior to see if your child’s imaginative story has been selected.

For more info, log on to DisneyJunior.Asia/AnimateYourImagination.



Role play taken to a whole new level

Do you remember your ambitions when you were little?

I do. One of my ambitions back then was to be a stewardess. I loved flying on airplanes, and serving meals to people while pushing food trolley in flight seemed like a lot of fun and so I thought, ok I want to be an air stewardess when I grow up! I remember playing pretend stewardess with my sisters using my mom’s tea trolley. I even took her table cloth and turned it into my uniform (kain belah depan LOL). I was around 6-7 years old la ok. Hehe.

I asked Ayra what she wanted to be when she grow up and here’s what she wrote (yes, she actually typed this herself. Mind her spelling and grammar tho. She’s only 7! :D).

When i grow up i want to be a chef and i want to open ballerina caffe becos i love to bake cakes, cupcakes, cookies, pancakes, waffels. I also want to be artist and teach people how to draw in art class. They can draw and painting anyting and colour nicely. I love to draw and bake becos drawing is the best thing and baking is fun becos i can make any treats i like and eat it. Maybe first I will be a chef and then I will be an artist. I am so excited to open my ballerina caffe and art class.

Hahaha how cute and innocent!

I think her ambitions are great and as parents, it’s our job to encourage our children to dream big whether, it’s unrealistic or not. Parents should believe in their child because they believe in themselves. Your motivation and encouragement means a lot to them because in their eyes, we are their superheroes. As parents, we need to instil the belief that no dream is too big, be supportive and provide them the tools to pave a path towards the success of their dreams. One way to do it is through role play, which not only helps develop a child’s cognitive, gross and fine motor skils, but also allows them to exercise their imagination and lets them to go through the motions to explore what they might like to try out in the future.

Speaking of role-playing, we brought our girls to Kidzania a few weeks ago, as soon as the school holiday started. My girls love Kidzania! That was actually their third time – first time was in Kidzania Jakarta a few years ago, second time was in KL earlier in 2015. They can’t seem to get enough of it. And as a parent, I can’t either. When we first went to Kidzania, I was excited and impressed. It’s an indoor real functioning kid-sized city, complete with buildings, paved streets, vehicles and recognizable destinations in the form of “establishments” sponsored and branded by leading multi-national and local brands – which makes it even more realistic because it mirrors real life even more!

It allows kids to do “jobs” just like in the real world – complete with uniforms, and they even get paid for their work! There are over 100 “jobs” in Kidzania – surgeons, nurses, police officer, judge, TV crew, postman, fireman, supermarket cashier, pilot, artist, beautician and lots more.

Role play is a serious business in KidZania. It is experiential learning at work and really drives home benefits that are not limited to only physical development of fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination, but also instills and ignites what may possibly be a kid’s real interest or potential in a certain undiscovered area (as I’ve mentioned earlier on). Apart from that, our kids also learn socialization skills, independence and creativity – all skills that they will need to succeed as adults and prepare for the world out there. Plus, it’s super duper fun!

It’s really an incredible place for kids to play, learn and experience new things. If only we had this kind of thing back then. Kids nowadays are so lucky!

 

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IMG_7065When kids come to KidZania, they are each given a starting capital cheque worth 50 KidZos (the official KidZania currency) that can be cashed in a bank.

 

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The last time we went to KidZania, my girls had already experienced working as milk processing operators at Vitagen factory, surgeons at KPJ Hospital, burger maker at Marrybrown, AirAsia pilot, TV crew, firefighter and they even do batik painting.

This time around, they wanted to do other jobs… which is fine. The more job experience, the better.

 

IMG_7114But it’s not ALL work, all the time. Kids also go around as customers and consumers. Here, the girls are spending some KidZos at the Z-Mart supermarket.

 

IMG_7079It’s fun to watch the kids learn to navigate the store looking for the items on their grocery list. It doesn’t seem like much but they’re learning to organize themselves as well as their financials.

IMG_7095Check out time! Maybe next time, I’ll let them do the real groceries.

IMG_7096After shopping, they decided to go to the beauty salon…

IMG_7104…and have (real) manicures!

IMG_7139After the mani session, money is running a bit low – so the kids need to earn more KidZos. Here they’re trying out life as Lifebuoy Health Researchers.

IMG_7151This was one of their favourite jobs that day as they get to “mix some potions to make soap” and choose their own color for the soap.

IMG_7194Another job that they enjoyed was being nurses and taking care of newborns at the nursery.

IMG_7220Unfortunately, parents are not allowed inside the hospital so we just peeked from outside the windows. The girls learned how to bathe, put lotion, swaddle and bottle-feed baby (they use dolls, don’t worry). Bagus, dah practice nak dapat adik! Hehe.

IMG_7180Researchers at Pharmaniaga Citrex Vitamin Research Institute.

IMG_7232And they also learned how to sew bookmarks using sewing machine!

IMG_7252Actual roads, ambulance, light posts… truly a city build for kids!

I had a great time seeing my kids engrossing themselves with the activities so I got curious as to how they felt. they told me, in their exact words, this:

“I learned how to get money from the bank. And then I learned how to buy grocery using the list and also how to pay using the money. I also learned how to make soap and how to properly stir the soap potion. And lastly I learned how to take care of the baby. It’s my favourite because now I know how to bathe and put lotion and give milk to baby.”

I was surprised actually because instead of the fun that they had, they told me that they enjoyed the learning part and the new knowledge and skills that they learned by the end of the day. I guess it wasn’t a bad idea at all to bring them to KidZania!

It really is a life-learning centre that inspires kids to pursue their dreams as they get to explore what it’s like to live and work in a real functioning city. If your kids haven’t been to KidZania yet, you really have to bring them!

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Checkout KidZania’s website at www.kidzania.com.my to learn more about the activities.