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Friday, August 29, 2008

Consolidate my blogs or maintain them all

First of all, I have 3 main blogs. Most of you would know that they are....

  1. This blog: Parenting Times
  2. My personal blog: Mumsgather
  3. My exclusive blog for Mothers: Mothering Times
This is my very first blog so its my favourite naturally. However, my personal blog is my personal space so thats also become my favourite blog. The reason why I have 3 blogs and not 1 is for monetary reasons. However, due to the dearth of paid posts, its really not worthwhile to maintain so many blogs, well at least not for me. For those who are very very hardworking, its still worthwhile.

Still, I am too sayang to give up any of the blogs so I'm not sure what to do. This blog is my main Adsense earner. The other two are so minimal I might as well just remove the Adsense. They hardly count. I wonder why. In terms of comments, these days, I appear to be receiving more comments on my personal blog, so comments does not translate to $$$. lol. I believe I have more subsribers to this blog compared to the rest since its my first blog.

In terms of page views, I haven't checked in ages but I checked this morning and saw that this blog averages 250 page views a day, the personal one averages 150 page views a day whereas the Mother's blog averages 100 page views a day. All nothing to shout about. Still its interesting to note that this blog earns 98% of my Adsense income compared to the other two even though the page view is not 98% compared to the others. I still wonder why. I am technologically challenge and I'm too lazy and have no time to dig into the reasons why.

Sometimes I think I should go back to having just one blog but I sayang lah. Haha. So I guess I shall maintain them all for the time being. I don't write duplicate posts on them though some of the contents may overlap a little. So maintaining them still requires some work. Strange isn't it? I have 3 blogs for monetary reasons but now I maintain them for the love of it rather than for money because they don't make money.

Since Adsense is my only income generator these days, I might as well tutup the other two blogs. Previously I wrote more paid posts, several in a day, so one blog is not enough to write them all since we need to have interim posts between the paid ones. But you'll notice that I hardly write any paid posts these days.

I also have different readers for my blogs. Some of the readers from this blog or the Mother's blog don't read my personal blog at all. I'm not sure if they even know it exists. Haha.

What about the rest of you who have several blogs? How do you maintain them all? Tiring or not? ;)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Her Mat Salleh slang

My girl reads her Mandarin books with a Mat Salleh slang. I just hope that she won't get teased in school because of it.

Thanks to the beauty of blogging, I found some books to start preparing my girl for Chinese School. Some bloggers and blog readers had recommended the book. You can see pictures and a more detailed description of the books from this blog post by Jo-n: Learning Chinese. She has done a very nice detailed post about it together with pictures and all. Very nice. Thanks Jo-n. Your post together with some blog readers' description helped me to find the books easily.

The books are along the lines of Peter and Jane concept, but in Chinese. It introduces new words while repeating old ones in a continuous story format. The series introduces up to 800 new words in all. My girl is now reading Book 5 in the 2nd series of 200 words in her Mat Salleh slang. I am a little ahead of her on Book 4 in the 3rd series of 300 words. We had to get the optional CDs to work on our pronounciation. :) Its a very enjoyable and fun way of learning. My girl likes it very much and so do I.

Thats to start off preparing my girl for Chinese School next year. As for me, I am a little worried about how I'm even going to understand what they are saying during the orientation. I tried to put on the Mandarin news and I didn't understand a word of what they were saying. Sigh. I'm afraid that my Preschool Knowledge of Chinese is not going to help me through understanding whats going on. During the orientation, I presume the headmaster will go through the rules and regulations and I won't know a word of what he is saying. Help! When I am in a roomful of Mandarin speaking people I feel really awkward and out of place. How am I going to help my child and become more involved the way I am now?

I just became a member of Popular Bookstore which I seldom visited before this. However, I'll be spending more time there in the future going through the Mandarin books. But theres no escaping knowing Mandarin now is there. I find that the newer generation of 20 and 30 something speaks Mandarin compared to my generation of 40 something who mostly spoke English. All my girl's kindy teachers speak Mandarin with the exception of the principal who is older. All the teachers in the music school who are in their 20 something speaks Mandarin. I feel so lost.

I wish I had the time to take up some adult crash course in Mandarin. I want very much to be able to support my kids in their studies and not leave it to tuition teachers but will I have to now that they are headed for Chinese school? Will I have to leave their studies to tuition teachers?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Mooncake Festival: Lanterns for Kids

Image is from theStar.com.my

"Mummy, I want lantern" ; "Mummy, can I play with candles?"

I've been hearing this recently. Mooncake Festival or Mid Autumn Festival this year falls on Sunday, 14th September 2008. The malls have been selling mooncakes and lanterns for about 2 to 3 weeks now but we haven't bought any.

I think I'll just go to the nearby "kedai runcit" (convenience store) to get some paper and plastic lanterns for the kids. Its cheaper than the ones at the malls and more authentic. No point getting those gadgety, noisy, expensive ones. The ones at the malls are rather commercialised. I even saw some Kungfu Panda ones this year. It is afterall for just once a year and it'll get burned anyway so cheap is the way to go. The gadgety ones with propellers and moving parts and bubbles that blow out look just like any other toy to me. They don't look like lanterns to me.

What about you? Have you bought any lanterns for your kids yet? What do they look like? How about posting a photo on your blog to share with us?

Friday, August 22, 2008

More Holiday Time Crafts

Yesterday we did some paper lanterns. The kids requested 3 each! *Wipes forehead* Thank goodness they're easy to do. So they each got their 3 paper lanterns which they decorated with their favourite stickers. We used manila cards pink, green, yellow and blue and interchanged the color of the lanterns and handles.

After that the kids hung their lanterns onto balloon sticks by clipping them on with clothes pegs and pretended to walk about the house with their own decorated lanterns. They even wanted to place their 3 lanterns each on their bedside tables but there wasn't any space for it. The boy had cars and disney cartoon characters on his. They girl has sparkly stars and Hello Kitty stickers on hers. Gender differences start from young. Haha.

Today, we did our chain paper dolls. The dolls are easy to cut out. Then the fun part begins, drawing in the dolls' clothing. We used colored pens this time round. Then added little details by using glitter glue, the ever versatile stickers, colorful crepe paper. Even the maid enjoyed herself making some paper dolls. After that she folded some "kapal layar" for the kids. Now I know what she can do in her spare time. Do some arts and crafts too. Hehe.

Well, today is the last day officially for the school holidays. After the weekend, the girl will be back in school and we go back to our old routine. :)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

School Holiday Arts and Crafts

Yesterday we did some drawings and painting and then decorated it with some glitter glue. Glitter glue really brings out a painted picture. We made the painted sun and the clouds and the windows on aeroplanes and cars glitter.

Then we recycled an old sun catcher by peeling off the old paint and repainting it with new colors. Cheap and good. Haha.

Today we did a CD Jewel Box Photo Frame. We took a two CD jewel box, removed the middle portion and were left with a nice clear frame. Then we decorated the kids photos by pasting them on colored paper and pasting stickers around them. (The colored papers were cut out in the CD box shape first). We did 4 photos for each kid and put them in the CD box back and front on both sides. The kids loved it. Anything featuring themselves is always a hit. lol! This craft is a little bit like doing a scrap book but on a frame instead of in a book.

Later on the kids wanted to turn their sun catchers into personalized key chains and hang them onto the zip tops for their school bags. I gave them key rings with a place to write their names on it and we hung the sun catchers on the bag. The kids were thrilled! Anything featuring their own names to be placed on their own bags is a hit. I had trouble getting them to bathe as they paraded around the room, trying to dance and shake about so that the dangling key chains would make a clanging sound.

Oh well, I've got no time to post photos as we still have lots to do. Poor mommy has got no time to blog but still has time for this entry. ;)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Our very own School Holiday Program

Its the school holidays and we have our own School Holiday Program at home. It looks something like this:
  • Breakfast
  • Chinese Reading Practise (for the girl)
  • Learn to Read at Starfall (for the boy)
  • Arts and Crafts (for both)
  • Lunch
  • Bath
  • Emcee Practise (for the girl)
  • Nap
  • Piano Practise (for the girl)
  • Gardening (just watering the plants)
  • Dinner
  • Scrapbooking (for the girl)
  • Bedtime

The kids don't have time for tv and they don't even realise it. ;) The day may look structured and full of activities but the kids actually look forward to them and ask for them. But of course mummy has less time for herself since she has to supervise the activities. Fortunately mummy has a helper now to do the housework and cleaning up after cooking. Phew!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Confidence Building

My girl used to be a very shy girl. When she was very young, she would cling like a koala to us whenever we met up with relatives. She would cry if anyone other than us tried to carry her. When we were having group photos taken, she would hide her face in our neck or chest refusing to look at the camera. She was afraid whenever there were a lot of people looking at her. When my sister came to visit me at home, she would run under the table to hide and refuse to come out.

I started my girl in kindy at aged 6, this year. Before that she never attended any playgroup or nursery. She didn't have a chance to practise her social skills and I was a little worried about it.

However she has done fine. She has been chosen to be emcee for her kindy year end concert. Its a rather difficult role. The emcees are required to memorise a few pages of words, some of them are rather bombastic and difficult to pronounce and they have to speak in 3 languages, English, Malay and Chinese. I have seen the papers. I think even an adult may have difficulty memorising and carrying out the role!

While I am happy that she has this opportunity which I think will be a good way for her to build her confidence, I am also a little worried and want to make sure that it doesn't do the opposite instead. I believe that if she does well, it will boost her confidence but if she doesn't it may put a dent in her self esteem.

Ok. Ok. I know its just a kindy concert but I'm a mother and mother's worry about everything. I am trying to help her by helping her to memorise and pronounce the difficult words. Her teacher says that she tends to speak very fast, a sign of nervousness so I'll have to help her slow down as well. I am trying to help her without putting any pressure on her to succeed.

Any suggestions from any wonderful mommies out there on how to build a child's self esteem and confidence? What do you do to help boost your child's confidence?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

How does a banana encourage their child to learn Chinese?

A "banana" is a rather degoratory term used to describe a Chinese who doesn't know Chinese. Meaning, the person is yellow on the outside (yellow skin for Chinese) but white inside (speaks only English for example).

Well, wether it is degoratory or not depends on the way you look at it. I don't think its shameful for a Chinese not to know Chinese. It was necessary then and that was the way we had been schooled and brought up.

Our parents had sent us to "English" school to learn English so that we have a better future. Those were the days. And it has helped us to be good in English. We had many job opportunities etc. But things are changing now with the new generation Chinese parents who know English. They are now sending their kids to Chinese school to learn Chinese since they are now good in English and there is no worry about that anymore. We have come a full circle.

So how do I encourage my child to learn to love Chinese when I don't know any Chinese myself? I learn it with her of course. That is the best support of all.

I remember the first time my girl brought home her "ting seah" (Chinese Spelling) work from kindy. I didn't know what that was all about. So I just asked her to write down the words on the paper like any other homework. When it was time for "ting seah", she got 4-5 out of 14 words correct.

Only then did I realise that "ting seah" meant Chinese Spelling or litterally translated means "listen, write". So I sat down and learned those words together with my girl. Every Friday, she would get a "ting seah" assignment and on Tuesday she would be asked to write those words in class when the teacher recites it.

I would practise those words together with my girl and have a "ting seah" competition with her. After we have finished studying and memorising those words together, we would read the sentence out to each other for the other to write and mark each other's work. She loves this. My girl would be delighted whenever she "wins" me in our weekly competition or if I can't remember to write certain words which she knew better than me and she'd go "Come mummy, I show you how."

Its amazing. With our weekly competitions, now she usually gets about 12-13 out of 14 words correct during her actual "ting seah" in class. Then I would remind her how good it is to know her work, so that she'd have less homework because they are required to rewrite every word that they got wrong. Now she usually just has to correct one or two words instead of rewriting almost entire sentences which takes up time.

So, it is possible for a mother who doesn't know Chinese to encourage and teach her child Chinese. Now, that I'm sending her to Chinese School, I need to support her even more. I hope that someone can recommend me some good resource for me to learn and teach at the same time. Thanks.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Its Chinese School for my girl

After much contemplation, we finally decided to stay with the Chinese School in which my girl had been placed. It was really not easy to come to this decision. We were still undecided right up to the very last minute before driving to the school to get her birth certificate stamped. Right before driving to the school I had completed the form of appeal to a National School and we were still discussing about it in the car. lol! Thats how undecided we are.

In the end we decided to give this particular Chinese School a try because we felt that this particular school is a good school with good facilities and a progressive head. The fact that he informed us that 60% of his students come from English speaking homes helped a little, I think.

Secondly, my girl does not show any barrier towards learning the language. She does not speak Mandarin but she is ok in her reading and writing. She shows a keeness and love for learning the language. Thats important too.

After confirming her place at the school, the school clerk asked us to write down my girl's name in Chinese so that they could prepare the badge for her. Hubby and I looked at each other. We had forgotten how to write her name in Chinese! So we had to get the aid of a teacher. Hmm... what a fine start.

We were given an Orientation program sheet (in Chinese) with some minimal Malay translation. I don't know what the program is all about since I can't read! And on the Orientation Days when the teachers talk about the school and its regulations (I presume), I won't understand what they are talking about! Oh dearie me. What have we gotten ourselves into!

So now, till the end of the year, I have to gear myself and my girl for Mandarin and lots and lots of homework. Anyone knows a good crash course in Mandarin? Hahaha. Ok. Ok. Perhaps I'll start with a good electronic dictionary. Can anyone recommend a good one?

Thursday, August 07, 2008

She's growing up

She used to cry till she vomitted on one occassion even, when I tried to wash her hair. Now, she takes the hand shower and says "Look, mummy, I can wash my own hair. I like to wash my own hair."

We used to have to hold her down, while one of us quickly spurt some medicine into her mouth using a syringe whenever she was sick. Now, she just makes a face and says "Yuck!"

She used to run under the table and hide when my own sister comes to visit. Or bury her face in her papa's chest when faced with strangers. Now, her teacher says she may be the MC for their kindy concert.

We used to have to walk and sing her to sleep as she cried so much at night as an infant. Now, she says "I can't sleep! I don't want to sleep!"

My girl is growing up so fast, right before my very eyes!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Why did you choose Chinese School/Kebangsaan School?

Ok. Ok. I'm beggining to sound like a broken record that keeps harping on the same subject but I just cannot make up my mind!

Anyway, I'm not going to write about this anymore. I hope to hear from you instead.

For those of you with kids entering Primary School and you HAVE MADE UP YOUR MIND about which school to send them. (Unlike me). Why did you choose Chinese School/Kebangsaan School?

For those of you whose kids are currently attending Chinese School/Kebangsaan School, Why did you choose Chinese School/Kebangsaan School? Do you have any regrets or are you happy with your choice?

Hope to hear your views. Don't be shy to leave long comments. Me and probably many others too want to hear from you. Thanks.

Since this topic is rather important to me, I am duplicating this post on my other blogs as some who read my other blogs don't read this one vice versa.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Kids and Medicine

My boy is sick. The fever just can't seem to go away. We've seen the paed and he is currently taking 4 meds. Poor thing. His sister is also taking 3 meds.

This is the 3rd week that the girl is on meds and the 2nd for my boy. It is not easy to get them to take meds. I usually "bribe" them with a spoonful of "Milo powder" to help the medicine go down, taking the cue from the Julie Andrew's song "Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, the medicine go down, the medicine go down."

When I do that, they line up to take their medicine. They make a face but they take it and if I am fast enough with my "Milo powder" the medicine may stay down before the gag reflex pushes it all out again.

Sometimes we talk about the medicine. I tell them that the antibiotics is extra "Kungfu Men" which will enter their body to fight the naughty germs inside. I tell them that the others eg the cough medicine is just to make them feel better from the coughing but the antibiotics are extra "Soldiers" to help them fight the germs. They like this story and so they take their "Kungfu Men" without much fuss.

Well, the girl has finished her "Orange Kungfu Men" and is feeling much better now compared to the boy who just got started on his "White Kungfu Men". Hopefully he will get better soon. I feel sad to see him grown thin and looking so miserable. He is normally such a cheerful boy who is always laughing.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Jigsaw Puzzle Craze

We're having a Jigsaw Puzzle Craze at our house at the moment. From 4 pieces to 48 pieces. From big to small. From original paper pieces to online pieces. The kids go through phases with their toys and for now they're into jigsaws. So that would mean that they're having jigsaw puzzle fights too.

I used to love to do jigsaw puzzles myself. I would complete those 2000 pieces type, put jigsaw glue on the surface, then sent it to the frame shop to be framed up and displayed in my house. Well, I used to be living in my brother's house at the time. So when I moved out, I was shy to ask for my jigsaw puzzle pictures back so they're still in his house now. At least two of them. Haha.

I haven't managed to do any for my own house so far but they're nice as a wall decoration especially if you select a nice picture. Maybe when the kids are older, we'll do them together and preserve them this way. I remember we used to do this as a family activity. My father would sometimes come to join us in putting the pieces together as well. It can be something that the whole family can do together. I must remember to do this when my kids are older.

At the moment they can manage up to 48 pieces so far. Someone gave them a 176 pieces one but they couldn't manage that and got bored after a while. I have two 100 pieces boxes (free from KFC) which I haven't let them try. Since they can now complete the 48 pieces one with ease, perhaps I shall take out the 100 piece one during the coming school holidays for them to try. Hopefully they haven't got tired of jigsaw puzzles by then. ;)

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