Who did it?!?

I had a funny incident that happened which I laugh every time I think about it.  I wore one of my favorite shirt I bought from Zara a while back. It’s olive green colour. I wore it all day, to my meetings, and to lunch. I went back to the office and my co worker said to me ” What is that on your shirt??”. I was thinking what? It was at the bottom of my top on the left side, someone had scribbled pen in that area! I was looking and looking to figure out what it was, and in my mind, who would have done that? Yes, I know if I had toddler who did not know any better , there would be a chance I can blame it on the toddler. My girls are 9 and 6 years old! they would NOT have done that to my shirt! I know it’s only recently this month it was done, because I remembered wearing it last month and it was perfectly fine.

My-favourite-shirt-ruined
How did I not see the scribble .. dressed in the dark!

My co worker said, maybe I had sat somewhere there was a pen and I didn’t know. But the scribble was purposely done, circles and circles, round and round. So it couldn’t have been me .

I went home, and sat my kids down. I told them what I discovered , and they looked at it. Both girls gasped. I am trying to look at their facial expression to figure cues who might be lying to me. Isabella, my elder daughter said ” What? who did that to your shirt mommy? ” . I said ” yes…I would like to know too…do you know anything about this?”

Isabella looked innocent and answered ” NO!..it wasn’t me!!”

I looked at Karley, my 6 year old.. she looked mischievous “Who?” I asked. ” She said ” Not me!!!!!”.  I said you are sitting on the truth chair, so you both have to tell the truth. Then Karley held my shirt close to her, and looked very closer at it. I saw her smile, and then trying to hide the smile.  I was waiting for her to tell me who did it. She said ” It probably was me…….”

So in the end, Karley was the one I was looking for. She scribbled on my shirt with a pen because I had scolded her for something. She got mad at me and thought she would do such a thing to my top!

Anyway, I did not punish her , I just told her not to do ruin or damage other people’s things even if she was mad! I just wanted them to be honest with me.  What would you have done?

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Parent’s Ability to Change

How to raise successful children.

As i have written in my other blogs about parenting, it is very challenging. My girls are now 9 and 6 years old. The way Neville and I have parent them is continuously changing according to their development stages. In the earlier years, when they were toddlers, I had read lots and lots of books to try to find out which way would be best to raise our kids? I have tried praising, reward system, giving choices, but seems like it backfires as they grow older. These strategies you can use but I feel parent need to really balance the strategies. I felt the need to adjust to their stage in life.

We used give rewards to the girls when they clean up their toys. And I remember when Isabella was 5 years old, I had asked her to pick up a cushion on the floor that fell off from the couch. Her response was “what do I get for it?” She has associated doing chores in exchange of getting something. Obviously, I had told her why we need to help out with chores as a family. We all live under the roof, and everyone should do their part in keeping the house clean and tidy. Eventually, she understood and as parents, we felt the need to change the way we deal with delegating chores and not just follow books which only provides the benefits.

I realized that we really have to be flexible and change the way we parent as they change. Neville and I reflect a lot on our parenting. And I find this is a very good way as a couple to work towards being on the same page in parenting. It is so important to always reflect at different stages in your child’s life. What worked when they were a toddler may not work as they are older. What I see in many parents, is they are stuck in their ways, and never really look at which stage their kids are at. They then wonder why their kids have changed and not obey or listen, but really they have grown to have a mind of their own. I am sure it will be very different when they reach pre-teen and teen ages. We need to constantly change and adapt.

I really encourage couples to talk about it, and I find when we do talk, our relationship is closer, and it’s a way to build a stronger relationship. After having children, we both work full time jobs, and then having to drive the kids around to classes, we don’t have time to bond as husband and wife. Getting updates with how both of us is feeling through chats and talks at night really helps.

My Breastfriend Pillow

The best breastfeeding pillow that all moms should know about.

I used to think breastfeeding would be the most easiest thing to do. I mean, back in the days, that’s how moms feed their babies. There wouldn’t be issues about not enough colostrum, or milk coming in late. There wouldn’t be a scale weighting the baby and making moms supplement with formula because they baby lost more than 10% from their birth weight. Those babies still grew up and become healthy children.

When I had my first daughter, I was determined to exclusively breastfeed. I thought my experience with teaching new moms how to breastfeed, Gone on home visits , worked at the breastfeeding clinic. I felt I knew everything to prep myself. I told myself, when your nipples hurt, it meant that Baby was not latching well, make sure nipple to nose, mouth wide open and bring baby in to latch. …etc.

Little did I know, teaching was totally different than real life. It helped me improve the way I can guide moms to breastfeeding.

When my daughter was born, my baby lost a lot of weight, the well baby clinic was concerned. Baby latched on but I didn’t have enough milk for the first week or so. I refused to supplement with formula, even though I did buy some just incase. I breasted every 1- 1.5 hours if I could. I was exhausted. In the end I breastfed her until she was almost 1 years old.

With my younger daughter, same struggle, latch was fine.. but took longer for milk to come in. Karley also lost 13% of birth weight. I had to eventually tube feed with formula and pumped breastmilk. I almost gave up as I would need hubby to assist me. Karley did well after a 2 weeks, but boy was I worried about her not gaining weight and also not enough breast milk.

One of the items that saved me was the breastfeeding pillow. It’s the best thing and one thing recommend moms for buying in preparation for breastfeeding . It is called “My Breastfriend Pillow” it definitely was my best friend. I used it day and night.

Mybreastfriend pillow breastfeedingThe best breastfeeding pillow

it helped support my arms as I was already experiencing pain in my wrist from carrying and not holding baby improperly all the time. The pillow act as a soft table top, where baby can safely lay on the pillow and breastfeed.

Eventually as my girls grew… I didn’t even have to use my arms for cradle hold. I just had to put my baby on the pillow and she was grown big enough to just latch on and feed. Many times I fell asleep while feeding during early morning at 3am…. and baby was safely sleeping also on the pillow.

Moms can find this pillow on amazon. Or even other stores like Walmart. It retails for approx $44. Covers can be take out to wash. There is a slot on the pillow to put ur phone, or other small items you might need. It’s very useful and convenient, a great gift for a baby shower!!

New mommies, if you are experiencing sore nipples, or any other difficulties with breastfeeding, ask for help! It really makes a big difference seeing a Lactation Consultant, or call your local Public Health Department. No nipples are too big or too small for baby to latch on. Some pain is not ok , if baby is latched on properly, there should be no pain. If baby latched on the right way, they can suck and drain milk much more efficiently, and in turn you will have better milk production . Breastfeeding is an art. Both mommy and baby can learn together. =)

DIY Preventive Head Lice Spray

If you have read my previous blog about the battle with head lice , we finally won the battle. Finally no nits, no lice, nothing! She is all clear! I stress to my kids about the importance of NOT sharing hats, combs, and being too close with friends head to head! It’s really a nightmare to deal with!

I used to work on the Intake Team with Public Health and finally understand why moms would cry over the phone with frustration dealing with lice. I get it, I totally get it. It is because you dealt with your kids head lice, and all clear, but other kids may  not  completely have their hair treated, then, this nuisance will spread AGAIN,…and then AGAIn, and AGAIN. That parent who called me dealt with it 4-5 times in ONE school year! Can you imagine? I can’t…I would be shaving my kids hair ! It is worst when the school board’s policy is to exclude the student from school until head lice is clear!

I remember few years back I had prepared some “Preventive Head Lice Spray” with some essential oils. And I thought it worked quite well because my older daughter had letters coming home about exposure of head lice, but she didn’t get it. I am thinking it was because I was spraying this mixture in her hair and hood of her jacket every single day! So, I thought I would share with you the mixture and perhaps, you could use it year round for your kids as a preventive measure.

All you need is a 16oz spray bottle from dollar store. . Then we would need water to mix with the essential oils. I used Eucalytus oil peppermint oil,  Lavender oil and Tea Tree oil.

I just fill the 16 oz spray bottle up with water and mix the oils in. I get my essential oils from Young Living. Lovely 15ml size, goes a long way. 30 drops of Tea tree oil, 10 drops of Lavender.

Everyone’s skin is different and especially kids, their skin may react differently. You may omit the Eucalyptus oil.

I get my essential oils from Young Living….they have a variety of oils, single or blended.  Amazing products, natural and grown from farms in Utah.

 

Here is what you need to mix the spray..

Ingredients Needed:

16ox Spray Bottle

Water

30 Drops of Tea Tree Oil

10 Drops of Peppermint Oil

10 Drops of Lavender

5 drops of Eucalyptus (optional)

 

Add water to fill up spray bottle 3/4 full. Add all the oils and mix.  Spray every morning on to your child’s hair before they go to school .

Head Lice Battle

How to get rid of head lice pediculosis

So the night before my husband and I were going to our little anniversary celebration, my youngest daughter complained that her head was very itchy. We were still in line at Michaels , and she kept scratching her head. Oh boy, I thought to myself…. not today, not now!!! Of course I check her hair and saw what I didn’t want to see… nits.

The tiny white egg, shaped like rice.. stuck on her hair shaf. There were a few of them. I quickly dropped by Shoppers Drug Mart to grab 2 bottles of head lice treatment. I wasn’t sure if my older daughter needs to be treated also. I used the one called Resultz Head Lice Treatment.

Quickly used the solution and soaked it in her hair and scalp for 10 minutes. After , rinsed with warm water. I didn’t wash her hair for 2 days. Licboughte don’t do well in oily dirty hair. There was always a myth that only poor people and dirty people get lice. This is not true at all. Everyone can get lice and even clean people get lice. With less oil in the hair, it makes it easy for them to feed and lay eggs, with oil hair they have more difficulty.

To be effective, after the treatment, I used a metal Lice comb from Amazon and went through her head , and combed out any nits. I will then repeat this treatment in 7-10 days incase the first treatment didn’t kill the louse or nits.

Make sure you soak all the combs in hot water for 10 minutes. I washed all bedding, pillow cases, vacuumed the head rest of the car seat etc. Whenever I talk about it, my head gets itchy too. Luckily I am free from lice (relied on my husband to check).

I informed the school and they require the student to sign a form to say that treatment has been started. With head lice, schools can not exclude child from school as it is not a health hazard.

For more info about head lice, you can visit here, make sure if your child has lice, check carefully!! It can come back quickly if not taken out properly!

http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/head-lice.html

Pillar & Post

This weekend we had a little mini getaway for hubby and I. This April will be our 10th year anniversary. We were married in 2008 April 26th. We were high school sweet heart and met in grade 10. With a blink of an eye, I Have known Neville for … wait.. I always have to calculate..2018 minus 1996.. we have known each other for 22 years!

After we got married, we had two girls who is now 8 years old and 6 years old. Crazy times!

Hubby booked us at the Pillar and Post Resort and Spa by Niagara on the Lake. Dinner at the Cannery Dining Restaurant. It’s more a vintage feel hotel, not the modern hotels I’m used to at Vegas. It’s a different feel and very nice.

We booked an early dinner at the restaurant. Food was unexpectedly awesome. The service was excellent and atmosphere was perfect. Because we were early, we had the dining area for ourselves in front of the fireplace.

Our appetizer was the beef and veggie soup, I had the baby lettuce salad. For the entree, Neville had the prime ribs and I had the salmon. Amazing taste. Finished off with what they call ” Black Forest” cake, but I think is really just a brownie. I was hoping for a Lava cake.

There is a hot fountain spa outdoors which we went to relax in after our dinner. If you wanted, you could book a massage, facial or other spa treatments.

Rooms were very spacious, I just didn’t like there was a little smell in the hallway. Wasn’t sure what it was.. but the room was fire. Our room also had its own fireplace. Very nice and cozy! Oh! And plus a Keurig coffee machine in the room.

It was a Very relaxing time!! And thank our kids for behaving so the grandparents are willing to look after them!

Visit their website for deals! Www.vintage-hotel.com. There are different promos for rooms and packages. There are a lot of nice winery around if you are a wine & cheese lover.

Easy Bagel Recipe

How to make healthy easy bagel with only 5 ingredients.

Living in Canada, Tim Hortons is a place where Canadians enjoy their coffee and donuts. I personally love their Everything Bagel Toasted with Butter. It’s something I have every Sunday before going to church. My children love it too. Unfortunately , eating too many of these bagel may increase the number on my scale.

I love finding recipes that are considered “healthy”. I try at least because I know I eat too much junk. I found a bagel recipe from Skinnytaste. It’s only 5 ingredients needed! Mix it and pop it in the oven! That is just too easy so I decided to try it out.

First time I made it I followed the recipe. Mixed the flour, baking powder and salt together.

Then I added the Greek yogurt and mixed it. I kneaded it a few times and divided into 5 balls. From there I rolled each one to the shape of a bagel. I didn’t really do a good job, but it still turned out wonderful. I used egg whites and brushed the surface of the dough , and put in the oven for 25 mins using 375F. The second time I made it, I put a little more Greek yogurt in and added sesame on top of dough.

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 25 minutes cook time

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients:

  1. 1 cup of all purpose flour
  2. 1 cup of non-fat Greek Yogurt. I used Liberte plain 0%)
  3. 2 teaspoon of baking powder
  4. 3/4 teaspoon of salt
  5. 1 egg white, beaten
  6. Optional: your favourite seasoning e.g sesame, everything bagel seasoning, poppy seed..)

Cooking Procedure:

1. Preheat oven to 375F. Place parchment paper on the baking sheet. Spray oil to avoid bagel sticking.

2. In a bowl, combine and mix the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add yogurt and mix well.

3. On a clean work surface, dust some flour and remove dough from bowl. Knead the dough several times, approx 15-20 turns. The dough should not be sticky.

4. Divide the dough into 5 balls. Roll the ball into thick rope about 3/4 thick and connect the two ends to make the dough into a circular shape.

5. Use a brush to brush the egg white on bagel surface. Sprinkle your favourite seasoning. Bake on top rack for 25 mins. Let it cool before cutting.

I love eating the bagel when it’s fresh out of the oven. You can eat it with butter alone, or with cream cheese. Add eggs or piece of cheese!

Let me know how yours turn out!!

Marijuana is natural, so it is safe! Is it really??

Marijuana is safe because it’s natural! Really?

My job at work is to provide health education to the community . Lately, everyone is talking about cannabis legalization in Canada. Our teenagers in school are excited. They think because the government is legalizing marijuana, that must mean it is safe to smoke/ingest. Or because doctors prescribe them, it is also ok.

Cannabis is derived from the cannabis plant cannabis sativa. There are three main forms: marijuana, hashish and hash oil. Marijuana is made from dried flowers and leaves of the cannabis plant. It is the least potent of all the cannabis products and is usually smoked or made into edible products like cookies or brownies.

The main active ingredient in cannabis that cause users to feel “high” is called delta-9 tetrahydro-cannabinol, commonly known as THC. There is a wide range of THC potency between cannabis products. Hence why it is important to know your source.

There are many different cultures that use cannabis. Families in those countries sometimes grow their own plant. Many years ago, marijuana was more pure. Today, users buy marijuana from many different street sources who really focuses on making money. Unfortunately, it is no longer as pure as it was.

Did you know there are more than 500 different chemicals in marijuana? When I tell the teens they are actually smoking tar, and pesticide which are one of many harmful chemicals, they were shocked.

Many think because it is from a plant, it is natural and safe. Poison ivy is natural… but is it safe to touch? There is no way we can control teens from using drugs. From the Ontario Student Drug Use Health Survey 2017, it shows how many students from grades 7-12 have used drugs in the past year.

in Canada, 1 in 5 teens ages 15-19 have used cannabis in the past. Our hope is to encourage teens to delay use of drugs and alcohol as long as they can. Harm reduction is the strategy. If they do decide to try, how can they use it safely. For example, not driving after use, don’t get Into a car with someone who have smoked marijuana etc.

Many teens feel that smoking marijuana is like smoking cigarettes. They do not consider themselves “impaired” after smoking weed, and off they go in the car to grab lunch. There is a difference and they need to recognize that. ” I am more focused”, “I concentrate better..” is what they say. But really, your body’s reaction time and coordination is affected. It takes more energy and effort to really focus. When a dog jumps out to the road, it will definitely take them a longer time to react and step on the brakes.

Even though Canada will legalize use of marijuana, for teens, is still illegal. So no matter what, it’s not ok for them.

“Well, my dad used it, why can’t I?”. That’s a question we get all the time. “My aunt uses it, why can’t I?” . The difference is, when marijuana is used during the years when teen brain and body is still developing, it can have some permanent effect.

The major affect is the brain development ..in terms of memory, decision making, problem solving.. etc. And if there is a family history of mental illness such as schizophrenia, teens who use marijuana can trigger the symptoms earlier.

As a parent. I think if you have some opportunities to have a chat with your kids about it, that can help them dispell any myths, or clarify any information . What they hear from their friends are probably not as accurate. And as parents, it beneficial to know what’s going on in your teen’s life.. what they are exposed to, and to create opportunities for conversation.

Drugs Free Canada have excellent supports and information for parents. Download their Cannabis Talk Kit. It can provide parents with support on how to talk to your teens about Cannabis.

Am You A Tiger Mom?

Are you a tiger mom? What is it that make us become a tiger mom?

I am not sure where you live, in Toronto, the culture on how we raise our kids have definitely evolved to a different level. I was born in Hong Kong, and went to school there until 2nd half of grade 1. My family then immigrated to Canada and I attended the rest of my grade 1 year. The education system in Asia is very intense. The Chinese families are very serious and focussed on mainly academic. You may be good at arts or sports, but that didn’t matter because no matter how good you are in other things, if your marks are not good, nothing mattered.

Parents in hk then push their kids to the max by enrolling them in all extra tutor, piano lessons, math class, English class etc.

In Toronto, you go to school according to the area where you live. In Hk, if your marks are not good, you would have to get interviewed in to schools that are lower band. The better marks you have , the best school you get into. So then kids who do not do well in school get placed together. That is why the pressure for your child to do well is high. No one wants to be studying at a school known for their poor academics. It is also face and status for parents.

By immigrating to Canada, my parents hope to give us a better education system, where education are play based. Less pressure and stress for both kids and parents. Even though we were in a more relaxing education environment , I stil had to go to swimming, piano, Kumon, chinese school etc. At that time I didn’t think it was stressful as a child.

Now is my turn to parent.. and it seem like parents in the community have higher expectations and brought over the Asia atmosphere . Kids are enrolled in all different classes everyday after school. Some are so busy they do not have time to do their school work, and won’t be able to sleep until 12am. I am not talking about high school students, but elementary school students who are only in grade 3.

Am I a tiger mom?

Sometimes I reflect on my own family. Am I being what they call a tiger mom? I say I let them go swimming, taekwondo to increase their physical activity, but at times I push them and hope they get to higher level, or even get them in competitions. They do Kumon all for what, because the public education system is a bit behind in math. They spend 1.5 hours everyday doing a extra booklet of math and reading aside from their homework. I struggled with them quitting piano class because it seem like every kid in the community either plays piano or violin. How can my kids not be learning? And of course I hope they would be exposed to music as research shows it helps with their brain development.

Am I being a reasonable mom? Am I pushing my kids just because I feel like if they don’t learn all these things, they are missing out?

Eventually, I gave in and stopped piano classes as getting them to practice was a pain in the ass. It broke our daughter and mother relationship. What do I expect them to do with it? To be a music teacher? Musician? Or just really for the purpose of better brain development? Or another way they can manage their stress with music?

I try very hard not to compare what other parents are putting their kids in. I freed up the weekend so we can have family time. We can finally sleep in on Saturdays . Although my daughter did ask for violin classes, I no longer fight them to practice. I gently remind them and it seem to be working.

Stress and pressures children are experiencing

(Photo from South China Morning Post)

Mental health conditions exist in our elementary age children. More and more children experience anxiety disorders, panic attacks and depression. The more we push our kids in an unreasonable way, the more our kids will struggle, or unable to manage the stress and pressure from parents. Let’s just take a breath, and slow down. Happy relationships , in the end I believe would result in better grades. Happier kids become healthier kids.

Habitat for Humanity

My experience with women build Habitat of Humanity

I had the privilege to participate in Women Build 2017. My friend Rebecca had asked if I would be interested in fundraising for Habitat for Humanity to help build some townhomes for low income families.

I have always wanted to give back to the community and now that my daughters are older, I am able to have some time for myself to volunteer in the community. And of course from parenting perspective, this opportunity allowed me to become also role model for kids in serving the community.

There were 5 of us that participated. We named our team to be “Momions”. We each had more than a month to fundraise $500 . As long as our team reach $2000 , we were good to go. I was grateful that so many friends and family responded to the fundraising. I rarely reach out to others for fundraising as I know it is a pressure for friends and family to be obligated to donate money.. especially when there are a lot of fundraising activities at work, school etc . We all have our circumstances and may be hard to give $20 to five other people who ask for donations from different agencies.

To my surprise, I reached $500 in 2 days. I just want to thank those in contributed.

On the day, we arrived at the site on Pinary Trail in Scarborough at 730am. Habitat provided us with a t-shirt and tool belts, safety glasses, hard hats and boots.

We all gathered in the canopy area for pancake breakfast prepare by Rotary Club members. The coordinators spoke and introductions of other teams. We were then divided to follow a volunteer who come often to help out. So they taught us what we needed to do.

We went with Jill and our task were to paint all the doors in the townhouse complexes. She showed us how to take the door out from the frame, disassemble the door handles etc. We had to move the heavy metal doors on to a stand and then sand, clean the doors before we painted.

The door was super heavy and needed 3 of us to carry it across to the site. Super heavy metal doors!!!! Why do they use metal doors. One of the guy working there helping us says it’s light! No need for so many people! Ya right… he could not even carry it by himself.

So we sanded, cleaned and painted. Disassembled door handles , the put it back together x 6 heavy doors. It was time consuming as we had to keep waiting for coats of paint to dry. We were there until 3pm. They provided us with a nice lunch.

By the end of the day I was exhausted and my back was aching! It was still a wonderful experience and I was happy to be able to help out. I believe a few of the townhouses were ready for families to move in. It is so nice to know there are affordable housing around for those in need.

If you all have a chance, do try taking a day to volunteer. You could be learning lots of skills in construction!