Home Sweet Home


It is the crazy relaxing weekend, which means family night for us! OK, now with a little imagination, let’s just say that one tiny master bedroom is crammed with Cheeky Koko sleeping on the recliner, Daddy Joe and Baby B on the spare mattress spread over the floor and usually, the queen mother and her princess sharing the king-sized bed for the night. It’s a family tradition that we have always had even though the kids have their own bedrooms. It saves the electricity bill, and we get to chit chat a little into the night sharing with each other our ups and downs over the past week, and most importantly, because we get to pray as a family just before the sleepy fairy ushers us into the snooze land which is really special for us.

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As we shushed the kids to quiet them down after their noisy sibling chatters and kiddie jokes, Baby B suddenly asked to join his big brother at the recliner sofa and as he climbed next to Cheeky Koko asking his brother to cuddle him to sleep, he also asked Cheeky Koko to sing some bedtime songs for him. Being the ever unconventional and creative brother that he is, Cheeky Koko sang the Old Macdonald Had A Farm song with a twist – good ol’ cow’s “moo moo here and moo moo there” was replaced with a cold-blooded iguana as the farm animal which “lick lick here and lick lick there”, and as Pumpkin Mei-Mei laughed uncontrollably over her brother’s creativity, Daddy Joe who was half asleep already remarked sternly, “it’s bad singing, Koko, so bad… I can’t even sleep anymore. And any of you boys and girl who continues to talk will just have to go back to your own bedroom!” and the room fell silence at once, not before Pumpkin Mei-Mei laughed even more hysterically over the bad choice of her brother’s bedtime lullaby.

Good night, OH!” and so, with a gentle tug, Baby B hugged his new soft toy OH to sleep and ever so quickly, like an angel. And I am quite certain, somehow his dream tonight will be filled with an adventure with OH from the latest DreamWorks Animation movie, HOME, which we were simply privileged to catch just before the school holiday is over, all thanks to Paradigm Mall at Kelana Jaya, as part of its on-going commitment to contribute positively to the community it operates in.home2

As a busy working mother, attending events are a rare luxury when normally I’d rather be spending my weekend with the three happiest little people of mine. But we love movies! This movie is all about finding one’s home and perhaps, even a sense of belonging and optimism even when things do not pen out the way we want in life which makes it a great story for family with kids of any age, and even for the 15 underprivileged children from the Nalini Rumah Kasih Home in Kelana Jaya who were invited to attend the preview screening of the blockbuster at GSC.home5

I have invited my two boys to watch this movie together (since I have just had a mother-daughter date with Pumpkin Mei-Mei just over a week ago for the Cinderella movie). Along with the children, we were treated to a deliciously crunchy yet moist and tender fish and chips brunch from Fish & Co. Paradigm Mall before we were ushered to an instant photo booth that was decorated with adorable characters from HOME. As an icing to the cake, Baby B was overjoyed to have received the very-lovable, misfit alien OH character soft toy from the organiser as a souvenir too.home3

As the movie title suggests, it is all about discovering that home is where the heart is, and where one finds love and acceptance – which drives home the point that Paradigm Mall endeavours to be the mall where everyone feels at home and welcome and that the mall’s continual commitment towards the society at large extends beyond its physical building into the heart of its surrounding community.

Yummy brunch courtesy of Fish & Co.!

Yummy brunch courtesy of Fish & Co.!

If you are an animation fan, HOME, starring big name stars like Rihanna, Jennifer Lopez, Steve Martin and Jim Parsons will be released in Malaysia on 26th March 2015. It is about the adventure of a girl named Tip and her new-found alien friend OH as they embark on a journey to discover the meaning of home.

As everyone finally snoozed away in their respective dreamland, I looked around our tiny room squeezed every corner with one of the five of us either on the floor, on the bed or on the recliner sofa, I thank God for this tiny home of mine, where love is shared everyday many times over, especially when a classic nursery rhyme is sung imperfectly and peppered with an iguana from a brother for his toddler brother.

That’s HOME, in every sense of the word for me.

The Cheerleader Mom


One of my blog followers who is also a friend asked me out of the blue, why I haven’t been blogging for almost 2 months. I looked at her and said, “I have been crazy busy, babe!”

“Oh like you haven’t been!” she teased.

“No, serious, I am standing right smack in the middle of the circle of life…”

“Like Elton John’s song huh?”

“Yes, like I am in a jungle. I have a busy job, a high-schooler, a primary kid and a pre-schooler. Imagine the number of school activities, homework coaching, ferrying to-and-from and parent-teacher interactions that I am trying to juggle now together with Daddy Joe. May be Sir Elton John was dedicating this song to ME.”

“Really? Cheeky Koko is in high school now and Baby B… already in a kindergarten?”

“Yes I know, right? Time flies in supersonic speed! I don’t know what I fed my kids but somehow they have started growing up! Cheeky Koko is now 13, have a wee bit of facial hair and much as I am quite tall, he is growing as tall as me NOW and it’s suddenly about me scolding him looking upward which is just AWKWARD!”

Uh-huh. Sounds like you are not ready to deal with parenting a teenager.”

“Absolutely NOT. He was just a baby yesterday! Oh and few months back when I heard the first crack in his voice out of a sudden, and I mean, like overnight… I thought alien invaded my house!”

As my friend laughed at my dramatic but completely honest sharing, my mind travelled to the tensed moments I felt just over a few months ago when Cheeky Koko was preparing for his UPSR exam, which is the compulsory Standard Six exam all 12 years olds in Malaysian government / public schools must sit for that will determine the kind of high school they get to go to for the following year.medium_2974216341

Despite having told myself countless times that my decision to send him to a Chinese primary school was purely to instil the good old moral and piety-driven family value in him and not at all about the stringent learning process and the pursuit of excellent academic performance that which underlie our education system, I turned into a tensed mom doing just what I didn’t want to do in the few months leading to the exam.

That tension of realising he would not be able to do as well as I thought as I observed that more and more, he was not slogging at his study desk as I have expected him to was met with angry words from me, and his streak of rebellion of turning to tablet games whenever he was stressed with his studies created a red sea that divided my boy and me.

In fact, I lost count on the number of nights on ends when silent frustrations made both of us walked back into our own bedrooms without the usual mommy-son embrace and goodnight exchanges. If I did press for it, I would get a cold goodnight, ma in a Zombie dead tone from my first child who is usually the funny bones in the house.

I don’t think I ever grew up and grow old wanting to be competitive in my spirit. I always feel that every child has his or her own potential and gifting that would one day be a calling for greater things in his chosen path but somehow in those moments I lost sight over how small this exam was as compared to the many tests we will eventually face in life.

It was more like I was frustrated with my own inability to instil in him to be an independent learner. I was frustrated that he wasn’t studying the whole day when he was facing such a major exam. I lost sight over the simplicity of what it means to be a child, that being carefree was his God-given entitlement.

It didn’t take long for his day care teacher, an elderly lady in her 60s, to notice that Cheeky Koko was losing his smile and confidence over his studies and advised me to find a way to walk to him, fast. Finding the right words to mend our relationship was tough when I couldn’t even think straight how I should encourage him when I could not find the peace within myself to be the encouraging mom he needed the most at that time. I sat down that night and wrote him a 5-page letter that reaffirmed my love and confidence over him and explained to him that I wasn’t seeking straight As from him. I was merely trying to find my way back to being the best cheerleader mom who wanted him to believe that he could reach the sky if he gave his best in everything he does in his life.

A month later, my Cheeky Koko sat for his UPSR with a lot of cheers from us, his papa and mama. And the week that he sat for his exam? We ate pizza and cycled together because we knew he has put in his best in that one month. He scored quite a number of As in the end and some Bs. Not that it mattered anyway, because it mattered that much more that he regained his sunshine smile and joy as he now ventures into teenage-hood and settling down in his high school life.

Mothering is tough work. Don’t be surprised that I am soaking up books on parenting a teenager. After all, I am standing right smack in the circle of life where every day does feel like a jungle of crazy joy, except that I now learn to cherish and embrace it that much more.

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Photo Credit:

photo credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/awyatt/2974216341/”>awyatt</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

Our Best Days… Ever!


Last month my domestic helper who is from Indonesia went back to her hometown to celebrate Eid with her family for 30 days.

When this happens, a stay home mom would just go on life managing the family routine, kids and her home with much grace, flair and poise that make her home completely functional as it has always been.

Forget about grace and flair with her counterpart who happens to be a working mama! The operative word was PANIC at this Seven2SevenMom planet! Short of clinging on to my helper’s leg even before she stepped off my front door, I was lost. I was petrified. I thought I’d crumble. First, I thought of my work – how do I cope with washing all the 3 bathrooms and 4 bedrooms in our apartment AND iron all the kids’ school uniforms after working 10 hours at the office? Then I thought of the crazy-beyond-description school routines of my kids and their mountain-high homework piles, which meant I would be coaching homework with my kids sitting on the kitchen floor while I (try to) wash all of the pots and pans and numerous little plastic cups and utensils after dinner. Multitasking will surely take on a whole new meaning in my life!

Maid-less day: The home was in a crazy mess but baby B found room for simple joy and laughter.

Maid-less day: The home was in a crazy mess but baby B found room for simple joy and laughter.

But when I thought of how my family-work balance will be temporarily thrown off its balance and yet I could have a chance of living my childhood dream of being an all-present, all-loving stay-home mom… I was elated!
After I succeeded at applying for a one-month special work arrangement with my extremely understanding bosses to work only half day at the office and the other half day to take care of what mattered most to me – my kids, I pictured myself launching into a supermom mode for the next 30 days doing the following loving things for the family:

1) Laundry at 5am – Oh ya. I will rise early and sort out my laundry into different colours and making sure that the stubborn sweat stains of Daddy Joe and Cheeky Koko’s shirts are rid of like they are new shirts. I even bought stubborn stain removal to get this job done that I thought was super-easy! (What really happened was: Laundry at 2pm because I only got to go to bed at 1.30am the night before after I finish ironing the gazillion of school uniforms and toddler clothings! In fact I closed one eye to the stubborn sweat stains after a capful of bleach was poured over the laundry load over a few days and it just didn’t work! Curse I had over the bleach solutions because they don’t get the job done!)

All rules broke loose! Pumpkin Mei-Mei was happy to have traditional chinese delicacy tang yuen in weird colours combo as supper!

All rules broke loose! Pumpkin Mei-Mei was happy to have traditional chinese delicacy tang yuen in weird colours combo as supper!

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Bake-happy days: One of my whimsical favourite comfort food: Ji Dan Gao (Chinese Steamed Cake). I was really one fearless chef who would just bake and cook to my heart’s content.

2) Making home cooked breakfast for the family by 6am which included preparing cute bento lunch sets for the three happiest little people — oh I would prep those rice meals into cute bear shapes, served with motivational love notes to spark up their days. (What really happened was: Kids made their own cereals and milks at 6am and bought food from the school canteen instead because mama was so exhausted from housework the night before she was still snoring away at 6am! I even rationalised to myself that my kids needed calcium to grow strong bones. So, have your milk today? )
3) Make up and change into my working attires by 7am (What really happened was: It took place at 8am. Blame those mountain-high pile of laundry!)
4) Send Baby B to nursery at 8am – and I won’t even forget about packing along Baby B’s favourite snacks and child vitamin into his lunch bag that our helper often overlooked. (What really happened was: Checked. Everything was lovingly done the way I would have it done!)
5) Reach office at 9am and conduct efficient meeting with staff because work load is still the same, half day or not, I just have to continue to optimise my productivity in half the amount of time. (What really happened was: The staff queued up to update and seek opinions over everything because I only had few hours for them everyday. On the hindsight, I was happy that I was deeply missed by them. Hehe…)
6) Get off work by 1pm, drive to pick up baby B from his day care at 1.30pm. (What really happened was: There was always pesty, long-winded meetings and discussions with staff for urgent matters that spanned a little longer than expected and I got fine just about everyday for five to ten Ringgit because I was so ridiculously busy!)
7) Get Baby B to nap at 3pm so that I can free myself for the next 2 hours to prepare and cook dinner as well as get some house chores done. (What really happened was: In between singing the Barney’s I love you song to get Baby B to nap, often we cuddled up and slept together!)
8) 5pm is my allocated one-hour clean up time when I would set a small amount of time, like 15 mins each room to clean up the apartment, room by room. (What really happened was: I was chopping the veg, some poultry meat and soup ingredients away like a mad woman because the older kids were coming home in an hour and I had not even washed the anchovies and potatoes yet!)

The kids were on dysfunctional mode. Hey mom, someone is using those tang yuen's flour mixture to press into his toy car! OMG.... Whatever!

The kids were on dysfunctional mode on some days. Like here, someone was using those tang yuen’s flour mixture to press into his toy car! OMG…. Whatever!

9) Cheeky Koko and Pumpkin Mei Mei, my two older little people would come home from tuition day care at 6pm into the warm embrace of their mama and the entire apartment would smell like a rockin’ celebrity chef has just made the best gourmet meals cooked with the freshest ingredients in the whole world. (What really happened was: The kids came home hungry, waited for another hour before mom is finally ready and before that, they still had to help to clear the dining table from the mess they left over from their school projects last night!)
10) 8pm is homework time – normally this is the hour when everyone would either complete their homework or have some quiet reading time. (What really happened was: Older kids helped clean up the house, and mom is still cleaning up the kitchen and everyone get a little dizzy over the mom barking restrictions about the number of clothing one wears in a day (just so that she would not have to wash two loads of laundry per day). Her idea is the kids should just wear the school uniforms as home lounge wear and pyjamas, one set per day, that’s ALL!)

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Clean, cook, vacuum and laundry were synonymous with my existence.

Time flies and our helper finally flew back into our home which survived a super busy working mom commando in chief’s lacklustre management for 30 days. Did any good come out of it? Yes, plenty.

In that one month we have had many good times just enjoying each other’s presence as a functional family, albeit a home that always had unfinished chores and a mom who always seemed to be slaving away at the laundry and at the kitchen. It was great to see that for once, I was licensed and given the blessing to prioritise my children and my family, instead of work.

Yes I was stressed still juggling half-day work at the office and nothing went according to The Mom’s plan. But I love every moment of it and I mourned for the loss of this precious time when it finally ended. In that one month, I have also cooked and baked like there was no tomorrow – it was how I envision a family should smell like. I could spend an hour watching Barney sing and dance with Baby B and yet not feel hurried to rush because I have to go for a business conference. I was not pursuing anything related to career. I was simply a mom spending time with my kids and doing the whole Barney dance with them and loving it every moment even if I had danced it the fifth time that afternoon.

I am back to work now but in my heart, there’s always the tender spot that cherishes those Barney days that I simply would not trade with anything else.

22 Dinosaurs Roaming in Kuala Lumpur


Apart from being a wife, a mom, a daughter, a friend, a worker, a sister and a positive thinker, I recently realize that I too, am the official Social Director of our happiest little family. But of course, I suck at it compared to my friend Cheng.

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I got to know Cheng through work few years back. She was born a Malaysian but migrated to New York since she was nine and is now as American as the American Pie. Being a working mom of four married to an ABC, she is the epitome of a modern day mom who has it all – she is the happy breadwinner who excels at work (some years back due to the recession her husband lost his job and they figured since she had a more promising job, and since both also wanted one of them to care for the kids and be there for them through their growing up years that it was a better arrangement that her husband became the stay-home dad instead) and at home life.

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Every weekend her family would be doing something fun together, such as a cook-out with grandparents, canning their own jams, cycling together, visiting a farmer’s market, taking a metro to visit arts museum, picnic at the park, attending outdoor concerts or just taking a stroll to some interesting places which made me wonder why I could not find just as many interesting places around KL that can so much as stimulating my happiest little people to want to know about life and things beyond their boring textbooks.
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Every school holidays, I scour through google to find places of interest locally that can make our interactions and time spent together a fulfilling and memorable journey.

Never quite a Jurassic Park fan myself (uh-uh. Ain’t messing with those ferocious carnivores or prehistoric reptiles who consistently thought humans were food in the movie!), I was initially a little hesitant to step into the Malaysian Jurassic Park (yep, you heard me right and do enter at your own risk because you are dealing with not just one but 22 dinosaurs of all shapes, sizes and appetites too!)

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Unlike the world’s favourite dinosaur Barney, these dinosaurs do not look like they need a hug t all but thankfully they do not bite either! They are life-like, can really roar and even move if you wake them accidentally but they are pretty much tamed and now viewable at the Dinoscovery by Dinosaurs Live! which is Asia Pacific’s first-of-its-kind interactive, edutainment dinosaurs exhibition located at Discoveria, Avenue K.

Now, to visit these dinosaurs, one is expected to dress in style like a Paleontologist (Bermudas, safari hats and matching trail boots are not necessary, of course), which is easy considering that each visitor is first decked in tan-coloured Dinoscovery vest before the trail to track down the dinosaurs begins.
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After a fun and short briefing, visitors are to complete the Dino Quest in search of specific dinosaur specimens amidst the roars of many larger-than-life animatronic dinosaurs in their habitats which make it a rather unique and fun learning experience for children of all ages.

There were more than a dozen family-friendly activities such as Climbing an artificial rock wall to glimpse a Pteranodon’s eggs, Race A Theropod where visitors are given the chance to challenge the swift-footed Gallimimus in a 10-metre interactive race (losers won’t be eaten I guarantee, seeing that Cheeky Koko has had to race it twice to win the race but didn’t get swallowed alive when he lost the race to the Gallimimus at first), the Dinoshooting Range where visitors can partake in a mission to save sleeping Diplodocuses from pesky mozzies with paintball rifles and also watch a 3D Dinosaurs Movie.

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Pumpkin Mei-Mei and Baby B loved the final game the best which was all about excavating for fossils in a sand pit. They also enjoyed learning about the different kind of food dinosaurs ate. It was a good thing that all of the facts about these prehistoric animals were presented in fun, humorous and interactive language and manners that the kids could relate to.
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As for Seven2SevenMom, all that was proof of her worth as the best Social Director to her kids were happy smiles captured in the photo souvenirs she bought which speaks a thousand words – that Dinosaurs hunting could turn out to be the best school holiday fun sometimes, especially the kinds that will make you want to go back for more. J

Dinoscovery by Dinosaurs Live!will run from 21 March 2014 to 28 February 2015. Tickets for children aged 17 years and below are priced at RM35 for Malaysians and RM50 for non-Malaysians while tickets for adults are priced at RM25 for Malaysians and RM40 for non-Malaysians. Senior citizens (aged above 60) and persons with disabilities are given a special concession rate of RM19. Opening hours are 10am to 10pm daily including school and public holidays with last admission at 9pm.

Just as we came to the end of our visit, Cheeky Koko mumbled, “Ahhh… perfect for lunch!” as he stood up on the sand pit. Curious, I asked him what he meant to which my super-cheeky 12 years old pointed with a smile towards the T-Rex ribs he dug out from the fossils sand pit. Truly entertaining!

The Dinoscovery by Dinosaurs Live! Exhibition is exclusively brought by EMS Entertainment and supported by Malaysia’s Ministry of Tourism and Culture, making it the first-of-its-kind edutainment exhibition to be hosted here at Level 4 of Avenue K, Kuala Lumpur.

Raising Generation Why


Baby B who has just bombed in his diaper caught my attention with his intensive facial expression. Just to test the two older kids’ reactions, I said, “Oh dear, Baby B has just poo-poo! Now go ask your Koko and Che-Che to wash your bottoms for you!”

Hearing that, the two older siblings scrambled into their room like a flash of thunder but before they could even shut their door, I held their bedroom door with one hand and gently guided Baby B into their room and patiently commanded, “You are helping your baby brother wash his bum or we are not going to go cycle in the park later.”

Cheeky Koko has always been my funny boy that I truly think he is made entirely of laughing genes

Cheeky Koko has always been my funny boy that I truly think he is made entirely of laughing genes

“Okay, Houston, we have a problem here,” Cheeky Koko said, “We need a disposal unit for a 7.8 grade home-made bomb by a baby!”

“Cut the drama, Koko!” I said laughingly.

“Mama… Oh… it’s soooo smelly I am going to pengsan (faint)!” Pumpkin Mei-Mei protested. “Such is my life as a sister! Gosh… Ok, OK I will help him wash but Koko, you are so going to take the diaper off his bum and throw it into the rubbish bin, k?”

“You said you wanted to be a doctor for little kids when you grow up, so you have to first learn to accept the whole package of a kid, darling!” I tried to encourage my little doctor in residence.

As they gagged as if it was the most horrific task to remove their toddler brother’s soiled diaper in the bathroom and lifted him into the shower area and made him stand at one corner of the shower in order to jet-spray and wash up his bum, I came to Baby B’s rescue and scooped him up onto the toilet seat instead and did the rest effortlessly.

Pumpkin Mei-Mei aspires to be a future Paediatrician, which I think she could potentially be a really good one, like Dr. Adam “Patch” Hunter

Pumpkin Mei-Mei aspires to be a future Paediatrician, which I think she could potentially be a really good one, like Dr. Adam “Patch” Hunter

“Baby B smells good now, Mama, let me help you dress him up!” Pumpkin Mei-Mei said enthusiastically.

“I am intoxicated, Ma, I think my nose has lost its permanent function to smell, like forever!” My drama king Cheeky Koko added. Baby B who was smiling at his siblings’ antics suddenly turned to face his sister and gave Pumpkin Mei-Mei an affectionate hug, saying “Baby luff (love) Che-Che!” Just like a politician, he is always smiling, always promising.

Every day in the Seven2SevenMom planet feels like one big happy circus and a comedy show. However, if I should be so blessed, I am seeing a Comedian, a Paediatrician and possibly a Politician in our happy little family.

Each of them is so uniquely gifted in their own way. While the Asian mom in me tells me that I should constantly reinforce the importance of academic excellence as a strong foundation in life for them, the Western mom in me wants them to be happy as they pursue their own path growing up and be driven as well as responsible in the pursuit of their own dream nonetheless.

Baby B is definitely a future politician in the making!

Baby B is definitely a future politician in the making!

Recognising that each child can be an accomplished individual according to their own talents and intelligence are important aspects of child development according to Dr. Howard Gardner’s theory of Multiple Intelligence.

According to Dr. Howard Gardner, children have different kinds of intelligences related to musical–rhythmic, visual–spatial, verbal–linguistic, logical–mathematical, bodily–kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalistic. He also says children possess a unique blend of all the intelligences, and that as parents, we should let our children explore and empower them to discover their own blend of intelligences so they can grow into wholesome people.

Child developmental experts say that up to 70% of a child’s brain cell connection occurs when they interact with their environment and that children ask questions because they are curious about the world around them. They say an inquisitive mind is an indication of a child’s positive developmental process. (The Timing and Quality of Early Experiences Combine to Shape Brain Architecture, Center on the Developing Child, Harvard University.)

Growing up, my own mom always said that I was so inquisitive that I would have made a good career out of legal or investigative journalism. Turned out that I really pursued Journalism in University, no thanks to a loving mom who welcomed my questions with patient replies after replies.

Now that my life is inundated with questions from my own Gen Why? kids, every day is filled with an impossibly long list of questions that I do not take it lightly, because who knows, the next funny man Jerry Seinfeld, brilliant Paed, Dr. Pumpkin, and well-loved Member of the Parliament could just be very well come out of this household.
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Challenged by questions such as, “Mama, how did you and papa put me in your stomach before I was born?” Or, even better, “Papa, why is the ocean blue in colour?” Get on to the Anmum Essential Gen Why? Workshop held this weekend for first-hand information from parenting experts such as professional child psychologists and nutritionists on how to raise up wholesome kids with multiple intelligence. Details are as follows:

Anmum Essential Gen Why? Workshop

Date: 31 May (Saturday) and 1 June (Sunday)

Venue: The Oval, 1 Utama Shopping Centre, Bandar Utama

Time: 10am – 10pm

See you there, peeps!

Grocery Shopping


Grocery shopping is so not for the faint-hearted (man of the house).
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As we wind our way past rows after rows of fresh produce and meat stalls at our local wet market, Daddy Joe who was carrying a big heavy bag filled to the brim with our family’s one week supply of vegetables and fruits and another bag filled with chicken meats, meat balls, tofu and small pomfret fish, turned back and said to me, “Seriously, I always buy all these food for our kids but hardly get to eat them! I am starting to wonder if our food just vanished by itself while sitting inside the fridge!”

I laughed and tried to comfort my man, “Chill man, just chill, there are six of us in the house including our kakak (helper), and we eat at home every day except some weekends. OK, you sometimes eat out due to work but with three kids ranging from toddler to preteens, THESE could hardly justify the nutrition and energy they need to fuel their growth, k?”

Daddy Joe shook his head and said with great disbelief, “We must be living in an age of serious price hikes — RM60- RM80 every week, incredible! Or I must be buying food every week that can disappear from our fridge! And those chocolates I got for you during my last trip to Thailand, did you ever get to eat it? Or they too, can just disintegrate itself in the fridge?” he asked while shovelling Cheeky Koko’s favourite green beans that were dangling out of the plastic bag handles into the other bag and loaded everything into his boot.

“Yes I had some, but really darling, you should install a CCTV in the kitchen when we have some savings so that you can see it with your own eyes that Pumpkin Mei-Mei has been visiting the chocolate compartment quite regularly. Even Baby B knows how to open the fridge and grab the chocolate bars by standing tiptoe,” I explained.

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Barely three days later, I came home in the evening victoriously while dragging a grocery bag full of energy-giving malt drinks, breakfast cereals, milk drinks, biscuits, wafer snacks, dried fruits and the longest bread loaf I could find from a sundry shop. As I chucked the bag onto the dining table, the kids gave me such affectionate hugs and fanfare welcome that one would have thought that it was the coronation of the Homecoming Queen in our happy land.

But the man of the house looked pale in silence. “I see we are going through some kind of severe food scarcity in this house,” he said. “Relax, dear, it’s the school holidays season! The kids will go famished very fast, so I bought a little snacks for them to munch on anytime of the day!” I said while happily stocking up my half-empty kitchen cabinets.

“I don’t think they ever feel hungry before, really, at the rate they clean up our shelves. If the wooden shelves or fridge can be eaten, they will eat them too, like termites!” Daddy Joe whispered into my ear, “…and may be this is why I am near poverty with these grocery bills!”

I laughed, thinking how wise God is to have decided that woman should always rule the heart of the home, which is the kitchen. Clearly a man’s place is in hunting or working, and NOT in grocery shopping!

Photo Credit:
photo credit: BC Gov Photos via photopin cc

The Answer To The Questions


You know your children are growing up when they stop asking you where they came from and refuse to tell you where they’re going.

 ~ P. J. O’Rourke

The day finally arrived when I got to meet this long lost girlfriend, Yen, from almost 20 years ago whom I adore greatly. We were really good friends during college years, sharing good camaraderie, life’s joy and sorrow and as we went separate ways to pursue our own dreams, we somehow just lost contact completely. We have tried to find each other over the years as we got married and had kids but it just didn’t happen until we found each other over social media. It was a reunion too long in the making and too short for two kindred spirits trying to connect the dots of the past decades. One thing led to another and soon our happiest little family got invited to her lovely home to meet with hers.

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Unfortunately kids just do NOT come with an operating manual!

As our children went out to play in her lawn fascinated with Yen’s pet ducks under the warm sun, Yen sat next to me in her sofa, looked deep into my eyes and said, “Hey, I don’t know how you do it but you have got soooo much patience for your children!” Surprised, I asked her back, “What do you mean? They are my own!”

“You answered EVERY SINGLE question your kids ask. It’s like one second you were eating, passing the salt and pepper, carrying on conversation with us, laughing, and next when one of them asked, Mama, why does Aunty’s house have ducks for pets? and you went, oh yah, ducks are the next best thing for farm education and cultivation of love for animals, and then you came back into the conversation with me about your job! Amazing, did you know you were doing ALL THAT?”

I chuckled, “well, we are mommies; we can multitask! But don’t you answer your kids’ questions, no matter how amusing they are?”

“Yes and no. Yes when I know the answer and when I have the energy for it, but No when I feel like I have just been run over by a truck after a tough day at work!” Yen said it with the same intelligent sparkle in her eyes for which I have seen so many years ago.
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Just then, Pumpkin Mei-Mei popped her head through the window and asked, “Ma, are these two ducks husband and wife?” “I think they are, I don’t know, you would have to see if they are very loving like husband and wife!” I replied thoughtfully.

“See? See? You did just that! Gosh, you answered EVERY question!” Yen said comically and I couldn’t help but laugh along.

Before I could even say anything, Cheeky Koko ran into Yen’s living hall with Yen’s son Julien and asked, “Ma, do these ducks lay salted eggs or ducklings?” This time, Yen replied on my behalf, “I think they would lay eggs which would then hatch into ducklings but sweetie, salted eggs are different eggs that have been processed.”

I nudged Yen’s arm lightly and said with a smile, “Oh wow, you learned fast! Now you are like me, you have an answer for everything,” and we both chuckled along.

Child developmental experts say that up to 70% of a child’s brain cell connection occurs when they interact with their environment and that children ask questions because they are curious about the world around them. They say that an inquisitive mind is an indication of a child’s positive mental developmental process. (The Timing and Quality of Early Experiences Combine to Shape Brain Architecture, Center on the Developing Child, Harvard University.)

Parenting could be a daunting task and one cannot possibly get every solution from every parenting book that has been published!

That’s just how it looks like when us parents try to outsmart our kids by reading up on every subject under the sky!

I am a firm believer in the whole notion that smart question produces smart answers and no questions produces nothing. Ever since the kids learned how to asked, I have made it a point to literally stop whatever I was doing and give some thoughts to their questions before I give my reply to them. I feel that it is important to feed my child’s curiosity and influence her attitude to learning with what I know rather than letting her find the answers from the wrong source of information.

I may not know every answer to all that they ask, but in those situation when I really do not have an answer, I would admit to them that I do not know but that I would find that out for them and get back to them. I mean, we are raising the street smart Gen Y now or what they call, Generation Why, who define young children with a string of Who, What, How, Why, When and Where to help them learn and explore the world around them through the questions that they ask.

As I was growing up in the 70s and 80s, what was focused on was the IQ (Intelligence Quotient) development of a child and in the 90s, the buzz word was EQ (Emotional Quotient). As a modern mom, there is an additional intelligence factor that is often overlooked or misunderstood called the Multiple Intelligence which is needed as part of the right ingredients to bring up an all-rounded and wholesome kid.

Now I am learning that all three aspects – IQ, EQ and  Multiple Intelligence are equally important in the moulding of a child’s holistic character and outlook for life so that one day he will grow up to become a well-rounded adult.

Fret not if this is completely alien to you.

The Anmum Essential Gen Why Workshop on 31 May (Sat) & 1 June (Sun) held at The Oval, 1 Utama Shopping Centre, from 10am to 10pm will let you hear first-hand from professional child psychologists and nutritionists who will share their knowledge and expert advice in raising up wholesome kids. Just register here!

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It’s really is a duck and egg question… 🙂

Of course, the right nutrition ensures wholesome development of a child. *Anmum Essential™ formulated milk powder for children contains important nutrients such as GA (Gangliosides) and DHA for children’s brain development.

Some parents find their children’s endless questioning annoying. On the other hand, I find that the window of time in which we could positively influence their character-building, minds, spiritual and social development are very small and thus we should never give up in giving our best to them, including our time, our knowledge and most importantly our love.

Yes, we don’t really know if two ducks are husbands or wife but we sure know a thing or two about the origin of salted egg that will never come straight from a duck mama.

 

*GA (Gangliosides) is a type of special complex lipid which plays an important role in brain development and function. GA helps with brain cells connections and play a role in the transmission of signals between brain cells. The more brain cells connect, the faster children learn. DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid and a building block of brain cells. DHA helps support the period of rapid brain development especially during the first five years.

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Photo credit:

Child:

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/leecullivan/2581128432/”>shoothead</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

Reading:

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/susivinh/7019888809/”>susivinh</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

Mama duck and ducklings:

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/bahketni/3462886218/”>bahketni</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

 

Mother’s Day Reflection


While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about. ~ Angela Schwindt (Chicken Soup for the Soul – From Lemons to Lemonade)

Happy Mother's Day! <3

Happy Mother’s Day! ❤

It was a perfect wedding with the sunset in Bali casting a romantic palette of radiant gold and violet blue over the spectacular resort we were at as we witnessed a girlfriend’s happy union with the love of her life.

As requested by the host to keep the wedding small and intimate, my friend Jay and I left our kids and hubs in Singapore and KL respectively for 3 days to attend this wedding at Bali. It turned out to be a really rare, superfun me-time to indulge in a good spa, sip a few glasses of champagne, wine and Mojito and together with the other three girlfriends, share some bikini-dipping in our private villas at night as we tried to count the stars and recalled some girly jokes about the time when we all worked in the same fashions company some years ago.

As the gorgeous Balinese singer and her guitarist serenade us with jazzy love songs, Jay who has recently moved the family to Singapore due to her husband’s job posting and I took the time to catch up with each other on our motherhood tale. It’s a mother’s thing, every conversation we have naturally leads to our children – we never seem to get tired talking anything and everything about our pride and joy.

Because I have always fancied being a stay-at-home mom if we had the means one day, I asked Jay if she had missed anything in the last 3 years of walking out from work to wok, to become a stay-at-home mom. Jay pondered seriously and told me that there were three things she missed most. The first was being able to get dressed with a purpose every morning, secondly, the financial freedom of indulging in and buying things that you fancy with your own money (much as her loving husband provides her a comfortable life and shopping allowance) and most importantly, a sense of self-importance.

When I asked her to explain the self-importance part, Jay said softly that recently her husband was invited to speak in their Church as a guest to encourage youths. As he went up on stage and started sharing about his career, her oldest boy John who is almost-five, just watched his dad in complete adoration, and gushed the whole time that dad was so cool and so awesome to be giving a speech in front of such a big audience. As she sat there next to John and taking care of her second son, George who was 16 months old, she couldn’t help but felt her tears welled up as she realised that her two young boys have not seen her daily attentive care and love for them as anything as worthy as what their dad did.

“In a way, I am just a milk-maker for them,” she said with a sense of loss. “Day in, day out, I am just the “Mom, I need my milk bottle” mom, all I am to them is just the person who cooks, make their milk for them, give them their showers and worst, a house cleaner! They didn’t think I was as awesome as their dad,” she said.

“Oh no, dearie, don’t you ever think like that, Jay, gosh, you are the most amazing mom I have ever known!” I reached out to Jay’s hand with mine with a gentle, encouraging squeeze. “They are still young, that’s all. And come on, back then you were a Marketing Manager for a big international brand and you did so well! We really have done some kick-ass fashion shows and campaigns back then, don’t you forget that” I said.

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“And God places us just right where He needs us to build a strong generation of God-loving people who are faithfully grounded on His rock, so to be able to partake in that is AWESOME! This is AWESOME!” I said.

“Thanks dear, I know, I know, I mean, I love them to bits but if only I could preserve that self-importance I once held when I had a job!” Jay said longingly. “What about you, thought you wanted to take the same path?” she asked.

“I do, in fact the dream never died, much as I have said this repeatedly in the last 10 years!!” I said with a chuckle. “I love to just give them the hugs as they come home from school and cook dinner together as a family and I would probably just feel really happy to even have the time to stitch the lose buttons on their school uniforms. But God hasn’t placed that path in front of me right now. Hubby’s business is going through some tough time now and I am just grateful that I still have a job to share the financial burden. Anyway, I am making myself a little more useful since I can’t iron as fast as you do, dearie,” I said with a smile.

“I think you are a wonderful mom and wife, you always have this positive attitude for life and you show great love and support you have for Daddy Joe and the kids,” Jay gave me a warm hug as we both accepted that life as we know it, just don’t pan out the way we want sometimes. We always think that the other side is just better, greener, more fulfilling and even happier.

But I know that a mother’s love endures through, whether work or stay home. We gain strength as mothers as we tend to our garden with our seed of love and watch our young plants grow into the strong, beautiful trees that they will be one day. So be encouraged, fellow mommies, for your love and care for the family do make you the most awesome being in the whole world.

Happy Mother’s Day – wishing you a lifetime of being happily surrounded by the love of your life! And to my own mom, who is the rock of my life, I love you, mama, 母亲节快乐!

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(Carnation)photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/mbgrigby/3558580487/”>mbgrigby</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

(Mom & Child) photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/jamesgoodmanphotography/7428401714/”>jamesgoodmanphotography</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses

 

 

Behind Every Working Mom Is A Dyson Vacuum


I am trying to remember the days before my kids came along.

My wardrobe was a lovely display of feminine frocks for the weekends and sassy corporate dresses and suits for work. I had long, straight, naturally dark brown hair which I’d sometimes style into a high ponytail dressed up in a chic hair accessory. I carried a small handbag with my purse, mobile phone, a pack of tissue paper and car keys in it. My car was spotlessly clean with music CDs and some high heels kept in the car boot for those occasional corporate or social events in town.

The operative word then was Clean with a capital C. Then the bundle of joy came along. Three times it took place, if you care to ask, and my world was suddenly associated with unplanned madness. First, the word stylish eludes my wardrobe and then the hair decide to go in every imaginable directions except being in one place and finally, it’s about surprises everywhere.

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Look at the crumbs from the curry puff! I fainted twice seeing it!

They range from discovering a McDonald’s happy meal plastic toy (Yes!) inside my pumps (after finding a used dirty baby hankie in the laptop bag earlier) to staring into the rear-view mirror in HORROR as your toddler reaches for the bag of food (such as curry puff) dangling in front of him and decides to toss, poke, eat and make a massive (shocking) mess of crumbs and dirt all over the car.

So yes, I am a working mom with a day job in the marketing field but keeping dirt and mess at bay can sometimes look like it’s my main occupation.

Fortunately, half a lifetime of working has well-prepared me to deal with a dirty crisis such as this, kinda like a Mom Terminator. Now if this was left to the man of the house and the toddler alone, he would NOT have made it back in one piece without first going over-the-top swearing and cursing at the crumbs as if they had a life and then lecturing the 2 years old who’d probably just imitate him back by babbling at the crumbs, before both dad and son came home exhausted because they had just lectured the poor crumbs for 30 minutes flat.

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Dyson Digital Slim DC62: Sucks up as much dust as even a corded vacuum!

On the other hand, picture me cool-ly carrying the toddler upon reaching home on one arm and reach out for my Dyson Digital Slim™ DC62 Vacuum effortlessly on the other, get back into the car, suck up and say goodbye to our dirty little friends in less than a minute, all the while smiling, because victory is mine to savour with my DC62! Yes, they say, mom is the world but you know behind every mom is powerful, nifty home appliance that makes life sweet as a Lenka’s song!

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Be gone, dust, mess and all!

As with other Dyson products that are engineered for optimum safety and usability, Dyson DC62 Vacuum is packed with features that are lady-friendly. You know, because I don’t lift weight and stuff, I don’t even have lady muscles to carry anything too heavy. This baby is lightweight and cordless all at once so you literally don’t have to break a sweat while doing your motherly chore. There is also no cords behind so that means no cumbersome wires behind the machine that can get entangled into corners or furniture legs, and plus, I also get to skip the step of having to press the retractable cord button to coil back the long cords.

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See how the Dyson Digital Slim is totally cordless? It’s what I call beauty with power!

In order to get it to work, I would charge the battery of Dyson DC62 fully because with each charge, the vacuum provides 20 minutes of powerful, high suction power to help clean hard-to-reach places. In this particular curry puff crisis over the weekend, I am happy to report that despite settling into the tiny, minute holes inside the car seat fabrics, the crumbs vanished in two minutes!

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Goodbye, dust and crumbs. You don’t stand a chance to live on my car seat or home with my Dyson cordless vaccum!

This vacuum is made with a 350W digital motor that is already on its 6th generation (V6), a 2-Tier Radial™ cyclones and a re-engineered nickel manganese cobalt battery. Put all these together and you get a mean, terminator-grade vacuum machine that even the kids will call it cool. The kids are happy to help with vacuuming task these days because it is light and easy to carry for them (of course, they also use it to role-play as imaginary Terminator game!).

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Yes they help with house chores, but kids being kids, the vacuum turns into a Terminator gun sometimes too. 🙂

Dyson DC62 also comes with a 8-minute Boost Mode for more difficult tasks. Thank God I have not encountered any mess so great that I need to use that. But even on its normal suction mode, from the moment you start cleaning until the moment you finish, I love that the DC62 maintains powerful and is extremely easy to use to clean up everything and anything everywhere – up top, down below and in-between.
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I also find the hygienic bin emptying feature a plus point because the dust particles literally gets dumped neatly into my trash bin from the back without spreading all over the floor like some vacuum models do. Once I am done with it, I can store it back into its docking station that we have installed neatly on one corner of our laundry room, instead of taking up shelve storage space.  The docking station is like a mothership, it stores and charges the machine, and holds additional attachments and accessories.

 

My life would never get back to where it was back then before the kids. Thankfully while kids and mess will always come together as one package, I’d say the joy of having those butterfly kisses at the end of a tiring work day just supersedes it all, spillage, dirt, mess and all. ❤

 

Friso Gold ‘Our Today Moments’


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I love music and I want my kids to be able to feel the joy and creativity that can come from having the ability to play their own music instruments!

DO a deer a female dear, RE a drop of golden sun, MI a name I call myself, FA a long long way to run….

How I love the musical film which starred Julie Andrews as the loving governess to the children of a naval officer widower. The movie my mom introduced to me started me on a life-long path of learning to love music as a way to express myself when words sometimes failed. It taught me the wonderful connection between music and life through its engaging rhythms and melodies.

While I didn’t have the privilege of exploring the arts any further in those early years, somehow the connection with music lives on in my unusual ability to just listen to any songs or melodies just once and I’d be able to play the entire tune automatically over any keyboards without any music notation— a skill that amuses the happiest little people when they were much younger and even spurs on their curiosity for music.
I still remember how Cheeky Koko made up some tunes himself using a chopstick to hit on used empty glasses filled with different amount of water which demonstrated his keen interest in sounds and music before he turned six. Pumpkin Mei-Mei can really croon with her sweet voice whereas Baby B now tries to demonstrate his music appreciation with his super cute dance movements whenever a pop song plays over the radio.

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Who wouldn’t want to have a Beethoven or Mozart child? 🙂

While musical ability is an inborn talent that can be harnessed through structured learning in music classes, I find that most of the music lessons available locally adopt the stiffness of institutional learning which do not encourage the child to explore the depth and beauty of the musical world.

Growing up, I have seen a number of friends went through severe fear and anxiety attack prior to the fiercely competitive and dead-serious yearly piano practical exams, simply because the thought of facing a stern, foreign examiner and performing the chosen repertoire piece perfectly was just unnerving.

When the two oldest kids were still toddling about as little munchkins, I wanted to get them on an early start to discover music and dance movement through a fun way. I’d wow them by playing harmonica to their favourite nursery tunes to show them that the ability to play even a simple instrument could bring on much delight to our lives. They have seen me dance (much to their horror) to pop songs because I just thought it was a good and fitting exercise to lose some pounds while making them laugh.

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I may just have a music genius right in my home!

My only regret as a working mother is that I do not always have the luxury of time and resources on my side to spend quality time with them. Man, I am not sure how others do it but I seem to have a hundred and one things on my to-do list that just makes me tune-out at times, such as this time. If you’d ask me, deep down, I would really love to be able to open up their world to discover music in a fun way, expand their creativity and get them to learn to use music playing skills to alleviate the stresses that they may endure as they grow up. Better yet, if someone can make this happen for real! 🙂

It’s February already – I know that Santa has probably gone for his vacation until the end of the year but up on my wish list of spending more time with my three happiest little people is to have the opportunity to learn some music instruments as a family – perhaps to discover playing the piano through a passionate and fun teacher who can really inspire us on this journey. Or to enroll Baby B for Kindermusic lessons so that he and I could spend that one hour quality time together to discover music and movement in a fun way.
Santa doesn’t have to end his vacation early just because I have a yet to be fulfilled wish list. With Friso Gold “Our Today Moments” Contest, I stand a chance to realise this dream! Basically, from now until 28th February 2014, Friso is playing Santa/the Genie-in-a-bottle to give Malaysian moms a chance to achieve their very own beautiful dream of spending quality time with their children, big or small, TODAY. Simply, we moms just need to list down what we want to do with our little ones TODAY and Friso Gold will then select the winner and achieve that for her through its “Our Today Moments” Contest!

Hurry, there are just 3 easy steps to participate:

1)      Purchase any participating Friso Gold product, i.e. Frisomum Gold, Friso Gold 3 or Friso Gold 4 (any size)

2)      Tell Friso Gold that BIG idea or that one special experience (big or small) that you have always wanted to do together with your child but have not been able to and why.

3)      Complete your personal particulars, attach proof of purchase (original Friso Gold scoop from any participating product) to contest form and then mail to PO Box:

Friso Gold “Our Today Moments” Contest

P.O. Box 3202

47507 Subang Jaya, Selangor Darul Ehsan

For those winning entries, prizes will be awarded for the following:

  1. Early Bird prize x 100: Entry tickets (2 adults & 2 kids) to Legoland Malaysia worth RM540 each
  2. Grand Prize x 100: A special experience for the parent and child worth up to RM10,000 each.

If getting on the Polar Express Train or flying yourself to some far-far-away deserts to find the Genie-in-a-bottle or Santa in his summer shorts to grant you your dream is just too far-fetched, moms and dads, just join Friso Gold “Our Today Moments” Contest. wpid-medium_4551000445.jpg

I can already see us playing some kind of jazz piano quartet or classic symphonies as a family perhaps after a few music lessons for them and myself if I could win this contest as one of the grand prize winners. (Never too late to dream a little, eh?) May be the kids will one day grow up to be able to sing and play the piano ala the Jonas Brothers!

What do you want to do with your kids TODAY? For more information, get on Friso Gold Malaysia Facebook or log onto Friso Gold Website link to know more about “Our Today Moments” Contest NOW!

To your Friso Gold “Our Today Moments” dream,

Seven2SevenMom

xoxoxo

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Photo Credit for Photopin:

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