Friday, 30 October 2015

Bento #68 - Twinkle twinkle little stars

#1 requested for a big piece of cod fish so I granted his wish. Baked garlic mayonnaise cod again, this time round I added minced garlic and the effect is oh so wonderful!The cod sizzles in the oven and turned such a nice golden brown. It tastes wonderful too! 

As only my #1 is bringing lunchbox to school today, it is quite difficult to cook such a little amount of rice so I decided to replace his carbo with 2 twinkly Nutella bread. Cute, ain't they?

Looking forward to a fabulous Friday!

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Bento #67 - Fried rice coated with egg yolk

Prepared fried rice coated with egg yolk for my boys' lunch today. My #1 looked pretty satisfied with his food, my hubby is forever contented with the food that I cooked. Added grilled salmon, french beans and lots of fried garlic to the fried rice.Yumz! A fried scallop and nugget as a treat for my #1. Who doesn't love fried food, everything in moderation. The rabbit looks disfigured because I did not compress the rice well.

My mummy taught me an easy way to fry rice with egg yolk. Instead of drizzling egg yolk on the rice while frying, which requires some skills, I should mix the rice thoroughly with the egg yolk in a big bowl first before frying. Brilliant, isn't it? It's a foolproof method and my mummy learnt it from a TV show.

This is my hubby's lunchbox, looks a bit sparse, I really need to improve on my presentation skills.

A close-up view of my fried rice. I love it myself.

可以hug我吗?- Rayson 5 years old

Being a sensitive and emotional boy, Rayson often drives me nuts but he says the sweetest thing too.

Mummy fetching Rayson home from school....
After putting him in his carseat and struggling to secure his seatbelt.

Rayson: 妈咪,可以hug我吗?
Mummy: 嗯,可以,可是我全身湿湿的,满身大汗喔。

哇。能不 hug 吗???

为结婚而烦 - Rayson 5 years old

Mummy and Rayson at a shopping centre...waiting for papa again.....


节俭是美德 - Rayson 5 years old




顺服丈夫- Rayson 5 years old

Rayson and mummy are going to the car park where Papa is waiting for them to drive them to church.Mummy is unhappy that Papa has chosen too big a bag for Rayson.

Mummy: 你的书包那么大,会不会很重?


Monday, 26 October 2015

Tips on preparing for examinations

Since it's the season for examinations again, I am going to share some tips with parents on how to help your kids to prepare for theirs.

1. Healthy Body

I would think this is the most important point so it's at number 1. Without health, there's really nothing much we can do. How to keep your children healthy? We have to ensure that they get at least 8 hours of sleep, maintain a healthy diet and get their exercises.

Keep your children at home if they're feeling unwell, they won't be able to learn effectively even if they come to school. Let them have a good rest so that they will have a speedy recovery, and leave the school work aside. Do not worry that they will be unable to catch-up because I'm sure the teachers will understand and grant them more time. In case the teachers don't, do give the teachers a call or write them a letter to explain your child's condition. 

All work and no play makes Jill a dull child. Play to our children is like sunshine to the plants, it's essential, it makes them glow with energy, beam with joy as their eyes twinkle with delight. Never underestimate the power of play. In the context of primary school education, I classify co-curricular activities (CCA) under the category of 'play'. So yes, CCA is very important to your children, not because it helps them to get into the secondary school they want, but because it balances their school life.

I confess that as a teacher, sometimes I feel abit frustrated that pupils keep missing my lessons because they are involved in competitions or matches. However, I keep reminding myself that they are actually benefiting  more from these experiences. I am touched when I get to witness my girls playing in the finals of a basketball match.What did they get out of these? Once a sportswoman myself, I know very clearly the answer, they learn the importance of cooperation and perseverance. They don't see failures but opportunities to learn. They understand the importance of teamwork. Friendships are fostered. Precious memories created. This is education because education is about life and not just about grades. 20 years later, when they look back, will they remember 1 hour of drilling exercises for examination or their basketball final match? The academic grades really do not have much meaning. It is actually the journey, the process in which they work for something that moulds their character. It is actually these bits and pieces of experiences that made our children who they are today. Participating in the activities that they are interested in also helps to build up their confidence. 
But on a side note, if your children have a lot of trouble catching up with schoolwork, then I think it is good to be engaged in a CCA that does not consume so much of their time.

I understand that all CCA stops when it's near the examinations, but this does not mean the activities for your children stop too. You can bring your children out to the park for a stroll or a run, let them scoot in the evening when the sun is setting, let them play at outdoor playgrounds. Give them plenty of chances to be in touch with the nature, looking at greeneries is good for their eyes. Bring them for a swim or play a game of badminton with them. We are so blessed to be in Singapore, blessed with facilities that are so near our houses. Most of them are free and so convenient, there is no excuse not to bring your children out.

2. Prioritize and Time management

Children have to be taught the importance of prioritizing and good time management from young. How young? As young as a toddler. Basically, there are 2 sets of things which we must complete as a human. Things that we NEED to do and things that we WANT to do. Without completing the first set, we cannot move on to the second set. 

Eg: Which is more important at lunch time? To play or to eat? As the adult we have to teach the toddler that at lunch time, the more important thing to do is to eat, hence we should first eat then play. This is priotizing and a toddler will be able to grasp this. Maybe they won't understand the word "priortize" but we can certainly help them to understand that there is a time for everything and we have to do the rights thing at the right time. Good habits start from young. Children who know how to priortize will grow up to be adults who can priortize and will thus be more effective at work and handle stress better. They will also learn to focus on a given task before moving on to another. 

For example, my son will need to first wash his hands and feet when he's back from school, unpack his bag and change his clothes before he can do any other things. When he got distracted and started playing, I will need to re-direct him back to his tasks. If he spots a new toy at home that he really, really wishes to take a look before starting on his tasks, then he will need to ask for permission and the decision lies with me.

As the Chinese saying goes “一年之计在于春,一日之计在于晨”, which means a year's plan starts with Spring and the best time to plan for the day is in the morning. I find myself to be most effective if I have a to-do list for a certain day. So similarly, you can teach your children to plan for the day in the morning or even better, the night before so that they will wake up motivated to complete their tasks. 

For example, their to-do list can be pretty simple like 1) Revise chapter 1 and 2 of Chinese textbook 6A 2) Revise fractions and complete worksheet set A  3) Try to memorize 1 good phrase from the list given by English teacher. 

The above is just a simple example, the list can be longer or shorter depending on the time that your children have or their abilities. For me, I will certainly add 'Bible Study' to my sons' to-do list. If time allows, it is best to do daily revision instead of last minute work. If your children have a good habit of revising daily, it doesn't matter when is the examination because they will always be ready.

Making use of their creativity, your children can also add in elements of fun when they are revising. I love colors so I use colors to help me in my learning. I actually remember what I studied by their colors.
I also love to pretend that I'm a teacher teaching a class for biology with the facts that I have memorized from my textbook. All these made me look forward to revising for my examinations.

Routines and structure are very important to children because they give them a sense of security and help them develop self-discipline. So it is good if they have daily schedules to adhere to as they will know what they should be doing at a given time. Parents can draw up schedules for very young children, but as they grow older, they should actually learn to plan their own daily schedules.

3. Attitude determines altitude 

Given the fast paced society that we are living in Singapore today,  inevitably, our children are faced with a higher level of stress. How then do we teach them to manage their stress? Besides learning how to prioritize and manage time properly, which will help them to work more efficiently, they will also need to face their challenges everyday with the right attitude. "千里之行,始于足下”,A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step, no doubt we might be faced with an avalanche of work sometimes, or we could be in a situation that seems overwhelming, nothing will change if we start worrying or feel stressed about it.

What we need to do is to stay focused, break the major task down and start taking small little steps towards our goal. People do not accomplish great things overnight, it's often the little things we do that matters. If you can't fly, you can run, if you can't run, you can walk, if you can't walk, you can crawl, if you don't even have the strength to crawl, you can ask for help. It really doesn't matter how far or fast you move, the most important thing is that you took the effort to get yourself moving. It's more important that the 'you' today has improved as compared to the 'you' yesterday.

4. A conducive environment for learning

According to Maslow's hierarchy of needs, our children's basic needs must be satisfied before progressing on to meet higher level growth needs. 

Hence, a conducive learning environment is of utmost importance to your children's learning. If possible, it is ideal to designate a corner, an area or an entire room in your home as your children's learning area. The room should be brightly lit, well ventilated and decorated such that your children feel welcome and cozy in it. It should also be away from distractions such as telephones, television, internet, and other people. 

The mind is programmed to do certain things in certain areas so sitting down to their designated study area means that your children will ignore everything else and focus on their work at hand. 

Depending on individual's preference, some people concentrate better with background music while some needs silence. Some children may also need to nibble on some snacks to motivate themselves.
Whatever it is, communicate with your children to better understand their needs.

5. Tender Loving Care

Last but not least, our children need lots of tender, loving care from us. We must believe in them even when the whole world gives up on them. Thomas Edison will not become a famous scientist if not for his mother. She never gave up on him even when the school sent him home because they thought he was mentally ill. Every apple has a star in it if we don't cut it the usual way. Do we see the star in our children?

I believe that all parents have good intentions and push the children for their good but at the same time we must also take caution that we do not get too caught up in the rat race that we lose our direction. Has our definition of success blinded us? Does being rich and having a high status equate to successful? Is our definition of our children's success a means to satisfy our own need, for our own pride and glory at the expense of our children's happiness? We have lived our lives and our children also have the right to choose how they live. We do not decide their paths but more to guide them towards the right direction. 

We worry about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget that he is someone today. (Stacia Tauscher) is my favorite quote. It brings tears to my eyes and reminds me that I should not worry about the unknown future and forgets to live at the moment. This moment is what we have. This moment, your child is looking at you alive, smiling, happy and healthy. This moment, you can feel, touch and hear your child. To a mother of a terminally ill child, this is all she could ever dream of. As, Bs, Cs is not in her mind at all. Yet we often take each moment that our child is alive for granted. 

At the end of the day, it is not the As, Bs or Cs that matters, it is our children that matters. Is our children well physically, emotionally, mentally and most importantly for me, spiritually? Because I want my boys to return to God and nowhere else.

What about you?

Bento #66 - Teriyaki Chicken

My #1 gets a lunchbox today even thought it's Monday. Why? Because he requested for it, I guess it kind of helps to get rid of his Mondy blues? 

We had Teriyaki Chicken for lunch today. You will never want to eat teriyaki outside after knowing how easy it is to make your own teriyaki sauce! It's just soya sauce, mirin and sake in the ratio 1:1:1 and it tasted really, really yummy. I always find the teriyaki sauce outside too salty and overpowering. But I love the chickens that I cooked today. I had only a small piece as I gave most of the meat to the other 2 boys ..hee. So, #1 requested to bring a bento to school again on Wednesay........

Friday, 23 October 2015

Bento #65 - Grilled Salmon and curry mashed potatoes

#1 is full of praises of the mashed potatoes that I have prepared for him the previous time so I thought I would prepare it for him again today. The curry powder certainly does wonders to transform a normal mashed  potatoes to a special side dish. Some fish for today to balance out the meat that we have been eating.

Bento #63 - Roast Chicken

This is a really simple and yummy dish to prepare. Prepared the chicken modifying the recipe .
And it turned out really good, definitely a keeper!

Friday, 16 October 2015

The almost perfect girl. (Or boy)

As a teacher, my life is very exciting because I'm faced with different challenges everyday. The most common ones faced in the classrooms are dealing with pupils who do not bother to do their work, pupils who are always forgetful, pupils who do not know what is going on, pupils who drift away during lessons, pupils who think that I own them a living, pupils whose parents think that I'm the one responsible for their future, pupils who are defiant, just to name a few. And this is partly why I love my job. I always imagine myself to be a doctor, trying to cure my patients of their ailments. In order to do so, I have to diagnose their conditions properly and administer the right medicine. When you see them getting better, the satisfaction is great. I liken their conditions to catching a cold, having a bad cough or plagued by a fever.......these illnesses although not serious enough to be life threatening need immediate attention and monitoring. If left untreated, it might develop into a serious infection with undesirable consequences. If they follow the doctor's advice, most of them will eventually recover and there is really nothing much to worry about. Prevention, constant monitoring and early intervention is the key to handle these problems. 

However, there is one type of pupil that I'm particularly worried about. She's the almost perfect girl (boy). She is well mannered and well liked by all her teachers. She is an outstanding pupil who has strong leadership qualities, does well academically and does the school proud with the many awards that she has won. But we do not know that she is trained to do all the appropriate things and learned how to work others in a subtle but self-serving way. She becomes crass manipulators of others and disdainful of people with less polish. Her heart is full of pride that there is no more space for empathy. But, she is trained to do all the appropriate things. She is someone who receives praises from her parents' friends and the first name that comes to a teacher's mind when they need anybody to represent the school.

Why am I worried about her? Because she is seriously ill and not showing any symptoms.............yet. People make mistakes and it is actually good if we repent and learn from them. However the worst mistake is when you do not see that you have done wrong as you will never learn. The almost perfect girl is too perfect to see her own shortcomings. I liken her condition to having a malignant tumor growing in the body without any signs and when we discover it eventually, it might already be too late.
The anecdote of the boiling frog also describes her situation aptly : a frog will jump out if placed in a pan of boiling water, but if submerged in cold water that is heated very slowly, the frog won't jump out and will actually allow itself to be cooked to death. Her situation is slowly damaging her body and mind or soul, and yet she couldn't quite make that jump because of her pride, ignorance or a complete lost of direction. As a teacher, I do pick up some of the signs that her heart might be heading towards the wrong direction but it isn't obvious sometimes. And she will continue to grow up with an erring heart filled with seeds of pride, jealousy, hatred and bitterness, ready to devour and destroy her when the time is ripe. But the scary thing is people will still see her as an outstanding girl and she'll eventually grow up to be an outstanding woman, but nobody is aware of her thoughts and there is no one to help. So, who can help her?

I would think parents play the most important role.
Proverbs 4:23 Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.
There is nothing more important than shepherding our children's hearts. They can be perfect to others but if their hearts are not right, nothing counts because where their hearts are, their souls will be too. So as parents, we are not merely here to ensure that they are well physically, achieve good grades, get a job, put up a good show to earn others' praises. Our top priority is to protect their souls and fight a spiritual war. Therefore, we have to work from their hearts. Nothing cleanses their souls better than God's Word. Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it. 

Parents spend minimal time with their children. The notion of quality time is more attractive than the old idea of quantity time. However, I believe it is a challenge to have quality time when we don't have quantity. Insightful and penetrating conversations with children takes time. Children do not pour their hearts out or open themselves up in a demand schedule. Every so often, a parent will ask a question, make a comment, and reveal some little aspect of their child's heart. In situations when our children's conscience is stirred, we need to talk to them. This may require us to drop everything else to seize a critical moment. Communication will provide the context for a growing unity with our children. Children know when they have a relationship with people who are wise and discerning who know and understand them. 

A full-orbed, rich, multifaceted communication is the cement that holds a parent and child together and lays a firm foundation for the parents' ability to influence their children as they grow older. We can influence our children, our words will have weight and our influence grows with each day we live with our children. All these requires effort, time and energy. There is simply no shortcut. No amount of money can make up for the time lost that you can spend with your children. What makes you think that they will open up to you and respect and seek your advice in times of trouble when you have been missing out from most of their life and only choose to intervene now that you realize they have gone too far off. 

Of course, the next important question is if the parents know their direction in life.

Driver and co-driver
As the teacher, I am the co-driver and do not have the rights to take over the wheel. (I certainly have no rights to slap the driver!) I can only offer suggestions on the routes to take but eventually the parent is the one making the decision and bear the responsibility. Sometimes, they try to pass the wheel to me. As much as I would like to direct them down the right way, I'm sorry to say I have no license to drive! Each family forms the cornerstone of a society. If we play our roles as parents well, the society will certainly be a safe and stable one. If we play our roles as parents well, teachers will have a much easier time at school. As parents, we are in control and we have authority over our children and we should be the ones who know best what is going on in our children's life, not teachers. 

The heart matters most

It's not the grades, the status, the money , or the power that one has that matters. Nothing matters more than having a beautiful heart. We need to fight a tough war everyday guarding our children's heart. And we are not able to guard their little hearts without investing ourselves in a life of sensitive communication in which we help them to understand life. We have only a brief season of life to invest ourselves in this task. We have only one opportunity to do it. If we miss it, we won't be able to go back and do it over and the consequences will be heavy to bear. We have to priortize. Our children are not just children, they are humans with lost souls in this world, searching for directions in their lives. And isn't it our responsibility to lead them back on the right path?If.....................we know the right path.

Eccl 12:13
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter; Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man's all.

Bento #62 - Chicken Cutlet for all of us!

Friday is always a day to celebrate and all of us get to bring lunch boxes to school! Yes, hubby and I go to school as well..hee. #1 loves his mashed potato and requested for me to prepare it for him again. We have slightly different flavors, our mash potato is curry flavor while #1's is original. I love my mash potato too!

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

My Thoughts on Breastfeeding

I was determined to breastfeed when I was pregnant with my #1 even though I do not have much knowledge of it. However, I was very confident it is the best choice for my baby because I know it's God's gift to us. It can never be wrong.  Also,  it seems natural to me to breastfeed because people around me are doing it, my sisters in Christ and people close to me like my sis-in-law, who is a teacher like me. She continued to express breastmilk even when she resumed her teaching duties, at the comfort of her own workstation. Her example encouraged me and made me believe that I will also be able to do the same for my baby. Being a lazy mum, I did not research much into breastfeeding even though I had some materials on hand, thinking that it is better to learn on the job instead.My dream is to be able to latch my baby on the go anywhere, anytime, and that vision is always on my mind.

My #1 was breastfed for 1 year and I am currently still latching my almost 33 months toddler. Of course I have my fair share of woes, sore nipples, nipple confusion, worries over my supply, stress to build up supply, newborn latching after every half an hour, so engorged that my breasts became as hard as stones, figuring out the demand and supply theory, losing my sleep etc...many.....but I guess the rewards are even greater. The satisfaction and assurance that you get because you know that you are giving your baby the best and nothing else. When my then 18 months #2 could only utter a few words, he would say "换边” (which means to change side in English) after he was done with latching each side. And recently, when #2 was done with his night feed, he said "妈咪的neh neh最甜的。” (Mummy's milk is the sweetest.) with a satisfied smile on his face.

I thank God for blessing me with all the wonderful people around me who helped to make my breastfeeding journey a successful one. For breast feeding mums, it is indeed very important to have a supportive environment. Two of the most important people in my life , my Mummy and husband support breastfeeding fully. I also have a great PD and gynaecologist now who are on the same line as me. I did not have a good experience with the PD at TMC though.

In 2013, my #2 was born at week 35 with a mere weight of 2kg, but miraculously was not admitted into NICU. He was wheeled out for observation shortly after he was born and as the PD's main concern was to increase my baby's weight, she ordered for him to be fed with formula. I respected her as I believed that she made this decision based on her professional judgement and for the good of my baby. However, I did not feel comfortable talking to her as she spoke in a demeaning tone, doubting my ability to produce sufficient milk for my baby.  My gynaecologist on the other hand told me that we have underestimated my baby and he is much stronger than we think. (And I agree with her absolutely!You should have watched him suckle so powerfully even though he was just a 2kg newborn). My gynae Dr Yeap has 3 children and strongly supports breastfeeding, she said "In my house, we only offer breastmilk and nothing else." Love my gynae. 

Thank God we managed to find another PD, Dr Lau for our boys. 

1st Pd at TMC: What's the use of expressing milk if you only managed to express so little? 
Dr Lau (when baby only managed to latch for 5 min): 5 min is better than nothing!

Once when my #2 was down with a diarrhea, I was shocked to learn that breastmilk was actually causing it to be worse. Reason being that all mammal's milk contains lactose and during the infection, lactose was not broken down properly resulting in abnormally watery stool. Even then, Dr Lau did not advise me to stop breastfeeding. He said if the diarrhea did not get any worse and I could manage the watery stool, I can continue to breastfeed. Awesome!

And did I mention about my wonderful colleague who helped me to put up this curtain so that I could express milk at the convenience of my own work desk. Well, actually it was because my school did not have a proper place for mummies to express milk and no way was I going to express at the toilet. Tough to express at work as teaching life is pretty hectic and I was always tense when expressing and hence my supply continued to drop after I went back to work. To make things worse, my #1 gave up on latching as he started to take a preference for bottles. Nevertheless, I still managed to pass the one year mark for my #1.

I grew more in awe and continued to be amazed with God's Creation as I learnt more about the benefits of breastfeeding and breastmilk.

Breastfeeding is the best for baby. In the first few days of life, the baby receives colostrum from its mother. Colostrum CANNOT be manufactured synthetically. It is specially designed for the baby and is similar in many of its content to the nourishment which the baby has received in the womb, thus lessening for him the shock and strangeness of birth. Colostrum contains exactly the nourishment the baby needs during the first few days, as well as antibodies from the mother, to protect him against any disease which the mother has had or has been immunized against.

Colostrum has a slight laxative effect which prepares the baby's digestive system and clears out the bowels. It thus helps to get rid of the meconium, the sticky black substance which is the baby's first stool, and in the process this reduces the concentration of the jaundice-producing bilirubin in baby's body. Therefore, even if you cannot breastfeed for long, your baby will benefit greatly from receiving your milk, which contains colostrum, for the first ten days of life.

Breastmilk is almost always completely free of germs. It is virtually impossible to make a bottle feed so pure, and this is particularly important in our tropical climate where germs multiply rapidly.

What are the advantages for the baby?

a) Breastmilk is uniquely adapted for human babies, just as cow's milk is the best milk for calves.

b) The composition of Breastmilk is ideally suited to baby. The composition of human milk changes to meet the changing needs of baby as he matures. Even when baby is able to take solids, human milk is the primary source of nutrition during the first year. It becomes a supplement to solids during the second year. In addition, it takes between two and six years for a child's immune system to fully mature. Human milk continues to complement and boost the immune system for as long as it is offered.

c) Doctors agree that breastfed babies are less prone to gastro-intestinal infections, constipation and allergies.

d) Breastfed babies benefit from increased immunity against disease - if the mother is exposed to an illness, especially one transmitted through the mouth, the antibodies made in response to it will soon be excreted in her milk to provide protection to her baby. What a smart system!

e) Breastmilk is always available when the baby needs it, at the right temperature and from germ-free containers.

f) Breastfeeding promotes a close bond between mother and child because it enables skin and eye-to-eye contact to take place.

g) If the baby does fall sick, breastmilk is the best food for him as it is so easy to digest. Once, my #2 was down with a high fever while we were in Malaysia. He lost his appetite and ate and drank very little but fortunately he finds comfort in latching. Just as well as I know that breastmilk is the best for him then. He recovered very quickly although his crankiness remained for the rest of the trip. I was so thankful that I chose to breastfeed. 

h) Premature babies also do better if they are fed on breastmilk because it appears that this milk is ideally suited to the very rapid weight gain and growth in brain tissues of the premature infant. I thank God that although my #2 was premature, he managed to latch on successfully in the hospital. (I was not discouraged even though the nurses told me not to pin too much hope on him latching successfully as he was a premature baby)

What are the advantages for the mother?

a) The baby's suckling in the early weeks causes the uterus to contract, which speeds up its return to pre-pregnancy size and lessens the chances of severe bleeding.

b) The fat stored around the hips and thighs during pre-pregnancy is used up during lactation, provided the mother exercises restraint and has a sensible diet. Maybe this is my secret to resuming my pre-pregnancy weight in a month's time while eating 5 meals a day.

c) A great deal of time is saved by the mother not having to prepare and sterilize bottles, teats, etc. This is the greatest motivation factor for me, the lazy me hates the washing, sterilizing and expressing part. And it also lightens my baby bag a lot and I appreciate it even more when I go overseas. You get the best for doing less, how good is that? I'm killing two birds with one stone!

d) Statistics show that women who breastfeed their babies run a lesser risk of developing breast and ovarian cancers.

e) Breastmilk is the most economical means of feeding your baby. One does not have the expense of buying bottles, teats, equipment, etc. However, a breastfeeding mother needs to ensure she has an adequate caloric intake with the emphasis on high protein food and so she may have to spend more on food than usual. Special nursing bras, nursing pads and clothes that allow for quick, easy and discreet access to the breast may also need to be bought initially.

f) Many years of medical research into the question of breastfeeding have indicated that most women who breastfeed their babies enjoy more physical and emotional benefits. 

The above stated are just some of the advantages of breastfeeding and I am sure there are more to add on to the list.

One important thing that breastfeeding mums need to remember is that they must have confidence in themselves and believe that they have milk and they have sufficient milk. Due to the false belief that there is no milk present in the breast during the first days after delivery, a mother do not try to breastfeed their babies at this time and the absence of stimulation tends to delay the milk supply. They start to offer formula milk for fear that their babies are not drinking enough and this marks the beginning of a vicious cycle. The amount of milk that is expressed is also not reflective of how much milk the mother has. The magic word is "latch" and latching on demand will ensure that your supply keeps up with your baby's appetite. Except for medical conditions, all women are able to produce sufficient milk for their babies and almost all problems can be overcome with information and encouragement.

Many people mistakenly think of a mother’s milk supply as being like “flesh-covered bottles” that are completely emptied and then need time to refill before baby nurses again. This is simply not how we understand milk production to function.
First of all, milk is being produced at all times, so the breast is never empty. Research has shown that babies do not take all the milk available from the breast – the amount that baby drinks depends upon his appetite. The amount of milk removed from the breast varies from feed to feed, but averages around 75-80% of the available milk.
! Trying to completely empty a breast is like trying to empty a river — it’s impossible, since more milk will keep flowing in while milk is being removed.
Research also tells us that the emptier the breast, the faster the breast makes milk. So when baby removes a large percentage of milk from the breast, milk production will speed up in response.
! Rather than thinking of nursing or pumping as “pouring milk out of a container” think of it as flipping on the “high speed production” switch!
! Yet another analogy: Imagine you are using a straw to drink from a glass of water. As you drink, a friend is very slowly pouring water into your glass. The emptier the glass, the faster your friend pours the water. Would you be able to drink all the water in your glass?
Waiting a set amount of time to nurse your baby (under the mistaken belief that breasts need time to “refill”) is actually counterproductive. Consistently delaying nursing will lead to decreased milk supply over time because milk production slows when milk accumulates in the breast.

So the question is not whether you have sufficient milk or not but whether are the breasts stimulated frequent enough to enable your body to interpret accurately the appetite of your baby. So again, I would say the magic words are "latch on demand" if possible as babies are the most powerful and efficient pumps.
What should mothers do to prepare themselves for breastfeeding?

I am 100 percent confident in breastfeeding because of my strong belief in God. To me, God's design is, and always will be the best. Hence, I decide to learn on the job instead of reading up more about breastfeeding. However, I will strongly encourage mothers-to-be to read up about breastfeeding to better prepare themselves mentally. With sufficient knowledge on breastfeeding, they can also educate the people around them and bust any myths related to breastfeeding. They will be more confident to defend their stand when faced with pressure to offer formula instead of breastfeed. Talking to mothers who are experienced in breastfeeding also helps a lot as they will be able to share with you on the struggles that they have gone through and you won't feel so lonely on this journey. Joining a Breastfeeding mums Facebook group will also connect you to other breastfeeding mums all over the world. You can pose queries online and many helpful breastfeeding mamas will be more than willing to lend a helping hand.

Looking forward
I am looking forward to the day when Singapore will be more accepting of breastfeeding in public. It should not be viewed as a social taboo. Mothers should be able to breastfeed anywhere and anytime without having any worries of inviting stares, being chided or stomped. Instead, they should be encouraged and given thumbs up for this beautiful act of love. Honestly, I do not think breastfeeding mothers need to cover up if they are wearing proper nursing wear which will prevent them from exposing themselves. Even a teeny weeny bit of flesh exposed is harmless. If you know the mother is breastfeeding, you should look away..unless you're staring so hard then will you be able to notice the flesh. I do not understand how people can accept woman wearing exposing clothes that reveal half the breasts and term it sexy and beautiful, yet view public breastfeeding as an inappropriate act. 

In Taiwan, it is an offence to hinder mothers from breastfeeding in public. It is their choice to go to nursing rooms, if not, nobody has any right to tell them to do so. Love it.

Education is the key. People need to be educated on the true benefits of breastfeeding. Ignorance is not bliss-ignorance is ignorance. Media and social media are important platforms to promote breastfeeding. Campaigns need to be in place to raise public awareness. I believe Government has an important role to play as well. However, I am thankful for the improvements in facilities as well, new shopping malls have bright, spacious and comfortable nursing rooms for mothers to nurse their babies. People should be educated not to abuse these facilities though.
To end, breastfeeding is a choice and no one has the right to judge. The decision that you made at the end of the day does not make you a better or worse mum. We believe that all mothers love their children unconditionally. Mothers certainly should not breastfeed at the expense of their own physical and mental health. The well being of mothers should be the top priority because only with good health can we take better care of our little ones. However, if circumstances permit, I will still strongly encourage mothers to breastfeed.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

#Bento 61 - Pan fried Salmon and Baked eggs and tomatoes

Little Penguin for my #1 lunchbox.

Hubby is bringing the same food to work. Added chicken rice paste to the rice, pan fried salmon with corns, baked egg and tomatoes with cheese and steamed veges for lunch.

Monday, 5 October 2015

Why do we need to study ?

Why do we need to study? Did you ever ask this question as a child? Or did your children ever ask you this question? What would your answer be? Several years ago, my pupil wrote this question in her workbook. She is a very good girl, conscientious, studious and well mannered. She is not someone I would worry about. But she wrote in her book that she does not understand the real purpose of studying.

I totally understand how she felt because as a child, I do not see the importance of studying too. Typical reasons adults would give are probably that we study so that we can have a bright future ? So that we can have a better life? So that we can find a good job? So that we can earn more money? (A very bad answer to give to the kids) etc. Well, none of these reasons serve as any source of motivation for me to study. I have always been an average faring girl at school, but I am hardworking and I can say that I'm a responsible girl. I know that one of my responsibilities as a student and a kid is to be hardworking and study well. Also, I wouldn't want my parents to worry for me. Hence, I tried my best and did all I need to do at school.

You see, the 'future' does not have any effect on our children. It's a very abstract concept to them, especially so when they are living in Singapore. We are very blessed and leading a good life here. Most (not all) children have parents who provide well for them. They have a roof under their head, nice clothes to wear and never need to starve. Earning money doesn't seem to be a very difficult thing to them. So they really do not care about their 'future' yet. They are more likely to be thinking of the food they will be eating during recesses, the places their parents will be bringing them during the weekends, the tv programmes that they can enjoy after they have done their homework. Why? Because all these seem more real to them as compared to their 'Future' which feels like so many light years away.

So this is the answer that I gave this girl:

You do not have to think and worry so much about what you are doing now. As long as you put in your best effort in doing every little thing everyday. Imagine you are trying to put together a 10000 pieces jig-saw puzzle. Your responsibility now is to try your best to find the correct pieces to fit together. Finding the pieces and ensuring that they fit well is the most important thing to do now, this is not the time to worry about how the completed puzzle will look like and how long will you take to complete the puzzle. If you put the pieces together with the right attitude now, the final picture will eventually unfold before your eyes and you will be able to admire the beauty of it. You will feel thankful that you have put in your best effort in every little step along this journey and realized how much you have grown. By then, you will probably understand the reason why you need to study.

I'm not sure if this is a good answer but she seemed enlightened. Now, she should already be in JC and I hope that she has already found the answer to her question. However, I wish I could show her the direction to her life as well, to help her realize her true purpose in life.

It's much easier to explain to my #1 who is 5 years old. We have discussed this before during our Bible time. I told him that the most important reason why he needs to study well now is so that he can use his talents well to serve the Lord in future. Our mission is to spread the Gospel and being educated does help in this area. 

Therefore, whether you eat or drink,or whatever you do, do all to the Glory of God. 
1 Cor 10:31

We are good friends, so that we can spread the Gospel.
We are great colleagues, so that we can spread the Gospel.
We are peacemakers, so that we can spread the Gospel.
We serve to lead, so that we can spread the Gospel.
We are good bosses, so that we can spread the Gospel.
We are good students, so that we can spread the Gospel.
We are good teachers, so that we can spread the Gospel.

The list goes on......for each of our action, we have to consider the possibility of it hindering our ability to spread the Gospel. It's no wonder why so many people are willing to listen to Jesus because as a human, he has such a great personality! 

And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men. Luke 2:52

My #1 asked me if this means that people who are uneducated cannot spread the Gospel? Of course not!!! There are many ways to spread the Gospel. There is certainly no kpi to meet. God sees our hearts, how hard we are trying and how much we are giving. Most importantly, we need to use the talents that He has given us well. Surely, God knows our weaknesses, not everybody can talk well, not everybody has the courage to invite their colleagues to Church yet but as long as we're trying and improving..we know that we can still play a part in spreading the Gospel. 
Read: The Parable of the Talents Mat 25:14-30

But you know, how the world views us is different from how God views us. The world looks at your education level,status,power and how influential you are.

For example, if you are a renowned scientist that has influenced the world with your studies. How many more people are willing to lift up their heads to listen to you speak? And how much more time will they take to ponder about what you have shared? And how great is the effect if you tell them that you are a Christian and you believe that God is our one and only Creator? Would they think that you are more credible?Maybe.Possibly.But I'm sure many more would be willing to listen to this scientist instead of me.
However, we have to go back to our hearts, this renowned scientist must be humble and aware that it is God who has blessed him abundantly and he owns all his accomplishments to God. His accomplishment is just a tool for him to spread the Gospel. 

The moment when I regretted for not studying more is when I got sneered by my friend for being ignorant. He's an atheist and I am trying to convince him to explore the possibility of the existence of a Creator. Well, I do not know why he, holding a science degree and a current pharmacist, feels more superior than me (holding a degree in Statistic). Maybe he feels that he is well versed in the area of Science or maybe he already had a PhD which I'm unaware of. Well, don't be mistaken, I do not feel any inferior to him. The Truth stands firm under any debates and most of the answers we need to know can be found in the Bible. The problem lies with humans, that we are blinded by our own pride and refuse to acknowledge the presence of God. 

We certainly do no need a degree or PhD to understand Creation and seek God. Give your kids a box of loose Legos......

and ask them to shake the Legos until............

these are formed..........

They will soon give up and realize that it's an impossible mission. It's not difficult to understand 'For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God.
Heb 3:4

So why then do we believe that the Universe can come together by itself?
Or after an explosion? (Big Bang Theory) We only see broken homes,debris,rubbles,a city destroyed after a major explosion...definitely not a Universe with beauty,design and order.
But many are blinded by pride.Being highly educated has instead become their stumble block.

I pray that my boys will study well, that they'll do well in life. The more influential they are, the more number of people's lives they can touch and the more number of souls they can save. The money they earn to be used to help our Church to spread the Gospel. I pray that my boys, like Jesus, will increase in wisdom, stature and in favor with God and men. I pray that they will be humble, fear God and keep His commandments and I pray that I will not use the above stated as a noble reason for me to join the rat race of this society and pressure my boys into achieving academic excellence.

Surely, God knows how much each one of us can handle. I believe that my boys are in His safe and loving hands.I pray that I will also be an obedient child of God and lead my children well in the Lord.

For now,I think we shall just continue to concentrate on finding the pieces of our puzzle. 


#Bento 60 - Pork Ginger

Oooohh..I got my new toys! So happy that my bestie is already back from the States and many thanks to her for bringing all my loots back.

Decided to get one hot pink lunch box for myself. Bought one for hubby too but its size is too big I got to find a suitable lunch bag for it before my hubby can use his new lunchbox.

Our lunch today consists of Pork Ginger, cucumber and tomatoes compote and steamed broccoli as the sides.

A closer look at the compote, the vibrant colors really tantalize one's taste buds.Yumz!

Friday, 2 October 2015

Bento #59 - Onigirazu

Prepared onigirazu for hubby and #1 today. It's a great choice for bentos and picnics, very convenient and yummy. You can customize them by putting in your favorite food as the fillings. Am playing around with colors. If you notice, the rice are actually dyed a natural light purple with purple cabbage juice. I had actually wanted it to be bright pink instead but I guess I did not add in enough vinegar. (Adding vinegar to purple cabbage juice will make it turn pink..amazing!).