Homemade Toilet Cleaner

I used to clean the toilets with CIF detergent and I have to say that I really loved it. It is so powerful and it cleans the toilet really well. Even though I realized that it causes dry skin and makes me feel ‘suffocated’ whenever I clean the toilet with the door closed, I still used it anyway because I was really satisfied with the result.

DSC07572It was about last year, I found out via online that many people actually make their own concoction to clean their toilets. Most of them include water, vinegar, and essential oils.

Wow! That was totally new for me. I never thought of making my own toilet cleaner. And so I tried to read more about it and look for few recipes for me to try and compare.

Honestly, at first I doubted that it’ll work. The recipe just seems too ‘innocent’ for me to be able to get rid of all the stains and dirt at my toilet, plus the toilet bowl. That is challenging, right?!

However, I did give it a try. And I was impressed. I really did. The result was beyond my expectation. It cleans the tiles and toilet bowl really well. And the smell was so nice. I could even sing while cleaning the toilet now, with the door closed some more =D And knowing that all the ingredients are non-toxic and environmental friendly, it makes me feel at ease and ‘happier’ to clean the toilet.

I use the recipe that I found here. It is truly an amazing and informative blog about healthy and natural living. It is one of my favourite blogs.

DSC07551Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup liquid castile soup.
  • 1 3/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of essential oils (tea tree, orange, and lemon have anti-bacterial properties and smell fresh).

Instruction:

  1. Mix all ingredients in a squirt bottle (I use the kids’ empty soap bottle) and gently shake.
  2. Squirt in the toilet bowl and on the toilet tiles, use a brush to scrub them clean.

PS. I bought the castile soap and essential oil from iherbs.

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Chinese Lantern Craft – Using Hong Pao Paper

Chinese New Year is just around the corner! *excited* =D We did a simple craft last week to decorate the house with small Chinese lanterns. And in the process of making it, I then realized that I don’t do as many stuff as my mother does in preparing for Chinese New Year. I don’t buy new clothes for the kids, I don’t do spring cleaning, and I don’t even bake one cookie. Eeekk!!! I feel like a lousy Chinese.

Mmm…We shall see if we can come up with a quick and easy cookie recipe this week then =P

DSC07109OK. Back to the Chinese lantern craft, we used Hong Pao papers to make them. I cut off the cover, and drew lines on the paper (see the image on the left).

Alex then cut the Hong Pao paper according to the lines. The top stripe will be used for the lantern’s handle later.

DSC07097This is a good exercise for Alex to encourage his cutting skill. The task looks so simple for me, but apparently not for him. He put all his attention, concentration, and effort to cut those lines, and he did a good job, I must say.

He said that he was tired after cutting first two lines, and so we took turns afterwards =)

After finish cutting all the lines, unfold the paper and form the paper into a tube shape to transform it into a lantern. Glue the top and bottom corners. Then attach the handle with glue or tape on the lantern.

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Colour Recognition – Pom Pom Balls and Tissue Rolls

DSC07023I thought of doing this simple activity with Ella because I have quite a few paper rolls in the store room which have been waiting for me for quite some time =)

I covered the paper rolls with colourful construction papers and paste magnetic tape on one side. You can use blue tack or normal tape, too.

DSC07038I then took out our colourful pom pom balls, which normally played together with their kitchen toys and let Ella had some fun with them =)

It is a fun way to learn about colours, I must say. Especially if you have a lot of toilet rolls at home and do not know what to do with them.

Oh yes, you need to place few bowls below the tubes to catch the balls.

We’ve planned do another simple activity for colour recognition in the next few days. Stay tuned =)

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Hickory Dickory Dock Activity – Make A Clock Using A Cereal Box

There was a period of time when Alex loved to sing and listen to Hickory Dickory Dock nursery rhymes. He can sing the song for the whole day (literally) till it gets into my brain. And he also asks me to set the CD player into repeat mode because he wants to listen to that one song ONLY. Normally I can only survive for one hour before I have a headache and ask him to turn off the CD player.

But since he loves this song so much, I thought that doing some activities related to it will be fun for him. So we made a clock using a cereal box.

Materials needed:

  • Cereal box
  • Construction paper
  • Cardboard paper
  • Scissor
  • Glue
  • Brad

Instructions:

  1. Cover the cereal box with construction paper. Leave the top part of the box open because you’ll need to secure the brad from inside later.
  2. Draw a clock and clock hands on a cardboard paper, and cut them.
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  3. Using a brad, attach the clock hands to the clock and secure them to the top part of the cereal box.
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  4. Draw a pendulum. Cut and secure it at the lower part of the clock by using a brad. Cover the box.
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Alex was so proud and thrilled with his clock. Even though it was so simple and not perfect, but it was made by his own. He loved playing with it while listening to his favourite song and the fact that the clock hands and pendulum are moveable, it makes him even happier =)

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Shapes Recognition – Cut and Paste

DSC07004Ella is not well for the past few days. She caught a cold and have a phlegmy cough, so we have to stay indoor and do something to entertain ourselves at home.

This shape recognition activity is so simple to prepare and do. It is so simple till I thought that I won’t share it here. But when I saw how she enjoyed doing it, I thought that I’ll just write a very short post about it =P

I cut many small squares for her to paste on a big square. That’s all! =D And every time she pasted one, I asked her to say, “SQUARE!”

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DIY Collapsible Cardboard Playhouse

Disclaimer: This is a very late post from me. I really need to catch up with my updates and post, I think.

DSC01282I always get excited whenever I spot a big, sturdy and clean cardboard. My hands immediately become ticklish and my brain runs wild =D

And today I’ll share a creative idea on how to make a collapsible cardboard house that I found online.  It is collapsible, and so it is a perfect playhouse for me who has a limited space and lives in an apartment.

I made it two years back and the kids loved it. DSC01280They used it to play hide and seek, they brought their toys in the house, and they played with it for two weeks before it collapsed =D

There are so many creative ideas online. You might want to ‘google’ it and see if there is any other DIY cardboard projects that your kids will love =)

PS. I made a playhouse for Alex on his 2nd birthday too. You can see it here.

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Boys Do Cry – How to Help Them Manage Their Emotions

We all know that all children, regardless of gender, do cry to express their sadness, fear, anger, or just to get attention from their parents. However, I noticed that boys are more frequently reprimanded for crying and showing sadness compared to girls. Boys are expected to be stronger and tougher physically and emotionally. And if they cry, it means that they are weak. That’s maybe the reason why I often hear phrases like “Stop crying. Boys do not cry.” or “Shame on you. You cry like a baby.”

But my question is this, “Are the boys really get stronger and healthier emotionally as they grow by not crying and express how they feel inside?” I really doubt so. We all know that emotions don’t evaporate, they have to be expressed somehow. And as a parent, we need to help the boys to understand their feelings and teach them how to manage their emotions effectively, not to repress them.

Helping children manage their emotions is important for children’s developing self-regulation skills, resilience, and sense of self, nurturing their mental health and well being. Recent studies actually indicating that boys who are emotionally more in touch with their feelings are better in handling depression and anger later on in their adulthood.

“Young children, especially boys, may need their parents’ help working through angry or fearful emotions. If you punish toddlers for their anger and frustration or act as if their fears are silly or shameful, they may internalize those negative emotions, and that may lead to behaviour problems as they get older,” said Nancy McElwain, a U of I associate professor of human development.

Alex, who is now 4 years old, is a very sensitive and emotional boy. The good thing about it is that he is sympathetic, not aggressive, and softhearted. But on the other side, he gets affected quite deeply whenever someone make him sad, angry, or fearful. He cries when someone snatches his toys, he cries when Ella destroys his priceless creation, and there was one day, he burst out in tears in the middle of his class because he couldn’t understand what his mandarin teacher was teaching.

Honestly, sometimes I am very tempted to say “Alex, be strong! You are a boy. Stop crying!” It is much easier for me  to ask him to just repress his sadness, hide it and stop crying. But I know that I am not helping him by saying that.

As I am learning to respond to Alex’s emotional cries, I’ll share some strategies that works for him with hope that it’ll help other kids, regardless of gender, too. In this whole process, I want him to know that it is perfectly fine to feel sad or angry, but it is not OK if he lingers in it for too long, becomes self pity, and hurts other people.

  • Introduce many kinds of emotions and facial expression.
    We read children books about feelings and we discussed with him about the situations/scenarios that usually make him feels happy, sad or angry.
    There are also many feeling charts available online that you can print out and go through with the child.

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  • Take a break and drink.
    It helps Alex to calm down when I bring him out from the room, and let him have a sip of water.
  • Acknowledge his/her feeling and ask him/her to tell you what’s wrong.
    Usually I’ll hold him (without saying any words) until he is calmer, then say something like, “Alex, what makes you so sad? Tell mommy.” But in Ella’s case, who is only 2 years old, I’ll prompt her by saying “Ella, talk. Say, ‘Mommy, I want…”
  • Use the moment to teach him/her on how to develop skill to manage emotions.
    We always remind him that hurting others and being rude is not acceptable no matter how angry he is. And sometimes we suggest something that he can do to help him cool down, eg. drawing, reading, or play with his toys.
  • Encourage problem solving.
    In our case, we realized that Alex tend to feel really sad whenever someone snatches his toy. So we take this opportunity to discuss with him on how to prevent this thing to happen again, and how he can protect his toy, eg, hide the toys behind him when someone tries to snatch and say “No. Don’t snatch.” He is still struggling for the moment, but we can see some improvement.

Having said all that, if you know that the child’s crying is manipulative (for example, you said no more ice cream and your child is crying or whining), simply ignore it.

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