Thursday, April 29, 2010

A reason to smile!

Today was a day filled with waking up before the break of dawn, bathing with as little water as possible, reaching the office before the sun rose, a military air base, uniformed people, long car rides, eating in strange places, irksome emails, even more irksome lawyers, loan officers and project management teams, sleepy heads, looming deadlines, dark skies, traffic jams, chicken pox and pizzas. I kid you not.

But on a brighter note...

Here's my name in the list of UiTM post graduate students who are graduating in the 72nd convocation ceremony this semester! Yay! *Patting myself on the back*



Also, my day has been made so much brighter by truly WONDERFUL EDITORS and CLIENTS (my saviours), hurray for you guys!

Interview with Molly of Second Time Parenthood @ Venusbuzz.com

Here's another interview I did with an inspiring blogger. This time, it's Molly of Second Time Parenthood!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Introducing... the family car!

I used to be proud of the fact that we didn't have a car. It meant we weren't contributing to air pollution and that our carbon footprints were smaller because we used public transport. But, after 7 years of marriage, my husband and I decided to get a car. It's a first for us both. We received it the day before Earth Day, on April 21, 2010.

It became a necessity partly because we couldn't take commuting via taxis, buses, LRTs and KTMs much longer. With your own car, you can come and go as you please, and you needn't worry about delayed trains, non-existent taxis, taxis refusing to take you, rain etc. You also needn't worry so much about exposure to deadly viruses like H1N1. I mean, have you been on a train during rush hour? People cough and sneeze all the time.

But, really, the cost of using public transport became too much for us to bear. Thank you, inflation. My husband and I work in the same place, and we used to book a taxi to get to work so that we wouldn't be late. It cost us RM20 per trip. So that's RM60 for three days, and that didn't include commuting home from work or the need to use taxis on the weekend. Now, RM60 will buy us a full tank of fuel on our MyVi, and it'll last us a week.

For us, owning a car made financial sense. I still can't believe that we have a car. It's a humble ride, but we love it :) To learn more about the MyVi, check out the Perodua website.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day fellow earthlings!

Earth Day is almost over here in Malaysia, but to me, everyday is earth day.. so let's watch some cool and educational environmentally-friendly videos courtesy of Planet Green! Share them with your friends and family!

* Image via Planet Green.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Interview with Hanz and MieVee @ Venusbuzz.com

There are lots of great mummy bloggers out there, with great stuff to share, so I've been compiling a series of interviews with bloggers that I'd like to feature on Venusbuzz. Here's one on a lovely lady named Hanz.

She's into natural parenting, green living and homeschooling. You can check out her blog here. When I emailed her about our interview being published on Venusbuzz, she wrote back and said, "YES, I've seen & read it..WOW! Thanks for the opportunity." You're welcome Hanz!

And, here's my interview with MieViee of Mummy's Reviews.



Her blog's where you can get the latest parenting product reviews and take part in exciting giveaways. When she saw the interview on Venusbuzz, she dropped me a sweet message saying, "Thank you very much for the interview article! :) Have a great day ahead." Thanks MieViee, it was my pleasure!

PS: If you're a blogger who'd like to be interviewed and featured on Venusbuzz, drop me a message!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

We Love the Malaysian Tiger!

To show our love for Malaysian tigers and to support the Tiger Blogfest 2010, coordinated by Planet of the Monyets, Amir and I decided to paint an "I love tiger" poster for our home. First, I showed Amir some pictures of tigers on the Internet. He really liked the baby tigers, and so that's what he chose to paint.

Amir using a pencil and crayons to draw the outlines.
Mixing paints.
Look mum! I can paint with my eyes closed!
The finishing touch were the tiger's stripes!
Amir's completed baby tiger poster. Roar!!

I think it's really important for parents to teach their kids about tigers. I spoke to my 6-year old about how tigers are being hunted for their skins, and how how their homes in the forests are being destroyed. That's why there are so few of them left. I told him that if we don't protect the forests, tigers and other animals, we might lose them forever. The stories made Amir sad, but it also made him appreciate tigers more. Now for a very important message...

The tiger is our national animal. Our heritage. But today only less than 500 of them remain in the wild. As Malaysians, we need to stand up and protect our heritage. Speak to your children. Speak to your leaders. Everyone of us can make a difference.

For further information, please visit MYCAT, WWF Malaysia and the Department of Wildlife and National Parks.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Feedback from Baby Kneez Canada!

Two days ago, I blogged about an article I wrote on Venusbuzz.com about a wonderful product called Baby Kneez that's being carried by Malaysian online store Kasihku Sayangku. Ms Wong, Kasihku Sayangku's proprietor, was kind enough to write in to say that she liked the feature, but I never would have guessed that Celine Caron, the owner of Baby Kneez in Canada would write in as well!

Her email, which I received today, said:
Hello Adline,

Please allow me to introduce myself, my name is Celine Caron and I am the owner of Baby Kneez, here in Canada.  I too read your write up on Venusbuzz.com and I was more then thrilled with your kind words!  Thank you so much for including Baby Kneez as a feature, I am very grateful. This must be so encouraging for Ms. Wong at Kasihku Sayangku and I must say, your writing style is truly wonderful!

Many thanks and all the best,

Celine Caron
Baby Kneez

She has very kindly given me permission to post her comments here, and has made my day! Thank you very much for the kind words Celine!

* Image via Baby Kneez website.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Zhu Zhu Pet review @ Venusbuzz.com

A few weeks ago, our pet hamster, Fluffy, died. Months before that, his partner in crime, Snuggly, escaped from his cage and was never seen again. Such is the heartbreak of owning real, live pet hamsters. My son, Amir, was pretty sad when the hamsters went, but it was hard on me too, perhaps more so, because I was the one who fed and watered them, and cleaned their cages.

To be honest, my son is no where near ready to take care of a pet as fragile as a hamster. In any case, to let go of the pain of losing my hamsters, and to free up some storage space in my tiny apartment, I gave away all my hamster cages, food, bedding etc. to a colleague. I swore to never keep live animals in my apartment again, perhaps maybe for some fish... someday in the distant future.



So, when I encountered Zhu Zhu Pets, which are robotic hamsters, at Jusco, 1 Utama a few months back, I was intrigued. They didn't look all that exciting just sitting in their box, so I decided to find out more about them. Most reviews I've read on them have been positive, although many parents complained that the hamsters would get stuck while in their 'habitats.'

I even looked them up on You Tube to see them in action, and they seemed like loads of fun for kids my son's age, so I decided to get one for him. After all, I had read on an American friend's Facebook wall that Zhu Zhu pets were all the rage during Christmas last year!

In Malaysia, a Zhu Zhu Pet will set you back RM59.90, and that's not including the play sets and accessories, which are pretty pricey. As we didn't have space for a full-blown Habitrail-like set up in our living room anyway, I got a Zhu Zhu equivalent of a hamster ball instead. That set me back RM39.90. I chose a Zhu Zhu Pet with dark brown fur, so that it wouldn't stain so easily. His name is supposed to be Scoodles, but Amir named his hamster 'Hammy.'
After spending an afternoon with my son and Hammy, I can say that the robotic hamster's a good buy. It's easy to operate, with just three buttons to push, which is great for kids. The button on its head makes it stay quiet. It'll make cute rodent-like sounds as you cuddle and stroke it. The button on its rump makes it 'go,' and it moves along, bumping into things, whirling around and reversing, making funny noises.

The button on its nose acts as a sensor, so when the hamster bumps into something, it reverses. A press on the nose also prompts the toy to make friendly sounds. The toy also has a tilt sensor, which shuts it down if the toy is flipped. It also goes to sleep by itself every 4 minutes or so, to save batteries. Incidentally, it runs on two AAA batteries.

And what about the accessory I bought? Well, at first, I was a little frustrated with the overpriced plastic hamster ball. As soon as I put Hammy in, turned him on and screwed on the cover, Hammy had gone to sleep, "What a waste!" I thought. But then, my son figured things out, and happily played with Hammy and his ball for hours on end... figures.

Amir simply loves Hammy, and I think six year olds are quite capable of 'caring' for Zhu Zhu Pets, who have to steer clear of hair and dust bunnies (which will clog up the wheels), as well as water and other types of dirt. I think Zhu Zhu Pets make really great pet substitutes for kids with health concerns and whose parents don't want the hassle of a real pet, but most importantly, they're cute and fun!

 
* First two images via zhuzhupetsfair.com


* Update 24 April 2010:

My Zhu Zhu pet review up on Venusbuzz.com:


Get your baby Baby Kneez! @ Venusbuzz.com

I wish I knew about Baby Kneez when my son was crawling about and learning to walk, but for all you mums of toddlers out there, do check them out at Malaysia-based online baby store Kasihku Sayangku! They're so precious I had to feature them on Venusbuzz.com :)

Ms Wong, who runs Kasihku Sayangku, was kind enough to drop me an email today saying:

I saw your write up on Baby Kneez on Venusbuzz.com. Thank you so much for your wonderful write up!

It was my pleasure Ms Wong!

Friday, April 9, 2010

We love Liam

I learnt about Liam, who will be turning six soon, from one of my favourite blogs, Poppytalk. It's obvious from the photo above that he's an adorable and fun-loving boy; he also happens to have a neuromuscular disorder called Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type 2. His mum, Lynn Russell, who creates beautiful letterpress and designs, runs Satsuma Press. Their family is currently raising funds to provide Liam with a fully accessible bathroom in their house this summer. If you'd like to help, please make a donation to Liam's Trust, or pass the word along via email, your blog, twitter etc.

PS: Liam reminds me so much of my son Amir, who's also six :) 

Image via We Love Liam.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

My blog's green :)

I received an email from Christin Gericke of Make it Green today, saying, "Thank you so much for participating in our initiative and making your blog carbon neutral! Your tree will be planted this month by the Arbor Day Foundation. We thank you for the support!" She says there are still some trees looking for a sponsor, so if you have a blog or website, make yours carbon neutral too!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Clash of the Titans review


So I watched Clash of the Titans with my family, and I hate to say it, but the less than flattering reviews I've read on it have been spot on. I came away from it feeling kind of "meh," so I won't be giving this movie a long-winded review; instead, I'll just share a few things that I've learnt from this movie experience:

1. Sam Worthington has horrible-looking legs. Pete Postlethwaite (who plays his dad) has nicer gams.
2. Gemma Arterton is HOT.
3. Medusa is scarier when she DOESN'T appear on screen.
4. Ferocious, giant scorpions will have the speed of the average garden snail once domesticated.
5. Have I mentioned? Gemma Arterton is HOT.Yes, I have a girl crush.
6. Liam Neeson and Ralph (pronounced "rafe" please!) Fiennes, both fine actors, fell flat as "titans." Blame it on the bad perm/rebonding and facial hair.
8. We all know this already, but Greek Gods are a bunch of spoilt brats.
9. As such, we shall call this circus "Clash of the Squabbling Brats."
10. The monsters in the original movie were creepier. Yay stop-motion animation!
11. The guys in the editing room must have had to edit out lots of "upskirt" shots. Those were some skimpy ancient miniskirts.
12. We've established that Gemma Arterton is HOT, but who in their right mind would flirt on a creepy death boat in the freaking underworld? I mean, the boatman's a skeleton that's grafted itself onto the vessel... gross!

Now, I know there's no such thing as "underwhelmed" because "whelm" is not a proper English word, but one CAN be "overwhelmed"... so go figure. But anyway, I WAS underwhelmed... heck, my 6-year old son was underwhelmed. Percy Jackson and the Lighting Thief was actually more entertaining... sad.

Image via Wikipedia.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Make your blog carbon neutral!


I received an email today from Christin Gerick of "Make it green," Germany, who told me about the "Make your blog carbon neutral" initiative that aims to make 500 blogs carbon neutral in honour of Earth Day 2010. So far, 230 blogs have already signed up, and they're looking to recruit more.

According to the Mach Grun (Make it Green) website, a study conducted by Alexander Wissner-Gross, PhD, a physicist at Harvard University and environmental activist, has found that an average website causes about 0.02g (0,0008oz.) of carbon dioxide for each visit. Assuming an average blog gets 15,000 visits a month, it has yearly carbon dioxide emissions of 3,6kg (8lb.). This can mainly be tracked back to the immense energy usage from (mainframe) computers, servers, and their cooling systems.

Christin explains that the goal of "Make it Green" is to reduce our blog's carbon footprint, firstly by raising awareness of the severe environmental damage caused by carbon emissions, and also to neutralise these emissions via tree-planting initiatives in Plumas National Forest in Northern California, an area that has been devastated by wildfires.


To help the replanting effort, they need the support of bloggers from all over the world. For every participating blog, they plant a tree. One blog - one tree. This is made possible by Make it Green, a German-based company called kaufDA, in cooperation with the Arbor Day Foundation.

I am just so amazed they they can actually do this, and I'm extremely excited at the prospect of my blog's carbons being offset by a tree in California! Thanks for informing me Christin, and I'm very happy to lend my support. I hope you will too. All it takes is a few easy steps to "Make it Green":
  1. Write a blog post about the initiative + insert your favourite button
  2. E-mail the link to your post to CO2-neutral@kaufda.de
  3. They plant a tree for your blog in Plumas!

To learn more about how you can participate, please visit Mach's Grun's "How you can join" page.


Images via Mach's Grun.

PS: The naysayers can go shove it, it's my blog and my carbon footprint, so I'll do whatever I want with it.

Blog party @ Venusbuzz.com


In March, I wrote about the great time I had during the Playhouse Disney blogger party at Bijou, and it seems that my recap, which also appeared on Venusbuzz, has garnered a quite few responses from fellow bloggers who were there at the party. Check it out:


Sumijelly said, "hai... Adline.. cepat nya dh post out.. I masih belum berkesempatan nak tulis entry pasal nie..hehehe.. mcm banyak betul nak cerita..hahaha.. Nice to meet u.. hope we can meet again.."

Merryn said, "Talking about greater appreciation for Playhouse Disney.. definitely! Ethan is loving the games, stories and musics from their website! Mai has opened up my eyes that I should sit down and watch together with Ethan. Together, we learn more and am enjoying every moment of it :)"

Yus said, "Great comment Adline. I'm still put the post as draft. Gosh.. Quite busy lately. TV's not bad, but if you have a kids that so much in love with the TV..thats become bad.. hahahaa... Eventho, my darling daughters watched PHDC everyday, every minute, I still have to monitor them. Seems like they want to
take all the characters with them in their dreams!!hahaa"

MieViee said: "I have loved watching TV since schooling days. It is just that very young children (less than 2 years old) may find difficulty differentiating between reality and the virtual world; and their creative playing time lessens with watching TV. Also, myopic is a major concern, especially in Singapore (my homeland). Although my boy has yet started watching TV, Playhouse Disney would be a suitable choice when he starts. :)"

Lana said,"Adline, you are an absolutely great writer. Love this post! Perfectly explained and absolutely detailed."

Thanks for the comments ladies! You've made my day! 

Here are screencaps of the recap as it appears on Venusbuzz.com:

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