Veni, Vidi, Vici!

~ Posted on Tuesday, May 10, 2011 at 8:30 AM ~

Oh yes! We came, we saw and we conquered! Okay, maybe that's a bit too dramatic and over the top but that's what we felt after we had a short weekend family trip to the north (6 to 8 May 2011). Here are some of the memorable shots taken during our family trip (which was meant to be an eat-all-the-way-to-and-fro trip for me while my bump is still not that heavy and making me too tired to walk far... hehehe..)

On the first day, we stopped by for brunch at Ipoh's Foh San Dimsum restaurant which was recommended by a friend of mine (thanks again Catheryn!). The food is good and the atmosphere is nice too! Picture below taken of Ben praying before he walloped the mango pudding. Not that the pudding is deathly, just that Ben always prays before he eats ;)

I think we took about 4 hours plus to reach Penang, our holiday destination. Picture below of Ben helping us to unpack when we checked into our hotel room...

One of Ben's favorite activities in our hotel room, playing hide and seek at the curtains...

We rest for a while before realising Ben ain't going to nap so we head out to Penang's Youth Park. Look at Ben enjoying the swing at Penang's Youth Park...

We also went to the Feringgi Beach to check out the beach there... Love the shot taken below of the sparkling sea and hubby and Ben enjoying their stroll along the Feringgi Beach.

For our dinner, we went to the hawker stalls along Gurney Drive. Not much pictures taken as I left my trusted camera in the car (way to go to my preggy brain!)

For day 2, Ben woke up all excited and wanted to go to the pool (we can clearly see the pool from our balcony). Picture below of Ben with his out-of-bed hairdo. Awesome eh?

We had our breakfast at the hotel (complimentary with our hotel stay) before we head out to Penang Hill. Waited for a few minutes for our train to come down, check out Ben's bored look below hehehe...

After the breathtaking view from Penang Hill, we went for our chicken rice lunch. Yum yums! And then we proceeded to the Toy Museum. Ben was so excited seeing his favorite toys such as Wall-E, Ironman, Transformers (particularly Optimus Prime and BumbleBee) and Sesame Streets.

It was near evening time when we head back to our hotel. We then got ready the stuff and head to the pool. I didn't join along as my swimsuit is getting a wee bit tight for my expanding Spicy Baby... Ben enjoyed himself at the kiddy pool, watched over by daddy just next to him...

And then we managed to persuade Ben to go to the beach which was just in front of our hotel. Well, Ben was too engrossed with the pool earlier. Again, I got myself a beach chair and settled down and relax while watching the 2 men in my life build some awesome looking castles...

Can't resist taking this shot below. The sun was setting, daddy and Ben still engrossed with building their castles and I was still relaxing on my comfy beach chair... hehehe... I could get used to this kind of living... *wink*wink*

And then this couple of tourists (I think Arabs) stopped by and posed with Ben. Before them, an Arab couple stopped by as well to take pictures of Ben and patted his chin saying some Arabish words which I clearly don't understand...

Carried Ben back to my beach chair and put him on the empty chair next to mine. And snapped this shot of him chillaxing... cute!

Snapped this shot while I was walking with Ben towards daddy who is still building his sand castle...

We went back to our hotel room after that, showered and got ready to go out for our dinner and we went to the night market/bazaar along Feringgi Beach as well. By the time we reached our hotel, it was 11pm plus and Ben fell asleep soon after.

On the 3rd day, we had breakfast at the hotel again. Ben started fussing and wanted to play in the kiddy pool again. Daddy took Ben to the beach and had a stroll while waiting for me to finish my breakfast. 

We played on the beach for a while before Ben had his fun time in the pool. After a while, we got ready and head back to our room. We managed a brief nap before we left the hotel and head back home.

All in all, it was an enjoyable trip, one that I'm going to remember for a long long time (as it's going to be sometime before we have our next family trip as Spicy Baby comes along in a few months time)

I'd like to thank my hubby for driving all the way to and fro, taking care of Ben and carrying him most of the time. I really appreciate the effort and thoughts into making this a memorable trip for me.

Who says being pregnant isn't fun? I get to review more things when I'm pregnant! Anyway, I came across the details on this book  in a press release and tried my luck in requesting for an opportunity to review it even though the title suggests that it's for fathers-to-be. I mean, hey, this book is written by a woman and I want to know whether there are anything being left out or anything that my husband should be aware of this time round! (Not that he's not prepared during our 1st birth but it doesn't hurt to learn more, right?) So here is my review of this educational book from Elaine Atwood Adler entitled: "A Concise Guide to Labor and Delivery for Fathers-to-Be".

Author: Elaine Atwood Adler
Publisher:  CreateSpace (June 27, 2010)
ISBN-13: 978-1453611647
Hardcover: 104 pages

Description from the product page:

"You’re expecting a baby! Congratulations! This is a very exciting time in your life – one that will be filled with more joy than you could ever imagine! Maybe you’re not the father, but a supportive friend helping the new mother through her pregnancy. Either way, having a baby is not only a monumental task for the mother, but for you as well! The new Mom needs you to be there with her and for her not only during the pregnancy, but especially during labor and delivery.

Many men are reluctant to be present during the birth of a child. Some might feel they’re too squeamish to witness the actual birth. Others are afraid they won’t be able to effectively provide support to their partners. Most of the time, the hesitation these men feel stems from the fact that they are basically clueless when it comes to the miracle of childbirth."

I got interested in this book as I read the list of what you will learn from this book, such as:

# What happens when you get to the hospital?
# What a woman needs most during labor.
# What labor contractions feel like - if you dare!
# What happens during the three stages of labor.
# What you can do to help alleviate her pain.
# What you absolutely must NOT do while your lady is in labor.
# Your role in the delivery or birthing room.
# Suggested items for your "Labor Tool Kit".
# What to do if you believe that some hospital procedures seem not medically necessary.
# What's a spinal block? An epidural? An episiotomy?

As I read through each chapters in the book, I start comparing with how my husband fared when I gave birth to Ben 2 years ago and I realised he did most of the things from the book (thank God!) but there's one thing which was not mentioned in the book when it comes to pain relief methods. Maybe it's not popular or recommended anymore in overseas, but I thank God that my husband realised AND remembered that we could use Enthonox (laughing gas) as a pain relief method. While I was busy trying to remember and focus on my breathing exercises (which was also reminded by my husband!), my husband happened to see the gas mask hanging right above my labor bed and asked our gynae whether I could use it and the moment our gynae said 'SURE! GO AHEAD!' I was hanging onto the mask as if it was my lifeline!

I find the great thing about this book is that the author mentioned about the dangers of pain medication where it mentioned: "pain medications, once administered, cannot be rescinded and you may need another drug or procedure to remedy the ill effects. These in turn, introduce their own risks". (taken from page 42)

I also like the points listed on what makes a great birthing partner where the author mentioned some things that the father-to-be can do (or not do) just to provide support and encouragement for their birth partner.

From this book, I learned something new on the reason why mum-to-be normally get started on an IV drip. Maybe it's just me, but I really don't know why (I thought it's to provide some sort of nutrition or feeding for energy and strength) until I read this book which mentioned that it is done as a preventive measure in the event that medications must be administered later.

What would be great for the book is if it also comes with illustrations or pictures to accompany the points in the book.

 Do get a copy of this book if you want to know more on what to expect and to be more prepared during labor & delivery.

I received no monetary compensation for this review, I was provided with a  softcopy of the book (which looks great as I read it on my iPad) by Jim from the publishing company in order to facilitate my review. All opinions expressed in this post are my own. Please do your own research when purchasing products, as your opinions may differ from mine. And if you'd like to read my previous book reviews, you can do so by reading this post of mine called "My Book Reviews"

Using iPad as a Teaching Tool?

~ Posted on Monday, May 2, 2011 at 8:57 AM ~

With all the recent hype about iPad2 hitting the stores lately, I decided to write a post about using iPad as a teaching tool.

(Image taken from Google search)

I recently purchased the 1st generation iPad (after moments of panic at the last minute when I realised Apple is phasing them out to make way for iPad2) and by the time I placed my order online, there's only 1 type left for the iPad without 3G (I don't need the 3G option) which is the one with the 64GB storage (but then, that would be what I wanted anyway, the max storage hehehe...)

Anyway, it took me quite a while to decide on this purchase as I've been looking to get a gadget where I could read my ebooks (for my book review purposes and also  for my personal reading pleasure) and after ruling out Kindle (not available / supported in Malaysia) and some other ebook readers, I also have to factor in that I could use the iPad as a teaching tool with Ben.

So, I got myself the iPad and started downloading and trying out the appropriate applications and games for my 25 months old boy. I chose those with free version (most of these came with a few samples or activities for you to try on before you decide to buy the whole application) and so far has purchased about 4 applications for Ben. They are:

#1: Elmo Loves ABCs

Ben playing with the app...

At USD4.99, this application is by far the most expensive I've paid but I don't regret the purchase as we (yes WE!) really love it! This app teaches you the alphabets from A to Z, you learned to trace each letters (uppercase & lowercase) and after successfully writing out the respective letters, you get to choose 3 different objects that start with that letter and you get to see a short video clip on that object. You can also do coloring activities, enjoy the letter games and listen to 4 versions of the alphabet song including a new silly Elmo song. Love it!

#2: ABCs & Animals

(Image taken from iTune store)

At USD1.99, I am glad I decided to purchase this app. Actually, even the free version is enough as it covers all the A-Z alphabets, just that I thought maybe getting the additional animal version would be great as well, and indeed it is! Whenever I opened up this app for Ben, you could see him furiously tapping the iPad screen as this app allows interactive playing and learning. For example with the letter B for Bird, you can see a flash image of 3 birds and as you tapped on each bird, it flew away by itself while making chirping sounds and you will move on to the next letter. What a fun and creative activity!

#3: Kid Genius: 13 in 1

(Image taken from iTune store)

At USD0.99,this app is a steal! I came across this app after checking out a blogger's website. She commented in one of my recent post and I visited her blog (as my usual courtesy to thank my blog visitors/readers for commenting on my posts) and I saw her posting about iPhone and iPad app and she recommended this app to try on. There are over 600 flash cards in this app, you get to learn Math, ABCs, Counting and Words, and many other objects such as musical instruments, objects in the house, farm, zoo and so on... Great app!

#4: Matching Jobs

According to the app page, "The Matching Jobs app is an educational game that helps little boys and girls learn the names of three different jobs and the vehicles each profession uses." I had only tried this app about twice with Ben before he surprised me on the 3rd time by getting all the 5 jobs (free version) correctly! I decided to spend the USD0.99 to get the full version, which has an additional 11 jobs to be played with. Another no regrets purchase!

Just look at the video clip below taken on Ben's 4th time playing with the app (before I decided to purchase the full version)

So yeah, these few apps are the ones I've puchased since I got the iPad and it's working out pretty good so far. Of course, I do still teach Ben other stuff without relying on the iPad but I feel using iPad as a teaching tool is fun and an interactive method too, provided you get the appropriate and correct age type of applications to work with.

If you have any feedback or recommendations on other apps I could try with Ben, please do share with me! Thanks!