Saturday, March 31, 2012

Books we bought this Month

The good news is I only bought 3 books this month and the bad news is two of the books cost me  a little over RM120! Critical thinking books are expensive. I use these books as a cure to boredom whenever Reese is bored. It is quite challenging and certainly gets your brain thinking. I wrote two post on Critical Thinking and they can be found here

Building Thinking Skills Level 1 (The Critical Thinking Co)
This is a book that builds critical thinking skills for reading, writing, math and science. It is quite comprehensive. The book covers shapes, analogies, mapping, deductive reasoning and many more.

Building Thinking Skills Level 1 (Grade 2-3)
Figural Similarities and differences
Describing Things 
Mind Benders (The Critical Thinking Co)
This book is to help students develop comprehension, deductive reasoning, visual tracking and fine motor skills. 
Mind Benders Book 2 (Grade 1-2)
It's quite challenging and fun too. For Reese it is to play detective and solve the puzzles!

Tunku Abdul Rhaman Putra Al-Haj (E. Yu)
A fully illustrated biography of our Bapa Malaysia. It's funny and at the same time you get to know the man who helped form Malaysia. Suitable for older children.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Super Easy and Fun Experiments

Homemade Lava Lamp
1 Big clear bottle, Oil (RM3.30), food coloring (1.90), Alka Selzer (2 for RM2 and you can get it at Guardian Phamacy)
Put in 1/4 water, then fill up the bottle with oil
Let the oil settle a little
Add a few drops of food coloring (Go with dark colors!)
It will take a minute or so for the color to blend in the water
Add the Alka Selzer bits (break the tablet into a few pieces) and see the action! We used orange food coloring and can't see much
We then add a few drops of blue and it's clearer. Reese had fun and asked for more Alka Selza tablets...we only bought 2! Need to get more if you want the action to last longer. Each tablet probably give you a minute or so fun.
Naked Egg (In progress)
Remember I did the extraction of calcium from chicken bones? It worked and the bones did bend easily. With the same concept, we soak an egg in vinegar. The vinegar will remove the calcium and eventually the entire egg shell will disappear. Soak it for at least 30 hours or more to see the naked egg.

Raw egg soaked in vinegar (RM1.90)
After more than 12 hours, you can see white foams all over and the egg shell is turning white. Reese kept saying awesome, the shell is slowly disappearing! He is so excited.

Update after 2 days

Egg is 98% naked. We can see the inside of the egg. Egg has expanded and became somewhat rubbery and bouncy.  
You can clearly see the egg yolk. Too bad, I accidentally broke the egg before food coloring can be added to make it look even more interesting. Once the egg is broken, you will find that the egg yolk is no longer runny. If you have taken salty egg, you will know what I mean. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Florence 2012

Super happy that he was about to see his favorite landmarks for real!

Florence is indeed a beautiful place. One of my childhood wish was to visit this place because we share the same name! We spent 4 nights in Florence. It was not exactly enough when you have a young child with you. Places you can visit in a day are limited. Luckily Florence is not big and you can easily see the main sights by foot. Save on transport.

We stayed at La Residenza dell'Orafo, a bed and breakfast place. It is the best B&B we have ever stayed! It's located a few minutes walk from the main train station(Santa Maria Novella) in Florence, professional services with daily housekeeping. The staff working there were wonderful. Very polite and friendly. What made our stay with them even more memorable was that they gave us little surprises daily. Everyday after a long day of sightseeing we were greeted with a lovely basket of fruits and light snacks like biscuits and pastries. Our daily surprises were yummy puddings, cream puffs, fruit tarts and pastry. As a parting gift, they gave us a bottle of Chianti Wine and a box of chocolate biscuits for Reese.

Our Room
Welcome gift
Daily breakfast at a cafe near the B&B. We get to choose 1 mini sandwich, 1 pastry, 1 juice and 1 tea/coffee for each person.
They refilled our fruit baskets and biscuits and also little sweet surprises daily
One of our daily surprises in the fridge.

The famous Baptistry
The Duomo
The Duomo's  magnificent ceiling. 
Climbing up the Duomo's dome. 400 plus steps!
Beautiful view from the top
We were all so excited and sweating after the climb. We had to remove our winter jackets even thou it was about 2-3 degrees!
Another view from the top
The Gate of Paradise. One of the doors of the Baptistry
Piazza Della Signoria
Fountain of Neptune
Ponte Vaccio
Father and son
Santa Maria Novella
Lovely alleys
Playing at a big open space in front of Pitti Palace
Super rosy cheeks.... it's painful when I apply Coco butter. It's actually chill and wind burnt plus dryness of his skin due to the weather. 
Heavenly Food

First night dinner at Trattoria ZaZa and Reese got hit by jet lag and tiredness! He slept on the armchair while we ate dinner. No matter what I did, he just couldn't wake up! 
Nice interior. Trattoria Zaza
Ribollita. A famous Tuscan reboiled soup
Forgot the name but it's fresh mushroom and beef 

Penne with rabbit meat (Trattoria I Due G)
Famous Bistecca Ala Florentina. A whopping 1kg beef! It was superb. A must try! (Trattoria I Due G)
Fried vegetables (Trattoria I Due G)
Enjoying the cold air while waiting for a famous Trattoria to open for lunch
The famous Trattoria Casalinga
Cow tripe! One of Florence's famous dish. Really yummy.
Spagetti in meat sauce. My boy finished every thing!
Roast beef. 
This is the very famous Trattoria Mario. You will have to line up early to get in! 
Reese eating Ravioli in tomato sauce
Beef stew
Tips traveling with young kids

  1. Try to allow at least a day to recover from the plane ride before going off to see the sights. 
  2. Stay in a location that is central and has easy access to public transport. Kids tired out easily.
  3. Allocate a after lunch 'rest time' in the hotel to freshen up and recharge. 
  4. Bring along an empty food container. You can pack snacks while out of the hotel. Comes in handy. 
  5. Don't forget water bottles. Water is expensive. 1-2 Euro for 500ml or alternatively you can drink from the fountain. 
  6. Medication and thermometer 
  7. Wet tissues! ( I am a clean freak :) )