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ANNOUNCEMENT

Introducing the brand NEW look of joycescapade.com! Tell me what do you think. :)

I have launched a series of blog posts called Featured Mommypreneurs in collaboration with mommypreneurs (i.e. mommies entrepreneurs). Let me know if you're interested to join me to feature your products / services. :)

 

 

How to win digital parenting


Recently, I attended a panel session organized by ZooMoo, a television channel for preschool children featuring animals. Topics discussed were about finding a balance in digital parenting and the challenges of raising children in the digital era.

Given the multiscreen era that we are currently living in, it is unsurprising that learning how to 'unplug' is a test for most people, i.e. parents and children alike. To be realistic, keeping away from technology might not be feasible in today's circumstances, so we need to find ways to balance our time spent on screens.

In a recent article by New York Post titled It's 'digital heroin': How screens turn kids into psychotic junkies: Many parents intuitively understand that ubiquitous glowing screens are having a negative effect on kids. We see the aggressive temper tantrums when the devices are taken away and the wandering attention spans when children are not perpetually stimulated by their hyper-arousing devices. Worse, we see children who become bored, apathetic, uninteresting and uninterested when not plugged in.

In our current tech-filled society where screens are ubiquitous, with digital temptations everywhere, plus the dangers of crossing the line into full-blown tech addiction, here's what we can do.

1. Redefine the concept of balance

Technology plays a big role in our lives, so it is impractical to remove screen time completely. The key is mindfulness of using it. Instead of setting parameters on the amount of time allowed, the smarter approach is to know what content our children consumes and how they react to it. 

"Parents need to be the gatekeepers for their children's time and activities spent on screens. Similar to any other activity such as play time, children do not know when to stop and are likely to be upset when they are told to. It is about understanding your children and what works for them," said Dr. Shen-Li Lee, parenting expert and author of Brainchild.

"Screen time is not necessarily a bad thing as it can be used as an educational tool or part of bonding time. My girls and I enjoy watching ZooMoo and learning about the animals together," said Aishah Sinclair, celebrity mom of two, radio DJ, and ZooMoo brand ambassador.

The main consensus is that consuming digital media in moderation is key.

2. Parents as role model for healthy digital habits

Throughout the early years of development, children learn through imitation — as we know from Social Learning Theory, "monkey see, monkey do". Watching their parents, i.e. that is us, practicing a well-balanced screen time routine will have a positive impact on our children.

Outside of the allocated screen time, we can set a time to read books with our children or play Lego with them or just be with them sans the screen. We can also bring them out for outdoor activities, trips, getaways, etc. Eat dinner with our children without any electronic devices at the table — just as Steve Jobs used to have tech-free dinners with his children.

As parents, we are our children's role model for them to understand and emulate. Remember, "monkey see, monkey do". We have no one but ourselves to blame if our children turn into screen junkies.

3. Content that matters

Restricting technology may not be the best way to navigate the digital space. Dr. Lee cited an example that although PC/video games are often associated with the negative effects they have on children, there is some underlying value for their development including problem-solving skills and creativity. In addition, depending on the type of game, they can also be exposed to real-life scenarios such as trading.

Similarly, ZooMoo's approach to content aims to provide a safe environment for children to learn through animals and the world they live in. Through collaborations with child and educational experts, the content curated and format of programming is designed to entertain while stimulating young minds and bodies.

"As a channel that believes in the power of technology, we embrace it and encourage children to be exposed to it from a young age. It is not something that can be avoided as a child grows up and conditioning them in the proper use of technology early would be beneficial," said Catherine Nebauer, General Manager, ZooMoo Networks for Australasia.

The consensus is that as parents, we should not let our children watch whatever content they fancy. When it comes to content, we need to play an active role in monitoring and setting boundaries regarding what they watch. In fact, we can watch together with them and this can be great for bonding time too!

In this age of the digital world, there is no way to implement a total black-out on technology. Rather, just like any other activity, there is a suitable time and place, and it is up to parents to find ways to balance quality time both on-screen and off.


Are there greener pastures for pregnant women in Malaysia?


These headlines are very demotivating:



Some excerpts from the news articles above read like this:

"According to a recent online survey by the Women's Aid Organization (WAO), 44% of the 222 Malaysian women polled said they had lost a job, missed out on a promotion, were demoted or put through extended probation because they were pregnant."

"Around 49% said they feared losing their jobs or being sidelined because of their pregnancy while 31% said they put plans to get pregnant on hold for fear of losing their jobs or promotion."

"The survey found the top five ways employers discriminated against pregnant women were making their positions redundant, denying them promotions, placing them on prolonged probation, demoting them and terminating them, reports the Selangor-based lifestyle news agency Star2."

"Malaysia has the lowest entitlement to maternity leave among all countries in Southeast Asia. While most countries in Southeast Asia provide at least 90 days maternity leave, in Malaysia, it's still 60 days."

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Things are worse after maternity leave ends. Stress comes from many different directions: workload, pressure to perform at work, travel/on-the-road duration, pumping at work, baby's needs, older kids' needs, house chores, etc. The list is endless! First-time mothers feel it worst. I had been through that hell of a hole. It took me almost seven months after I returned work to get out of that derogatory situation.

Question is, when a woman is pregnant and after she's back from giving birth, is there any greener pasture where she can still shine and not discriminated?

I believe there is; I hope there is.

In general, greener pasture refers to a new, better, and more interesting place, job, or activity. In my opinion, even if the change of job requires a pay-cut or let's say I become a homemaker, as long as I can perform well in the new "role" that I take on, it is greener pasture to me.

Anyway, in case you missed, you can learn more about the flexWorkLife.my initiative, a collaboration between the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development and TalentCorp, created to facilitate the return of women to the workplace. View the FAQs here.

Another site that you can look up is HerPortal.co, Malaysia's 1st All Female Job & Business Portal. This platform empowers Women (Working Women & Moms) to explore opportunities to self sustain by connecting them to Job Opportunities, Business Workshops and Events (marketplace & networking). Their mission is to connect women in Malaysia to women only jobs (Part Time/Flexi to Full Time), business opportunities (an opportunity to self sustain), as well as soft skills workshops to equip them with the essential know-hows.

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Where there's a will, there's a way. I believe it's still possible to find a delicate balance between helping out with family finances and fulfill our role as a mother without getting the short end of the stick!


My boy's three-year-old birthday cake by Creamy Yummy Bakery


This is a belated post about my son's birthday cake for his third birthday last month. When he turned two last year, I ordered this birthday jelly cake for him from a home-based baker, Wendy (Creamy Yummy Bakery).

This year, I go back to Wendy again. Before I ordered, I asked my boy about what kind of cake he wanted. He said chocolate and strawberries, two of his favorite foods on earth at the moment. So, I sent Wendy a private message on Facebook and told her I wanted chocolate sponge cake with strawberry cream and decorated with fresh strawberries. She sent me a photo of a sample cake and its price, and I agreed to it right away.


When we went to collect the cake, it was presented to us, professionally placed in a cake box, complete with candle and a serving knife.


Creamy Yummy Bakery's sticker.


Time to sing Happy Birthday!


Let's slice and eat!


The chocolate sponge cake was divine! The crumbs were moist, fine, and sort of melt in the mouth; not too sweet as well. Perfect! It'd be great if there's more of the strawberry cream between the chocolate sponge layers. Fresh chocolate-dipped strawberries were arranged beautifully on top of the cake, alongside some mini chocolate wafers.

If you need custom-made cakes for occasions and mooncakes, you should really check out Creamy Yummy Bakery. Wendy the friendly and talented home-based baker will assist you. :)

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This is not a sponsored post. Wendy didn't require a review but I gladly blogged about this birthday cake because I loved it so much.



BlackNbeige Cravings makes delicious ChiaOats, Yogurt Parfait, Infusion Drinks, Brownies


It's the time of the year that I need to look for healthy homemade snacks that don't give me empty calories. Then, fate has it that I come across BlackNbeige Cravings on Facebook. Hahaha!
BlackNbeige Cravings aims to provide the best healthy selection for clean eating with deliciously healthy convenient meals and snacks. Their core products are:

  • ChiaOats
  • Yogurt Parfaits
  • Fruity Infusion Detox Drinks
  • Healthy Walnut Brownies (made with organic brown sugar, kampung eggs, 62% imported dark chocolate topped with choice of Salted Caramel or Rich Chocolate Ganache)

Let's see the flavors that I have recently bought and tried.

ChiaOats


First I'm given the menu above. For ChiaOats, I get to choose the fruits I want and pair each fruit with my choice of flavoring, i.e. cocoa, honey, milk, or yogurt. For ChiaYogurt Parfait, I can choose the fruits I want.


My fruit choices for ChiaOats are peach, blueberries, avocado, apricot, and apple. The layering of ingredients is nicely done: organic rolled oats at the bottom of each jar, topped with fruits, then organic chia seeds with selected flavoring (cocoa/honey/milk/yogurt), and lastly raisins, nuts, and seeds.

Yogurt Parfait


For Yogurt Parfait, I have mango and cherries. The layering of ingredients is nicely done: Greek yogurt at the bottom of each jar, topped with fruits, then organic chia seeds with yogurt, and lastly raisins, nuts, and granola.

Now, let me show you the photos of each flavor that I have tried.

ChiaOats - Apple Cinnamon

I like the soft apple chunks, it feels like eating cold apple crumble in a jar. I like it!
 

ChiaOats - Avocado Cocoa

Generous amount of avocado! I'm a big fan of eating avocado without additional flavoring. For cocoa fans, this avocado cocoa combo is great. For me, I'll opt for avocado honey combo. :D


ChiaOats - Apricot Yogurt

The apricot slices are firm to the bite, just how I like my apricots to be. I'd love to drizzle lots of honey over this jar of decadent snack!


ChiaOats - Peach Honey

I love this combo - peach and honey! Just like its apricot counterpart, I'd love to eat this snack with drizzles of honey too.

 

ChiaOats - Berries Milk

The blueberries can be replaced with other berries such as strawberries.


Yogurt Parfaits - Cherry Parfait, Mango Parfait

The yogurt parfaits are my favorite! Just look at those beautiful ingredients!

 
Infusion Drinks - Tropical Twist

This is a really refreshing drink with bits of mango, passion fruit, and chia seeds.
 


How to order from BlackNbeige Cravings?

For more information, please visit BlackNbeige Cravings on:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/blacknbeige/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/blacknbeigecravings/
 
 

BlackNbeige Cravings is listed on Featured Mommypreneurs on joycescapade.com.