Sunday, November 17, 2013

Teaching Kids to Cook Rice

Rice is an easy dish to prepare. Rice forms the base which can be accompanied by curry or soups or salads, fried rice, mixed vegetables, chicken, lamb,  and so many others.

Teaching children to cook rice will come in handy for them in the future.

Cooked rice with garnishing

At the same time, we are teaching them

- math - fractions
- how to estimate
- science

I recently tought my younger son who is now 8 to cook rice. Last week I had to leave him to cook it as I was extremely busy with other chores.

The cooking of rice is easiest and fatest with a rice cooker rather than over the stove. 

Rice Cooker


  • 1 cup water (or use estimates)
  • 2 cups uncooked white rice (for about 4 to 5 people)


Wash the rice. Drain. - The washing and draining teaches children to be clean and helps in their motor skills

Add water by estimating. The rule my mother tought me is the water should be slightly over the surface of the rice. Place your first finger on the surface of the rice and the water should more or less be on the first line of finger

On the rice cooker and wait for it to 'ting'.

Should cook within 15 to 20 minutes.

Some tips to make your rice fragnant:

- you could throw in 2 slices of ginger or

ginger slices

- throw in a pandan leave.

And done.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Helping Children Understand About Money

Children, under the age of 21 generally have a hard time understanding that money is important and that mum and dad’s ATM machine can run out of funds!

I also stumbled on a great article on the internet Its about teaching children the meaning of costs.

I thought i could share with my views on kids and money.

Kids and Money

What they need to know about money is:


As parents, we often tell our children, ‘no’ you cant have that, you cant have this, because its costs a lot. Children cannot comprehend ‘no’ nor “it costs a lot”. All they are thinking is, “so ”., They don’t know what it means.

I will admit I used to feel guilty when I did not get something that my sons ask for. I would explain by saying that its costs too much. My boys don’t usually throw tantrums and that would hurt even more, that they accepted my explaination.

After some time, I realised I must explain to them. I did not google this! I constantly have talks with them, usually when they are NOT asking for something, emphasing:

- The money we have is what mummy earns. Mummy has to go to work for earn the money
- Buy useful things
- Buy quality things
- Buy health things
- We will need money for the future
- It’s not about the costs
- Others don’t have what we have, lets not waste on frivoulous things
- Save – you may need it in the future

I have noticed that my boys, particularly the younger one, makes judgement on what an item costs and that it is too much. It may be working. But sometimes, Mum and Dad can in inconsistent with our actions. For example, i tend to be careful in places where we eat. It should not been unncessary an expensive place when we can get good food if not better in a food court, for instance. But Dad says no.

There are a couple of things we can do to help our children understand money

1. Give them an allowance, either weekly, daily or monthly

 Explain to them what the allowance means and how to use it properly. School going children should understand that the allowance is to purchase healthy food. Education of food becomes important and thus the use of the money.

2. Open a bank account

 Take your children to the bank to open an account. Take him or her through the banking in process and show him how the money grows.

For example, today you have $10 and in 6 months you will have $13.00. The power of interest and gradually teach them the power of compounding.

3. Say “no”

 There is no need to indulge our children with everything they ask for. Pick your battles. For example, some parents do not buy a particular toy or game to get their children to understand how it feels when someone else has it and they cant because money is not enough. Apply judgement. If the lesson is successful, perhaps we can reward him with the toy or game.

4. Invest in their knowledge

Teach them about money. How it is made. What are companies and how they are formed and how they make money. Where does mummy and daddy fit into the chain.

You can definitely teach them simple facts about the stock market, investments and similar areas of finance. .

Look out for money classes for children around you.

There are also games like MONOPOLY or RISK, that can help children understand what is money about.

5. Teach them to budget

I wrote sometime back about teaching your children to budget when going to the supermarket. Listing the items you want to buy makes a difference.

Getting children involved in the family purchases including vacations. Ask them their view on the expenditure.

Children will appreciate budgeting skills as they grow to become adults.

6. Business Plan

Get your children to write up their own business plan. Its about income and costs and the future. Review this for them. Have a look at my article on this blog on children and business plans.

Happy Teachning and Cooking

Monday, May 20, 2013

Refreshing Green Apple and Sour Plum Juice

On a hot day, this drink is a perfect thirst quencher. So refreshing and a beautiful drink and tasty.

Green Apple and Sour Plum Juice

Easy to prepare and you can get the kids to prepare it too.

What do you need:

1.    a blender/fruit juicer
2.    5 to 6 green apples (to make 3 to 4 mugs)
3.    sour plum powder (asam boi in Malay). You can get this easily in China town. But it is easily replaceable with lime or lemon. Some use calamansi too.

4.   brown sugar to taste (or white - its up to you)
5.  crushed ice
6.   water

Peel the apples. Juice the apples. Add some cold water because it can get quite thick.

Blend the juice with sour plum powder and the sugar in a blender.

Add crushed ice and serve.

Its a wonderful wonderful drink. Easy to prepare. And it tastes great. Some people tend to put more water because green apples are not naturally juicy. Do note if there is too much water, it becomes watery and looses the apple twist. I don't suggest adding colouring - keep it as natural as possible.

Teaching notes

As you peel the apple or as you blend and juice, the apple turns brown and the juice in fact is not even green.

Great teaching note for 12 year old and below - that the apple is oxidised. The flesh reacts with the oxygen in the air and turns brown. They will remember this when they learn it in school later on.

The other is of course, the children enjoy the drink and they enjoy preparing it with you.

This recipe is very versatile - you can add sour plum to your salads, fruits such as guava. Instead of green apple - try it with green guava. A little difficult to juice guava as it is a hard fruit. But you can try - it tastes as good.

Happy Teaching and Cooking

Thursday, February 28, 2013

What a Woman Means to a Home

I lost my temper the other day and made everyone miserable. My kids, my mum, my husband, even the neighbour's dog was upset. My kids asked what was wrong with me. And mum said something really poignant and needs to be remembered ...

I was home from work. All happy and calm. But when I saw my kids playing and watching TV and the games, it suddenly irked me that they were not studying or at least reading (which is a story for another time) something!

I snapped. I yelled and bellowed and said some awful words.  I found fault with everything.

I could hear my boys saying 'what is wrong with mummy'? all we were doing was playing

And then my mother said ... a woman, the mum, means the world to the home. if you are calm, all will be calm. the woman is the glue to place things and family together. there is solace. there will be solutions to every probelm. but when the woman of the house is chaotic, upset, or is ill, there is unrest.

I realise that I am upset, my husband gets uncomfortable and he becomes moody.

The mum sets the tone, the mood...

We lead and we maketh a home.

Stay calm fellow mums. And keep healthy. We mean the world to our children and family.

Happy teaching!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Pomegranate for Children - It Works

The pomegranate fruit is lovely and great fruit for children. My kids eat the seeds or sacs as it is or we juice it. Pomegranate is quickly becoming popular as a superfood because of  high antioxidant content.


Its round and reddish-pink, leathery and hard skin with  hundreds of small translucent sacs, which are also called seeds, filled with red, or sometimes pink, juice. These sacs are the only edible part of the pomegranate.

Children are usually attracted by the bright color of the seeds and enjoy their sweet  taste.



Pomegranate seeds are a great source of fiber, and the juice contains, vitamin C, potassium, iron, and polyphenol antioxidants, of which 3 types are particularly high which are  tannins, anthocyanins, and ellagic acid.


Eating Pomegranate

1.     Eat the fruit -  my children love the seeds


2.     Juice the seeds


3.    Buy pomegranate juice from the store – if possible with low sugar or no sugar – this is the easiest way and most enjoyable to quench your thirst.

Try this.  Click to find out more.  

4.     Sprinkle the seeds in yoghurt or salads or ice creams


5.     Marinate chicken and meat



Research has shown that the antioxidants in pomegranates may help prevent a variety of diseases and illnesses, including cardiovascular disease, cancer and high blood pressure. In addition, the B-vitamin folate in pomegranates aids the healthy growth of red blood cells and promotes good blood circulation. Also, the high content of fiber is extremely helpful.

A small reminder, the juice from the seeds can stain clothes. But its easily removable.

Like everything else, although there are lot of health beneifts, its always safe to consult a medical doctor before taking any execissive amount of pomegranate products, particularly if you are taking any prescription medication to avoid drug/food interactions.
How to Remove the Seeds

1.     slice the fruit into sections,

2.     submerge the sections in a bowl of water.

3.     with your fingers, roll the seeds from the fleshy interior.

4.     Scoop up the seeds with a strainer

Happy Teaching!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Coffee, Tea and Kids

Depending on how strong it's brewed,

Black tea contains about 50 mg of caffeine per cup.
In comparison, green tea contains 8 to 30 mg per cup, while coffee contains 100 to 350 mg.

My kids drink tea with milk and sugar. Some of my friends think I am crazy.

Can we give our kids Tea And Coffee ?
In short – Yes – but ....

A lot of people generally view coffee as unhealthy – especially for those who drink a lot of it. But scientists and researchers have found that coffee may actually be good for our health.

Should kids be drinking coffee for health reasons, too?

Researchers think that six cups of coffee a day had a much reduced risk of developing diabetes compared to those who consumed no coffee each day. Coffee may also reduce the risk for Parkinson’s disease, liver cirrhosis, colon cancer, gallstones, and Alzheimer’s disease. But, at the same time, it may INCREASE the risk of heart disease.

Caffeine can also increase or be bad for heart problems or nervous disorders, and can produce symptoms like jitters, irritability and hyperactivity. Caffeine can be addictive, cause restlessness for those who are hooked and miss their daily dose.

Coffee is such a complex brew of chemicals, many of which are created and brought out in the process of roasting and brewing coffee. (For adults, have a look at for good brew of coffees)

Is Coffee Good for Kids?

As parents, we tend to keep our kids away from coffee although some doctors say that it can help improve concentration and may help children do a little better on tests for this reason. On the other hand, there are negative effects of drinking coffee, especially for kids, where even 1 cup of coffee could have negative effects.

What About Tea?

Black Tea is made from the same plant as green tea and white tea. Black tea doesn't mean tea without milk, and white tea doesn't mean tea with milk. The difference is the way the tea leaves are processed after picking.

Green and white teas are hardly processed at all, whereas black tea is fully oxidized.

Drinking just 3-5 cups of black tea daily can bring about all health benefits. Here are 5 main benefits of black tea. The benefits of black tea are lessened when milk and sugar are added.

1. Weight Loss Management – black tea burns fat and speed up metabolism.

2. Reduced Glucose levels for Diabetics

3. Prevent tooth decay

4. Delays the ageing process – have you noticed that many ageing products contain tea extracts?

5. Combats and reduces diseases because of the antioxidants that it contains

Should Kids Drink Tea and Coffee?

Tea tends to have lesser amount of caffeine compared to coffee.

As kids, there are probably already consuming other products that have caffeine in them, like soft drinks and chocolate. Having coffee may add up the caffeine intact to unhealthy levels.

The National Institute of Health says even though caffeine is safe to consume in moderation, it may have a negative effect on overall health and nutrition.Caffeine can affect appetite. The Institute says caffeine can be completely restricted in a child’s diet since there is no nutritional requirement for it.

Source information: - useful information about tea and how much to give our kids. – information on the best coffee around the world.


Saturday, November 3, 2012

20% off for the World’s Best Coffee – For the Next Two Weeks Only

It’s coming to the end of the year. Great time for a break! Parents, readers of Teaching Kids, I am giving away a 20% discount on any coffee purchased from This is a wonderful opportunity, as the promoters of are highly experienced and only pick the best roasts. distributes the best coffee from around the world without us searching for it. Many coffee lovers would spend lots of money just to have the right roast. You would typically need to buy a bag full.

Just like a fine wine, each coffee is different. Coffees change from year to year. And just because a roaster is good, it doesn't mean that every coffee it sells is the best coffee available right now.

What this company does can be quite amazing. Sometimes the roasters with the best reputation have the best brews, and sometimes they don't. tends to feature coffees from tiny upstarts as well as more established artisan roasters. They are blind to packaging and branding.  The emphasis is about the quality of the coffee.

Parents and readers,

Have a cup of coffee. Good coffee with friends and family for a fraction of the cost.

Ask for the discount code by emailing to receive the 20% discount for any variety of coffee offered at    We will email you the code, which you can use to purchase your first month of Craft Coffee at 20% off your first month.

Happy Teaching and Cooking!