Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Jaring Scam?

Mom called earlier informing me that there is a letter addressed to my name from a solicitor acting on behalf of Jaring. The content of the letter basically state that I owe them a few hundred ringgit since 1996. Yes, 1996! So many questions ran through my mind... Firstly, I don't recall ever signing up to Jaring for their services. We did use them at home before but never under my name. I was just out of high school then thus would not have applied for it myself. Mom would have done it and under a common family name. Secondly, I have never, not that I can recall, used the username mentioned in the letter. On top of that, I don't recall ever seeing a Jaring statement before in my life. So why would I suddenly be billed hundreds all of a sudden!?

Whatever it is, I need to get some detective work done. So I tried calling the solicitor's office and initially, it was always engaged. When it finally got through many dials later, no one picked the phone up even after a few more tries at different times. I will need to try again later. I was given two other numbers to talk to someone directly though but I'm hesitant to call these numbers. Somehow want to know exactly is going on and try to clear things up if necessary.

There are tonnes of online Jaring scams going around but I couldn't find any that sends a physical letter during my random search on Google. If this is a really a scam, how in the world did they get my full name and address? If it is not a scam, why have I not received any bills from then from 1996 till now?? Anyone experienced similar incidences before?

*Update: Managed to get through to Jaring, the guy on the other line seems to know what it is all about even though I have only told him my surname and a letter regarding outstanding payment. He also directed me to the same two numbers stated on the letter which I was reluctant to call initially. Still feeling skeptical, I dialed the number. I was only greeted with a 'Hello'. No, so and so speaking from Jarings Communication Sdn Bhd, nothing. I had to ask who is speaking, then explained about the letter. He actually has all my details down: Full name, address, telephone number. I told him that I had not applied for their services on my own before, bla bla bla. I asked how come I had not received any reminders before and then suddenly slapped with a lawyer's letter? Seems they sent out reminders through emails and incidentally my supposedly jaring email account was terminated in 2008. He then told me the only way to get my name off their list is to pay up or get a police report.

Conclusion, I gave it a little more thought and may just make a police report. The more I think about it the more absurd this whole thing is! I was probably either preparing for or maybe even in the exam hall itself sitting for one of the STPM (A-level equivalent) papers on the date mentioned! How did I find myself registering for Jaring services at that time, I have no idea!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

MOMMade: Homemade Guess Who Lift-The-Flap Book

Can't think of anything easier to do than this with Baby O. A personalised lift-the-flap book! Got the idea from the Playhouse Disney channel where at the end of one of the programmes, the viewer was asked to identify which cartoon character it is by revealing only a partial body part. Immediately went scrap hunting after that. 

This is what we used: 
Old magazines with relevant pictures - we used AstroView for Baby O's favourite cartoon characters. Other option would be pictures of animals or vegetables and fruits.
Used envelopes
A booklet - one made of relatively stiff paper would be ideal. Otherwise I suppose old exercise books/ diaries would work too!

This is what we did:
1. Look for and cut cartoon pictures out in old magazines. Trim to fit booklet.
2. Cut used envelopes big enough to cover the cartoon pictures with about one centimetre extra as the flap.
3. Mark and cut holes to reveal only certain parts of the picture as a clue for the child to guess who (or what) is behind the flap.
4. Glue the flaps down adjusting the hole(s) ensuring only the selected parts are covered or exposed.
5. Decorate if desired.

Honestly no rocket science involved. You don't even have to be able to cut a straight line! Here are pictures of some of the pages:
Lift the handy flaps for clues!
The many ways to use see-through envelopes!
Incorporating some numbers
And some shapes!
Baby O was really good with this little game of 'Guess Who?'. She could identify most of them easily. The best part is, even though she already know the answers to some of them, she will still go back to the booklet and lift the flaps again and again! 

You know, we can buy less and be more green if we really want to!

Cut and Paste Craft

A few months ago, I decided to introduce Baby O to glue. Funnily enough, she was quite paranoid about having some invisible sticky stuff all over her fingers and kept wanting to wash her hands! She can be quite a clean freak at times. That didn't last too long though as she kept wanting to put glue on everything after that! Anyway, here is how we used our glue. 

We first gathered a bunch of colourful junk mails and brochures.
Then, I cut them out into pieces and put the different colours in different compartments. Baby O however decided that it was more fun mixing everything up.
I found this picture of Barbie, cut her up and pasted her on a piece of blank paper. The idea is to 'decorate Barbie's gown'. If you can't find a relevant picture, just draw some simple shapes and paste away! No hard and fast rule when it comes to art anyway.

Our masterpiece. :)
Nothing fancy, just lots of learning fun. In the process, Baby O was exposed to lots of new vocabulary - glue, paste, stick, squares, colours, etc. and actions - cutting, arranging, pasting, etc. That's one easy activity for the morning besides just drawing with her crayons! At the same time, making use of all these junk mails instead of just binning them.

Home Craft Projects

We have been embarking on a number of projects simultaneously these few weeks. Firstly, I was ecstatic to find printable magnetic paper. I had something in mind and looked high and low for this special inkjet magnetic paper which we can actually print on. Initially found a shop around Jalan Perak selling them. One piece was priced at RM16.50! Was at the verge of giving up when to my surprise, I found Jusco at Queensbay Mall selling them at half the price! So I grabbed them. Can't wait to use them!
Second project has to do with these...
I have cleaned and dried these milk cartons since months ago so it's about time to do something with them. First phase completed. Not sure when is the next phase...
Project no. 3: While trying to get Baby O to use up her energy one of those days at the mall, I stumbled upon this little family. They were only RM2.50 each and I couldn't resist bringing them home. Now I am wondering if I should give them a little make over and build them a house... 

Finally, this baby... Bought it eons ago. Amount of time used: zero. Brought it up to Penang not too long ago and have a little refashion project that I would really love to embark on. Saw so many of these sites making pretty dresses for their little girls out of old t-shirts and thinking I might just be able to do that too! The big question is, when????

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Cooking For Toddlers and Feeding Them

As Baby O approaches two years of age, she is.. hmm, how should I put it... more adventurous with her food. What I really mean is she is not eating what she is supposed to eat! She is born with the ability to pick out a finely chopped piece of green vegetable leaf! What is worse, Baby O was exposed to all sorts of forbidden food during the recent Chinese New Year break. So if you are blessed with a toddler who eats everything under the roof, you can probably skip this post. Otherwise, here are ten ways I use to get some of those vital vitamins and minerals into the little one which you may want to try.

1. Present a different form
There were occasion when Baby O would chewed on a piece of cold, raw carrot when she won’t give a cooked one a second glance. Food like eggs can be cooked in many different ways too: hard boiled, bullseye, scrambled... Tried a banana + cinnamon + yogurt + milk + wheatgerm + a little carrot and celery (sshhh!!) smoothie? Or does a pumpkin muffin with cream cheese frosting sounds better?

2. Make it look interesting
Cut toasts with a cookie cutter. Press some rice in a cookie cutter before removing the cutter and decorate it. No one says you can’t have a white gingerbreadman with peas as buttons, sweetcorn as eyes and a slice of tomato for his mouth. Then, there's pancakes. They are so versatile! You can make them sweet or savoury too! Grate some carrots and zucchini into the batter and pour some in the middle of the pan with two smaller amount at the side to make it into the shape of Mickey Mouse!
Heart-shaped Valentine's Day Pancakes

3. Mask the taste with some favourite food
Cheesy Toast (click to see how it was made)
Cheesy Pasta Bake (click to see how it was made)
Pita Bread Pizza
My favourite option: add some cheese! Besides adding taste, they provide some calcium too. You can melt it on rice/ brocolli/ bread/ etc., cook it as a sauce, spread it or just grate some on top before serving.

4. Add flavour
No, not sugar and salt. Lots of ingredients actually tastes sweet or savoury itself. Cheese is a favourite as mentioned above. How about tomato based pasta. Add some tomato paste or canned tomatoes in water or even just plenty of fresh tomatoes itself! I often add fresh tomatoes in soups or pasta or salads. Baby O loves munching on cherry tomatoes like how she munches on grapes.

Have you tried mash or baked sweet potatoes instead of the usual potatoes? Offer cream cheese, peanut butter and yogurt as dips. Don't forget spices like the cinnamon and herbs like mint can do some wonders too!

5. Make it look beyond recognition
If blending works, then it’s great for soups and sauces. Otherwise, try grating. Just watch those fingers!
Grated carrots

6. Conceal it
If I hadn’t told you what’s inside, you probably wouldn’t know! Cleverly hidden are: grated carrots, finely chopped lettuce and tomatoes, pieces of toasted bread, cheese and beaten eggs with a dash of pepper. Pan fried lightly with some butter. Everything is pretty much hidden so no chance of picking them out!
All-In-One Egg Bites

7. Mix the ingredients, or not
Baby Pork Burgers with Cheesy Surprise (click to see how it was made)
Try cooking everything together as above, as a meat ball, in savoury pancakes, in porridge but also try leaving them all separate sometimes as different ingredient actually tastes good on its own too.
Cherry Tomatoes & Edamame (for Baby O) and Fried Crabsticks (for me!)

8. Get a substitute
Not a big fan of carrots, how about pumpkin? No leafy greens, peas are a good substitute. Edamame (Japanese soy beans)? How about fruits? Don't just change the ingredient, have a variety of meals too! I don't know about you but I would very much prefer not having chicken and carrot porridge everyday, thank you. Carbohydrates come in many forms including bread, pasta, and noodles. So go for a homemade sandwich, cheesy bake or meehoon soup somedays too!
Chicken Vegetable Soup (click to see how it was made)

9. Cook with child
Baby O loves being the kitchen helper. She's an expert in stirring and mashing up stuffs. In the process, she may pick up little pieces and nibble away. Toddlers just love to know how it all works and what better way to see how their food is being made. Great way to explore the textures of the ingredients, smell them and see how they all look like before being chopped up!
Chief Stirrer

10. Eat with child
When the child watches you eat, hopefully he or she will participate in the activity too. Don't give him or her too much pressure though as toddlers this age are still very much in their discovery stage. It is also best to eat at the same appropriate place during meal times. We try to stay away from the TV and dine at the dining table with Baby O on her high chair or at Baby O's little children table in the kitchen when it's just the two of us.

What if none of the above works? Check for other culprit such as teething. Consult a paeditrician to see if the child is within the good and healthy weight range and is his or her own usual active self. If the answer is yes, I probably wouldn’t fret too much. Just chill and cook less as this means they are getting their nutrients in somewhere, somehow from all those snacks and such throughout the day!

Sunday, March 6, 2011


Although absent from the blogging world, we have been going around in the real world. We have continued embarking on our discovering Penang adventures. There’s so much to see and wishing I have as much time to write about them! One of the most amazing discoveries is we found out there’s Autumn here in Penang!!! Leaves were falling from the sky a few weeks back! If only they were money instead..
Got Baby O out with me for a little sun and to clear the leaves. Have not even gathered them all and more started falling!! See all the ‘dots’ in the sky?
Busy, busy, busy!
Someone obviously doesn’t know how hard it is to clear them!
After numerous bags full of dried leaves, a broken new lidi (vein of coconut palm frond) broom, a very sweaty and dirty but contented toddler, an extremely sore back and thousands of calories burnt (I hope!), we managed to remove the carpet of leaves... ... ... only to find it covered again in the evening!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Yoohoo! Anyone home??

Ok, where and how do I start again after such a long absence from blogging?? I must say the long festive season (Christmas in December 2010 till Chinese New Year in February 2011) with lots of travelling here and there to be with family really thrown me off my routine completely and it has taken me this long to recover! Yikes! Anyway, am glad to be back and what better way than to wish myself a Happy 1st Blogging Anniversary! Didn't know where I was heading when I first started but it has been both rewarding and therapeutic for me to blog. Learnt so much in the process and made some new (virtual) friends along the way too! Hope we'll still be blogging same time next year!
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