Thursday, December 22, 2011

Sending You a Christmas Angel

Want to send out many blessings at Xmas in a happy and less costly way? You can cheer up many people with a Christmas angel. The DIY steps are simple.

The Christmas angel is 2-7/8” tall. This is the front view.

This is the rear side.

Materials for the DIY:

1. A cardboard with one side gold or silver in color (Choose whatever colors you like)
2. A die cut pattern
3. A pair of scissors or cutter
4. A string (optional, for hanging purpose)

If you want a bigger angel to carry more blessings, prepare the die cut pattern according to the measurement stated in the above photo and use photocopying to enlarge it. Of course, you can do some calculations and enlarge the angel directly while drawing out its die cut pattern.

DIY Steps of the Christmas angel:

1.    Draw out the die cut pattern.
2.    Apply the die cut pattern on a cardboard.
3.    Cut out the angel accordingly.
4.    Write your blessings at the rear side.
5.    Fold the sheet to form a standing angel. (Or let it stay flat for the mailing to the distant acquaintances)
6.    Add a string if you like.

Write your unique blessings in words or drawings and send out the Christmas angels to your beloved. It’s a good piece of holiday decorative item at home and at office.

When Christmas is over, don’t throw away the angels. Unfold them and store well. The flat sheet makes storage easier. You can also use the flat angel sheet as a bookmark. It’s always heart-warming to read blessings at the back, a handy remainder on having love and warmth always.

It’s worthwhile to invest on this inexpensive and easy-to-make gift. Don’t miss the golden opportunity to send love to others and yourself. Wish you all a Merry Christmas and happy always!

Author’s note:

The Christmas angel is easy to make. If you want to offer others DIY items that are more sophisticated but have a limited budget only, bead jewelry in a unique gift box showcase may be a good option. Read the three articles below and learn the simple DIY processes.

Eight Reasons to Make Bead Ring and How to Diy

How to DIY Bead Necklaces, Bracelets and Earrings

DIY Christmas Gift Box Showcase

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Old Hong Kong in the 46th Hong Kong Brands and Products Expo

A dynamic city keeps changing; old styles become history. Want to see the old Hong Kong? Don’t miss the 46th Hong Kong Brands and Products Expo then.
Old Expo (miniature)

A brief history of Hong Kong Brands and Products Expo
Hong Kong Brands and Products Expo started in 1938. It aimed at promoting the Hong Kong industries and brands, and trading. Due to the Japanese invasion, the expo was canceled in 1941 and restarted in 1948.

Owing to the lack of venue, the 2nd cancellation happened in 1974. The expo came back in 1994, but just for that year to celebrate the 60th anniversary of its organizer. A solid return took place until 1998.

From 2004 to 2011, all the Hong Kong Brands and Products Expo were held in the Victoria Park, Causeway Bay. Nowadays the expo looks more like an annual big marketplace. It attracts many locals coming here to do their shopping at a discounted price. Tourists may find the special-themed exhibition more appealing.

Hong Kong Memories Miniature Exhibition

Not every expo has a special-themed exhibition, but this year there is the Hong Kong Memories Miniature Exhibition. Visitors could see over 50 miniatures made by 11 Hong Kong Artists. Those miniatures show the 1960s to 1970s life in Hong Kong and the look of the old expo. Though the exhibition occupies very little space, the miniatures tell a lot about the old cultures of Hong Kong. Many visitors enjoy touring around and taking photos. Some elders take this golden opportunity to tell their grand children the earlier life. Below are the photos I took for some miniatures.
Chinese herbal shop
Chinese furniture shop
Chinese wedding accessory shop
A rickshaw
Public housing for low income residents
Old style buildings
Grocery store

The 46th Hong Kong Brands and Products Expo will last for 24 days, from Dec. 10, 2011 to the 2nd of January, 2012. If you are staying in Hong Kong within the period, welcome to come for this event. The entry fee is HKD10 and there is no additional fee for the special-themed exhibition that locates in the midst of the venue.

When you tour around, don’t forget to enjoy the free trials of foods and drinks offered by some stalls. Discount coupons are available in the shopping guide. Keep the guide and the entry ticket for the “See and Guess”. Participants need to guess the total retail price of the products in a showcase at the Lucky Draw Station. Pick the correct answer and enjoy the lucky draw. The prize, big or small, would serve as a nice souvenir.

Tourist could try many local side dishes in the food plaza. There are also stalls selling different kinds of products, a good place to shop for souvenirs.

Egg custard tart (chestnut flavor)

The opening hours are 11:00am – 10:00pm (Monday to Sunday) except the 12th of December, 2011 (to 1:00am) and the 2nd of January, 2012 (to 8:00pm). There will be no ticket selling and admission one hour before the exact closing time. Welcome to visit this expo. Enjoy yourself.

Author’s note:

For the days without any special event, Hong Kong has many places worthy of visiting. The three articles below will give you some ideas on what to add in your itinerary for your Hong Kong tour.

Hong Kong Travel Guide: A Relaxing Day in Mui Wo

Hong Kong Travel Guide: Hong Kong Museum of Coastal Defence

Hong Kong Travel Guide: Nan Lian Garden

Friday, November 25, 2011

Exercises for Fun and Good Health

A lot of people sit too much and lack of exercises daily. Our health may be at risk. We can save our family by doing some fun exercises together.
Many parents are busy at work; whereas, their children could be sitting too much to study, for TV and video games. They seldom find time exercising in the weekdays. Lack of exercises in the long run could cause health problems. To lower the health risk, kids and adults are suggested making good use of the weekend to do some exercises together. Below are ten recommendations that could help people have fun and maintain good health simultaneously.

1. Jogging

Jog in the neighborhood, in the park, and countryside. Whenever possible, choose somewhere with beautiful sight to make this activity more enjoyable.

2. Running

Some stadiums are open to the public for days without event. Enjoy the explosive force by racing in the lanes.

Running in the beach is also a fun thing to do. Run heartily. The sand will cushion your fall.

3. Hiking

Climb the mountains and get close to the Nature for some wonderful discoveries, for example, beautiful plants, interesting animals, unique rocks and remarkable seasonal change of scenery.

4. Kite flying

Move your body and wrestle with the strong wind to have your kite flying high up in the sky.

5. Cycling

With rentals and various kinds of bicycle available, the whole family could enjoy cycling together. Adopt cycle rickshaw if any family member has balancing problem and make sure the qualified members take turn spending some time on the rider seat to exercise their body.

6. Swimming

Go to the beach for a swim in summer. As some swimming pools open all the year round, don’t make any excuse for no swimming. Create some fun by having competitions.

If you don’t know any swim style (freestyle, breaststroke, backstroke and butterfly), swim with a ring buoy. The most important point is to move your limbs and jump in the water because these exercises are good to one’s lung and heart in particular.

7. Dancing

There are many different kinds of dance. Simply choose a style that allows the whole family dancing together. Enjoy and follow the music to shake your body heartily.

8. Rope skipping

If you have a backyard or garden, clear some space for rope skipping. You can arrange competitions, for either individual or multi-players mode. Who is the first person to fail? Who is the best in one rope skipping? Keep jumping and have fun.

9. Basketball

You don’t need two teams of five players to have fun. Exercise by throwing the ball through the basketball hoop. Move your body aggressively to steal the ball from other’s hand.

10. Soccer

If kids are not tall enough to enjoy basketball, soccer will be a good substitute. Encourage kids to run with the ball, chase after it and try their best to kick a goal.

Pick from the aforementioned or try other sports, always play hard to fully absorb in the exercise to derive the greatest joy. Fun can always go parallel with good health if you choose well and participate in the activity wholeheartedly.

Author’s note:

Summer or winter, there are many appropriate exercises for fun and good health. Play hard to lose weight and be free from obesity and its related health risks. The articles below will give you loads of ideas on what one can do, even for rainy days at home.

10 Summer Beach Sports for Fun and Weight Loss

10 Winter Sports to Lose Weight and Have Fun

Exercise at Home From Head to Toe

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Friendship Poem: Know What Friends are for

Know what friends are for, we could build and maintain true friendship circumspectly, and benefit a lot from this invaluable treasure in our lifetime.

Hello, do you have at least one good friend?
Use this checklist for your picking, will you?
Let’s inspire each other the latest trend.
Share news and thoughts, sincere to do.

Dry tears with consolation, love will do.
Offer helps on time to stop any sharp fall.
Never mean, but kind advice is for you.
Mirror one’s image often without call.

Good influences keep flooding in, expected.
Exchange good things to multiply more.
Betrayal is far from reach, neglected.
Willing supports stand by to drive off sore.

Friends start with bronze, be silver and then gold.
May friendships bloom well and will always hold!

Author’s note:

I enjoy writing poetry, which is a good way to share one’s ideas in a few words – for me, usually 14 lines, at around a hundred words. I have written poems on different topics. Some are quite funny or weird. Below is a list for fun reading. Enjoy yourself.

Let’s Rock: A Poem About Childhood

Duffy’s Treasure Hunt — A Poem for Fun

An avowal from the Phoenix in Harry Potter

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Examine and Reuse Rubbish

Humans create large volume of rubbish daily. If we examine carefully and use our creativity, we can save many items from disposal by doing DIY work. 

Examples of reused items:

1. The core of toilet paper

(Source and photo: from a newspaper dated September 19, 2011)

We often throw away the core without a thought. However, Junior Jacquet applied his craftsmanship and gave each core a unique face. The core has a new life after the transform. The faces are so interesting that it will be a fun to collect and hang them on a black wall. Cool decoration, isn’t it?

2. Soup can

(Source and photo from Crafty Kids summer 2000 issue)

The soup can is an ideal container for holding stationery (pencils, pens, and rulers), tableware (spoons, forks, and knives), and artificial flowers. What we need to do is clean it thoroughly and decorate the surface. Use your creativity and turn each soup can to an animal. Why not liven up your living area or workplace with some colors and amusing looks? 

3. Milk or Juice carton

(Source and photo from Looney Tunes Crafty Kids January / February 2001 issue)

The carton is always disposed shortly, but with thorough cleaning, painting, cutting, sticking and gluing, it can become a lovely house for your letters, candies or serve as a piggy bank. Convert it to a treasury box or a decorative item in your room. You can also share your arts and crafts with others by transforming the carton into an appealing gift box.

Apply our creativity on the excessive items or residue, we can give many things a longer lifespan, enjoy usage of unique items, save money from buying new items, reduce refuse and be more environmental friendly. With so many benefits, let us take the initiative to run as many DIY projects as we can.

Through sharing your DIY achievements with your family, friends, colleagues and neighbors, you may inspire them to start their own DIY projects. More participation will brighten our days and leave a better world, in terms of environment and resources, to our future generations.

Author’s note:

If you have no talents in arts and crafts, you can still participate in some other projects to make your contribution to the world. The two articles below will give you some ideas on what we can do. We can go green and even have fun at the same time by adopting some new and simple habits.

How to Go Green and Have Fun in Gift Exchange

15 Uses of Newspaper in Our Daily Life

Friday, September 9, 2011

Facts of Tea with Milk

Many people like adding milk to tea, but overdrinking this beverage could be hazardous to health. Learn the facts of tea with milk and drink modestly.

The causes of potential dangers

1.    Black tea (or red tea for Asian saying) is commonly used in tea with milk. It is a post-fermented tea and the caffeine level is three times of green tea’s. Drinking too much may affect sleep.

2.    People often like adding two teaspoons of sugar to make the tea with milk taste better. This addition counts 30% of the daily maximum allowance of sugar intake.

3.    If evaporated milk is used, the percentage of fat is higher.

4.    For people not growing up with a regular use of dairy products, their bodies could fail in decomposing lactose that is in tea with milk and can induce diarrhea.

5.    Caffeine in tea together with lactose in milk will stimulate the secretion of hydrochloric acid in gastric juice and failure of handling the extra secretion properly will weaken the stomach.

6.    Oxalic acid in black tea together with the calcium in evaporated milk may bring forth calculus.

7.    Tannins in tea will hinder the intake of iron. Drinking milk tea for every meal may lead to anemia in the long run.

The facts reveal several potential dangers; hence, it is important to stop overdrinking. Many people are unguarded concerning the beverages in every meal. The loyalty to tea with milk could engage them in chronic overdrinking. The diehard fans will run a higher risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, calculus and anemia.

How to stop overdrinking tea with milk:

1)    Shift to different beverages rather than picking tea with milk every time. Start with the beverage for every meal to avoid overdrinking. Healthy replacements include vegetable and fruit juices. Among all options, water is the best. 

2)    If one drink is milk, another drink is tea, remember to arrange a longer interval between these two separate drinks so that the beverages won’t cause an unwanted mixing up in your stomach to do harm.

Symptoms of overdrinking tea with milk:

For those who are unaccustomed to drinking milk tea, a few sips could be counted as overdrinking, causing discomfort. Stop drinking if you have any symptom in the list below:

a. Rapider heart beat
b. Sleepless
c. Lose appetite
d. Stomach bloating
e. Diarrhea
f. Gastralgia

Fans may drink several cups in a day without suffering from any symptom aforementioned. However, this does not mean that they are free from the health risks.

No matter you love tea with milk or not, always take notice of the facts and always drink this beverage modestly for the sake of your own health.

Reference: A piece of news from Ming Pao reporting an experiment done by a TV broadcast station on drinking a lot of tea with milk, dated September 8, 2011.

Author’s note:

Tea alone has many options available. Each option has their own health benefits, for example, some teas are good for eyes. Despite the tastes and the health benefits, it is worthwhile to learn about the proper way of drinking each beverage and always drink modestly. The two articles below may give you some ideas on what I am saying.

Good Eyes Herbal Tea: Chrysanthemum & Wolfberry Tea

Make and Drink Green Tea Properly

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Mind your Characters and Take Care of your Money

(Money bank)

Characters affect one’s spending pattern. If you are squandering and want to go for money saving, change your character and develop new habits then.

Characters that promote people to be a squanderer:

1. Too optimistic

Some people are too optimistic and the situation is even worse if they are pleasure-seekers at the same time. Enjoying themselves is a high priority. They won’t adjust their expenditure even they are jobless. They believe money will come in again pretty soon and so there is no need to adopt frugality to depress oneself. On the contrary, they use spending money as an excuse to cope with decompression. After eating up all the saving, stress goes on accumulating.

2. Too demanding

Some people are too demanding, always conscious of the brand products and their latest versions, pursuing the expensive products. They believe high price is justified by high quality. This rigid belief molds the diehard loyalty of famous brands and high-priced products. They refuse switching to the less costly alternative, which may have the same functions, features and quality standard. The rigidity can cause troubles when one's income and wealth cannot afford the diehard spending pattern. Demanding people will use credit card frequently and may go into debt for years.

3. Too capricious

Some people change their mind very easily and they can’t resist the temptation of switching whenever they see something new. They will keep shifting to various brands, different models or even versions for mobile phone, digital camera, computer and branded handbag, etc. An expensive item may be used for a few days or a month and then resold at a low price. Frequent and yet unnecessary changes drain money away from one’s wallet continuously. Capricious people are so accustomed to frequent replacements that they become indifferent to the money loss.

4. Too generous or too casual

Generous or casual buyers do not think or check carefully before the purchase. They often buy things at a higher price, overlooking the flaws, waste money on similarities or duplications, and have purchases that fail in matching their practical needs. When the purchased item is of no use, they will put it aside or give it away. However, for expensive item such as house, let it seat idle or be a gift won’t work. The circumstance is even worse if the item needs an expensive fix before it can be for self-use or resale.

5. Too greedy

Greedy people have difficulty in resisting low prices. They will buy crazily in discount sales, more than they actually need. The results are often an excess, usage below the average, obsoleteness and depreciation. Besides the actual prices, the cost of handling many unused or seldom used items, either by keeping things in order or reselling them to cash back, is a definite loss due to one’s greed.

Have a self-examination see if you have any of these characters and whether you are empowering them to waste your money. If the answer is “yes”, it will be a good investment to change your character in the long run. This involves introducing a new set of good principles to rebuild your money concept and consumer behavior, and reinforce them with a concrete habit development.

To insert a quick control over money out, you can try two basic strategies: freeze your money and set rules, to resist the desire to buy. High self-discipline is required for an effective implementation.

Freezing your money is to put aside part of your income and the accumulated amount should be untouched. You have to keep telling yourself that there is no extra money to entertain a purchase.

Setting rules allow reasons rather than passions ruling the money issue. You can adopt many different rules at a time, for example, only buy new when old is gone, set quota for an item regardless of the low price.

If you have problems on implementing the two recommended strategies, don’t give up easily. Try your best to identify which character contributing to the squander and be determined to change it, which is the source of the chronic problem.

Hope everyone succeeds in spending wisely and be able to save more money.

Author’s note:

If you are a credit card user, I suggested you read the article below to get more ideas on how to freeze your money as this strategy is particular helpful to ensure that you have enough money to pay off in a monthly basis.

Use Credit Card Wisely and Leave No Debt

Examine your expenditure and your possessions; explore new opportunity to cut cost. The two articles below may give you some ideas on saving money in different aspects or contexts.

How to Handle Never, No Longer and Seldom Used Items

10 Dating Tips to Save Money

Monday, August 8, 2011

Stop Being a Looker-on

Many people want to know how to be happy. This good quality is not exclusive to children. Let us be inspired by dogs and recruit the happy feeling.

A beautiful day with blue sky, Sai Kung (a famous suburb of Hong Kong) was crowded with tourists and local people. I expected to have a relaxing afternoon there. Strolling along the waterfront, quite a number of visitors gathered at some thresholds heading downward to the sea. What made people stay and watch as if they were spell-bounded? The charm came from human’s loyal little friends – dogs.

Nearly no dogs could resist temptation of jumping into the sea for a good swim. They kept their masters waiting at the thresholds, watching them having fun. Their spontaneous excitement, harmless naughtiness and heartily enjoyment formed a lovely sight that was eye-catching indeed. Not knowing how to swim, I sat on the breakwater and took some snapshots of these admirable hedonists.

The lively sight and the photo-taking gave me a great pleasure. Down to the sea and up to the land, many dogs had fun. Their audiences were duller. I suddenly realize that many people are lookers-on in the happy moment, as if pleasure is so scarce that there is not enough for each living creature to enjoy equally.  Of course not; there is plenty out there. What’s wrong with us?

Daily life is complex, full of worries, new challenges and troubles. Whatever dominant, many people tire out and fail to recharge properly. We often overlook the reviving pleasure, which is not far away and unattainable as we imagined. Stop awhile, spot beautiful things and occasions around us, and don’t just be a looker-on; otherwise, the limited participation undercut the potential enjoyment. Maybe we should learn from the dogs, grasping at every opportunity to live out happy moments as much as we can.

I hope everyone could learn the secret of being happy and stop being a looker-on. We deserve more. Next time, I will fly my kite high up in the sky instead of solely watching you – good dogs.

Author’s note:

The Nature is often very inspiring. Take a look at the dogs and cats; it’s amazing to notice that humans can learn a lot from these cute animals. Read the three articles below for the amusing tips I discovered so far.

Valuable Things We can Learn from Dogs

Valuable Things We Can Learn From Cats

Learn How to Sleep Well: A Lesson From Animals

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

How to Encourage Children to Read Books

Schooling is inadequate to one’s growth. Many parents try to help their kids develop good hobbies that benefit their lifetime, for example, reading.
Reading books can cultivate one’s mind. Parents can try many methods to encourage their kids to read books and develop the habit of reading. Some options may be a little bit costly; whereas, other options could cost very little or not a penny. But one thing for sure is that parents have to be very patient in making investments (time, money and care, etc.) since the “fall in love” process may take a long time to establish, consolidate and hopefully, auto run. Continuous support to the kids will be required.

1. Buy books

Give interesting books to your kids as gifts. To save money for more books, buy at a discount sales. 2nd hand book is also money saving. If you are concerned with cleanliness, apply antiseptic on the used book (damp a piece of cloth with the liquid and wipe).

2. Borrow books

Borrow books from library and friends. Public library is an invaluable access to large number of books at nearly no cost.

3. Bring children to the library

With numerous books on various subjects and many reading kids enjoying at the spot, let your children assimilate into the reading atmosphere and explore their interest.

4. Read with kids

Adults are highly recommended leading the children who often do not know where to start. Read with kids to help them focus on the books.

5. Choose picture books

Photos, drawings and colors attract kids’ attention and stimulate their minds.

6. Choose pop-up books

Pop-up books offer good surprises and help capture kids’ attention and curiosity, or even unleash their imagination.

7. Choose interactive books

Some books offer more fun. For example, they require kids not only to read the words, but also draw and do mathematics. Some story books come along with CD so that the kids can follow the lines with someone reading to them.

8. Choose books at appropriate level

If the content is too difficult, kids lose interest easily. When children read more books, their reading ability will enhance gradually. Don’t push hard and spoil all the efforts paid.

9. Bedtime story

Arrange bedtime story to encourage kids get more involved in books for reading and listening. Promote read on request. Children will have to read books at daytime and decide which one to be read by you.

10. Chat with kids

Ask your children what books they have read and how they feel like. Let them tell you the story. If you are a good listener, kids will try reading more books so that they could have more topics to chat with you.

11. Story reading party

Arrange a party to invite kids sitting together to listen to a book reading. Let them discuss the story afterwards.

12. Book reading club

This gathering focuses on sharing what books one has read in a month, the favorite read and what it is about. Kids can have the opportunity to express their thoughts on their reading, encouraging them to take the initiatives to present what they learned or recommend a book.

If parents succeed in helping their children develop reading as a hobby, the young ones will gain more knowledge and there will be less time for bad hobbies and friends. Thus, hesitate no more but get started to inspire children do more reading and enjoying themselves with a lot of benefits.

Author’s note:

Love reading is an asset. Another one is budgeting money well. You can teach the kids the good money concept before they earn their first penny. Read the article below for more details. 

How to Inculcate Good Money Concept to Children

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Random Thoughts on a Sandwich

Sandwich is delicious and easy to prepare. It can relate to healthy diet, healthier children, parent’s duty, kids’ independence … Read on to see why.

We can put various ingredients between the two slices of bread. Select ingredients wisely and modestly, sandwich could have high nutrient value, beneficial to one’s health. We could explore the potential and introduce a different version for every meal. The diet could be less boring and healthier. It won’t take too much time to prepare a sandwich especially when the ingredients don’t need cooking at all. Below is a simple recipe I enjoy very much.

Simple sandwich recipe
1. Toast two slices of bread (optional)
2. Put a slice of pineapple on the bread.
3. Spread the tuna fish.
4. Close the top with another slice of bread. (That’s all.)

With such easy preparation, many people in the world couldn’t enjoy a bite. They are the unlucky ones who suffer from hunger. Let’s devour the whole sandwich and never allow leftover for those poor guys’ sake. Sandwich is flexible. If you don’t have a big appetite, pick or make a light sandwich. Or have a half-size one.

Some children don’t have the luck to enjoy a bite regardless of the money. Their parents don’t offer them sandwich but let them order junk food instead. They are either too busy or too negligent, overlooking the importance of a healthy diet to their kids.

Parents have the duty to select healthy diet for their children and teach them further. Teaching kids how to make a simple sandwich is a perfect start to help them learn to prepare their own foods, a basic survival technique that should be mastered well before entering into adulthood. Start simple, train your kids to take up responsibilities and be more independent.

To guide children properly, parents can work with their children as a team to make the sandwich and eat together. This simple activity could strengthen the family relationship and create good memory for both parents and children.

When you are too busy in preparing foods, your kids can make you a sandwich to quench your hunger. Trust them; children could be a reliable helper if you train them well in advance.

My random thoughts on sandwich are very simple, and yet many kids don’t grow up with the privileges aforementioned. Time passes without mercy. Delay no more. Don’t let your children miss the golden opportunity to learn, to enjoy a better childhood and to equip them well for the future.

Author’s note:

Besides sandwich, parents could also teach their children how to make salad and healthy drinks. Give your kids more worthwhile options rather than let them stick to potato chips and soft drinks all the time.

You Need a Blender to Stay Healthy

My Favorite Salad

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Nine Best Animated Movies of Studio Ghibi

Have you ever watched an animated movie of Studio Ghibi? This production company offers high quality works. The list below was composed in year 2011.

Studio Ghibi was established in 1985. It keeps producing animated movies that are worthy of watching. Maybe you are a Studio Ghibi fan and have already watched the complete list of its production. Though I haven’t watched all, I can still recommend nine movies with two honorable mentions, listed in alphabetical order. All photos are from Wikipedia except the one for On Your Mark that comes from Anime News Network's Encyclopedia. The IMDb links are provided for your quick reference.

Castle in the Sky or Laputa: Castle in the Sky (1986)

The story was about a lovely girl being kidnapped to a flying castle. A brave boy saved her from the bad guy. Audience will learn about the secret of this flying castle in which there are interesting robots. The supporting casts, a gang of robbers, are also amusing.

Grave of the Fireflies (1988)

The story was about a young boy and his little sister struggling to survive during the wartime. The two protagonists are piteous and the movie may provoke some audience shed tears. It is said to be one of the most powerful anti-war movies. Hope you won’t skip it due to the sad theme and mood.
Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)

The movie is an adaption from the famous fantasy work (same title) written by Diana Wynne Jones. Though some changes were made on the plots, Sophie’s adventure remained to be wonderful. Her new friends were fascinating and she found her true love, Howl.

Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989)

When we talk about witch, the first impression is often creepy. It’s time for a change then. Let Kiki work her magic to show us the life of a lovely and good-natured young witch. See how she learned to work independently and help others using her talent.
My Neighbor Totoro (1988)

Do you believe in forest spirits? I hope you won’t turn down the opportunity to see some cute spirits and even a grinning cat bus. The story is simple. Two little girls got the help of these lovely and kind spirits to take a peek at their mother in the hospital. The characters, spirits and humans, will make your day.
Ponyo (2008)

What’s good to be a human? If you can’t find a mermaid to give you an answer, maybe the goldfish princess could solve the riddle. She desperately wanted to be a human. Pray that she will have a better fate than the Mermaid in the fairy tales. Let’s see what happened to her.
Princess Mononoke (1997)

The world portrayed was a bloody one. There were a lot of wars between humans and forest beasts. The Forest Spirit was shot to death. With all the killings and death, can life find its way to sustain and turn over a new leaf?
Spirited Away (2001)

The little girl, Chihiro experienced a terrible sight -- her parents turned to pigs. Alone in a strange world, she was forced to work and came across many marvelous things. How could she save herself and her parents, and get away from the spirit world? Any help?
The Cat Returns (2002)

Repayment of one’s kindness is common but sometimes, it could be annoying due to the absurd method and content. Poor Haru, let’s follow her and we will have an extraordinary adventure in the cat kingdom.

Two honorable mentions:
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984)

Again, directed by Hayao Miyazaki, this animated movie was released before the setup of Studio Ghibli. It adopts the
environmental theme. War polluted the world and the Nature was off balanced. Giant insects existed. Under the self-recovery process of the Nature, could the giant insects and humans live in peace together?

On Your Mark (1995)

Unlike others, this one is a music video Hayao Miyazaki directed for Change and Aska’s song, On Your Mark. It lasts for 6 minutes and 29 seconds. The theme is freedom and I find the story very touching.

Studio Ghibi is still producing high quality animated films. So, the list may be updated in the future. If you enjoy most of the movies in the list, I suggest that you check out the missing ones as well. Welcome to leave a message telling us your favorites. Enjoy watching.

Author’s note:

Besides Studio Ghibi’s productions, there are many other good animated films available in the market. If you would like to have some quick references, click into the two articles below for some ideas.

10 Best Celebrity Voice Actors in Animated Movies

Ten Best Animated Movies for All Ages

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

How to Slow Down Books from Turning Yellow

What a pain to see my favorite books growing old! I couldn’t find any method to stop them from turning yellow. We could only slow down the harm.

The four books in the photo seat in my drawers for over 20 years. They introduced me to the world of literature. The rim and the inner pages have inevitably turned yellow. Though the deterioration has not affected reading, I still hope these books can last long, within and outreach my lifetime because I love reading them again and again and hopefully, they will find a new home as I planned to donate them to the charity organization for sales after my death.

All the tips below suggest how to slow down books from turning yellow. Try them. Well, it’s better than doing nothing at all.

1. Apply wrap sheets to books the soonest.
2. Put books in PP clear bags and seal tight when they are not read. Keep books away from oxidation as much as possible.
3. Sandpaper the rim that turned yellow.
4. Keep books away from sunlight.
5. Store books in cool place.
6. Use silica gel carefully to remove excessive humidity.

The newcomers are supposed to be more resistant in turning yellow due to the more advanced technology of paper making. However, this doesn’t mean we could overlook the necessary protective measures, lest we predicted wrongly and the race of turning yellow started earlier and speedier than we expected.

No matter what the scale of your book collection is and how the storage is (in bookshelf or simply pile books up on the floor at a corner), let's try our best to slow down the aging of our books as they are good companions that bring us laughter, tears, knowledge and imagination, etc. Welcome to leave a message if you know other methods in saving books from turning yellow. Thank you.

Author’s note:

Do you love reading books? Besides literature, I also read other types of books, for example reference books, children’s books. If you want to try something new, light and easy, and reading with kids, the following books may serve well.

10 Minutes Reading on Dogs or Cats for Dummies

Book Review: The Story of Tracy Beaker

Monday, May 2, 2011

How to use orange peel to improve our living quality?

Many people enjoy eating orange and drinking its juice. Do you simply throw away the peel? We can use the orange peel smartly to improve our life.

(Image from Google search)

1. Generate a smile

Use a marker pen to draw amusing expressions on the orange. The drawing will not hinder us enjoying the pulp and the juice, but the effort will make one’s day. Also, the peel can be reused in some other ways.

2. Get rid of the odor in the microwave oven

Put the orange peel into the microwave oven and cook with low heat for five minutes.

3. Expel bad odor, mosquito and fly

Burn the air-dried peel to expel the bad odor indoors, mosquito and fly. It is also relaxing to breathe the scent.

4. Provoke sleep

Make a scent bag with orange peel inside and put it next to your pillow.

5. Facilitate furniture upkeep

Boil the orange peel with water. Then, dip a wiper into the cool down water, squeeze out excessive water and start wiping.

6. Use in bathing

Air-dry the peel for one week and store it well in an airtight container. To use the standby peel, put it into an old silk sock and dip the whole pack into the bathing water. This helps retain skin moisture and tenderness.

7. Use in drinking

Clean the fresh orange peel and boil with water for 15 minutes. This drink helps soften the blood vessels and lower cholesterol levels. Drink before meal, it can increase one’s appetite.

(Image from Google Search)

8. Use in serving food

You can die cut the orange peel into different shapes to decorate a dish. Or apply die-cut on the peel to make it serve as a stencil to mold the hot chocolate, strawberry sauce in lovely shapes on a dish. Or make the orange peel into a basket to hold food.

9. Use in seasoning

When you want to add orange flavor for seasoning like salt and black pepper, apply the peel on a grater. This can be done before the cake baking and salad dressing, etc.

Keep using the orange peel in many ways instead of throwing it directly to the rubbish-bin untouched. You can improve your living quality in different aspects by unleashing the great potentials of orange peel. Give it a try to enjoy the various benefits.

Author’s note:

Very often, applying a few tips could cut down the living cost significantly. We could also contribute more in environmental protection. If you want some examples, welcome to read the two articles below.

How to Resist Heat in Summer: 11 Cooling Tips

How to Stay Warm in Winter at Lower Cost

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Childhood Memory: A Heartbroken Night

(This is the lost-and-found photo of Miss Irons, taken by the author.)

It was a full moon night. Father and his seven years old son were seating at the balcony, engaging in their man talk as usual.

Son: Dad, how did you win mom’s heart?
Dad: Oh! That’s easy. I plucked her the full moon.
Son: Liar. It’s up there!
(Son pointed his finger to the sky.)
Dad: You go down to the garden and wait for me. I will show you how.

Son was standing in the garden. Father came with a basin of water.

Dad: Son, look at the basin, do you see the moon now?
Son: I see.
(Son knitted his brows in deep thought and then shed tears.)
Dad: What’s wrong?
Son: I can never win her heart now.
(His eyes streamed more tears.)
Dad: Why?
Son: I cannot come out with her at night.
(Tears were all over his face.)
Dad: Don’t worry, my son. I have an idea. Wait for me.

Father returned, with a digital camera, and took a photo for the basin with the full moon. They went into the house and printed out the photo.

Holding the printout, the son found his mother in the sitting room.

Son: Mom, give you a tall building or a full moon, which one do you want?
Mom: Of course, the tall building. Why ask?

Son cried out loudly. Father dashed up to see what had happened. Both parents were puzzled.

Dad: What’s wrong now?
Son: I can never win her heart.
Dad: Why?
Son: Her boyfriend gave her a tall building and she agreed to marry him.
Dad: What? Her boyfriend? Marry? Son, who is she?
Son: Miss Irons.

Mom laughed out shortly, leaving dad perplexed.

Miss Irons was the class teacher that lost the tall building photo when she visited the family. Mom and son found the photo later.

Overheard the conversation between mom and Miss Irons over the phone, son learned of the coming marriage…

Son cried wholeheartedly and fell asleep due to exhaustion. The basin photo recorded his first love disappointment, a childhood memory that the family cherished.

Author’s notes:

Owing to the popularity of digital camera, capturing the childhood memory is much easier nowadays. Learn more about the merits of this electronics device and make the best use of it to improve your life.

Ten Merits of Digital Camera

Besides taking photo or video, you can record your childhood memory with words. Here’s a poem sharing the kids’ fun.

Let’s Rock: A Poem About Childhood

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Play with kids: Surfing the Web Creatively

Feel annoyed when kids peer at you from behind while surfing the web? Check the curiosity by surfing together. Educate them and have fun for a while.

(Smiling dog, image from Google Search)
What do think about my teeth?

If you have children at home, you don’t want them to get exposed to adult contents for fear that their innocent mind will be contaminated. Kids get messages quicker than we imagined. Getting the wrong messages can bring forth negative consequences; hence, we must be careful to keep our children safe.

Take the basic safety measures when you are surfing the web at home.

1)    No adult contents when kids are awake.
2)    Do not give the children access to the Internet.
3)    Use software or change setting to block the NSFW web sites.

Even you are surfing the web for harmless contents, the kids are still curious and want to have a share. If so, take the opportunity to surf the web creatively with them. Don’t forget to take a couple of precautions as below:

Precautions to be taken when surfing with the kids:

1)    Parents or adults should have full control over the keyboard and mouse.
2)    Have Internet connected in advance. Do not type the account and password in front of the kids.
3)    Let the boring search engine be the front page.
4)    Screen the content quickly to make sure that there are no inappropriate content. Quit or retreat to get rid of the undesirable subject shortly.

How to surf the web creatively?

Help the children understand that the computer and Internet connection are powerful, but they must be used uprightly. Let surfing the web be a prominent mean for education, creativity and harmless fun to your kids.

1)    Use safe keywords to search with kids. For example, “healthy sports”, “beautiful parks”, “funny dogs”, “cutie cats”. You can invite children suggest some keywords providing that they are safe for searching.
2)    Screen the search result quickly and stop displaying the harmful ones.
3)    Enjoy the search result with your kids by reading the article or looking at the photos. Smile, laugh, and share thoughts with one another.
4)    Print some photos and ask your children to create funny dialogues for each image. This will release the kids from the computer and keep them busy in the creative process.
5)    Give the kids a more difficult assignment after finishing the funny dialogues. For example, ask them to link up all the images to create a story or learn a new skill. Surfing the web together to help the children get enough knowledge and fact about the subjects to facilitate their story creation and other learning.
6)    Give comments to the work and praise the kids for their efforts.
7)    Have the creation, learning process and result uploaded to a family blog and promise the kids to check this out together next time.

It’s worthwhile to set up a family blog with happy photos, a few words for memorable events and the creative works of your kids. Always refer back to this great treasure, recall the fun and happy moments in the past, and explore new ones together with your kids. 

Author’s note:

Surfing the web together with your kids to give them inspirations on what they could do, what game or hobbies the whole family could participate and have fun together. For more suggestions, welcome to read the three articles below:

Play with Kids: Ten Reasons to Do Blow Paint and How

Ten Hobbies Beneficial to Kids

Christmas Movies to Watch at Home

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

How to Wake Up On Time

Wake up on time is the key to be punctual to work, study and support to your family. It’s difficult, but doable if we adopt some efficient methods.
(Sailor Moon Alarm Clock)

To ensure waking up on time, we can work on four aspects: self-help, help from others, psychological boost and problem solving. Adopt relevant methods regardless the number, but make sure to cultivate your self-discipline as well, lest you don’t leave the bed quick enough but fall back to sleep again.


1)    Go to bed earlier and have enough sleep such as seven to eight hours in general.
2)    Assign a specific time to bed and wake up, and stick to the schedule in a regular basis. This habit could set the biological clock within you.
3)    Have good quality sleep. In other words, do whatever you can to minimize the disruption of a night’s sleep. For example, control the water intake to minimize the toilet visit.
4)    Relax rather than getting excited before going to bed. For example, shut down the TV and computer, don’t chat with your cell phone, listen to gentle music, and stop thinking about the daily worries.
5)    Use a noisy alarm clock.
6)    Use the alarm clock function in your cell phone as well. Loud music or song is highly recommended.
7)    Have birds as pet. Pick those that will sing in the early morning.
8)    Train your dog to jump onto your bed and lick you vigorously until you wake up.
9)    Do to see the doctor if you have chronic sleep disorder.

Help from others:

1)    Ask other people to shake you at a set time until you wake up, and if possible, drag you out of the bed.
2)    If you are living alone, ask someone to give you a morning call. Ring until you answer the call and talk to you for a few minutes to make sure you are fully wake up.
3)    Commit yourself with your beloved and run a penalty scheme. For example, you have to buy that person a dinner if you don’t wake up on time.

Psychological boost:

People always like to stay in the comfort zone. The bed is so warm and comfortable, so you are reluctant to leave it. If so, promise yourself many good things to cheer yourself up. Brainwash yourself that you are going to miss a lot of splendid things if you don’t get up on time. Guarantee a good start by stimulating your senses shortly after you wake up.

1)    Feast your eyes with your beloved, beautiful scenery, favorite celebrity, and cute animals.
2)    Listen to your favorite songs, especially those with encouraging lyrics.
3)    Smell the fresh air and the sweet flower scents.
4)    Have a delicious breakfast.


Some people are reluctant to wake up because they don’t want to face the foreseeable troubles. Get back to sleep won’t make the problem disappear; therefore, it’s better to wake up on time and address the issue properly.

Some of underlying problems could be:
1)    Great pressure on meeting deadlines at work
2)    Bully at school
3)    Boring job
4)    Long working hours
5)    Heavy workload at work or at school
6)    Relationship problem
7)    Debts

If the problem couldn’t be solved within a short period, learn to think positive when you wake up. Tell yourself thing is getting better day by day, and make sure you back up this belief with constructive actions.

Hope you will feel energetic after a night’s sleep and wake up on time to face all the challenges in your brand new day.

Author’s note:

Don’t just stop at waking up on time. You can do more to improve your time management by saving more time than you imagined. Read the article below for more details.

How to Steal Time? (12 Time Management Tips)

Sometimes, efficiency is not about time saving but doing a thing at the most convenient time such as traveling young.

What is The Best Time to Travel More in One’s Life and Why?

Monday, March 14, 2011

How to Use and Clean Chewing Gum

People enjoy chewing gum and dispose it when the flavor was gone. Have you ever thought of other uses? Also, do you know how to clean it from a mess?

Chewing gum is more than for chewing. Let’s exploit other uses. It can be surprisingly helpful when you use it creatively and properly.

Uses of chewing gum
1)    Different flavors are available to give satisfaction on taste.
2)    The chewing activity generates more saliva that helps avoid tooth decay.
3)    Some people use it to keep their mouth busy to check overeating.
4)    Some people use it to keep their mouth busy to check smoking.
5)    Clean the used stamp by pressing it on the chewed gum.
6)    Use the sticky chewed gum to pick up hairs, bits, dust and broken glass for disposal.
7)    The sticky chewed gum could temporarily substitute double-side tape in assignment such as hanging a paper.
8)    It can serve as a temporal station to hold needles.

Disposal of chewed gum could be as easy as point A stated. Unfortunately, some users are careless enough to create a mess. If you are the victim, don’t lose your cool. Try the cleaning method listed below.

Cleaning of chewed gum:
A)    Spit the chewed gum on a tissue and wrap it properly before the disposal to the rubbish bin.
B)    If the chewed gum was on a carpet or clothes, harden it by placing a bag of ice on it. Clean the hardened gum with a brush afterwards.
C)    Wipe off the chewed gum with a shovel, a cutter or something equivalent, and then rub the sole against the ground to get rid of the sticky remains.
D)    If the chewed gum was on hairs, apply cooking oil to the affected area. Wait for two to three minutes and then comb the hairs until no gum left. Wash your hair with shampoo thoroughly.

There are some other methods to clean the chewed gum, but they often require the use of chemicals. Let’s pray that everyone can use and dispose the chewed gum properly. Stick to Point A, which is the most efficient and the least costly method, and develop it as a good habit. It will save time, resources and efforts in keeping our environment clean.

If you can think of other creative use or natural cleaning method for chewed gum, welcome to leave a message and share with us all.

Author’s note:

Very often, we use an item for its major function only and overlook other possibilities that can extend the lifespan of that item. Some examples are newspaper and plastic bottles. Read the two articles below to exploit the new opportunities. Let’s make more contributions to save the Earth by being environmental-friendly. Everyone can do it.

15 Uses of Newspaper in Our Daily Life

15 Ways to Give Plastic Bottles a New Life

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Hostel in Singapore: Footprints Hostel

During my Singapore trip, I dwelled in Footprints Hostel. It’s a nice and economic option. Check it out see if it could meet your budget and needs.

(Footprints Hostels locates in Little India.)

When travelling alone within a limited time, usually four or five days, I tend to stuff my itinerary with as many scenic spots as possible. This means I will be staying outdoors most of the time, leave early and return late, going from one place to another. Lodging in an expensive hotel will be a waste because I will have no time to enjoy the grand layout, service and facilities such as swimming pool and gym. The most important thing is to have a clean bed that allows me reviving within a few hours; therefore, hostel is often a better choice than hotel to me.

Staying in hostel is less expensive because you can choose dorm for accommodation. Toilet and bathroom, though often shared, could be as clean as those private ones in a hotel. I used digital camera to capture my user experience. Satisfactory, isn’t it?


(Shared bathroom)

(Using these two hair dryers at the same time, my long hair dried fast.)

(Café at the ground floor)

Many hostels offer different options for dorm. Some options target to family or a bundle of friends, allowing people keep closer together and have more fun. Taking care of one another, elder and children in particular, is more convenient.

If you have an extrovert character, you will enjoy the additional benefit. Many hostels have a common room with a more carefree atmosphere that provokes chatting. It’s easier to talk with other travelers, get tips, share experience and make friends.

Hostel staff is often friendlier, more willing, ready and patient to offer help by providing travel information and tips than the hotel staff. Warm reception could make your day, enhancing the joyful degree of your trip.

With so many merits and lower cost, you may want to give hostel a try. No matter how inexpensive an offer is, do not forsake the basic needs and overlook the quality aspect. For example, choose a hostel that offers excellent safety, clean beds, reliable lockers, tidy toilets and bathrooms.

With the use of Internet, finding a suitable hostel is easier now. Many web sites offer detailed descriptions, photos of the facilities, user's rating and comments. Instant booking is also available. Take some time to review the rating and pay attention to the latest comments; the information will help you understand the latest condition of your options and come up with the best pick.

I am glad to pick Footprints Hostels for my stay in Singapore. Hope this hostel can keep up with its merits and strive for higher quality. Look forward to staying there again in the future.

Author’s note:

If you are planning a trip to Singapore or want to know the fun of touring there, welcome to read my three articles that cover 15 interesting tourist attractions.

15 Places to Visit in Singapore (Part One)
15 Places to Visit in Singapore (Part Two)
15 Places to Visit in Singapore (Part Three)