I’m afraid I have only heard of one of these terms – do we make these words up for a purpose? Pretty fun I think. “If your wife is breastfeeding or plans to breastfeed, you will be barraged with new terminology. Not only should you know what they mean, you should be respectful of the implications they carry with them. For all you veteran Noodads, please add to this list so the newbies can be prepared.” The Noodad Breastfeeding Dictionary.
Monthly Archives: April 2006
Haba Roman Arch Blocks
I don’t know who likes playing these toys more, my daughter or myself. Perhaps me. She is still a bit young to have the patience to sit and make large structures but it’s a wonderful way to teach early and fine motor skills. I like these particular blocks as they give you the tools you need to build as complicated or as simple a structure as you like.The blocks are made of unfinished beech wood and will stand up to the test of time. This set is $35.99 at Oompa.
I think our daughter Catriona is at the perfect age to start keeping her belongings tidy and put away. Instead of just throwing off her clothes and having daddy come around to pick them up later – teaching her now the proper place to put her stinky socks might help avoid the disaster my room was when I was kid. The Jax Hamper made with organic cotton is a stylish and sustainable way to start this basic skill. It’s available in 3 colours for $102.00US from Nest Products.
Nyokki Plant Pots
Catriona and I did some planting last week but somehow the bottom of a plastic coke bottle just doesn’t seem as cute as these. “Nyokki means “grow, grow, and grow” and that’s what a Nyokki does. An adorable cast of original characters, Nyokkis are hand-made in Japan from glazed ceramic, shaped like an egg with little fabric legs. Nyokki are easy to grow – seeds germinate and grass grows to full height in less than two weeks.” $9.95US each from Sprout Home.
Wooden Stacking Rings
We have plastic stacking rings that light up and play sounds. It seemed like a good idea; the toy plays a success song when the task is completed and allows for some visual and auditory stimulus. Except it requires batteries and thus starts the great lifelong task of remembering to change batteries in a million different toys. Next time I am sticking with beautifully made wooden toys that offer much of the same in terms of play but without being a machine. $19.95US at piccolini.
With a name which references the famous big eared Disney character the Dombo Cup is wonderfully designed with “big ears” to help children who are just developing their coordination skills. We found similar products like this in the stores in our area but nothing as great as this. Nonbreakable and dishwasher-safe, not for the microwave. $15.00US at the MoMA store.
Sakura Pink Kimono Top
A beautiful kimono top in a colour and pattern which I am sure my daughter would love. She is into dresses at the moment, “so she can dance”, but she might be coerced into wearing the coordinating pants as well. Made of 100% cotton, this kimono top by Lucky Wang comes packaged in a sushi box. $31.00US from Mod Mama. Via Swiss Miss.
Chocho Pull Along Toy
Living in a country where every toy seems to be built with toxic plastic that breaks in three days I have developed a renewed enthusiasm for toys ‘made of wood. Meet Chocho a toy sure to inspire our children’s imagination. Made of solid wood and handpainted with non-toxic paint, Chocho makes a perfect addition to our children’s toy collection. Available from Bright October for $29.95US.
Mobile Interaction Design Book
“Mobile Interaction Design shifts the design perspective away from the technology and concentrates on usability; in other words the book concentrates on developing interfaces and devices with a great deal of sensitivity to human needs, desires and capabilities.”
From the first chapter of Mobile Interaction Design, by Matt Jones.
“Perhaps, though, the real issue is not whether mobile devices should focus mainly on communication or information processing. There is a broader concern – should one device try to do everything for a user or should there be specialized tools, each carefully crafted to support a particular type of activity? This is the debate over the value of an ‘appliance attitude’ in mobile design. Should we focus on simple, activity-centered devices – ones that might well combine task-specific communication and information facilities – or look to providing a ‘Swiss Army Knife’ that has every communication and information management feature a manufacturer can pack into it?”
You can Download chapter 1 (pdf, 2.3 mb, 37 pages). Mobile Interaction Design is available from Amazon. Found via Putting People First
How to Run Errands with Kids at Your Side
I’ve never had much of a problem with this. In fact in this country bringing my daughter along is an asset to getting things done. There are times of course when some errands are best done with the kids at home but it’s mostly a matter of adjusting or compensating. If I get groceries with my daughter it means I can’t get as much or if I need to go downtown to a shop it means giving myself extra time. These suggestions from Modern Mom readers might give you some ideas if you find this difficult.
One of the suggestions: “… I park my toddlers on the carpeted floor with a mini-DVD player we bring with us. “. Don’t kids get enough TV? How about teaching our kids to sit quietly and read? I know TV is a great tool for us because our daughter watches so little of it she becomes completely mesmerized by the whole experience when she does.
A stash of goody bags for portable entertainment
Great idea and very organized.
“About once a week, I prepare several “goody bags” for my 2.5-year-old daughter. Usually this is a ziploc or an envelope containing a sheet of paper, a few stickers, a crayon, maybe a page from a children’s catalog. When I get free address labels from charities, I put those into the goody bags. I stash the goody bags in my diaper bag and dole them out whenever needed: at restaurants, in shopping carts, in the back of the car. It always keeps her happy for at least a few minutes.”
Visit Parent Hacks
Bedtime battles: How to nip them in the bud
Here is something we have been going through and some good ideas for dealing with it from Parent Center.
“If you’re like most parents, you’re all too familiar with this scenario: You put your preschooler to bed at 8:30 at night, hugging and kissing her and wishing her sweet dreams. It’s been a long day, but still the dinner dishes await, you have bills to pay, the dog needs to be walked and the cat fed, and you haven’t had a spare moment to put your feet up. But instead of spending the rest of the evening catching up on your chores and clocking some precious time with your partner, you’re in and out of your child’s room, cajoling her to sleep. She finally nods off — about three hours after she first went to bed.”
Read the entire article.
Calculate Your Sleep Debt
This might be a scary exercise for those with newborns who haven’t quite started to align their sleep habits with us adults. I’m sure most are not getting near enough sleep. I know for sure that lack of sleep hurts my productivity tremendously and even decisions like what kind of candy of candy to by my becomes a chore. British Airways suggests that you can figure out if you’re getting enough sleep and hurting your productivity by calculating your sleep debt.
“Less sleep = less productivity
Time zone changes, internal body clock disruptions and irregular food and exercise patterns can all result in a sleep debt. Making difficult decisions is not easy if you are sleepy, jet lagged and not at your peak.
Pay it back
Work out how much sleep you owe your body and find out how to recover if your sleep account is in the red.”
Are you getting enough sleep? Via Lifehacker.
KDE as an Example of Bad Interface Design
The work areas have been taken over by unnecessary short cuts to commands that are seldom used. “Toolbars are useful for giving users immediate access to the most frequently used commands.” [Apple’s user interface guildlines window appearance section]. So if you are making a media player just because you have the actions cut, copy and paste does not mean they should be in the toolbar, but Play, Pause and Next should be. Application do not need to present this much to the users on the default view and in many cases it is redundant.
Thanks to Ben Meyer.
Pork with Pineapple Raisin Sauce
I found this simple sauce tonight via a “feelin’ lucky” search on Google – I was scampering to find something interesting to eat. It was originally meant as a sauce for a pork roast but you can’t get roast pork in Hsinchu nor do I have a large oven to cook it in. It had to be changed slightly to be cooked in a wok.
It worked out ok and I will give it another try but with less sugar and raisins.
1st) Cook a large piece of lean pork that has been cut into small pieces in the wok. You will want to add some onion, about 5 cloves of garlic, and a pinch of salt and pepper as it cooks. Just before the meat is completely cooked add the sauce.
- 1/2 – 1 c. finely cut pineapple
- 1/2 c. raisins
- 1/2 c. brown sugar
- 1/2 c. water
- 1 tbsp. corn starch
Mix (with a whisk) brown sugar, water, and raisins in small bowl. Add corn starch as you are mixing. Poor over pork and bring wok to high. Add pineapple and mix about.
Within a short period of time the sauce will thicken. I let it sit on low while I prepare the vegetables in another wok.
Serve with long grain rice (Thai. rice being my favourite).
Nurseryworks Square changing station
I would love to buy furniture like this. This square changing table coordinates with a whole line of items from Nurseryworks and features a “modern modular aesthetic”. Unfortunately it’s a bit difficult to buy anything nice where I live now. The house I live in so ugly, ugly beyond repair, that nice furniture or art tends to get swallowed by it’s surroundings. It’s a pretty typical for homes built in Taiwan around the time of ours to be built to such poor standards. I chose it though for it’s size, it’s a luxury to have so much interior space in Asia. Available for $900US from Design Public.
Blabla Lulu Stuffed Toy
I would love to buy more toys like this, as it brings back memories of a time when people would actually make toys and clothes for children that would last for generations. I like the design of this stuffed doll – happy colours and face. It’s certainly different than the LuLu character that I developed a number of years ago. You buy Lulu for $37.95US at bright october. There is allot of great stuff for kids at this online boutique so it’s worth your while to spend some time browsing their catalogue.
First Aid Kit For Kids
I always try to remember to take one of our first aid kits with me whenever I go on a walk with my daughter. She tends to suffer more of the usual bumps and scrapes that most kids her age have. This little kit is designed to teach first aid to children ages 7 to 12 and while a good idea is a bit much for her. It’s a good idea to teach kids early how to take care of themselves if they get and this kit includes a flash-card-style first aid manual with easy-to-read instructions to help. Available from REI for $9.95US.
Sleep Thief Onesie
No one tells you just how much sleep you lose when you add a second child to your family. I don’t think I have had a good nights sleep in over a month. Though it’s all part of the joys of parenting, that doesn’t mean we can’t have a little good natured fun with our son for robbing us of our sleep. This funny long-sleeved onesie, jailbird striped with a ‘Sleep Thief’ screenprint across the chest, is available at babystyle for $42.00US. I think I just have to buy one before he grows out of the habit.
Grobag® Egg™ Room Thermometer
“The colour of the ‘egg’ changes to let you if the room temperature is too low, too high or just right, helping you maintain a safe sleeping environment for your baby. No need to put the light on to read a traditional thermometer!”
An interesting and rather useful ambient interface implementation. What are ambient interfaces? Tom Gross at Fraunhofer gives a good definition based on the work of Gross, Weiser and Brown:
“Ambient interfaces use the whole environment of the user for the interaction between the user and the system. They present digital information through subtle changes in the user’s physical environment such as variations of light, sounds, or movements. They capture natural interactions of the user with physical devices such as switches, buttons, or wheels and translate them into digital commands (Gross, 2002; Wisneski et al., 1998). Ambient interfaces go beyond the classical graphical user interface and do not consume real estate on the computer screen; they make user interaction with the system easier and more intuitive. Their properties of a calm technology (Weiser & Brown, 1996) are particular useful for situations, in which users want and need permanent background information without being disrupted in their foreground tasks.”
Despite just being a working proof of concept, the ambient interface we created called “Girls Ambient Room” has proven to be pretty popular despite little or know marketing on our part. I wonder how we will deal with all these new bits of information entering our environment. Instead of dealing with understanding the complexity of a screen based GUI will be now have to start learning how to read our environment? Hopefully we won’t have to learn to deal with more information but better information. Thinkingliving – egg thermometer. Originally published on Kelake.