Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Another alternative for MS Office - free

Who doesn't love free stuffs? My eyes and ears are always on the look up for anything that is free or gratis.. :D, especially if that free stuff is a great item which will cost me a fortune to have the same/similar thing somewhere else.

So, this morning, when I was browsing the newspaper, I came across an article about IBM Lotus Symphony.
IBM Lotus Symphony is an office productivity suite that consists of Lotus Symphony Documents, Lotus Symphony Spreadsheets, and Lotus Symphony Presentations and is available for free-download.

Great! There is another alternative office productivity suite for MS Office and it is FREE!!
This is great! So, this Lotus Symphony is joining OpenOffice.org for this free-to-download office productivity suite market.
Another alternative product(especially the free one) for this suite pack is very good for us so that we don't depend on MS Office all the time. Office users should try to look into these alternatives and learn to use them.

I met many people (who are pure office pack users and are not internet savvy) who do not know that there are other similar software to MS Office that are available for free. They only know MS Word and friends. They are only familiar with this MS Office suite and do not dare to try alternative softwares which are similar to MS Office pack. The problem is...MS Office is very expensive, especially the one for business!

So, yeah...this news from IBM is great. We will have more options to learn and get familiar with.

You can read more information about IBM Lotus Symphony and download the software for free here:
or here:

Read about OpenOffice.org and download it for free here:

Monday, November 05, 2007

Thomas and friends birthday treat

There was no crafted scary looking pumpkin sitting in front of my door for the Halloween but instead, there was a cute innocent looking of Thomas the train face carefully drawn as part of the decorations for my son's birthday cake.

Yes, that's right. My son celebrated his 3rd birthday last month and I had to creatively come up with my own trick to have Thomas and friends birthday treat for him.
It was a last minute change of plan from Kipper the dog theme to Thomas the train theme because my son suddenly felt tired of seeing Kipper all the time.
For the past 2 weeks before the D-day, I had been digging out any information from anyone and of course from the internet, courtesy the lovely mr. know-it-all-Google.com, so that I could print my son's favorite cartoon character on his birthday cake. I really wanted to see his big big smile when he saw the cake for the first time. I racked my brain to mix and match any edible materials to get Thomas' face pasted on the cake. It's frustrating but it was fun to do. I baked the chocolate cake on the night before the big day.
The next day, I woke up at 5am to get Thomas' face ready before I decorated the cake.
Since my family is anti-butter sugar icing, so I decided to use cream cheese instead to frost the cake.

By 8 o'clock the Thomas birthday cake was ready. My husband was very surprised to see the cake. He never knew I could make such a cool cake before. I had to keep the cake in the fridge first before starting to decorate the whole house with all things Thomas and his friends. I made all the decorations by myself including the birthday boy hat.

At 10 o'clock, the birthday boy woke up and got out of the room. He had a very big smile on his face though his eyes were still half opened. He walked towards the dining table. His smile was even bigger now and his eyes were widely open for he was so amazed to see all his beloved cartoon characters, lead by Thomas the train, were displayed on the dining table. He gasped and said, "It's my birthday...today!". He sounded exactly like Jake (when Jake celebrates his birthday), one of his favorite characters in Kipper the dog show. I kissed him and said, "Happy birthday, sweetheart. Yes, it is. Today is your birthday and you turn 3 today."

After he drank his milk, I shoved him to the bathroom to get ready for his birthday party. Not too long, he came out again from the room wearing Thomas and friends T-shirt and pants. I put on his birthday boy hat right away. He looked extremely cute. He looked even cuter when he saw the birthday cake I brought out from the kitchen. He giggled to see his Thomas birthday cake complete with the train miniature and 3 lighted candles.

Once every one was ready, we started the birthday party. Since my son hasn't gone to school yet, he only had his mommy, daddy, his nanny, Kipper the dog and friends, Little Einstein, and of course Thomas and friends to come to his birthday party.
We all sang Happy birthday to him and my son, he just could not wait to blow the candles. He kept on blowing the candles even when we haven't finished singing the birthday song. After blowing his candles for 3 times, he insisted to cut the cake by himself. So, I let him cut the cake.
"Oh no! I cut Thomas, mommy!I cut Thomas!" he screamed. I laughed so loud I could not hide it. I knew he was going to say that. I helped him cutting the cake and gave it to every one. The chocolate cake was sooo delicious. I made the chocolate cake to suit my son's taste. Every one loved the cake.

On that day, my son was not the only one who was over the moon. I was very happy to know that this simple birthday party was a success, especially the Thomas birthday cake.
On that day, my son was not the only one celebrating. Me too, I was celebrating my 3 years of motherhood.
My son is 3 now and he is going to kindergarten soon. Oh how time flies! I still remembered clearly from the first day I conceived him, delivered him, breast-fed him, changed his nappies, carried, rocked, and sang lullaby for him for hours until he slept. He is a little man now who is very talkative, active, and smart. No matter how fast he grows up, to me, he will still be my cute little boy, the magic that God has created in me.

Happy birthday, baby! I love you very much. My prayers are with you always.