New beginnings in 2015

1 01 2015

I stopped blogging somewhere in the middle of 2014 because life simply got too hectic. That and typing on your iPad with 1 finger in the dark while waiting (& praying) for your child to fall asleep is quite tiring.

But I realised that I miss writing. So many thoughts in my head, viewpoints to bang out, stories to share, but they all got pushed behind the screen of Candy Crush and Frozen Freefall simply cos it’s easier to play a mindless game with 1 finger than to process thoughts that sometimes often are not pleasant.

It’s been a challenging 2014, but I am thankful for many blessings that came with the trials.

1. I was involved in a car accident in February, but thankfully I was not injured except for some whiplash, and the other driver agreed that it was his fault, so the insurance claiming was straightforward

2. My niece nearly died from a mystery illness which saw her lie immobilized in the hospital for days and just as we thought we were losing her, God stepped in and miraculously healed her.

3. I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. While it is an awful, debilitating disease with possible severe long-term effects, I am thankful amidst the chronic pain in my joints that at least there is a diagnosis and I am getting treatment.

There are more but obviously these are the more major ones and I think I will be blogging more about #3 on this blog this year.

I didn’t have many resolutions this NYE but one of them was to start blogging again. So here I am!

Whatever 2015 may bring, may we face it with truth, tenacity and thankfulness!





Simple silliness

1 05 2014

I guess with kids, you just gotta learn to appreciate the funny or silly side of things, or think in rather strange creative ways.

I was looking for a fly-swatter to deal with a range of pesky flying insects that seem to love to fly into our house especially during rainy weather. A regular one would do, but then I chanced upon this one shaped like a Chinese lettuce, or ‘Wong Bok’. So I just had to get the green coloured one! Can’t help laughing everytime I look at it. 😄

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Littlelam who will turn 8 this year (omg, i still can’t believe that), likes to take long showers on her own. I thought she was just slowly working through her long hair, but I realised from the lack of running water noise that she has been creating soap bubbles out of her (ridiculously expensive) California Baby Calendular body wash. I have been telling her not to waste so much soap and water but she has gotten quite expert at creating huge, beautiful bubbles which delight her little sister tremendously. It’s almost like a Elsa and Anna situation in the bathroom when they wash up at the same time. Except that instead of ice power, Littlelam has bubble power. This is what I mean:

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Now that I have mentioned Elsa and Anna, I am going to have the entire first 8 tracks of the Frozen CD stuck in my head on replay AGAIN! That, for another post.





Busy, blessed, egg- tra special Easter

20 04 2014

As Singapore becomes more and more globalised, the number of “Western” festivals that are celebrated on a commercial basis also increases. This year, there was this mahoosive Easter egg hunt event near Sentosa area (I think) and so many restaurants were running Easter themed brunches and buffets.

As a Christian, but not brought up with the typical ‘bunnies, eggs and chicks” imagery about Easter since Asian countries don’t typically celebrate Easter, I am usually quite anti- eggs. But since I had my own kids, I realise that there is indeed some sort of correlation between eggs and Easter. That eggs represent new life and that at Easter, we celebrate the new life that we can have in Christ who died on the cross and rose again! I have usually used Resurrection Eggs to help tell the Easter story, but this year I was a little more adventurous and decided to embrace egginess and come up with my very own egg-xciting crafts. (Pardon the puns)

1) Salt dough eggs with hidden surprise

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I experimented with wrapping Ferrero rocher chocolate inside aluminum foil and then wrapping a layer of salt dough over. Surprisingly, it worked! I’ll probably do another more detailed post on how to make this, but in the mean time u can leave a comment with your email if you want the recipe.🙂

2) Egg- themed Easter bunting

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The kids really got in on the action for both crafts, but the 1st one took us a few days, while we finished the bunting eggs in less than 2 hours.

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I let them raid my stash of washi tape and embellishments and they came up with beautiful egg designs, completely their own. Washi tape is so easy to use and so forgiving, even for little 3yo hands!

As I reflect again upon the cross and the impossible debt that I have been forgiven, I pray, that my girls, like the washi tape will grow in grace and beauty, and always be forgiving because of the knowledge that He first forgave us.

“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has gone, the new has come!” – 2 Cor 5:17





Traditional bakery

9 03 2014

I have a soft spot for bakeries. Firstly, I love bread (and all carbs in general). Secondly, I have a sweet tooth. Thirdly, I am highly olfactory, and one of my favourite smells is well, freshly baked anything. So the other day I had a free hour to myself for lunch and found myself wandering in the Thomson/ Balestier area, which is somewhere I really hardly ever go to, except to see my gynae, give birth or look for lights. Anyway, I was desperately looking for somewhere near enough and yet decent enough to have lunch, and was pleasantly surprised when I smelt found this small, traditional shophouse-style ‘bakery and eating house’ (I think it is more of a direct translation from Mandarin than a reference to a horror building).

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Apparently it’s been around for more than 30 years and I have definitely stopped by the road to buy the tau sar pia (bean filled pastry) which comes in both sweet and salty variations. However, this is the first time I’ve ever sat there and had lunch from the ‘eating house’ side of it. Again, I was pleasantly surprised that the food was pretty passable and I got to watch the bakers in action while I had my rice with meat and veg and teh Si (tea with evaporated milk).

20140309-231754.jpgThe fierce-looking lady sitting at the back looked like the matriarch who was overseeing the family operations. I was too afraid she would scold me so I only dared to sneak his lousy photo of the pia- making process.

The other thing I liked about this place was the old school decor. Recently, especially in the hipster, artsy, cafe-hopping community, ‘retro’ and ‘vintage’ has been making a comeback and is now rather revered and treasured. There are a few levels to this but it’s too long for me to ruminate here, but I reckon it’s largely a good thing that people are starting to look back on the old and see the beauty in the skilled craftsmanship, the stories of old, the memories and even the kitsch. So this place certainly has retained its old charm.

20140309-232344.jpgOther yummy home-made confectionary they were selling, including custard puffs and custard cake.

20140309-232406.jpgLoong Fatt boxes for their tau sar pia all stacked up

The place even had those retro booth-style seating at the side, but again, I was too terrified of the watchful eye of the scary matriarch to take a photo!

20140309-232437.jpgThe last two tau sar pia in the box of six that I bought home.





Toilet roll crafts and the birth of Mr. Toilet-roll Cat

22 02 2014

I happened to come across a link to The Best Toilet-paper Roll Crafts and really liked the owl ideas. So when we had a spot of free time this week, I took out our box of scrap materials and got Chilipadi in on the action.

The only problem was that she refused to make an owl, because, in her words, “I already have one!”. Indeed, we made a pre-packed Owl-on-a-stick craft recently and she had modified it to be an Owl-on-a-pencil which she lovingly stashes away in her drawer of ‘treasures’.

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So I had to think on the fly and suggested we do a cat instead, which she agreed on. So the concept is the same, just the embellishment had to be modified. We used pipe cleaners to make a collar with a bell on it, and the same pipe cleaner material for the tail. I let Chilipadi do the drawing of the eyes, ears and mouth on her own and the colouring in as well, so excuse me if it doesn’t look very polished. I believe in letting the kids do as much as they can on their own, and only step in to guide or work on the dangerous or hard parts.

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Why hello there, Mr. Toilet-roll Cat. You’re looking very spiffy!

Funnily enough, Mr. TR Cat is now being welcomed into our home of many toys and the girls have given him a warm reception with their other figurines. I’m always rather amused with these artistic messes and Daily Dioramas…

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Double Valentines Day

15 02 2014

Today is a very special 14 February because it is not only the Western Valentine’s Day, but also the Chinese equivalent of it. 元宵 Yuan Xiao Jie or the 15th day of the Lunar New Year celebrations is what we usually call this day but in Singapore we hardly do the lantern thing. Instead most of us have yet another meal together with our family to celebrate the end of the 15day festivities. Of course we don’t actually have big parties every single day for 15 days, but it’s almost kinda like the concept of 12 days of Christmas I guess!

Anyway, since both sides of the family (my parent and my in-laws) were not celebrating 元宵 this year, and usually my hubby and I have always refused to pay exorbitant amounts for a restaurant meal on Valentine’s day, I decided to cook a nice dinner for us instead. Steak is usually a restaurant or special occasion type of meal (as opposed to rice with varying dishes) so I wanted to try my hand at making a 3 course dinner. I made some Pumpkin Apple Soup from scratch, sweet potato and potato mash, salad and of course the steak. Unfortunately I gave up on dessert. No time, no inspiration, and too full. It turns out!

But what to do with the kids while we are trying to enjoy some ‘us time’? Put them out in the balcony for a special V-day dinner haha! It worked for the 1st course, the after we had to let them watch a DVD while we adults ate our dinner. But at least we were sitting together talking without much interruption!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

20140215-000404.jpgLetting the kids have their own special dinner

20140215-000629.jpgThe red heart card was made by little 3yo Chilipadi for us!

20140215-000919.jpgI tried to make things look nicer with the heart-shaped potato mash!





Storytelling

6 02 2014

Kids will be kids, and one thing about kids across cultures, ages and generations is that they all love a good book to be read to them. Even if they can quite easily read it themselves. I remember even at Primary 4, (age 9-10) I had a really nice form teacher called Miss Tan who had long silky hair and a really sweet smile who would read us a chapter of Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory everytime we had some extra time after completing the lesson. Till this day I remember how much we all enjoyed the way she told the story!

Littlelam has always been an avid and advanced reader for her age. At age 4 she was already reading independently and by 6 she had already progressed to Enid Blyton books and other simple stories recommended for 8yos. Now at 7+ she is still a voracious reader and I’m trying to read more of those ‘recommended’ books by popular modern authors and of course the classics. I’ve made some good progress with the Roald Dahl books and CS Lewis’ Narnia series but she is still chugging along and prefers her pet topics (literally) like stories about horses, bunnies and dogs. One of her favourite series is The Secret Unicorn series by Linda Chapman and she always goes searching for them at the library. She also loves the Magic Puppy/ Kitten/ Pony series by Sue Bentley. I have speed read a couple and I also find them pretty interesting. At least my little girl is more obsessed about animals than about princesses! Haha!

Anyway today while we were at the library trying our darndest to search for some of those school ‘recommended books’ (which was a disappointing, futile task, by the way), there happened to be a book reading session for kids! So since our search was just getting us really frustrated, I asked her if she’d like to attend, even though it was probably targeted at pre-schoolers. She did, and she really really enjoyed the reading of the 3 storybooks as the lady was really animated and could engage the kids really well. I didn’t sit in, but watched from outside while poring through a craft book.

I’m so thankful that in Singapore we really get such great access to good books for free, plus a whole lot more free library programmes that are worth attending if you have the time and are interested! Check out the National Library Board website for more info.

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The kids enjoying the storytelling session








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