Superman cake

Do you have a superhero in your life?

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For one family, the superhero is the dad and I was asked to make a simple vanilla-lemon sponge cake with the Superman logo on it.

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A few days before the cake was baked, I sourced for the logo and resized it to fit the pan which I’m going to use.

imageCut out the shape of the logo and trace it onto a cardboard and you would need to cut it (the cardboard) again before using it as a guide to cut out the shape from yellow fondant. I added tylose powder to the fondant as I need it to harden. You would need to use your sugarcraft tools to cut out the shape from the fondant.

imageUsing the cardboard as a guide again, cut out the finer details from the red fondant (with tylose powder) and very carefully put the red piece on the yellow one and leave to dry.

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After the logo has dried (which takes a few hours), I used the black food coloring and paint the outline. This has to be done really carefully as you want the border to be neat!

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Once that is done, you would need to let it dry again. The paint will take a while to dry up. To quicken it, you may add extract or alcohol to the coloring so that it will help in the drying process.

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Remember the cardboard that you have in the beginning, that is useful when you carve the shape of the cake. Assemble as you would for other cakes. I used Italian meringue buttercream in between the layers.

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I piped scallops for the bottom of the cake using Wilton tip #21 or any small star tip. Lastly, you would need to place the fondant logo very very carefully and precisely on top of the cake and that’s it!

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:)

Pizza lunch date and a mushroom soup recipe

Every so often, I would plan a lunch date with my sister and we would prepare some fun stuff for the kids to work on for their lunch. Previously, it was sushi and this time round, I thought of having pizza. Obviously, the base (bread dough) has to be prepared by the adults and the children would just need to place the toppings of their choice onto the dough.

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It was just like that. Simple. Obviously, Faith needed a little guidance but there’s nothing too difficult about ‘throwing’ ingredients onto the base.

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Love how the kids were watching intently as I put some mozzarella cheese on top. The little one wanted to help as well.

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Our homemade pizza.

Besides the pizza, I prepared mushroom soup as well. Nope, not campbell soup although that would save me lots of time. I personally prefer those that has a lot of mushrooms in it. The more variety, the better. The following mushroom soup recipe will take up some time and effort but the end result is all worth it, especially if you are a mushroom lover like Faith and me!

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Creamy Mushroom Soup (adapted from Easy Recipes by Christine Ho)

200g Portobello mushroom
150g of a mixture of brown and white button
50g of shittake mushroom
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup [homemade] chicken stock
1 cup water
80 ml cooking cream/whipping cream ( use whatever amount you are happy with)

[Thickening]
1 tsp cornflour
2 tbsp water

1. Wipe the mushroom clean and cut into big pieces. Set aside. (Good quality mushrooms only need to be cleaned with a wet cloth before cooking. If you really want to rinse with water, make sure you do not soak them in water for too long since they tend to soak up lots of water, thus affecting the taste of the dish).

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2. Heat a heavy-based saucepan. Add butter and vegetable oil. When the butter starts to melt, add the chopped garlic. Stir-fry until fragrant. Add mushrooms and stir-fry over medium-high heat. The mushrooms will absorb the fats very quickly. Do take note.

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3. Add chicken stock and water. Bring to boil. Cover the saucepan with a lid. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.

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4. Turn the heat off and let it cool slightly. Drain the mushrooms and puree using the food processor (mine is a chopper) in two batches. Return to the saucepan and warm over medium heat.

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5. Add cream. Adding the cream is the key to producing the creamy smoothness of this soup. I didn’t add all of the 80ml since I want it less ‘sinful’ because the little ones would be having it. ;p Do stir well!

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6. When it starts to boil, stir in the thickening. Cook to desired thickness. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with croutons.

It does seem like a lot of work but when it first take a spoonful, you will find that the effort is all worth it. Try it and see if you like this version of the mushroom soup. This recipe is adapted from Christine Ho’s Easy Recipes and I really do like the recipes found in that cookbook/ website.

Faith @ 25th month

Faith’s 25th month has been one of great adventure and fun. New school, new friends, new activities…just to name a few and I really ought to record these! Since Faith started school, I have been working on some activities for her to learn at home because teaching shouldn’t be the responsibility of the teachers only. In fact, I believe parents should play a bigger role, no? Anyway…

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In late December, our friends came back for a visit and we met up to visit the SEA aquarium. It was a wonderful outing and Faith made a new friend – YY – who is a few month younger than her.

imageThe two girls were mesmerized by the different types of fish and I thought I should reinforce the learning at home and worked on the topic on sea creatures.

imageReading is always included in the ‘curriculum’ and these days, Faith would grab a book and read by herself. She loves books with flaps and each morning, she would reach for this particular one and admire the wonderful pictures.

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Bought these sea creatures from the supermarket one day and created a sensory bin for her.

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Subsequently, I got her to identify the sea creatures after sharing their names with her. She could identify most of them now (from the ones I have taught her). Getting her to identify numbers is still a pain because she doesn’t like to learn the conventional way. I must think of more interesting way to teach her!

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Love this bilingual book that is loaned to me by a mummy friend. Faith continues to learn about fish when she goes to her grandpa’s place where there is a small aquarium of fish. My dad will get her to feed them.

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Recently, I also introduced a more intentional way of reading Bible stories to her by having materials for her to work on while going through the story with her. She could be peeling stickers and pasting them or coloring the pictures. All these are good because she can continue to work on her fine motor skills. The above is the story on Jonah.

Apart from teaching her about sea creatures, colors and numbers for the time being, I scheduled a lot of play time for her. I’m still trying to fit in swimming, playground time, water play, skate-scooting and more recently, cycling into each week. I still find that consistency works if you want anyone to develop a skill. Say, for example, after a break from swimming during November and December, Faith found it difficult to stay underwater, even for a split second. Before that, I could lead her to ‘swim’ in the water for a short distance. Now, she’s merely drinking in the water and getting choked in the process. How frustrating!

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Getting Faith to spend time in the outdoors is important to me. I know she can be bored at home with the usual activities and getting out to breathe in fresh air is crucial.

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She loves to spend time with her cousins and they can be good influence in terms of getting her to skate-scoot. Recently, she inherited a tricycle from her cousin and she’s loving it! Skate-scooting wise, I think she has finally gotten the hang of using her foot to move as compared to just being pushed along by us!

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At this point in time, I’m more concerned about building her character than academics and outdoor activities help a lot in developing grit and patience. She needs to learn that the world does not revolve around her and that she cannot get her way instantly. She has to learn to wait, take turns and share her stuff.

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Since the new year, social life has taken a step back. Last year, we went out often to have play dates and this year, due to school, there is little opportunity to meet her with her playmates. I have to be intentional about meeting up with friends so that she could still connect with her friends and meet new ones!

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Faith is getting more mischievous by the day, not the naughty but the playful kind. However, since attending school, she has become more clingy to me which is a big ‘sigh’ for me. She picked up phrases like ‘oh my god!’ from school and apologized more to me when she thought that she has made me angry. We definitely don’t like the OMG phrase and we had to correct her. There is much teaching to be done at home such as getting her to know the right from wrong and to continue to share her things with others (not really an issue).

Appetite-wise, it has improved since going to school! Yay! She spits out food less often and eats meat now! I’m a happy Mama!

So the 25th month is really one that is filled with much adventure and fun. May this continue into the months ahead.

:: Faith could wear her own shoes once she started school. Peer influence helps!

:: She asks to use pencils and colour pencils more often now.

:: She loves playing with playdoh!

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Strawberry butter cupcakes

This week had been rather relaxing in the sense that I could bake in peace during the three hours that I have when the little one was in school. Since I had guests coming over, I decided to make some cupcakes andfrost them using dual colors/tones.

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This is a simple butter cupcakes which I have added strawberry paste to. After they were baked, I inserted a little strawberry jam into the cupcakes before frosting them with Italian meringue buttercream, the one buttercream I would use because it can withstand our tropical heat. :)

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To create the dual colors, I filled one piping bag with the buttercream and the other bag with buttercream that has red added to it. I didn’t really want red and pink suits me fine. Place the two piping bags into another bigger piping bag with Wilton piping tip 1A and squeeze. The colors will come out well.

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Strawberry butter cupcakes

6 egg yolks

5 egg whites

250g unsalted butter

230g self-raising flour

180g caster sugar

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2tsp to 1tsp strawberry paste

:: Preheat oven to 170C.

:: Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy and add in the strawberry paste. Cream and then set aside.

:: In another bowl, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks are formed. Then add in the egg yolks one at a time. Continue beating for another 3 minutes on medium-high.

:: Reduce the speed to medium and add in the butter mixture. Beat until well combined.

:: Reduce the mixer speed to low and add in the flour and baking powder. Beat until well-combined. Don’t over eat.

:: Fill each each cupcake liner till 2/3 full and bake for about 18-20 minutes (depending on your oven).

:: The cupcakes are done when a toothpick inserted comes out clean or when the cupcake springs back when you use your finger to press it lightly.

:: Allow the cupcakes to stay in the cupcake tray for a few minutes before taking them out onto the cooling rack .

While Faith is in school…

Ever since Faith started and settled well in school, those three hours have been a real treat to me. Suddenly, I find that I have time to myself without “Mama, Mama” ringing in my ears. I could poo in peace (sorry for being crude) for once and indulge in a book. Oh, how long have I not read any literature? Children’s storybooks I have read aplenty but books that nourish my soul? Hardly.

Putting Faith in school seems like a good choice now especially when she’s not resisting it.

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Now, I could do Pilates without rushing off to pick F up and to squeeze in some time to read,

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get my body moving and the heart pumping while admiring God’s creation and all of nature’s beauty,

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work on my cakes and figurines in peace without having to stop halfway to tend to a whining toddler,

20150114_102934and uninterrupted time to experiment with recipes.

I feel a part of that old me has returned. All these while, I have been busying myself with being a mother. A lot of what I have been doing revolve around her. Whenever I place Faith with my parents/in-laws, it would be because I need to run an errand or do some teaching of classes. I’m always rushing from place to place and at times, things are not done properly.

Now that I have three hours (2.5 hours to be exact) to myself, I’m going to treasure those quiet moments and find myself again.

I was lost in motherhood… and I need to come back.

Linking up with

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Faith goes to school!

The day finally came for Faith to attend school and it was quite an experience for me! The weeks leading to the commencement of school saw me preparing the little one for her new adventure. We talked a lot about going to school, how her cousins love learning in school and read relevant storybooks. We even got her to wear her school uniform and carry her own bag. Trial run!

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So, the little one had mentioned that she wanted to go to school all these while when I asked her. she sounded enthusiastic but I know I would meet with obstacles on the first day. Faith had never attended any drop-off classes and while she had attended multiple playdates, I was with her all the time. This time round, I have to disappear from the scene and I wonder how she would react.

Thankfully, the school has allowed parents to be in the class for 3 days to slowly transit the young kids. We were advised to leave the classroom once we felt that we were ready to let go and let the school staff handle. I thought this is thoughtful of them. They must have realised that the parents are equally anxious (if not more!) as the children.

On the first day, I assured Faith that I would be back for her after 3 hours and bade her farewell. She nodded her head and I left, with her sitting at the assembly area. And she didn’t move AT ALL. She sat there, frozen, with her hand clenched. That pose remained for a good 10 minutes before she wailed.

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I knew she was trying to control herself from crying but in the end, she couldn’t hold the tears any longer. I reached out to her ( I was hiding behind a wall all along!) and calmed her. Thankfully, she cooled down after a short while and joined in the activities.

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I’m thankful that the principal was very hands-on and reached out to Faith. She made her feel at home and stayed by her side. I guess Faith just needed to be with a constant figure and to know that she is safe. I tried to be away from her sight when she was engaged with the activities, preferring to have the teachers tend to her instead of having me by her side.

The first day ended on a pretty good note. When I asked her if she liked school, she replied positively.

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On the second day which was the following Monday, she entered the premise with resistance. The fact that there was another boy who was crying non-stop didn’t help the situation. The teacher whisked the crying Faith in and I left the school quickly. When I picked her up, I was told (by the principal) that she stopped crying after a while and just needed to be with someone she’s familiar with. That day, all the other parents stopped short of entering the classroom which helped in transiting the children.

On the third day, Faith hugged and kissed me goodbye and into the classroom she went. There was a little tearing and reluctance but that’s about it.

Fourth day? No tears. Hallelujah!

Honestly, I thought it would be a whole week of drama for me and I have mentally prepared myself for this episode. But, it has turned out to be so much better than I had expected. The first two days were difficult. So much separation anxiety for both kids and parents alike. I was sharing with another parent that I felt so bad to have enrolled Faith in the school at such a young age and the parent (a SAHM) agreed. Both of us were guilt-laden. I guess we were not the only ones, right?

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Children are highly adaptable beings and once there is consistency in routine, they will be all right. I guess when the children see the same people every day and know that they can be safe in that environment, they will ease up and enjoy the activities and company of others. Each time Faith came out from the classroom, she would recount what she had gone through (in her own ways, of course) that day. It is indeed a joy to see her enjoying school. The principal told me that a girl who is a year older than Faith kept looking out for her and when Faith was sad, she could go over and comfort her. Oh, how sweet!

I learnt to let go and to have faith in the school. The staff members have dealt with the same situation every year and they would know what to do.

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“Do you like school?”

“Yes…”

“Do you want to go to school?”

An enthusiastic ‘yes’.

:)

School isn’t that bad after all.

Pororo cake that went ;(

Recently, my cousin asked me to bake a Pororo cake for my nephew and I went, “What is Pororo?”

Okay, I know I am really ignorant but pardon this busy mother, all right? When she showed me a picture, I know for certain that I have seen this character before. He’s so cute!

Nothing much was asked for the cake except that it has to have the Pororo figurine somewhere. My cousin is easy on the cake, just a simple vanilla and a non-fondant one will do.

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A few days before the actual cake collection, I set out to do the centre-piece, which is Pororo itself. It isn’t difficult to do the body. In fact, you just need two big round mass for the body and head respectively. The difficult part lies in the finer details like the pilot’s hat and the specs. I took quite a while to figure out the proportion of the hat while using two different sizes of the piping tip to make the spectacle rims.

IMG_20150103_2257130.7179084798424332The decoration pieces were made two days in advance.

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I used Wilton’s food writer pens to draw in the details of the hat and the eyes itself on the actual day of the cake collection.

IMG_20150104_1718340.2740290181284296So, I used a super soft vanilla sponge cake for this cake order. I took a risk by laying a piece of fondant on the top so that I could stick the figurines and other decor pieces on it. The Pororo figurine proved to be too heavy for the sponge cake and I had to insert a dowel/ lollipop stick to sustain the weight.

IMG_20150104_1719460.5715718599551294Originally, I had wanted to put some trees as part of the decoration but the sponge cake is really not suitable to withstand the weight. In the end, they had to be placed on the cake board. I think I should just stick to my regular vanilla sponge cake recipe.

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But you know what? The cake didn’t impress. Granted that the Pororo character is cute (I find that it is adorable!) but the sponge cake itself is a flop. My dear cousin gave me an honest feedback about the cake and I do believe I have to go back to testing the recipes again. I’m just angry with myself that the sponge cake has escape my QC during the assembling stage! Arghh…Perhaps something went wrong during the mixing part but oh well… need to really make improvement!

I’m thankful that folks gave me feedback regardless whether it is good or bad review. We all need it for improvement, don’t we?

;)

2015 is here!

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A blessed new year to one and al! I can’t believe it’s 2015 already!

Looking back, 2014 has been good to me mostly because I was able to spend more time with my family. Those outings, scrumptious dinner prepared by mom and the fact that I have my family with me are important to me. Brother came back with his family and we had wonderful moments together. My in-laws are wonderful people to hang out with. The food prepared by our aunt was just too good to resist and I’m thankful that they are always willing to lend a helping hand to us.

My priority for 2015 remains the same – to spend quality time with the family. I think at the end of the day, when one is stripped of everything, there is still FAMILY.

I also want to grow with my spiritual family. We are blessed to be with a group who is encouraging towards one another and one who always reminds us to seek the Lord. For 2015, the hubs and I would probably be more involved in giving of our time to serve others in the church and there remains the question of whether I would want to devote some time in the children’s church.

2014 saw me baking cakes for friends. Thank you once again for believing in me and even ordering from me even though there are many excellent bakers and cake decorators out there. I hope to continue to hone my skills, experiment with more recipes and bake more cakes in 2015…

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… and possibly record the cakes I make on this platform.

2014 was a year of learning for me in terms of teaching the young ones. Having a group of like-minded mothers to plan activities together for our weekly playdate is truly a privilege. While you may think that the kids benefitted from the activities, I would like to say that I gained much insight from the fellow mothers on teaching young ones.

Though F would be going to school this year, there would still be learning for her at home. I definitely hope to have time to think through the ‘curriculum’ and to carry it out dutifully. But above all, I pray that F would grow up a healthy and joyful child.

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When I was younger, I used to come with up with a list of to-do items or goals, as you call them, for the fun of it. I wish to do one too for 2015 but I just couldn’t find the time to do so. For now, what I know is that I would want to channel my energy on my family.

May 2015 be a fruitful year for all.

Faith graduated!

On the third week of December, the mummies of our regular playdates came together and threw a Christmas cum graduation party for the little ones. Oh my, I still remember the first lesson that we had, with only three children. By the end of the year, the group has enlarged to 6 (full strength). When Faith first started the coop/playgroup, she was only 16 months and now she is already 2 years old!

I regret not being diligent in recording EVERY single coop because they really are sweet memories. I MUST blog about this Christmas party!

IMG-1628-1We were a tad early for the celebration and did the usual – photo taking! Mummy Ez had kindly bought the Christmas decors from Daiso as she wanted the function room to be more festive-looking.

IMG-1639-1Children love balloons and what’s a party without balloons? The kids were thrilled, of course, while the mummies laboured.

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Faith loves balloons and has recently discovered that they can burst if she continues to use her fingers or fingernails to scratch on the surface. Such a terror!

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We had snacks and I baked the group a Hello Kitty strawberry-flavoured cake. F, as usual, was my fan, but the cake was well-received! I baked this cake for one of the mummies who is crazy over Hello Kitty. It’s always a pleasure baking cakes for friends!

IMG-1726After everyone had arrived, I started reading the Nativity story, complete with some cardboard figurines. It’s difficult to find a big book on Nativity and one that is easy for the toddlers to comprehend. So I hope the extra materials would help!

IMG-1732Cute eh?

IMG-1741Mummy Ade went on with craftwork and the children were supposed to make angels!

IMG-1753Mandatory photo – the kids with their completed work.

10881477_10152666605599234_5186933916461912703_nWe had a game of musical chairs (replaced by coloured papers). Our dear girl couldn’t catch the concept and was the first to be eliminated. Sigh! Her mum was queen of musical chairs when she was a kid but she clearly didn’t take after her. ;p

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Balloons again!

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We had Christmas gift exchange and Noah gifted Faith with a toy she likes!

IMG_20141218_125958Faith received her graduation certificate (done by mummy C) that day and she was immensely proud of that certificate. In fact, she was beaming with joy when she saw her photo on the sheet of paper. We had only missed one session thus far and it’s just so heartwarming to see how she had developed over the months. A special friendship was formed too among the mummies and I really appreciate every one of them.

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;)

Merry Christmas!

I know it’s a bit late to wish everyone a blessed Christmas but I’ve been really busy these days. Days leading up to this wonderful day, I was spending time with the family, bringing Faith on outings with her cousins and meeting up with her playmates. On top of these, there were also cake orders so blogging has taken a step back. There are many memories that I want to record but I just couldn’t find the time! What has added to this agony is the fact that my macbook is showing signs of dying for it runs at an incredibly slow speed, making blogging a real pain. Do you face the same situation as me? ;(

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Anyway, this post is about some Christmas cake orders that I had and I thought I should just blog about it, for memories’ sake and also for my own personal record. Hah.

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On Christmas eve, my friend ordered 20 cupcakes from me and asked specifically that they be decorated with fondant. There are many Christmas cupcake toppers on pinterest and I love the tutorial of the Santa Claus from The Designer Cake Company. Aren’t they adorable? I <3 pinterest a lot!

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I love it when cakes/ cupcakes are packed in boxes! It’s an exhilarating feeling, I kid you not!

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An ex-colleague ordered this chocolate cake with topping cream and chocolate ganache. In it, I put in various kinds of fresh fruits namely raspberries, blackberries, strawberries and cherries. Expensive fruits, I must say, if you are from this part of the world. It’s a small cake and it looks so elegant. Makes me very happy!

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The last cake for this Christmas season is this log cake. I had wanted to bake it for a Boxing Day gathering. Alas, the meeting was cancelled Since I had bought the toppers and they couldn’t last me for another year, I thought I should just go ahead and bake the log cake, using a light chocolate sponge cake.

(A)
4 eggs
120g sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

(B)
95g all-purpose flour
15g cocoa powder

(C)
70g hot melted butter

1. Grease and line a shallow pan (I used a 25 x 25 x 2cm). Set the oven to 190C.

2. Whip (A) until light and fluffy

3. Stir in (B) and mix until well blended

4. Add (C) and mix well.

4. Pour the batter into the pan and bake at the middle rack for 12-15 minutes. Remove it from the pan immediately when done.

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I turn it into another parchment paper that is sprinkled with icing sugar so that the sponge cake will not stick so much to the parchment paper.

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 With the seam side down, let the cake cool completely before proceeding to the next step.

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Unroll the sponge cake, brush a layer of sugar syrup (with chocolate extract) and put a layer of whipped topping cream and add in cherries (those that come in the frozen pack).

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Roll the sponge cake back! It will look a little ugly at this point in time but not to worry, you can always beautify it with chocolate ganache!

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Since I’m using a small cake board, I have to divide the sponge cake into 2 portions and since the smaller one at an angle so that it will attach nicely to the main one (as in the pic).

20141225_155038Spread chocolate ganache on the cake and use the tines of a fork to make the lines. Add the toppers and sprinkle some icing sugar to create the snowy look and…

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There you have it, a simple log cake! I got my family to taste it and my mum who is oh-so-critical approves of it! Yay!

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Once again, have a blessed Christmas! Hope to find more time to add more entries on this space!

WMI instructor training seminar

For the past week, I have been learning a lot from some awesome cake decorators. It was tiring having to go through the seminar from 9am to 6pm but we made it. I’m thankful to the hubs who travelled together with me, as well as F, to this place, Shenzhen, to be precise. I would have missed them both a lot if they didn’t come along!

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We spent the first day at Window of the World, a replica park that is within walking distance from our hotel. The entrance fee is hefty, in my opinion. At 160Y, it is a bit pricey for the locals. We thought that we won’t be touring much for this trip and decided to visit this theme park on the day we arrived. It was a nice walk and we spent about 80 minutes ‘visiting’ the famous landmarks in the world.

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The next day, I plunged into training seminar mode and reported at 8am sharp at the meeting room. There were about 45 of us from the Asian region and it was quite an experience learning from the experts as well as one another.

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Cake decorating is something that I venture into after I gave birth to Faith. It was really out of boredom, foremost, that I took up the Wilton cake decorating courses. Thankfully, the courses are really fun and addictive and it spurs me on to hone my skills in cake decorating.  It’s such a privilege to be able to to go through the training seminar (and eventually be an instructor) although I must always remind myself that my full time job is still to bring Faith up!

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The instructors came from the United States, Canada, Dubai, Japan and Korea and as they introduced themselves, it is heartening to learn that they started off cake decorating because they wanted to bake cakes for their children. Of course, they went on to be really excellent in their skills and are now international instructors now.

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I seriously love the Wilton method of cake decorating because it is so systematic and one can be introduced to a whole spectrum of skills. I have gone through other types of cake decorating instructor’s training courses but this ought to be the one that is the most fun and engaging. It really helps that the instructors themselves were so confident and know exactly what to do and could guide us step-by-step.

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Because there were so many of us, each time the instructor called us up to view the demonstration, there would be a real rush to be at the front. Asians! We are just very enthusiastic people! Hah!

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This is our Japanese instructor whose words are few but skills are great!

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Throughout the five days, we were given equipment to use and we could bring them back home after the seminar. We are expected to continue to practise those skills so that we can be really good when we teach prospective participants. This is really the highlight of each day (nah!).

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Day four and you can see a really messy table and a very tired-looking me. Ganbatte ne!

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I love it that the instructors would go around to give feedback on our work and many times, they also gave invaluable tips. Awesome!

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On the last day, we were expected to do up a cake with whatever sugar flowers we had and to apply the skills that we have acquired. It is interesting to see so many different kinds of design even though we were given similar sets of things to work with, thus reflecting our individual style.

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This is mine and truly not my style. I’m not a sugar flower person since I’m more into figurines but I can always work on flowers!

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So that night, we received our instructor’s aprons and we could teach the Wilton courses now! How exciting! I’m looking forward to my first class already!

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I’m thankful to have the family with me throughout this week and really felt blessed that the hubs supports this hobby of mine. I reckon it wasn’t easy for him to take care of the little one when I was in the seminar but he made it!

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Whatever time I had after the seminar was used to spend some much needed time with the little one. Shenzhen provides little entertainment for F but thankfully she could be satisfied by just being in this trolley when we went to the supermarket.

So, what’s next, I wonder?

To-pack list for travelling with a toddler

What would you pack if you are going on a trip WITH a 2YO toddler?

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Apart from the essentials like clothing, diapers (not toilet-trained yet!) and the like, there are some other stuff that I would specially pack for a trip. Those are items to {hopefully} engage a toddler who might get bored on a trip.

1. Storybooks

IMG_20141206_091203 One of the activities that Faith likes is reading and some routines should still remain no matter where we go. For every trip, we will bring along a few books and here’s one which I personally like. It’s a Bible storybook with puzzles for each story. Faith is still very much into puzzles and apart from reading, she can busy herself with fixing these puzzles.

2. Puzzles

IMG_20141206_095113These puzzles can get the little one to stay focused for a good while. Since she is learning about transportation at the moment, I brought along these few pieces which I borrowed from fellow mummies.

3. Busy bag

IMG_20141206_095510This is my busy bag which is always able to engage the little one for a slightly longer period of time. There are quite a few items in this bag even though it remains light and compact with all its contents.

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:: Stickers and sticker books which Faith loves and she could spend a great amount of time with them.

:: Colour pencils which she could use for the Christmas Joys activity book.

:: Balloons when she’s absolutely bored. So we could inflate one for her and play some games with it.

:: Paper clips which she could use to connect each one of them, something which she’s still trying to figure out.

:: Clothes pegs to practise her pincers grip (and she’s still frustrated by them)

:: Coloured shapes which she could use to make vehicles! Good for reinforcing colours and shapes.

:: Sponge animals in capsules, random stuff which I bought from Daiso.

4. Snacks

IMG_20141206_101420Who doesn’t love snacks? These stay in my carry-on bag because I need to give Faith something to chew when the plane ascends or descends. I have repacked them into smaller quantity because if you know the little girl, she could finish one big pack in a very short amount of time. I always get nervous when the plane is taxiing on the runway. Sometimes, the plane has to wait for an awfully long time (when the air traffic is heavy) before it’s able to take off and that’s when I have to dish out another bag for Faith since she would already have finished the previous bag.

I sealed the bags with tapes so that Faith could practise her grip when she’s removing them. The plastic bag seal clip is good as a tool to engage her too. ;)

5. Random toys

IMG_20141206_171447I don’t know when this happened but recently, Faith would want to hold some toys in her hands whenever we go out. So I thought these puppets, toy bus and animals would entertain her a bit. Good for pretend play too!

There you have it. These are my 5 main items to pack when travelling with a toddler. What’s yours?

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A thankful spirit on a random Friday

I’m counting my blessings today because on looking back, the second year with Faith was a fruitful and exciting one because I was blessed with the company of wonderful mommy friends throughout that year.

I was often kept busy by playdates. We had regular ones, as well as ad-hoc ones invited by random friends. Because of that, Faith is mostly in the company of friends and warms up to others rather easily. The downside is that she gets bored when we stay at home and that could drive me mad when she acts up.

Nevertheless, I want to thank those friends who always open their place for the little ones to have some jolly good times. And I’m all the more grateful that they are ever so willing to share their toys with Faith.

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There’s B who has soon become Faith’s constant playmate. Whenever I feel frustrated, I know I can run to Mummy T who will always open her home to us. That’s not all. Mummy T and I always exchange toys and books and more often than not, I am the one benefitting more because Mummy T can actually open a bookstore with the amount of books at her place. So, I will often go home with quality English and Chinese books. Blessed!

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Faith also has the company of older kids such as K who came over to accompany her while I prepared lunch for a gathering for a group of SAHMs. Faith adores this older sister and learns a fair bit of stuff from her since she is five years older than her.

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Recently, Mummy J invited us and Mummy D to her place for a playdate and Faith got exposed to playing the piano. The talented A was so kind to Faith and spent some time getting Faith to appreciate music. I can absolutely see a fine young man in him!

20141202_112954In the company of A gor gor and Y jie jie

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There are also new mummy friends who invited us over to have playdates with their kids and Faith had a good time with the three boys playing puzzles, building train tracks and working on some Duplo sets.

20141204_113828 I am always thankful to have a group of mummy friends for our regular playdates and coop. I have learnt so much from every one of them and to think that we might not be together again the following year saddens me.

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Of course, Faith loves the company of her cousins whom she loves very much. She would jump with joy whenever she sees them.

Initially I thought being a SAHM would be rather boring but I thought wrong! My calendar can be kept full because of playdates but I’ve nothing to complain! The little one loves the company of friends and I really hope this will help her transit well when she goes to nursery the following year.

I’m also grateful to friends who are so willing to share their toys and books with Faith. We have few toys at home but because they share, Faith doesn’t lack.

So here I am. Looking back at the past year (Faith’s 2nd year) with great gratitude.

Just a simple Christmas tree

Following the wreath, the next Christmas craft that I got Faith to do was a simple Christmas tree. We didn’t have the space in our apartment to put up a real tree and I thought a DIY one would be more meaningful.

Bought a stack of huge origami paper from Diaso and cut out the shape of a tree using green against the red paper. All Faith needed to do was to paste the coloured circles (from Diaso again!) on the tree. Easy right? It’s definitely good for getting her to practise peeling off the stickers but to get her to paste the coloured circles randomly tested my patience.

20141203_154523-1The little girl would paste the same coloured circles in a linear fashion, much to my frustration. I tried as much as possible to let her do it her way but the perfectionist in me could not stand it! So, halfway through her attempt, I directed her to paste the stickers in a more spaced-out manner so that the colours are more evenly distributed. ;p

20141203_160831This is a very achievable task for toddlers and probably takes about 15 minutes?
;)

20141204_090452-1The completed Christmas tree!

Orientating Faith to her nursery school

The other day, F and I went down to her nursery school for orientation which basically means information dissemination for the parents. She was happy to see the playground but since it was raining, she couldn’t spend time there.

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I wish the space was bigger but since their enrolment is small, I guess it’s ok? The little one was fascinated by the kids’ sinks and toilets and wanted to wash her hands by herself.

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The briefing took about an hour an the little one was bored. Thankfully, I had quite a fair bit of rubbish in my bag and got her to tear the carpark coupons and to share her stickers with her future classmates. The other children, obviously restless, came swarming to her for stickers which she willingly shared -strategy for making friends. Hah!

20141118_104507I guess the little one felt comfortable in her new environment because she went off by herself to mingle with the other kids while I busied myself with settling the administrative stuff. Perhaps I was around and thus she was at ease. In any case, I’m glad that she’s no longer sticking to me for her dear life and only looking out for me occasionally.

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I hope she’s ready for school. For a while, I’ve been resisting the thought of having her in school since she is still young. But I guess the scouting of schools and subsequently admitting her into one was timely as the hubs has a change in his job scope and would most probably return home later than usual. And that would mean I would be looking after her for a longer period of time! I guess the few hours in school would help me keep sane?

Time to get her to be more ready for school and I thought the following books are good to prepare her for her upcoming adventure!

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Faith’s Christmas Wreath, 2014 edition

I love Christmas because somehow the festive season gives me much cheer. There are also loads of opportunity to expose Faith to craft related to Christmas. I hope to work with her on as many age-appropriate ‘projects’ as possible. First up is the Christmas wreath.

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This is really achievable for the little one. Obviously, I have to provide the round cardboard for her and to tap it with double-sided tape. You can get the kid to tear the paper into pieces and then she could paste them after she has peeled the tape off.

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I’m actually not confident that F would like this activity since she is not a very ‘craft’ person (from what I have observed from her playdates) but surprisingly, she could stay focussed until most of the space was filled up by the green scraps of paper.

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And she completed it and gave me a smile. Awesome! I did up the rest of the work by making a bow at the bottom of the wreath using ribbon and making a hook at the top of it using wire. And that’s it! Easy?

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The Christmas wreath is now hanging on our door. It’s something that she can be proud of since it is her work.

;)

The day Faith turns two

It was just another ordinary day. We had our regular playdate and we had {almost} full attendance that day. Faith was clad in her new dress and she wondered why.

Why?

She turned two years old that day.

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We didn’t have any party. In fact, I didn’t inform the mummies that it was Faith’s birthday that day. I thought it was unnecessary. All I hope was that she could enjoy a brief moment of happiness with her playmates as she had the cake presented before her and of course, the birthday song. It is good enough to have close friends and family members with you as you celebrate important events and that’s what I want for her birthday.

20141120_094655Mummy Ade and C came a tad earlier and the kids had free play. There were sea creatures on the table and then they busied themselves with the blocks. Oh, how I love to see the joy in Faith and the children.

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I_LJmDOOLzA3b6gPBAP7yvQ18GjLwnTh7ghCV_EuLgoD=w604-h524-noMummy C read The Rainbow Fish but somehow the kids were distracted. Perhaps the book was too small?I thought the story was really meaningful but am not sure if the kids could understand.

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For craft, I thought of an activity to complement the book and got the little ones to make fish out of cupcake cases. For the older boy, J, I got him to design his own rainbow fish using scraps of paper. He’s proud of his work. Well done!

IMG-20141120-WA0012-SMILEThe cake cutting session! Actually, I honestly don’t think Faith understands anything about it. For the record, she didn’t even know how to blow the candle and I had to get the hubs to teach her when he got back home. Anyway, the other kids had fun!

IMG-20141120-WA0005I didn’t bake this cake for her since I’m really too tired from baking for others and I do want to taste other cakes! It’s for self-development. Hah! Lovely matcha azuki cake!

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Just look at Faith’s expression as we cut the cake. Oh no! Don’t destroy the cake!

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For practical life, the kids got to work with a pair of scissors and they were thrilled! Just imagine all these while, they were not allowed to touch it and now they could!

20141120_113122I love this scene. J, the older boy, led the others into singing three songs and the kids followed him, complete with actions! This is so heartening

For a more detailed account of the playdate, check Mummy Ade’s blog!

20141120_114727After the playdate, sis came over with the nephews and brought sushi for lunch. Faith was presented with one of her favourite food – fishball! And boy, this is a huge one!

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The hubs came back and we sang the birthday song again and this time round, Faith could blow out the candles after the hubs taught her how.

So, this is how we celebrate her birthday. No fuss, no stress!

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And we really don’t want others to buy presents for her just because it’s her birthday (but thank you to the thoughtful ones for the gifts!). To me anyway, it is a day to remember God’s blessing towards our family and how He has brought us through the past year with her. It has been really wonderful despite some difficult moments. Again, I can’t stress enough the importance of playdates and having friends who have the same mindset and those who can encourage you on this journey. It has been a joyful ride. Thank you all for being there for (and with) us as we bring up this little girl.

Baking madness!

The past week or so, I have been really busy with making cakes, all thanks to friends who support me in my hobby! It is tiring, no doubt. The washing part is most dreaded and that includes the cleaning of the countertop and the floor since I don’t want ants to occupy my kitchen. Nope, they cannot even enter!

The cakes baked thus far:

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This is a simple 7 inch vanilla sponge cake with vanilla buttercream and peach between the layers. The mummy has requested that the design fit the theme of a magic show and thus I came up with this design.

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Christmas came early! A friend browsed my pinterest account, saw this cake and asked me to do it for her. It’s a cranberry infused sponge cake with cranberry sauce in between. I took a long time to source for the cranberries and finally found frozen ones at Marketplace at I12. My friend requested for a 1/2kg cake but you know, I don’t work by weight but by size. So, the cake came up to be about 1.5kg. Hah!

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Frozen cake #1. A hit among my friends when I posted it on FB. The design is simple but the figurines make it look awesome. My friend wants it really simple and she didn’t want blue-coloured layers because she felt the colour look weird on a cake. Agree too so I just did a simple cake for her daughter.

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Rainbow cake. Still a hit and this is for the last day of school party for a preschooler. Her class is called Rainbow 5 and it’s absolutely apt to bake such a cake for her! Naked cake can look really pretty! Love the colourful sprinkles too!

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A last-minute order from a friend. This is for her daughter who turns 22! I used to teach her when she was in primary school and now she’s a young adult! I feel so old! Rainbow cake inside and Nat was surprised as she cut the cake, she told me.

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The wheels on the bus go round and round…. this is an order from the hubs’ friend. Her son wanted the bus on the cake along with some animal figurines. A rainbow cake was requested and I found that when I bake about 200g of the batter in the 6″ pan, the cake came out even and I didn’t need to slice the top of the cake. Will go with this method the next time a rainbow cake is requested. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, it’s ok. It’s just for my reference. ;p

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Frozen cake #2. This is a tad more complicated than #1 in the sense that my friend wanted a blue side and a white top that acts as snow. I prefer this design.

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60 Hello Kitty Chocolate cupcakes. I was more stressed and tired over them than all other cakes. It’s definitely more tedious to come up with these toppers and could get really mundane. But the labour was worth it when the girl received them with joy. I make kids happy. I love my job.

;)

Shopping with Agape Babies

Faith is going to school next year and that means it’s time to shop for stuff! How exciting! {Window} Shopping has been one of my favourite past time but lately, this activity has been reduced drastically because I simply have no time to do so anymore. Thankfully there are always online stores and I appreciate those that are easy to navigate because I don’t really like confusing layout. One of them is Agape Babies.

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Agape Babies specializes in baby essentials such as diapers, milk, skincare, organic food, books and toys and is currently partnered with over 150 premium brands and retail over 3000 products in its store. It has also created a multi-store with The Sunshine Kids which are dedicated to kids apparel, bags and accessories. This means that we can shop between both stores and check out in one shopping cart! Isn’t that good? The folks at Agape Babies are presently looking to add more stores & products with the aim to become a one-stop shop for all of us mummies  so that shopping can be easy & convenient. This is really one online store that I would bookmark and frequent!

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Just look at the many brands that the store carries and I’m so happy that some of my favourite brands are among them!

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So, what did I get for Faith? I’ve been meaning to buy a Skip Hop Zoo Backpack for her since the current one that she has is getting too small. As I browse the store, I found one that I thought would be awesome on her. It’s a limited edition of the Polar Bear backpack. I couldn’t find this design in the usual stores and I’m so delighted to find it at The Sunshine Kids at a discounted price. Yay!

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Currently, Agape Babies is offering free courier delivery with $80 spend and a free gift given with every $120 purchase. So I thought I should purchase a few more items to enjoy the free delivery.  I bought the Bambino Mio training pants because I think Faith is ready to be potty-trained, along with a pair of swim nappies.  This girl just loves waterplay and swimming!

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My experience with Agape Babies was a very pleasant one because I received the purchased goods really quickly. I made my purchase in the evening and got them the next morning. It’s the fastest delivery I have ever encountered! *impressed*

If you are a first time customer, you can enjoy a $10 off your first order when you sign up for an account and newsletter here! I’m also excited to share that Agape Babies is offering Raising Faith’s readers a 5% discount! All you need to do is to quote raisingfaith upon checkout. This discount is valid for 4 weeks (16 Nov to 14 Dec) and the code excludes sale category items, diapers, milk & breast pumps.

Apart from the online store, Agape Babies also has a parenting & lifestyle blog entitled The Agape Lifestyle. There are many good articles for new mummies and are certainly worth reading! Check out their facebook page to get yourself updated! Alternatively, you can always stalk them on Instagram (@agapebabies)!

Christmas is just round the corner, go do some shopping and enjoy the discount! ;)

Disclaimer: I was gifted shopping credits from Agape Babies to purchase the mentioned products and I topped up for the remaining amount. No additional monetary compensation was given and I do not stand to gain any commission from sales using the discount code given. All opinions are mine.

I <3 Singapore Walk 2014

This morning, our family, together with our CG, participated in the ‘I Love Singapore Walk’. As a community, we raised funds to bless the {financially} poor living amongst us while continuing to remember how blessed we are to live in such an environment. It is also an opportunity to appreciate our family members too!

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The little one woke up at 6ish, bright and cheery, although we all know that she would be really cranky by noon. Breathe…breathe…We were at the Padang at 7am and then realised that the walk would only commence at 8am! Arghhh! Time to have our breakfast and to take pictures (nicer ones taken by the Pang family).

1509813_10205224095785782_5190695884489844652_nFaith, with one of her regular playmates

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Nom..nom..nom..

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IMG_20141115_073255Our family of three

IMG-20141115-WA0002This is our CG and again, I’m thankful to be part of this family.

IMG-20141115-WA0008Isn’t this a beautiful shot?

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We didn’t complete the walk since it was getting hot and the little ones started to be restless but we had our second round of fellowship having brunch together!

IMG-20141115-WA0006I’m tired!

Teaching the little ones

“Perhaps, it is a calling to teach your own kid during this season of your life?”

This is a statement that spoke to me when I decided to resign from teaching after giving birth to Faith. I didn’t know what to expect then because teaching very young children can be so different from the ones that I had been trained in teaching. I guess we (parents) all learn along the way and am so glad that I have a team of mothers to co-teach the little ones during our weekly playdate/co-op.

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It’s definitely a joy to see how the little ones have developed during these few months. They were strangers before but now are friends. They used to be distracted easily by toys in the house but now are captivated by the stories found in the book.

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Once we had to handhold them a lot in their craft work, but now they gradually want to take over (although our girl is still not very enthusiastic about it).

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The mums used to say grace for the food on their behalf. Now, they could utter the prayer themselves.

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It’s always a joy to see how they have progressed during the Practical Life segment. They certainly have improved in their fine motor skills, amongst others.

Though I am no longer working in the school, I’m glad that I’m teaching the little ones, together with the awesome mummies in the group (and the majority of them are teachers too). Yes, I do miss interacting and discussing about lesson plans with fellow educators but now’s not bad too.

IMG_220286143596659-1I still get to introduce books such as My Red Balloon by Kazuaki Yamada to the children.

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I can still practise my storytelling skills…

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…and plan follow-up activities for the little ones. Here, I’m getting the kids to use round shapes to create the penguin which is one of the characters in the book.

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Of course, I get to hone my art….

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…and learn from fellow educators.

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What joy to see them grow!

Will I go back to teaching again? I guess there is still a deep desire in me to teach because I believe in education. However, it has to be in a different capacity for now. Perhaps, I will volunteer my time at Faith’s school? Help out at Sunday School? *Shrug shoulders* There are a lot of unknowns but I’ll just take a step at a time.

Read Mummy Ade’s account of the coop here.

The November Vaby Box

The Vaby subscription box for November refreshes… quite literally! As I opened the box in anticipation, I was greeted with a sweet scent and there before my eyes were bottles of samples that could be used by people of all ages. They certainly come in handy since the holiday season is approaching!

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So what do we have here?

:: Peausque Body Wash
:: Peausque ATO Cream
:: Peausque Diaper Cream
:: Olivella’s Anti-stretch Mark Cream
:: Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Skin Therapy Oil
:: THE010 Heat
:: Eucalyptus Graden Concentrated Floor Cleaner
:: Curash Baby Care 2 in 1 Shampoo & Conditioner
:: Curash Baby Care Anti-Rash Baby Powder
:: Disney Pookalooz Tin Box. Good for storing the little one’s favourite snacks!
:: BabySpa $5 voucher

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You can find out more about the Vaby box here. Have you subscribed to it yet?

Hello, Hello Kitty!

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas and I’m inspired to decorate my cakes according to this season. How about a simple Hello Kitty cake for a start?

I bought the Hello Kitty pan a while back and it has been sitting in the cabinet for too long. I had only used it once and I thought I should give it some life!

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I decided to bake the traditional sponge cake, a recipe by Alex Goh, the one that is rather soft and one whom my mom might approve. All these while, the cakes that I bake are dense since they have to be decorated with fondant. It’s time to bake the softer version!

(A)
4 eggs
120g sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

(B)
110g all-purpose flour

(C)
70g hot melted butter

1. Whip (A) until light and fluffy

2. Stir in (B) and mix until well blended

3. Add (C) and mix well.

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4. Pour the batter into the greased pan (you really need to grease this pan well!). Bake at 180C for about 25-30 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Remove it from the pan immediately when done.

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This cake can be troublesome to slice into two and I find it a bit plain to just eat the cake with buttercream only. So, I injected some strawberry jam using Wilton tip #230 before covering it with with Italian Meringue Buttercream and dessicated coconut to give a more natural feel to Hello Kitty. The more common ones we see in bakeries are covered with fondant but I think it is equally good to cover it with buttercream. To create the Christmas theme, I added cranberries and the fondant holly leaves. Faith saw the cake and kept saying, “I want eat cake.” She had her wish of course since this is not a very sweet cake. My father-in-law who has a very sweet tooth much preferred the sweeter version. Difficult to please!

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There’s no occasion for the cake. We just cut and eat! I think the sponge cake can be softer if I use the cake flour. Fellow bakers, why don’t you try and let me know?

;)

Tuesday thoughts: Loneliness

Someone’s feeling lonely. It’s not me. I’ve gone past that stage, at least for now. It’s Faith.

In recent months, I have observed that the little girl loves company and would jump for joy when I told her that we would be meeting so-and-so. Even when we are going around the neighbourhood, she would greet the people she meets and tries to befriend new ones especially at the playground and library. She has grown out of the solitary play mode and increasingly loves to hang out with people.

Bad news for me, huh?

That means she gets bored at home more often because her mother doesn’t always have time to think of new activities to engage her. Thankfully, there are the weekly playdates and co-ops and the occasional swimming sessions with her cousins. However, these might not continue the following year since her playmates would be in preschool and there would be fewer opportunities to go out with them.

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So I did the unthinkable (in my case). I went to shop for schools for her.

I really didn’t want her to go to school until she turns 4 years old. She is, after all, still so young! She needs to play and enjoy her childhood. Besides, I don’t think we are doing an awful job in our homeschooling effort. However, since she is born in the popular year of the dragon, I thought that I should start looking for schools just in case there are no vacancies left by the time I decide to put her in school. I should at least put her on a waiting list or something, that’s what a lot of mummy friends were telling me to do.

In the end, I visited two schools. The first one was none too impressive although it seems like a well-known preschool. The moment the marketing executive (yes, not the principal!) told me that they emphasize on academic excellence, I lost complete interest. I want a preschool that focuses on building the children’s characters, where each child’s uniqueness is respected and that they can learn at their own pace. The second school fits my criterion to a tee. It’s not a well-known school and in fact, the preschool is rather young but as I spoke with the principal and visited the premise, I was won over.

That is the preschool for Faith. And on the spot, I decided that Faith would go to school the following year.

After leaving the compound, I started to have doubts and was uncertain if I have made the right decision. On one hand, I would want to continue what we have been doing. I can always find a new group of playmates for her and we can always go out and learn stuff together. On the other hand, getting her to go to school might do her good too since she can have more friends and learn from the wonderful teachers and principal in that school.

We shall see.

For now, the decision is for her to go to school.

So, yes, Faith is going to school. *sobs*

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A date @ Privikids

#notasponsoredpost

Faith is turning two in a few weeks’ time and I thought I should just buy a few dresses for her. Nope, there will not be any party because we don’t think she understands much about birthday at this point in time. However, we would definitely spend that day with close friends and relatives. That, to us, is good enough.

I have always wanted to go down to Privikids since the physical store opened but didn’t have the time to do so. I like their stylish designs that are priced affordably and am really happy that I could go down to see and feel the materials for myself.

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Met up with Ade to shop and Faith had N for company! The little ones had a jolly good time playing with the displays and dancing to the background music. Thankfully, the store owner, Cheryl, was cool about it and found them adorable. Nice boss. It makes shopping with kids stress-free.

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Interior of the store

Photo courtesy of Mummy Ade

So these two kids were monkeying around as we got them to try out some clothes. I’m so happy that they were enjoying themselves!

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After trying out the clothes, they went off to have a little fun by themselves.

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Oh, the many other cute stuff available at the store.

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They are good as gifts for children!

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Video and photo above courtesy of Mummy Ade

We went back with her new clothes carefully wrapped. I love the shopping experience at Privikids. Cheryl took the time to recommend some of the clothes that would look good on Faith and I didn’t feel pressured at any one point to make purchases. I appreciate her honest opinion on some of the outfits that might not be suitable for the little one. Overall, the experience is great!

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Privikids
Changi City Point, Unit 02-04, 5
Changi Business Park Central 1
11am to 9pm daily
6443 8802 / ask@privi-kids.com

Alive Museum

One good thing about being a SAHM and one whose kid is not in school is the fact that we could plan impromptu outings and that is exactly what I did for today. SIL gave me some complimentary tickets to Alive Museum and I got Mummy T and Belle to go with us. Since the kiddos are not yet three years of age, they could go in free (which otherwise, they would have to pay $20 per entry). Yay to #funforfreesg. Hah!

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We were there early because we wanted to avoid the crowd. Besides, the kids are most alert in the morning and have the tendency to respond well to our requests.

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The crowd came in half an hour later and it was getting difficult to get decent photos of the kids. They must be wondering what was wrong with their mummies that morning since they were whisked from one small area to another and all they were asked to do was to look at the camera. I could tell that Faith was frustrated and disturbed by some of the pictures and soon became a little fussy.

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There is obviously a need to wait since we needed to take turns to take the pictures. I could only imagine the great crowd and frustration one would feel if he was to go during the weekends. To be perfectly honest, I don’t think this is a great place for toddlers to hang out. Maybe it would be better if they are older and could understand instructions better since they have to pose in a certain manner to have maximum effect. Even if you are so interested to go, I would strongly recommend extra pairs of hands. Mummy T and I had to make sure the toddlers don’t run off while one of us helped to take pictures.

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Pictures in this set courtesy of Mummy Trisa!

I think Alive Museum would be a great place to visit if you are going without young kids (haha). At the very least, you could spend more time going through each art piece and posing in/with it, that is if you are game for it.

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 Our children had more fun and laughter after being issued a balloon each during lunch.

[Review & Giveaway] JJ’s Science Adventure: Magnets

When I was a kid, I enjoyed reading comics because the content is light and the graphics entertaining. I still do, as a matter of fact, and am happy to help review a comic book – JJ’s Science Adventure: Magnets – that is educational in nature.

book cover

 

JJ’s Science Adventure is a series of educational comic books designed to help readers master key learning objectives stated in the Singapore Ministry of Education’s Primary School Science syllabus. The author, Aurelia, an educator herself, has observed that students were often reluctant to read their science textbook but would ask their parents to buy storybooks for them to read. She concluded that children’s motivation to learn is directly linked to their interest and observed that an interest shared by most of them is reading comic books. This led her to commit two years of her life developing this first book on Magnets.

This book has won the Readers’ Favourite Illustration Award which recognises books with quality illustrations. The learning objectives are brilliantly introduced in the storyline and it is an absolute delight to read it.

sample 1

What I appreciate about this book:

:: The story has a science fiction fantasy setting which has a tendency to capture the attention of readers. I read it in one sitting and I can be one easily distracted mom if you know me. This book gets me reading till the end.

:: The key teaching points are printed in colour which help readers identify them easily.

:: Besides the key teaching points, there is additional interesting information that is relevant to the topic, thus catering to the needs of different students. I find myself understanding more about MRI and MagLev after the read. Feels good gaining knowledge! ;)

:: The language used is wholesome.

:: The graphics are colourful and attractive and will certainly be appreciated by visual learners.

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This is one book that should be found in the class library where students can have easy access to it! It certainly is a great complement to the textbook and one which helps to reinforce the students’ understanding of the topic. I’m actually looking forward to the next book on Heat and Light which can be pre-ordered here.

JJ’s Science Adventure: Magnets is retailing at S$18.90 and is available at these stores or online. They are wonderful gifts for Christmas! ;)

GIVEAWAY!

The good folks at Harvest Edutainment are giving away 2 copies of JJ’s Science Adventure – Magnets to 2 lucky readers who are residing in Singapore (1 copy per winner). Please state your email address as winners will be notified via email.

Giveaway will end on 13 November 2014.

Enter the giveaway here!

Winners will be announced on this blog post and my facebook page.

All the best!

Disclaimer: I was given a copy of JJ’s Science Adventure: Magnets for the purpose of this review. All opinions are mine.

Update: Thank you for all your participation in the giveaway! The winners are Jolin Poon and Yu Meiyi. You will be contacted shortly via email. Enjoy the comic book! ;)

‘Caking’ my way through November

Oh, you mean it’s November already? So soon?

The beginning of the 11th month saw me working real hard in kitchen. I have started taking cake orders again after a two-month break. And November is a popular month and there are orders every week! Thank God! Faith’s birthday also falls on this month and I’m still thinking if I should bake her a cake. ;p

Rainbow cake continues to be a popular choice and when it comes to young children, you won’t go wrong with animal figurines. Each day, when Faith saw the figurines on the dining table, she would climb up the chair and admire them and at the same time, practising her counting. ;)

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So, I’m thankful that the hubs didn’t complain about the messy dining table. He also gave up a bit of rest to spend more time with Faith while I work in the kitchen. Thank you so much!

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I love animal figurines such as these because they help make a simple cake look adorable (I think!). And I so love the colourful sprinkles!

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Both the cakes happened to be for two-year-olds. 6-inch for both but oh, how tall the cakes are!

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The third cake for the first week is for a good friend of both the hubs and mine. She is our ex-colleague and we had so many wonderful memories working with her. She is also very wise and is a mom to three beautiful children and this cake is for her youngest. I finally have the privilege of baking for her! I’m elated that she told me that her folks love the cake. I was actually afraid that the cake might be too bland since I have reduced the amount of sweetness based on her request. But yay, love the positive review. I’m so encouraged!

Besides the baking adventures, November is off to a good start as our church celebrated her 28th year and I’m thankful that we are placed in this community of believers. I felt belonged and know that there will always be brothers and sisters-in-Christ who will be there to help and encourage us in this journey.

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It’s definitely a bonus that Faith has found herself friends to grow up with in church. I’m praying that they will grow into youth and adults together! ;)

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This is what happens when she stays with us during service – beautifying chairs.

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The week came to a close as we celebrated the birthday of Faith’s uncle. She had such a wonderful time with my in-laws which brings me great joy too. I’m thankful that she feels loved by the people around her. *Blessed*

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Looking forward to a busy but fulfilling November! And definitely more cakes!

*Photos of Faith courtesy of Mummy Trisa and Auntie Eunice!

Memories of our playdate (today)

I’m writing this post with quite a heavy heart. You see, over the course of this year, I have grown attached to this group of mothers who come together to plan lessons for our children’s weekly playdate. I love the dynamics of this group and appreciate their care and concern for the children. We pool our resources and chip in whenever one couldn’t make it or have difficulty with any segment of the playdate. And I also love it that our children have forged friendship with one another.

But it would be a different story come next year.

All but one of the children will be going to school the following year. And yes, that includes Faith (that is another story in itself).

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I’ll miss the ‘Good Morning’ song that we know so well by now.

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And Circle Time in which the mummies will think of creative ways to introduce the farm animals (our theme for this term). There is always something new to learn each session.

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Love Mummy Ade, the lobang queen and one avid blogger. We love her outgoing spirit and she is always willing to take on new segments even if it is out of her comfort zone. Part of the objective of having the mummies to lead the various segments is for our own development too. We grow in love and knowledge together!

It is really heartening to note that the children could sit down and enjoy the storytelling session. When we first started during the earlier part of the year, our children couldn’t sit still and were distracted by things around them. But now, they can and even respond to the story! Yahoo!

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Mummy C and I have been friends for almost two decades and since the days of our youth, we have known her to be one ‘crafty’ lady. She would send homemade encouragement cards to us and they were always so pretty. So, it is no surprise that the children learn some useful art and craft skills from her. Mummy C has a lot of creative juice in her and it is a pity that she doesn’t have the time to blog about them. ;( Thankfully, she shares her ideas and knowledge to fellow mummies and those who come into contact with her. A very wonderful and patient mother.

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We had full attendance today!

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Mummy Jenna, the best Chinese storyteller in my humble opinion! She is so animated and speaks with clear, crisp Mandarin. As you can see from the picture, everyone was all ears!

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Our little girl led her peers in giving thanks for the food.

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Since today we had our lesson in the outdoor, we decided to get the kids to play with the balloons and balls. They had great fun despite the heat and we ended off with the feeding of the fish at the nearby pond, thanks to Mummy Jenna.

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We had such great times together and I believe we have provided our kids with a fun and safe environment to learn. Faith would come back and hum the songs she has learnt during the playdates and would often utter the names of her playmates. I’m thankful that the mummies help to correct the behaviour of the kids if anyone misbehaves and would not be stingy with encouragement for the kids and fellow mummies alike.

It is entirely possible to plan regular playdates such as ours. All you need are like-minded mummies who are willing to do a little bit of homework in planning for the lessons. Mummy Ade had written a very useful post on organising playdates. Do check it out!