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.

10270556_10152666605889234_1015337259505170176_nUs, together with the Tuesdays’ pair of mummies.
😉

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 ❤ 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!