ME -Time for Mommies!

ME-time is a concept that I have learnt to appreciate when I became a mom. I mean, before that, I had so much pockets of time to myself whether I was a single or as a wife that it didn’t seem like a great deal. After being a mom, I realised that it is crucial for me to have some time off to myself because it can be so easy to be sucked into the demands of being a mom and a wife.

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It wasn’t easy in the beginning. If you are a new mom, you would have felt the same guilt that I had of leaving your baby behind just so that you could have some peace and sanity. I was reluctant to do so but the hubs insisted that I go out and take a breather.

So I started with an hour or two to myself and normally, I would visit a {nearby} cafe to have a cup of latte and a book on hand. On other days, I would go for a slow jog, just to regain my stamina.

As the little girl grew older and was more manageable, I’ve learnt to let go and placed her in the care of my parents or in-laws while I attended some courses. I needed interaction with adults and if you are a SAHM, you would realise how much your language and vocabulary can deteriorate (or does this only happen to me??).

These days, however, I prefer to stay at home and do the things that will perk me up.

You see, Faith is at the stage when she can talk non-stop. She loves to ask questions and engage me in a conversation. As much as I rejoice over the fact that she is talking more, it does get to me (most of the time). In the end, I just want some quietness and peace in the house.

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Now that she is in school for a few hours, I prefer to come back home and chill. Playing some soothing music in the background, I would normally spend some time reading the Bible and allow the Word of God to speak to me and recharge me or experimenting with some cake recipes and designs.

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You would probably find me at the park jogging or cycling if I wasn’t pregnant for those are the activities that I love in the past. Now, I just need to learn to slow down and develop my other interests which always lift me up.

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It’s therapeutic doing these things without a child calling out to you ALL THE TIME. No, the cakes don’t always taste delish but that’s all right. What’s more important is that I feel recharged and refreshed after that.

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I cannot stress enough the importance of taking time off to nourish your soul because you return to your responsibilities with renewed strength and much cheer. Everyone in the family will benefit from a happy mom and wife, no?  And ME-time is not about running errands! It’s really doing something that will uplift you. 😉

So, what do you do during your ME-time?

Mummy's 'Me-Time'
This post is part of a blog train initiated by Danessa of Prayerfull Mum where a group of mommy bloggers share their thoughts on ME-time.
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feliciaNext up on the blog train is Felicia Tan. A homeschooling mama of two,  she aspires to nourish the heart, mind, body and soul of her family. “The world is our school” is her mantra so be it a stroll to the market nearby or a vacation to Europe, she encourages curiosity and inquiry from her children. Her passion for cooking and healthy living drives her to churn out nutritious but easy-to-prepare meals so you can expect to see some healthy recipes on her blog. She also shares her parenting thoughts and learning activities as she goes about her journey and discovery as a homeschooling mama of Princess and The Rock.. Click on the link to her blog to read her take on mommy me-time!

Quekling II @ 29 weeks

29 weeksHello! I’m officially 29 weeks pregnant with Quekling II. I’m starting to get tired easily and have to wake up in the middle of the night to go to the toilet. Backache’s starting to kick in and cramps in the legs too. Oh well. It’s the last lap, so just bear with it!

Quekling II has been really active all of a sudden and he keeps exercising in the womb. It can really get irritating! I hope he will not be too much of an active child when he comes out. :p

My weight right now is 55kg and that means I have only put on 0.5kg over the course of 3 weeks. Not that ideal, eh? But Quekling II seems to be of the right weight!

Blood pressure: 111/58
Weight of baby: 1.06kg
Weight of Mom: 55kg

Wordless Wednesday: Owl Cupcakes

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A good friend has just given birth and I thought of making these cupcakes for her, just for her to take a look. Yes, I’m cruel, I know. ;p

I’m entering into the third trimester and my energy level has dipped. I’m mindful that I cannot control life and all I can do is to pray that the baby in my womb will grow to full term and that he will be a normal and healthy one.

Yes, I worry but I need to learn to trust in the Lord because He is the one who gives life and He definitely is in control, no matter what the circumstance is.

You will keep in perfect peace, him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in You. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord, is the Rock eternal. -Isaiah 26:3

And I will always bear the following scripture verses in mind.

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mothers womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. -Psalm 139:13-14

Linking up with

Flowery Fun Times at Gardens by the Bay

The weekends’ here!

If you haven’t visited the Flowery Fun Times at Gardens by the Bay, perhaps you might want to visit it before it ends on 19th July. Our family went down during the June holidays and I must say the floral display was beautiful. I bore an ulterior motive, of course, and that was to get the little one to learn more about the nursery rhymes that she has been learning both at home and in school.

Pardon me for the many photos posted in this post. They are for memory. 😉

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Be sure to bring along a jacket because it is cold in the flower dome. I found myself shivering!

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Please don’t ask me what nursery rhymes these refer to. I have forgotten!

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Gigantic bees! Flee!

IMG_3139The old lady in her shoes?

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Which is the picture that belongs to Mary and her little lamb?

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Tis I know! It’s Humpty Dumpty! Even Faith could identify…

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If you are not into floral display, erm… like da man, maybe you won’t enjoy that much. But there are 
 other things to do in Gardens by the Bay. The water play area will be an exciting play area for the children! Have a good weekend!

Japanese Strawberry Shortcake

It’s my sis’ birthday tomorrow and I thought that I should bake her a birthday cake since mom’s cooking dinner this evening. Naturally, the Japanese Strawberry Shortcake came to mind because my nephews love strawberries and our family prefers light cakes anytime. Thankfully, I have strawberries and whipped cream in the fridge so it makes decision making easier.

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I went ahead and used the traditional sponge cake method. 6″ cake pans were used since I did not want a big cake. That said, I do have a tall 6″ cake in the end.

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

(B)
110g all-purpose flour (sifted)

(C)
70g melted butter

1. Whip (A) until light and fluffy

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

3. Add (C) and mix well.

4. Pour the batter into the greased pans. Bake at 180C for about 20 min or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the cakes. Remove them from the pans immediately when done and let cool.

I’m used to using IMBC and was rather hesitant about using whipped cream because my kitchen is really warm. Since there is no harm in experimenting and because it’s really for family, I decided to give it a try. Using 300g of whipped cream, I used the balloon whisk and whisk it till stiff peak. Preferably, the metal bowl should be cold but I forgot to keep it in the fridge before that. But hey, it still works. And I’m pleasantly surprised that it holds well even when it’s kept out of the fridge for half an hour (before the cake cutting).

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My folks said the sponge cake is rather light but I think it can go lighter. The next time I experiment with it, I might use cake flour and add a little glucose to see the difference it will make. Also, the whipped cream is a tad thick so I should just reduce it by a wee bit.

familypic (2)In any case, I’m glad to have baked this cake. It’s been a while since I last baked a cake for a birthday celebration. And more importantly, it warmed my heart to see the folks enjoy this dessert.

A dress for Faith, sewn with love

My mum was a seamstress and growing up, I was surrounded by different types of sewing machines that were used to piece the various parts of a shirt. And whenever those machines were not in use, I would try my hands on them, much to the annoyance of my mom (but she gave up stopping me in the end). Thus, sewing isn’t something too daunting for me.

My mom, though an extremely busy woman herself, would find time to sew dresses for me and now as a mother, I find myself wanting to do so for my daughter too. I contemplated getting a sewing machine but was afraid that such passion is, but temporary, and eventually it would turn into a white elephant. Moreover, I’m not sure if I’m still skillful enough to do a good enough job. After all, it has been many years since I last touched a sewing machine.

Thankfully, a dear friend, Amy, approached me and offered to teach me how to sew a sundress. How timely! She conducts sewing classes herself and what I needed to do was to give her the measurement of Faith according to a size chart and choose the fabric design that I want and I’m all ready to get started!

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While Faith was in school, I went for my sewing tutorial with much excitement. Amy first introduced me to the sewing machine that I would be using and went through the fundamentals with me. The sewing machines these days are so light and portable, unlike the ones that my mom used which are the big, heavy-duty ones.

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After trying out the sewing machine for a short while, I was down to serious work. I spent the next three hours pressing the seams using the iron, pinning and sewing them. Initially, the workmanship was bad and I had to unpick some of the seams and re-sew. But it sure got better after a while.

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I find sewing therapeutic as I got the hang of it, all thanks to the patience of my dear friend. She was very encouraging and even when I made a mistake, I know it could be easily rectified.

20150701_102047 (2)Towards the end, I got a little too excited because I wanted to see the finished product. Oh, that anticipation! But I have to remind myself to go slow lest I make mistakes again!

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Last few steps: sewing the zip! I’m almost there!

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You cannot imagine how happy I was when I completed the sundress. This is my first dress for Faith and I have fulfilled a small, small wish of mine. Finally! Then I thought of my mom. I could not understand why she would bother to make dresses for me and my sis especially when she had tons to do but now I think I know. It’s really simple. It’s love. That is how she expressed her love for us, by doing what she’s best at to bless us, just like how she would always  prepare homecooked food for us.

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I was a proud mom the day when Faith put on this dress. Obviously, it is much easier and convenient to buy one off the rack but this one is special. It is made with love and I know there would not be many pieces out there. This particular one fits Faith to a tee and it looks great on her. I love the design of the fabric which is imported from the U.S. and overall, it’s cheaper than buying a quality dress from the shops (workmanship not included, of course. It’s made with love, after all).

I’m hooked. Shall I buy a sewing machine?:)

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Amy and her friend, Karen, conduct sewing workshops on blouses, skirts and dresses. The fees start from $80/pax for a 3-hour session which include all workshop materials and choice of premium fabrics. If you are interested, do browse their website for more information. They even hold classes for kids!

Sew into it
Website: http://www.sewintoit.com.sg/
Facebook: Please click here
IG: sewintoit_sg

Quekling II @ 26 weeks

Yay, so I have passed the glucose screening!

Had my gynae appointment yesterday and this was a piece of good news given to me. I have also put on a decent amount of weight – 1.2kg- over the course of these three weeks. He weighs 768g which doc said it was a decent weight. However, compared to Faith, he seems to be a tad lighter but we will see.

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I was telling Doc that there wasn’t much activity from Quekling II for the past few days and he suggested that I track his movement from 9am to 9pm. As long as there is movement, be it slight or obvious, that would be considered one tick and at least ten movements are needed. Goodness! I’m not sure if I want to do that because I’m constantly on the move and I probably won’t be able to detect it.

Another to-do item checked: We have booked the hospital. Yay….

Next things to do before I get lethargic in the third trimester: Set up the cot, wash baby clothes, buy the cleaning stuff (shampoo, body wash, lotion, detergent, etc) for the baby and checking if the breast pump still works. The last item is sooooo crucial!

Weight: 54.5kg

Making pizza with a toddler

As a parent, I’m very mindful of NOT doing everything for the little one. She has to chip in for household chores and I learnt that she will willingly do those tasks because she wants to do what the adults are doing, which is good news to me! Obviously, such work is fun and play to the little one and when she knows she is co-labouring with her mama, she gets immense satisfaction.

For now, Faith helps to mop the floor with me and keeps get the clothes from the dryer. She is learning how to fold her clothes, and this not without a degree of difficulty. But she will get there.

And whenever possible, I would get her to be involved in cooking and baking because it’s something that she likes to do since she often sees her mama working hard in the kitchen.

Pizza! It’s such a simple thing to do with a toddler.

20150615_175817I cheated and used pre-made pizza crust. If you are diligent like my friend, you would make your own bread dough but I’m lazy on that particular day. Other ingredients include tomato paste, honey baked ham, mushroom, peppers (red, green and yellow), spinach leaves and cheeses.

Well, you can definitely use chicken or beef or pork but you would have to cook them for a while before using them as toppings on the pizza. I wanted to minimise work and thus used ham. Moreover, I find the meat a tad tough for Faith once they go through the baking.

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You can definitely get the little one to cut the ham or other ingredients into smaller pieces which he/she will love doing. Thereafter, lay all the ingredients and get them to spread the tomato paste and place the toppings on the crust. You will expect mess, definitely, but it’s all part of the learning process.

Cooking or baking is good for teaching procedural text, ya know? Ok, I will not delve into that.

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Look at that facial expression? Faith told me she couldn’t eat leaves when she was asked to place the spinach leaves as toppings. She has associated the spinach leaves with the fallen leaves she found on the ground. Ah…hilarious.

20150615_181601All ready to be placed in the oven! Bake at 200C for about 10 minutes (or follow instruction on the pizza crust package) or until the cheeses turn a wonderful golden.

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Comfort food that got snapped up within minutes. It’s really that simple to make and good to eat.

20150615_183145For a thinner crust, I used wraps which do an awesome job. I prefer a thin crust anytime!

A busy June hols

The month of June was a busy one for me and I’m sure it was, for many parents. It’s the one-month school holiday after all and we had to make sure that our children were potentially engaged with activities lest they got bored at home and caused more headache for us. The hubs, knowing that it would be more challenging to handle the little one daily, offered to take leave twice a week so that he could relieve me during those days. With him around, I was definitely willing to be more adventurous and go on outings together as a family.

Here’s a post to record the many things that happened in June!

jurongbirdpark@ Jurong Bird Park with her playmate

gardensbythebayLearning about nursery rhymes @ Gardens by the Bay

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Outdoor activities! We love it! Farm visits, Jurong Bird Park, Gardens by the Bay, Tanjong Pargar Railway Station, Jacob Ballas, East Coast Park, SEA Games Carnival at the Sport Hub, Hortpark were some of the places we visited. With the hubs around, he could do the wild things with Faith while I rested. It was fun going on trips but it could get tiring too. It came to a point when I asked the little one what she wanted to do the following day and she replied, “I don’t want to go out. I want to stay home.” So much for planning activities for her eh?

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Perhaps, the more exhausting thing is not about going out but having to answer Faith’s endless questions. She became really chatty all of a sudden and asked so many questions that she tested my patience. I couldn’t answer her with ‘ok’, ‘hmm’, or a ‘yes’ but I have to continue the conversation with her. Goodness! It is a good problem, no doubt, I really needed a break from her!

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F gifted with Chinese books and enjoying pool time!

I’m thankful too that friends asked me out for meetup during this period. It was good catching up with good old friends over meals and naturally we would talk about our children and their progress in school. For one group, Faith was the youngest among the group of children and when friends shared about the challenges they faced, the issue of the Chinese language would always be brought up. It got me a bit uptight and I wonder if I should really step up my effort in getting Faith to be more conversant in Mandarin. Oh, that’s really stressful!

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Apart from the many activities, pregnancy itself was uneventful. Friends started asking if we need baby clothes and stuff of which we would need since we have given some essential items away (didn’t really expect to have a second one initially). Thankful for these kind souls as we wouldn’t want to spend too much on these items. I went for my Pilates classes as usual and since my back was starting to ache, prenatal massage is a good temporary relief. We have just settled for confinement nanny services through the previous agency that we engaged and hopefully we could get back the same lady.

I wish I could tell you that I love spending 24/7 with Faith but I don’t. I realised I needed time to myself, to do the things that I love like baking and cooking or just taking the time off to chill with a good read. I got a little, just a little downcast having her around all the time and felt a little lost. It sounds weird, I know but I don’t know how to explain this kind of feeling. During that moment, I was encouraged by what I read from ‘Desperate: Hope for the mom who needs to breathe‘…

The God who gave you your gifts and talents is the same God who gave you souls to bring up, train, invest in, and disciple….Scripture is filled with admonitions for a mama to make her home her focus and bring up her children. A mama’s primary domain is her home. This doesn’t mean you don’t have another purpose that God wants you to fulfill while you’re breathing on this earth, but your first and main purpose is to deeply invest in the souls He’s given you, and you will struggle immensely if you do not have resolve regarding your role as a mother.

This para spoke to me and gave me strength to move on. Somehow, I was able to focus on my family and at the same time, started to pick myself up to do the things that I like and one of the most awesome stuff was to be able to learn how to make the rice dumplings from two experienced mothers. God must have known that I’m struggling and sent these angels to liven me up! Simple joy!

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cheesecake
So I started to busy myself in the kitchen again and baked a Japanese Cheesecake for the cell group and got Faith to work on Lavender Madeleines with me. She loves baking and I love to impart such skills to her!

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All in all, I guess June turned out well. It was definitely busy but I must say we did enjoy ourselves. How was your June holidays?
All ready for July?