It’s been a tough week

Faith @ 33 MO

Baby @ 33 weeks

This week was tough.

Faith was evidently more rebellious these days and on several occasions, refused to obey what we had asked her to do. The worst part? Disobeying seems to be a fun thing to her and even when we had put her at the quiet corner and used other disciplinary measures, she came back, unrepented.

It got really exhausting to have to face such a situation. At many junctures, I questioned why I gave up my job to be a SAHM, to have my own flesh and blood drive me up the wall. If I was still working, at least I could have a break from her nonsense. And at the very least, I could have a few minutes of silence, to reconnect with myself. Being home with her, I was posed with endless questions and to have to engage her with conversations. The little one doesn’t like silence; she loves to chat with her Mom.

It’s exhausting.

At the same time, I questioned my self-worth and cannot help but feel that I have lost touch with the society. When I saw fellow moms having a good time at work and looking splendid in their dressing, envy started to well up. Don’t judge me please. I know I shouldn’t compare and that I should fix my eyes on things above but….

All these emotions (hormones as well) overwhelmed me and it got to a point that I broke down and wept uncontrollably, in front of the kiddo. She was confused, obviously, and cried. Why did Mama cry?

I shudder to think of the challenges ahead, of having to deal with two young children. How do you moms do it? I’m not sure if I could still stay calm and patiently explain things to them. I anticipate losing my temper more and that the volume of my voice will increase by a few decibels.

I need to surrender this to the Lord, the fear of the uphill tasks ahead. Surely God is faithful and He will bring me through. At the same time, I must remember that the tasks that have been given to me are not just ‘any’ tasks but are important ones. What I’m doing now will impact my children’s lives and many others who have contact with them. What I am doing IS important.

And I have to be fair, because there are indeed MORE sweet moments than bad ones.

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Say, for instance, meal times. There are more occasions in which she enjoys her food and gobbles whatever I have prepared for her. Her chopsticks’ skills have improved and there are significantly less mess on the floor now.

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Eating out with her can sometimes be a torture but 70% of the time, she behaves herself and is polite and courteous to the servers.. Just don’t bring her out when she is tired and cranky…

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She {still} loves school and each day, she would tell me that she enjoys herself in school, BSF or Sunday School. It gives me great joy to know that she is adapting well and likes to learn.

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At one stage, i was worried that she would just communicate in English. Alas, over the last few weeks, she spoke more in Mandarin with me (as long as I speak to her in that language) and could recite the 儿歌 (songs) she has learnt in school and from listening to the CDs at home. Sometimes, she even speaks with a certain Chinese accent. I wonder who she caught that from. 

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She remains a bubbly and cheerful girl and would find ways to make us laugh.

I guess as long as I don’t focus on the difficult situations in parenting, they won’t look like giants that cannot be overcome. In fact, such challenges are opportunities to exercise faith and to experience God at a higher level. Amen?

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I’m also thankful for the opportunity to bake 100 cookies for a sweet baby girl (gift packs)because it makes me happy just to be able to do that. Maybe I should make my own gift packs for the newborn’s full month eh?

How has your week been? Hopefully, it has been good!

Update:

The baby in the womb is 1.8kg and is still in breech position. I’m not looking forward to C-section so I’m going to pray against that. He seems to be a skinnier baby as compared to Faith. I guess I must eat better from now on so that he could get all the necessary nutrients.

Wt of mom: 57.7kg

BP: 119/58

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Awesome August

August started off on a sweet note for me. I received an email in July from a lady asking me if I could bake for her daughter’s first birthday. To set the record straight, I bake for family and friends and seldom do I take up offers from people whom I do not know simply because I could not handle big orders and that I bake for fun, for hobby.

I don’t know why I agreed to bake for this lady, SP, and as we continued in our discussion, more stuff was added and before I knew it, I was to bake cupcakes, cookies, madeleines, smash cakes, birthday cake and a surprise cake for her niece. I must have calculated the timing wrongly and thought I was still in my second trimester which translates to having the energy still to bake and decorate. Alas, nearer the date, I realised I was in my third trimester already! Oh oh!

But it was all good. SP was a very nice lady to chat with and as we went through the details, I was challenged to come up with designs that could suit her theme and also make cakes that I would normally not make. I must say that I caused much disappointment for her two smash cakes as the colours condensed and bled ( I placed them in the fridge) but she was magnanimous enough to forgive me! What a wonderful lady!

IMG_20150808_063640This was the dessert table that SP created for her daughter, Chloe. I contributed some of the baked goods in the picture and when she sent me this image, I felt all the hard work has paid off. It was beautiful and I’m inspired to have a dessert table for my daughter and newborn too.

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This two-tier cake is made of an 8″ lychee sponge cake and a 6″ rainbow vanilla sponge cake. On the actual day itself, I took the whole of the morning and afternoon to do up the decoration since there was very little I could do beforehand. The horses had to be hand-painted and dried and thankfully all was well. It was undoubtedly a very heavy cake!

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Three flavours of cupcakes were requested to match the colour theme. Here we have chocolate-mint, strawberry and blueberry-flavoured ones.

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SP loves madeleines and she specially requested for lavender ones and I’m more than happy to bake these treats for her because Faith also loves them.

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Cookies for the guests. I can’t afford the time to use royal icing to decorate the cookies but I hope the fondant ones will do the job. 😉

20150801_152259 (2)This is the surprise cake that is meant for her niece who also turned 1YO around the same time as her daughter. This is a 6″ red velvet cake with minimal decoration except for the name and three owl figurines!

20150801_154446 (2)This is the part that I love most. To see the completed product and waiting for them to be delivered is really a joy in itself. And I definitely heaved a sigh of relief when they were all delivered safely!

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A week after that, i was to bake a 6″ lychee owl cake for SP’s niece. It was challenging not because of the amount of work but because it was raining cats and dogs on that day and if you have experience dealing with fondant, you will know that that is not the most ideal circumstance – the fondant perspired! I was racing against time and had to place the cake back and forth into the box that is filled with drying agents just so that the fondant will stay the way I wanted it to be.

Thankfully, the ‘owl’ was cooperative and stayed the way it was till cake-cutting.

It was indeed a wonderful first two weeks in August making these sweet treats and thanks, SP, for the opportunity to work with you!

8 Gift Ideas for Teachers’ Day

Teachers’ Day is round the corner and since the girl is in school, that means that there are teachers to appreciate. I could remember the many gifts that the pupils gave to me on that special day but the more memorable ones were those drawings and cards made personally by the pupils. One doesn’t have to spend a bomb on Teachers’ Day gifts (anyway, we cannot accept expensive gifts) but I thought the following are good gift ideas.

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Most teachers need a lot of caffeine to keep themselves awake throughout the day. We keep sachets of coffee and tea in our drawers and we wouldn’t mind coffee such as the above.

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Some teachers prefer tea to coffee and I thought this is a nice way to package the tea bags. Get your child to help make the ‘tea cup’!

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I know teachers are busy and at times, they skip meals just to catch up with marking and preparation of the lessons. If you are into baking, cookies are always welcome. You can always reuse jam jars and place the cookies in it or you can even use the CD envelope to package them! I know Daiso sells nice jars!

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If you want to go an extra mile and decorate the cookies, these are beautiful ones and they are sure to cheer the teachers up! These are sugar cookies decorated either using royal icing or fondant. Get the child to help!

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This is another wonderful gift idea. Teachers need energy throughout the day and these snacks will surely help!

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How about baking cupcakes for the teachers? Involve your children in the baking and wrapping of the cupcakes and they will be super proud as they present these sweet treats to their teachers.

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Fancy gifting the teachers a personalised mug with your own designs and wordings on it? The Gethsemane Care Ministry (TGCM), set up in 2005 by Gethsemane Bible Presbyterian Church, is a Gospel outreach (non-profit & self-sustaining) to those who are enslaved in the bondage of drug addiction. The Ministry serves to improve the life of the residents by providing livelihood and preparing them to integrate back to society. Recently they expanded their line of service (from disposal, removal, painting, cleaning, transport)  to high resolution Photo Mug Printing services. The prices of the customised mugs range from $7 to $11 and are meaningful gifts for teachers.On top of that, your patronage of the services offered by TGCM will go a long way in helping this ministry stay viable and effective. To engage their service, you may call 62816356.

You may read more about the experience of Mummy Ade who had engaged their services.

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As I have mentioned, nothing beats a card that is handmade by the pupil himself (but that’s just me) and you could perhaps add these gift tags which serve as great bookmarks!

Now, what should I get or make for Faith’s teachers?

Quekling II @ 31 weeks

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Quekling II jumped to 1.56kg at the last gynae visit and I put on 2kg within a span of 2 weeks which was rather alarming! I must have eaten quite a fair bit and I think I should watch what I eat from now on. If the food is of quality, then there’s no cause for worry but….

Wt of mom: 57kg

These days see me getting restless and lethargic more easily. It can truly be a struggle at times dealing with a very active toddler. It’s the last lap and I have to hang in there. There are still things to be done.

I posted the list of things that I need to do within the next few weeks (in another account) and I shall record them here.

In no order of priority. ..

1. Continue to talk to F about the arrival of the second one. I know how the first one reacts depends on her maturity level and the real emotions will come when the baby arrives. But there is no harm in preparing her. I remember how as a 4YO, I felt so jaded by my own mom when my sis arrived and I don’t really want that to happen to F.

2. Install a ceiling fan in the living room. This is my fault. The hubs wanted to install fan during renovation but I didn’t want. I regretted.

3. Go through the piles of clothes given by friends for the baby and then need to wash and allocate space for them. [DONE]

4. Go through Faith’s clothes and to give away since we have no more space! [DONE]

5. Send baby mattress, pillow, bumper to my mom’s place to sun. Our place is just pathetic with very little sunlight. [DONE]

6. Check if my breastpump still works. Crossing my fingers! This is such an important item to me!

7. Start preparing and freeze meals like sauce, broth, meatballs, etc.

8. We need to set up the cot but we still haven’t decided on the sleeping arrangement when the little one comes.

9. Looking forward, we might need part time help. Need to source for one if that is the case.

10. Buy baby stuff like shampoo, diapers, wet wipes but for these, I will shop online. No longer have the energy to carry so much stuff.

11. Orientate the hubs to the market since he will need to bring the confinement nanny there to do grocery. Also need to teach him the parts of certain meat so that he will buy correctly.

12. Need to get the hubs to drive more often as he will need to send F to school.

13. Buy confinement stuff like the bathing things and herbs. Thankfully, Mom said she would help me get the wine, sesame oil and herbs before she goes for her hols. Thank God fot her!

14. Pack hospital bag. Not very important.

15. Read up on contractions and newborn sleep pattern. I have completely forgotten.

16. Wash and sterilise milk bottles and breastmilk containers.

17. Fumigate the car. It’s very dusty and dirty!!!

18. Buy nursing bra. I forgot where i bought previously!!!

19. Borrow car seat from a friend.

20. Get stroller back from mom’s place.

21. Settle CDA for both?

The Violin (小提琴)

This short video shows a little of the history of Singapore. Brilliantly written, I thought.

Circa late 1930s, Boat Quay, Singapore. A young boy receives an old violin as a gift out of kindness from a foreign trader. It becomes a treasured possession as he teaches himself to play the instrument over several years, until it was lost during the Japanese Occupation of Singapore. After the war, the violin was found by a man working for the British Military Administration and given to his young daughter. The girl learns to play it and becomes a renowned violinist over the decades. She eventually passes the instrument on to her grandson, an accomplished violinist himself, who restores it and performs in a concert by the Singapore River, where the violin started its unexpected journey nearly 80 years ago.

Over the 16-minute film, the violin graces different stages of Singapore – both figuratively and literally – as we see a young country’s landscape change from the bustling 1930s to the dark days of the Japanese Occupation, followed by the sweeping political changes in the 60s that led to its independence and finally, present day.

Link: The Violin (小提琴) from Robot Playground Media on Vimeo.

National Day Celebration 2015

Yesterday, F’s school celebrated its Sports Day in conjunction with Singapore’s 50th birthday. I was excited because it is the first time I’m attending NOT as a teacher but as a parent!

Our family members were clad in red and white and we set off to the Sports Hub in the morning with high spirits. Upon reaching, Faith was on her skate-scoot and when she saw the crowd before her, she tensed up. In the end, I had to be in the line with her.

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Since she is one of the shortest kids in her class, she had to be in the front and I, too. I was a tad embarrassed (can you see my expression) but I had to stand beside her since she would make a fuss when I stepped out. Sigh!

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In the end, I sang the national anthem and recited the pledge with the kids, all thanks to the little girl. I’m still trying to understand her personality. While she could be so friendly with a stranger on a one-to-one basis, she is a totally different character when it comes to a crowd.

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The sports meet was next and after watching and cheering for the other classes, it’s the N1 pupils’ turn! Many of the children were shy and wanted their parents to take part with them. Of course, the parents obliged.

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It’s the hubs’ turn when it comes to sports now and I certainly hope that both of them had fun. Faith looked relieved after the match was over.

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Singing National Day songs…

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There was a short break in between the photo taking session and the hubs got her interested in getting the ants to climb onto the twig. She definitely was more interested in this activity and was captivated for a good amount of time.

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But the highlight had to be snack time because that’s when her eyes lit up. She was active and alert all of a sudden and was in her cheerful mode again. So, you know what will make her happy now?

😉

Baking with a toddler | Blueberry muffins

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Young children are fickle-minded when it comes to food. Sometimes, they might like a certain food to bits and then all of a sudden, they declare that they hate it. Faith used to be able to gobble up a bowl of blueberries all by herself and then one fine day, she rejected them. It’s frustrating, to say the least. And I so wanted her to appreciate this fruit again.

So, to get her to consume them again, I have to hide the blueberries. Since we were running out of food for breakfast, I thought I might as well bake a batch of blueberry muffins.

The recipe is taken from Hummingbird Bakery whose Red Velvet Cake I like. However, I replaced the sugar with raw sugar and cut down the amount to 1 cup. The end result is that the muffins aren’t too sweet but that’s fine by me. ,

I also find that the toddler is more willing to eat what she has helped to bake and when she consumed the muffin this morning, she was happy and exclaimed that it was delicious. Effort paid off!

This batch yields about 18 muffins and they are obviously too much for our small family. Well, we can always freeze the rest for future consumption. The next time I bake these muffins, I might add a tablespoon of lemon zest just to enhance the taste. 😉

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2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 egg
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
70g unsalted butter, melted
2 cups of blueberries

Yields about 18 muffins if you are using a standard-sized cupcake tin

  1. Preheat the oven to 170C.
  2. Put the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a electric mixer with a paddle attachment and beat on slow speed.
  3. Put the buttermilk, egg and vanilla into a bowl and mix to combine. Slowly pour the flour mixture and beat until just IMG_3231incorporated.
  4. Pour in the melted butter and beat until the butter has just been incorporated, then turn the mixer up to medium speed and beat until the dough is even and smooth.
  5. Gently fold in the blueberries with a wooden spoon until even dispersed.
  6. Spoon the batter into the paper cases until two-thirds full and bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Let the muffins cool slightly in the pan before turning out into a wire rack to cool.

July in summary

July is a month in which faith was built up and strengthened. We started off with the attendance of JDOP, a day when we came together as a body of Christ to pray. It was by faith that we signed up for the tickets as it would be rather challenging to bring a toddler along and expect her to maintain her discipline for three hours. On that day, I forgot to bring our tickets and I panicked since admission was strictly by that means. Thankfully, a CG-mate came to our rescue and passed us the tickets that we needed. Hallelujah!

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As we sat among the sea of red (for our church members), I couldn’t be more thankful to be able to be among believers, singing praises to our Lord God and talking to Him. We had the privilege of having our Prime Minister gracing the event and we also said a prayer of blessing for Him. Faith was indeed disciplined throughout and I’m so thankful to the Lord for that.

BSF resumed in July and I was glad to be back basically because it got me into a routine of reading the Word of God in more detail. Faith was also back in class and I’m sure she’s in good hands. School also started for her and she was in high spirits when she got back. This semester onwards, she stayed back in school for one more hour for Chinese enrichment because (1) I needed her to be more exposed to Mandarin, and (2) I needed to rest more since I am in the last lap for my pregnancy. Initially, she struggled because she didn’t like the change and was not used to the teacher who was conducting the enrichment class. However, after a week, she was fine and came out, exclaiming, “I enjoyed myself!” Thank God for that!

The hubs and I signed up for Alpha Marriage that is conducted in our church. Ok, I need to maintain that our marriage is not on the rocks but we signed up, anticipating that we could benefit from the lessons. It is strongly advisable that we do not bring the kid along and thankfully, our CG-mates stepped up to help. Each week, while we were away, Faith would be looked after by different families and my in-laws and we were indeed thankful to them. Faith had a good time of bonding with the CG-children and even had the opportunity to learn about the armour of God during one of the sessions!

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The Alpha Marriage course did us some good. It provided a time for us to be alone and communicate. I know this is hard to believe but each day, the hubs and I could only spend at most 15 minutes to talk on a one-to-one basis since he is the one to put Faith to bed and in so doing, he retires for the day too. During the course, we discussed some pertinent issues on marriage and parenting (no doubt) and it’s just awesome to be able to chat like we used to. I recommended this course for any married couples!

ndpK managed to get us tickets to the NE show (rehearsal for National Day) and we were seated at the grand stand. I love attending the parade live as compared to watching it on TV and I thought it would be a wonderful experience for Faith. Alas, she was cranky throughout and was probably frightened by the loud noise and sudden short outbursts of fireworks.

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Just look at her sullen look. She didn’t enjoy herself and kept urging us to leave. We persisted until the last part – the splendid display of fireworks which everyone was looking forward to. But we had to leave. She was crying and we didn’t have any more energy either. On the way to the train station, she turned and asked me, “Are you okay, Mama? Next time we come again?”

Clearly she knew I was upset because I was sulking and complaining to the hubs. I turned and gave her an upset look. Oh well…

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Mid-July and the hubs checked us into a hotel for a staycation. It was most thoughtful of him but honestly, we didn’t enjoy ourselves. The little girl was rather bored and occasionally threw her tantrums. Since we were sharing the bed, yup, all three of us, I found myself staying awake most of the time to fend off her kicks lest she hurt the baby in the womb. As a result, the staycation was none too restful, I regret to say.

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We did have moments of fun in the pool and I’ve learnt a little more about the Peranakan culture and to wrap a dumpling well.

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My brother and his family came back for a visit and we had an awesome time dining at Changi because we had the sea view and the food prices weren’t too expensive either. The kids had a great time playing together and even the adults joined in the fun.

20150727_131514Kids hanging out together again!

On other news, I invited my mom to an Chinese evangelistic concert and she went up to receive Christ in her heart after a pastor beckoned her to do so. Personally, I wasn’t sure if she did it on her own free will but I guess I just have to continue to pray for her.

So, here you go. That’s July for us. How’s yours? 😉