Completion of our first Safari Zoo Run 2017

Over the weekend, our family participated in our very first Safari Zoo Run and it was indeed an enjoyable morning spent! We chose the 2.5km family dash because the girl was just 4 years old and we wouldn’t want to drag an exhausted girl all the way to the finish line. Moreover, we brought Daniel along. 5km run can wait.

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Our run was the last category to commence at 9.30am which is a comfortable time for young kids! However, that would mean that parking could be an issue. We made our way and reached an hour before the starting time but had a slight problem looking for a carpark lot. Thankfully, there was valet available.

img_7251Reached finally and all eager to start!

We were among the last few families to assemble at the start pen and were at the last wave to be flagged off. We had to wait for another 15 more minutes but it was all necessary due to safety reasons. This being the ninth year for the Safari Zoo Run, we could definitely count on the expertise of the organisers in making the run a smooth and safe one. Just imagine the bottlenecks if all of us started off at the same time.

Thankfully, the weather was superb that day.

Flag off! It was a pleasant start to the run because the participants were all gracious and friendly and looked out for one another. It was really a joy to see so many parents participating with their kids. Faith was all excited and started running in the beginning but slowed down soon after. We were expecting complaints and whines but thankfully, the animals distracted her!

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She got all excited along the way as she could view the various creatures. “Mama, come and see! Look!” So our family dash was interrupted by the need to gaze at the animals and you could just sense the kids’ wonder and amazement. Daniel who was in the running stroller truly enjoyed the sights.There’s wasn’t much fuss from him. It is, after all, his first time to the zoo! 

Doesn’t look like a run at all! Families were stopping along the way to snap pictures!

Waterpoints that weren’t crowded

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I must remember to pack in snacks when we participate in a similar type of run the next time round because the kids cried for food after just 1km of activity.

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The family dash was truly an enjoyable experience for us. We met the lions, white tiger, kangaroos, monkeys, polar bear and many more which made our run a tad longer than expected. After we reached the finish line, the girl still wanted to see more of the animals which was totally possible since participants were entitled to free admission to the zoo and River Safari on that day. The Safari Zoo Run provided us with not just great family bonding opportunities but the chance to share with the girl about wildlife conservation.

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Did you know….

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And with that, we completed our first run for the year as a family! We had an awesome experience throughout. The collection of the race entry pack at Marina Square was smooth and fast and the race itself was fun and totally enjoyable. Well-organised. Thumbs up!

Oh yes, we even got to visit the Zoo-Rassic Park where the girl had been asking to visit. We certainly are looking forward to participate again! 

Disclaimer: HiVelocity Events has kindly sponsored our family with the Safari Zoo Run Race Slots so that we could experience the race for ourselves and share it with our readers. No monetary compensation is involved and all opinions are my own.

 

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DNC : SpongeBob run

DNC means Did Not Compete & Complete in this case. I was looking forward to have a good family run at Sentosa but it didn’t turn out the way I envisioned it to be.


I assure you that we set off for the race with much anticipation. We were all smiles especially Faith. Alas….

For those of you who have signed up and completed the race, I could only envy. But the fact is the walk to the starting point from the carpark was a tad long and by the time we reached the carnival, the girl was complaining of tiredness. To add to that, she did not like to walk on sand and was whining the whole time, thus exasperating me.


It was overcast as well and half the time, the hubs and I were contemplating if we should head back lest it poured. We didn’t want the kids to fall sick as a result of being caught in the rain and in the end, decided that we should just head back.


It was really crowded at the actual scene. I think if I was to come with friends, I would have enjoyed it, never mind the sand which is a terrain I’m not keen to run on. There were so many opportunities for good pictures to be captured but we only managed these two.



I think I’m too ambitious. Faith is not ready for a long distance run (what was I thinking???) and the most she could do is perhaps those ‘quick dash’ or 800m run. I must also make sure that it’s concrete road that she will be running the next time I sign her up.


In the end, we went for Bak Kut Teh. Sigh! No output but input. Oh well…

Run with peace of mind

We are days away from the upcoming Spongebob run in which we would participate as a family. I’m a bit apprehensive because I know that the girl wouldn’t last that distance – 5km – and we are ready to get her to hop onto the Hauck Viper stroller while I carry the boy in the carrier.


I thought I should just take advantage of the Customer Care Program that comes with the purchase of any Hauck product.

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So we went down to the showroom last week to get the stroller checked and serviced. Now, we can certainly run with peace of mind. Hopefully, the weather would be awesome!

😉

Family Day Out @ City Square Mall 

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Thinking of places to dine? Why not head to City Square Mall, especially during this month (July) as it welcomes back the always popular Food Festival. This year, City Square Mall’s Food Festival 2016 will tantalise foodies with new restaurant openings, exciting F&B promotions and attractive gifts with purchase including mall vouchers and exclusive canvas tote bags. Besides the food, the mall offers a slew of fun activities and facilities for the kids too. Truly a family-friendly mall, I say!

13557816_10156918605900478_8486180769404040063_nWith courtesy of City Square Mall.

I won’t beat about the bush but these $9.90 weekday lunch deals are so attractive. Just look at the eleven lunch sets –  you are spoilt for choices! And if you are driving there, I believe you will be pleased to know that there is complimentary weekday parking worth $3, in addition to free weekday lunchtime parking for the first one and a half hour between 12 and 2pm (exclude public holidays), with minimum $60 spent. More information can be found on their website. #goodthingsmustshare

Food aside, City Square Mall is truly a place where families could hang out the whole day! I’ll tell you why.

Our family was invited to a Family Day Out at City Square Mall last week and it was indeed a fun-filled one, not forgetting the filling of the stomach of course.

 

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The kids had their share of fun at The Petite Park. We usually don’t frequent indoor playgrounds so you could imagine their joy when the Queklings were told to explore this space for a good one hour. Their eyes lit up!

So I thought Dan would not be suitable to play in there but no, he had his playtime too!

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We were famished after that one hour of playtime and we proceeded to Watami Japanese Casual Restaurant. I’m one happy lady because Japanese cuisine will, more often than not, be my first choice when it comes to dining out.

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This Pork Cutlet with Scrambled Egg Sauce Set is one of the $9.90 weekday lunch sets and is truly satisfying.

We were also treated to the Wafu pizza, meat skewers and salad while Faith had her Junior’s Sushi Set. All were so good (okay, I’m just generally biased towards Japanese cuisine ya?)!

We had such a full lunch that it makes sense for us to do a bit of exercise at its revamped outdoor playground which is located just next to the MRT.

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Alas, it was hot at 1.30pm and while we wished to spend more time at this playground, we had to seek a more cooling environment to rest. Perhaps the next time we come, we will have our go at this outdoor playground first.

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You’ve guessed it! We proceeded to another makan (eating) place soon after and it’s The Manhattan Fish MarketThe Manhattan Fish Market we went!

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For your info, the Grilled Glory Dory Set with soup of the day is one of the $9.90 weekday lunch sets. The rice tastes rather garlicky so if you are a fan of garlic, this is absolutely for you! For me, I love the dory!

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The Manhattan Fish Market has a menu for children too so you don’t have to share with the kids. Kekeke..We were recommended to a very refreshing drink – cala cala – a cooling and citrusy combination of Calamansi with lemon fizzle. It’s an absolutely must-drink!

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The friendly server gifted Faith with a pack of card game – Happy Family. Those of you who are born in my era, do you remember that game? He told us that they are doing their part to encourage family members to play together as opposed to having kids glued to their ipads or phones. Thumbs up for this initiative!

By 3pm, we were exhausted but there are still so many stores available at City Square Mall! Bookstores, apparels, salons… If I had the energy, I would have done my grocery at the supermarket. Oh well!

Thank you, City Square Mall, for your invitation. We truly had a great family day out!

Faith’s first swimming lesson

Before the kids came along, I have decided that if I should send them to any enrichment classes, it would have to be Chinese, music and swimming. Faith started her music lessons at 3YO and Chinese enrichment about three months later. We have been sourcing for a swimming class for her for the longest time and we finally found one (via this link) that suits our timing and budget, all thanks to my resourceful sister!

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Morning: All ready for swim class!

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This scene is so familiar it brings back many fond memories. It is the swimming complex where I learnt how to tread water, used the breast stroke and gobbled the bowl of Mee Siam after each lesson. Now my daughter is going through the same thing, minus the food (no more canteen there!).

She started off in the competition pool and my SIL and I were giggling away as our kids got orientated in the water. Faith was uber attentive to the instructor and did everything that she was asked to do. She wore the apprehensive expression on her face and I was afraid that she might give up halfway.

Thankfully, she was all smiles when she got up for a drink and narrated to us what had happened. Asked if she liked the class, she said YES. Phew!

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So yes, she was in the deep waters for her first lesson. I think learning in a group helps a lot at her age since she will be more inclined to want to swim together with the rest. It’s definitely a good source of motivation!

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I think she did well for her first trial session. We went down as a family to support her. Yes, her brother too. We make it a point to have the siblings encourage each other in their achievement, no matter how small that could be.

Psst. Have you been using your FREE ActiveSG $100 for sports-related activities? Don’t forget to use it!

Happy Father’s Day!

!Happy Father’s Day to all the wonderful daddies out here.

However, I would like to mention a particular daddy in this post and he is none other than the father of my children! *clap, clap*

Thank you for making family your priority, that in every meeting or task that you intend to undertake, you would think of us first. We know you are exhausted after a day at work but each time when you step into the house, you never fail to greet us with a smile and thereafter spend time with the kids. Thank you for being a firm and yet fun father to the children. I definitely think that you are much more fun to be with as you go down on all fours to play silly games with her. I know I can’t.

Personally, I want to thank you for standing in to do ‘night duties’ since Dan was born so that I could have a restful night. I don’t know how you manage to do that since you have a day job and need the rest yourself. So, yea, I am immensely grateful that you put our welfare before yours.

The girl made a card for you and she did it by herself; I merely suggested the idea. We hope you like it!

And we even went down to Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) to do some filming.

Watch out for her at 1:36. She was extremely shy that day but because it’s for you…

Happy Father’s Day. We thank God for you!

That day, we had an awesome lunch with the family at Symmetry at the recommendation of SIL and it was truly a wonderful eatery. Thankfully we were a little early because it was already packed when we arrived at 11ish!

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Love the illustration on the menu

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I always order truffle fries when they are on the menu and the ones at Symmetry didn’t disappoint.

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Truly filling and satisfying

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The kids and I

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Next stop. Where are we off to?
It’s off to Dad’s Day Out to spend some time bonding with the man in the family!

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So the girl danced with the dad, got wheeled around, instructed and led the father out of the maze and took a family picture together. The brother? Slept most of the time away in the Boba carrier. Tsk!

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Happy Father’s Day again. Love it!

Staycation with little ones

I don’t know about you but we have had little luck with staycation. Whenever I read blogs about how fun staycation can be for other families with young kids, I couldn’t help but envy. We had our fair share of hotel stays since Faith came along but none came close to being “excellent”. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that the hotels aren’t doing their best to make our stay pleasant; it’s just us. I personally find staycation to be a tad tiring until perhaps, the kids are older?

Are we the only ones having such ‘bad’ experience?

Last Friday, after Faith had her music class, we zipped to Amara Sanctuary Resort for our staycation. The girl knocked out once she was in the car. Too tiring, I suppose, and we had a late check in.


Kachang puteh and their signature drink, something familiar and refreshing.


The boy was surprisingly alert and active at 4pm while the sister continued to zzzzz… her way to the room in the stroller. Had she been awake, we would have gone exploring the hotel premise quite immediately upon checking in.


We waited for her till she awoke from her nap. Refreshed and happy the way I like it. There’s less chance of dealing with a cranky kid and we definitely do not need that on a staycation.


Before we could do anything interesting, it’s dinner time. I made an appointment for a massage at night because it’s such a waste not to have such a luxury in a resort, isn’t it?

We didn’t have any fancy meal but I’m come to a stage where I’ve learnt to be contented – that if I see my loved ones enjoying the company of each other, that’s enough. Good enough.

And we had that.

Evening. I went for my massage session while the hubs tried to put the kids to bed. I returned, and learnt that he has just gotten the baby to sleep (after an hour of attempt) and the girl? Waiting for me to come back and sleep with her.

Life with young kids…

The following day, it rained. It always, 90% of the time, rains when we are on staycation. I couldn’t understand the logic but I have already managed my expectations so I wasn’t too upset by it. Had our breakfast which was nothing to boast about. Once the rain got lighter, I beckoned the girl to go jalan jalan (explore) with me.


Let the boys have their sleep. All of us didn’t sleep well the night before because Dan had been waking up a few times that night.

Life with young kids…


I love the resort. It is tranquil and I thought it is a good place for a short retreat.


It’s a haven for nature lovers. If I was to come alone, I would have gone for a morning jog at the gym, cool down with a walk around the premise and refresh myself with their signature drink at the hotel lobby.


Air is fresh and this architecture lovely.


And we found a peacock feather on the way.


The pool is so inviting and yet we could only gaze…


…or dip our toes in it.


Oh, all right. It’s not too bad after all. We met the resident peacock and its young.


Back to our room and it’s more viewing of the black box and eventually some work on her own. Life with young kids. You really ought to pack stuff for them to do when you go places. When kids are bored, you are doomed.

So we didn’t get to use the pool but thankfully, there’s the bath tub.

She spent half an hour having a splashing good time in it.

Contentment.


With that, we packed our bags and got ready to head home. Faith must have been happy for she kept asking us why we couldn’t go home that evening, how she wanted to go home and that she didn’t like to be away from her humble abode.

Gah… What is wrong with (our) staycation?


Thankfully, we had a very satisfying citron and chocolate mille crepe at Lady M and that made my day.

Another staycation? We will try again.

Spongebob Run Singapore

Following the previous run, I’m looking forward to yet another one. This time round, I hope to be participating with da man and the kids.

Enter Nickelodeon’s first ever SpongeBob Run in Asia which will flag off in Singapore on 6 August 2016 at Siloso Beach Walk, Sentosa. Join SpongeBob SquarePants in search of his missing best friend Patrick Star via this fun run which will see participants cover a five kilometre route showcasing iconic landmarks from the underwater city of Bikini Bottom, including the Krusty Krab, and the houses that SpongeBob, Patrick and Squidward Tentacles live in.

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I thought this fun run could encourage families to get out and run together, especially in the lead-up to National Day, no?

The race course is lined with many trigger-happy opportunities for participants to snap a #wefie with SpongeBob and his friends in life-size cutout boards, such as Sandy Cheeks in her pressurized suit and SpongeBob’s pet sea snail Gary. Fun, isn’t it?

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There are two categories of race entitlement packs:

:: For BASIC (S$49.50 per pax), participants will receive an official event t-shirt, an event medal and a runner’s license.

:: For NORMAL (S$59.50 per pax), in addition to receiving an official event t-shirt, an event medal and a runner’s license, participants will go home with an exclusive SpongeBob Run Singapore plush and drawstring bag.

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On that day, a carnival filled with nautical-themed activities, food and beverages, awaits SpongeBob fans and their families. At the end of the race, fans can enjoy a screening of three episodes of SpongeBob SquarePants with their loved ones. The first 30 participants who finish the race will get the opportunity to meet SpongeBob and Patrick.

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Sounds interesting? If you are ready for an evening of fun for your family, do register for the race at the SpongeBob Run Singapore 2016 website.

Oh, wait a minute! Before you do that, you could use this promo code SBXLYNN to get $5 off for any of the 2 categories. But do hurry as this promotion is valid only till 4 August 2016. 

We will be taking part as a family and I need to start training the girl already! Two more months to go! For your information, only strollers are allowed in the event and free admission is granted for children below 0.9m in height provided they are accompanied by an adult taking part in the race (Terms and Conditions applies). However, they would not receive any race entitlements.

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See you there?

SpongeBob Run Singapore
Saturday, Aug 6, 2016, 04:00 pm 08:00 pm
Siloso Beach Sentosa Singapore, Singapore

Disclaimer: We were invited by X-Change Republic on behalf of Nickelodeon and sponsored with a pair of complimentary tickets for SpongeBob Run Singapore. Images and information pertaining to the run are provided by them. No monetary compensation was received and all opinions are as usual, my own.

 

 

 

#sportsforlife

It has always been a struggle to find time to exercise, for me. As Dan grows older, he demands more of my time and I find myself unable to even spend an uninterrupted 30 minutes to do a workout at home.

I look forward to weekends though since that would mean the husband is around and we could do some forms of exercise together, as a family. I wanted our children to love sports and to achieve that, the adults must model for them.

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Last Friday, we visited Decathlon and had a whale of a time. I always go ‘crazy’ over sports products and there are so many items here for various sports. We took the opportunity to show the girl how to throw the frisbee, got her to have a feel of passing the soccer ball, encouraged her to attempt the rock wall climbing and needless to say, she had fun on the trampoline.

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And we finally made it to the pool! It’s Dan’s first encounter and as anticipated, he cried when he first touched the water. But after a few minutes, he was fine!

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I managed to squeeze in some time to do a short  run yesterday after getting the kids to nap. The hubs took over and off I went. It’s a wonderful feeling, a luxury, being able to be in the outdoors, without whining kids. Hah..

Hopefully, these activities will sustain.

Have a great week, folks.

The birth story of Daniel

Every pregnancy is different.

This time round with Daniel (he’s our second child), I had mild nauseous during my first trimester but apart from that, there was no swollen feet or cramps of the legs during bedtime unlike the first pregnancy. There was little craving (or next to none) and life was business as usual.

However, this time round, I was more anxious than the first during the last stage because the baby kept turning his position while in the womb. He was in the downward position in week 36 and 37 but turned breech and horizontal during the last 2 weeks.

He was too active.

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On Monday, 5 October, I had my last checkup and it seemed that he had moved head-down again and we decided to induce him the following morning. I have wanted a vaginal birth as opposed to a C-sect as much as possible and thus this decision.

It was however, a decision that was not without much struggle. At the back of our minds, K and I were asking ourselves if we were playing God by going ahead with induction. In His time. .. In His time… but were we intervening when we agreed to induce?

Of course, there is always the possibility that Daniel will flip again and this was really beyond my control. That afternoon, a BSF-mate called and prayed for me from which I got the peace to go ahead with the plan.

That night, I didn’t sleep well. I was sitting on the armchair hoping that gravity will help in stabilising Daniel’s position and that means ‘bye bye’ to sleep. Obviously, this is not proven and I should be gathering as much rest as possible but as long as he’s in a downward position, I could do with little sleep.

We checked in at 8.15am after sending F to school. The reception counter was busy and we had to wait a while. Dr Poon had quite a busy day ahead and I was panicking.

Anyway, on instruction, the nurse gave me the liquid thing and I did the big poo (sry, can’t remember the term for it).

Dr Poon came and did the scan. Ok great, Daniel’s head was still down and I was 2cm dilated. He broke my water bag and I was put on drip immediately. That was 9.40am.

The pain was all bearable until about 11am. I was 4cm dilated and there was a drop in the Daniel’s heartbeat. The nurse reported this to Dr Poon and he instructed her to stop my drip. I was given oxygen due to that and from then on, contractions started to kick in.

Daniel’s head, however, was too high up.

My instruction to the nurse was to have the laughing gas and the jab on the thigh. At 11.30am, I asked for laughing gas because the pain has increased.

At about 1 plus pm, Dr Poon came and told me that it would still take about 3 to 4 hours before I became fully dilated. I nearly fainted upon hearing that. The pain was increasing in leaps and bounds and I told the nurse that I needed the jab. I rejected epidural and minutes later, I regretted.

After about 30 minutes, the pain was unbearable.

I was gripping on to the sides of the bed and the pain intensified. I suddenly felt the urge to push but was told earlier that I could not lest the cervix area rupture. But then the urge to push was automatic and I cried out. The nurses came in, checked my dilation and said it’s fully open!

Thankfully Dr Poon was still around and I heard him put on the gown and more nurses came in. They got me in a ready position and asked me to push.

I think I pushed a total of 5 times before Daniel came out.

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It was crazy, the pain.

I think I must have forgotten how painful it was the previous time. After Daniel came out, Dr Poon took out the placenta and stored the blood cord for us. He showed me the placenta but I was like ‘ok, whatever ‘ and drifted back to drowsy state.

Too much pain.

Daniel weighed 3.154kg and measured 51cm long at birth.

IMG_20151007_0705540.9837929173298327Skin-to-skin contact but I was semi conscious. Was too tired by the whole episode.

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This is joy… when I held him at a more conscious state.

I’m thankful that the Lord allows me to deliver him naturally and without epidural. During that last stage, I was mentally scolding myself for not using it. But I really don’t want to suffer the side-effects too (it’s a personal preference). Sigh… but all is well now.

Sleepless nights ahead. For now, I’m just thankful that he’s out safely.

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Holding my finger tightly with his, while being breastfed.

PD examined the boy and all was well. But we will only know his jaundice level the next day and if he could be discharged.

The boy didn’t pee and it was advised that we give him formula milk. I would be dead against it for my firstborn but now my reply is, “Ok loh”.

Poor second child.

I have gained a total of 11kg for this pregnancy and hopefully I could go back to my pre-pregnancy weight in time to come. For now, I would have to rest (not sure if I could) and eat well so that the milk could come in.

IMG_20151007_2044130.7896567479734887Faith was excited about his brother and wanted to touch and ‘sayang’ him all the time. Of course, we were afraid that the force that she exerts would be wrong and kept reminding her to be gentle. Think she was frustrated by our concern!

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Presenting you our family of four!

The past week

The past week has been a busy one. It’s the one-week school holiday and that means F was home all the time. I guess if I wasn’t pregnant, we would be going places and having loads of fun. Alas, that wasn’t the case. Thankfully, the dear husband took a few days off to look after the toddler while I busied myself with baking and decorating cakes. That week, I took on 3 cake orders that were due on the same day and till now, I have no clue why I did that in the first place. ;p

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This is a cake that is requested by my ex-boss for her 82YO mom. What a privilege to bake for her. I admit I wasn’t that ecstatic about making sugar flowers because I feel that isn’t my forte. I much prefer to make figurines of cartoon characters but I guess I should challenge myself so that I could improve. I did have fun!

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Nowadays, I update more on my Dayre account since it’s faster and is a good platform for my family to know what goes on in our lives. These sugar flowers and figurines had to be made in advance and they could take a long time to make.

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I normally bake the sponge cakes at least a day in advance and would frost them before the delivery day as I want the flavours to blend.

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That Saturday was an awesome day for covering the cake with fondant in a non air-conditioned place. It was hazy no doubt but it wasn’t humid and that is perfect! This cake took me a whole morning to cover and decorate (at a steady pace) and I was pleased at how it turned out. It looks exactly like the sketch I made for this customer.

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This Peppa cake theme was requested by a friend for his younger daughter. I have not done Peppa pig before but certainly do not mind working on it. He showed me the pictures whose figurines I had to recreate and it was fun. This cake was simple to decorate. Within an hour!

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This is for his elder daughter and an Angry Bird theme was requested.

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This is always the point when I feel absolutely relieved. The cakes were boxed up and ready to be collected/ delivered.

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The two adorable sisters. It’s such a privilege to bake for them!

That day when the cakes were due was our 6th wedding anniversary. We didn’t plan for anything fanciful (how could he since I had cake orders. Oops!) but we had a good dinner as a family.

I’m thankful to da man who puts the family before himself and that one of his aims in life is to make me happy (in his own words). Being able to pursue this little dream (baking and cake decorating) is a gift. At certain junctures, the course of your life meanders and you wonder what’s next. There have been a lot of changes in my life since I’ve become a mom but it has been really exciting. Not knowing what’s next can be unsettling yet I’ve come to realize that the good Lord knows what is good for me.

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Thank you for always rendering your help when I need it. You obviously are tired from work and yet there is no complaint when I ask you to take over to play with the little one or to help out with the household chores. I’m blessed. I’m soooo thankful to the Lord for you!

And with these cakes, I have to say’ Goodbye’ to baking for sale for a while as we prepare to welcome our second child. Thank you for all your support, dear friends. You have brightened my life with your orders and I hope to bake again for you!

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?

😉

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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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?

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).

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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.

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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!

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Thankful that we are one

Our family has joined a new Cell Group (CG) late last year since our previous group dissolved *sobs*. But we always believe that “..in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) and true enough, many of our ex-members are settled well in the new CGs and that includes us.

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Personally, I’m thankful to be placed in this group because I can identify more with the ladies who share some common interests with me AKA cooking and education. The fact that we have a big group of young children helps because Faith could have more playmates and big brothers and sisters to learn from. Recently, she does not need me to be with her anymore as she finds more joy mingling with her playmates. Independence eh? Praise the Lord!

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We can almost start a  Children’s programme with this group of kids and I’m thankful that the ladies are always willing to step up to help look after them. Awesome!

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Yesterday, I had the privilege of baking cakes for our pilot CG leader and another member of the group. We had a wonderful celebration and all ladies chipped in in terms of food – roasted chicken thighs, beef stew, black sesame paste, apple strudel, fruits, etc. This is the kind of sharing I long for in a group, that kind of love demonstrated in giving (.. “it is more blessed to give than to receive.” ~ Acts 20:35).

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It’s such a joy to see smiles on their faces and more so, the Christ in all of them.

May we not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but to encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:25)

[Giveaway] A family set of 4 top category tickets to HAIRY MACLARY AND FRIENDS

Life as a mom can be exciting when the little one grows older. It’s really much like having a constant adorable companion by your side and doing things together with your mini-me. One of the things that I enjoy doing is watching musicals and performances and now, as she approaches the wonderful TWO, it’s time to expose her to such shows!

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The very first show that we are watching together is Hairy Maclary and Friends! I’m looking forward to this show because I know Faith loves dogs and would go up to the furry animal if she sees one. She’s just not afraid at all! Besides, Hairy Maclary and Friends is coming to Singapore for it’s very first time and promises great fun for the family!  It is an official stage adaptation of the much-loved Hairy Maclary children’s books by Lynley Dodd. This hugely popular performance is suitable for children ages 2+ and above and is packed with live music, singing and colourful costumes. There are also opportunities for the young ones to sing along and do the actions with all the characters from the books. I’m sure the young ones would enjoy this 55-minute show!

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DETAILS

Venue: Drama Centre Theatre, National Library Building
Season: Fri 10 Oct, 5pm; Sat and Sun 11-12 Oct, 11.30am, 2pm, 4.30pm
Duration: Approximately 55 minutes
Tickets: $35 onwards
Bookings: Tickets are available via SISTIC. Quote ABA2014 to save 10% on the tickets!

GIVEAWAY!

You can get to watch the performance with your loved ones! ABA Productions has kindly sponsored a family set of 4 category 1 tickets to ONE lucky reader of this blog (you will have to be residing in Singapore though). The tickets will be for the opening performance on Friday Oct 10th, 5pm, at Drama Centre Theatre – National Library. Enter the giveaway here! Results of the giveaway will be announced on Tuesday Oct 7th at 5pm on this blog post and my Facebook page.

All the best!

Disclaimer: Our family is invited to review Hairy Maclary and Friends. No monetary gift was received. 

Our first weekend together

Excitement is in the house as we welcomed our brother and his family back for a month. My parents have been waiting for this day for so long and it is a no wonder that mom got busy on that day when they arrived = scrumptious dinner!

We spent our first weekend together at Sentosa as we wanted to bring them to the Port of Lost wonder. My brother has been stationed in Shanghai and my nephew has little opportunity for water play. We must expose him more!

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The kids were waiting rather impatiently, especially the older ones since they knew what to expect.

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As usual, we were the first in line because we were simply kiasu! Hah!

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Yay! Off we go!

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Faith and her cousin, Lester, who seemed very apprehensive.

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Remember to get the kids to drink lots of water and apply the sunscreen!

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The younger kids stopped playing after an hour while the older ones were still enjoying themselves.

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Eventually we stopped and proceeded to Siloso Beach for our lunch. It’s to Coastes again! We chose this eatery because we wanted a place that the kids could continue to play while the adults had their meal. Play what, you ask. Sand!

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Remember Faith is afraid to go into the sand, let alone play with it? I think {good} peer influence is important because when she saw that her cousins were playing, she went ahead as well.

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And then when she saw that her cousin Dayen was fetching water from the sea, she wanted to do so too which was really surprising! We brought her once to the beach and she resisted the waters but now, she wanted to do it. I grabbed the opportunity to go into the waters with her. I’m reminded again to always observe what’s she doing and to encourage her (not to restrict her) whenever she’s ready for any task/adventure. In today’s case, it’s the sand and seawater!

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The adults had a relatively easy time for lunch. Yay!

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It’s an enjoyable weekend, I must say. Not sure where we would be headed to next as a family.

😉

Waterplay fun

So today marks the end of the June holidays for us in Singaland. How fast! I’m actually not affected by it since a) I’m no longer teaching; and b) Faith is not in school. But I will definitely miss those fun outing we had with my sister and her two (three) boys!

We went to Gardens by the Bay and Port of Lost Wonders during the third week of June and it was definitely a fun time for the kiddos.

The Far East Organisation Children’s Garden at Gardens by the Bay caters to kids from 1 to 12 years old  and the one-hectare garden consists of playtime elements that combine both nature and adventure. The kids can enjoy exploring a 7.5 metre-tall tree house (for older kids) to splashing around at interactive water tunnels.

Our family turned up early on a weekday and there weren’t a lot of people then. The kids started at the non-intimidating toddler play zone while the adults watched them from a distance at the sheltered amphitheatre.

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They soon got bored and moved over to the waterplay area that is suitable for children aged between 6 to 12 years old. The programmable water play is linked to sensors which detect the movement of children to create a corresponding sequence of water effects. I though Faith would be frightened of this area but she dared to explore and linger in that space for quite some time!

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My sis and I forgot to bring along a set of clothes for ourselves and couldn’t join in the fun with them. I think it would be rather interesting to play in this waterplay area with the kiddos!

The weather was super hot that day and we had to call it quits after about an hour and a half. There were shower facilities so there isn’t a great problem cleaning them up.

Far East Organisation Children’s Garden
Operates:  Tuesday to Sunday
9am – 9pm
Admission: Free

A few days later, we went to another waterplay area and this time round, it was Sentosa we went – Port of Lost Wonders! Since it opens at 10am, we had breakfast at the nearby Mac.

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Faith really does adore her cousins, especially Dayen, the younger one.

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We were the first in line and spent some time monkeying around.

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The children obviously enjoyed their time here and I must say I did too. Faith is a bit young and thus we had to supervise her when she ventured into the ship. I appreciate that there are crew members on the ship on the lookout for the safety of the kids. Good!

After 2 hours of playing in the water, we proceeded to lunch at the nearby beach. So tiring but it’s great fun, I must say.

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We will definitely be back again when my brother and his family come back in a month’s time! Can’t wait!

Port of Lost Wonders
10am to 6.30pm daily
Admission: $10 per child
Adults enter free!

Splash, splash!

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One of the skills that I want Faith to acquire is the ability to swim. So, the hubs and I finally called on our friends who stayed in a condo nearby and asked if we could use the swimming facilities and it’s an absolute YES! Yay!

Initially, our dear girl was afraid. She did not even want her legs to get wet and held on tightly to the hubs.

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We had to coax her and made so much laughter just so that she would think it is fun.

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We bought this float for her at one of the stores near the wet market at $12. She didn’t want to go in at first but I kind of forced her to sit in it and then started making chirpy sound to entice her. See her unwilling facial expression?

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In the end, our friends’ daughter came down and played with her and Faith got used to the water. When we went to the children’s pool, she was all smiles. Thank God! Hopefully, we can make this a weekly affair!

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Relaxing at the jacuzzi. I like this condo! I like my friends even more! 😉

WW | Celebrating a milestone

The hubs reaches another milestone in his career and Faith and I went to celebrate for him.

Love this shot of them having fun. Joy of parenting eh?

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A busy week and a soy-marinated steamed salmon don recipe

After a week of solo parenting (almost), this week wasn’t really kind as well. Faith ran a temperature for a few days and as a result, I incur more sleep debt. Thankfully, da man didn’t have to work late this week and could help out.

Faith has a tendency to explore every nook and corner of the house (as with most children) and then continue to indulge her curiosity by tasting whatever she picks up. When I was in the shower, she would open up the cover of the sewage pipe, touch it (the moss and all) and then put her finger into her mouth. I was desperately knocking at the glass door and asking her to stop but it was in vain. Perhaps, that is the result why she fell ill. Too much ‘goodies’ in her stomach.

We didn’t send her to the doc as we wanted her to fight the virus herself. Of course, our next course of action, should she not recover, was to consult the doc. Her temperature hovered around 39C, which was not really alarming until it hit 40C, I was told. Sponging her was a total waste of time as she refused such a treatment. In the end, we surrendered and gave her paracetamol instead. Those few days, a lot of diapers were used since she purged out a lot of waste (a good thing) and by the fourth day, she was well. Her cheerful disposition and appetite returned. Phew!20140403_163323 (1)

So, this week, I could only do one decent meal. All others are just ‘anyhow’ put together. This soy-marinated steamed salmon don recipe is so easy and fuss-free to prepare. Using the rice cooker, I steam the salmon while I parboil the sweet beans. Then I fry some eggs (with milk, soy sauce and pepper) before preparing the soy marinade. The salmon is then infused in the marinade for a few minutes before serving. Alternatively, you can marinade the salmon overnight before steaming it.

Soy Marinade
2 tbsp of soy sauce
1 tbsp of mirn
2 tbsp of sake
2 lemon slices

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This week, I’m thankful to my father-in-law who came over to spend time with the little girl so that I could do some baking.

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And we celebrated mom’s and brother-in-law’s birthday. As usual, my cake received a lot of critique from my mom. So, I’m still in a quest to improve my cake!

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Heroes in town

How’s your Saturday been thus far?

Mine turned out awesome. You see, I’ve encountered a few heroes today.

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Yesterday, the car could not start and we contacted a mechanic whose name card was given by my sis. I contacted him and he replied that he would try to come as early as possible the next day, thinking that I would need the car for work. Indeed, this morning, he came at the agreed time, examined my car battery and other parts and told me that the fault was with the starter. The problem was solved after he used a rod to give a few knocks on the starter. He told me honestly that it could still last a few months though it would be good to change it.

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He shrugged his shoulder and said it was ok and drove off.

I was filled with thanksgiving. I’m not trying to be cynical but the uncle could have charged me for travelling to my place or even gave me a wrong diagnosis so that he could earn a bit but he didn’t. Such honesty. Such kindness. There are indeed awesome people like them around!

My spirit was lifted and I was in a happy mood to complete the cake that my ex-colleague/ friend has ordered for his son’s 7th birthday. The theme was on Superman and I was thinking of Superman emerging from the ground to save the people. I told my friend that I would rather that we get a toy as the topper as compared to doing one. Thankfully, he was okay with that idea.

The chocolate cakes were baked a day before so that on the actual day, I could fully concentrate on decorating it. For the last few cakes, I had used various types of coating but found it unsuitable for our humid tropical climate.  This time round, I used a 2:1 proportion for the chocolate ganache. And I think it works!

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The cake was well covered by the ganache and after putting a layer of brown fondant on top, I covered it with blue fondant as the sky. I had wanted a darker blue but just couldn’t get it! #notenoughbluefoodcolour
After that, I cut out the top layer of the fondant in the middle of the cake to ‘allow Superman to emerge from the ground’. Before that, I had to wrap the bottom of the topper with some brown fondant before placing it into the cake to ensure food safety. The ‘peeling’ of the ground is made of two rectangles of brown and blue and then cut into triangles before placing it in the middle for it to attach and dry.

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I thought the chocolate balls added some spice to the ‘damaged’ ground. ;p

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Can you guess which city is decorated on the cake? You’ve guessed it right. It is Singapore all right. I was able to have a good and uninterrupted time decorating this cake because the hubs took the little one down for a long walk and took over the duty from me. Grateful. In the afternoon, I was also able to have my first real run because my father-in-law came and played with Faith. Oh, these heroes! I am definitely grateful to these men!

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Hope your Saturday’s been awesome.

WW | Happy days!

Our country experienced a dry spell recently and it was made worse with hazy weather. So, one can imagine our joy when it rained recently and the skies cleared! We took the opportunity to go outdoors! This time round, mom joined us too at the reservoir.

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What an endearing sight. I’ve never recalled mom playing with us when we were younger!

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It’s so fun to have the kids playing together!

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To the National Library we went!

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Oh! Happy days! More of such days please!

Linking up with

A day with Faith

It’s mid week! How are you doing? I thought I should just write about today because I spent the day with Faith and I enjoyed it.

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As Faith grows, days as a SAHM become interesting and ultra-busy. Gone were the days when I found myself giving endlessly and the moments, dull and monotonous. Now, the act was reciprocated with cheeky smiles and obedience. I know my love for her shouldn’t be conditional but I’m just human and need some form of affirmation that my service isn’t in vain.

We got up early and went to Church to register for a place in Pre-Nursery class. I’m not optimistic that she gets a place since she would be on the waiting list (#yearendbabieslugi). We are not too anxious for her to start school that young anyway. The only reason why we want her to be schooled is because we want her to socialise with other children. Other times, I’m happy to just teach her some stuff but at the moment, it’s just skills and manners that I want to impart to her.

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We set off to do some grocery shopping and she came back home hungry. Thankfully, I bought her favourite Char Siew Pau and she devoured it. I’ve got things to do in the kitchen and obviously she spent most of the time with me as well. Apart from whining for attention, she also… learnt some skills. Faith could understand instructions now and I find it so fun to get her to help me which she gladly obliged. Stay this way, Faith!

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There are really a lot of things to play with in the kitchen and I’m not referring to toys. Once I open the fridge door, Faith would run to get a bottle of orange juice and put it back upon my (repeated) command request. She loves to help me throw things in the rubbish bin and at times, her own toys. Argh! I bake rather often and she likes to be a part of it, of course, messing things up in the process. Well, for today, she learnt that clingwrap can actually stick to the oven door! And yes, Faith likes to explore every nook and corner of the house and thwarts my plan of killing the ants (#i cantsettraps)

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Faith complains if I spend too much time in the kitchen and that signals to me that I have to either play or read a book with her. She’s easily satisfied and then I’m back to the kitchen again. Today, I baked these Teddy Bears Buns.

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One thing that I really hope Faith could do is to nap MORE and longer. Her energy is limitless and she gets up in less than an hour. Arghh! I can’t do much again. So in order to expend her energy, I have to bring her to the playground.

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Since she is awake most of the time, quick-fix meals are the best and I managed to do something decent for dinner. Da man had a long day today and I hope that this meal would perk him up! Learnt a new recipe from a friend and I just need to marinate the chicken thighs with honey, whole grain mustard and olive oil before baking them in the oven at 200C until they are done. I’m into donburi at the moment so that explains the picture.

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Such is one of those days that I’m thankful that da man wanted me to be a SAHM. It’s not always this blissful, just to be honest. There are many moments of frustration but for now, I just want to savour this sweet moment.

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Hope your Wednesday’s been good.

Linking up with

A second child. Yes? No?

A few posts ago, I asked the question, “What’s next?” and more specifically the dilemma of having a second child. I got a few good responses after asking a group of mummies from the SMB group.

~ I wasn’t planning on having more than one after my girl was born as she was so difficult to care for. But I was blessed with #2 and it’s really so wonderful having more kids! So much so we do not rule out having #3 (Simplymommie)

~ We love children…we see a difference in her behaviour when #2 came along. Sensible, sharing, responsible and having fun with a sibling to hang out with. ME time will be compromised but you will get by.  (Joey W)

~ We always wanted a big family. So we always hoped for more than one. With two or more like you said they have a companion, and they learn to give and take. It’s of course harder taking care of more than one but seeing them grow together is really wonderful. (Mum in the making)

~ Having more than 1 is much harder work, but I think a sibling is one of the best gifts we can give to them. If you’re open to it, maybe leave it up to God, then you don’t have to decide? (Mummy Ed)

~ We love children, always wanted more. Never thought of whether to have #2 or not, it is a must have for us :)) It is very good for the kid to have someone at their age to play with, just different from playing with parents or friends. (The Kam Family)

~ Hubby likes kids so he wanted one more. Also didn’t want my daughter to be a spoiled and lonely singleton. One of my friends put it this way – when a singleton’s parents’ die, she or he will have no one to mourn with. ( wee stories)

~ Sometimes when I see my boy playing alone at home, I really want to give him a sibling. While growing up with my own brother was tough… I do enjoy having him around to talk to nowadays. So, I don’t want to deny my boy from having a sibling if i can. (meeningfully)

~ I came from a big family – 4 siblings in total. I’ve always wanted a big family too, but we’re only able to manage (financially, emotionally, physically) two. So in a way, we settled.
(Amazinglystill)

The above are some of the more common reasons why families go for more than a kid. Yesterday, I finally had the opportunity to bring this topic up with da man and while I stated that it would be good for Faith to have a sibling for companionship and that it would be good for her to learn how to care and share, his response seemed to make the most sense – we shouldn’t make decision that is centred around Faith. If we decide to have a second child, it should be because we want it and not for Faith’s sake.

His comments kind of sealed the decision for me. Currently, I’m more mentally, emotionally and physically prepared to have a second one. Pose me this question a few months back and I would firmly say ‘No thanks!’ to one more being to look after. The first year was ultra difficult for me and da man, I’m sure. It was a steep learning curve, no doubt. But once Faith grew out of the infant stage, things got better. I find myself laughing and enjoying this bundle of blessing more.

So are we going for a second one? I guess we will try but ultimately, it’s all up to the Almighty if He is going to bless us with one more.

Sometimes I wish…

We visited the Asian Civilisation Museum last Saturday, taking advantage of the free admission (to 7 museums) that citizens and PRs are entitled to. Usually, our weekends are confined to our home or visiting the in-laws since by the end of Friday, both da man and I are kind of exhausted. Boring peeps, I know, so I thought we should just go out for a change.

20140224-143247.jpgTo be honest, sometimes I wish we could have more time for family life. Working parents have little energy left at the end of the day and could only spend that little amount of time with the spouse or children, not to forget that they need some ME time to recharge. Personally, I felt it last week. Da man had been busy at work and we hardly had time to TALK. Weekends are really precious then.

Love the walk along the Singapore River. The weather has been great though I wish at times, that rain will come soon. It’s quite a funny sight to see Faith walking along the path.

20140224-143255.jpgFaith’s enthusiasm was short-lived for she felt asleep soon after. The cool and quiet environment must have been rather conducive!

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Mid-way through, we checked into Madame Patisserie for a coffee break. Faith was sleeping soundly in the pram and it could give both of us some couple, if not, ME time! I couldn’t say much about the service and the food but what we like is the rather quiet environment (yes, in the afternoon!) and beautiful riverside view.

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Faith woke up very soon and decided to wander off to explore Boat Quay! Next to the cafe is a seafood restaurant and they have really HUGE sea creatures! Amazing!

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It can be rather tiring watching out for her! The most endearing sight was seeing da man spend time with her. I wish there are more such opportunities!

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Where shall we go next weekend?

#CNY2014

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I’m not a great fan of Chinese New Year (CNY). As a child, perhaps, but when I grow older, a lot of stuff that we do don’t hold any meaning to me anymore. But for the sake of the little one…

20140202-161032.jpgCNY is a time of fasting feasting. It all begins on the eve with the reunion dinner and throughout the CNY period. At one point or another, you will do the “Lo Hei” and then you will fill your stomach with calories-laden goodies. We all know this truth but since this only happens once a year, many will just oblige and indulge.

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The reunion dinner is an important meal and we will make it a point to accommodate everyone’s schedule so that every member of the family will be able to make it. This is from my Peranakan in-laws. Scrumptious food, who can resist? My family, on the other hand, will always go for steamboat and mom will open a few cans of abalone. But really, I don’t understand the fascination about it.

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More eating ensues.

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The “Lo Hei” or Yu Sheng (raw fish salad) includes various types of shredded veggies, a red envelope which contains pepper, a green envelope that contains five-spice powder, raw salmon, oil, plum sauce and crackers. There is a meaning behind each item and I’m not a good person to approach if you want to know more. ;p Apparently, we will say some well-wishes as we pour out each of them and as we toss, we shout all the blessings!

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These are the very ‘rich’ new year goodies. They prosper the sellers during this period and of course, the consumers go home a tad poorer.

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CNY is not CNY if there isn’t any home visitation. So everyone should be equipped with two mandarin oranges and have some good verses in mind as you need them to greet the elders. In our household, training starts young. 14 MO Faith learnt to hold two mandarin oranges on the eve and then totally forgot this skill on the actual CNY. Sigh!

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The children get to meet their peers.

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Faith gets all the attention since she is rather young but at times, pets get all the lime light too.

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This is my family, marching to my grandma’s house. Yea, all of us, with kids in tow. What a sight.

Oh yes, during CNY, many take the opportunity to buy new clothes and wear them during this festive period. Folks (I mean women, mostly) will adorned themselves with bling bling. The hubs and I didn’t bother. We just didn’t have the time to buy clothes. For me, I’m just glad to be able to fit into my pre-pregnancy clothes. Hurray! Faith got herself one new set of clothes though but I think she is much contented with pass-me-downs. Anyway, what does she know, eh?

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CNY is not CNY without red packets. The elders will bless the younger ones with these ‘hongbaos’ that contain $$$. The amount depends on how generous the giver is. Heh…

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To be totally honest, I see little meaning in visiting many homes. I would rather family members gather at one place and BOND. No rush, just chill and have a game of Mahjong!

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Kids can get bored with such visitation. So, bringing them to the playground perks them up!

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It takes a toil on everyone during these few days of visiting. The little one, with her naps all messed up, just K.O. and didn’t wake up even with loud noises. Time to put the structure back again.

20140202-161531.jpgOh yes, during CNY, most families will stock up on food because many foodstalls will not be open during the first few days of CNY. Here we are, stocking up on the third day.

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I’m actually glad that this busy period is going to be over soon. May the year of the horse be good to all!

To the farm we go!

My brother and his family came back for the CNY period and we took the chance to plan some activities for the kiddos. Our first trip? To the farm!

After listing some choices, we decided to go to Farmart which is located at Sungei Tengah Road. But before that, it’s breakfast at Riders Cafe since the kids could have a view of the horses and perhaps we could educate them on this animal. We tried…

Faith and Lester

Faith and Lester

BIL trying to read to them...farm animals!

BIL trying to read to them…farm animals!

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Cousins unite!

Cousins unite!

We were all excited for this farm trip but were disappointed that many of the shops were not open. Nonetheless, we made do with what was available.

Thankfully, the animal corner was open and the kids could get up close to goats, bull frogs, tortoises, rabbits and fishes. Oh yes, pay a small fee and you could feed them!

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Faith and her moo moo!

Faith and her moo moo!

The animal corner was rather small and we proceeded to a shop which sells live seafood such as fish, lobsters, frogs, etc. My nephews were excited and Dallen taught Faith a few of these animals. Educational indeed!

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Ah! Lobsters!

The children got bored after a while since there was nothing much to explore after that. Thankfully, there were a few toy machines at the dining area.

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Taking a good group photo of the kids can be very exhausting!

Taking a good group photo of the kids can be very exhausting!

Our next stop is Qian Hu Fish Farm which is just a short distance away. The kids were really mesmerised by the different variety of fish and were amazed. We spent quite some time at this place, not forgetting the fact that the adults treated themselves to a 30-min fish spa at $10/pax.

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It was my first time treating the fish to some bites and it was so ticklish. We had a laughing good time there!

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We had wanted to complete this farm trip with a late lunch at Bollywood. Alas, it was closed. Bummer! If you intend to do this type of trip, do visit Bollywood! The food is rather delish.

=)

Being busy

The beginning of January started off rather well with me having some good times with Faith, bringing her to the playground, reservoir and the library. She enjoys being in the outdoors and among strangers. There in the open space, she will explore her environment, make calculated steps in climbing up and down of stairs and touch stuff that are new to her. However, I got busier from the second week onwards with cake orders coming in and fulfillment of teaching assignments. So, Faith was placed with both grandpas on various days and I missed out on spending quality time with her.

Things are slowing down a wee bit as we approach Chinese New Year but Faith has fallen ill. She’s not too sick but not well enough to enjoy the outdoors since it can get really windy these days.

And today, I think I should just do some prioritizing because by doing that, I could maintain sanity. Gone were the days when busyness kept me going strong and happy. These days, slowing down helps me savor precious moments with my loved ones. Perhaps, I’m getting old.

I’m happy that friends ask me to bake for them. I consider it a privilege to be able to do so and it gives me the opportunity to hone my skills. But I guess I cannot handle more orders now and by that I mean more than one per week. I would rather concentrate on my teaching assignments because I like the idea of empowering people, that they don’t find baking a daunting task anymore.

So, I have to learn to say NO which can be difficult for a person who often says YES to others. And well, I have to cut down on blogging, I guess.

I would prefer to spend more time with Faith, like having snacks with her in the kitchen and reading to her. Simple stuff like these make me happy.

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Of course, I wouldn’t want to miss these stunts of hers…

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… since she is really getting active! And above all, I wouldn’t want to miss out on discipline because she has shown signs of mischief and disobedience. It’s good to start early, on shepherding her heart.

Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. (Proverbs 4:23)

Faith :: 14 months old

Dear Faith
There have been a lot of development between your 13th and 14th month. Let’s see if I can list all of them down.

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You are extremely active. Each day sees you wanting to walk all over the place. Initially, you were rather unsteady but by 13M 3W, you were basically on your own. I am glad, both for you and me because that would mean that I don’t have to carry you that much as you are rather heavy!

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You like the playground a lot. Once we reach the neighbourhood playground, you let go of 20140120-132758.jpgme and climb up the slide and steps. It’s a good thing that you are courageous and I can see that you calculate each of your steps and are careful about it. Thank God you are not a reckless babe in terms of this. However, you seem to dislike sand. Does it hurt your feet? You made me laugh when we brought you to the playground at the reservoir. You basically held on to Papa when you had contact with the sand.

Remember there was once you were afraid of the water. Now, you love it! When I brought you to the water playground at Vivocity and Tampines 1, you were ecstatic and it is indeed a joy to see you so excited.

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I think you can recognise dogs and cats and each time we pass by them, you would utter their names, though they may not be pronounced correctly. But we get it. You don’t fear them and instead would dare to get close and touch them!

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You seem to catch the concept of putting things in their rightful place now. Recently, I got you to throw the toilet paper that you shredded into the bin and you did it! You do so for other things as well and I believe it is time to teach you to keep your toys. Slowly but steadily, I will be teaching you all these habits. 😉

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You have a voracious appetite. It seems that you can’t stop eating. When you go to Grandpa’s place, I was told you eat non-stop. It doesn’t help that Grandma keeps giving you food to munch. Thankfully, she gives you fruits and not junk food. But I’m really afraid that you will inculcate bad eating habits. Can’t you, erm..maybe try to cut down on food? Eating shouldn’t be your past time, ya?

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Papa and I think that you understand what we are referring to when we give you certain instructions. You actually perform the task. For example, when I ask you to fetch the book that we read before bedtime, you will get up from my lap and go to the shelf and pick up a/the book. This is pretty interesting.

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I think you have slowly grown to like books, or being read to. You will go to the shelf yourself and pick up a book and start flipping. Sometimes, you will call out to me and point to the book and I think you want me to read to you? Reading is good. Keep it up!

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There are so many things that happen each day. I’m thankful that I’m there to witness your development. But above all, we pray that you will always be joyful and healthy and that you will come to know the Lord and enjoy Him forever.