Canon Christmas Party 2017

It’s that time of the year again. My favourite month – a time for reflection, a time for gathering and a time for giving. Christmas. Year-end parties aplenty and one of those which I look forward to is the Canon Christmas Party.

I mean, we have pictures, memories, wonderful bonding time with family and friends and a preview of cool gadgets. So, why not?

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It was always great, meeting fellow mom bloggers and to have a short catch-up session. Everyone’s busy and such an event helped us to connect with one another again.

With this bare tree, would you take some time and creativity to design it, to make it uniquely yours?

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Faith and I spent some time working on the design. Less is more. Above all, we wanted to enjoy working together. It’s bonding time, after all. 😉 The men (aka the hubs and Dan) weren’t around because our little man napped on the way to the destination. Sigh!

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Lovely treat from the generous folks at Canon Singapore.

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We were also introduced to some of the new and cool products offered by Canon. One of them stood out…

Look at this palm-sized projector? Has it stolen your heart yet? The hubs and I went “wow” over it and we were discussing what we could do with this toy. Lots, I say! Maybe I should do a review on this? Hmm…

Apparently, we weren’t the only ones fascinated by this machine. The girl was, too…

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The photo booth, where fun and memories co-exist.

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Where memories are printed…

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The excitement when we tried our hands on the products and the glow on our faces when we saw pictures being printed. 🙂

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Thank you, Canon Singapore, for giving us a memorable time in that few short hours. We appreciate the thoughts put into this event.

Blessed Christmas!

Canon
Delighting You Always

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Faith is five

The girl turned five a few days back but the mom was too busy to record on this space.

Just two weeks ago, the girl performed at her school concert and it made me tear a little. A few years back, she was this chubby baby in my arms and now she is this young lady with a unique character and having a mind of her own, no doubt. Where have all these years gone?

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She has always been a sensible girl. I would always recall during the first trimester period when I was carrying Dan in my womb and having pangs of morning sickness, she would run to me and asked,”Mama, are you all right?” Now that Dan is older, she would help me take care of the brother and when I was frustrated with him, she would pull him aside and entertain him, thus giving me some space to breathe.

Concert Day

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This year, she requested that her papa attend her birthday celebration in school and asked for a PJ Masks cake. I must be mad to bake this cake for her. Baking with Dan around is no joke. It gave me much stress but in any case, I survived. 2 batches of sponge cakes, 1 batch of IMBC and 1 batch of chiffon cake in various colours for the exterior design and the cake was born. Thank you, Lord.

Before I know it, she would be in K2 and then commence her Primary School life soon. I’m…not looking forward to that day.

A little update about this SAHM

What have I been up to lately?

Since my last post on changes that happened on the home front, I have been involving myself with new mothers and hoping that with my limited experience as a stay-at-home-mom, I could at least help others. It’s been a joy thus far. Being a first-year mom is tough. There are so many things to learn, to handle and the learning curve is really steep. Hearing them out and helping them with similar kind of issues made me think back to the time when I  was a new mom myself. Oh, the struggles! So real. But that phase will soon be over ya?

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Besides this, I have also decided to devote some of my ME time with Mary Kay (MK) whose skincare products I have used since 2013 and have much confidence in. I was introduced to Mary Kay when I won an online contest to attend a beauty workshop organised by a mom blogger who is a MK consultant. I was extremely happy when I won the contest because I could go out and meet fellow moms! It was a really great feeling because I have been staying at home for six months since giving birth to Faith and not meeting up with many people (my friends were all working). Can you understand that yearning to meet adults other than your husband and child?

I enjoyed the workshop very much. There was so much laughter and learning and because the consultant (who is now my mentor) is a mom herself, the things she shared struck a chord with me. Of course, I saw how the products worked just through that one workshop and came out feeling really good about myself. My spirit was lifted and after that I contacted her to try more of MK’s products.

I have been using MK products for four years now and am convinced that they work for me and now I would love to share them with others too.

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Upon coming back from the recent Taiwan trip, I went for a training that helped me understand the MK opportunity more. That aside, I think I’m happier meeting up with people and to ascertain if the MK products meet their needs, and not forgetting the workshops that I could attend. They are so fun and enriching. I like it that I step out of the workshops each time with a thankful heart and all ready to get back to my mommy duties. I’m all refreshed. Don’t believe? Try to attend one workshop and you will understand why.

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Thus far, I have had the opportunity to meet up with some fellow moms who are ready to try the MK skincare products. As SAHMs (especially), the tendency is that we would neglect taking care of ourselves but I believe we should make ourselves the priority because if our heart is right (with God) and full, we could give back to the family. Sometimes, it can start simply with feeling good about ourselves, that we look great and refreshed as we gaze into the mirror.

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This is me sharing with a fellow SAHM about the TimeWise range that I have used all these years. It doesn’t take long and at times, I bring my kids along because I want them to see me ‘at work’. Anyway, they could gain access to the toys in the house that I visit. Good for them!

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This is the TimeWise range and is the skincare promotion for this month (November). For the same price for the TimeWise Miracle Set, you could also get the Moisture Renewing Softener and the pouch as shown in the picture above.

So yup, I’m a Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultant now and if you want to have a chat with me about the awesome products, workshops and opportunity, you could reach me at lynneelee101@gmail.com.

It’s really about enriching women’s lives. You’ll see.

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Oh yes, I have also started on #bbg since getting out of the house for a workout can be quite tough at times. Working out at home is the way to go for now. It has almost become a routine. Yay! And if you see the two MK bottles – TimeWise Body Smooth-Action Cellulite Gel Cream and TimeWise Body Targeted-Action Toning Lotion? They are to complement my workout and I have been using them since I gave birth to Dan. Good stuff!

😉

Weekend trip to BKK

It’s the end of October and it would be another two more months before we enter 2018! Life has been so busy that it’s getting hard to keep track. Busy with what, you might ask. Busy with the kids and being in the fellowship with fellow SAHMs!

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So the highlight of October, besides celebrating the birthday of Daniel and thus another milestone, is the weekend trip to Bangkok with girlfriends! Yay! This is my first trip away from the kids and I was filled with mixed feelings, no doubt. The guilt of leaving them behind and yet at the same time, rejoicing over the fact that I could have a few days of no “mama, mama” ringing in my ears. In the end, I’m glad I went for it and thankful for the hubs who held the fort at home. It was so fun and relaxing and the 3D 2N were filled with wonderful, uplifting stories shared by the girls on how God has worked in their lives. Truly encouraging! We didn’t have to plan much because one of the ladies, S, did everything for us, from the booking of flight and hotel to planning the itinerary. Awesome!

Not a moment was wasted upon arrival and checking in to our hotel. We went straight for lunch at the recommended Baan Peung Chom before heading for dessert at After You cafe and then shopping at EmQuartier.

We had dinner at Ping’s and then a spa session at Siladon Spa, a recommended place as well.

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Our stay for the two nights was at Hua Chang Heritage Hotel which was really comfortable and accessible to the trains and malls. I’m missing the hotel already as I type.

Day 2 was basically spent at the famous Chatuchak (Zone 2) before we proceeded to Or Tor Kor Market for lunch and buying of fruits and dried goods. Hmm, when you go on a trip with mothers, tendency is that we would look for food to buy back home to cook or store in the pantry.

And then it’s more shopping for the rest of the trip. If you are a frequent visitor to BKK, you would know where to shop, won’t you? Siam Paragon, Central World, Big C, Siam Square, Platinum Mall, etc.

Thankful for this trip (have recorded the trip on Dayre). I was refreshed in the spirit though I think I need more sleep after that. Hah…

Dan is 2YO!

Dear Daniel
You are two! How does it feel to be a slightly big boy now? You have been a joy to us all despite the many headaches you gave us too. Hah. Mama admits that it hasn’t been all fun parenting both you and Jie Jie and many times, I feel inadequate. I’m still learning, I guess, as much as you are trying to understand the world that you are living in and how relationships work.

Nevertheless, I must say you still melt my heart at the end of each day. You are God’s creation, wonderfully and fearfully made, and you are a precious gift to us. Life is indeed fuller and noisier with you around. Your sister adores you even though you bullies her a lot! She gives in to you and will always encourage you when Mama is angry with you for doing something wrong. How blessed you are!

You are an early riser and never fails to wake me up at 5ish in the morning but I’m afraid Mama isn’t too fond of waking up so early. So please pardon me if I may look cross and I would definitely need a cup of coffee to jolt me out of my sleepy state.

I love 2YOs. And I hope you will continue to explore and learn to articulate your thoughts more. You have been imitating your sister a lot, in terms of her speech especially and now you could give complete sentences when you feel up to it. More please! It’s really encouraging to see you develop through the months and I’m thankful that I can be around to witness these changes.

I love you, son, for who you are. You will always be your mummy’s precious boy.

Love
Mama

My Little Climbing Room

:: Review | Media invite

Over the weekend, the family was invited to My Little Climbing Room for 90 minutes of fun and exercise. It’s the first indoor climbing playground in Singapore that is catered for children and we accepted the invitation readily because we know the girl would love to give it a shot at climbing.

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My Little Climbing Room is a rather small space and upon reaching, I was rather skeptical as to whether we could really enjoy climbing given the limited space. For this reason, it is highly encouraged that you make bookings for the slots as there is a capacity limit of 15 persons per session to avoid overcrowding. This is for safety reasons too.

You know what? My skepticism was really unnecessary because the girl was so busy climbing that even after the 90-minute session was over, she still wanted to continue climbing.

I’m not exaggerating.

We have gotten the girl to try rock wall climbing before (those really high walls) and though she really wanted to climb, she whined within 30 minutes of her attempt. It’s too tough for her! So I was pleasantly surprised that she could continue climbing and climbing at My Little Climbing Room and I think I know why.

:: Shorter walls, closer holds. 

You would notice that the walls in My Little Climbing Room are shorter (4 metres) and thus this makes reaching the top more achievable for children like Faith. So, our girl took some time to warm up and for the first few attempts, she couldn’t reach the top and asked to come down halfway through. Once she got the hang of it, she asked to go back to the same wall to try and when she could reach the top, you could just imagine her joy and it’s really a boost to her confidence. She has overcome her fear too! No more whining!

That’s when she continued with the other more challenging walls. I really appreciate that every part of My Little Climbing Room is designed with the kids in mind, including all the safety aspects.

:: Fun & Challenges 

Apart from the 4m high walls, there are other walls that are incorporated with technology to make climbing a little more fun and challenging.

This is the Number Wall, a favourite among the younger kids. The general concept is that the kid spin for a random number and climb up to tap on the corresponding number that is on the wall. Fun, no?

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This is the AR Wall which is like an exhilarating and addictive game. It’s acts like a video game that forces you to move. See the white dots on the photo, those are projected images (Augmented Reality). When the kids climb up the wall to touch them, it will be highlighted and he total time taken to tap all the dots will be recorded. I admit I was addicted to this!

To encourage kids to climb more, there is a mission card for every child with their name written on it. And when they complete all the mission (climb the wall), they will get a mystery prize. I know kids like such challenges!

Each slot is a 90-minute session and each session starts with 30 minutes of free play, then 30 minutes of group games, followed by another 30 minutes of free play. Here, the children took part in the group game which was really exciting for the adults to watch. Oh yes, the adults get to rest during this 30 minutes. 😉

You might be wondering what the younger brother did while the sister was climbing. Wouldn’t he be too young to climb? No worries, he was adequately engaged!

To be honest, I just let him explore while thinking he couldn’t really climb. But the instructor brought him aside and guided him and before I knew it, he was climbing with the instructor’s assistance. So yup, feel free to approach the instructors if you need help in encouraging the the kids to climb. Don’t be shy!

There are Wheelie and Hangout Zones for the children if they want to take a break from climbing the walls.

I think I have only shared a little of our experience at My Little Climbing Room but I’ll leave you to find out more. Faith didn’t want to depart from that place at the end of the session and she made me promise that we would go back again.

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JUST SO YOU KNOW…

My Little Climbing Room is having its Grand Opening on 30 September 2017. During their grand opening weekend (30/9 & 1/10), their admission pass is discounted from their usual rate of $22 to $15. On top of that, they also have (1) Free Popcorn, Candy Floss for everyone and (2) Speed competition for kids to win special prizes.

Do make full use of this opportunity to visit them this weekend!

And.. although the space is built for kids, the whole facility is rated safe even for adults that are much heavier. Yay! That means we can climb too instead of just watching the kids do so. It’s truly a time for the family to come together and exercise!

GIVEAWAY ALERT

Here’s a chance for you, dear readers, to win 2 passes (worth $44) each which admits 2 children and 2 adults. We have TWO sets to give away!

Here’s what you need to do:
1. Show a little support and LIKE My Little Climbing Room FB page.

2. LIKE and SHARE this post on RaisingFaith FB page.

3. Tag as many friends as you like whom you think would love this place (one comment per friend please!)

Giveaway will end on 2 October 2017, 2400 hours.

Terms and conditions:

:: Passes must be used on the same time slot.
:: Passes are valid till 31 December 2017.

This giveaway is a collaboration between My Little Climbing Room and Raising Faith and is not sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook or Instagram.

Thank you, My Little Climbing Room, for inviting us to try out this place before your Grand Opening and giving us 5 complimentary passes for the purpose of this review.

It’s mid-week! 

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Yesterday, the hubs took leave in the afternoon so that I could get my hair cut. So this is today.

I’m loving it because I don’t have to tie my hair and feeling like a brick is weighing down on me. 😝

Hope your week has been great!

Celebrate with A Better Florist

[Sponsored review]

Eight years ago, this day, K and I pledged our commitment to each other. It has been a good eight years with all its ups and downs but I dare say we grow closer each single day as we deal with the demands of life and yet facing them with an optimism and hope that only the Lord could provide.

Both of us are not folks who are big on celebrations. Maybe we would go for a meal or at most, a staycation, but that’s about it. This year, we receive a wonderful gift from the good folks at A Better Florist.

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I can’t say I’m one who can appreciate flowers. I mean I do love the sight and I do like the idea of having blooms in the apartment, just to spruce up the space. But flowers are given on special days so when they asked if they could send me a bouquet, I requested for The Pamper Her Bundle to be sent on our anniversary day.

The bundle was sent within the time frame that I asked for and I was pleasantly surprised that the bouquet was, erm, big! I don’t know much about flower arrangement but I do know and can tell that the flowers are fresh and the various flowers are arranged neatly. It was a beauty.

img_4952A little close-up: The flowers are not bruised or dried up but in good condition. 

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We hardly get to have bouquets of flowers at home so when F stepped into the apartment after school, she went,”Wow! The flowers are beautiful, Mama!”And she kept admiring them. I had to remind her not to get too close lest she ‘destroyed’ it in her enthusiasm. I still needed to show the bouquet to the hubs!

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A box of seven macarons came with the bundle and we wiped out the sweet treats within five minutes. What to do? We have ‘tamchiak’ kids. Of course, the macarons were delicious enough, that’s why.

A Better Florist conducts flower jamming sessions every Saturday in their office and I had wanted to go for it except that I have busy Saturdays each week and had to give it a miss. If you are interested, why not go for a much needed ‘ME’ time and surround yourself with beautiful flowers. It will sure lift up your spirit!

A Better Florist provides same-day delivery of fresh flowers islandwide in Singapore so you don’t have go down to a florist to purchase one for that special occasion or someone. Save you the trouble and if you look at what they can offer, I have to say that the blooms sure look good!

Thank you, A Better Florist, for gifting us this wonderful and classy bouquet and I’m definitely happy to know that you do your part to give back in terms of sending flowers to children with special needs. I’m sure the flowers will brighten their day just like how this bouquet has lifted my spirit.

Appreciate your kind gesture. 😉

Fun & Food at flo (Sept hols)

The September school holidays are approaching! While it is just one week or so, it’s definitely a much appreciated one. We all need a rest from the routine and a break from school homework (I hope!).

How about a bonding session with your kid(s)? Flo – Food Lovers Only – cafe at IMM is organising a fun session designed to help you bond with your kids over activities and food.

My kids are tiamchiak (food lovers) and I believe they will enjoy this session. It’s on 9 September, 10.30am to 12.30pm.

For more information, so check out their Facebook page!

Changes…

19 August 2017.

We finally went on a date, after so long a period. I can’t remember when was the last time we went out together sans kids. We have the kids with us most of the time because we would need to look for someone to mind the children if we decide to have couple time. The in-laws have been really awesome and they have been doing that all these while. But we do feel bad, that we have to impose. After all, FIL was quite advanced in age and the two active children would definitely tire him out.

But that day, we had to have our much needed date and we enjoyed ourselves, watching a musical, an activity we both love.

That weekend, I felt a tad lighter in spirit.

Both the hubs and I regain our sleep after 21 months. Dan could finally sleep through the night and we couldn’t be more relieved. He could communicate better with us now, even with his limited vocabulary. That helps because there was less misunderstanding and as a result, less frustration on both sides.

I feel less burdened, a lot happier and am willing to open my heart again to others. By that, I mean serving beyond my family. For a few years now, my focus has been on the kids and the husband even though for the first few years in my motherhood journey, I had been venturing into baking. Now that Dan is more independent, I feel I could give, give to others and to pursue new interests.

These are good changes and I believe I will embrace them. I thank God for sustaining me throughout all these years and I wonder what He has in store for me…

Homelearning | Bugs & butterflies

This is a long overdue post.

During the June hols, we worked on the themes on Human body and Bugs. I must say that the girl was less interested in the parts of the internal organs and was more attracted to bugs! I guess I would have to revisit the Human Body again but here’s what we did for the theme on Bugs and Butterflies!

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I’m thankful that our local libraries house good books these are some of the titles that we used for this theme.

The thing about teaching is that you learn much more when you prepare the lesson. Oh my, the world of creepy crawlies! There are so many different categories too! So, I presented some of the more common insects to the children and got Faith to choose the ones that would most probably be found in the garden. That poppy flowers artwork was hers; she did it a few months back. It’s a very doable piece. Try it!

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The boy did matching of the insects figurines. I must say he could observe and match well at this age.

I wanted to get him to learn about numbers and one-to-one correspondence and so presented this lesson to him.

Dan also worked on the knobbed puzzles of some of the insects. The girl was introduced to the parts of the insects and these puzzles helped her in identifying the parts.

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We then moved on to study a little more about butterflies. The primary text used is Monarch Butterfly by Gail Gibbons. I absolutely adore her books because they are written in a clear and concise manner that is suitable for young children. If I have the finances, I would have collected all her books. Any sponsors? ;p

Thankfully, we can find her titles at our local libraries but we definitely need more copies!

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It’s really interesting to learn about the migration of these butterflies from one continent to the next to avoid the cold winter. We also learnt about the life cycle of the butterfly using the Safari Ltd Life Cycle of a Monarch Butterfly.

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The life cycle that is presented so visually using all these materials. The figurines can be bought from Taobao, Amazon, Mothercare, Isetan…

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To cater to Dan, we have these cards for him to match the butterflies. Source: http://www.preschoolmom.com

When I need to take a breather, I gave them ‘work’. Faith was designing her butterfly while Dan worked on some pre-writing skills. Source: 3Dinosaurs.com

We also learnt about the parts of the butterfly and Faith tried to pick out the colours of each individual butterfly (visual discrimination).

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Since we were on this topic, the best way to learn about a certain creature is to visit the Butterfly Park and Insect Kingdom at Sentosa! Faith had wanted to visit the butterfly park again since her last visit to one at the Science Centre. She was scared stiff the first time and I wonder what her reaction would be this time round.

Still a tad frightened.

Seeing the real thing in action!
Read more on our outing here.

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This book is a good one to read to the little ones if they are afraid of butterflies because they would surely identify with the character in this story.

So this pretty much sums up what we did for this theme!

Shape Run 2017

I’m penning this down because it means a fair bit to me.

I completed a 10km with Shape Run this morning and I felt so good after that. The legs and heart were strong at the finishing line and I was choked with emotions. It’s been so long since I ran a 10km. Before the kids came along, running a 10km happened almost every Saturday. In a week, I would at least clock in 25km. Since having kids, it has been tough getting out to work those muscles. So when I was able to do that today, together with so many awesome ladies, I was filled with pure joy.

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It has been a struggle to exercise, to run, when the kids were young. We do not have a helper and if I really need to take time off for a ME time or exercise, I would need to make arrangement. Running is thus possible only during the weekends, when the hubs is around to watch over the kids. We are blessed with a jogging stroller and it has been really helpful but it just feels different running on your own as compared to running with children. ;p

I am thankful for the folks at Active Hive who keep encouraging me to work on the machines whenever I can. It has really prepared me for the 10km run today because the longest distance that I have run on normal days was 7km. I believe my body and heart would complain a lot if I haven’t been doing resistance training at Active Hive.

I’m thankful for the opportunity to run this race and I’m reminded to continue to lead a healthy lifestyle so that I am well enough to take care of the family. And this extends to the food I take in too. I’m not getting any younger and I do find that my metabolism drops recently. Quality food is needed and I am in the midst of changing my diet to a more wholesome one. Less sugar, more greens and superfoods is the way to go!

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Incorporating quinoa into my diet. Oh yes, Active Hive is having a 30% off (till 31 August) for their chia seeds and quinoa. If you are interested, hop over to their online shop!

10km is a good distance to run and I’m already thinking of participating in the next 10km race! I’m really hoping that I could have more opportunity to run outdoors, to clock in the mileage, just like pre-kids’ days.

Would it be possible?

National Day 2017 & updates

Hi there!

I can’t believe I have not been blogging on this space for more than a month. I have, however, been more active on another platform where I record what I did with the kids for homelearning. Each day is full and at the end of the day, after squeezing in QT, preparation of food and lessons for the next day, I am exhausted. How does one still blog? I guess I’m just inefficient. ;p

Anyway, a lot have happened in this one month. Let me perhaps note two major ones down.

I have decided to stop F’s piano lessons after she has been with the new school for three months. The teacher is good and patient but I guess the girl couldn’t understand and read the notes. It makes me frustrated too that I have to keep getting her to practise. I don’t want to kill her interest. She can always go back to it when she’s older and has a bit more interest. For now, it’s a definite no.

I have also decided not to put Dan in school the following year. Initially, it was due to logistical issue since I have to travel to the school three times a day (both would be in different sessions). However, in recent months, it was Dan’s poor health that made me decide to keep him at home. No big problem. I can homeschool him. Anyway, he’s still so young, he doesn’t have to attend school. So now, the main thing that I’m busy working on is a ‘curriculum’ for homelearning for both of them.

Anyway…

Yesterday, it was National Day celebration cum Sports Day for F’s school and we had great fun. We were blessed with good weather too!

img_1801-1The shy boy was a bit overwhelmed by the crowd and sea of red.

Faith’s attempt at the hula hoop, wonderfully captured by the Pangs.

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How the girl has grown. She was that super shy girl two years ago. Now, she is definitely more courageous and a super chatty girl when she’s around folks whom she’s comfortable with.

I’m thankful that she has found some close friends in school and she often speaks fondly of them.

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Today, we celebrate our nation’s 52nd birthday. It is definitely a blessing to call Singapore home, a place where we belong.

Trial class at British Council Open House

[Open House Preview Session]

Mention British Council and I’m sure we will think of quality English enrichment courses from preschool all the way to secondary school level by highly qualified English Language teachers. These courses deliver the same learning outcomes as the local MOE curriculum through the British Council’s teaching methodology. Since its inception, it has built a strong reputation as the go-to English experts in Singapore.

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To give you a heads-up, British Council will hold its Open House in a few weeks’ time and a key highlight of the event will be the free trial classes that parents can register their children for. Parents and their children will be able to experience the teaching methodology that the British Council adopts in their courses as well as have the opportunity to speak to academic heads. There will also be fun activities catered for families and children such as balloon sculpting and face-painting. Parents will also enjoy exclusive discounts when they sign up for an enrichment course on these dates.

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Over the weekend, Faith attended the preview session of the Open House and enjoyed the lesson tremendously. During the session, the children were treated to a storytelling session with a lesson on the digraph ‘sh’ and ‘ch’.

I had high expectations of the lesson and Mr Scott, the head of Preschool courses delivered. The kids were all ears as he read out the story and every one of them participated actively. If you were a teacher, you would like this group of children. It makes teaching so enjoyable.

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Smart board was used during the lesson and I guess the children were fascinated with it and wanted to have a try at using it. I like it that Mr Scott was a skillful storyteller and could ask good questions to get the children thinking.

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The preschool at British Council employs the practices from both the United Kingdom and Singapore to provide holistic, hands-on and concrete learning, with a strong emphasis on language and literacy. The play-based, exploratory approach is influenced by Montessori, high-scope and inquiry based learning.

Language learning is made fun with games!

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Of course, there would be serious work to check one’s understanding of the lesson!

British Council’s preschool courses focus on improving early literacy and oral communication skills for learners between the ages of 3 to 6. The courses start at Nursery 2 in which children are introduced to the alphabet and single letter phonics through the Jolly Phonics approach. Class size is kept small and there are English and Mandarin language teachers in each classroom to provide for a bilingual setting.

I am only touching on the tip of the iceberg in this post but if you are interested to find out more about the courses available or would like to get your child to experience the lesson through their trial classes during the Open House, do visit their website https://www.britishcouncil.sg/openhouse to find out more. There are different dates for the different centres. The cost of the trial class is free so do take advantage of this great opportunity!

For your reading pleasure:

:: Articles and tips that are useful for parents

:: Activities for kids

Safra Yishun’s refurbished pools

Folks in the northern part of Singapore, you are in for a treat because Safra Yishun has reopened and you can look forward to its brand new Pirate Adventure Wet Play Pool. It promises fun and excitement!

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We went for its Aloha Pool Party in late April and everyone was well entertained. There were all sorts of water activities, pool games and performances by ukulele players and dances by hula girls. Some of the kids even went for a trial swimming lesson by FINS Swim School.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASee the giant floats that filled the pool water!

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This is Faith’s favourite spot which has a small slide. She went up and down umpteen times and not grew tired at all.

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My family members had so much fun that I felt sorry for myself who was standing outside the pool taking pictures of them. In the end, I joined them.

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Yay! This mama needed to play too!

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It was crowded that day and we wished we could have participated in all the pool games but I guess we were contented with just staying at this pool.

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This girl came with stomachache and as soon as she saw the excitement at the pool, all aches disappeared. See what fun can do to the body? ;p

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Do head down to Safra Yishun if you want some family fun today!

[Thankful Thursday] The past few weeks

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These few weeks have been quite a ride. Dad was hospitalised and needed to go through an emergency operation. It came as a shock to us but thankfully the operation went well and through this experience, he realised life is not within his control and all he could do was to pray to God for mercy. Lying on the bed in ICU, he prayed and received Christ into his life. All glory to God.

It’s been more than two decades of praying for him and sharing about the faith with him. I have to be honest, that I became faithless and stopped praying regularly for both my parents. At times, there would be reminders and I started bringing both to events. Through it all, I know that even if I am faithless, Christ is the faithful one.

Each day passed by really quickly and I seem to have endless things to do. Yea, SAHMs are busy people! I survive on two cups of coffee daily and dare not consume more for fear of insomnia. I need caffeine to start my engine in the morning and when I get sluggish in the afternoon, another cup will suffice. Oh yes, this Tekika Coffee which my friend blessed me with, lifted my spirits once I tore open the packet. Truly aromatic.

And then Dan felt sick. He developed a slight cough which worsened each day. A couple of days later, he turned feverish. We took no chance and brought him to a GP and the next day, to a PD. Blood test was taken and in the end, he needed to be nebulised.

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I know this is rather common but seeing the little one go through this can be heart-breaking for the parents. Yet from this, I can be thankful because treatment was available and the hubs was all very hands-on. The sister has shown herself to be understanding and helped the mom whenever the latter needed assistance.

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A good and caring sister she is and I thank God for her. Of course, she could be cheeky and at times, challenged us but on the whole, she’s a wonderful girl!

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I’m greatly indebted to fellow mommies for their concern and encouragement. One of them, Jenn of Mylilbookworm even ordered food for me and got them to be delivered to my doorstep because she figured that it would be tiring having to take care of an unwell child so sending food to me would be practical. Am really grateful for that kind gesture.

I guess that’s much to be thankful about even though the circumstances might not look positive. God knows it all and will enable and provide.

Fatimah and her Magic Socks

[PLAYtime Series : Fatimah and her Magic Socks]

This is a performance that I would be bringing the kids to and am looking forward!

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Meet Fatimah, the little girl with a bright smile on her face and feet that cannot stop dancing!

One rainy afternoon, Fatimah meets a mysterious and magical lion that takes her on a thrilling adventure. In this newly discovered world of fun, Fatimah learns about friendship, laughter and the power of… magical socks!

Dance, laugh, sing and imagine with Fatimah in this colourful theatrical delight especially created for children aged 2 to 4. Fatimah will be showing from 28 April to 14 May and I was told children do not need to sit through the performance, but rather, participate through it!

More details about Fatimah and her Magic Socks can be found here.

PLAYtime series are adapted from books written and illustrated by local authors/illustrators. More information can be found via  www.esplanade.com/playtime

Cherry Blossoms @ Gardens by the Bay 2017

I told myself during the one-week school holidays that come this new term, I would seek to explore places with the kids more. You see, much of our daily schedule revolves around Faith. Daniel, just tags along. He would be accompanying the sister to her school and enrichment classes and then head back home with me.

And then, guilt sets in. For the mom, that is.

If I could recall correctly, Faith had playdates and ventured out more, much more than Dan at the same age. We would go out to  farms, parks and water playgrounds with her playmates.

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So I want to keep my promise and start to explore more places with him/them and today I brought them to view the cherry blossoms at Gardens by the Bay.

Okay, granted that it’s actually me who is more interested in the flowers but there is no harm in getting them to start appreciating nature, yea?

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The two got bored but thankfully they had each other as company. The cherry blossoms are really beautiful. Do visit before it’s too late ok?

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😉

Highlight of February

February has come to an end and we are marching on to March! How has your second month been?

My days have been long and filled with joy though there are still many times when frustration sets in. I have finally come to a state in which I could safely say I have settled, in being a SAHM. Yes, after four long years! All along, I have been questioning God why He has to call me out of my work to be a SAHM.

I wanted to teach! I love teaching and I thought this is what You have called me to do in the first place. Then why call me out?

I realised I do enjoy teaching both kids. Those days, when I was a teacher, my mind was filled with ideas to engage my students. Now, it’s happening too and my kids are my students now.

I got the boy to work with his fine motor skills a lot and to learn to concentrate when he’s on a task.

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I also attended a workshop conducted by an ex-colleague who is passionate about Math. The workshop on Early Childhood Numeracy has been helpful in getting me to start working with Faith on her number sense and to go deep into the concept. I hope to do up a blog post on that workshop soon!

After that workshop, I started to get her to work on her number sense more intentionally. You see, Faith got to do a lot of activities pertaining to language, geography and art which are my strength. I have not really touched on Math and Science though we include them in our daily lives. I guess from now on, I have to get her to work on them more intentionally.

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BSF commenced three weeks ago and both kids are in class as well. Dan adapted well. Praise God for that! Faith? She has been looking forward to BSF since last December so she’s happy to be back!

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Glad to be back on the machine after missing in action for a few months, all thanks to the busy school holidays. The hubs join me during the weekends (we try to make it into a routine) and I try to squeeze in a workout on one of the weekdays. The above is a rare occasion when I could meet up with a fellow mommy to work out together! Oh yes, and how could I forget to mention the Safari Zoo Run that the family participated? We had great fun!

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Family time is still very important and we try to create (hopefully fond) memories together. We have started to play more board games recently and thankfully, the girl likes it lots. Bible and prayer time is a routine now and when we skip bible reading, the girl will question so we’d better not forget!

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Recently, Faith started to pick up books and browse the pages. She has started to read simple readers on her own now and you can imagine my joy! Effort paid off! When she realised that she could read on her own, she wanted to continue to learn and read. Yay!

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This little man? He has evolved from a fussy eater to Mr Tamchiak and even refused to let me feed him. Okay, you go ahead and feed yourself. But oh, the mess! Thankfully, we have this EZPZ Happy mat. A post and giveaway is coming up soon!

So, that pretty much sums up our February. Hope yours is good!

CNY 2017

And so Chinese New Year 2017 ended in a jiffy.

It came rather abruptly too. Before we could get a hang of the new year with its new schedule, we were ushered into the year of the Rooster. This year, I didn’t manage to purchase new clothes for the kids but thankfully they received new sets of hand-me-downs which served us fine. No time to bake CNY goodies but were given tubs of them from friends and aunt-in-law. No mandarin oranges too because my mom would not be celebrating CNY since my grandma passed on a few months back so my supply of the ‘kam’ was cut.

Still, we had our reunion dinner and the steamboat dinner by my mom was a meal I always look forward to since we only have this once a year.

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House visitation is something I DO NOT look forward to because it can be so tiring but surprisingly, I find myself enjoying a wee bit this year. Perhaps it’s because the kids enjoyed mingling with the relatives (even though they only meet once a year) or maybe because they were behaving all right. I couldn’t decide.

We did have fun. And our tummy kept exercising from all the CNY goodies that we consumed. Goodness!

But the highlight of this year’s CNY has to be the meetup with the folks of the youth fellowship whom I grew up with. Though I have moved on to another church, my friendship with them stays intact.

We had our worship session just like how we used to have when we were youths, we played the same old silly games and laughed our hearts out and we still share the same love for God and with one another. They are family indeed.

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These are the two brothers whom I look up to. Both are funny to the core but when it comes to the Word of God, it’s all seriousness.

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So much fun and laughter that night.

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Because it’s the year of the Rooster, I got Faith to paint a picture of a rooster figurine and since she’s into everything rainbow, she chose to paint it with multiple colours, just like the middle rooster figurine. She still couldn’t draw well but I invited her to draw some small parts of this picture, such as the beak and the crown. The objective of that ‘lesson’ is really to get her to blend the colours, something which I want her to continue to work on. I had wanted the little brother to join in the fun by getting them to do finger printing for the bottom part of the painting aka the ground but the brother was distracted by other stuff so in the end, Faith did everything. Mighty pleased with it. 😉 With guidance, of course.

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We ended CNY with a scrumptious dinner by the aunt-in-law. It’s a yearly affair for this beloved lady who would always present us with delicious homecooked food twice for CNY. Blessed, aren’t we?

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That basically sums up our CNY 2017. Hope you guys have had fun too!

Paul Klee and his artwork

Our ‘Art education’ at home continued with Paul Klee. I have yet to find an art class suitable for Faith so meanwhile, we will have to learn what we can through books and the Internet. Normally, I will scout the local libraries for children’s books on the particular artist, read to the girl and then explore the artist’s work with her. I’m not an Art teacher by training but I can always learn!

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The book that I used for this lesson is The Cat and the Bird and the illustration is based on Paul Klee’s work. My objective for this lesson is simple. I wanted Faith to observe how colours are being used in harmony and to apply it in the colouring of the cat which I drew the night before.

Faith is in this phase in which everything is colourful to her. If you are to ask her to complete a piece of colouring work, chances are it will resemble the colours of rainbow. For this lesson, I wanted her to observe how the colours blend and we used crayons for this task. Initially, she was doing well.

While the sister was doing work, the brother couldn’t be ignored, of course! It’s doodling time for him!

“Hey! Pay attention to what you are doing!”

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Before you know it, the girl continued the colouring, this time in multi-colours. She gave me all sorts of reasons why the cat should be full of colours. I wasn’t going to fight this battle. Besides, it’s her work. I’m just going to let her enjoy the process.

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There you have it. A colourful cat. Her version of Paul Klee’s The Cat and the Bird.

We continued with the next artwork called ‘Castle and Sun’. Here, I got Faith to observe how the artist used shapes and lines to create this piece. I could have asked her to cut out different shapes using coloured paper but decided that she could spend some time working on the designs that are to be cut into various shapes as buildings. We even took out the blocks to create a ‘castle’.

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By this time, the brother was tired out and needed to take a short nap. While I carried him to nap, the girl continued to her work. We couldn’t quite finish the second piece since she had to get ready for school and had to continue the following day .

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Each of our ‘art lessons’ takes about two hours and while it can get really messy with the toddler around, I must say it is also satisfying to see how the girl has progressed. My only hope is that I will remain calm and not think about the mess that could be created. Learning should be fun!

[Friday Flips] F’s rendition of Van Gogh’s Starry Night

After almost three weeks into 2017, we are more or less settled with the new schedule. The family is still coughing our way into the nights but at least we are on the road to recovery. Mornings are precious because those are the times when the kids are fresh and eager to learn. So far, we had fun doing grocery together, exercised and enjoyed our playground time, busied ourselves in the kitchen and had an artistic morning.

Faith has always indicated an interest in art and I have wanted to enrol her in some art classes. Alas, our last school holidays were so packed (with activities and rest and getting sick) that she didn’t get to attend any in the end. Despite that, we attempted to learn about artists and their works last month and I thought we should continue what we have started.

The next artist that we learnt about is Vincent Van Gogh.

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This book talks about how a boy followed the attitudes of the adults around him and bullied an eccentric painter (Van Gogh) before realising that there is more than one way to see the world when he met the painter face-to-face. I thought this book is one that helps to address bullying and how one ought to treat others. Our girl ‘catch no ball’ (couldn’t comprehend) although she got acquainted with Mr Van Gogh and his artwork through this book.

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The next book that we read was Katie and the Starry Night which is definitely more interesting and enjoyable. We went through some of the paintings of Van Gogh such as Vincent’s Chair, Noon, The Olive Grove and Fishing Boats on the Beach before starting to work on her rendition of The Starry Night. The main materials that we used were square sponges, cotton buds and the heads of Bok Choy (because I was cooking them the night before).

Using the square sponges, she dabbed them in blue to paint the sky.

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The next stage is to use the cotton bud to create the swirls in white and yellow. This was when Dan came in. He could well have fun with it too!

After the paint had dried up a little, it’s time to put in the stars using the head of the Choy. The design is lovely, isn’t it?

Lastly, I got Faith to cut out the houses from the corrugated paper and pasted them on the artwork.

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This took us the whole morning (plus playground time while waiting for the paint to dry up a little) but we were all satisfied at the end of it.

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We love the Katie’s adventure series a lot and thankfully our libraries stock them. You can read more about Monet’s works through Katie and the Waterlily Pond!

Which artist shall we touch on next?

Linking up with

Growing with the Tans Friday Flips

Dan @ 15 months old

Dear Dan

You turned 15 months old today and in this past month, we saw you really walking independently. You gained confidence daily as you practised your walking and now you don’t need us to hold your hand that often.

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For a while, I was wondering what took you so long to begin walking and now…

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It gets easier to feed you now because you are more open to eating other types of food, and that include ours! You heavily relied on pureed food for the past few months and now you are eating porridge and even rice. You still don’t like meat but I guess I would have to slowly introduce them to you. You love bread and could have them for your three meals but of course, that won’t do! Now, it seems you want to self-feed and mama has to close both eyes for you to do that. Just imagine the mess! But it’s all part of learning, isn’t it?

We stay home most of the time and that are so many things to do such as painting, doodling, scooping of pom pom balls and threading. You love to explore every nook and corner of the house and then you will pull out the drawers and take out whatever containers you can find in there. Basically, messing up the place is your past time. Arghh…

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You love to explore, just like your sister and you are not afraid to try new things! May you continue to possess such a spirit!

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Bubbles! Who doesn’t love them? Mama loves to see you enjoy yourself and you don’t seem to be afraid of strangers, especially when your sister is around.

You love the playground a lot and enjoy these rides! When we are at your sister’s school, you will find your way to these rides, sometimes wandering off without me!

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You share your sister’s love for Sandra Boynton’s book – Moo, Baa, La La La – and got equally amused, like your sister. We could enjoy many of her books because a fellow mommy so generously loaned them to us. Thank God for her.

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You love to play with water. Maybe we should get you to go to the pool more regularly eh?

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I wish you could nap and sleep more. It’s really difficult to get you to rest and I’m not sure why. Aren’t you tired? I have to say that we are all tired out by you. Could you please cooperate a wee bit?

Having said that, we still thank God for you, a precious gift from God.

Sweet and sticky chicken

How’s first day of school for you?

For us, we have to adhere to a new routine since the girl is in afternoon session and that means she would have to do without a nap. Naturally, she came back tired and a little cranky. The boy was disrupted in his naps and that means…a fussy toddler.

4pm. I could sense their restlessness and I got a bit nervous. I know that I have to rush out dinner fast so that they could go to bed early.

Then I remember this dish which I have made and which I have forgotten to record after testing the recipe out. I made this sweet and sticky chicken years ago using honey but this time round, I decided to use Ribena and see if I could create a ‘new’ recipe with it. Thankfully, it really works well and the sweet and sticky chicken is a hit with the family.

In times when you have to churn out dinner fast, remember this recipe. You would need to marinate the chicken for at least 2 hours (which you can do so the night before). After that, it’s just putting the chicken into the oven and bake. Top it up with rice or quinoa and some greens on the side and you have a great meal. I’ve used the recipe on pork ribs too and they are equally delicious (at least, that’s what my guests told me).

Share Food Singapore made a video on this for chicken wings. Do take a look if you are interested (embedded in this post). Chicken wings are good on the menu for a party!

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Ingredients (feed 3 hungry pax)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar/ chiang kiang vinegar
1/4 cup ribena cordial
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/8 cup soy sauce
3 garlic cloves, halved
3 chicken legs
1/2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
corainder leaves for garnishing

1. Combine the balsamic vinegar, ribena cordial, brown sugar, soy sauce and garlic cloves in a large ziplock bag. Shake and squeeze the contents of the bag to dissolve the ribena and the brown sugar. Add the chicken legss to the bag and seal. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

2. Preheat the oven to 230C. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminium foil.

3. Remove the chicken legs from the bag, reserving the marinade and arrange them on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until the skin is caramelised and very dark in spots, 30 to 35 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, place the marinade in a small saucepan. Bring the marinade to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook over low heat until thick, about 15 minutes.

5. Use a pastry brush to brush some of the cooked marinade on the cooked chicken. Place the chicken on a serving platter. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds and the chopped parsley.

6. Serve with quinoa or rice.

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With quinoa for the more health conscious me.

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And… rice for the rest of the family

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😉

Hello 2017!


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Good morning to a brand new year! We are off to somewhere! Guess where?

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To the Botanic Gardens we go! This year, I hope that we will be in the outdoors more as a family, to learn and explore!

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Learning takes place everywhere and every moment. So don’t waste the opportunity! There’s so much in nature that we can learn. I only hope that we have the patience and knowledge to share with the kids.

This year, I want to continue to focus on relationship – God, husband, children, immediate family members, friends (new and old). So, yes, I want to make time for them. My family is important to me and I want to invest my time, effort and resources on them. I have chosen to be a SAHM and I want to stay focused on my calling and STOP thinking about venturing into other areas. It’s not fair to anyone if I don’t do a good job in the various areas that I am involved in.

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I want to give more attention to Dan this year. I hadnt’t been able to give a lot of my time to him last year and his development hasn’t been as good as the sister. There shouldn’t be any comparison but to be honest, he is spoken less to, read less to, taught less and less stimulated. There is always the guilt in me but it hadn’t been a smooth ride last year. So I hope I could concentrate on him more this year.

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Needless to say, I will still continue to work on the girl but at the same time I’ll get the girl to teach the boy. It’s time for her to impart some of her knowledge to her brother and one learns more when she teaches. Since the girl would be in the afternoon session this year, I hope to utilise weekdays’ mornings well.

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I’ll be more diligent and work on teaching and learning resources. I mean, as a teacher, I have to come up with lesson plans and related resources. Now that I’m a teacher to my kids, I should be equally diligent, if not more!

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As a family, we will still be attending BSF and this year, I hope to have small scale family devotion on the materials given by BSF rather than to be doing it on an ad-hoc basis. Faith could sit through longer stories and I want to read more biblical stories to her this year. For family worship, we could sing worship songs together. The hubs will play the piano and the rest will sing. It’s time to be intentional about teaching her gospel songs and not merely leave it to her to learn by listening.

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I want to save more for the family and that means we intentionally don’t eat out that often and even if we have to, we will go to the hawker centres and coffeeshops more often.

The other day, the hubs and I were discussing about some financial issues after a recent talk which I have attended. He mentioned that if we want to model thrift, we should eat out at restaurants LESS often. I agree.

I need to start teaching Faith about the value of money and shall start this year. Will write more on this (if I have the time).

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Direct application: So we stopped by Food for Thought for playground time and knowing me, I would normally order a drink or small bite. But today I decided not to. We will just (shamelessly) use the playground and not spend unnecessarily.

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I’m still trying to figure out Faith’s interests. I don’t think I will get Faith to have music lesson unless she specifically asks for it or that I could find a good teacher. I’m not even sure what I want F to learn. I can expose her but till now I don’t know what instrument she wants to learn although she is still keen on ukelele.

I will concentrate on sports because that is the area the adults are interested in too and thus could motivate them a wee bit. Swimming for both, hiking, frisbee, cycling, in-line skating, rock wall climbing, ⚽️…

Oh yes, they do need to play and pray more.

Personally, I want to read more and enrich myself. I do think that my language ability has deteriorated over the years. I could no longer write fluently and at times, I need more confidence to speak. Of course I’m all right when it comes to casual talks with my peers but it’s a different story if you ask me to present before a crowd. Maybe I should really sign up for a course eh?

So yea, these are my quick thoughts for 2017.

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Some food-for-thought.
[Source]Teaching Montessori in the Home: The Pre-school years

Goodbye 2016

I was telling my hubs that 2016 seemed like a blur to me. Each day, I was so busy that there wasn’t much time to pause and reflect, let alone read. I wasn’t updated on news or what’s happening to my friends because every moment when the kids were awake, I had to be with them or be in the kitchen churning out food.

Yet, I know 2016 was jam-packed with activities and memories both good and bad. I had a wonderful time teaching Faith and loathe the fact that she would be in K1 next year and before I know it, she would enter Primary School and my time with her would be minimised…by a lot. I felt sad just by thinking of that. Many times, I toy with homeschooling my kids but I also know my patience would be greatly tested and perhaps in the end, I would morph into a witch. So, for now, the answer is ‘NO’.

2016 is a year of making new friends and deepening the friendship of old ones. I would never have imagined that I could make friends at my age and that we could get along so well. But yet, God knows what I need and granted me some good company and for that, I’m immensely thankful.

I managed to get a few sponsorships and media invites this year which made my life more interesting. I’m truly thankful for these collaborations but come 2017, I would love to focus more on homelearning and reading to upgrade myself. I thought of enrolling myself in some online Montessori or early childhood courses but again, the fear of the lack of time prevents me from moving ahead.

This year, however, the hubs and I dedicated our time to learning more about raising kids when we attended the 15-week-long course (GKGW) and also a family seminar by the Tripp which helped me view parenting from God’s perspective. Parenting is tough and we desperately need God’s grace to bring up the children in His ways.

I wonder how 2017 would be like…

Memories are made of these…

How do you preserve memories? Through photos, no?

I like to take pictures and the number of them increases by leaps and bounds when the kids came along. Is it the same for you? And it most definitely warms my heart as I browse the photos taken in the past. Awww…memories!

Recently, Canon threw a cozy Christmas gathering to a group of families and gifted us with some precious presents – wonderful time with families and sweet memories in the form of pictures, the printed way.

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When we first arrived, we spent some time with the young ones over duplo and painting of cardboard boxes. Faith has always loved Lego and Duplo so it’s no wonder that she found her way to the blocks.

We were then introduced to the new Canon PIXMA TS8070 printer and were invited to have some family fun with it! Before that, each family was gifted with a picture frame that is made of of photographs of our loved ones. Oh, dear Canon, you have done it again! What a thoughtful and meaningful gift!

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We were definitely excited as we unwrapped the gift.

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How lovely! Pictures of our daily life from our Instagram account! The kids and I were thrilled and I was personally captivated by the quality of the print. We were later told that we could try our hands on the printer and to experience its ease of use. Yay!

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These are the printers that made those pictures possible! If you observe, they are not really bulky because they are designed to fit small offices and homes in form and function so they are in a sleeker form to blend seamlessly into our study or home office.

We wasted no time in printing our photos! Since many of my photos are in squares for Instagram and Dayre purposes, I’m thankful that these printers could print them without the need for resizing. Very convenient! And because the Canon PIXMA TS8070 printers are designed for easy set-up in a wireless environment, we can readily print the pictures from our mobile phones and tablet PCs in out-of-home environments such as weddings and parties. Think photo booths!

Other ideas (for own reference):

  • craft for playdates
  • homelearning materials
  • souvenirs for home parties or celebration
  • wedding
  • travel scrapbook

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Faith and I used the photos that we have printed to do some craftwork and made a photo album from the materials that were supplied to us. It was a good bonding session!

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Ta-da! Is this nice? I’m really impressed by the quality of the print! We can definitely do lots more craftwork with these prints and  could even design and print our own customised cards. Best is they are reasonably priced at $299!

The family had a wonderful and meaningful time with Canon Singapore that day. Thank you for inviting us and giving us the opportunity to ‘play’ with the printers. The following are some precious moments captured that day by the good folks at Canon. I thought I should park them here for my own keepsake. 😉

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Here’s wishing you a blessed Christmas, from the Queks!

Our family was invited by Canon Singapore and Claudia of The Loving Mom to this Christmas party. Photographs used in this post belong to Canon Singapore. The ones in squares are squarely mine. 😉

Christmas with the Queks – 2016 edition

It has become a tradition, that we dress up a real Christmas tree during that time of the year. For the past few years, we have involved Faith in the activity but she wasn’t that keen. This year, her enthusiasm showed.

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Somehow, I find that she has matured a lot over the past one year. Is it because she has an added responsibility as a sister? Or is it just an age thing? In the above, she was trying to sharpen her colour pencils and the brother meddled with them because he wanted to be involved, just like his sister.

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Busy bee…

This year, she was the main person doing up the tree. The adults were resting by the side, watching her dress the tree up. So focused but the tree was heavily decorated on one side only!

Dan wanted to help too and managed to put up some of the decorations. He was mighty pleased with himself!

Are you ready for Christmas?

Fun with scissors: Cutouts with Henri Matisse

I had wanted to sign Faith up for some art classes during this hols but because of her cough, I had to stop the plan; I don’t want her to spread germs to the other children. So, I would have to scout for ideas for art and I thought reading about the lives of artists and learning about their art forms would be a good way to start. It’s pinterest to the rescue once more and I found some interesting resources that I could use.

After listing down some artists, I searched the catalogue of the local libraries and I’m so happy that there are good children’s books on artists.

The first artist that Faith and I learnt about is Henri Matisse who was famous for his cutouts later in his life. We read these three books to get to know the artist more and all three can be found in the Junior Lending Picture Books’ section in the (selected) libraries.

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After reading, I selected some key words to go through with Faith. She could sound out CVC words but I thought there’s no harm in getting her to learn some new words.

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Prior to the ‘lesson’, I drew some squares and rectangles on a drawing paper so that she could paint on them.

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It’s interesting to observe the colours she chose and how she painted the shapes. I tried not to interfere but to allow her to enjoy the process but…

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While waiting for the paint to dry, I got her to imagine and cut out any shapes she could think of. The girl loves to cut but she often cuts the paper into small pieces. This time round, I requested that she be bold and cut big curvy shapes and guided her into cutting them. She wasn’t comfortable and wasn’t too keen to do so but at least she tried, for some.

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After that it’s pasting time! I wanted her to pair contrasting colours together just as Mr Matisse did.

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Almost done! Since she was the artist behind this piece of art, she must sign off!

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Our first lesson on the study of Henri Matisse and cutouts!

Related and useful resources:
:: Painting with scissors: Kids study Matisse
:: In the style of – Henri Matisse

 

A year older…

I turned one year older this day  and both my kids were not feeling in tip-top condition. It wasn’t anything serious but they have been coughing for weeks and I wanted them to fight it. But Faith had a pair of swollen eyes on Sunday evening, complaint of stomachache and ear ache that night and broke out in rashes all over her body yesterday. It’s time to visit the doc. Both of them.

We had wanted to visit her in the morning but we were too early and decided to go for a hike. So it’s to the tree top walk we went!

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It’s Faith’s first hike and we had to manage our expectation, that it would be a pretty slow walk.

Don’t think a stroller can do a good job and it’s babywearing for Dan! He looked displeased but actually I think it’s comfy because he fell asleep minutes into the walk.

The city girl was amazed by the nature and stopped every few minutes to exclaim over the slightest thing. Ants, leaves imprinted on the board walk, sounds in the nature, the canopy… There’s so much to explore in nature!

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This teacher in me will use every opportunity to teach. Signboards on the way are good teaching aids.

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As expected, the girl grew weary about 2.5km into the walk. But hey, that’s a good start for a 4YO!

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We had to think of ways to energise her. Singing gospel songs help! Or pretend that you are a superhero!

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We made it! But this was only the halfway mark!

On the return leg, everyone’s tired. Faith couldn’t walk any longer and needed to be carried. Thankfully, we could always treat her like a backpack.

We took 3 hours to complete the 6km walk. Tired but happy would be my description for that morning. I’ve always loved the outdoors and it’s definitely wonderful to be able to so on my birthday.

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That evening, we made it to the doctor all right. It’s viral infection, as diagnosed by the doc. The swell and rashes are symptoms of the infection. Dan’s cough was worse than Faith because his immunity was weaker.

Both are on antibiotics now.

This birthday, all I want is for my family to be in good health. Not too much to ask for eh? 😉

Oh yes, if you are keen to participate in the Safari Zoo Run 2017, do take note that the early bird rate extension is till 9 Dec 2016 and do remember to use the code SZR2017BGPRFAITH10 for a further 10% discount. This unique code is valid till 15 January 2017.