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!

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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.

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?

Patience needed


It was a fine evening. The weather was great and the children yearned to go outdoors.

We did that and got the girl to bring her bicycle along so that she could practise riding it.

The hubs and I took turns but I ended up getting frustrated.

Frustrated that her feet kept slipping off from the pedals. Frustrated that she kept looking down while trying to balance instead of looking straight ahead.

Less-than-encouraging words departed from my tongue and attacked her. In exasperation, she stopped in her tracks and screamed.

I have hurt her.

Oh, what an impatient mom I am. That was only her second time learning to ride the bicycle. What was I expecting? That she could get it in two attempts?

It’s time to do a bit of self-reflection.

Appreciating da man in our lives

This post has been waiting to be published and finally I remember to do so.

I am writing this post to show a little appreciation to the man in our family.

If we scout the Internet for parenting-related articles, we will find that there are more articles that share about life as a mom, the changes that go through the mom’s body after giving birth and how much they need time off from the children, just to name a few. I’m not sure about you but at least these are the ones that appear more often on my FB feed and I’m immensely thankful to some of these articles because the writers encourage me in this parenting journey.

At times, I thought about the fathers. The kind of pressure they face at work and at home. How they feel coming back to a frustrated mom and cranky kids after a day at work. I tried asking da man about his thoughts but he would often shrug his shoulders and reply, “Work is work.” And nothing else.

I have to mention this bit of information about da man. Upon reaching home, he would help to shower the kids, spend some time with them before turning in for the day. And he does the night shift, just so that I could catch some sleep.

Surely, he’s tired.

So when Floral Garage approached me if I would want to receive a DIY room/party decor kit that is inclusive of DIY Decor items and faux flowers, I thought we could plan a surprise for da man.

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If you find the contents to be too feminine for da man, I don’t disagree with you. After all, it was initially meant to be used to decorate Faith’s room but I was thinking that the girl would be distracted by the beautiful decor items and would encounter problem falling asleep. So, we decided that we would work together to decorate the wall at the dining area so that when Papa comes back home, he would have a neat surprise!

The girl was obviously excited to be part of this plan and we decided to choose the word ‘LOVE’ on the wall. Using the washi tape provided in the box, I spelt out the word so that Faith could tape the faux flowers and leaves onto it. It’s a lot of fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination work!

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I just want to warn you that this might take a full one or two hours, depending on how fast your kids work. Faith was really on the ball and did most of the decoration on her own while I prepared dinner.We did have problems with the pom poms though because we had to separate each piece of paper carefully. This really tested our patience! And we left out the tassels since we did not want to crowd the wall.

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Kids being kids, she got distracted in the process.

This is the completed wall, a simple one but filled with loads of love and effort, especially from the girl. This is a good craft activity and if you are planning for some birthday celebration and want to DIY, this kit will definitely come in useful!

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So, da man came back and.. didn’t show any sign of surprise at all! It’s life as usual for him. Grrr…but in the end, we had fun taking wefie against the backdrop. Creating memories, so they say.

After a few days, we took down the decor and I kept the faux flowers and leaves properly since I know I will reuse them.

floralCredit: Floral Garage

This DIY Floral Backdrop kit is part of Floral Garage‘s newly launched floral party decor category. If you are planning a party, you should definitely check out their party supplies page for relevant resources or consider their party packages!

If you would love to walk in, Floral Garage Sg is located at:
756 Upper Serangoon Road,#03-34,
Singapore 534626

Connect with Floral Garage via:
Facebook : Floral Garage Sg
Instagram : floralgaragesg
Email: floralgaragesg@gmail.com

Disclaimer: I received the kit for review purpose only. No monetary compensation is involved and all opinions are of my own.

A Day in A Life (of a mom of two)

The last time I participated in the DIAL blog train, I was a mom of one. Then I could plan and carry out a lot of homelearning activities for Faith. Fast forward one and a half years and I became a mom of two. Attention is divided between the kids but I am thankful that I could count on the older girl to take care of her brother when household chores call out to me.

On average, my day begins at 6am. On good days, the boy would wake up later, like 6.30am but more often than not, he wakes up before 6am. The hubs would have gone to work before 6am and thus my duty commences then. When the boy wakes up, so does the sister. Yawn!

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Breakfast is usually bread and I absolutely need my coffee to stay calm and loving. When I’m more hardworking, I would prepare a more decent meal but most of the time, not. Once the kids have had their fill, they would go off to play on their own while I have my five minutes of coffee break. Most of the time, Faith would play pretend and imagine herself to be a teacher. Occasionally, she would do some work. Dan, meanwhile, would seek to disturb his sister. Thereafter it’s a rush to get everyone ready before we set off for Faith’s kindy at 7.50am.

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Faith’s in school! It’s time with Dan! Before the boy turned one year old, I spent most of the morning at home because he needed to nap. These days, I try to go out with him more often. I would use one day for grocery shopping, either in the wet market or supermarket. It’s a good way to let him know about this world he’s living in and the things he sees as we shop. Two of the mornings are for exercising. I would put Dan in the stroller and do a slow run or brisk walk. 90% of the time, he would fall asleep in the stroller. If I could get help with childcare, I would go for my Minus Calories session.

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Once a week, I would also visit the library with him. I would love to bring both my children along but I know I will go mad with them going in different directions and in the end, I wouldn’t be able to pick out good reads for them.

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Faith has her lunch in school and this frees me up from having to prepare her lunch. Normally I would just grab anything to fill my stomach. Dan’s food is easy to prepare – just steam and puree. Yea, he still needs to eat pureed food.

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We would pick up Faith at around noon time. Dan would have a little playtime at the school compound. Faith would also spend some time playing with her schoolmates before we head for home. While she plays, I chat with fellow moms. Oh! First adult conversation for the day!

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By the time we reach home, it is 1pm. Faith takes a quick shower before spending some time with her brother. Once in a while, I allow screen time but more often than not, I don’t because the boy would find his way to the screen and stare at it. Not good!

Nap time is 2pm. Faith could nap on her own while I need to babywear Dan. It’s a bad habit, I know but he takes a really long time to fall asleep and if I am to get him to nap on his mattress, he would disturb the sister. I’m not sure when I can stop babywearing him; I hope I could see the light at the end of the tunnel soon.

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Faith normally wakes up earlier than the brother and since I’m still carrying Dan, she would have to work on her own. I wish I have more time to coach Faith but it’s been tough. I have to steal whatever pockets of time that I have to teach her. Thankfully, she is rather independent and would get to complete the task that I have set out for her to do. These days, I tend to focus more on her recognition of English sight words rather than the Chinese characters.

Most of the time, Dan would have gotten up at around 4pm and it’s ‘Big Muscles’ time after some snacks (which mostly consists of fruits). I believe in outdoor play for children and it’s also a good breather for me. If I can find fellow moms to chat, that would be my second adult conversation for the day. Sigh!

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Once a week, I send the kids to swim at their cousin’s and when I’m in the mood, I would bring them out for waterplay. Other times, it would just be playground time.

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5pm. It’s time to prepare dinner. It’s always a challenge with Daniel around. More often than not, he would crawl into the kitchen and want my attention. I can’t move that freely too because he is hanging on to my leg for his dear life. That’s when I get the sister to ‘entertain’ him. Most of the time it works. Those times when it doesn’t, I roar!

Dinner is mainly one-pot dish. I wish I could cook more dishes but I have to be practical and settle for easy-to-prepare meals although at times when I have the mood, I would prepare dishes. I’m bored with the same old stuff that I prepare and suspect that my girl is getting sick of the menu too. That day will come when I will try out other dishes…when Dan is a bit older and more independent and you will be sure that I will post pics of them on my instagram account.

The hubs comes back home around 6.30pm and I can finally have some real help. He has dinner while I clear the dishes and after he’s done with the meal, he would help to bathe the boy and sometimes the girl if she requests for it. I would have my time alone without the kids when I’m in the shower but at times, they will still look for me. Grrr…

By the time the hubs is done with shower, it is 8pm and it’s time for Dan to turn in for the day. He would have his last feed and we have our family prayer time. Then the hubs turn in together with Dan while I spend the next 30 minutes with the girl.

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We usually read storybooks or work on the world map (Geography) before her bedtime. Sometimes when she feels tired, she would inform me that she wants to sleep and she retires for the day. From 8.30pm onwards, I could have peace and no more calling of ‘mama, mama’.

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What do I do after they have gone to bed? Meal preparation, reading the Bible, reading up on early childhood education, reading and replying emails and more recently, doing up teaching and learning resources for the kids. I love the free resources from these two websites – this Reading mama and the measured mom – and as you can see from the picture, I’m working real hard on the materials.

I normally turn in latest by 11pm. I could have slept earlier but I really do cherish the time alone to do my own stuff. 😉

This post was written as part of the Day in a Life (DIAL) blog train that is being hosted by Mum in the Making. Do click on the button above to read more DIAL posts. It’s been so interesting to take a peek into the lives of fellow mums!

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Next up on the blog train is Dawn, the voice behind Daprayer.com. She’s a modern mama who seeks to live life beautifully, while #LearningParenting and #LearningGrace along the way. Through her blog posts and hand lettering artworks, she hopes to offer some inspiration and encouragement to mamas out there to create beautiful memories, build beautiful relationships, and be the most beautiful versions of themselves, inside and out.

Be present

I’ve been quiet on this space. Fact is, I have been busy…with the kids.

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It started off with this cake, the first cake I made on the first Friday of January. I was mighty pleased with it but it did take a bit longer to make as compared to the other cakes, just because I couldn’t fully concentrate on working on it since I have two other human beings to take care of.

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I love making figurines and these took me two nights to complete after the family has retired for the day. I spent another afternoon baking the cake and working on the Italian Meringue Buttercream before assembling it. It was fun but I have to admit that it was rather stressful as well. I couldn’t give my full attention to the kids and the cake. As a result, the older girl became difficult to manage and needless to say, frustration gripped me.

The cake was delivered but the heart was unsettled. I enjoy making cakes and appreciate the extra ‘pocket money’ that comes with it. Till now, having no income still needs to get a little used to.  Baking cakes for others gives me a certain amount of self-worth. Of course, I know my identity is in Christ and not in these cakes but …

I know that being a SAHM is a calling and boy, it is so difficult and challenging. I was handling a lot of things at one time and that got me short-tempered and exhausted. I was always in a hurry and when Faith does things slowly, it got to me. Some of the common phrases she would hear from me are “Hurry up!”, “Wait,” “I’m busy. Can you be patient?”

Then I came across this article which spoke to me. It couldn’t be more timely. It’s a wake-up call for me to “be present”. I may physically be in the same room as the kids but my mind is elsewhere. Most times, it would be in the kitchen. Other times, it could be found tangled up in the to-do list.  The kids are smart beings and could catch that no matter how interested I may act.

The day I decided to “be present”, things started to turn for the better. I became more relaxed and started to play (I mean, really, I play) with Faith. She must have sensed that change in me and her usual sweet demeanor returned. We could work on a lot of homelearning stuff together because there is no need to spend time on disciplining her. It’s that wonderful.

I really ought to reflect on myself when I see changes in the kids’ behaviour. More often than not, it is a result of our own attitude and behaviour towards them. If they feel loved and secure, I’m sure they will bloom.

Because of my decision to “be present”, Faith’s emotional tank was filled and she could leave me to cook in the kitchen in peace while she busied herself with her own work. I didn’t have to tell her to do that. Sometimes, she even helped to entertain Dan!

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Then a most wonderful thing happened. I’ve decided to be bold and get the girl to take off her diaper when she goes to school. Her school teachers had told me that she was ready to be potty-trained some time back but I didn’t have faith in her ability to do that. All these while, she would wet her pants at home and I would fly into a rage, thereby frustrating her in the process. This time round, I was all cool and the amazing thing was there had been no “accident” at all except on one occasion when she was too engrossed in play when we were attending a workshop. You have no idea how elated I am and I’m praying that she could continue to keep this up. Perhaps by being relaxed, I have indirectly helped to potty-train her?

These past two weeks have been great. Faith gained back her confidence and was joyful all the time. Even the teachers and principal have given me positive feedback. It’s true to a great extent that the children are a reflection of how the parents treat, nurture and develop them. At least, it’s true in my case. I’m a happier mom and wife now and this also translates into a happy family.

I have had victories but I am very aware that there are still challenges ahead and I need to guard myself lest I fall prey to tiredness, frustration, worldly desires and bad thoughts planted in my mind. Pray…and pray unceasingly.

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[via]

“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” Colossians 3:2

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” Philippians 4: 8

Great start!

How’s your first week of 2016?

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For us (at least for me), it has been progressing well. The girl went back to school and she was so happy! There wasn’t any problem for her to get up each morning because she was so looking forward to meeting her friends and teachers. We started exercising as a family on the first Saturday of 2016 and hopefully, we could make this a regular activity. On the weekdays, Dan and I worked out too! After dropping F off at school, I would return home to work on #bbg or go to the park for a 30 minute brisk walk with Dan. He would then be on his tummy for some muscle strengthening! Our exercise plan seems to be working well. We are definitely taking baby steps!

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Since school started, F has been acting more independently though at times, she still whines and wants someone to play with her. These days, she picks up materials that she wants to work on thus releasing me to do my own stuff or to take care of Dan. There are even times that she helps look after the brother while I busy myself in the kitchen. She’s slowly becoming my good helper and Dan’s companion!

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I’m also getting better at food preparation, all thanks to the thermal cooker (this warrants another post). Faith gets really hungry after school and on the way back, she would ask me if the food is cooked. Thankfully, I have it all prepared and the food is ready once we reach home.

It’s been a good week overall and hopefully, the second week will continue to be one that is bright and cheery!

Hope your week’s been a good one too!

Dan is 1 month old!

The boy is 1 month old today! Oh, what joy!

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It has been a busy day as we delivered the full month’s boxes of goodies to our relatives. This time round, instead of western desserts like cakes and tarts, we decided on something traditional like nonya kuehs.

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From Lek Lim Nonya Cake Confectionery

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But this was not before the hubs and I had a slow breakfast discussing Faith’s recent change in habits and attitudes. The last two weeks hadn’t been all blissful. Of all times, Faith had to fall sick during the third week of the confinement period and she was all cranky and whiny. She cried at the slightest thing and sometimes we had absolutely no clue as to what caused her sudden change in attitude. Just a few days before, she was this excited and caring sister to Dan and then she morphed into one who was disobedient to her parents and always up to mischief.

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I was frustrated, no doubt. Added to this was the fact that my breast was engorged and I had very sore left nipple, thanks to Dan’s poor latching. When would all these pain end?

Thankfully, the confinement lady (CL) was all understanding and told me to be patient towards the girl who was obviously having a hard time transiting to her new role and having to share her parents with her brother. “Get her to help you more. She will appreciate it.”

And one evening, after cleaning Dan, the CL placed Dan on Faith’s lap. The little girl was pleasantly surprised. At last, someone trusted her enough! You see, I had not allowed Faith to get close to Dan because she was coughing and many times, she forgot to cover her mouth or to turn away. I wouldn’t want Dan to catch the bug and thus forbade her to get too close to her brother.

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Since that incident, Faith started to care for her brother more but her whines and cries continued until I had enough and asked her where she learnt it from. “From baby…”

She must have come to the conclusion that we would tend to her and give her attention if she cries, just like her brother. Poor girl. I admit, that in grappling with the changes, I had forgotten to pause and laugh at her silly acts (which she purposely did so to make me happy). I had, more often than not, asked her to wait and wait and wait while I tend to her brother. I had also ignored her desire to want to be more involved with Dan, together with her mother, and not to be left alone to do her own thing. Oh, the damage that I have done to her.

And then the mother’s guilt!

So, I’ve decided to intentionally set aside some time to spend with her (let’s call it mother-daughter bonding time) and sneaked out on one of the confinement days to do what women love – shop and eat! Boy, was she happy and we were both recharged!

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So, has life gotten better now?

Nope.

In fact, ever since the CL left (which was 2 days ago), I have been trying to ‘work things out’. Having two kids is definitely different and more challenging as compared to having just one. Different nap times, trying to prepare meals in time and finding time to spend with the toddler are some of the more urgent concerns. And I’m not even adding my own personal rest time (huh? what’s that?) into the list. Many moms have assured me that this is only a phrase and it would soon pass so I’m taking their word for it.

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I’m taking a step at a time now and allowing the Lord to teach me more about motherhood and myself. It can only get better.

P.S. If this post sounds incoherent, that’s due to a lack of sleep …and caffeine.

It’s been a tough week

Faith @ 33 MO

Baby @ 33 weeks

This week was tough.

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

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

It’s exhausting.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Update:

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

Wt of mom: 57.7kg

BP: 119/58

ME -Time for Mommies!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Surviving as a SAHM for a 1st time mum

Faith turns 18 months old recently and that means I have been a Stay-At-Home-Mum for that same period of time. Woohoo! It’s quite unbelievable that I could stay sane for so long knowing how much resistance I had for this role in the past. And, to be really honest, I am enjoying what I am doing now. 😉

Here’s sharing with you my 10 survival tips!

1. Take a morning walk

I started bringing Faith out for morning walks since she was a few months old. It can prove to be a refreshing start for the day as we breathe in the fresh air and appreciate all that nature has to offer. In addition, there’s vitamin D from the sunlight too! It really makes me feel good to be in the outdoors.

2. Playground fun

When Faith was beginning to walk, I started to make it a habit to bring her to the nearby playground(s) so that she could expend her energy, interact with other kids and gain confidence through working on the obstacles. It is also a good opportunity to have some interaction with the other parents (we need some adult conversation, no?). After each session, the kiddo will normally get tired and nap rather quickly. That means I have time to do other stuff! Yay!

3. Don’t be paiseh (shy) to accept help

I used to think that being a SAHM, I need to be responsible for all domestic affairs, big or small, during the day when the hubs is at work. I took it upon myself to carry them out until I realised it is near impossible to do every single stuff  well when there is a kiddo who needs you most of the time, especially during the first year of her life. That’s when my parents and father-in-law come into the scene. Initially, I felt really terrible to have them help out since they are rather old but I realised that they actually want to spend time with the little one who brightens their day. My father-in-law, for example, is one awesome man. He would travel to my place without any complaints when we need him, play with Faith and then iron the clothes that are piled up like a mountain. On some days, he even helps to mop the floor! Do I feel bad? Absolutely! But the hubs has convinced me that this is his way of showing love to us and I would have to accept his kind gesture. So, there you go, if your folks or friends volunteer to take care of your little one, just take it up!

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4. Go and have ME time 

If you have heard fellow mums who told you that ME time is important and that you need to have some time away from the kiddo, do heed their advice. There are times when both Faith and I have enough of each other. She’s bored of me and I’m frustrated with her. That is when I know I need to chill and be away from her. So, #3 comes in very handy. I will call my dad for help who’s always so willing to see her grand-daughter while I go for a coffee break, to the library or just window shopping. These short moments of being away from her can be rather magical because I feel restored and rested and both of us are happy to see each other again!

5. Have a hobby!

I don’t believe that we have to centre our lives around our children as SAHMs. Yes, we have our responsibilities but we are also unique individuals with passions in life and they don’t have to stop when we become SAHMs. Start a hobby. Continue to do what you love. It could be craftwork, baking, sewing, blogging, etc (these can all be done at home!). I take my hobby – baking and cake decorating – further by going for courses. In this way, I could interact with like-minded adults and make more friends (being a SAHM can be rather lonely at times). Do I miss Faith when I’m away from her? Yes! And you bet I would always be the first one to fly home so that I can see her again.

6. The kitchen as a learning lab

I spend a great amount of time in the kitchen. Besides preparing meals, I bake quite often as well. We do not 20140501_120308have any playpen in our home and Faith is free to roam. However, she would much prefer to stay with me in the kitchen. So, I allow her to play in my territory and that includes a lot of drawer opening and playing with the baking stuff. I realised that the kitchen is a great learning lab for her. For example, she is often told not to go near the oven when I am baking and there was once that she disobeyed and touched it. She definitely learnt a lesson then and from then on, she would stay clear of the furnace when she knows that I’m baking. She helps me throw rubbish in the bin and puts bottles back into the refrigerator after I’m done with them. Recently, she gets curious with vegetables as I was washing them and tasted them raw.You should have seen her facial expression! But in the end, she was okay with the coriander leaves.

20140521_172329-MIXObviously, she does a good job in messing up the kitchen but it’s really manageable. I’ll clean up the things that she plays with but hey, I get to complete the cooking or baking! That’s a good deal, me thinks!

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7. One dish meal is still a good meal

Gone were the days that I could be bothered with trying out new dishes. Now, the meals that work for me would be those that could be whipped up in a pan, pot or cooker, much like throwing everything in a pot of stock and we have a decent meal! Thankfully, the hubs is not particular about what goes into his stomach.

8. TV programmes for Faith? Hi-5!

The hubs and I don’t really like Faith to be glued to the box and we do not allow her to play on the phone (not now). In fact, we seldom watch TV programmes. However, recently, we have access to Disney channels and we allow her to watch Hi-5 which turns out to be really helpful. Faith loves the show – the songs and dancing – and she could sit on the sofa quietly and watch the show by herself. Imagine how much chores I could complete in that 30 minutes! Awesome! I love Hi-5!

9. Be connected with other mums

I don’t think anyone can survive on their own. Parenthood is a tough journey and we would need all the support that we can have from like-minded friends. SAHMs have it tough in the sense that we do not have much adult interaction which can be really depressing. I find being connected with other mums helps a lot. My spirit is often uplifted after those meetups or gatherings because I know that I am not alone in this journey. Having more experienced moms in the group is crucial to me since I can learn from them as well. After all, I am a first-time mom and still a green-horn. 😉

10. Have fun

I say this with all sincerity. Have fun. I started out this journey with bitterness and discontentment, often thinking about how life would be like if I had not agreed to be a SAHM. But hey, now I don’t have deadlines to meet and I can learn together with the kiddo and have fun with her. Being a SAHM doesn’t mean you have to stay at home all the time. In fact, I find myself going out more often, bringing Faith out to play and explore. It’s like reliving my childhood too! There are definitely many downs but I have learnt that if I take a light-hearted approach to situations, I can stay happy and contented. Remember this: A happy mum = A happy child = A happy husband = A happy family! Does this make sense? Hmm…

I guess things would be a tad different if I have more than one child. Perhaps, having one is still manageable, eh?

The next mum to share is Angeline! She has been a stay-home mom for almost 6 years now. This beautiful lady is mom to two lovely children who have given her new insights to life as she now finds herself on a journey of re-discovery of the world through their little eyes. She shares her SAHM survival guide tomorrow on her blog, Simply Mommie.

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This post is part of a blog train hosted by Gingerbreadmum where 31 stay-at-home mums share their survival tips. We hope that you’ll find our tips useful and remember that you’re not alone!

Hong Kong Trip Day #3

After a tired day yesterday, we took it easy and started the day a wee late and proceeded for breakfast at the local’s coffeeshop called 茶餐厅. The one that JH wanted to bring us was not open so we decided any other one would do. I have to point out to you that throughout the trip, it is JH who decided on the places to eat and she ordered for us because her Cantonese is the most fluent; she sounded like a local.
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The above are some of the common ones found at the 茶餐厅. Simple food though I feel they can be healthier. Hah. The coffee and tea aren’t like those back home. It feels almost like drinking carnation milk. :p No offence but really…

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 Our itinerary for today was to take a ferry to 长洲 (Chang Zhou island), one of the islands in HK. We were expecting sunny beaches, delicious seafood and some cafes for us to bum around. We could use the octopus card to take the ferry which is really awesome. No hassle in purchasing extra tickets. No queuing!

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On the way, we came across this joint. I so wanted to purchase a cup of coffee since I didn’t feel that I had my caffeine fix in the morning but well, we did have to run for the ferry, in a way, so I had to give it a miss. The ferry ride took us about slightly more than hour, in total. Thankfully the waters wasn’t too choppy.

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When we disembarked, we had a shock. The place was full of people! Who would have thought? It was a workday, after all. Hello!!! The sun was really harsh that day but explore, we did!

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Apart from the crowd, it’s quite fun exploring 长洲. You won’t get to see swanky buildings or upmarket shopping malls. It’s a village life here. Slow, simple and relaxing. Since I didn’t bring the stroller along (thankfully, I didn’t due to the crowd), I put Faith in the carrier which she was okay with it (she didn’t need to walk!).

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 We stopped by a B&B to have our caffeine fix. This is one place that had the coffee machine so we thought the coffee shouldn’t be anything bad. I had the latte but there’s not latte art on my cup. 😦 长洲 is one place that does not provide changing area for young children in their toilets and I realised that bringing along diaper pants would work better in this case. So the next time, it’s diaper pants I’m using on Faith!
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One of the many reasons why people visit 长洲 is to enjoy the beach. Sadly, we forgot to get dressed for this and in the end, just sat around to enjoy the sea breeze.

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It wasn’t long before we turn back to where the seafood restaurants were located. When you visit 长洲, this is one thing you have to do. The seafood is fresh and affordable! As we were on our way to the restaurant, we saw troupes of lion dance and we later realised from the locals that they were celebrating some Chinese festival (something to the effect of warding off evil). One group was doing their dance in front of our eyes as we consumed our seafood. Faith was apparently not affected but was entertained by the whole thing, the noise and all.

For the past few days, Faith had the opportunity to use various modes of public transportation and some being her first attempt – bus and MTR. #firstworldproblem. She was obviously intrigued by them so I guess this trip did her some good in terms of such exposure.

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On our way back, we decided to pack roast goose (my first time) home for dinner. But oh, what a lot of oil! I don’t think my stomach would allow more of them though!

Zzzzzzz…..

Related post(s):
– Travelling with a toddler: The packing list
– Hong Kong Trip Day #1
Hong Kong Trip Day #2

My kid is going to school!

2 January, a day when my FB was swarmed with posting of friends whose kid is placed in Primary 1 or Nursery or Kindergarten. Pictures of the kids in well-ironed uniforms, white pairs of shoes and new bags were all over the page. “My baby is going to school!”

Normally on this day, I would be busy receiving these students. Many were excited while some cried, refusing to let go of their caregivers. It would be a challenging and undoubtedly exhausting day for the teachers. But today, I no longer do that. Instead, I hung out with Faith. And from this day forth, there would be less of staying at home but more of outdoor activities.

I have decided to make it a routine to bring Faith out for morning walk on alternate days. This is a good way to tell her about the park – from what she sees, hears, smells and touches. Thankfully, the reservoir is within walking distance from our apartment. And boy, was she happy to be out.

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She was mesmerized by the aunties who were doing some stretching exercises and sat there watching there for a good 10 minutes. Then we proceeded to the boardwalk where she took the opportunity to climb up and down the stairs. Then there is the playground near our block of flats and she had a great workout there! All these took us 1.5 hours. Amazing!

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The little one was so tired that after a shower, she felt asleep quite immediately which was really awesome! Finally, I had some time to myself!

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 A few minutes into Faith’s sleep, sis called me out for lunch. Dayen, the younger son had just completed his first day of school and he didn’t cry! Brave one!

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We dined at the coffeeshop where my uncle and auntie had a stall each. Wanton mee! Mom was there too and I could eat in peace for a while.

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It’s so wonderful that the cousins are finally back because Faith has got company! More cars, planes and trains! After lunch, I brought Faith to the library which she loves. Not necessarily reading though. But I guess that’s a good start. Reading begins at home!

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 So, there you have it. Faith’s first day of moi’s homeschooling effort. Hah!

Will be recording daily activities via Dayre from now on.

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Blessed Christmas and a time of thanksgiving

This Christmas, I thought I’ll just look back over the year and to count my blessings. There are certainly some highlights which I want to pen down on this page.

1) Earlier in the end, I was invited by a CG-mate to attend BSF which I have stopped for more than a decade. I’m thankful I went because I met some wonderful ladies who helped in encouraging me in this motherhood journey, and of course in my Christian faith.

2) My resignation is perhaps one of the most major decisions that I’ve made over the years. I have never thought that I would call it quits after just one decade. In fact, I’m prepared to give to the education service till I depart from this earth. Well, perhaps this service is going to take place in another form which I’ve come to realise later.

3) I decide to make this personal blog more public by my involvement with the Singapore Mom Bloggers. As a result, I made a few good friends, learnt a great deal of stuff from very experienced and knowledgable mothers and did some shout-outs and advertising for certain retailers. Oh, we even participated in a stroller fun-run to review a product. Absolute fun!

4) At the requests of friends, I started baking cakes for birthdays. I’m thankful that they trusted me enough though I personally felt there is much to improve. In any case, this has fueled my passion for baking.

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5) To help a friend solve a problem, I was given the opportunity to teach baking to a class of 20 adults. It was just satisfactory only, in my opinion, but I was thankful that at the end of the day, the participants went back with happy faces and felt honoured to be given this exposure.

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6) I’m thankful that the dear husband supports my passion in baking and cake decorating by paying for all my courses this year. So, I’ve learnt a great deal in cake-decorating which I practise by baking birthday cakes for others. Towards the end of the year, I got myself a freelance job by teaching baking and cake-decorating to other enthusiasts. This is an awesome arrangement for a SAHM like me who needs some breather at times. To do the things you love is really a blessing.

7) The hubs and I attended a parenting workshop organised by our church and we decided to give back by serving in this area in church. We are thankful for such an opportunity and are excited to see what God has in store for us in 2014.

8) I’m thankful that the little one is growing healthily and happily. Though there is much frustration (which cannot be helped, I guess), there is greater joy in seeing Faith grow. Now, the question is ‘Shall we plan for #2?’. That itself is an issue that we need to commit to the Lord.

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9) I’m thankful for my family and that they are all healthy. Each one of them has brought joy in my life. I can’t ask for more.

10) I’m thankful that our family of three is safe. Just a few days ago, we were involved in a car accident but thankfully no one was hurt.

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What are you thankful for this year?

Friday in pics

My sis and her family went back after more than a week of visit. *sobs* I’ll sure miss them! But thankfully, it won’t be long before we meet again! Yay!

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Buh-bye! See you in December, my adorable little frequent flyers!

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Since da man is on leave today, we took the opportunity to roam T3 and had our brunch. I love local food like these anytime!

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Da man and I went for a slow, slow jog at East Coast Park, my favourite playground while Dad looked after her. At long last, a jog! Make it more often, please!

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Faith got her first taste of egg today. I wanted to see if she reacts well to it before her next visit to the PD. Hopefully, she is ok with it!

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That’s it. TGIF! It is passing all too soon!

The life of a SAHM

“Sometimes, I feel my life is just so shitty!”

This was the remark I made to da man on Sunday, when I was exhausted and rather sick.

I am into my 3rd month of being a SAHM and if anyone thinks that life is oh-so-good, then let me give you a glimpse of my life. Today, I recorded what I did via Instagram and decided to blog about it.

5am. My day starts. This is the time that I can have to myself, have a proper breakfast and a cup of coffee, browse some cake designs and websites. If the feeling to poop comes, that is a bonus (sorry to be crude). Today, I spent the morning thinking about a cake design which has to be baked and delivered on Friday.

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7am. Faith woke up and after cleaning her, she had some play time on the mat.

8.15am. Went to the supermarket to do grocery and Faith fussed and cried on the way back, exasperating me. I looked like an auntie, messy hair and hands full of bags.

9.30am. Reached home, Faith was still in the carrier and felt asleep with all those movement as I kept all the grocery into the proper place. Time to DO SOME WORK before she wakes up again!

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Faith’s food supply is running out and so I need to replenish. Placed her in the cot and prepared her food and at the same time, started baking chocolate cupcakes in an attempt to test a recipe.

So in that ONE HOUR, I managed to prepare her meals. For the record and for memory’s sake, they are:
1. Carrot, broccoli and toufu
2. Pumpkin and broccoli
3. Fish porridge

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I don’t have a helper so I’d need trusty helpers aka appliances to assist me. And you would have guessed it, the kitchen was in a mess. WAR ZONE. My mind was also filled with a list of things to do. No time could be wasted. It’s just that ONE HOUR!

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10.30am. Faith woke up. Since I was in the midst of preparing fish porridge, I just let her have some. This was the first time that she had meat. Yup, I know I’m late in introducing her to meat. *bad mom*! As usual, Faith took a small and conscious bite, tasted it and gave me a happy look. Yay! I think she loves fish! Hurray!

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*Ding! The cupcakes were done!

Next was to prepare lunch which was Teochew-style fish porridge for dad and I. Faith didn’t want to sit on the high chair anymore, preferring to roam in the living room. So while I was preparing lunch, I was also attemping shuttle-run kind of style, shuttling in and out of the kitchen to make sure that Faith stays clear of the danger zone. This girl knows that I would stop her at certain places and deliberately go near them, stop in her tracks and look for me. She must be thinking that this is a game!!! I was really tired!

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Meals at my place have always been one-dish type because they are easy and fast to prepare. By 12pm, lunch was made and consumed as I washed the dishes so that I could send lunch over to dad’s.

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1pm. After dad had his lunch, he took over and I could go out to purchase some baking stuff and went back home to finish the cupcakes which I was experimenting and then it’s back to dad’s to pick Faith up.

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4pm. It’s back home and Faith got really active at this hour. It wasn’t until da man came back that I could prepare dinner.

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You’ve guessed it. One-dish meal again.

6pm. Da man took over while I showered and had some time to do some baking preparation before Faith called for me again.

8.30pm. Faith slept. I took some time to blog.

10pm. Zzzzzz….

So, that’s my life on a typical day. I do complain and rant but at the end of the day, when I think back, there is really nothing more rewarding to know that your child is a happy kid and is growing well.

And then all is well.

That Friday the air got really bad

I have come to the realisation that my family ( = the hubs and I) can be rather ill-prepared for emergencies.

Recently, our city-state has been hard hit by the haze caused by the burning forests in our neighbouring country and today it got really bad. The visibility was low and I awoke to really bad air that caused me to choke.

But my thoughts went out immediately to my little one and my older folks. Dad has been feeling weak since a few days back and this is a concern. Faith is only so young and I wonder how her respiratory system will take to it.

So, we sprang into action. We have no air-conditioners in our apartment and could only rely on fans which couldn’t really cool the rooms and the smell of smoke promises to linger. We have no masks nor air purifiers and our place reeks of ash, smoke and feels constantly dusty despite being cleaned regularly. After placing Faith at my mom’s, I went in search of masks and air purifiers. This attempt was followed by my sis and BIL.

If Ken and I were still without kids, I think we would not be so worried but now with a 7-month-old, it is a different story. I remember when we were in Boston and were facing 2 rounds of snowstorms which crippled the state, we did not even stock up a lot on food items as compared to the locals. Our emergency backpack was empty. We did not have torches or batteries or candles and the hubs just went ‘don’t get too worried about it’. But now, we can’t do that. The baby’s health is our main concern and our elderly folks too.

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Buildings no more!

Imagine my anxiety. As I drove to the mall, the visibility was low at noon and when I reached my destination, stores after stores displayed notice that the needed items were all sold out. I worried for my folks at home too who helped to look after the three young kids. I was in frenzy and for a moment at a loss of what to do until my sister replied in whatsapp, “Go home!”

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Queued for > 1 hour for air purifiers

Thankfully, the hubs took leave and helped us to look for the items and in the end, he had to queue an hour for the air purifiers and the three of us joined him in the end. It was really tiring but I’m glad that at least the home doesn’t reek so much of smoke anymore.

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Smells good for now

I don’t know when the haze will ease. I don’t recall having much problem in the past. At least, it didn’t get so bad until it stays in my memory. Looking back, today was quite an adventure. I could only imagine what my sister and her family went through when Mt Merapi erupted a few years back and they had to flee.

Will tomorrow be better?

Sat, I’ve learnt that…

– TCC’s coffee is pricier than Starbuck’s.
– Ebony & Ivory cake from Ms Clarity Cafe is too dry.
– There’s a baking supplies store @ 33, Seah Street.
– I’ve no interest in buying clothes, shoes or bags (this isn’t me…what has happened?)
– I think twice, no thrice, before forking out money now.

Jialat

The nose is likened to the tap. The mucus flowed out uncontrollably esp in the morning.
Couldn’t sleep. The body still had not adjusted. So slow! Arghh….this is bad! Bad! Bad!