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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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…

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?

Happy Mother’s Day

There was no breakfast prepared by the husband or the children. No flowers were in sight. No present. No lunch.

It’s just, another Sunday.

But today, my phone kept vibrating, to inform me of new messages from WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook and they were all beautiful pictures and quotes about Mother’s Day.

How do you spend today, fellow mothers?

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I could have indulged in some self-pity. could have yearned for some fancy dress or lunch but as of now my heart is full.

Full because of Christ’s love for me and I’m overwhelmed by it. Full because He has blessed me with two beautiful children who keep asking for me. Full because I have a great companion in my soulmate, my husband. Full because….

Just yesterday night, I was in tears as the rest of the family members turned in. Because of a conversation I had with Faith, I felt the mother guilt creeping in. I felt I didn’t spend enough time with her and she was asking more of my presence, my time.

Such is motherhood, at least for me. It is full of (emotional) ups and downs. On some days, I have victories but on other days, I fail. On a few occasions, the house is spick and span but more often than not, it resembles a battlefield. But it’s all right. I’m still learning to be a parent and I don’t think I would ever graduate from this course. There’s too much to learn. What I need to do is to stay humble and work under the grace of God.

Today, on Mother’s Day, Dad went back to church for the first time in many years. There was a few adjustments to be made because we wanted to accompany dad to the Chinese service. But the kids enjoyed themselves in the Chinese Sunday School. And Mom? She thought of me as she went to the market to do some grocery and sent over stalks of big, juicy asparagus for me.

That is enough for me.

I call that simple joy.  Or contentment.

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Of all the quotes that I received, this one caught my attention.

Happy Mother’s Day!

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Oh yes, perhaps I have a Mother’s Day gift after all. Remember I went to try out some of the clothing from iROO? In the end, I selected this set, a blue off-shoulder top with a pair of white pants. It’s refreshing to try something new once in a while and I must say this set of clothing gave me confidence; I thought I look good in it.

Anyway, have a great day with the family and remember (and note to myself), our children will grow up in a flash so cherish them, their noises, their pestering, their nonsense while they are still young and when they are still willing to come to you. 😉

[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.

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.

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

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.

Melbourne | Chesterfield Farm

Melbourne 2016
1st day | Chesterfield Farm

Our flight was at 1.20am. Not a very ideal timing I must say. I was worried that the girl would be cranky with lack of sleep. Thankfully she slept a few hours before we headed to the airport and slept on the plane for a good few hours. As anticipated, she got bored along the way and I had to take out the Usborne sticker book and get her to work on it. The book is on airport and I chose it so that she could connect her experience with the task at hand.

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We cleared the custom at Melbourne airport rather quickly and by the time we settled some stuff, it was past noon. Chesterfield Farm was on my itinerary and we only realised that it closes at 3pm then. We wasted no time and Pauline, my host, sent me to the farm. This farm was recommended by Jenn and boy, was I glad that I chose to visit it.

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This is the sight that greeted us when we arrived and to be honest, I wasn’t impressed. However, once you go in through the cafe cum ticketing counter, you will realise that the farm is big!

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There is a list of things to do on the farm -tractor rides, shearing of sheep, milking of cow, feeding of the animals, etc – and one could devote a few hours visiting it. There are specific timings of course so it would be good to read up a little on its website. Faith and I had only one hour in the farm but we were really thrilled by the farm animals.

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Cows

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Camel!!!

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Goats

The girl was truly fascinated by the kangaroo. The mom too!

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This space is truly big, quite different from Collingwood Children’s Farm and it has a bigger range of farm animals, much to our delight. Because we had only one hour before the farm closed for the day, we had to literally race through the various sections. We didn’t even purchase any feed for the animals; I thought it would be a good experience for the kiddo. I think one could possibly spend a good 2 to 3 hours on the farm.

It was a wonderful experience for both of us and we love the close encounter that we could have with the animals. Worth a visit!

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Faith has often read about farm animals and that day, the animals came alive and you should have seen her excitement and fascination with them.

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We had a wonderful mother-and-daughter bonding time too as we talked about the farm animals and taking turns to take pictures of them. It pays to bring along a good camera to capture all those beautiful memories and I’m glad to be equipped with Canon’s EOS M10 during this trip.

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Next stop, Puffing Billy & the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie!

That magical night

Daniel turned 10 months old last week but I was too tired to record anything concerning him then.

For 10 months, I was sleep deprived. As a newborn, he woke up every 3 hours and we thought his sleep pattern would change for the better as he grew older. But we were kidding ourselves. We didn’t sleep train him since we didn’t want the sister to be interrupted in her sleep. Every night, da man would do night duty but I also gave him the comfort suck that he wanted, thereby creating this habit of having me to soothe himself back to sleep. This persisted for months and the past couple of months had been terrible with him waking up every 2 hours, then 1 hour and towards the end of September, every half an hour. Both da man and I were near fatigue and in the end, we decided to do something about it because if nothing was done to improve the situation, our health, both physical and mental,  will deteriorate.

We kept the cot and lay the mattresses on the floor. Co-sleeping? Yes. As suggested by the man in the family, I was to bring Faith to my mom’s and stay overnight. He would be with Daniel to let him learn to soothe himself to sleep.

That was last Saturday. I lay on the bed at my mom’s, wondering how Dan was doing. Would he be hungry? Would he need me? Would da man be too frustrated with him? There was no return message from him that night and I was worried. Faith was fast asleep, thank God for this ability to sleep anywhere.

The next morning, we returned and da man, upon seeing us enter the house, exclaimed,”Yay, we are alive!”

Jokes aside, all was well indeed. Dan just needed to pat himself back to sleep and the next few nights, it was really blissful. Da man turned in with him at night and I could use whatever time that was left to do some reading or work with Faith.

Huh? Just like that? So easy? I should have done so earlier! But I tend to think this is timely because he has had experienced enough discomfort during these few months of teething to overcome any similar-type of pain. He has eight teeth now for the record.

His appetite returned and increased in leaps and bounds. From mere breastmilk, now he needs more solids to fill his stomach. He’s no longer a picky eater and all these changed in just this week!

Honestly, if I could do it all over again, I would adopt what Maria Montessori advocated. Please do read up for yourself if you are interested. I would still be using the Montessori method in bringing Dan and Faith up. I’m not a purist though.


Now that I could sleep 5 hours in one shot which is truly a luxury, I could appreciate what this wonderful Makura Health and Neck Support pillow does to me. I woke up refreshed and ready to meet the demands of the day.

Because both he and I have enough rest for the night, we could do more things in the morning when the sister is in school.

On Wednesday, I was in the mood to hang out with him and after dropping Faith in school, packed the hauck Viper and zipped to Gardens by the Bay for a slow morning run.

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For once, life as a SAHM is so attractive. While others are working, I could have the luxury to enjoy these beautiful sights and the lovely orchids in the Flower Dome.

It was also quite coincidental that my friend had taken leave from work that day and could meet me for good old local-styled breakfast at the gardens.

Ok, I need to mention that this is really rare and that’s why I am recording it. But after 10 months, I could almost see the light at the end of the tunnel! So much joy! I’m waiting for the boy to turn 1YO because that’s when things get better (hopefully). It happened to me when Faith turned 1YO so I hope this time round, things would not be drastically different.

After the visit to the Gardens, I could still pop by Pip’s PLAYbox at the Esplanade for Dan to have some stimulation. What a wonderful morning eh? Taking care of young ones can be fun if they cooperate!

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Would you stay this way please?

Thank you, dear friends, for your prayers over Daniel. We truly appreciate it and it’s exciting to see the Lord at work in our lives.

Dan’s 1st BB Spa at Beauty.Mums & Babies

If you are a first-time mother, life can get pretty daunting as you navigate this new phase of your life. I remember surfing for information every other day and got stressed up over the many choices of (pre- and post-natal) services  that are available in the market. So I’m appreciative of one-stop wellness centres which help expecting and new mums ease comfortably into motherhood. One notable one is Beauty.Mums & Babies.

Beauty.Mums & Babies aims to guide mothers-to-be and new mothers from pregnancy to birth and through till infancy and toddler care by providing a range of services to prepare them to have a smooth-sailing motherhood journey as well as regaining health and confidence after birth.

Of their core services, Dan and I tried their BB Spa at Paragon.

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BB spa or more commonly known as a Baby Spa is an hydrotherapy environment where babies are gently put to float in a tailored tub. And it almost feels like a must-do with babies. I remember getting Faith to have her first experience of it when she was just three months old. It was rather easy to get her to enjoy that session; it was with minimal fuss. With Daniel, I waited until he was about 6 months old but by then it was a lot more challenging to get him into the water. Thankfully, he didn’t reject it although there was a slight resistance towards it in the first 5 minutes.

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There are many baby spas in Singapore but the BB Spa at Beauty.Mums & Babies stands out because it is the first to use the purest filtration method called ‘Naturalizer Kirameki Water’ from Japan to provide water as pure as spring water to treat babies’ skin. The extensive filtration method ensures safety for babies, and gets rid of carcinogenic unfiltered water. Bacteria and chemicals that may cause skin irritation are all thoroughly removed. It also contains 25 different beneficial minerals that nourishes and hydrates babies’ skin and helps to balance the pH of their skin such that it reduces its sensitivity.

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Too much information? Hah, so that you are well aware of the goodness of the water! Anyway, this is a fine piece of news to me since Dan’s skin is prone to eczema. Perhaps, with constant contact with such pure water, the eczema could be treated? You’ll never know!

The benefits to a baby spa are aplenty. Some of the key benefits are:

:: Improve skin conditions
:: Supports brain and physical development
:: Increases lung capacity
:: Strengthens cardiovascular system
:: Builds up immunity system
:: Stimulates innate swimming reflexes and co-ordination
:: Teaches babies to understand their environment

Dan and I visited the BB Spa at Paragon and the following are what I like about our experience there:

:: Clean and cozy environment. I am rather particular where cleanliness is concerned with regard to baby spa and I’m pleased with how well and neat the space is kept and maintained.

:: Experienced therapist. By the time Dan tried baby spa, he could well recognise faces and normally take some time to warm up to a stranger. The therapist showed her understanding in this area by not rushing through the process. She got Dan to be comfortable with her and showed him around the space. After some warm up and stretching exercises, Dan was well on his way to having a splashing good time.

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:: Multi-sensory experience. With bubbles, whirlpool jets, soothing light and heaps of little toys to choose from, Dan soon got engrossed in this form of waterplay! It’s such a delight to see him enjoying himself!

:: Relaxing massage. After the session, the therapist used gentle, soothing and loving strokes to massage the boy. The boy calmed down almost immediately and I learnt a stroke or two about baby massage.

BB spa is suitable for babies from 1 month old onwards so if you are interested, do take a trip down and treat your baby to a great workout!

While you are there, do check out the other wonderful services that they provide such as:

:: Infant, pediatric, toddler and children massage
:: Pre- and post-natal massage
:: Mummy & baby yoga
:: Pre- and post-natal yoga, couple yoga
:: Facial and beauty treatments
:: Lactation clinic
:: Baby care workshops and classes
:: Pregnancy and baby wellness workshops

Told you that you will be spoilt for choice, didn’t I?

You brought joy to the world, now it’s time to revel in bliss, like the queen that you are..

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Beauty. Mums & Babies
Outlet @ Paragon 290 Orchard Road, #05-02 & #14-11 (S)238859
Tel: 62350688/62351800
Outlet @ Seletar Mall & Novena Square
More information can be found on their website or their Facebook page.

Disclaimer : Daniel was given a complimentary tub session from Beauty.Mums & Babies. We were also invited by AT Marketing Consultancy to attend its media launch where we heard more from her founder, met up with the team of certified therapists and learnt about the services they provide. No monetary compensation is involved and all opinions are my own.

Dumpling making session

Friends. A few good ones are sufficient. They are your family when your kin is not around and because they are genuinely sincere in this friendship, they are willing to go through the ups and downs of life with you.

A true friend is your cheerleader when you meet with success and she can also be brutally honest in highlighting your wrongdoing so that you can improve and be a better person.

I’m blessed to have such friends and there are different ones at various stages of my life. At this current moment, I’m thankful to have a few SAHMs whom I can share my joy and struggles with.

The first week of May had been exhausting. I was battling with lack of sleep (and I think things will only get better in 5 months’ time), a baby who is teething and a threenager, on top of household chores and home learning preparation and activities. My friend who probably sensed that I was at a low point, invited me over to her place to have a chat and on another occasion, to have a dumpling making session. The chat did wonders because we women need to talk, and the dumpling making session satisfied our souls and stomachs completely.

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The dumpling skin was made from scratch too.


While we were watching T perform some magic, the children were in the playroom enjoying themselves. Awesome!
Homecooked food and wonderful friends. A terrific combination indeed.

What are some of the things that you do with your friends?

The first six months as a mother of 2

[Reflections]

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Dan recently had his 6-month’s checkup and that means that I have been a mother of two for half a year! Hooray! You may think that it’s no big deal but to me, it is. Life has changed so much. With just one kid, life is a breeze. Two?

Before the boy popped out, I had many friends who asked me if I would be getting a helper to cope with household chores and looking after the kids. It’s a definite NO for me because I treasure my personal space and since we don’t live in a big place, I reckoned I could manage, somehow. Also, I think managing one more being causes too much of a stress to me so hiring a helper is out of the question.

This time round, getting the folks to help out has been reduced drastically as compared to the time when I had Faith only. Dad couldn’t help because he was just too weak; he couldn’t even carry Dan for more than five minutes. My FIL is getting old too so just two hours with an active preschooler wears him out. That leaves me with two kids, on my own.

The first two months

It WAS terrible. You may have seen wonderful pictures of us having fun and our faces beaming with delight but behind the scene, it was a lot of pain and tears – for Faith and me. I thought I had prepared Faith for the reality of a brother through talking to her about him constantly and reading her related books. I thought she was mature enough to handle the new arrival because she had told me that she was looking forward to the baby and she had been a good girl all along. The reality is, she wasn’t ready and she needed my attention at the same time when the baby needed it. I was without any help and I snapped, ALL THE TIME (ok, maybe MOST OF THE TIME).

But the beautiful thing is ‘THINGS WILL GET BETTER’. This message is consistently related to me by many mothers who have gone before me and I held on tightly to that promise like gospel truth and things did get better. Perhaps, Faith finally realised that the baby brother was here to stay or perhaps, I was more chilled about things and learnt that being present with the kids is more important that getting things/chores done.

But I still need to warn you, especially for those who are expecting the second one, that life will be rough, for the initial months and I kid you not. So, brace yourselves for the challenges to come.

On homecooked food

I am an advocate for homecooked food because I want the best for my family in terms of their health. But I know managing two kids and household chores can be demanding and I thought of the following options in terms of food:

  1. Order Tingkat (good ones)
  2. Buy a thermomix in the hope that cooking can be easier
  3. Humbly ask auntie-in-law to prepare dinner for us and pray that she would agree
  4. Eat out every other day

In the end, none materialised.

Ordering tingkat from good caterers is a very feasible option but no matter how good they can be, they will not give you the best that you want, IMHO. Will they give you a good cut of the meat? Will they use good oil? I may be wrong about them but they are, after all, running a business and until I can find one who is really interested in the welfare of their customers and are reasonably priced (remember we are surviving on one income?), I have to stick to cooking.

Thermomix? According to my friend who owns one, she finds it a real time-saver. I was almost tempted to buy except that I want my children to know that cooking is not about pressing some function keys and viola, you have food*! These days, there are indeed many efficient machines that makes life more convenient for us but I belong to the old-school group of people (please don’t judge me). I want my children to know their food source, how food can be prepared and understand the effort in churning out meals. This is how I was brought up and I’m thankful to my mom that she had insisted that my siblings and I go to the market with her to do grocery and that we help out in the kitchen. There are a lot to be learnt from these activities and I’m still learning.

*Comment is given based on my very limited knowledge of the product

Options #3 and #4 are actually not good options so they are discarded almost immediately.

So, I cook every meal except during the weekends. I may not be able to prepare many dishes and we mostly survive on one-pot meal but that is good enough. These days, I buy enough ingredients for a week on one trip, prepare them in small portions and freeze them until I need to use them. Specific ingredients for the next day are prepared and marinated the night before. And I find that thermal cookers are the best invention because the food can be prepared in advance and still is piping hot when we want to consume it. I absolutely love mine. BTW, a 1.5l is good enough for daily use.

#notsponsored

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I consider homecooked food to be the best for my family. I cook so that my children can see me in action and learn the skills as they grow older. Obviously, they have to be involved at one point or another and they are often more than happy to help, at least for now.

Household chores

No helper? It’s okay! Just lower your expectation about cleanliness and change your mindset about household chores. Attempting these chores is a form of exercise, no? In fact, it’s the ONLY exercise I do these days though I hope to carve out time for some proper workout. My stamina has dropped! Boo hoo!

Be humble and accept help

There are many who, upon knowing that I do not have a helper, asked me how I cope. Somehow, I just have to cope? I mean, there are MANY parents out there who do not have a helper like us and they do just fine. Having said that, I am immensely thankful to friends who lend a helping hand to me whenever I need it. I have dear friends who cook extra food for me to bring home after Faith’s playdate, give me wonderful snacks for me to munch on, and more recently, a parent of Faith’s schoolmate who will always invite us over to have lunch so that I don’t have to cook.

And my FIL? He comes every weekend to iron our clothes and mop the floor. It’s his way of showing love to us so we don’t bother to protest.

Be humble and keep learning

I don’t want to kid you, that there are many times that I want to quit being a SAHM, or a mother because it’s so tough. My ‘before-the-children-came-along’ life was so much more exciting and when the going gets tough, I find myself yearning to go back to that life. Yet, and it’s true that “Children are a heritage from the Lordoffspring a reward from him” (Psalm 127: 3-5) and when I sit down to ponder the Word of God and the many fond memories that He has blessed our family with, truly I can say, “I’m contented.”

Many times, I feel that God gives us children so that we can better ourselves. I realised I am so ugly and imperfect but my children will always extend their grace to me. They (specifically Faith) will bounce back after each scolding session and flash me their innocent smiles. When I’m down and out, I hear a concerned, “Are you okay, mom?” There’s much to learn from the children themselves in certain aspects, if only we maintain a humble heart.

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Motherhood/Parenthood has to be a calling, at least to me. Little lives are in our hands and I’d better make sure that I do a good job in it. There are obviously things that we (the hubs and I) have to give up and we find ourselves having to die to ourselves daily. The last question above, “Are you willing to postpone your dreams to cultivate your children’s hearts now?” poked at my heart recently and I find myself having to reply…

Yes, I’m willing, Lord.

7f18fb92f0da51cb0164c120ea817335.jpgOh, so true!

I have survived the first 6 months (yipee!) but how will the next half a year be?

 

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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“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

What’s up for 2016?

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Happy New Year, everybody!!

I’m one of those who makes resolution every year because I like the challenge (crazy me) and also it serves to remind me of my focus for the year. So here goes. I have eight main ones.

#1 Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) has done the family a great help in understanding His word better. All of us have been in the programme for the past 2 years and last year the hubs got more involved by serving in an area. That also translates to more time away from the family. But I think it’s good for him to continue to serve in that capacity and I’m sure the Lord will strengthen both adults to deal with whatever come our way.

This year, we should still be in BSF studying the book of Revelation. Yup, all 4 of us and we aim not to miss any lesson!

That includes Dan of course and I’m praying real hard that there will be a place for him (the infant class has been full since last year). I’ll continue to pull the girl out from school on the day when there’s BSF because to us, knowing God is ultimately more important than having more academic knowledge.

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#2 I’ll continue to prepare home cooked food and to add to that, to prepare Bento for the hubs to bring to office. Erm, I think he needs to watch his weight and therefore his diet because he has been expanding horizontally since coming back from Boston. Granted that it’s because of the nature of his job and there’s no time for him to exercise since he will be helping me with the kids when he comes back from work. Plus he works night shift (taking care of Dan) so the least I could do is to help him with his diet.

We want to be healthy and not fall sick right, don’t we? So eating right is crucial. It’s more important that exercising although you need both to have optimum results.

Please note that I’m not talking about dieting which is a different thing altogether. I don’t encourage dieting because more often than not, it won’t work in the long run.

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#3 Cook a variety of dishes. Okay, I think I need more variety in my food. I purchased a few cookbooks but I’ve no time to experiment with the recipes. So I hope to be able to cook a few new dishes and add them to the repertoire of meals that I prepare for the family. And every year, I resolve to learn to cook Peranakan dishes and every year, I failed to do that. Is it really that difficult, Lynn?

#4 Exercise together with the hubs. The hubs and I decided that we would still go ahead with #bbg. I’ve taken a look at NTC and Popsugar training Apps but because I’m lazy to design a training plan for ourselves, I think following #bbg is the way to go. It’s tough (oh, so tough!) but I think we must learn to persevere. Personally, I want to run a 5km and then 10km race this year. Who’s interested?

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Did my first run in 2016!

Would love to do a kids dash with Faith. Either GE or SCM ones.

#5 This year, I resolve to enrol F in music class. I don’t know if she will like it but I should at least expose her. If she doesn’t like it in the end, then it’s okay. I didn’t have any music lessons when I was young because my mom doesn’t see the benefits of it even though I wanted to learn. Till now, I’m a bit sore about it. Hahaha..

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Update: Got her enrolled and she started the lesson today!

I will also make swimming a weekly thing and teach F the sports. Not sure if I want to enrol her in a class since I can ‘teach’ but we’ll see how.

I had wanted to put her in some Chinese enrichment class last year but since we put her in school for an additional one hour for Chinese lesson, I don’t see the urgent need to do so. She really enjoys her Chinese lessons in school which is really good.

#6 Do not take more than 1 cake order per month. Much as I enjoy making cakes for others, I have to say that each cake takes up a lot of time and usually it eats into the time which I could spend with Faith and working on resources for her. Also, I compromised on family time during the weekends when there are orders and the hubs has to take care of the kids. Though it’s so kind of him to do that because he wants to support my passion, I think it’s rather unfair to him.

So this year, I will be taking fewer orders but bake more for leisure which makes me happier. There are really a lot to learn. This year shall be a year of learning for me.

#7 Meet up with friends and extend help where necessary. In other words, SERVE. I think I am really poor at this. In 2015, friends asked me out more than I asked them. I’m not exactly an introvert but I think I’ve decided not to make the first move because I wanted time for myself – ME time. But there is value in meeting up with friends to refresh and to be refreshed. Also, I’ve received so much practical help from friends in 2015 that I think the Lord is telling me to do likewise. “Get out of your comfort zone!”

#8 Take care of myself. You know, as a SAHM, we don’t really see the need to dress up cos we are often at home and dressing up (when we need to go out) takes too much of our time. At times, we don’t have time to erm… brush our teeth or clean our face because the kids wake up when we are in dreamland and we have to start ‘working’. In the end, we forgot about cleaning ourselves. I know this sounds yucky but it happened to me once! Then slowly I realised I prefer to dress in t-shirt and shorts and then look like a typical auntie.

Gua gua leh (Goodness gracious me!)

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Btw, this skin brush is really superb! Cleans the face so well!

So as a second time mother now, I make it a point to take care of myself. Skincare is important because I’m getting old and I really ought to put in effort in taking care of my skin. I should take the time to dress well too. I know confidence comes from within but looking good gives extra boost of confidence instantly.

I must also remember that I’ve a toddler girl who is observing and learning everything from me, from how I treat others to how I take care of myself. So I’d better buck up.

So, there you have it. Quite achievable right?

What’s yours? 😉

[Motivational Monday] A new beginning

The end of the confinement period signals the beginning of an adventure for me. By that, I mean going back to exercising. “Chey”, do I hear you say that? But exercising is important to me and there are certain sports which I love such as running, swimming and cycling. I would love to attempt triathlons again but l have to be realistic. How can I find the time to train?

I put on a total of 11kg during the second pregnancy and as of today, I have 1kg to 2kg more to shed, depending on which part of the day i weigh myself. Numbers aside, I’m more interested in gaining back my stamina and fitness and to adopt a healthy lifestyle by exercising and eating well through wholesome food.

During the confinement period, I scouted for doable exercise regime that can be done at home. From previous experience, it is a complete waste of my money to sign up for a gym membership because I can only visit the gym once a week and for a short period of time (since I’m breastfeeding = the need to rush back home to pump or feed). I need to exercise from home and one that does not require too much time.

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I found a programme that might suit me. It is Kayla Itsines’ Bikini Body Guide (#bbg) Don’t get me wrong. I’m not aiming to flaunt my body. I chose that programme because it can be done at the comfort of my home and it takes about 30 minutes of the actual workout. I also like how the community of ladies encourage one another to press on in the journey so YWNWA.

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The programme can be pretty intense (if you study it) and I know for sure that my body is not ready to be beaten up…yet. So for these coming few weeks, I would be toning and conditioning my body so that I can eventually attempt it and not have to give up halfway through. I’m also waiting for the haze to clear so that I can jog with Dan in the stroller. Just a few more weeks to go before I embark on the programme!

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Meanwhile, I have been doing a lot of stretching and conditioning exercises using the Loopz band which I have acquired five years ago.

My ultimate goal?

To participate in a 10km run in 2016 with a sub 1 hr timing, which is where I have left off before I became a mother. Bleh.

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.

Thankful Tuesday: The eve

What an exciting September.

This month saw us trying to get everything in place and ready for Quekling II. A lot had happened and I’m glad things are winding down and ready for his arrival. It’s all in good timing and we truly thank God for that.

To combat the heat, we scouted for ceiling fans and got them installed before mid-September. That means a cooler environment for breastfeeding. Yay!

We also decided that we should trade in our old car for a new one because each day when I was in the driver’s seat, I feared that it would break down. It would be tremendously stressful for me with two young children and thus as a family, we decided that we could buy a peace of mind with a new vehicle. It’s a definite liability but would prove to be extremely convenient when you have young children. Thankfully, we received the car a week ago which gave us ample time to get used to it and gain sufficient [hopefully] experience with it.

Last week, during the routine checkup, we learnt that Quekling II was in the horizontal/ transverse position and that means a c-section would be needed. I was disappointed. I have, after all, thought and decided emotionally that I would be giving birth to him naturally which is my preferred method. It’s better for both mother and child. So, I wasn’t prepared when I heard the news. But the immediate verse that came to me was,

“Give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

We rallied our brothers and sisters to pray for us and yesterday, during the checkup, Quekling II’s head has turned downwards! Praise the Lord!

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We decided to induce him soon to prevent him from changing his position as there is such a possibility. Also, this will work well for the whole family in terms of logistical arrangement. To be honest, I’m not sure if this is the best for Quekling II but we just have to trust in Him for a healthy and normal baby and a smooth delivery ahead.

Mom’s weight: 59.2kg
Quekling II: 2.8kg

A lot have happened within this month and looking back, I just want to thank God for His perfect timing in bringing everything in place. We are thankful to our family who rendered so much help to us and without them, we would definitely be busier and more frustrated. The hubs and I grew closer too as we prepared for THE DAY to come.

Quekling II @36W 5D

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Quekling #2 weighs 2.9kg as of yesterday. His heartbeat is strong and yes, he has been rather active, doing his muay thai in the womb. I was handed the hospital admission letter from my gynae and this really signalled that the time is almost ripe! Anytime soon!

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Meanwhile, the Mom weighs 59.5kg and has gained a total of 9.5kg as of today. I’m hoping that I won’t cross 12kg since I have only about a few more weeks to go. But it’s really hard to say. I gained a total of 13kg for the last pregnancy and the last 1kg is so difficult to shed. In any case, the bone structure has changed a wee bit since the last pregnancy and I shouldn’t bear much hope in going back to my pre-pregnancy weight.

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Things have been moving slowly but steadily in anticipation of his arrival. Recently, we got a second-hand cot and now Quekling II has somewhere to bunk in. For Faith, I managed to do up the room a wee bit but now I cannot be bothered. Poor second child. But I would like to think that it’s the minimalist look that we are going for now. Hah!

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Quekling II has a good amount of clothes, thanks to friends and relatives who are so willing to share. Thank God for His provision!

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Milk bottles are washed and sterilised. Breastpump is in working condition. Yay! I just need to pack the hospital bag next. But this time round, I won’t be packing much. From previous experience, I didn’t even use half of what I brought. This time round, I would be packing:

– Admission letter from gynae
– Slippers and warm socks
– Comfortable clothes to go home in
– Mobile phone and charger
– Nursing bras
– Breast pads
– Maternity pads
– Disposable undies
– Newborn nappies
– Baby clothes, booties and mittens
– Baby blanket
– wallet

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And my loot arrived! I must remember to recuperate and rejuvenate well. The confinement period is crucial and it will affect me when I grow older (I believe). I’m hoping that pigmentation won’t surface ( it didn’t for the last pregnancy, thank God!). #vainpot

I’m quite excited to use the toning cream and cellulite cream. I have used the MK range for my face and it has served me well. So I hope the body range will be superb too. But I must remember to be consistent in the usage, as with all things.

A few more weeks to go!

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

A busy June hols

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

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

jurongbirdpark@ Jurong Bird Park with her playmate

gardensbythebayLearning about nursery rhymes @ Gardens by the Bay

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

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

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F gifted with Chinese books and enjoying pool time!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thankful Tuesday

I’m writing with a thankful heart today.

F is well-settled in school and in the children’s programme in BSF. Each week, she looks forward to meeting her playmates whom she has grown up with since last year. I hope I have given her a joyful childhood and each day, as she utters more words and comprehends me more, my heart just overwhelmed with gladness and gratitude.

Motherhood is indeed rewarding.

Our co-op completed the theme on Chinese New Year last week and we are raring to go on the new theme on fruits and vegetables.

imageThe kids definitely had fun and I hope their friendship will continue into adulthood.

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These two, working on their big muscles. And recently, a few of us even attended a production for children together. What fun!

For me, I’m happy to have a group of mothers who show care and concern for one another. Because of their friendship and companion, I no longer feel alone in this journey and well, the thought of going back to work has kind of diminished. I have a better full-time job now.

When mums come together…

… they eat and chat.

The BSF group of last year came together for a meal today. This group really gelled a lot and we are still good friends to one another. A lot has to do with the leader, I feel.

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Many of us are homemakers and that explains the potluck dishes.

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Faith got to play with the Jie Jies…

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I thank God for these ladies who have been encouraging me during my first year of motherhood. It is definitely not by chance that we met. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Motherhood Thoughts on a random Friday

A few things I’ve learnt after becoming a mother. In random order:

1. Gym membership is a waste of money. 

Ever thought of wanting to go back to the pre-pregnancy weight and thought you might need external help… like a gym membership? The idea is good but I soon realised that I don’t have the time to do so. It’s tough too having to think about childcare for the little one. By the time you send the kiddo to someone else’s place and then head straight to the gym, you are half-dead. How in the world would you have the energy to work out?

I have signed up for a half-year membership and I have only gone to say, maximum, 15 times. Man! Each visit costs so much in this sense. What a waste of my money.

And I reach my pre-pregnancy weight through doing household chores and running after Faith. Free of charge.

2. Massage/Spa package is totally worth it.

I don’t think anyone would disagree with the above. Do you have a tired body? I have, constantly. Aching one? Yes, all the time. And I find rest in the hands of my masseuse. Period.

3. SAHM does not have a lot of time to go out with friends.

This could just be my own experience and I’m not speaking on behalf of any other SAHM. Each day of my life is packed, like looking after Faith (that is a 24/7 business), cooking for the family, cleaning the house and staying sane by baking. I do treasure my moments with da man as we find that we hardly spend quality time with each other. So, I’ve learnt to understand my mommy friends more and know that it can be difficult to ask them out. Actually, this does not just apply to SAHM. It applies to moms/parents in general. Somehow, I feel, it can be worse for FTWM. Just guessing…

4. The toys I bought for the kiddo may just be what I like and not what she prefers. 

You know what? Faith doesn’t really like the toys I bought for her. Like the cute pinkish bunny which I find so adorable? She doesn’t even like to hold for more than 1 minute, let alone cuddle. I keep trying to get her to be interested but she threw it aside when I handled the bunny to her. Poor bunny. My dear Faith prefers to play with the real stuff in the house, like laundry basket, my room slippers, cables, keys…

I think I just don’t know how to choose the appropriate toys for her. FAIL.

5. Put on makeup when you go out OR Take care of your skin before it’s too late. 

I don’t really like to put on makeup because I dislike the feeling of something on my skin. Our humid weather further discourages me from doing that. *Think perspiration and melting makeup*. However, I soon realise that with a lack of beauty sleep and hydration and sometimes poor nutrition, I can look terrible. The skin becomes dull, the dark eye rings and eye bags get worse and your lines (wrinkles) deepen. So, it’s the makeup to the rescue. Either that or it’s time to take special care of your skin. Ignore what the hubby says about ‘I still love you anyway’ because seriously, can you even accept this type of aging? It’s certainly not graceful!

IMG_7747Ok, gtg. Faith is fussing.

Linking up with:

Food for the face

When Florinda asked the community of Mom bloggers if anyone would want to try some skincare products, I thought ‘why not?’.

She founded Style Essence which represents Mary Kay products and I have gone to her makeover session, bought some stuff and loving them. The products are not overly priced and work well. That makes me want to try their skincare products as well.

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I know good hydration and sleep will do the job of keeping the skin supple but I don’t think I can afford good, uninterrupted sleep when I become a mother. Go ask da man if you don’t believe. So, nowadays, I have dull skin and the worse are my eyes. I don’t know what had happened but it seems, the crow’s feet or wrinkles (whatever) got worse and more visible. HELP!

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I don’t know if these products from Mary Kay would help but let’s just try. We have quite a few items here which is worth $673:
– Plus+ Day Treatment SPF30
– Plus+ Night Treatment
– Plus+ Intensive Serum
– Plus+ Correcting Eye Cream
– True Dimension Lipstick

Today shall be the day! START!

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.

Cake pops and babyface cupcakes

It really stemmed from boredom (doesn’t equate to being free), boredom from the mundane of my daily routine that I thought of baking cupcakes for my small group that comes over every Saturday evening for Bible Study and Fellowship. After the cupcake base was baked, I took a step further to hone my fondant skills and thus these babyface cupcakes were born.

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These are the equipment that you need.

These are the equipment that you need.

With the remaining cupcake base, I decided to make cake pops for the kids in my small group. Why didn’t I think of that?

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First line a baking sheet with baking parchment. Then place milk or white chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring occasionally just until melted. Crumble the cake into the melted chocolate, and stir until well mixed. The proportion of milk chocolate to cake crumble is 1:2.

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Then roll the mixture into balls, each about as large as a golf ball or smaller, depending on the size you desire. Insert a lollipop stick into each ball and place on the lined baking sheet (I use a plate) and leave in the fridge for about 30 minutes to firm up. I leave it in the fridge overnight until I’m ready to make the chocolate coating.

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To make the chocolate coating, place {milk} chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally just until melted. Remove from the heat and if you want to add colours, now is a good time.

Remove the cake pops from the fridge and dip each one into the chocolate coating and insert into a styrofoam board/cup so that you can have a perfectly round shape. Before the coating sets on the cake pops, I roll them in sprinkles (whatever you have). I had wanted to decorate using royal icing but in the end, laziness took over. ;P

I’m a SAHM now.

So here it is, I’m a SAHM now.

After battling with God (and the hubs) over this for a few years,  I have to say, ‘Ok, I surrender’.

As I recalled my thoughts a few years back, I have to say that even though we could resist, the Almighty still brings us back to where He wants us to be, to enjoy an abundant and fulfilling life, in His time.

Read about them here. Part I: Would you be a stay-at-home-mom?
Part II and Part III

For the past seven months, when people asked me this question, “What do you do?”, I stayed stumped for a moment and replied with a most silly question, “What do you mean?”

I didn’t know what to say. Do I state my profession? Or do I say I’m a SAHM which sounds so alien to me. But now, I can truthfully reply ‘I’m a homemaker’.

It’s not easy going through this period and during service on Saturday, I cried terribly and the hubs asked me what was wrong. What’s wrong? What’s wrong?! Nothing is wrong but the fact that I left my job, a profession that I love and the people whom I have been working so closely for so many years made me uber sad. Perhaps, to dig deeper, my profession has given me an identity of sorts and to strip me of that causes me to feel rather lost.

I have to look at the bright side. It’s all good if it’s according to His will. At the very least, I could take care of Faith full-time and on top of that, pursue my interest which the hubs supports.

He has better!

I’m picking myself up again and to convince myself that I am indeed a homemaker now. No joke.

Joy of Learning Workshop

I had an overdose of caffeine and definitely, information.

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I was invited to attend Fisher Price’s Joy of Learning Workshop which was held this morning and to be totally honest with you, I was skeptical at first. Will it be another of those workshops which tries to entice you to purchase their products at the end of the session? I need to have an open mind, I know and boy, am I thankful that I went.

Perhaps I am just a newbie in this motherhood journey but I find myself soaking in all the information that I receive about parenting from various sources. Because my learning style leans more towards auditory, visual and kinesthetic, workshops suit me perfectly.

The workshop started at 9am but I was early and treated myself to a complimentary cup of Nespresso coffee (couldn’t decide if I want TWG or Nespresso). I figured I would need all the attention to take in the important information later.

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There wasn’t a real booth selling Fisher Price products wich was a pity because I would have wanted to buy something for Faith. It would be good use of time to browse the items for those who were early too but oh well, it’s really not a big deal.

The participants started streaming in slowly and we didn’t commence until 30 minutes after the stipulated time. It’s a tad disappointing but perhaps it’s just me – I’m not very fond of lateness. Ok, I need to practise mercy.

Thankfully, the presenter, Carrie Lupoli, got the workshop to a good start. She is IMG_1933one lively individual who shares her invaluable experience and knowledge with the audience. I was engaged throughout in this interactive workshop. I don’t think it is possible for me to consolidate my learning in just one post and definitely cannot complete it within a day because I have my responsibility to perform as a mother. But yes, I hope to share what I have learnt with you and it will be an on-going thing.

For a start, I’ll just share this graphic with you which I have gotten from Carrie Lupoli’s facebook page. Her page is a good resource guide so if you want to get updates, do LIKE her. 🙂

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First message: The first FIVE years of life is when the most significant growth and development occur in a human.

Questions to ask (myself): Who is the person in charge of facilitating this growth and development and how will he/she go about achieving the desired outcomes (which is ultimately his/her goals of parenting).

Food for thought and I’ll be back.IMG_4273

But one thing that I will certainly be doing (application) is to be consistent in documenting Faith’s milestones.

And no, I didn’t buy anything from Fisher Price (no proper booth anyway!) but I got a whole lot of parenting info from this workshop and a bountiful goodie bag to bring home. Certainly hope that Fisher Price would conduct similar events again. It’s worth the fee that one pays.

Disclosure: I was invited by Fisher Price to attend the Joy of Learning workshop for review purposes. No monetary compensation was received and all opinions are mine. Where pictures or information belong to others, I will always try to have them credited as such.

Mom bloggers meetup…

…and a Raspberry & Lemon Gateau recipe.

Recently, our domestic goddess wannabe, Diana, has enticed the mommy community with her mouth-watering food which leaves many of us hungry and the keyboard soiled with our drools. Her power has motivated Mabel of Amazinglystill to rekindle her love for baking and the goddess invited us to her abode for a chill-out session.

So what do mom bloggers do when they meet up?

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IMG_4058Photo-taking session… (we are bloggers after all!) and makan! It’s tea-time!

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I could only manage this photo of the baked goods but Natasha of Quirky Affairs could do a way better job than me. A reminder to self: Improve your photography skills!

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The two little ones who are one day apart could only watch.
So I baked this cake but only brought about 1/2 of it to goddess’ place. It’s better to eat when it’s just baked. Oh, I’ve learnt a new thing today. Snow powder is a better choice than confectioner’s sugar if I want the powder to last longer. But wait, what is snow powder?

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Raspberry & Lemon Gateau
[Source| Cakes: Delicious recipes for a happy life by Marina Neri]

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