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And the Christmas present goes to

Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas everyone!

How’s your Christmas Day going so far? Tummies full of food? Presents galore? Or maybe just a cosy time with close family and friends? However way you are spending your Christmas, I hope it’s filled with lots of love and good cheer.
So as promised, I’ve randomly selected the lucky recipient for the B.U.R.P. Squad Kit giveaway

And the winner is…

Tan Shu-Yin
Congratulations Shu-Yin! Drop me a line at serenelymade[at]gmail.com with your address/contact details so I can arrange to have the item delivered to you.

Enjoy the rest of the Christmas season and have a great start to the new year!

My awesome children’s birthday treat idea

I am always in awe of those mums that prepare awesome treats and yummy food for their children to bring to school on their birthday to share with their classmates… cupcakes, cookies, goodie bags, mini bento packs etc. Anyway this month, I’ll be making my inaugural appearance on the classroom birthday scene, even if it’s just a small scale one for Nathan’s daycare. I decided to prepare some goodie bags of treats, but add my own unique twist to it. Instead of just handing out bags of treats, I will mix in a little fun and activity by packaging it into a pass-the-parcel game (make the kids work a little for their treats!) I snapped some photos of what I did so I could share it with you… First I packaged up some yummy sweets and goodies into individual goodie bags (very sinful, but I guess it’s alright for an occasional treat). Then for an added twist, I prepared three ‘Action Bags’. I made them very simple as the kids at the daycare are all very young… The first one was a bag of mi…

A Christmas present for you

So how’s your final preparations for Christmas going? Done all your Christmas shopping? Wrapped all your Christmas presents? Well I finally sat myself down over the weekend and got all my presents wrapped (*phew*) so I’m almost all set. Anyway, as I mentioned earlier, I have prepared something special to share the Christmas love with YOU. It’s my own small way of spreading a little Christmas cheer this season, no strings attached, no sponsors no list of terms & conditions. Just ‘lil ‘ol me saying “Merry Christmas to you”. I am giving away this littleB.U.R.P. Squad Kit handmade by yours truly. It’s a little kit comprising of a burp cloth, two cloth wipes which convert into instant bibs with the aid of a multi-purpose clip also included in the kit. More details about the B.U.R.P Squad Kit here. It’sopen to anyone in the whole wide world. No matter where you are, whether you are in Timbuktu or The North Pole, I’ll find a way to get this to you. Whether you’d like this for yourse…

Christmas Shortbread {Blog Train}

So with just two weeks left till Christmas, our house is really beginning to look, feel and SMELL like Christmas… with the Christmas tree up, shopping bags of presents lined up, rolls of wrapping paper spread out and yummy smells wafting out from the kitchen.Every year I try to bake some goodies to share and give out to friends and family. The previous two years, I’ve made Oreo pops and gingerbread men. So this year, what is to be?Also, this year’s Christmas cooking is extra special because I’m hopping aboard the Festive Fare blogtrain hosted by Jennifer the Dinomama.After some research and pondering, I finally landed on the perfect recipe – Christmas Shortbread : A yummy and Christmassy goodie but also fairly simple recipe that anyone would not hesitate to try. It’s so simple that it definitely falls under my four ingredient recipes category.Here’s a little bit of trivia and introduction on the history of shortbreadShortbread dates back to the 12th century in Scotland and the British…

A Christmas Giveaway coming soon

With the onset of Christmas season comes the season of gifts and giving. This is actually something I intended to do in November in line with my birthday celebrations as I did last year. However due to unexpected challenges I had been facing, a number of things had to be pushed back. But no matter, as Christmas is also an opportune time to do this very special thing… no strings attached, just a my very own way to spread some Christmas love.A Christmas Giveaway
Featuring none other than a Serenely Made old favouriteThe B.U.R.P. Squad KitThe term B.U.R.P. is inspired by the term ‘Based Upon Repeat Pattern’… and any parent will know that burps and messes are definitely a repeated pattern by all babies. So it does well to go into battle well armed with a kit like this.The kit comprises of…
A burp cloth
Two cloth wipes
A multi-purpose clipThe cloth wipes convert into an instant bib with the aid of the bib clip included in the set. The bib clip itself can be used to convert a multitude of thing…

The first story

Family photos hung up in my mother’s childhood home[Some minor edits and notes added following my mum’s correction on a couple of points]The earliest ‘true story’ I remember my mother telling me was one about her grandfather (my great-grandfather) in World War II. It is actually not a very happy story, but the reality and rawness of the story is one that that burns into your memory so you never forget it.My mother grew up in Kampung Sri Gading, near the town of Batu Pahat in Johor, Malaysia. The house she lived in, originally built by my great-grandfather, has housed four generations of families.The story I remember is actually about my mother’s maternal grandfather…With the onset of World War II came the Japanese Soldiers. History remembers them as cruel and inhuman persecutors of the local people in Malaya.They arrived one day at the doorstep of my great-grandfather’s house. I don’t remember what it was they were after. Money. Gold. Information. Women. Submission… It didn’t matter. …

Stories of Long Ago

Sorry for the lack of updates recently. It’s been a tough past couple of weeks. Will update more on that another time.My mother reminiscing over good old says with her sister and her childhood friendI always enjoy hearing the stories of my parents from their days of long, long ago. When I was little I remember cuddling down in bed and listening to my mother or father telling stories from their childhood. Now I find myself prompting them to tell those stories again. Maybe because I realise that one day they will no longer be around to remember. Unfortunately due to distance, there is limited opportunity for me to sit down next to them to hear those stories. But I was recently struck with a sudden inspiration. Why not collaborate with my parents to tell those stories right here? Someday I will be telling them to me children, and what better way to keep a record of them in written word. So every first week of the month, I shall be recounting stories I remember my mother and father tellin…

You have to believe in him

Just sharing a thought on this Monday that came out of a conversation with my friend Pegs on Facebook following this photo post.Photo Caption: “When the toddler helps with hanging up laundry” Pegs: Wow! Very enthusiastic!
Me: Yes! *LOL* I hope the enthusiasm to help me keeps up all the way to when he is able to REALLY help
Pegs: He will. You have to believe in him! ;)Such a simple and significant thought. Believe in our children. No matter how the day went or if things don’t seem to be progressing exactly the way you think they should. I must remember to believe in my little boy. Someday he can and he will!

Water Painting

With just a bucket of water, an old paintbrush and a blank concrete canvas = Water Painting!Which can occupy a toddler……Or two for a solid thirty minutes or more!Some of our creations
No muss, no fuss. Just leave the sunshine to clear the canvas before starting all over again.More play ideas~~~Linking up to

Prayers for good health & long life

There's nothing like having a grandchild to restore faith to heredity
-Doug LarsenThe Round of Life
With each passing year, there have been increasingly more announcements of engagements, weddings and babies in the circle of people I know. I suppose it’s just the natural season of life we’re all going through at this time. So many happy occasions and celebrations… The Dark Visitor
But in the midst of all the fanfare, lurks a darker-faced visitor – the grim reaper. Through the years, the happy announcements are also interjected with tearful news of sickness and death, especially of the older generation. Just this past week alone, very good friends of ours received news of their ailing father’s turn for the worse who is now sitting on his deathbed. It’s a thought that’s rarely said out loud, and even so only in a whisper. The clock never stops ticking. Time is precious. Doting Grandparents
Last month we had the privilege of having my parents over to visit,. I found tremendous joy in …

Have a lovely weekend

Our photo moment of the weekChristmas season is in the air… and the Christmas tree is now up in our house. This is the first year Nathan was able to actively participate in the setting up and decoration of the tree. We’re planning to play Christmas music all weekend and also check out a friend’s new restaurant.Some linky treasures for your weekendWhy children cover their eyes when they hideLearning how to be a gentleman on date night with momHow to raise children while disciplining lessA cardboard box Christmas tree~~~Have a lovely weekend!

Crusty bread in a pot

I enjoy the smell of bread baking in my home and eating it warm and fresh straight out of the oven. However I don’t always have the time to go through the whole process of mixing and kneading the dough (although it can be therapeutic at times).But what would you say to a recipe for a crusty French-style loaf which requires no kneading, rolling or thumping on the kitchen counter at all? This recipe is so simple, it will blow your mind away!I discovered this amazing recipe on Simply So Good and tried it out for myself. I have to say this is the easiest bread recipe I’ve ever made.Ingredients
3 cups all purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon yeast
1 1/2 cups waterIn a large bowl, just mix all the ingredients together. Start with with the dry ingredients first, whisking it all together to ensure it’s all evenly distributed. Then pour in the water and mix everything thoroughly together.You will end up with sticky wet dough that looks something like this…I know things don’t seem hopefu…

Dettol Power & Pure {product review}

This post is a Product Talk by Nuffnang. I received this product in exchange for a review but my opinions are completely genuine and honest.Insisting on no harsh chemicals
I don’t really buy a lot of expensive cleaning products. But the one thing I do insist on is to avoid using harsh chemicals. This is especially so because I have a super active and curious toddler who gets into everything… sometimes even picking up stuff from the floor or mystery corners to mouth or taste them.Cleaning with water and oxygen
So when I heard about the new Dettol Power & Pure range, I was intrigued to try it out for myself. Especially since it emphasises the fact that it uses an active oxygen formula which breaks down into water and oxygen, leaving no harsh chemical residue, whilst killing all those nasty germs.The range comes in two versions in line with the two areas of the house which require the most cleaning: The Bathroom and The Kitchen.For general maintaining and cleaning, the spray bottles wo…

Why waste this life not loving?

I recently watched the latest Wong Fu Productions video: The Last. It’s really good. If you haven’t already watched it, you should.The video takes the viewers through the story of five different aspects of love. Who we love. What we love. When we love. Where we love. Why we love.The aspect that gripped my heart the most was the one about Why we love…Why I loved was a close friend of mine who passed away. She told me after she was diagnosed that death was not what saddened her the most, but the fact that she never really felt like she had fallen in love. She wouldn’t get to have them emotions, good and bad, of being hurt and of being held. After she passed, those words stuck with me the most, teaching me to see that one of the great gifts we have of being alive is the ability to give and receive and even lose love. There are so many like her, whose lives end before having any of those experiences. What a waste if we don’t strive to love in our lives. She made me understand why. Why was…

Have a fantastic weekend

Our photo moment of the weekSo DIY and Gardening season is pretty much in full swing now. Our local Bunnings store has now become almost a weekly stop to pick up various bits for doing up things around the house. Nathan absolutely loves their kiddie size shopping trolleys and extra wide aisles for running up and down.Some linky treasures for your weekendGorgeous gift wrapping ideasDon’t buy cream of chicken soup anymoreThe secret to breaking in new shoesHow not to blow your marriage ~~~ Have a fantastic weekend!

Szechuan & five spice steak slice

If you liked the lemon & thyme steak recipe I shared a few weeks back, I guarantee you are going to love this one even more. Inspired by this Jamie Oliver recipe, this is a super easy but super awesome tasting dish that is bound to get you a standing ovation at the dinner table.Ingredients
Two good sized steaks
2 teaspoons Szechuan peppercorn
1 teaspoon five spice powder
1 teaspoon of salt and pepper
1 thumb-size piece of ginger
2-3 cloves of garlic
1 chilli (optional)
Juice of 1 lime
Olive oilPound the Szechuan peppercorns with the five spice, salt and pepper with a pestle and mortar. Drizzle some olive oil over the steaks then sprinkle the Szechuan five spice mix over and rub it in.Heat a griddle or pan, then cook the steaks for 2-3 minutes per side, depending on how well or rare you like them done. Rest the steaks 5-10 minutes after cooking, then slice them up thinly.Grate the ginger, garlic and ginger and sprinkle over the steak slices and toss gently with the meat juices. Squeeze the …

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