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Showing posts from 2013

The old and the new

There’s just something about coming back home that I find so reviving. Just breathing in the air and seeing familiar old places brings back so many wonderful memories from my childhood.We are having a great time with family here… eating, playing, talking and more eating.As the year draws to a close, I thought about all the amazing things that have happened including……My second pregnancy journey, surviving a rough first trimester, our major down-syndrome scare and the restless wait for baby to pop.…Wondering how I could love another child as much as I loved my first one, but having my fears all dissipated immediately at Nathan’s and Grace’s first meeting, and now completely embracing this wildness and sweetness with two little wilds.…Being surprised over how equally tough the post-partum period is second time round, going into survival mode over sleep-deprivation, but then learning how to edit such moments to keep the good ones.…Also bravely taking the big plunge with a new pixie cut.……

Have a Merry Christmas

So this year, we are escaping the scorching summer heat in Australia and spending it with my folks in the cool breezes of Sabah.I travelled with the two kids on my own on a five-hour flight from Perth to Kota Kinabalu. It was quite an adventure and I learnt some things along the way. But I’ll save that story for another time.Hope you are having fun knee-deep in your Christmas festivities and preparations for the holidays. Here are some fun links which I’ve found to set the holiday mood…Pentatonix’s rendition of Little Drummer Boy absolutely took my breath awayA very funny and accurate 10-month old’s letter to SantaLove this cool paper city nativity scene printableAnd this cute infographic: If Children Ran Christmas**** Linking up to Sakura Haruka,
Little Drummer Boys and
Twinkle in the Eye{I am an avid collector and curator of all sorts of linky treasures, I aim to share a few little treasures here every month}P.S. I’ll be taking a break next week as we will be knee deep in family gath…

How do you know it’s time for a new refrigerator?

{Sponsored Post}With Christmas season just around the corner, I’m sure we’re all getting geared up for all the merry-making and festivities. As you know this year, we’re spending Christmas at my parents house. I love being back home, I feel like a little girl again enjoying my mum’s home cooking and raiding her fridge for goodies any time of the day.Some time ago, my parents had given away our old 16 year old family fridge. They now have this sleek and shiny LG fridge sitting prettily in their kitchen housing all their yummy eats.I asked my mum about the old fridge and how it was doing with its new owners. Apparently it’s still in pretty good condition and chugging happily away. Apart from replacing the rubber seal around the door, they haven’t had any major issues with it. So investing in a good quality fridge to begin with does make a difference. The average life expectancy of a standard fridge is said to be around fourteen to seventeen years, but it can also start fritzing long b…

Gift idea: DIY Christmas Dinner Kit

This year, we are spending Christmas with my folks back in Malaysia. My mum always makes Christmas dinner really special with all the traditional works and trimmings.I love the family time we can share over my mum’s delicious home-cooked food at the dinner table.All afternoon on Christmas Eve, my mum would be happily bustling away in the kitchen, stirring, stewing, baking, roasting. I’m sure she loves having the people she loves most around to cook for,But this year I thought to give her a little extra help so she would be freed up to spend a little more time with her grandkids.So I put together this little Christmas Dinner Kit for her...I bought a cook-in-a-bag roast chicken kit, a packet of gravy and finishing sauce for the vegies.Packed it in a box with some pretty wrapping to add a little festive air. I also made a simple label for the kit...Hopefully with the help of this kit, we would be able to round up a really special Christmas dinner for the whole family in a cinch!Linking u…

Blue ocean water play

There is something about water play that kids find very soothing. Virtually any kind of play related to water can keep Nathan completely occupied for a good 30-40 minutes all by himself.Inspired by the ocean animal play at my Family Day Care network’s headquarters, I decided to mix things up a bit with our own home water play.Just a couple of drops of blue food colouring can turn ordinary water into an ‘ocean’.The animals all had a gala time having a swim in our cool blue ‘ocean’ on this hot summer day.And I overheard this conversation between Mr Lion and Mr Elephant…Lion: Raaaaaaahhhh!!!! I’m gonna eat you, Elephant! nom nom nom.
Elephant: Aaaaaargh… Ouchie!
Lion: Oh, I’m sorry. Did I hurt you?
Elephant: That’s okay. But now I’m gonna eat YOU, Lion! Raaaaaahhhh!!!I love watching Nathan get engrossed in his play, fully immersed in his own imaginative world.****Posting this video for the benefit of Nathan’s grandma and grandpa, who are living overseas and don’t get the chance to see him a…

Pirates ahoy!

So this week is Nathan’s final week at his family day care before we go on our Christmas break and I officially start my family day care next year.I decided a nice way to round things off was to have an early 3rd birthday celebration for him with his friends there.We’ve been reading about pirates. So I settled on having a simple pirate theme for his birthday.Here are the basic pirate theme props I pulled together:Pirate eye patches – I cut the patches out from black felt, punched holes in the two corners and strung a piece of elastic through the holes.A pirate story book – one of Nathan’s current favourites that we’ve been reading.A treasure map – from a ready-made printable card I found; I drew on a simple trail and clue leading to the treasure.Gold treasure – chocolate coins wrapped tied up in a black satin pouch.I baked a crazy cake and decorated it with a pirate theme cake topper kit (from Woolworths), hundreds & thousands, and chocolate gold doubloons.The little celebration w…

Nine years

Where we were nine years ago…And where we are now nine years later…A marriage motto:
We are a work in progress
with a lifetime contract
{Phyllis Koss}We’re still a work in progress, but happy to be working alongside you…Happy Anniversary, honey!****Linking up to Sakura Haruka,
Little Drummer Boys and
Twinkle in the EyeP.S. On how we first met. A smashing love poem. And is it okay to go to bed angry?

Transitioning your toddler to a bed

{Sponsored Link}After Nathan turned two at the beginning of the year, we started talking about transitioning him out of his cot to a toddler bed. And as we were expecting baby #2 to arrive later in the year, we also had to start thinking about getting the baby’s nursery and bedding ready as well.I was a little hesitant about launching into the whole process at first. All sorts of questions jumped into my mind: Was Nathan too young? What if he felt he was being sidelined to make room for baby? Would his solid night time sleep pattern be disrupted by the change?I read through tons of articles and forums for all the best tips and advice, I planned the sequence of how we would make the change, I talked up the whole thing excitedly to Nathan whenever I could and finally we took the plunge.And you know what? The whole experience turned out surprisingly smooth and happy for everyone.I don’t claim to be an expert on toddler bed transitions. But I can share how we did it and what worked for us…

5 surprising things about starting a family day care

So things have been chugging along busily in the Family Day Care department…I met with Jan, the educator support coordinator for an initial home visit. I also had an informal interview with another educator support officer, which was essentially a get-to-know-you session to find out more about my background and values. Other initial formalities I’ve been going through include…An orientation session; Business and administration training; Visiting one of the play sessions at the Family Day Care centre; and A home visit to an experienced family day care to observe and learn Nathan had an absolute blast at the play session (we were encouraged to bring our own children to the session). His favourite corner was the ocean water play with miniature marine creatures where he spent a good half an hour there splashing around.Here are five surprising things I’ve discovered so far about setting up a family day care… #1- The cost of toys and equipment can be relatively low. Most families have sufficient…

Figuring out fibre

{Sponsored Link}Many of you know that I have a fussy eater in the house. One of my biggest everyday challenges is trying to get my toddler to eat more fruits and vegetables. I have resorted to all kinds of tricks to get more fibre into his tummy. Dieticians recommend that toddlers age 1-3 years should get 19 grams of fibre each day and children 4-8 years should get 25 grams of fibre a day to keep all those icky conditions like constipation, obesity and diabetes at bay. Twenty five grams is a lot to consume. But I’ve discovered a few clever ways to sneak in those extra fruits, vegetables and fibre-packed foods into my everyday cooking...French toast with sweet potato
Sweet potatoes are among the world’s top healthiest foods. This vegetable is rich in dietary fibre, anti-oxidants, beta-carotene, vitamins and minerals. They are a great source of vitamin C to ward off cold and flu viruses, vitamin D for healthy bone development and iron for red and white blood cell production.I always ke…

Another fairy comes to live with us

“When the first baby laughed for the first time, the laugh broke into a thousand
pieces and they all went skipping about, and that was the beginning of fairies.
And now when every new baby is born its first laugh becomes a fairy.
So there ought to be one fairy for every boy or girl”

(J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan)Is there anything in the world that sounds more magical than a baby’s first gurgly gummy laugh?If this fairy resembled the little baby’s laugh that brought her into being, I imagine she would be light and sparkly and love dancing and bouncing on teeny tiny twinkly toes.Some things that get a chuckle out of little Grace...Being held up to bounce up and down on her little feet Big brother blowing raspberry kisses on her tummy Getting butterfly kisses under her chin and neck Playing “This little piggy” with mummy on her teeny toesies Being tickled at just the right spot on her chubby belly (only daddy knows where) Mummy singing “chicken drumsticks and charsiu bao” while pumping her chunky drums…

Totally doable rendang from scratch

I always enjoy indulging in a good home-cooked rendang curry every now and then. However I’ve always relied on pre-packed sauces to skip all the pounding and grinding of spices from scratch.But I’ve recently discovered this rendang recipe (courtesy of Jamie Oliver) which turned out to be surprisingly easy and tastes amazing! It’s totally doable. I’ve already cooked it three times last month. It can be whipped up in less than an hour and turns out wonderfully every single time.Good things must always be shared. So here is the recipe...Ingredients
1 large brown onion (peeled)
6-8 cloves of garlic (peeled)
1 inch piece of ginger
2-3 chillies (depending on how spicy you like it)
A generous handful of coriander (approx 30 grams)
1/4 cup oil
1 teaspoon tumeric
1 teaspoon garam masala
1-2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 can of coconut milk (approx 375-400ml)
700-800 grams beef or chicken (cut into chunks)Throw all the ingredients (except coconut milk and beef/chicken) into a food processor and blend…

Embarking on something crazy

I’m presently in the midst of embarking on a mega huge project. I think a lot of people will think I’m crazy to want to do this. Even the hubby thought so at first, actually I think he still does but he’s going to support me anyway.So here goes (deep breath)...I have decided to start my own Family Day Care!For those of you who may not be familiar with this, a family day care is a small scale day care run in the carer’s own home.It’s going to be exciting journey. There are some training courses I’ll need to undergo and adjustments to make around our house. My blogging and sewing may suffer a little during this time. However I’m planning to journal about this project and the process I’ll be going through to set up our day care here.I plan to share about the application process, what I’ll be learning from the training courses, my home set up, craft and activity ideas and other related bits and pieces on this journey.So stay tuned for more updates in this department.
Looks like I’ll be see…

Simple homemade cheese paratha

One of the best recent discoveries I’ve made is homemade parathas. They are surprisingly easy to make and are always a big hit with my in-house ‘customers’. It’s a nice change from the usual rice and pasta, and is the perfect accompaniment to jazz up a simple curry.It’s a big favourite with Nathan, and I’ve found it to be one of the most effective ways to entice his somewhat fussy palate. Everything seems to taste nicer with a side of paratha.Here is the recipe:1 1/2 cups of plain or wholemeal flour (plus extra for dusting)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water (approx 150 ml)
1/2 cup grated cheddar/tasty cheese (for the filling)Mix and knead the flour, salt and water together until it forms a dough. Pinch off and roll the dough into equal sized portions about the size of your palm.Form a little hollow in the centre of each ball. Fill with grated cheese, then pinch the edges together to seal it up.Sprinkle some flour over and roll out the cheese-filled dough balls into flat round discs. Take c…

Movie night in the park

Summer is upon us! And I’m absolutely loving it. It’s so good to get outdoors and play in the sunshine and bright sunny weather.I don’t really mind the warmer weather. However the big downside for me is that the kids have been waking up earlier than usual due to the early sunrise. But that is after all the lure of summer... longer days for longer play time.So last weekend we decided to head outdoors for a family movie night in the park by taking advantage of the free outdoor cinema at the Northbridge Piazza.We packed a picnic dinner (courtesy of Maccas), picked a spot on the green lawn and settled into the complimentary bean bags provided. They were playing one of Nathan’s favourites: Monsters Inc.So there we all were, sitting out in the sunshine, munching on burgers, nuggets and fries, sipping on icy cold carbonated drinks, with a giant LED screen playing a favourite flick – can it get any better than this?Grace wasn’t really into the movie, but she enjoyed herself anyway just sittin…

I made this

Just a plug to something new I made recently...Behold, The Ultimate Bib!An all-in-one pocket bib + drool bib + burp cloth + pacifier holder + toy leashThese kids come in handy for testing and modelling stuff. I pay them with cookies and milk. And the hubby too... it’s important to check that my stuff is daddy-friendly as well.Further details available at Serenely Made and my Etsy Store.Have a great weekend, folks!

Unwell

This week, Nathan caught a really bad case of tonsillitis. He has been unusually quiet and listless and not at all like his usual bumptious and bouncy self. I kept him home from day care today. He didn’t do much all day except sleep and have little sips of water in between. Poor thing.During the few quiet moments between naps when he was awake, he was happy just to hang out quietly with his little sister, while I snapped photos of them to amuse us all.Here are some snapshots of Nathan’s sick day at home…ListlessAsking baby sis for a little patMilk timeKeeping big brother companyManage to coax a little smile out of him with baby’s gigglesMy sleep has suffered a lot more these couple of days. But I know my poor boy must be suffering a lot more. He can barely even swallow his own saliva without wincing. But he is being such a little trooper trying his best to be as cheerful and good-humoured as he can even though he must be feeling awful.This is the first time in I can’t remember how lon…

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