Thursday, January 31, 2013

Reaching The Big Two

So today is the last day of January… I thought before the year gets any older, I should write a special post on Nathan reaching big two-year milestone.

That’s right, my little man turned two years old on Christmas Day. We celebrated it with the whole family back in my hometown.

He absolutely revelled being in the spotlight and being the centre of attention that day.

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If there was one phrase that would sum his character up, I would call him…

“The Boy With No Fear”

And it’s true. I’d be hard-pressed to think of something he’s afraid of… whether it’s big dogs, swirly water whirlpools, giant slides, grown-ups... or even mummy’s and daddy’s stern voice. All he does is smile his big goofy grin and plunge right into to whatever is before him.

It’s rather scary for ME sometimes… and his daredevil streak has resulted in many a cut, bump, and bruise. But he takes it all in stride without batting an eyelash, all in the name of exploration.

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So, in honour of his Big Two milestone, I decided to jot down this list of his favourite things… just something to freeze the picture at this point in time…

Things Nathan Loves…

Trucks

Dancing

Bubbles

The colour yellow

Cheerios

Cashew nuts

Playing the guitar (pretend playing)

Water… as in swimming and playing in it

Prawns… especially in the form of dim sum like siew mai and har gao

Playing the comedian… he just absolutely enjoys making people laugh

Cinderella and Rapunzel (Tangled)… yup, that’s right, I’m talking Disney princesses

People… he is totally the most social and friendly little guy and loves being around people

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That’s my boy!

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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Play idea with old cardboard boxes

There’s really no end to the imaginative fun in the ordinary objects and junk around the house.

Here’s a commonly found object… OLD CARDBOARD BOXES!

 

They make a terrific cave or tunnel

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A simple car racing track

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And even a makeshift slide

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So why not toss an old cardboard box to your little one and see what else they come up with.
It might surprise you.

To a child, life really can be this simple.

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Linking up to

 MummyMOO

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Personal planner giveaway : winner

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So as promised, here is the winning number for the personal planner giveaway

And the lucky winner is Shu!
(winning number generated by random.org)

However as a BONUS, the Personal Planner team will be offering a special DISCOUNT CODE for everyone to get their very own customised personal planner… so stay tuned!

Thanks for your comments everyone.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Looking ahead for the week

So how’s your Monday going folks?

For us folks over here in Australia, it’s a holiday today (replacement holiday for Australia Day).

Right now I’m having fun playing around with the personal-planner.com.au’s Blog Planner.
It’s a simple online tool to create a visual layout of your schedule for the coming week.

Here’s a recap of my schedule last week…

And my schedule for the coming week…

You can check it out on the personal-planner.com.au website. Oh, and it’s absolutely free!

In the meantime, don’t forget to stop by my Personal Planner Giveaway which closes by midnight today.

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Have a great week ahead everyone!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

A fun and yummy day

It’s Saturday and Australia Day today!

Instead of lazing around at home, we decided to head out to Fremantle Markets for some yummy eats and fun family time.

We kicked things off at the Baby Animal Farm where Nathan fed a little hamster a carroty snack. Then we stopped by the Market Fairies’ stall for Nathan to get a yellow star painted on his hand.

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For lunch we enjoyed some Japanese ramen at Dosukoi’s noodle stall. Nathan went bonkers over the Takoyaki balls – especially with the chewy octopus bits inside.

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And after lunch we cooled off with some cold creamy frozen yoghurt. Nathan charmed the lady at the stall so well that she gave him a freebie specially-made with bonus marshmallow sprinkles.

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That was definitely the big highlight of the day for him.

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Yumz!

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Have a beautiful weekend peeps!

 


Linking up to
 Wee Stories

Friday, January 25, 2013

Makeshift water gun play

Fridays are one of my at home days with Nathan. Besides taking Nathan along for the usual run of errands to the shops, it can sometimes be challenging to come up with ways to keep him occupied (apart from resorting to the big black screen… which I try to turn to only as a last resort).

Here’s one clever little idea I came up with recently…

A makeshift plastic syringe water gun play

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I have a number of these spare plastic syringes lying around from previous medicine purchases. I simply handed one to my toddler with a bucket of water and turned him loose in the garden.

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It’s really very similar to playing with a water gun. But the novelty of using this unusual object to shoot water jets is enough to keep my little one intrigued for a good while.

Hope you’re having a nice Friday.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

5 reasons classic planners rock! {giveaway}

[This giveaway is sponsored by personal-planner.com.au and is open internationally to anyone in the world]

I generally look upon January as a sort of ‘buffer month’ for easing into the new year. But now that the end of the month is approaching, I think it’s about time I get off my holiday mode and get back into my usual productive mode.

And this year I expect my schedule to get even busier with a myriad of play ideas, play dates, antenatal appointments, shopping lists, and new sewing projects to juggle around.

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So what’s the best thing to pull everything together?

A New Planner!

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Then again many people are moving away from traditional pen and paper planners and turning instead to phones, tablets and computers to store their calendars keep track of appointments.

Granted, electronic based organisers are snazzier and more compact to carry around. And they offer benefits like being able to set reminders, sync them online, email or forward them to other people, and appointments can be neatly deleted or edited as needed.

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However I believe there is still a case for the old classic planner. So here’s my own list of
5 reasons why classic planners still rock!

#1. Able to have a full visual layout of my week
In one glance, I can see the big picture view of appointments, events, weekly to-do list, grocery list and ad hoc notes I’ve scribbled down for the entire week.

#2. Able to add new notes and appointments quickly
No need to click through different apps and icons, enter dates and times in the proper format, or scroll through the different field types to enter the description or notes on the event.

#3. No need to deal with retarded autocorrect keyboards
There are times when nothing beats the old pencil and paper. Need I say more?

#4. Easily scribble ideas and sketches on the spot
Sometimes I just don’t have time to scroll through my phone or tablet to select the ‘proper’ app for making notes or sketching out an idea. Instead of scrambling around for a scrap of paper, I just need flip to the blank pages section of my planner and put a pen to the paper.

#5. No wrestling with the toddler to play Angry Birds
We all know those moments. You pull out your phone to make a new calendar entry, and the toddler jumps up and starts pulling at your arm to play with your phone or tablet. Not so much of an issue with traditional style planners.

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The team at personal-planner.com.au recently invited me to check out their range of planners on their website. I was immediately blown away by their huge range of colourful designs.

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The best thing about their planners is that the entire design is fully customisable from the cover right through to the back. There are endless design possibilities. You can change colour, text and design on front/back cover as well as inlay. There are also clever boxes for to-do list, gym session, preschool, idea of the week and weather.

Some of my favourite things about these planners…

  1. Able to personalise the planner with my own name and contact info in the design;
  2. Add friends and family members’ birthdays to the inlay directly from Facebook;
  3. Modify the start date so I don’t lose out for starting the year a little late; and
  4. Customise the the inlay to add my own lists and boxes, just like adding little apps.

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The Giveaway
Thanks to the kind people at personal-planner.com.au, you have a chance to win a custom-designed planner valued at $45 of your very own. There are just two simple steps to follow:

  1. Leave a comment below on what you like best about classic pen and paper planners

This giveaway is open internationally to anyone in the world
Closing date is Monday 28th January 2013 by midnight (Western Australian Standard Time)
The winner will be selected randomly and announced on Tuesday 29th January 2013

Monday, January 21, 2013

Six reasons why the 1st trimester is the toughest

DSC02934The little helper giving mummy a hand so she can put her feet up

So I am now approaching Week 17 of my pregnancy, and I think I might be just beginning to feel normal again. It’s been a rollercoaster ride these past couple of months. Although this is my second time round of baby-baking, it’s been quite a different experience from my first one.

But I have SURVIVED! And I am glad to say that I am now one-third of the way there! Things can only get better from this point on. Hubs and I started throwing out baby name ideas and thinking when and how to explain the pregnancy to Nathan and get him ready for the arrival of a sibling.

To sort of explain my lack of activity lately, here are the top six reasons why this first trimester has been the most challenging part of this journey so far…

#1. Not having as much support
from folks around me ~ not that it’s anyone’s fault, as generally there is no big announcement until after the first trimester so people will have no idea how much I’m suffering.

#2. Nobody gives up their seat for me
on the bus or train ~ with no outward apparent sign of pregnancy, nobody bats an eye even though I might be feeling viciously ill and possibly need a seat even more than a 6-month pregnant woman.

#3. Not being able to enjoy food
to my heart’s content ~ with all the nausea and morning sickness and evening sickness, food just doesn’t taste as yummy as it usually does. Eating was just a mechanical process of getting foods I could stand into my tummy.

#4. Feeling very unproductive
most days I was so tired that I just crashed into bed right after putting Nathan to bed at 9.00pm or even as early as 8.00pm. I’m not usually a napper, but on weekends or days off, I sneaked off to take a nap whenever I could. It left very little time to do much of anything except the bare minimum of activities.

#5. Not enjoying usual favourite activities
and hobbies ~ during this whole period I felt like I was living in a haze of morning sickness all day long. Everything I did seemed to be tinged with nausea and lethargy, whether it was eating, cooking, playing with Nathan, watching movies, Facebooking and even blogging… nothing felt quite the same as it normally did.

#6. Just not feeling like myself
in the haze of morning sickness I was floating around in every day, it was difficult to feel ‘normal’. Even in general everyday activities and conversations, I felt that part of me wasn’t there. When I tried blogging, the sentences I wrote sounded foreign and unnatural.

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The biggest thing that got me through one day at a time was simply remembering this…

But now that the first trimester is behind me, things should start to get better so I’m looking forward to sharing the journey along with you.

 

Happy Monday folks!

~~~

Linking up to

www.ajugglingmom.com

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Wordless Wed: Sand play with grandparents

So when we were back in my hometown, Kota Kinabalu, for Christmas hols, one of the places we took Nathan to was one of my favourite childhood places… Tanjung Aru Beach.

Nathan had the privilege of enjoying the company of the same playmates I had when I was his age… my parents!

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Finishing off the play session with a dip in the ocean…

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~~~

Linking up with

Monday, January 14, 2013

Stories of Long Ago: Mixed Blood

Hello! Hope you had a great time over the Christmas and New Year celebrations. Time to step into the new year. I wonder what 2013 will bring?

I’ll be resuming my ongoing series on Stories of Long Ago sharing a story from my dad’s side of the family touching on our family’s mixed ethnic background…

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Every now and then I receive questions from strangers and new friends or acquaintances along the lines of…What are you? Are you Chinese?”. People sometimes remark that I look somewhat more Malay or Indonesian or Thai or even Vietnamese. So what’s the story there?

Well the truth is, there is actually a line of non-Chinese blood running through my dad’s side of the family. It’s not uncommon these days I suppose, especially in the state of Sabah in Malaysia.

My father’s maternal grandfather was one of the first generation Hakka migrants in Sabah from China who came to Sabah. I think he generally worked as a sort of labourer-coolie-plantation worker. Life must have been tough, but it must have been worthwhile enough for him to leave China and seek his fortune in this foreign land.

As he settled into the new land, it was only natural to set up a household so he could make this place his home. Chinese women were scarce at that time, so the story goes that he sought out a local native Kadazandusun girl (probably by asking the head of a nearby village). She must have seemed pleasant and acceptable, and so he married her and that’s how the blood of two races was first intermingled in our family.

They settled down in the village of Menggatal and my great grandmother learnt to adopt the Hakka customs and language and raised her children accordingly.

It might seem strange that a village girl would agree to marry a virtual stranger of a completely different culture. But apparently marrying a Chinese man was possibly deemed a ‘step up’ in the world back then. And Kadazan people are generally known to be very adaptable and willing to assimilate and adopt different cultures into their own.

My dad often recounts fond memories of visiting his grandmother’s kampong house in Menggatal and playing in the nearby river. By sounds of it, she seems like she must have been quite a pleasant old lady. But she passed away before I was born.

The question I always pondered over was how my great grandmother and great grandfather managed to get along and communicated meaningfully with their totally different languages and cultural backgrounds. There must have been many demonstrations of compromise and understanding in their life together.

Among their children, they had a girl who eventually became my grandmother.

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My grandmother grew up being able to speak both Hakka and Kadazandusun. However she mainly passed on only the Hakka heritage, apart from traces of Kadazandusun features on some of her descendants. So if people ask, I sometimes tell them that my DNA is one-eighth Kadazandusun.

And that is one of the stories that has led to part of who I am today.

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To take a deeper step into the history pages, you can read some of my dad’s account on my grandmother’s childhood home and of his childhood memories on Nicknames and Bedtime Stories

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Wednesday, January 09, 2013

And then there were two

If you haven’t guessed, here’s the reason why I’ve been so MIA lately…

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My pregnancy journey this time around has been quite different from my first one… with the full on cocktail of morning sickness, nausea, food aversions, smell aversions, bloating, tiredness. But thankfully things are starting to get a little better as I emerge from the first trimester. Hope to get into the full swing of things once I feel more like myself again.

Hope you all had a great start to the new year!