Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Bathtub water-play

Here’s another simple idea for keeping your little one occupied for a good 20-30 minutes or so.

Simple Bathtub Water-Play

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Just fill a tub with water, sprinkle in a few favourite bath-time toys and let the fun times begin!

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Sometimes (especially on hot days) I will let Nathan climb in and splash around to cool off. This is definitely one of my fool proof methods for finding a solid uninterrupted half an hour to get little things done around the house.

Important tip: Always keep the tub nearby within your line of sight for safety and precaution.

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Linking up to…
new buttonMy Little Drummer Boys

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Happy Lunar New Year!

So how was your Lunar New Year celebrations? We had a scorching one this year with the temperature hitting 42 Celsius on Sunday.

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I made some simple preparations around the house, including some homemade ang pow decorations hung around the house to give it a festive air…

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Nathan was very excited to wake up to the festive atmosphere and eagerly received his ang pow!

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We assembled a steamboat lunch to celebrate with friends – the easiest meal to pull together for a group. I just stopped by Emma’s Seafood to pick up most of the ingredients.

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The next day we headed out to Northbridge to check out this year’s Perth Chinese New Year Fair. The food at the market stalls were ridiculously overpriced, but we bought some anyway so we could enjoy the full spirit of the whole festive celebrations.

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The big highlight of the celebrations was the street Lion Dances. It was Nathan’s first time watching these bright colourful creatures at play, and he enjoyed it immensely.

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Hope your new year celebration was equally if not more memorable!

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Slow down mummy

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I was just thinking back to an episode at our household a few weeks ago. We were all rushing to get ready to go out somewhere after dinner. Hubs and I were running around, clearing the table, washing dishes and packing things up. Nathan was parked aside with some toys to amuse himself while we got ready.

Then I remember in the midst of all that activity, Nathan toddled up to me with a story book and said “Read book?”.

I paused, took the book from his hand and hesitated a moment.

Then right at that same moment, hubs yelled out from the other room reminding me to hurry up. So I quickly handed Nathan back the book and told him “Later, mummy is busy now”.

How the bitter taste of those too often spoken words sting in my mouth now.

Later in the evening after Nathan was tucked up in bed and hubs and I were finally collapsed onto the couch for a breather. We talked over what had happened earlier that day and wondered what all the busy-ness and rush was all about anyway.

After all, dishes and dusting can wait: You will never have this day with your children again. Tomorrow, they'll be a little older than they were today.

Here is a poem I read today that made me stop to think about this moment…

Slow Down Mummy
by Rebekah Knight

Slow down mummy, there is no need to rush,
Slow down mummy, what is all the fuss?
Slow down mummy, make yourself a cup of tea.
Slow down mummy, come and spend some time with me.

Slow down mummy, let’s put our boots on and go out for a walk,
Let’s kick at piles of leaves, and smile and laugh and talk.
Slow down mummy, you look ever so tired,
Come sit and snuggle under the duvet and rest with me a while.

Slow down mummy, those dirty dishes can wait,
Slow down mummy, lets have some fun, lets bake a cake!
Slow down mummy I know you work a lot,
But sometimes mummy, its nice when you just stop.

Sit with us a minute,
And listen to our day,
Spend a cherished moment,
Because our childhood is not here to stay!

~~~

Linking up to

 SANses.com's Talkative Thursdays

Monday, February 04, 2013

Why should we care about our heritage?

My dad recently shared this amazing story of how he recently discovered an amazing family connection as a result of our little family pet project of chronicling our family history.

gomorun2An extract from the family genealogy book being compiled by my recently discovered long-lost grand uncle

On the way to work this morning, I was recounting the story to hubby. I remarked how amazing and mind blowing it was to discover this whole long chain of connections and historical roots.

After listening to me go on and on about it for a while, when I paused for a second to catch my breath, hubby commented, “You know, somehow I don’t think my own father’s side of the family would want to share their family history… in fact I think it might even make them a bit sad to talk about it.

Then hubs went on to say, “Come to think of it, I myself don’t really see what the big deal is… I mean, why is it so important to know all this family history? It’s just information; I can’t do anything with it.

This was the brief conversation that followed that opening remark…

Me: Well, I think it’s important to know our heritage… it’s something I’d like to pass on to our children as well. I think it’s important for them to know where they came from.

Hubs: But what can they DO with the information?

Me: Well, Imagine we traced your family history and discovered that you are connected to a famous emperor in China! Wouldn’t that be amazing?

Hubs: But I don’t get anything out of that knowledge. So what if I told people around me, “Hey, I’m related to such and such emperor!”… It doesn’t make anything around me any different.

Me: I’m not saying that you need to tell other people. It’s just a knowledge you treasure up for yourself. Just knowing who you are inside… where you came from.

Hubs: But I’m very secure in myself already. I don’t need to know who my ancestors are to feel good.

Me: Well I think knowing our history is very important. Our past makes us who we are today. Otherwise we will just be people without a past… just empty and cut-off without being able to see how we are part of something bigger than ourselves.

Hubs: Okay, okay… I know you think you are trying to explain something very deep and profound to me. But honestly, I simply don’t feel the same way as you do.

Me: Ya, I can see that. Look, I tell you what, I’ll have a think about it and come back and tell you my answer.

Hubs: Okay. I’m not guaranteeing that I will agree with you. But you can go and think about it and come back and tell me what you thought about.

So I’m thinking about it.

In the meantime, let me share a few quotes I came across about knowing one’s heritage…

No man can know where he is going unless he knows exactly where he has been and exactly how he arrived at his present place.”
– Maya Angelou

"Do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and your children's children."
– Deuteronomy 4:9

To forget one's ancestors is to be a brook without a source, a tree without a root.
– Chinese Proverb

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imageRead more on our little family pet project
to compile our Stories of Long Ago

 

UPDATE: Further thoughts on why we should care about our heritage.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Design your own personal planner

So as promised, if you are hankering after your own customised personal planner, here is a bonus for you… a special discount code offer courtesy of the personal-planner.com.au team.

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Just use the following code to enjoy 15% off any purchase
from the personal-planner.com.au store

D-DMDD-ERAA
(This discount code is valid until 14th February 2013)

And you can customise the start date of your planner so you don’t lose out on starting a little late.

Friday, February 01, 2013

The fluffiest 7-up pancakes

So since our days of just the two of us, one of our favourite Saturday morning routines is to enjoy a slow leisurely breakfast together as a family.

Sometimes we have french toast, or oatmeal porridge, or scrambled eggs and sausages, or  egg and toast muffins or homemade bacon and egg mcmuffins, or the classic favourite… Pancakes!

I’m a big fan of Macdonald’s hotcakes. I just find their texture so irresistibly fluffy and light. I’ve tried numerous times to re-create the same fluffiness in my homemade pancakes but always to no avail… until recently when I discovered a magic ingredient… 7-up!

And best of all, this simple recipe falls under my four ingredients category! So here’s the recipe…

Super light and fluffy 7-Up pancakes

Ingredients
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup 7-Up/Sprite*
1 cup self-raising flour

(*Can substitute Sprite/7-Up with any fizzy lemon drink or carbonated water)

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Whisk eggs, milk and 7-Up/Sprite together until light and frothy. Add in flour and mix well together. Ladle 1/3 cupfuls onto a greased hot pan or griddle and cook until golden brown on one side, then flip over and cook for 30-45 seconds until golden brown on the other side.

Serve warm with favourite spreads and toppings.

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Makes approximately 4-6 servings… depends on how hungry your troops are. Best be prepared with a little extra batter for backup. I started out with about half the amount of batter in the recipe, but ended up having to mix up a second batch for my two hungry boys at breakfast.

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Linking up to

 

Stories of long ago: Life-long gratitude

It struck me that nowadays, we seldom see demonstrations of life-long gratitude and sacrifice. What I mean by that is a a visible act of gratitude that really costs you something your whole life long.

My ponderings brought to mind two stories from my mother’s family…

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The first story ~ A Life for a Life

My mother once told me the story of how my great grandfather fell into the clutches of the Japanese soldiers during the Japanese invasion of Malaya in the Second World War. It was the harrowing tale of how he was tortured mercilessly, then dragged off to prison. All because he had missed curfew.

He would have remained in prison if not for the intervention of a Malay man who helped bail him out. All he asked as a token was that if the baby my great grandmother was carrying at that time happened to be a girl, to give the baby to him. My grandfather flippantly said yes on the spot.

As it turned out, my great grandmother did give birth to a girl. So as promised, the baby was reluctantly was given away. How it must have torn them. But a promise was a promise. A life for a life. His gratitude had costs him his own baby daughter. The sting of the sacrifice must have shadowed him for the rest of his life.

To dive further into the history pages, you can read my mum’s account of this story.

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The Second Story ~ Free Pratha for Life

223951_10151013794991276_2103848204_nThis next story is a happier one. It’s an often told story of how my grandfather (my mother’s father) had won the lifelong privilege to enjoy free roti pratha every day. And not just any ordinary pratha, but the BEST roti pratha in Batu Pahat, Johor, and some say in Malaysia.

My grandfather was a enterprising and well connected man in the village where my mother grew up. My mother tells me that he was looked up to by everyone as a sort of leader in their village.

The story goes that one day, a young Malay man came to him desperately seeking advice as his wife was dying. My grandfather advised him of a certain medicine or remedy to use. The man followed his advice and thankfully his wife was cured. The exact details of the miracle remedy in the story is rather vague. But the point is, his wife was saved and everyone was happy.

The young Malay man was an enterprising fellow who had a food stall selling roti pratha. In gratitude for helping to save his wife’s life, he promised my grandfather that he could eat at his stall any time, every day, absolutely free, for the rest of his life. If that is not lifelong gratitude, I don’t know what is.

And so to this very day, almost every morning, my grandfather heads out to the fellow’s stall to enjoy the best roti pratha in Batu Pahat, Johor, and some say in Malaysia… absolutely free.

To delve further back into history, you can read my mum’s account of my grandfather’s childhood.

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This post is part of my series on Stories of Long Ago

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