Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Nathan’s fourth birthday and Christmas bash

So I know I said yesterday that I am officially finished with my last post for the year. But I just had to sneak in these photos of the wonderful party we had yesterday to celebrate Nathan’s fourth birthday and a sort of final year-end/Christmas bash we had for my beloved day care children. None of my parties have ever been the fancy sort, but the only thing I hope for is that they are fun and memorable.

DSC06298B

We borrowed an inflatable pool and colourful plastic balls to make a simple ball pit which the children all just went mad over. It got a little crowded in there at times, but we somehow always managed to work something out.

DSC06303A

Hubby sportingly took on the role as the ‘magic balloon man’ and made all sorts of fun shapes and creations with a little balloon kit we got from the party supplies section at the shops.

DSC06301A

The theme of the party was all about lollipops. So I made some ‘marshmallow dough’ for the children to have a lollipop-making activity. I knew my children all love play dough, so I thought this was a fun and yummy twist to one of their favourite activities. Someone soon discovered that the dough was edible. Then bits and pieces of the dough started disappearing mysteriously.

DSC06314A

But we had more than enough marshmallow dough to make some lovely sweet creations for everyone to take home in their goodie bag. We packaged them up in clear cellophane just like the real thing.

DSC06369

We also played a couple of simple games like dancing statues and a ‘hunt for lollipops’ games. I hid a bunch of lollipops in the ball pit and the children each took turns scrambling around inside to hunt for lollipops. The snapshot below is just the final ‘all in’ mad scramble for lollipops just for fun.

DSC06333A

The children always enjoy eating fruits so much each time they are at our house. So this pretty fruit platter was just something special  put together especially for the occasion, complete with fruit lollipops in line with our lollipop theme.

DSC06335

And for the grand finale… the birthday cake. The one thing Nathan was absolutely clear about his party was that it had to have a lollipop cake. He even drew a picture for me months ago for me to follow. So this was my attempt at making his wish come true.

DSC06339

Rounding things off with our feeble attempt at a group shot. Everyone was just too distracted by the cake and eager to dive in. Anyway, I didn’t manage to take proper photos of the decorations and set up we did, so this snapshot provides a little snippet into all the effort hubby and I put in the night before.

DSC06344A

*****

And now, finally signing off for Christmas and holiday season. Till next year everyone!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

An early Christmas for me

TwilightBooks

So Christmas came early for me this year in the form of a shiny new hardback set of this well-known saga.

As some of you might have known, I only recently discovered what the whole Twilight obsession was all about less than a couple of months ago. I happened to catch the first movie on TV while I was surfing around the channels one Saturday night and got sucked into the story.

I know, I knoooow… I am like soooo late for THIS party that I am arriving after the whole thing has long died down. Yes, I have heard of the Twilight Saga, but for one reason or another, the whole thing had evaded me somehow. It wasn’t because I was anti-Twilight or something. I was just probably busy with other things at that time while the whole party was going on.

Hubby must have obviously seen how captivated I was by the series. Being the sweet man he is, he quietly went and got the complete set of books that the movies were based on. Apparently it was no easy feat tracking down these books as I was really THAT late for this party. He checked out all the major bookstores in the city but could not track down a single book, except one sad little paperback set. So he ended up ordering this special hardback set from overseas.

He had intended it as a birthday present for me, but the parcel somehow got side tracked to some other part of the country, before finally arriving on our doorstep in a long roundabout way. I think he was so relieved that it finally got here that he handed it to me straightaway without even bothering to wrap it.

I think the thing that touched me the most was not the gift itself, but the fact that my dear hubby put so much thought and effort into getting it for me. So for now I’m leaving it under the tree, still wrapped in it’s cellophane packaging, just to soak up all the love and thought that went into this gift. But once I dive into the first pages, I know there is no turning back.

So the question is, am I in danger of turning into one of those Twi-moms, crossing over to the dark side?

Image Source

Apparently, it seems to be almost an embarrassing and even shameful thing to admit to reading or (God forbid) actually enjoying these books. They are certainly not Shakespeare or Austen or Dickens or Tolkien, any of the books on this list, or any other intelligent novel you would proudly hold up high as you read on the train commute to work.

I remember as a teenager in school, secretly reading school-banned teen novels like the Sweet Valley series, R.L. Stine, Christopher Pike. We snuck them in by hiding them between sheets of paper or textbooks. Such exciting times. I have a feeling this whole Twilight Saga series would be reminiscent of those teen novels I enjoyed reading back then. And I feel I could use something fun, easy and indulgent to read this holiday season.

Happy reading!
Image Source

So, anyway this shall be my last post for the year. No big roundup post from me this time, just a big wave and a cheery ‘Happy Holidays!’ from me. And in between all the festivities and merry-making, I suspect I’ll have my nose buried in my new guilty pleasure holiday read.

Have a beautiful Christmas everyone, and a wonderful start to the new year!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Going matchy-matchy with my little girl

Sometime last year I had made this piece for myself from a stripy mint fabric my mum had given me. Lately I’ve been going through another crazy sewing phase. I suddenly had an urge to make a cute little outfit or dress for my little girl. And I thought, why not make up a matchy-matchy piece for her too!

DSC06251

As this was the first little girl’s dress I was making, I selected a simple peasant dress pattern to experiment with. I was able to put it all together in under an hour to wear the very next day.

Grace seemed to like it.

DSC06244DSC06243

So we could head out to church with our mother and daughter matchy-matchy outfits. Definitely one of the fun perks of having a little girl!

DSC06238DSC06242

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Celebrating Chinese Winter Solstice Festival

WinterSolsticeDeco

So I know it’s now officially summer here for us in the land down under. But around this time of the year since I was a little girl, my family has also been celebrating Dongzhì or Chinese Winter Solstice Festival.

The Dongzhì Festival or Winter Solstice Festival is celebrated by the Chinese annually around 21st December. During this festival, family members will travel from far and wide to come together for a big reunion meal. The biggest highlight I remember about the festival as a child was making and eating Tangyuan, a traditional dessert of dumplings served in a sweet syrup.

Although this Chinese festival is generally not as well-known compared to other festive occasions such as Chinese New Year or the Mooncake festival, it still holds a special place in my childhood. So this year, I decided to share this experience with my kids, together with a couple of my other day care children.

I decorated our house with snowflake cut-outs to set the mood for the cold winter setting and added a touch of red ang-pow decorations for a Chinese festive atmosphere.

I shared a simple story about the festival during our mat time. And then the children all got involved in making the little dumplings for the Tangyuan for morning tea.

DSC06258ADSC06268A

I showed the kids how to pinch small pieces of dough off and roll them between their palms to form little round dumplings. It was a little tricky for the younger ones to roll and shape the dough into little balls, but they enjoyed exploring and playing with the dough just as if it were play dough.

DSC06273ADSC06276A

Even though not all the dumplings turned out as perfectly round balls. But after cooking them, they ended up tasting equally yummy. The squishy texture of the dumplings was strange to the children, but they were all game to give it a try at least, and they all loved the sweet syrup of course.

DSC06292ADSC06294A

Anyway, whether it’s Dongzhì or Christmas or even Hannukah, I hope your enjoying the year end festivities and holiday season with your beloveds.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Desperate dribbly times call for an army of bibs

Back when I was still pregnant with Grace, I had busied myself sewing various pretty little things in anticipation of her arrival. I was a big fan of bandanna bibs with Nathan. But somehow with a baby girl, it seemed to be more fitting to have pretty, floral, ribbony classic style bibs on her.

I added a couple more here and there along the way after she arrived, but not very many as she was not really a very dribbly baby. Well, not at that time at least.

   

However over the past couple of months, her dribble level was reaching a record breaking amount. Almost, if not as much as her older brother when he was her age now. It got so bad at one point that I was unable to keep up with the laundry turnover and had to resort to drying her morning bib so she could use it again later in the afternoon.

So over the weekend, I finally got my head down and sewed up yet more bibs to keep up with her over-productive dribble glands.

DSC06216(2)

I was quite pleased with my handiwork. So please indulge me while I show off my creations with my little model…

This one is my favourite one… because… polka dots!

DSC06231(2)

Also because I got to use some of my stash of fabric yo-yos I went overboard making during the long wait for baby to arrive. As you can see, we were in desperate need of bibs. The picture above was taken literally five minutes after I put the bib on her. I kid you not.

 

This was a simple one I put together with a scrap of black cotton drill
with a touch of a black & white stripy ribbon.

DSC06225(2)

I wasn’t really planning anything special with this one, but I quite like how it turned out. Sort of chic and classy looking in an almost ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ kinda way. I soon discovered the culprit of all this dribbly-ness when I felt two little molar buds at the back of little Grace’s mouth.

 

Final snapshot of Grace’s bib stash…
(Well, most of them anyway. A few were still in the laundry.)

DSC06218(2)

Monday, December 08, 2014

Five in Five: Worth Casing Blog Awards

There must be something about this time of year with so many bloggy awards and blog hop series going around. The bloggy love is really in the air. There is just so much to express and be thankful for the connections and bonds we have formed over the year in the little time we have remaining of 2014.

I was really touched when my dear bloggy friend Druimé of Snippets and Spirits nominated me for the Five in Five ‘Worth Casing’ blog award hosted (and sponsored) by Agent Mystery Case.

Five in five is a series of five questions for each nominee to answer and then pass the baton on. There is also a great prize up for grabs which is six months of advertising on Agent Mystery Case's website worth $500. There are so many amazing bloggers out there, so I think I’m honoured already just to be invited to join in the fun. So whether there is a prize or not, I’m just happy to hop on board to answer these five questions…

 

How long have you been blogging and why did you start?

I first started my blog nine years ago when I began living and working abroad as a way to stay in touch with friends and family. Over the past two years, my blog has evolved to reflect the change in my own life with the advent of motherhood and new interests and ventures such as sewing and starting my own family day care. It has also been a doorway to making so many amazing new connections with other fellow mums and bloggers in the community. 

If your wardrobe could talk what would it say about you and tell us about your favourite or most worn item?

I think it would say “It’s time for an overhaul!”. At the moment there is a lot of disconnect between many of the items in my wardrobe and my current self. I have a lot of corporate-wear, office-type clothing (button down shirts, pencil skirts, slacks) which I don’t think I’ll ever wear again. With my new chosen profession, it’s pretty much T-shirts and shorts or leggings all day long - which I am perfectly happy in.

My favourite and most worn item in my wardrobe are these Alexis Russell rough diamond earrings. I love the elegant and edgy style of these earrings. They are perfect for adding just the right touch of ‘zing’ to my outfit but still keep my look simple and down to earth.

What’s your idea of the perfect date night?

I’m fairly easy-to-please when it comes to date nights. The classic dinner and/or movie works fine with me. But if you’re talking about the PERFECT date night, I would say the key would be in how it ends. It doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive… just memorable. Perhaps a moonlight walk along the beach or by the river, tea or coffee in a quiet, rustic cafe tucked away in some hidden corner, or catching a glimpse of the beautiful city view from some romantic spot. That would tie everything perfectly together in my eyes.

What’s on your Worth Casing list?

Learning how to crochet just so I can make this and this.

These very cool fabric-backed business cards.

My dream holiday destination: The isle of Santorini, Greece.

This game changing two-minute kaya recipe.

This epic Jamie Oliver chocolate celebration cake.

And this thought-provoking article on how centrally-controlled state-administered education could actually be robbing us and our children of freedom and democracy at the most fundamental level.

If you had a theme song what would it be and why?

I would pick Diana Krall’s rendition of ‘Just The Way You Are’. It was the song I walked down the aisle to on my wedding day. The song was ‘given’ to me by my best friend from my university days especially for the occasion. The lyrics really speak exactly how I feel not only about my hubby but everyone I care about in my life, including myself… Don’t go changing to try and please me… Don’t imagine you’re too familiar… I don’t want clever conversation… I love you just the way you are

And now for the nominations of my favourite five ‘worth casing’ bloggers. And I really do mean it when I say each one of them is ‘worth casing’…

Toni of Finding Myself Young

Sally of Toddlers on Tour

Jodie of Mummy Musings and Mayhem

Ness of One Perfect Day

Stephanie of Steph’s Joy

 

Thanks again Druimé for this nomination to join in this terrific link-up, and thank you to Agent Mystery Case for being such a fabulous host of this series.

(P.S. Ladies, remember to head over to Agent Mystery Case’s blog to link up your Five By Five post by the 14th of December)

Thursday, December 04, 2014

A decade of marriage

So today marks the momentous occasion of my tenth year anniversary of being married to my dear hubby. I meant to write a big epic post for this special day…. but I’m finding it all quite overwhelming. Ten years! My goodness! What can I say?

I remember a conversation I had with my parents on one occasion. I asked them “Does it ever get any easier?”. Their answer: “No, not really!”. After over 35 years of marriage, apparently there are times that they still can get hopping mad at each other and they still drive each other crazy sometimes.

Cute
Image Source

So for us, after a decade of marriage it certainly hasn’t gotten any easier.

We sometimes still argue over petty things or even disagree over more serious matters. I still can get hopping mad at him at times. It’s crazy how someone you are so crazy about can REALLY drive you crazy sometimes.

But one thing I can say is: It’s better.

Not easier. But better.

It’s still at uphill journey. But with each upward step we take, it just gets better. Deeper. Stronger. Surer.

I still remember the very first time he said ‘I love you’. We were still in university at that time. We were riding on a bus heading somewhere (I can’t remember where). He turned to face me and said he had something to tell me. Then he mouthed something in a barely audible whisper. My heart started thumping weirdly when I saw the words he formed on his lips. “Sorry, I didn’t catch that” I said. “Elephant shoe. I said elephant shoe” he grinned in reply.

Well, now I know it was definitely NOT an Elephant’s Shoe.

And now it’s more than ‘I’m in love you’.

It’s more than ‘I love you’.

It’s now ‘I will love you’.

And not by any merit of our own… but only by and through His grace.

 

Anyway on a lighter note, I’ve been searching through all my photos to try and find a recent picture of just hubby and me for this post. Even if it was just an ‘okay’ snapshot of the two of us. And guess what? There isn’t one! So now I’ve made a resolution to try and take more photos of just hubby and I…. once a year at least.

I did find lots of other pictures of just the two of us in the B.C. era (before children). So here’s a little stroll down memory lane…

Happy ten years my dear husband!

Love you then.
Love you still.
Love you now.
And always will.

Monday, December 01, 2014

And there goes another year

So sometime in the last month I turned the page of my life to a new blank chapter of another year.

I don’t know if it’s aging thing or just me going through a weird phase in my life right now, but I prefer to keep a low profile, hide under a blanket, and let the occasion pass by cloaked in obscurity.

Hubby of course insisted on celebrating the occasion and made reservations for a lovely breakfast brunch as a family at a top notch restaurant right by the Swan River. It was the perfect way to spend my birthday, with the people I love most in the world.

I often feel a bit melancholy at this time of the year…. I’m not sure whether it’s my birthday, or an end-of-the-year-is-coming thing… whatever it is, these days I often find myself retreating to huddle under a blankie with a hot mug of tea, listening to melancholic tunes on my playlist and fall into deep, heavy thoughts.

So to turn things around, I thought I’d share a few quotes which helped to lift my mood a little…

facebook fun

Birthdays are good for your health. Studies have shown
that people who have more birthdays live the longest.
Image Source
funny-birthday-wishes
Happy Birthday. May your Facebook wall be filled
with messages from people you never talk to.
Image Source
If someone forget your birthday, take it as a compliment. You must have not aged enough to be noticed.
If sometime forgets your birthday, take it as a compliment.
You must have not aged enough to be noticed.
Image Source
grateful for each and every day
My favourite age is NOW.
(Kirsten Dunst on getting older)
Image Source

Love your life :)!

Keep calm and be crazy, laugh, love and live it up
Because this is the oldest you’ve been
And the youngest you’ll ever be again.
Image Source

Age is of no importance unless you are a cheese. #birthday #quotes #wishes  http://www.wishesquotes.com/birthday/birthday-wishes

Age is of no importance unless you are a cheese.
Image Source

Opened up and progressing towards a new beginning everyday

We turn not older with years but newer every day.
(Emily Dickinson)
Image Source