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DIY Toys

Contrary to popular belief, my decision to become a family day care educator is not a goldmine career choice that rakes in a ton of money.In fact, now that I have become my own small business owner, I’ve had to become more mindful to set my clear budgets for my own resources and programs. Which is really hard when there are so many beautiful images of gorgeous play set ups and environments constantly floating around Instagram.Many times I’ve found myself hovering over the purchase button of beautiful (and expensive) Grapat wooden toys and Grimm’s rainbows. But then reality kicks in and I have to remind myself of the public liability insurance due, and the upcoming first aid training renewal, and the levy for the new web based attendance record system being rolled out, and our microwave oven that recently died… the list goes on and on.So instead, I roll up my sleeves, turn to browsing my Pinterest board to see what other clever and resourceful parents and educators have done in similar…
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Magical six

July is the month when my baby girl moves up a notch in her years. Ladies and gentlemen... I present to you...

Six years old. We celebrated the occasion with a cosy little blue narwhal pyjama party theme.
I went a bit crazy with the blue butterfly pea flower serving a small array of blue hued food and drink. The pièce de résistance of the night was the awesome blanket fort complete with fairy lights for all the kids to snuggle under while they watched a movie.


It's funny how kids grow up overnight. One minute they're a tiny, diminutive little creature... all giggles, coos and silly sounds. And then the next moment, you see it happening before your very eyes. "I almost cried, mummy... but I remembered my breathing exercises using my belly"."Today at recess I was sad because 'M' did not let me play with her and 'A'. But you know what? I can find other new friends to play with!""Thank you for helping me learn this, mummy." (this last o…

Learning to say good-bye

Our featured book this week is 'Owl Babies'
(by Martin Waddell and Patrick Benson)
All my kids from babies, to toddlers and preschoolers just love, love, love this story. Even my two big school aged kids still enjoy listening to this story.
The very first time I picked this story up to read to my kids, I thought it was such a plain and simple story. Three baby owls missing their mummy... waiting, waiting, waiting for her to come back. And when she finally comes back, everyone is happy again. That's it. That's essentially the plot. I wondered why the children were so eager to listen to this simple story so many times.

Was it simply the three cute little baby owls in the story?

Probably.

Then just last week we welcomed another new little baby to the family*. It's been a rocky start, as it usually is with most children getting used to a new environment. All the other children were quick to point out whenever baby was crying and feeling sad.

Why is baby crying? Why i…

Farewell to another remnant of the baby chapter

Last week I bid a final farewell to this remaining remnant from the baby chapter.
This was only half of the remaining cloth nappies in my collection. The first half had already been sold off a couple of years back. These remaining ones were the top favourites which my sis-in-law initially wanted to try out. When it didn't work out my brother asked me if he should toss them out instead. Throw out my beautiful collection of rainbow-hued minks??? How dare he even suggest such a thing!!!
So this remaining stash finally found it's way back home via personal family courier services (i.e. overseas family visitors).
Nathan and Grace were of course curious about the colourful contents of the package holding the stash. They stroked and fingered the soft plush texture of the material and asked me what all the colourful things were.
"Nappies", I told them.
"Nappies???"
"Yes... cloth nappies."
"For babies???"
"Yes. You two actually. These are t…

Poetry and Prose

There was a quote I had read somewhere some time ago that went something like… “The first child is poetry, the last child is prose”. I don’t think this entirely true. Poetry and prose are both so intertwined in life that it’s impossible to draw the line between them.


But here’s an anecdote that made me wonder…
The other day (5 y.o.) Grace came home excitedly bursting to share some new mind-blowing information she learnt at science… “Do you know how rain is made, mummy?” (How, baby?) “Okay, let me tell you… first the sun shines on all the rivers and lakes until tiny drops of water floats up to the sky… and then the drops of water stick together to make clouds… then when more and more water floats up, and then the clouds get fatter and fatter and FATTER until it BURSTS and falls down to the ground, and that is RAIN! Isn’t that amazing?” (So amazing!) Compare that to this whimsical fancy from (8 y.o.) Nathan… “Mummy, do you know what I think? I think when it rains, it's because a drop…

Quiet

So we are now into the third week of the school term. This is the first Friday when the quietness and solitude in the house has finally descended fully upon me.

The first couple of Fridays still felt rather busy, running around to settle various jobs and errands and I had some tradies in to do some work around the house like carpet cleaning and house painting.
But today, after dropping the kids off at school, I headed back and for the first time in over eight years, have come back to an empty and silent house. I realise that every single day, I’ve always had at least one child or baby in the house, from Nathan, to Grace, and all my day care kids.
Even on my Fridays off when Nathan was at school, Grace has always been my faithful little companion. But she too has flown the nest and is at full time school now.
The stillness and silence feels almost heady.
I am almost not sure what to do with myself actually.
But I welcome the quiet like a breath of fresh air.

New year jottings

Phew! It’s been such a busy January! Back around Christmas time, the summer holidays seemed to stretch endlessly for weeks ahead. And now, we only have a couple more days before the new school term begins for the year.
Here are a few jottings of what we got up to this past month…
Summer Play
As usual the days flew by with lots of fun play and activities. We cooled off with plenty of water play in the backyard. We hung out at the library to take advantage of the free air-conditioning and their line-up of school holiday programs, which included stroking a giant cockroach and wrapping a live snake around our shoulders.
Meal Plan Kits A new thing we tried out this month was a meal plan kits (i.e. those companies that provide conveniently packaged recipes and ingredient kits). I stumbled across a 40% off promotion and I decided to give it a go. It was also a nice and easy way to transition back to the cooking routine after our holiday. Both the kids were happily involved in following the re…

Everything is Awesome!

One more dawn… One more day… One day more!Here we are at the brink of 2019.We closed out 2018 with a family soiree in Legoland—our big birthday surprise for Nathan and Christmas present for both the kids.Will they remember every single detail of this epic holiday for always?Probably not.In a few years, the crystal clear mental images and vivid memories would have faded away to fleeting glimpses of pictures associated with pleasant feelings.What’s left behind, hopefully, and deeply embedded in their psyche, is the love and connection we shared as a family through this experience. View this post on Instagram Everything is AWESOME... When You're Living Out A Dream {holidaythrowback@legolandmalaysia}A post shared by Serenely (@livingserenely) on Dec 28, 2018 at 8:25pm PST “Everything is awesome,
Everything is cool when your part of a team,
Everything is awesome,
When you're living out a dream.”
Ready… Set… and let’s GO for another awesome year in 2019!

The wisdom of seven

And now we come to December.At our household, December is not only about Christmas and year end festivities, but it’s also all about this little man…a.k.a. Mister Christmas BabyThis space of seven has been an interesting time with subtle shifts and ebbing away of childhood plays, giving way to newer ‘sophisticated’ interests, yet not being quite ready to let go of many of those childhood playgrounds just yet.The sparkly appeal of Ninjago and Transformers characters and toys have started fading away ever so slightly around the edges.New obsessions entering the scene include Dan Pilkey books (like the ‘Captain Underpants’ and ‘Dogman’ series); Harry Potter characters, movies and books; and Taekwondo.Whatever new obsessions are taking over for the moment, our boy has still been the same steady chap. On the dot at 4.30pm every weekday, the tinkling sounds of piano practice will come floating out of the media room. Every morning after breakfast, the dishes in the dishwasher will be emptied…

What makes a year

The minute after Halloween is over, right on cue all the shops will be immediately be ablaze with Christmas lights, tinsel and decorations, Christmas carols playing over the sound system, gingerbread houses, Rudolph and Santa themed stock lining the shelves.And that’s when I know for sure…There goes another year.Nathan remarked at dinner recently one night, “I can’t believe it’s almost been a whole year! What did we do anyway?”Yes, what on earth did we do?So I flicked open my Instagram and began scrolling back through the photos with the kids peering over the screen. Soon both kids were exclaiming and echoing “Oh yeah! I remember that!” and “That’s right, we did that!”January: I remember now! we were in KK… and we stayed at that resort with those big lizards! …And fireworks! Australia Day, of course!February: Chinese New Year! We went to the city to see the lion dance!March: Oh yeah! We went camping! We climbed that big tower and dropped the balloons! And we went to that river and pa…

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