Monday, 30 July 2012

Ba ba black sheep craft @ Food for thought

After Friday school, the kids spent an evening out at Botanic Gardens, Food for thought. A cafe with an outdoor playground, colouring paper and crayons to keep the kids occupied. It's kids friendly with all day breakfast served till 5pm, and more food varieties from 11:30am onwards. A nice place to hang out for breakfast and with kids.

That evening, Js had lemon butter mushroom linguine ($14), which came in generous mountain of mushrooms. It tasted average to me, but a great dish if you really love mushrooms. I had a grilled barramundi fillet ($20), which was not too bad and my man had a bacon and sage wrapped chicken leg ($20), which was not to my liking. 

Kids waiting for food
Climbing fun at the playground
After dinner, the kids had fun at the outdoor playground. It was a 1:5 ratio, where the mummies were chatting and one daddy watched over the 5 little ones. Thank you man! They all had perspiring fun at the playground which we calmed their night by working on a ba ba black sheep craft.

Materials:
  • Sheep print (For tracing and cutting a black sheep)
  • White crayon
  • Black paper
  • Cotton Wool
  • Glue

1. Sheep print for cutting
2. Trace and cut the sheep from black paper and draw the outline and features with a white crayon

3. Put glue over the sheep's body and paste cotton wool over it
Big sis and little bro's sheep
An extremely simple craft work for the kids. The mummies have to cut the sheep out of the black paper for a quicker craft though. It was interesting to watch the kids create those uncombed looking sheep with different thickness and thinness of wool. They even sang the ba ba black sheep song as they crafted along. Great shepherds they are! 

Thank you mummies and kids for a lovely evening!
 

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Salt Art

Did salt art with Jazz some time ago. It's simple and fun! Other than preparing the colours for her on the palette, she did the rest herself.

Materials:
  • White glue
  • Paper
  • Dropper/syringe
  • Salt
  • Spoon
  • Poster colour
  • Tray (To hold the paper for mess free art)
  • Water
Put the paper on tray to prevent salt mess from the little fingers. Use a deeper tray if possible, we sure know how horrible things are when salt spills. At least it is not sugar.

1. Squeeze the white glue on the paper in random directions, anywhere
2. After which, sprinkle salt on the glue before it dries up
3. Used the syringe to coat on the colours she wants 
I left her artwork to dry for a day and got an awesome crystallized result. After drying, salt that doesn't stick well would fall off. I then laminated it to hold the salt in place, and so that I can put Jazz's craft onto her wall.
4. The final laminated artwork

It was a simple and quick art to complete, less the drying time.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Water play, Cake craft and Dinner @ Letoile cafe

We had great Saturday fun at Jazz's classmate, K's house today. The kids did water play, after which we all had craft and dinner at Letoile Cafe.

Water play and fishing!
Letoile cafe is pretty kids friendly, except that they didn't have kid's menu, but that wasn't crucial. The kids had great appetite, they ate huge amount of food! Having drive past this place almost daily when we send the kids to school, we finally got a chance to check it out. Their food was yummy and seats are well spaced. I love it for having a kids' table and stools!

On food, I ordered a chicken cordon bleu ($17.90), my man ordered a chicken ballotine ($18.90), which both were of great taste. Daddy TW ordered seafood tom yam pasta ($14.90), which he mentioned was great too. An interesting east west combination would be my next try if I ever pop in again. Prices are reasonable too. And they serve cakes and coffee/Tea. A nice place to read and surf on their free wi-fi.

The mini kids corner with some parenting magazines
And here's the highlight, Mummy J had a surprised craft session prepared for the kids. It's sponge cake craft! A simple and creative craft that kept the kids occupied till food arrived. For some reasons, be it school trained or peer pressure, the kids are all so focused when it comes to craft. Looking at the material of this cake craft, it could be mummy J's inspiration when she was washing the dishes or baking a sponge cake. That's how mummies get inspirations from the daily chores. Don't laugh if I ever use brooms and mops for craft!

Materials:
  • Dish washing sponge
  • Cotton balls
  • Cut felt cloth (Any small shapes)
  • Bow Tie pasta 
  • Straws (slant cut at bottom for poking as candles)
  • White glue
Dish sponges for washing their plates after dinner... Nah, it's for craft!

Toppings for the cake
Sticking with white glue
And their completed sponge cake! Looks Yummy!
This was an easy-make cake with no whisking, no baking and no washing! The kids simply chose their dish sponge colour and decorated with the provided 'ingredients'. They then topped it off with straw candles to match their ages. 21 straws for me. 

Thoughtful Mummy J had boxes for us to 'da bao' our cakes home!

Sponge cakes to go!
It's food time! Yummy spaghetti.
2nd level of the cafe
It surely was a fun filled evening with the parents and kids. I had fun decorating Jare's cake too! Ops, grown up enjoyed too. Thank you Mummy J for the water play invite and the creatively planned craft.


Letoile cafe at:
160 Owen Road
Singapore 218953

Saturday, 21 July 2012

A night out to USS

Early this week, together with my parents, elder bro, sis in-law and kids, we went to my corporate appreciation night out at USS, Sentosa. It was a weekday night, exclusively opened for staff from 730pm to 1130pm. The young and old had fun! My parents went on the carousel with my kids. It was a nice image to keep in memory when I saw my parents had fun like kids!

Jareth was expressionless on the carousel
My dad back to being a child!
As we toured along, I felt so bad when Jazz wanted to get on the many rides, and I've to tell her, "You're too short, Darling." Despite my efforts of giving her thick padded shoes, she was far from reaching the minimum height limits for certain rides. That evening, she went onto the Madagascar Boat ride, carousel, Shrek 4D and Lights, camera, action. Jareth did almost all too, except for the boat ride, which he did not qualify for the minimum height. For some reasons, the kids fussed towards the end of Shrek 4D and Jazz refused to wear those glasses as she knew images will be coming out. That probably explained why she didn't enjoy. 

With Shrek and Fiona
For the grown ups,  we went on the Jurassic rapid adventure, Battlestar Galactica (for the strong hearted) and the Transformers. We took turns to be with the kids, and I ensured my parents could enjoy more than myself. My favourite ride of all was the Transformers, it made me realised and appreciate the vast pace of technology. A 3D thrill ride that made my evening worth, apart from the family bonding. My dad enjoyed the ride and my mum shut her eyes throughout. All I can say is, quoting Optimus Prime, "Your bravery saved the planet."

Bumble bee!
Bus ride?
 It was a great night out for us. Jare dozed off in the park and Jazz had fun all the way till 11:30pm, she zonked out while we were on the way home. USS can be a place for the younger kids too, kids below 3 enter for free. But if you really want to have a thrilling day, leave the kids out. You won't like to have restless kids while queuing for rides that they can't get on. For myself, I get restless leaving the kids out of fun zone.  

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Talkative Thursday: A Mother's Instinct

I'm not sure how extreme or slight mothers trusts her instincts. I am definitely appreciative for this gift after having 2 kids, I practice and exercise it even at the most threatening moments. Every creature, even animals possess that motherly instinct. It's every mother's survival skill. It is simply putting a child’s needs before a mother’s own. Not one that science or wonders can explain, but what mothers can relate through experiences. Tagging it to a myth is what some think so. 

One dominant area I apply my instinct the most is when the kids are sick. And I’m usually the first to discover that the kids are ill or near being ill. Much before their daddy. 

Jazz was less than a month young. She threw up milk upon every feed. My then nanny suggested to take her to the doctor. I did so, thinking she’s more experienced than me, I had better obey. I was shocked to hear that we’ve to admit her, we did so anyway. That night in the ward, I got frustrated with the many change of doctors, no conclusions and disruptive moments to our rest. I asked to discharge the next morning. I knew she was fine, I knew her nanny was making a fuss, I knew and I knew we should be home instead of the hospital. I insisted on a discharge. We got home and she got well. 

Jazz was admitted to the hospital when she was about 30 months young. She ran a high grade fever, and so did us the parents. A day later, Jare was down with fever too. I had my kids apart, one in the hospital and one at home. I desperately needed to be with both of them, within my arms length. What got me even more down was running a fever too. After the 2nd night of stay, I knew I needed to consolidate both kids home, to care for them. Jazz pleaded to go home, and till now, I could still remember the happiness she expressed when we could make our way out of the ward to home. I insisted to get her discharged. It was tough when the doctor asked me to sign the disclaimer form for discharge. I had fears but I wanted to do what felt right. The very young female doctor kept explaining to me about Jazz’s condition and her roller coaster fever, but I knew she didn’t understand my mother’s instinct. I signed and got her discharged.

When we got home, her fever spiked up and down. Even up to 40 deg. What made me worse was when my mum asked me to send her back to the hospital. In midst of a panic state, I trusted my instinct. She ran a week of low and high fever and finally got well. We saw her paediatrician to ensure all was well.

This was the most risky decision I’ve ever made. Don’t be too quick to judge my impulse; you could have overlooked my instinctive qualities as a mother.

Jare had 3 spots on his face. I’ve no clue what they were, HFMD, Chicken pox or whatever. For an assurance, I brought him to a nearby clinic, as his paediatrician's clinic was closed. He concluded Jare as a chicken pox carrier. I doubted and I knew he was 99% wrong. I ignored his prescriptions and chuck it somewhere into the drawer when we got home. Following week, we went to his doctor; his diagnosis assured me that it was just insect bites. I felt comfort with his conclusion. As matched to my instincts.
   
The spots on Jare's face


Usually and eventually, I found out I was right.

A mother’s instinct is above and beyond times of illness. I use it to identify when Jazz tries to hide truths, I use it to identify her mood during conversations and sometimes through her drawings and crafts. It is what allows a mother to know what to do without researching or asking on how to care for a baby and child. While sometimes, a daddy baffles his way through. I’ve new mummy friends, including myself, with many doubts and queries on handling newborn. Upon Jazz’s arrival, I knew all worries were uncalled for. For every moment, mother’s instinct has prompted me on what to do, even when it comes to a fussy baby. Perhaps the fact that giving birth to a baby who lives inside our womb for so long enables us to forge a long standing connection to the innate side. How great mummies are!

A mother’s instinct is sometimes like a compass that guides and helps our child to remain safe and protected. I encourage every mum to try listening more of their instinct, act on it more than not. Although, sometimes a dilemma when instincts are of two minds, I’m sure a mum’s choice will stay the wisest and best for her children.

I believe many other mums have their very accurate intuitive moments too. If you think your child needs further medical attention, probe further or seek other opinions. Sometimes our motherly instincts can be nuisance to doctors or caregivers. And you may agree that the most dangerous zone to stand in would be between a mother and her child. It could turn a perfectly sane mum into a hysterical mum. And as I grow along with the kids, I’ll get more proficient in using this instinctive gift. 


Disclaimer: This being my personal blog allows me to share my personal experiences on mother's instinct. I hope one would have interpreted the correct intentions and exercise instincts with good common sense and knowledge.  





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Monday, 16 July 2012

Bringing Craft Outdoor - Decorating a Frame

Together with mummies Ang and XH, we brought craft out to Botanic Gardens. Mummy Ang bought photo frames from ikea for the kids to paint and decorate. Jazz painted red for it's border and pasted some ornaments on it. Ornaments included lady bugs, cut paper animals and fruits, buttons etc.

Painting the frames!
While the older kids worked on their frames, the younger siblings doodled and pasted stickers on their drawing paper. This kept them occupied for some time.

Jareth doodling
After Jazz completed her decoration, I asked her to draw our family faces, and I framed it in. Like a great achievement. Haha.

Pasting the ornaments
Completed Artwork!
Interestingly, she knows the boys should have short hair and the girls long hair. For some reason, I'm very in love with this completion of hers, which is now sitting beside her bed table.

The kids and their great Artworks!
Outdoor craft is an interesting alternative to consider. Sitting among the greens soothe the eyes and works the mind out of the usual classroom or home style environment. You could be in for a surprise artwork!

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Talkative Thursday - SAHM vs FTWM

It’s Talkative Thursday again, get coffee ready.

I’ve been thinking of life as a SHAM (Stay At Home Mum) and as a FTWM (Full Time Working Mum). For each title, there's every pros and cons to ponder upon. It’s always an imbalance trade off if one decides to forgo one for the other and the other for one. There's no perfect choice, but a personal decision of knowing what best for a Mum and her home. If you know my story, I was jobless when I carried Jazz in my womb. I left my then job without realizing I was pregnant. Since then, I had been bumming home till Jazz birthed and only went back to work when she was about 7 months young. I left her to an Infant Care, even though my man thinks I am the best care for her. I went on to pursue my desire and have since been working to date. Now, I have 2 little Js.

I know staying home wasn’t a good choice for me, I had problem keeping my sanity and back then, Jazz was less then 7 months, there wasn’t much I could do with her except following routines. I brought her to the void deck for strolls on most evenings, and gradually realized how much more I’ve been socializing with maids and old folks around my estate. I lost touch with trends. I did the housework, from cleaning to cooking and I knew this wasn’t ideal. I missed the pretty clothes hanging in my wardrobe and doing the make-up on my face. There wasn't any reason to upkeep myself since I was home bound most days. Being a SAHM gave me no sense of achievement and I knew I need to get my feet back to work.

While I work, I enjoyed that financial independence, without thinking what would my man think if I used his money for this and that. I’m not sure about other Mums, but I find it a hold back when I’ve to ask my man for money. During my jobless days, I took no allowance from him, as I thought being jobless could have been a burden to him. I lived by with my savings. I did not have to spend much for staying home anyway. My man took over all bills, including the groceries. These were of great help. My mum always tell me how ‘embarrass’ she is when she wants to get money from my dad. I'm surprised we feel alike. I did her  little favours by giving her surprise allowances and hinted my dad in being more automatic on allowances. Maybe Jazz can return that same favour when she's all grown up. Working gives me the slightly more spending power to get my needs and wants. And I think the love for shopping is one I find it most difficult to give up. I am not an extreme shopaholic, but I have desires for the kids and myself. 

Today, I’m back to thinking about life as a SAHM with 2 non-schooling little ones. It makes a whole lot of difference for having kids in school and homeschool kids. My weekends give me a prelude, but that’s with their daddy home. Situations could be different with just the 2 little ones and me. I definitely need to master the art of balancing spirit, mind and soul. It’s challenging, but I’m so looking forward to the day of being there full time for them.   

I want to start preparing good and healthy meals, with great snacks in between. I want to start gathering creative ideas to homeschool them. I’ll have to conduct music and craft sessions with them, with academics inclusive too. Being a SAHM is what another SAHM can identify with. The non-Mummies will tell me, "wow, be a tai tai, not too bad." And the real mummies will go, "wow, not an easy decision." My life as a SAHM will definitely not be about mahjongs, high-teas or shopping for Prada or LV. Where to birth money for those anyway. For me, it will be simply about kids and housework! Having them in tow to run errands, having them settled while I prepare meals, intervening when the squabbles get bad and the many more unlisted job description. Thank God deadlines are negotiable and I don't have to benchmark myself against any KPIs. There are no bonus or promotion to seek after, yet you want to do the job well. Amazing motherhood.  

And yes! In no time, Js will be withdrawn from school to spend time with me! End of this month marks my last few days at work. I have tendered my resignation. Not sure if this is a permanent move for me, but I want to make it the best and most fulfilling job ever, for at least 2 years. 

For the next 18 mths, we’ll be uprooting to USA, where the man will take on his sponsored scholarship. Air tickets booked and departure date set. It's not a sacrifice just for the kids, but for the man too. The decision of this huge move is just a whole new story to begin, shall share another time perhaps. Still in state of comprehending, I only know it definitely is a challenge to begin my new role in a totally new foreign land. 

Counting down the days, I am so looking forward to being there for the kids and making the most out of their everyday and my everyday. They are growing so quickly and before they outgrow the different stages, I want to enjoy the privileged bonding with them. I should be thankful for this opportunity.

Jazz in disagreement with my SAHM move?





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Monday, 9 July 2012

Zoo - The Unthrifty Way

It's Zoo trip again! The ever fun place to be in. A huge place that forces me to walk and walk. I love this form of exercise. This time we toured the place in a pretty expensive manner, on Saturday morning, from 10 a.m. to 5p.m.! A good 7 hours of fun. 
When you don't own a twin stroller
Rented wagon that served us well
Giraffe feeding
Elephant Riding
Water play
Pony Riding
On the carousel
On the horse carriage
Goat Feeding
I've to admit I've height phobia, so the man went on the elephant with the kids. While Jare was sleeping, Jazz went on the 3 in 1 - Pony ride, Horse Carriage and Carousel. Adults accompany free on the carousel. I sneaked in to have fun myself, though Jazz could managed her own. After Jazz's done with her activities, Jare woke up from his nap. Just in time to feed the goats! The bigger goats were really fierce, they used their horns to bang against the fence for food! I got a scare myself.  

And here's the damage to our wallets:
Cost breakdown:
Entrance - FOC (Corporate pass)
Wagon rental - $15
Giraffe feeding - $10 (2 plates of food)
Elephant Ride - $16 (Kids below 3, FOC)
Goat Feeding - $2 (Bucket of greens)
Pony ride + Carousel + Horse carriage - $10
Additional pax for horse carriage - $6
Lunch in zoo - $30
Drinks - $6
Total Expenditure: $95
Fun - Priceless!!!

I'm concluding that our local zoo isn't cheap to tour in, you pay premiums for the food, drinks and activities. I've always thought it's an attraction for simply tourists, and now we are victims to spending money in there too. Everything was of good fun though, especially exchanging for the smiles and laughters on Js faces. Jazz got home and raved to everyone about her zoo's day out, riding and feeding the animals. I then realised she had confusion over baby horse and pony. I asked her, "what do you call a baby horse?" She went "Pony!" It took a few times of corrections to finally know that a baby horse is called a foal. What an interesting confusion. And the really detailed - A female baby horse is called a Filly and a male baby horse a Colt.  

It's now a long long pause before the next zoo visit.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Creative Fun! Egg Craft

Jazz is a craft lover, some days she'll come to me saying, "Mummy, I want to do craft work!" I'm happy when she wants to get her hands to work, but I'll be challenged to come up with fun ideas. It's been some time since we got crafty, and now we're back to crafting fun. I've thought for days before deciding to work with Eggs! The kids favourite food, but we're just working with the shell. 

It's Egg craft day! First of all, plan to cook egg for meals, just so that you can keep the shell and not waste food. This is how to get an empty shell - While the egg is raw, use a chopstick to gently pierce through the top of it and empty the raw egg into a bowl for cooking later. After which everything else is easy. Let's go through the items and steps.

Things to gather:

  • 2 to 3 empty egg shells 
  • Colour papers
  • Thick paper (rolled up for eggs to sit on)
  • Hard cardboard to hold the completed works
  • Marker
  • Scissors 
  • Glue
  • dolls eyes (Optional)
We had fun with 3 eggs, but one broke due to rough handling. For the first egg, we tore the colour papers into small pieces and stick them simply onto the egg. I left Jazz to do all the pasting herself. It was a test of patience when she had to stick him gently and slowly, pieces by pieces. She failed on patience because she sought my help after getting too much of it.

1. The torn colour papers
2. The pasting - anywhere and any part
3. The completed Art
At the same time, I taught her a little origami by folding a boat. That was an extra 'lesson' to our craft work. 

And this was the egg she cracked while apply too much pressure on pasting. She tear when she cracked it. Maybe it really is painful to see hard work going down the bin. Before everything began, I've reminded her that this is a gentle artwork. Similar to toys and books, we need to be gentle so that we will not damage the things we love.
Cracked Egg
Next, we worked on the 2nd egg. Before we began, I drew an oval and got Jazz to conceptualize how she would 'decorate' a Humpty Dumpty Egg shell. She knew Humpty Dumpty is Oval and I even showed her a picture of it from her nursery book. I reminded her of clothes, hands and legs. But, this was what she drew:
1. Conceptualizing: Eyes, nose and moustache
 Never mind her drawing, I proceeded to guide her on completing our Humpty Dumpty.

2. Decorate half of the egg with torn coloured paper
3. Do him belt, eyes, legs, arms and hair

Paste on the belt, arms and legs that are cut in strips from the colour papers. Then, cut a few strands of black paper (Asian Humpty Dumpty), folding his 'hair' it to give style. Put the strands of hair into the pierced hole of the egg. Paste him doll eyes if you have, if not, drawing with a marker is good too.

This is almost complete, but some parts are missing - Nose and mouth. For it being our one and only Humpty Dumpty, I couldn't risk it. I drew a similar Humpty on paper and got Jazz to fill the nose and mouth, wanting to make sure she knows where to draw them. She got them right and I asked her to draw on the egg.

4. Test draw on paper
5. Draw the nose and mouth with marker
6. The completed Humpty
The man saw our Humpty and asked where are the king's horses and men. I said he could complete the rest. 

Next, roll the thick paper for the eggs to rest on. Cut the bottom to fan them out, so that we can paste them on a piece of hard cardboard. Put the eggs next to each other for companion, and now we're all good with the eggs. Use them as a pen, pencil or scissors holder.  

Eggs crafted with little Jazz and Mummy!
Upon seeing completion, the man asked if the other egg is Humpty's patched up girlfriend. Imagination is wild, keep it going! While my creative confidence is being boosted up, I had better plan more craft works with the kids. 

Photobucket

Egg Craft concluded the 2 weeks of "Creative Fun" among a group of mummy bloggers. This initiative was hosted by Alicia Tan, a homeschooling mum and is also a baby signing instructor. Her child, nicknamed Dumpling, is now 3.5 years old and is an early reader who counts Elmer and Curious George as some of her favourite titles. Alicia and Dumpling enjoy art and craft time, outdoor investigative fun learning through field trips and excursions where she sometimes has more fun than Dumpling. She blogs about her parenting and home learning journey at: an accidental homeschooling mum.



Blogroll of other inspiring crafts:

June 21 - Alicia @ Mister Seahorse

June 22 - Adeline @ Decorating a Photo Frame with polymer clay
June 23 - Sandra @
Dinosaur Galore
June 24 - Winnie @ 
Recycled Train Craft
June 25 - Susan @ 
Building a Farm
June 26 - Ann @
Goopy Goodness
June 27 - Justina @ 
Celebrating Spring
June 28 - Adora @
Creating a Family Tree
June 29 - Regina @
Smoop Dogg
June 30 - Sarah @
Crazy Box Cake
July 1 - Jennifer @  Plant Poke

July 2 - Pamela @ Make Your Own Car

July 3 - Ming Yuan @ 
DIY Carousel Craft
July 4 - Dominique @  
Making a Subway