Monday, 16 December 2013

Christmas Tales

We specially love the Christmas atmosphere here. Other than waking up to freezing mornings, like a single digit degree Celsius weather, we've been constantly soaked with Christmas songs, stories, gifts, beautiful home decorations and activities. We filled our almost everyday with fun. We've watched 2 musicals, Elves and the shoemaker and the Little match girl. We've wrapped and gifted pressies to little ones in our neighbourhood. Thank you uncles and aunties for pressies too! We've put up our tree and deco outside the house. We're all set, but we are gonna be away for Christmas. For sure, Christ-mas is in our heart, wherever we are.

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Blue Christmas
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Therapeutic to sight such deco in our neighbourhood
There's so much we can do, before 25th arrives. Yesterday, as Js ended their last school day, we went on the train to Christmas town. We boarded and went through a magical ride. We listened to a story on board, met its characters and of course, the most important person of all, Santa! It was a delightful and happy train ride, we enjoyed it as much as the kids. We had hot chocolate and cookies served by elves, sang Christmas carols and little ones received gifts from Santa.

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Pre-boarding excitment
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Went off board into the very cold air
It was quite an extraordinary ride to nowhere. And interestingly, that day, Jazz had been telling me lots of Christmas stories about reindeer and Santa! Coincidentally, Mummy Hy told me about these stories too, which her 9 year old is still believing. Stories which in our country, don't practice these traditions. Simply, they're  beautiful white lies to convince little children that Reindeer, elves and Santa exist! I grinned and flowed along as Jazz told me about saving carrots for Santa's reindeer, making cookies and milk for Santa! 

I've once told her that Santa doesn't exist in real, but her peers have overtaken me. I couldn't believe my eyes when Js picked up their courage to tell Santa their wishlist after the train ride! Jazz loitered around Santa for a while, before she boldly stepped forward to tell him, "Santa, I want a toy for Christmas!" "What toy would you like?" said Santa, with those kind eyes. "I want a princess!" Santa looked up to her daddy, nodded his head and said, "I'll see what I can do." Jare did likewise, he told Santa that he wanted a dusty plane toy. I smiled at their faith and innocence, I couldn't bring myself to burst their bubble of fantasy.I just couldn't.

These imaginary and pretends can be really distressing. That's a lot of work parents need to follow up on. Putting the carrots out for reindeer, making cookies for Santa and ensuring that good evidence is left after the visit. I know it's ridiculously crazy! But somehow, it warms my heart to see that little faith in them. Their innocence, that genuine thought and that interesting childhood that's so different from mine. I am so going to play along! I know Christmas isn't all about these, it's about truth, love and celebrating the reason for the season. I've carefully done my part in reading the true Christ-mas story for Js and reminding them that it's the birth of Christ that we're celebrating for. 

This morning, with much beliefs in Jazz, she told me,"You know what, Mummy? I believe in Santa!" And guessed what went on? She wrote a letter to Santa!!! Next, I guess I'll have to mail it to the North pole. Someone give me Santa's address, please?!

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Letter to Santa
It says, "Dear Santa, we are saving some carrots for your reindeer."

I just wonder how long will this magical story of reindeer and Santa stay in our household. It's a totally different environment when we get back. At least, it's a fun story we made this year. I love jotting this part of memory. On second thought, maybe Christmas is also interestingly, what being a parent is all about. I've gotten carrots, cookies, milk and their wishlist all set! 

Parents, would you move along the imaginary story of Santa or would you knock fantasy out of their little minds? I'm so keen to know the different sides of truths and stories.

I'm lengthy because it's soon vacation time, time to be away from home and routines. There's just so much to share, but most importantly, Papa, mama and Js want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New year! Take a sabbatical break from blogging, job and routines to bond with our loved ones. Wrap the year well, and stay bless with many good returns ahead!


Sunday, 15 December 2013

Last school day

Tendered Js resignation from school. Yesterday marked their last day with the preschool they've been attending quite faithfully for the past 10 months. It's always the most difficult part to say goodbye. And it seemed not too long ago, that they settled into the routine of school, teachers and friends. I saw how my little boy grew from those crying and leg tugging days to walking independently for lessons and play. Some days, walking to his seat excitedly without giving me my needed hugs and kisses.

It's been a great learning journey. They've made many new friends, learned much about the social, culture and traditions. I like it that they brought some Spanish language into the house. 

It was a tough decision, but we knew it was a matter of time. Only 4 more months and we'll be back to where we call home. Farewell is in the time to come. Js requested to pack some goodbye gifts for their teachers and friends. I couldn't agree more.

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The season made it easy to get gifts
As we countdown our precious days, I'm also all ready to receive Js full time at home. I had been on a long vacation while they went to school. I had a very good amount of time to stay sane by doing the things I love. I brought in my occasional routine of Zumba and jogs, did some painting classes, Bible studies, played on the keyboard, watched some dramas, read and found my long lost love, in ballet. It had been an awesome journey, as a part day, SAHM. And of course, this made my evenings, much more precious than before, spending quality time with them.

On their last school day, teachers helped Js to prepare these greetings for us:

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Jazz to us!
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Jare to us!
Awesome works! Thank you Ryan Ranch for the inspirations, knowledge shared and journey explored! Where through your doors, pass the most incredible children in the World.

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The doors we 'in and out' for months
  24/7 mum in the making, breathing in and out....

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Ornament exchange

It's a Christmas tradition that I recently participated with my group of Bible study ladies, ornament exchange. I was caught for a little while. I knew what a gift exchange was, but never thought much about an ornament exchange. I wasn't too sure if I read the game right, I goggled and affirmed my doubt. It plays like a gift exchange, except that we exchange ornaments. Now I see light in the many interesting ornaments that are sold individually in stores.

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Ornaments prettily wrapped
The interesting part is, if you don't like the ornament you got, you can 'steal.' someone's else. Depending on the game master on how many times you can steal. Fun huh! I wasn't a stealer, I kept what I got. Gotten a set of ornaments in exchange for an ornament.

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An ornament for ornaments
Consider doing an ornament exchange, it's fun! You'll realised how much more pretty ornaments out there. Each piece seemed good on your tree, even if there wasn't a theme.

Friday, 13 December 2013

Little Gingerbread house

We did our little Gingerbread house, our first! Ok, we did it the cheat way. Bought a ready made set off the supermarket shelf. It was all so simple and fun. Great enjoyment we had! I did the really tough part, spread the icing, and Js decorated it their way.

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Decorating Fun
As much as the kids, I enjoyed getting my hands embarked on this tiny project. Like a childhood dream fulfilled. I got questioned many times, while working on the project, "Can we eat the candies, please?" I firmly said 'No.' I fear we wouldn't stop eating, like how a buffet does to us. They all looked so candylicious. Now that I re-think about it, popping some candies is part of the fun. Perhaps, next year.

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Yums!
And here are two Js brought home from school. Made with graham crackers. Simply wonderful!

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Looking good
All 'houses' will sit prettily till the year crosses. In Singapore's environment, the 'houses' would probably be eaten up by ants or not able to withstand the humidity. Again, I say, we love the weather here! Next round, I promise, I'll try making one from zero.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Riot in Little India

Riot in Little India! I received text messages on my phone. Not thinking too much about it, I thought it was nothing alarming. As we caught up with our day, we caught up with news. I was totally appalled at the damages and destruction done from this rebellious act. Boldness and multitude of anger must have triggered those gravely acts. It's been 44 years since the last racial riot, is this for real?!!

I live in Little India. At least, for the past 4 years, before our big move. I've served some short term as a member of the Residents committee and I know how situation is like on a typical Sunday. We have made every good effort to ensure that the residents and foreigners are comfortable and soundly safe. Upon reading the news, I knew it happened on a Sunday, when foreign workers gather faithfully every week to meet and catch up with friends at any spots along the road, pavement or fields. As residents, we would drive our Sundays home with the horn intermittently pressed. From drivers perspective, that's our frustration. But, I have lived with it, since I chose to buy a home in the heart of Little India. It's truly a place where you can almost experience the road crossing culture from Bombay. They seize every road crossing opportunities, whether safe or unsafe. Drivers have to be extremely cautious with those lives on the road. And once, a friend of mine came by our house, drove and honked, got his boot kicked by a one of the crosser. Which also explained why I don't receive friends on Sundays. After much absorption of news, I began to have this morbid thought, if I were the driver who killed the pedestrian that day, I would have been killed to death by the rioters!

There were many buses around that time, on that day because, that's where their transport come by to send them back to their dormitories. I've been once or twice a pedestrian on a Sunday night, when making my way home. There were rowdy crowds and individuals, and as a lady, I do get stares, but I still feel safe. Looking at how the crowd wouldn't strictly walk on pavements, It's amazing at how this area can be accident free for so long. In crowded situations like this, it's quite a human's responsibility to look out for their safety.

Now that it happened, power driven by numbers, it definitely is a good root reason to retaliate. I gathered reports, the people were angered because they were being pushed by the police from getting near the accident site and that it took long for paramedics to arrive. I know auxiliary police patrol the area very frequently on Sunday nights for crowd control. It makes sense to manage crowd, making the scene ready for rescue work. I wouldn't think gently asking everyone to back off works. I know how Sunday nights are like in there.

I'm in a foreign land myself now, and I've been the ears and eyes of a citizen in my own land. I know how discriminating these workers have felt in their hardworking days, and we know how unjustified lives can be for them. Let me cite an incident. Some years ago, while I was walking home from the MRT after a long work day, I was appalled by this young mum who raised her voice at a seemingly foreign worker to me. She was with her, perhaps 3 or 4 year old daughter. They walked by each other and the man patted the little girl's head. This got the mum's nerves agitated, she stopped and sternly reprimanded him, "I told my daughter that no strangers should touch her. Can you please apologize to her, for touching her!" I was so taken aback, I thought I should step in to 'rescue' the plight of this man. But I knew, it was no business of mine, I continued my walk. It's no wonder the new generation do not learn peace. I know it can be offending when strangers touch our child, but it's public, it's open, it's not like she's been molested. Does he deserved to be raised at? The man apologized anyway. I thought things might be different if someone else of a different profile patted the girl.

With much comments and blames everywhere, online and offline. I know our country is still a place of stability, with a strict law abiding. It's true that we should not tolerate such senseless acts, but with mature minds, we should move on to recover and trust. I wasn't even birthed since our last riot, we have new blood in every industry and for such readiness test, it was a very good job done. I'm proud of  our law enforcers! 

This a space where I blog my parenting journey, I borrowed some space to tribute salute to the heroes who risked their lives for peace. It's history making and it will get marked in their textbooks. To survive as a united country, we must learn to solve conflicts assertively and nonviolently.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Thanksgiving week

Thanksgiving is a Big thing to the Americans here. Seemingly, like our Chinese New Year, schools are on half day on the eve, followed by a 2 days holiday. We had an extremely long weekend. And thanks to Ja, we were invited to a thanksgiving lunch and dinner. That was also when I realised, thanksgiving isn't about sale and shopping, but reunion, family, friendship and food! I meant I know that, but was quite oblivion about its true existence, till now.

Same time last year, I was busy shopping through the wee hours with crowds, joining queues after queues for deals. This year, it was a whole lot of new experience. We had a pot luck lunch at Lou's neighbourhood. He kindly extended the invite to our family. I brought curry chicken, as I find it the easiest to present, as a Singapore dish. When the food line was opened after a blessed prayer, I was wow-ed by the spread and I am very inspired to try more American recipes. We had our tummies covered from appetizers to dessert. Deliciously awesome beyond words! We left the place with an extremely heavy tummy! We couldn't even walk well.

In the evening, with still much food digesting in our body, we drove up to Pastor Lo's ranch for another round of feast. It was a day of overwhelming food blessing. We were not only awed by the food, but also by the animals he kept in his ranch. There were 24 chickens, 5 cats, 1 goat and 1 dog! Hope I didn't miss the counts. The kids had a great time of pet therapy. And the adults engaged in a wonderful time of conversations. I've learned so much from Pastor, he's such an inspiration, and a man who brings great blessings to people around him. I've never met a family with such great hearts and minds, their home is so filled with love and kindness. They are blessed with 5 children of their own and still, they are trying to adopt children from the World. It's mind blowing!

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Thanks Maria for the spread!
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Jazz love the cats!
It was a great week! Truly! Nice meeting some locals and knowing more about their tradition. Extremely thankful for the people God placed in our lives. The ones who blessed and loved us, the ones who inspired us, the ones who moulded our characters from the amount of patience and tolerance we went through with them, the ones whom we learned a whole new set of experience and knowledge from. Thank you!

And shopping! Of course I did my good part in helping boost the local's economy. I did some slight shopping after dinner, at our nearest outlet stores. It was only my full force shopping on Black Friday, I unleashed my long stored power for a shopping marathon. It's a pity that my favourite stores were tagged with long queues, I had to sorely give it a miss. And friends who sent their good buys to my home, don't forget my kindness. Haha. Just kidding, it was easy.

In midst of these busy days - feasting, shopping and home shopping (online), I've to confess that I've been quite an indecent mum and wife. We had packed meals, late meals and the kids were left playing aimlessly everyday. They have been such good shopping companions when we shopped the whole day out, they napped, snacked and had some time on the ipad. For now, shopping's over, it will be a long long time before I madly spree again. Thankful for my loots!


Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Thankful Jar

We just ended a week of Thanksgiving. To advocate the spirit of thankfulness, I've been conversing with Js about the things that we are thankful for. I know thankfulness should be within our soul, heart and mind, all the time. But it was in the atmosphere that led us into this subject of conversation.

We did a Thankful Jar. A jar where we put our thankfulness within. Js told me about the many things they were thankful for, I wrote it and they dropped it into the jar individually. As we went along, we realized there are just so many happy things around us, be it little or big. They were even thankful for the Christmas tree set up in our house. We may not have all the goodness and richness of this World, but we were never in lack. For myself, I'm eternally thankful for the past 1 year plus, where we had this opportunity to shift home to a much much bigger country, with so much explorations and treasures. My time with the man and kids had been so memorable. So little time here, so much to bring home. Yes, we are packing up soon!

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Thankful for his Toy cars!
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Our thankfulness within
Above the things they possessed, they drifted to thanking for the flowers and leaves that recently blossomed in our backyard. And for the things that are yet to be possessed or seen, Jare claimed them. He's thankful for a turkey! That convicted me to bake one for him, and I did it with Mummy D! My inaugural turkey, with stuffing made from scratch. It certainly helped with 2 pair of hands and minds. Our turkey tasted awesomely good! Thankful for the great turkey making experiment and simple pre-thanksgiving dinner we had with mummies, daddies and kiddies!

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Our 11 pounds turkey
Now, I think I'm hooked on baking a turkey! Will definitely bake one back in SG. Hopefully the birds there aren't too exuberant.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Homeschooling can be fun

The creative part of my mind is always challenged when it comes to Jare and learning. It's extremely tough to get his attention on academics. I have to constantly excite him, with an attempt to make learning an ultimate pleasure for him. My best thought was to get his cars and planes involved. His all time favourite.

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Placing the cars and planes upon my number call
Jare can count almost perfect to 20, but when it comes to recognising the numbers, he's probably not quite there yet. And when I'm in the right mood to sit him down for learning, he seemed to prefer setting his eyes on some other distraction. A total different personality from Jazz, who always seemed hungry for new knowledge. 

I used his cars and planes to help identify the numbers. Asked him to put 'Dusty' on 1, and 'Woody' on 5, and on and on, he could score perfect. I affirmed that homeschooling him requires a variety of fun. How intensive is that for his mama?!! I hope I've exemplified the meaning of learning through play.

Then we moved on to numbers tracing. I got him to move a car along the writing direction of the number, he could do it well, as if the car was on an imaginary race track. After which, he did pencil tracing and counting. He usually misses a count or two during counts, especially when distracted. When it comes to counting his cars, it was easy peasy. What an astonishing chemistry, boys and cars!

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Diligently tracing 6
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Going through 7 and counting cars
And, I started him on paper cutting! Taught him some scissors skills, position those fingers and ready... open and close, open and close. He did a great maneuver with his first successful piece of work. It was with minimal assistance. Under close supervision, no harm was done to any of his fingers. Proud of this little boy.


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Excellent attempt
Like most mums, I get my dose of frustration when it comes to teaching Js. I breathe in and out countless times, to keep anger away. My homeschooling tips are all about:
  1. Patience, loads of it!
  2. Enjoy the process.
  3. Perfect time, when both are into the flow.
  4. Drink lots of water! It boosts concentration.
  5. Think of creative ways to capture attention and interest.
  6. Don't get too perfect on them. That crooked A or B is perfectly imperfect.
  7. Encouragements. Healthy self esteem. They do better when they feel better.
  8. Set a routine. It can be abrupt to stop play or an act to get into the serious stuff. 
  9. Praises and rewards. I'll paste a sticker or stamp on each completed work. Js love it!
  10. Know when to stop. Signs of fatigue or listlessness indicates it's high time to stop and relax. There's no hurry, to each at their own pace. We know every child is uniquely different.

Homeschooling can be challenging, but we have choices to make teaching and learning interestingly fun.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Family game nights

Games stimulate little minds and build family bonds. I love it that we do family game nights, be it board games or self invented games, I love every part of our play. More importantly, I like the values and skills set that can be taught in different games. 

We learn to play games by rules, create rules and sometimes with compassion, play out of the rules. The kids pick up game ethics, they learn to wait, take turns, cheer on each other and experience the emotions of victory or lost. Jazz grew from a bad sport to a good sport after umpteen times of games playing. She couldn't face defeat, but now, she knows its not about the end result, but the journey.

We house many board games, some of which were inherited from my kind neighbour who shifted out. Other than age appropriate board games, here are some easy, out of the board, games we play with our time together. 

1. Hot or Cold
Js love it when I hide a treat or an object that requires effort to search. I'll define a specific area for them to comb. When they get near, I'll hint 'Hot, which means they're near the target. 'Cold' and it means far away. They'll form their task force, discuss their strategy and begin search. And of course, to not ruffle much with tidiness, make object an easy search. Then, we take turns to hide.
Objectives: Reward comes with effort. Patient and teamwork.

2. Memory
Gather a few small items and hide it under a blanket. Open up and give them about 10 seconds to remember the items, then cover up again. Test their memory with what they saw. They always outshine me in this. As their memory gets better, mine deteriorates.
Objectives: Memory builder and concentration

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Working their little brain
3. Guess me
Our favourite road trip game. I would have a thing in mind, and do up a riddle for it. For example, I've chair on mind, I'll go,"People sit on me, I'm always found with the table and I've 4 legs." Be surprise with their replies. They are sure excited to get it right. For Jare, I'll go for a really simple one. I love playing this game not only because it works our thinking cells, it also helps build their knowledge, vocabulary and sentence structure when they hear the riddle. And when they build their own riddle, I'll either be impressed or depressed with their knowledge and structure. A mother, a teacher.
Objectives: Creativity,  Academics - Language, general knowledge

4. Scissors, Paper, Stone
Place a target or treat at the end of a flight of steps. Start from the top or bottom. Play the traditional scissors, paper, stone. Winner takes a step down or up towards the target. Whoever reaches the target wins or keeps the yummy treat. I usually play few rounds, till both child gets their fair treat. This is when you know compassion rules the game.
Objectives: Reward comes with effort, patient

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Jazz leading the game

5. Hide and seek
This is old school, but we know its fun! Play too often, and you'll run out of places to hide. So play this once in a long long while. Kids love repetition anyway. Js loves this game and they can be really good hiders at times.
Objectives: Hide in teams for team work, learn to stay quiet and count while waiting


Remove skills and values out of the objectives, playing games as a family not only makes everyone happy, it also creates meaningful lasting memories. Have you some nights set aside for games too? All you need is a little fraction of some daily time. We know they won't want to play with us forever.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Thank You postcards

How often do we slow down and meditate upon thankfulness... When my mind's out of track, its probably high time to refill thoughts with gratefulness, instead of getting all cooped up in negatives. Yes, I'm meditating on Thankfulness. My lovely two. 

In my realistic parenting realm, I must admit there are extreme struggling moments when I felt like Js should be reverted into the womb. Or, "Did I actually birth you?!!" I have such days with my ever challenging kids. 

One day, with much thankfulness within, I decided to start writing them postcards through the mail. I wrote and confessed the good deeds and characters in them, hopefully upon reading, it will put some beaming smiles on their faces. Every young and old appreciates encouragement. While trying to pen my appreciation, I was appalled at my lost of words. I ran through my mind again and again, I must have been always obsessed with the bads over goods. What an unappreciative parent I've been! I'm learning.

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We cheated. Omitted stamps and had them directed to the mailbox by hand
The kids were surprised to receive their postcards. It probably boost them up a little when I read through the appreciations. 

Today, I'm thankful to them for being always so forgiving. I have my bad days, frustrated instances and impatient moments. I yelled, I smacked, I threw tantrums the grown up way, yet, all in all, they held no grudges, they forgive and forget. Whenever I'm drowned in my sea of guilt, they could still hug and kiss me like nothing happened. I sigh in dismay when I see part of me, mimicked in their wrongdoings. I should often be blamed, rather than taking authority advantage over them. It's a horrible feel to apologize for my wrongs. Parenting pride, I guess.

And yes, it's obvious that my no yelling/anger project failed 2 big times. I'm not confident to even start on it again.

We know the same parenting style might not work through their growing years. As innocent and dependent they are now, they can be truly forgiving. In their future years, a wrong parental decision or move could turn their faces away from mine. It's not totally true that parenting gets easy. I shall not worry about the unforeseen though. 

Meanwhile, as long as it lasts, thank you Js for being so bearable with me.

Have you some thankfulness to write or say to your little ones too?

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Halloween celebration (II)

Big kids and little kids had a wonderful Halloween time around our neighbourhood. It was exciting that our SG community gathered and trooped off for trick or treats. You have no idea how adorable the little ones were, when donned in their costumes! Jare was his Sulley, and Jazz successfully convinced us to buy a new set of costume, she was Jessie from Toy Story. I decided not to spare myself by doing up as a nerd. I love nerds, intelligent and simple minded is my definition. And my man is quite like this. Haha.

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We are the Nerd couple!
While we're out, we left a box of treats out of home. Little kids can come by for their treats, without walking off disappointed. I wised up this Halloween, bought no candies. Instead, 'recycled' the candies Js collected from the earlier events. And some of which, ET flown over from SG. Oops! But, that's because they're just too much for us.

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Our self made treat box
We went trick or treating from door to door. If I were a child, I would just be as excited. Imagine countless of candies being dropped into the buckets, unconditionally! And heard some kids went:

"Trick or Treat,
Smell my Feet,
Give me something good to eat."

The little ones are totally adorable! It was definitely an exciting and interesting evening. Costumes of all kinds, the horrifying, the friendly and the out of the world! Houses were adorned impressively and some, horrifically! 

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The views I took while on a morning jog

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Blending myself for Trick or treat!
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With Mr Frakenstein
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"Our Mummy's a nerd!"
After collecting treats, we had a mini Halloween dinner with JO and his mum. It was a pumpkin night. Pumpkin soup, pumpkin pasta, pumpkin bread and pumpkin bread pudding! Sounds like the only time of the year when we'll use pumpkins excessively in the menu. We had a great time feasting! With some candies too. 

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Pumpkin Delight
Halloween in the west is definitely an occasion we'll truly miss. In time to come, do we have to farewell such fun?!! For now, we are just so troubled about the excessive sugar collected.

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Just too much!

And for fun, I pranked the kids on the, "I ate your candies test". I had such a great time laughing at Jazz's reactions. Jare on the other hand was nonchalant about his candies. Pardon their messy mane and sleep suits, I video-ed it not long after they met sunshine.


This certainly is another memorable Halloween experience. Happy Halloween everyone!

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Autumn

It's Autumn when you see those fallen oak leaves. Absolutely a beautiful sight when oak leaves are gathered on ground. Autumn days get colder, sky gets gloomier, sunlight hours get shorter and outdoor play gets lesser.

Then, awaiting Winter. It's our last Autumn here, and we decided to store some memories by playing with oak leaves. 

Loving the pictures we took!

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Lovely leaves
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Love this shot!
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Enjoying leaves play
And having been through a year of four seasons, Summer is still the best month for everything!

Childlike-Ness

 Caught a Disney on Ice show with the kids, at San Jose. The kids enjoyed and according to Jazz, "Best Show ever!" And that's what she says after every Disney performance.

To me, I'm just glad that the tickets were at a good buy. So much cheaper than watching one in SG. Jare didn't need a ticket, he was still entitled to our lap seat. Savings savings.

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"Under the sea"
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Intermission = Snack time
Moments like this compelled me to get the really unhealthy, yet satisfying into our tummies. Popcorn and cotton candy! The best entertainment companions. I was the big one craving for cotton candy.

Sometimes, I feel so clueless about doing the things that doesn't define me at all. I remembered some years ago, while I was still dating the man, I fell asleep at such a similar show. Today, with the inclusion of two little beings, I identified most parts of the show and simply enjoyed watching it with them. It's true that in a part of us, there is a child likeness that doesn't outgrow. The kids sometimes make me feel like a child again! De javu at times. Simply sweet.

My man on the other hand thinks he's getting bored with the classics. It would be more exciting to bring cars and planes on ice!  

Monday, 28 October 2013

Halloween Celebration (I)

It's time of the year when spookiness creeps in again! It's Halloween! Our last experience of the spooky western life, before we head home for the next. 

As a parent, the really exciting part about Halloween is sourcing for child friendly costumes for the little ones. I've been thinking about what costumes to get for the kids, until I realised, it's no more about my preferences, but their choices. I had to bring them along to costume shop. Which of course took more effort to get a perfect fit, because both Mum and child have to agree on the purchase. In any case, it was agreed that Jare will play Sulley from Monster Inc. and Jazz, still much into princesses, will play Rapunzel, which she already has. Phew, savings! And Mummy a boring wonder woman, Daddy a boring superman. Still, the heroes of this family.

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Thanks Dank for this pic
It was a fun filled day yesterday. We went for a Halloween celebration organized by the housing committee and after lunch, went church for another round of Halloween Carnival. The kids had fun, and so did we!

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Our treat bags!
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Sulley and his fire truck
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Bouncing fun
With bold parents and timid kids, we walked the haunted house. An in-house production with really good effects and actors. I've never had Jare cling onto me so tightly before, he was terrified! And we walked out with crying kids. What an eerie encounter for them!

Event no. 2

The kids seemed to have forgotten about nap when a day is packed with fun. And since nap was abandoned, we went for another Halloween carnival at church. It was absolutely fun and extremely family friendly, no zombies, no scares and no crying kids. Cute costumes everywhere!

We loved the trunks and treats, where Js went car to car to collect treats with their buckets. It was interesting to see how families do up the trunks of their car with themes! I'm creatively impressed and inspired!

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Treat collection from 'Where's Willy'
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Luigi from Super Mario!
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Interesting car
The kids had unlimited fun at the many game stalls and they loved every part of the challenges. I loved watching their expressions of success and failure. For every little effort, the kids were rewarded with a prize ticket, which accumulated, entitled them to exchange for a prize. 

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Knock them down!
And I thought the kids must be really drained and exhausted after a day of fun, they proved me wrong by asking for another round of bouncy fun. I admire their source of energy when it comes to fun.

It was a truly awesome day! Heartfelt thanks to all volunteers who availed and put up this excitement for everyone.

Awaiting 31st October for more fun... 

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Universal, Seaworld and shopping!

It takes loads of energy for fun. It wasn't too long ago that we just packed and unpacked from a recent Disney trip. Not soon after settling into the comfort of home, it was the long weekend and we hit the road again. We drove down to Universal Studio, Hollywood and Seaworld, San Diego. The highlight of all, was having shopping in our itinerary. We had a mad time of shopping at Dessert Hills premium outlet. Which according to me, is the best place to shop on Earth.

11 Oct - Universal Studio, Hollywood
It wasn't our first visit, but we don't seem tired of its studio tour. Ever amazing! Jazz could get on more rides this time and we had a pleasant surprise of meeting the minions. So cute! The park was donned to Halloween's theme, with zombies lying all around. It was insane that ET and I cowardly walk through the house of horror, with just our two-sleves. Where did courage go? It was horrifying! Actors and props are of Hollywood standard! 

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They are really 'petite'
12 Oct - SeaWorld, San Diego
Also not our first visit, but we had more fun this round because there were different stations in the park for trick or treat. Though only managed to cover 7 out of 10 stations, we had good fun. I joined in for the treat fun, collected so much candies that our Halloween treat supplies have been covered!

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My man always think he has 3 children. I agree!
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Killer whale. My ever beautiful looking mammal
13 to 14 Oct: After theme parks, we stayed at a beautiful town called palm springs, and while driving from here to our happy shopping destination, we made pit stops with interesting sights.

Wind farms - Natural form of energy generation is found in some parts of the states. And we thought these windmills look beautiful standing just as it is. Decided to stop for a portrait with these hardworking mills.

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Windmills are beautiful when gathered
World's Largest Dinosaur - Driving from Palm dessert to LA, it's almost impossible to miss 2 gigantic dinosaurs alongside. We were compelled to stop. Nope, we didn't pay to enter the museum, we were contented with just the outside. 

This T-Rex is the same fellow who appeared in the movie, 'Pee-Wee's Big Adventure.' Perfectly alright not to hear of this movie, it was a 1985 film. I suppose, as young as we may be, it's alien to us.

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World's largest indeed!
Shopping concludes it all. The most deadly kind of happiness is shopping! It drains money out of us, gradually and surely. I confess, I lost much sanity while shopping. The aftermath is lethal!  

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The combined forces of 2 women
And this is what I meant by, happiness comes with a price, a heavy price tag! ET came with 1 luggage, went home with 2. Shopping has a new definition for her. Other than the regret of National Parks being closed, I think we've presented the best of California to ET. Hope you've enjoyed your stay, friend!