Friday, 28 February 2014

Our first paper outfits!

Am recently inspired by this mother and daughter pair, who made extremely awesome Paper dresses. You read me right, it's papers! A friend sent me the link, and I was so awed by it. First thought was, if paper dresses looked so good, why did I have to spend much money on the washables? And of course, after waking up from amazement, I knew that thought wasn't to be entertained further. 

And since I'm blessed with a wonderful daughter, paired with my secret desire of fashion designing, I got my hands crafty to tailor Jazz a 2 piece outfit. Having some gift tissue papers sitting in the house definitely brought words into swifter action. It took me about 15 minutes to transform idea into product, and 10 minutes to get them dressed on Jazz. I had a good laugh over my amateur outcome. 

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Tube top with yarn as belt, and a red mini skirt
If you ask me how it was done, I'm sure the product explained, "anyhow!" Work with whatever resources found in the home.

I must say Jazz had been such a good sport, fashion vanity must be hereditary! Oops, what did I just confess. She anticipated my product excitedly and patiently allowed me to prepare her for our project runway. As hilarious as it may look, I thought it looked quite well on her. And honestly, this is the first in her 4 years that I've dressed her so skimpily. Revealing much skin isn't a good introduction at her age, I know.

It's kinda addictive once we did our first outfit. I'm thinking about our 2nd design already! So much fun, but we knew, we couldn't wear it a second time because of my bad taping, and that we literally ripped the clothes apart when removing. Aww, much work down to trash. It seemed like I had more fun than Jazz over this project. Jare is jealous, so I'm working on a boy's idea as well.

Join me and try it too! 

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Eggy Fun

As a cooking mum, I recently began to crack eggs carefully and differently, to get an almost perfect eggshell. If I have egg dishes in my menu, I would carefully prick the bottom with a chopstick, to release the white and yolk for an empty shell. I cooked the raw, while the kids took over the fragile. Washed it clean and they poured their creativity over these cute little humpty dumpties!

All you need is just colourful markers! I used permanent ones, to make their creativity stay. So yes, get them to work in safe zones and outfits.

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My markers that were on loan for creativity
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A balding humpty
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"How should I design?"
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Their display of egg museum
It was all about giving them that opportunity to flow creatively. Aside from the usual papers, I loved it that we worked with eggs. There was once Jazz broke her work, she cried buckets, but I guess it was a good learning experience, to be cautious and gentle with the really fragile. Their works had no traces of my intervention, they were all as authentic as it can be and proudly sitting in their egg museum. Are we too early for Easter?!!

These days, I get the same questions whenever I kitchen in. Jazz would go, "Are you cooking eggs today?"

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

My boy turned 3!

Terrible 3 or Terrific 3? I'm hoping and believing in the latter. Although, I must admit he has been having too much of his moments these days. Drove me mad to the walls umpteen times, but if sanity allows, I'll bounce back to resolve our battles together.

To maximise our weekend fun in the theme parks, it was decided that we will celebrate his birthday a day late with our neighbourhood friends, upon returning home. I'm glad party happened with balloons, food, cake and candles complimenting. Birthday party planning drains quite some energy out of me, but I knew it was one of the few occasions in a year that I get happily busy with. Setting his favourite theme was easy, between cars and planes, he chose planes. That made my buying and planning targeted.
On food - In addition to ordering pizzas, I whipped up pasta, broccoli salad and chicken wings. The dishes that allowed me to space time well. Having used up those octopus hands, I outsourced the cake with an ice cream cake. At least a part of the party where I don't have to subject guests to my kitchen skills. The best for the last.

Next, introducing the tier of appetizer, snack and dessert I prepped. Eaten in whatever order preferred. First tier of mixed nuts, second tier of celery and carrots with ranch, third tier of chocolate cupcakes and final tier of what a party should not miss out, fruits! Let me rave a little about my cupcakes, they were a hit! I can't emphasize much more on the type cocoa powder used, and of course, blending it with a good recipe find. I topped off the cuppies with swiss meringue buttercream, my all time delightful cream with cakes! Voila! It gives you delicious yummilicious chocolate cupcakes. Trying to put up some worth keeping recipes posts, hopefully soon.

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Tried working with blue and orange food
Balloons never fail to hype up a party atmosphere. With budgeted resources, we did up some simple deco, and worked mainly with crepe papers.

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Cost minimizing backdrop
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Printable on drinks pouches to excite the little ones
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Wrapped tissue box with printable
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Dolled up a boring bowl of greens with crepe papers

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Happy Birthday, my darling boy!
With great company, it made the party really wonderful! Thank you uncles and aunties for coming, and for your lovely pressies! They made Jare really happy, and he loved everyone's presence and pressie! For now, the pressies have been packed and safe kept by mummy till we return to homeland.

And here's what the kids can do to gas-less used balloons:

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Balloon grafitti
A flashback to when I first birthed him, time ticked off noticeably. That infant that I carried grew too quickly on me. His feet today, are running too fast for me and his hands are too swift for me to salvage that toppling food bowl. In midst of these, his adorableness never fades and his laughter never fails to brighten the family. We love you, Jare!!! Grow well, grow strong and grow wise. My simple joy now is, watching you and your sister play happily alongside.

Hope you had an awesome and memorable 3rd birthday!

Monday, 24 February 2014

Disneyland Farewell

2 weeks after our ski trip, we did our final trip to Disneyland! It really was the final farewell. And it will be a long long time before we meet California's Disneyland again. Aww, how am I getting teary over the thought of this farewell. I'm happy to have brought my mum along this time, to release her child-likeness with us. She told me that the last time she came was with my dad, many decades ago. I joked that I'll probably have to wait for my opportunity with my kids, for the next visit.  

As usual, Disneyland was full of humans over the long weekend. In midst of the crazy crowd, the man willingly and sacrificially expelled his full force energy by taking a toil in the long long line, just for that photo opportunity with the princesses from Frozen! It was crazy how we got crazy with the kids. Though, it was a disappointment that princess Elsa wasn't present. Quoting the man, "2.5 hours of wait time is nothing compared to the priceless smile on my daughter's face." I admire his patience! I too, am insane over the movie. You've no idea how much I love it, for the elimination of those kissy princey love scenes. Active true love is found in the family too! An applauding different from the classics.

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Would you go for it?! I couldn't believe we did it!
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Princess Anna!
And Jazz met princess Sophia for the first time.

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Sofia the first, from Disney junior
Having visited two of my favourite places on earth, Desert Hills Premium outlet and Disneyland, it became one of my best week ever. Chow couple were here for vacation, and we were glad to have met them for shopping! Shopping gives me sanity from the routines back home. Expensive therapy, I know. But, I'm trying to quit and find cheaper source of calm. *Grin*

"Farewell Disneyland and Disneyworld! It had been great moments and keepsake memories with you. Though I wished you would do something about that overcrowding effect."

Did I forgot to farewell my shopping too?!!! Hmm... till we meet again.

Lake Tahoe again

While we were enjoying our final few weeks in the states, we took a toil in our travelling schedule. No idea why we got ourselves this exhausted from places to places. We only knew about living in the moment, and using our time to the fullest.

Few weeks ago, we did another trip to Lake Tahoe for ski play. Where I thought was the best farewell ever. We met falling snow! It's indescribable how excited we got from the moment we stepped out of our vehicle. Totally beautiful and memorable scene! It's been almost a year since we last met falling snow.
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Very beautiful sight of snow caped trees!
And since snowy and rainy days aren't good for outdoor, we did a day of ski and stayed indoor most time. This became our most relaxing trip ever. I never had the luxury of going back into hotel room for afternoon naps, but it was one we did for that trip. Other than resting and eating, we spent the rest of our time at the hotel's arcade where we played madly with the kids. 

During our indoor time, we made used of the hotel's arcade for fun entertainment. We gamed and collected tickets as a team. And while playing with a fishing game, the man caught a jellyfish that gave us bonus tickets! It ejected 350 tickets out of the machine. I was jumping with much greater joy than the kids, overly excited for the prizes they could exchange for.

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Smiling with joy and excitement

 It was yet another great trip with the Kohs and Mummy Bel.

And these were where the nice places we skied, took shelter and filled our tummies with:
Snow activities: Sierra at tahoe
Accommodation: Harveys
Great breakfast venue: Heidi's
Great Thai food, though a tad pricey: Thai Benjarong

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Lantern craft

As a homeschooling mum, in a foreign land, it's my sole responsibility to introduce and talk about Chinese New Year. And of course, we needed some related crafts to complemented our topic.

Here's what we did with some red packets excess, a simple lantern craft. We gathered:
  • 12 red packets
  • Scissors
  • Staple
  • String
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Gather the resources
Make sure the red packets openings are sealed, and fold about 1 cm up from that end. Then, fold it into half, and fold in 2 triangles from the fold line. Sequence from left to right as below.

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1cm fold, half fold and triangles fold
The rest is easy. Staple the folded triangles of 6 red packets to make the top part of the lantern and another 6 for the bottom. Put both together by stapling the 1 cm folds.

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Staple the red packets
Put in a string and staple the middle. Lantern's all good for hanging! A simple childhood craft I used to make in my primary school days.

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All set!
You may recycle used red packets, that are of similar sizes.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Chinese New Year Aboard

It's another year of Chinese New Year celebration abroad, and we're glad it's the last before we head home for the authentic atmosphere that had been missing here. CNY hardly gets its mood here, especially since we are 2 hours away from the nearest Chinatown. Oh well, at least we don't get supermarkets and restaurants closed on these days. While I took a kitchen break on 初一 (First day of CNY) to eat out, I had a sudden gush of emotions over the table. I miss my family and I am very desperately looking forward to gather around the big family table for meals again. I miss the CNY mood we used to experience in our homely years. Oh, so teary.

Nonetheless, we donned our home with simple deco to create that missing atmosphere. Throughout the days, we did rounds of steamboat meals with friends, spouses group and gathered big for a feast on the second day of CNY. It was also great fun playing blackjack the budgeted way. Small investment is good for me when it comes to playing with luck. CNY is simply about family, friendships, food, fellowship and maybe finance (Red packets and gambling!). Five Fs.

Adding to the festivity, our library did a CNY storytelling session on the eve. The storyteller sang a nursery song in mandarin, which awed me totally. After which, she did stories on horses. The zodiac animal of the year we stepped into.

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Steamboat feast!
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Pot luck feast - 卤肉饭, 年糕,curry chicken, roast chicken, soup and cheng teng!
CNY is also undoubtedly the best time of the year kids love. Receiving red packets becomes their most anticipated moment, as it was mine many years ago. Oops! I'm an incentive driven being.
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From Daddy and Mummy!
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Thank you uncles and aunties for the red packets
I created my platter of yummy goodies with those cutie oranges as replacement for mandarins. Those unattended gummy became an allurement for Js to snitch on it! For the occasion, I turned blind eyes to their sugar intake. The show off from this platter is the successful bake of my yummy pineapple tarts! Either my tasters were too polite or they were really honest. I choose to believe in the latter. *Chuckles*
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Prosperity platter
For my Chilean and Korean neighbours who must be wondering what do I have to offer and share on this occasion, I shared my successful bakes with them. Good reviews I received.

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For my neighbours!
It had been a great time of celebration. Soaking ourselves with wonderful people, great laughter, meaningful conversations and delicious foodie. It definitely made up some good part of memory to bring home with. Excitement adds on, as my Mum just arrived to have fun with us. Her dearie daughter and grandchildren missed her so much! 

Dear CNY, you're not over, but I can't wait to tell you, "See you back in Singapore!"

Friday, 7 February 2014

It's now:

For the longest thought ever, since the expansion of threesome to foursome, I've been wanting to change our URL. Jazz is almost 5, albeit still my little one, her life's beyond our now. Jare joined us, and perhaps more addition along the line. Just a thought. We have moved from "littlejazzelle" to "mumscalling." And .blogspot to .com! Yay! Gotten my very own domain.

My faithful followers, the previous link redirects, but you may re-bookmark this new page, if you wish. Am also taking this opportunity to thank friends who have been following and encouraging us. Your kind words spurs me to keep sharing. Blogging had been a wonderful journey, it's my therapy, my hobby and ingrained in me. I delight in reading these memories, whenever I turn back time. 

So, why Mum's calling?
Most women are called to a Mum. When Jazz was conceived in me, euphoria aside, I was also apprehensive about raising a child. Anyone can raise a child, but we know what defines a good and bad parent. Js are God's gift to me and my ever most precious. With great trust, they were egged in my womb, gestated and delivered into my arms for child-rearing. That moment became my eternal responsibility in fulfilling this call. I knew it wasn't a role to be taken lightly. It was my call of duty to raise and shape them as future good children, and to constantly instil good values in them.

Simply, a Mum's calling.