Thursday 30 May 2013

Lassen Volcanic National Park

It was the Memorial weekend. Needless to say, we zoomed off to Lassen Volcanic National Park for scenic views and strolls. It was still snow covered on sides of the road and volcanoes' peak. The volcanoes were inactive and so the place was opened to much viewing from visitors all around the world. All four types of volcanoes found in the entire world were represented in this park. Okay, copied that off their official website, my geography knowledge has been emptied out long ago.

A great sight and exploration trip. Although I thought lava flowing and smoking sights would be more exciting to witness. 
Mount Lassen behind us

Viewing rocks differently now
Visiting the National Park is sure a highlight, but the greater part of our trip, or rather my trip, is shopping! We hit the outlet stores again! Did 2.5 days of shopping with very much addition to everyone's wardrobe. Shopping is my uncontrollable addiction, till debt do us apart. This could also be our last few attempts to get summer wears for our ever tropical climate in Singapore.

Mainly clothes!
Understandable huh? We know what are the better deals here than in Singapore. Now we know where the shopping paradise truly is.

Tuesday 21 May 2013

Weekend Fun

It wasn't a long weekend, but we did a long drive down to Anaheim for a wild time at Disneyland! Together with Mummies vonne and Bel, the grown ups and little ones had a great time of fellowship and fun.

It was a notable trip, because after several trips to Disneyland, we finally convinced the man to buy Jazz a princess dress! Which he thinks isn't practical. Which toy is practical anyway?!!! She chose a Rapunzel outfit. And Daddy bought Jare a set of 15 vehicles, adding to his cars collection. The buys brought beaming smiles to their faces.
Jumping with joy in the joyful land

Love her smile

Excited about cars!


Js really enjoyed their time there. With their friends, staying and waiting in line isn't as torturing as before. We also visited the adventure park for the newly added Princess Sophia and Doc Mcstuffin shows! Js had all eyes glued to the characters. 

We must be one of the many families who have contributed much to Disney's profit! Oh well, we'll definitely be back again!

Saturday 18 May 2013

Home cooked meals 'to go'

I've been packing occasional lunches for Js shortly after they started school. Depending on the school's menu, I would pack their lunches on the days when their appetite isn't too open for Mexican food. Their teachers told me they didn't quite like enchiladas. And I didn't opt for home pack lunches for all school days because I thought it would be nice to also try other food options in school. Sometimes, picky eaters can be corrected with peer influence.

Most times, Jazz wouldn't finish what I've packed for her and half her food portion would be still resting in her food jar. As usual, I questioned if she ate well, took the fruits and milk. And yesterday was an upset evening when Jazz told me that school's lunch is more yummy than mummy's, and that she doesn't want home packed lunches anymore. My heart sank. How honest and truthful kids are, and they innocently have no idea that you're hurt.

My efforts of trying to feed her with more home cooked meals seemed unappreciated. Would she know the mornings I wake up earlier to cook her lunch? Would she know a good amount of protein, vitamins, fibre and carbs have been well balanced in her lunch bag? The less salt and less sweet? My endless education of healthy eating doesn't seem to ring some sense into her. Jare on the other hand has been really nice and encouraging, he said he loves home lunches when we questioned him. 
Meals for my man, girl and boy - Rice, chicken, vege and fruits!

Perhaps, when her friends are having yummy school desserts like Jelly, brownies, choco pudding and cookies, she would be salivating at these lack in her lunch bag. Intending to disregard her request, I shall continue to try packing her lunch... Home cooked meals will stay, not 'to go.' Mum wants her way too.

Friday 17 May 2013

No anger project - Follow up

It's been more than 3 weeks since I started on my 'No anger' project. The outcome is... I Failed my challenge! Yes, extremely disappointed with myself, how could I not see this through, how could I not hold back that yelling and anger?!! The endless 'How could I.' It definitely wasn't of any help when my man said, "How can the kids not be scolded or yelled at?" With much confidence, I told him it was possible, because the kids deserve the best of us. And now, it seems like he was absolutely right. After all, he didn't pledge himself to this project. First week was a breeze because he did all the crescendo pitching while I was in thoughts about how to react to the various situations.

I was doing pretty well initially, had everything in control till the second week, just when it was another rushed morning and Jazz wouldn't cooperate to brush her teeth and get changed up for school. I exploded and fret over it when she sat on bed for a good 30 minutes. Taking the peaceful way out seems too long and time consuming, I really didn't have all day long. It's true I lost my opportunity to teach patience and show her how to manage anger. I was only focused about setting her discipline right every morning. That day on, I knew this project came to a halt, and I was only half mark to my 2 weeks goal.

There are always learning points from every failed attempt, I've tolerated what I couldn't really tolerate before my project began and learned much from a failed attempt:

1. Jare loves eating with his fingers, despite the presence of fork and spoon, all food seems finger linking good to him. So well, I've learned not to freak out too much on that. I still mind, a little, but I've learned to let go and let him.

2. I've realised most out of control situations can be resolved with a loving tone, much hugs and kisses. It's true, this works 90% the time. It fails because we chose not to start calm.

3. I use the 'cane' in very extreme behaviours, those that crosses the house rule boundaries. Then I realsied the 'cane' doesn't work too well with me. It sure works very fine with the kids. When I get hold of it, I get immediate obedience. The threat of it is very potent. The bad is, once I hold it, it means I'm too angry to simmer down. It gets my yelling and anger out of control. I'm trying to get that stick out of sight and mind now.

4. I've learned to be more consistent in discipline and set clear boundaries of unacceptable behaviours. Inconsistency is every kid's opportunity to test the limits.

5. I've learned patience, much more than before. It takes a longer route to settlement, but worth the effort. I've used much more distractions tactics than before. They're effective most time!

6. Not yelling doesn't mean we get our hands totally off the kids. Ignorance is not a total bliss after all.

7. Lastly, I love it when we can solve problems amicably. It's truly a win-win situation for both.

And one fine day, after my thwarted project, I asked Jazz to come on board with me. Help me by not yelling and getting angry with her Jare and her, I told her we need some good teamwork in this. Then one day, while we were in the library, she did me a colourful bird. She said, "This is for you Mummy, when you get angry, look at this picture okay." She sure pleased me. Since then, she colours her pictures creatively and colourfully to help keep my mood happy.
Colours make one happy
As I started on my project, some mummies introduced me to reading The Orange Rhino Challenge. A Mummy with 4 boys, and into her 463rd yell-less day. Inspired!

So well, let me try not yelling and be slow to anger, yet again. Attempt 2 begins! A 3 week goal for now. Here I come embarking again!

Monday 13 May 2013

Motherhood in a poem

My hands wrinkle every year
From the showers I did for you
The dishes I've washed and
The house I've to upkeep

My arms could have gotten stronger
From the times I had to carry you
When your feet chose to rest
You slept in my arms
While I took chance to smell your hair
I couldn't get much accomplished
With you in arms
But I knew all was fine

My back aches much
From the nights you sneaked onto my bed
Some nights it was four in bed
But I took chance to cuddle
Smell your hair and 
Kiss your cheeks
I knew I love such nights

My face shows signs of aging
With wrinkles folding in
Much from the frequent moments of anger
Endless worries about you and
Often the schedule we have to meet each day
My aging simply means you're growing

Time for my favourite things get less
I sleep less, I hardly nap
I read less of my books
But more fairy tales than ever
It's all about you before anything else
Unconditional love takes a deeper meaning
And I know sacrifices are worthy

It's never an equal exchange
Because love is never asked to return
But always remember my sacrifices
Through my hands, face and arched back 

When I get frail, and you get tough
Remember to carry me

I'm no poet, but I just felt like jotting something about Motherhood in a different way. Happy Mother's Day to all Mummies!

Thank you Js for coming into my life. You both created the most life changing moments that ever happened to me. Motherhood is a great and amazing journey, it gave me greater sense of responsibility, brought me to new maturity, gave me great tolerance to the irritants (people and things) around me and best of all, made me more complete than ever. I am happy and grateful to be your Mum! 
Gifts made by Js in school
Love you both!

Tuesday 7 May 2013

Nature - Point Lobos

Walking to admire the nature isn't something I enjoy much doing when both kids don't use their walking feet. We visited Point Lobos over the weekend, a place with very beautiful view where the land, rocks and ocean meet. We managed to do 2 trails. The first with Jare in my arms as he didn't want to get on feet with us. And the heavier weight, Jazz, was carried by my man, almost throughout both trails! Definitely got his muscles more toned. 

After the first trail, my arms and legs were ready to give in, I couldn't hold my heavy boy anymore. With much coaxing, and a sturdy branch we found him, he agreed to walk. That was when my enjoyment finally began - Enjoying the scenic view on a very breezy cold evening, hand in hand with my lover boy, covering distances. Simply wonderful! Doing scenic trail holds a different view when I have cooperative kids.
Walking with my lover boy

Trees awaiting summer
Lovely view
I had a little revelation that evening. I may dislike doing certain activities, but as long as the whole family does it, I'll do it, even if it's much against my will. Terms and conditions apply - I need cooperative kids. What's better joy than bonding with the family, walking, talking and playing with my lover man, girl and boy.

Have you, one activity that you dislike doing, but will do as a family because someone in the family enjoys? I found it isn't that bad after all.

Wednesday 1 May 2013

International Day - Food Fair

It had been a privilege and an experience here, as a Singaporean cooking for a fair. My man's school held an International day event last weekend. A huge event with delicacies from over 20 participating countries. And together with other Singaporean spouses, we cooked up a storm to sell our local representations. We ran hourly sales of different foodie - curry chicken, beef rendang, red bean soup, kaya toast, Kopi (Coffee), peanut cookies, pandan cakes and chrysanthemum tea! All so good and yummilicious! You get the ultimate tastes when spouses put their pots and pans together. It's quite our forte after all.
Table layout
For fun, I did up 10 fun facts about Singapore for our foreign friends who'll stop by to read. They are Facts as of April 2013. A common reaction I get when I tell foreigners I'm from Singapore is a 'mixed' expression, most of them do not know where Singapore is. A look that kinda question me 'Where's that,' in a polite manner. Too small to be significant perhaps. So if I can bring across 10 factual points about my country, in a picture, why not?!!
Logo with thanks:

And our hand held flags!
My contribution to the menu were 2 large pots of curry chicken for a hundred pax serving. Sale was slow during the first 30 minutes, but after running into the second hour, the pots were polished clean. Glad the effort of waking up before dawn was paid off. It was also my first experience cooking for such a crowd. Mummy yveon cooked beef rendang and I managed to steal some from the pot before it was all gone. Yums! And if you wana know the thing that bonds most Singaporeans together, it is FOOD! Singapore - The food paradise.
Curry chicken that goes so perfect with baguette

While it was my shift to tend the stall, the man did a great job child sitting the kids. The Js had heap of fun running on the grass pasture and engaged in some child activities they had on site.

Funds raised goes to the school. We were not the highest ticket collector, but the highlight was FUN. Not about the results, but the food and sale journey that bond us closer. At the end of the day, as tired as it may be, I had a great time 'pitching sales' together with our fellow Singaporeans who volunteered their time to put everything together. The true Singapore spirit across the border. Indeed a One people, One Nation, One Singapore!