Hello! This blog is where I ramble about motherhood and my ventures into scrapbooking, crafting and photography. We homeschool, and enjoy teaching our boys about God and dabbling with art. :) Thanks for visiting, do stay awhile, and I would love to hear from you! :)

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Packing progress

The packing seem like its never-ending and there's still a long way to go, but we're getting there, slowly. I've just finished packing most of the boys' books into our Expedit bookshelves, and thus far its' remained neat for the past two days. I wonder if we can keep it this way! 

PS: The chair was decorated by Junior J, using 3M's Scotch brand tapes

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Thankful Tuesday: Glimmers of goodness

April has been quite a month. The kids caught two bugs in succession, and Lil J caught whooping cough (ironically, we brought him to the clinic for his MMRV vaccine, only to have him catch pertussis there, something which he was supposed to be immunized against!). We initially thought he had just a mild cold, only for it to develop a week later into coughing fits that were so bad he threw up everything. The poor kid was so hungry, and kept trying to eat, only to cough everything up minutes later. His older brother was following him around carrying the potty and shoving it in his face, commanding him to throw up in there. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry!

We brought the poor kid to the doctor, who recognized it as pertussis, and gave us antibiotics. Thankfully he got much better. She asked us to keep the baby away from Lil J, since babies get it really bad, and may stop breathing. I was panicking since Lil J had been sneezing and coughing at Baby J for the past few days before the coughing fits started, and it was rather difficult to keep them separated. To top it off, one of the medicines Lil J was on affected his sleep, and he was waking 7-8 times a night and screaming.

After some freaking out, I messaged our close friends to ask for prayer, and many covered the family in prayer. Thus far, Junior J seems to be spared, but now Baby J and I are not feeling well. I'm praying hard that what baby has now is just a mild cold, and not the beginnings of whooping cough, and we'll continue to monitor his condition.

In the haze of what has been lots of wiping of puke, breaking up fights, and the humdrum of our daily grind, I couldn't help noticing all the goodness that was glimmering through. Perhaps it was that total feeling of helplessness, not knowing how baby will be, which helped me to see all the good that was already in our lives. Maybe it is in the darker times, that lights shine brighter. 

So this week, I am so thankful for:

:: God's faithfulness. And the reminder that He protects and keeps and holds us in His loving hands.

:: Friends and family that prayed so hard for us. I was freaking out and everyone reminded me to take heart, have faith, and trust. To rest in the knowledge that your child is covered with prayer, and resting in the hands of God is a beautiful thing.

:: My boys, who I was reminded are so precious to me. Seeing Lil J so sick broke my heart. I am so glad that he is back to his usual mischievous self, even though I need to discipline him everyday! They remind me to look at the bright side of things, and never fail to crack me up. 

:: The hubby, who has been a source of strength. The kids drive him nuts sometimes, yet he's been more patient with them these days, and he loves them so so much. 

:: My dad, who has been popping by to play with the kids, and lending a helping hand. He helped to babysit the two older boys when I had to bring baby to the doctor, and the boys love hanging out with him.

:: Pleasant little surprises that brighten up one's day. One mummy popped by to collect some materials for our charity craft project and came bearing a lovely little bouquet of flowers, which really cheered me up! (Thank you so much again, Dotz!) 

Junior J's farewell card for our part-time helper.
He drew a flower, and a "happy, nice monster".

:: Our part-time helper, who has been such a great help cleaning our home once a week. Her hard work means I do not need to worry about washing the toilets on top of the usual household chores. The kids love her and she is always very patient with them, even though they are usually messing up the place after she has put away stuff. She leaves this week to go home for 1.5 months, and we will miss her. 

I am also thankful that when we had to search for a replacement helper, friends quickly shared their contacts and we were able to find one to tide us over for the next two months. God provides.

:: And speaking of God providing, we recently had to change baby J's cot to a smaller one because it was really cramped in our room. After a quick query on FB, we ended up being gifted a cot and a mattress from a friend. (Thanks Delphine, the cot fits perfectly!) I am so thankful.

This week, we've been reminded again and again that we are in the shadow of His wings. And that He always provides. If you could, please keep Baby J in your prayers. Meanwhile, we'll keep trusting in Him, and will continue to look out for these glimmers of goodness in our life. 

What are you thankful for this week? 

Mum in the Making

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Thankful Tuesday: 4 months

Oh you. Sweet, sweet little you. You have turned four months old in just a flash. It seems like I have been busy chasing a toddler, and doing laundry, and teaching phonics, when suddenly you have just grown up. You're one of the smiliest babies in our family, the one that chuckles at the littlest thing, the one that is so excited to see your brothers, the one that loves to gurgle and talk to us. Of course you are also the one that cries at the tiniest little thing, and the one that still needs to be patted in the carrier to go to sleep. 

But oh, how I thank God for you. For your happy sunshine-y nature, that makes all those tough days easier. For those chubby thighs. For your baby smell, and baby squishiness. For those baby snuggles and snuffles and kissable cheeks. 

You've been flipping back and forth like a pro for the past few weeks, you wriggle really fast, and you complain in baby "ahhhs!" when you are left alone in the cot. Your brothers love you so much, and can't help coming over to pat you or talk to you. You're sleeping a lot better at night on most days. You love to sit in our laps to listen to a book being read, and you love going out. 

I am just so thankful that God gave us you, you little sunshine boy. Keep smiling, and I am praying that He will keep you strong and healthy.

Papa and Mama.

Mum in the Making

Monday, April 14, 2014

Little Learning: Star Anise, Superstar! (Book review & giveaway)

Some time ago, author Linn Shekinah kindly sent us a copy of her new book, "Asian Spice Kids: Star Anise, Superstar". The storyline for the book is simple: Star Anise longs to be a superstar, and tries her hardest to be one. She plays the most instruments, she plays the loudest, but in the end gets rejected by those around her. However, there is a twist in the story, and she ends up saving her friends, and learns that a star is one that shares and gives. 

The boys enjoyed hearing the story, and I thought that the book's lesson was relevant to the kids, as they would face the issues of popularity and acceptance in the future. There are two bilingual editions of the book, in either English-Chinese or English-Malay. In our edition, there is a glossary at the back which includes various Chinese terms, their Hanyu pinyin as well as their meanings in both languages, which I found really helpful! Another lovely feature of the book was the insert, which had a game as well as other activities which the older kids could try their hand at:

Since the book introduced various spices, I thought it would be fun for the kids to try their hand at various spice-related activities. So we tried:

:: Examining and smelling the spices:

The kids really were enthusiastic about smelling them, and kept sniffing!

:: Painting with spices:

We mixed water with cinnamon powder and five-spice powder, and the kids had a go with their paintbrushes. They loved this activity and spent more time sniffing their papers as they did their paintings. 

:: Stamping with star anise: Ok, this one didn't turn out like I expected, as they tried stamping but the uneveness of the star anise made it hard to do printing with. So they did a couple of prints and started playing with the paints after.

:: Cooking with spices: I felt the best way to teach the kids how spices could work together to produce something flavorful was to cook something. So we cooked pho, and we cooked Taiwanese beef noodle (I've included the links to the recipes we used, but I modified them along the way), since both required most of the spices mentioned in the book, as well as others! Junior J had a good time helping me to stuff garlic, fennel, cloves, star anise and other spices into empty tea bags which we put into the pot to simmer. The soups turned out really yummy!

If you would like a copy of "Star Anise, Superstar" just pop over to Flip for Joy, which also stocks many great Chinese reads (you can read our review of some of the books they stock here). Oh, and we are also giving away a copy of the book to one blog reader! Just follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter widget below to enter in the giveaway (please remember to leave your email address in the comments so we can contact you if you win!):

a Rafflecopter giveaway PS: You can follow our book recommendations over here at our Facebook page.

PPS: We received a copy of "Star Anise, Superstar"
for review purposes. No monetary compensation was received, and all opinions (and spices) are our own. 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: A glimpse of crazy

We left the boys alone for 5 minutes. And came back to our room to see this:

They had emptied a whole bag of flowers and leaves over our bed. On newly changed bedsheets. What can I say? Life has never been the same again since the arrival of our boys!

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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Thankful Tuesday: When life spins...

... it sometimes seems to hurtle, out of control. I have been rushing, task to task. Cooking, cleaning, carrying the baby. Making that never-ending list, ticking things off as I go. Scolding, doing, making. Until that week where we were all forced to stop because of colds and coughs and fevers. 

That forced me to stop. To look. To see. To think about how we were sometimes running and chasing. Chasing what? Lost time? Learning opportunities? I don't know. I've been mulling over how hectic life has become, and how crazy things at home can be. We always seem to be panting and rushing to finish something. There is always this feeling of incompleteness, of needing this or that. Of only being able to be happy when something else is finally done or something is achieved. Do you get that feeling sometimes?

So I have been trying to slow down. To put down those dirty dishes, to push aside that overflowing laundry basket, to calm those crying needy kids. Can we make life simpler? Can we take it a step at a time? Can we focus and look at the important, and not get so caught up with the urgent? I don't know, but I think we can, and we must. 

And so, for the rest of the month, I'll be trying to declutter, so simplify, not just our stuff, but our schedules. And I'll be trying to clean up my thoughts and feelings too. And focusing on what matters. 

Meanwhile, I am thankful, for those little things of the ordinary that tend to slip us by in the rush of time passing us by. The quiet sound of happy children playing in carpets of fallen flowers. The perfect curve of a little one's ear, and those tiny fingers that are learning to grasp and hold.

The satisfaction of a new recipe learnt and warm happy tummies, and time together over a meal.

The daily messes that show that there are happy children who are at work.

What are you thankful for this week?

Mum in the Making

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Thankful Tuesdays: Taking it slow

It has been quite a crazy week. All the kids took turns falling sick with fevers and coughs. I fell sick. Now the hubby is sick, and baby J is coughing. We've been taking it day by day. The whole house is a huge mess as we just replaced some furniture.

So this week, I'm just thankful for God's grace. How He doesn't give us more than we can bear: the hubs and I took turns to fall sick, and the hubs was on leave when I fell ill, so we more or less took turns holding the fort. The fevers have more or less passed, the coughs are clearing, and we are slowly trying to get into the swing of daily life again. I am also glad that we are looking at a brand new month to start afresh.

So its over to you now, what are you thankful for this week?
Mum in the Making

Friday, March 28, 2014

Homeschool: Learning science together

Just a few weeks ago, another two mums and I banded together and formed a little learning group to explore science. I thought it would be fun to have other kids over to do some hands-on science, and thus far, we've met twice, and have dabbled in some simple activities.

We've been exploring plants for both sessions. The first was on the life cycle of flowering plants, where the kids got to learn more about the life cycle, as well as plant their own tomato seeds! They were pretty excited about seeing them grow (but ours are not doing too well, so we need to work out where to place them where they can get more light). 

These are Lil J's seedlings. For some reason, Junior J's have gotten an attack of the mold and have all died.
But that gave us an opportunity to talk about mold and competition for growth. ;)

Junior J figuring out how the life cycle works.

Our second session was on plant parts, and the kids got to do a collage to learn about the functions of the different parts of the plant. 

This was what Junior J and Lil J came up with (ok Lil J was more interested in the peeling the double-sided tape bit!): 

We added the parts bit by bit while talking about their functions.
We had straws that were slit to use as roots, green straws to represent the xylem
(the stem bit flips open to reveal the tubes), and leaves.
We also talked a lil about photosynthesis.

The boys helped to gather the leaves and flowers in the morning before the session, and had fun! It was nice to see how the kids all had different "plants", some with very little leaves, some with bushy ones, and some with rainbows (because they said there was sun and rain, so that would form a rainbow, which was pretty neat I guess!).

And as "homework", they got to put white flowers into coloured water, to see how the stem works to bring water up:

We got to discuss a little about how we need to keep all variables constant in a proper experiment,
except for the one we are studying.
So here is Junior J trying to distribute the water equally. 

One thing I've learnt from this experiment: you really have to be generous with your food colouring or the results would not be obvious!

It has been quite the learning experience for both the boys and myself. And I've been loving how we're bumbling along and figuring things out as we go!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Thankful Tuesdays: The old dining table

Just two days ago, I posted this photo of our dining table on FB. We were hoping to give the table away, since we purchased a new one from Ikea. It was almost nine years old, and had bumps at the edges due to spilt drinks. The two year old had also been scraping at the bottom edges which had started to peel, so the hubby decided it was time to get a new table. 

The response was surprising. Two friends indicated that they were interested in taking the table, and in the end, one confirmed that she would be collecting the table this week. What I didn't expect was the whole slew of comments from friends, reminiscing about our table. About how it had hosted countless bible studies, and carried food for potluck meals. Friends who had attended crops (scrapbooking sessions) remembered how the table could fit many. Schoolmates remembered the table where we gathered for project meetings.

That made me remember. It made me recall how we had purchased this huge table (it is 260 cm long), thinking that it would be perfect for hosting our bible study group. I remembered how we would lay newspapers on the table and feast on crabs and other local food, while sharing and chatting. It brought back memories of schoolmates discussing and working on our project presentations. I remembered how our dog used to prop his paws on the table, tongue lolling, eyes begging for the food on your plate. 

I remembered how the table was totally covered with papers during crops, as well as when I did my late-night crafting. It has been the place the hubs and I work on our laptops, while we chatted over a warm drink at night.

I recalled all the meals we've eaten at that table. I thought of how the table has seen the addition of one, then two, then three little boys, who have sat at the table during meals and made messes. 

I thought of all the birthday parties it had hosted, while it held feasts to be shared, and cakes to be cut. 

I remembered all the happy hours spent on art projects, where sticky fingers pasted and brushes painted on paper, as well as on the table itself. I thought of all the hours spent learning at the table, all the writing done by small hands, all the reading done, all the messes it bore on its surface.

And I was thankful. Thankful for how this bashed up, tired old table was a reminder of how beautifully full our lives was, and how blessed we were. Grateful that we had so many fond memories all wound up in our table, memories of learning, of eating as a family, of warm meals, of parties and gatherings, of messes. This heart of the home will be going off to be a part of another family's life, but we will be welcoming a new one soon, and I guess that is something to look forward too! 

Mum in the Making


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