Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Thankful Tuesday: Behold the child

Born on earth a helpless babe,
Lying in a manger, wrapped.
Behold the child.

Bright rays from the star above,
Come to be light in darkness.
Behold the child.

Born to a world full of strife,
Born to die, that man might live.
Behold the child.

Born to a world, wrecked and torn,
By guns, by hate, and by sin. 
I hold my child.

Is there hope? Will there be light?
How will these little ones live?
I hold my child.

We do not know their futures,
But love still holds, hope still lives.
Behold the child.


This was written in the wake of the recent Sydney siege. As I read the news reports, Junior J and I prayed for the people that were being held hostage. I held my children close. I wondered at what their future holds. I pondered if it was a terrible thing to bring them into a world that is so broken, so dangerous, so messed up. And I was reminded that in the hopelessness of our world, we have hope in Emmanuel, God with us. We give thanks that our times, and our children's times, are in His loving hands. 

Mum in the Making

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The reason for the season

Over the weekend, we visited the Gardens by the Bay with the in-laws and some relatives who were visiting. It was drizzling off and on, but the boys had a lovely time playing. 

Seeing all the glitz and festivities got me thinking about Christmas. The lights and decorations were lovely. But I felt that in the midst of the bustle and busyness, so much detracts from the true reason for the season.

As I pondered about the lights... it started to snow. Not the real stuff, of quiet swirling flakes and icy cold stillness. But of foam, blown into an excited crowd, who was eagerly standing in a soggy field in the midst of a light drizzle.

It wasn't the real thing. But the boys loved it. They leapt amidst the crowd, hands outstretched, oblivious to the jostling noisy crowd around them. It didn't seem to matter to them: the muddy shoes, their dirty wet feet, the pushing arms and feet around them. They ran about. They got pushed to the ground a few times. But all they had eyes for was the snow falling gently around them.

And then it struck me. While it can be a distracted December, because of all the activities, the lights, the commercialness... we can still learn to focus, and teach our children to see what Christmas is about. We can simplify our schedules, we can share with them the wonder of the Christmas story, not of snowmen, Santa and reindeer, but of God coming to earth to save us. We can learn to give during this period, to remind ourselves of the greatest gift, of Christ on earth impossibly contained in the form of a baby.  And children, being children, would be quick to pick up on the wonder, and look beyond the distractions.

And in this time of giving, I am so pleased to share that we are also trying to give back: Our sponsor, Fox Fashion, has kindly agreed to our proposal to gift some clothing to the children in Chen Su Lan Methodist Children's Home, and would also be sponsoring clothes to other organizations chosen by their partner bloggers. (However, they only have clothing for children up to 13 years of age, so I am currently trying to find another sponsor for the clothes for the older kids. Please do drop me an email if you do have contacts for suitable sponsors!)


Fox Fashion is also generously giving away TWO $50 gift vouchers to readers of this blog. To enter, just complete ALL the following steps:
1. Like Fox Fashion on FB.
2. Like Mum in the Making on FB.
3. Like and leave a comment on this FB post, sharing about how you celebrate Christmas, as well as your email address.

This giveaway will end on the 30th of December at 2359 hrs, and we will announce the winner on our Facebook page on the first day of 2015!

Have a blessed day, and let us remember the reason for the season!

PS: All outfits pictured in this post were generously sponsored by Fox Fashion.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Thankful Tuesdays: Chairish the Moments

It all started with those retro clamshell chairs that we purchased for the boys' little reading corner. We had dragged them all the way back from Penang, since kid's sized string chairs are hard to find in Singapore. The boys loved them, and I loved how comfortable they were, and how easy they were to maintain and clean. We had lots of people asking about the chairs after I shared about them, and a fleeting thought of selling them in Singapore came into my head. However, I dismissed the thought, since I just didn't have a time to run a business at that point in time.

Then a friend Fiona asked me if I was keen to start up a lil shop with her, selling various old-school or vintage items. I knew her way back in Secondary School as we were in Symphonic band together, and I was good friends with her sister. We were both decorating our homes with various retro/vintage items, and we found we had similar tastes in those areas. (Her home has been featured on Home & Decor, just look for the home with the Marilyn Monroe mural in this feature!)

So we decided to set up a small online shop, and named it "Chairish the Moments", since we were planning to sell those clamshell chairs (this was jokingly suggested by a good friend, and the name stuck!). We decided to start small, and started selling granny rugs. These were sewn using scraps, and all these little pieces of fabric were pieced together to form lovely designs:

Then we started branching out and started selling the clamshell chairs. We also widened our product base: we sourced for vintage-inspired postcards, we hunted down vintage porcelain, we searched for enamelware. Fiona had been a collector for quite some time, and knew where to get these things locally. I went hunting in Penang whenever we headed back to visit. It was a win-win situation, since we loved sourcing for these items, and got to share the love with our customers!

One of our focus was bringing in old-school items that children could use. I was already buying some of these for my kids, and I loved how we could introduce these classic items into a market brimming with loud and plasticky toys. 

The partnership has been working really well. Fiona has a retail background, and handles the sales bit while also sourcing locally for many of our items, while I help to source for items overseas. I am so thankful for her friendship, all her hard work, and how we are able to discuss all these matters candidly. 

We've also been blessed to have so much behind the scenes help. The hubs helps to bring me around Penang to hunt for shop stuff, and my in-laws help me to buy and ship stuff. Fiona's hubby has also helped us to set up our accounts and guided us through various administrative mazes.  

A shop survives on customers, and we have been so blessed to have such supportive and lovely ones! We're so thankful for them: they are patient when there are unforeseen delays, and are generally prompt in replying messages and settling payment. We've also had the privilege of being featured by various mum bloggers in their Christmas gift lists, and also got to share more about the story of our shop over here

So we're thankful. As the year draws to a close, and we sort out our shop plans for the year ahead, we just want to say thank you. For the help that some of you have given, for the encouragement and support. We couldn't have done it without you!

Mum in the Making

Friday, December 5, 2014

Another year older

December is a month of birthdays. The hubs and I are born in this last month of the year, and we just celebrated baby J turning 1. It was a simple celebration: both pairs of grandparents, a home-cooked dinner, and an agar agar cake made by my mum for the little boy. He was most happy to eat it!

Anyway, this boy's birthday is really close to mine. (We were wondering if he would actually arrive on my birthday!) And so, I'm another year older, and hopefully, another year wiser.

I guess as we grow older, birthdays tend to lose their significance. But on this day, I am thankful for the year that has passed, learning how to be Mama to three little boys. It has been quite a fruitful year, and I hope that the rest of the year can be spent with family, resetting and getting ready for a new year ahead.

Here's to a blessed weekend!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Once there was a girl...

... who loved animals very much. She wanted to be a vet. She would spend her recesses trying to catch tadpoles in drains, and even tried to bring some to her father in a Vitagen bottle as a get well soon gift when he was in hospital (her mother was aghast, and made her release the tadpoles, amidst alot of tears). She poured over books by James Herriot. She brought stray cats home, much to her mother's horror. Her parents told her gently that you had to go overseas to study if you wanted to be a vet, so she contented herself with taking her of her stuffed animals instead.

She had a pet lamb, whom she named Lammy, and he was like Mary's little lamb: he followed her wherever she went.

As she grew older, those dreams about being a vet slowly faded away. These were replaced by dreams of being an interior designer. The dreams started when she first chanced upon an Ikea catalogue in her grandparent's house. She started drawing out possible layouts of her rooms, and proposing all sorts of room re-dos. Her parents acceded to some of her requests, and ignored some others. She even took part in an Ikea teenage room design competition, and was delighted that she got to eat in the staff area, and have Swedish meatballs for lunch everyday. She hung on to those dreams and those Ikea catalogues... until she was again reminded that there was no local uni degree on interior design.

She went on to study... and eventually became a teacher. There, she scratched her design itch designing covers of her students' notes. Her love for animals meant she enjoyed teaching Biology.

Now many years later... she is still a teacher, but to three little boys who call her Mama. She is happy because she gets to design the rooms in her own home. She still gets looks of horror, this time from her hubby, when she proposes crazy DIY projects. And Lammy? He now has new owners, who don't treat him as well. They don't want to be vets, but one is a self-proclaimed paleontologist, another likes being a doctor and pretending to poke people with syringes, and the third just likes chewing on Lamy.

Those Ikea catalogues got thrown out after almost 20 years (she kept every single catalogue from 1992 to 2010!)... but those dreams and memories tied up in Lammy? Those still stay... but are slowly being replaced by the hopes and dreams of three little boys.

"If you carry your childhood with you, you never become older." 
- Tom Stoppard 


This post is part of a blog train hosted by Agatha from Green Issues by Agy on "I Didn't Throw It Away". Tomorrow, hop over to Dominique's Desk. Dominique, who is a supermum of three, will be sharing about the oldest item she has at home: her piano.

About this blog train: We have become such a throw-away society, but there are some things in our households that we still keep. Why is that so? Perhaps this blog train can unlock the reasons behind it! Follow the daily posts on this blog train and read about the stories behind the things we have kept for many years and why we didn't throw them away.  

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Thankful Tuesday: No more babies in the house

Dearest Baby J,
Oh my! Officially today we have no more babies in the house, because now you're technically known as a toddler. How time has sped by so quickly!

You are a little bundle of sunshine in our home. Always ready to smile, always wanting attention, always loving company. You love to give kisses. You try to play with your brothers, but know when to pass over their toys and beat a hasty retreat if they yell. You're fascinated with the cuckoo clock and would exclaim "bug bug!" (bird) when the clock strikes the hour. You can roar on demand when we ask you what does a tiger sound like. You are busily adding words to your vocabulary: bear, blackberry (back bear), apple (ahhh per). Your gramps are so thrilled because you are so enthusiastic about your byebyes, by the way you wave and say "byyyyyyyy!". 

You like to flip through books, and especially love looking at animal pictures. You're also a climber, who always gives us heart attacks. I still cannot believe that you are no longer a baby anymore... and I think we'll still be referring to you as baby for awhile more. We thank God so so much for you!

Happy Birthday, my lil munchkin. Stay sunshiney bright!

Mama and Papa

Mum in the Making

Friday, November 28, 2014

Our week: Building at home

Another week has passed! I realize I enjoy writing the "our week" posts, since I get to review the week that has passed. In times where it seems like we're fighting fire all the time, it's nice to look back on the week in photos, and see that we did have a fruitful time together. 

This week had us all taking turns to fall sick, plus it has been pouring almost everyday. So we've been stuck home most of the time, so the kids had lots of time to build and build. They tried their hand at their zoob set (which we bought pre-loved from a friend):

Junior J said this was a dragon.

Junior J made a monster car. Lil J made himself a necklace!

They were giving the dragon a check-up, using their doctor set.

We've started exploring architecture. Our first topic was bridges, so Junior J started building bridges based on the guidelines given in the K'nex Bridge set. I really love the set, as it guides kids in building 14 types of bridges, and the connectors are not difficult to fix together or pull apart. Even Lil J likes to fiddle with the parts. 

Building a short span beam bridge.

After fixing up each bridge, Junior J would draw them out in a notebook. We also tried building some bridges using Citiblocs. We plan to finish building and studying all the bridge types, and then move on to famous landmarks. We'll share more as we go along!

Observing and drawing a Warren truss bridge after building it.

Buidling a short bridge using Citiblocs.

I had to cut some leaves for a friend, for our charity project (will share more next time), so the boys helped me. They simply love turning the handle on the die-cutting machine. :)

As usual, Junior J is still busying himself making "food" using his Perler beads

Lil J also has been pottering in our nature corner, and playing with the salamanders

And we've been painting with watercolours. Lil J is more fascinated with washing his brush and stirring his brush across the palette.

Junior J as usual, always surprises me with what he comes up with. This round, he painted a moray eel that we read about in Swimmy, as well as chocolate muffins with a cup of rainbow sprinkles (you can see how he dips the brush to form little spots). That is one interesting thing about not sending him to art class: each picture he comes up with is unexpected, and every painting is uniquely him. 

I love how he concentrates so hard when he is busy painting: he transforms from the usual fidgety boy that needs to fiddle with something all the time, to this intensely serious painter.

I'm glad that the sniffles are almost gone. Here's to a blessed weekend!


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