Category Archives: DIY/Craft

Teachers’ Day 2016

After what seems like endless weeks of the flu bug going round all three kids, we are finally getting a breather!

It’s been a while since we busted out our craft supplies, so when the baby was taking her nap yesterday, the older two spent a good two hours making Teachers’ Day cards. We didn’t do anything elaborate like we did three years ago, but it was a fun time nevertheless.

My job was to just lay out the supplies and help them with wrapping simple gifts like notebooks (because I love wrapping presents), and they did the rest.

Sarah woke up and joined them towards the end of their crafting session!

Jason’s teacher whom I wrote about last year has since left the school, but there are many others I’m very grateful for.

Teachers have a tough job, tougher now than before. Not only do they have to teach, handle administrative work, they even have to communicate with parents via apps like Class Dojo and more. They send pictures, reminders, schedules to parents and are contactable anytime, anywhere. And this is not even their main job – which is to teach our kids.

Jason’s soccer teacher in charge brings them for external soccer matches, to watch an S- league match on a Friday night, organises parents briefings for school camps in the evenings and more.

Their piano teacher, who lives opposite the school, would help me send Jason to school when he was younger, so I did not have to make an extra trip. She also offered to help me mind Shannon after her lesson a couple of months ago when I had to send Sarah back to hospital because of high jaundice levels.

When teachers go out of their way to do their best for my kids, I have nothing but deep appreciation for them. I remind the kids about this often, and hopefully through the simple cards they make, they learn gratitude in the process.

Happy Teachers’ Day to all the teachers out there!

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December 2015

We didn’t travel this time round, in fact, we didn’t even get to go out much. But we found lots of other ways to have fun at home. In today’s ST column, I wrote about how I tried to get my kids off online games and Youtube cartoons and replace them with lots of old school fun instead.

We gave Jason a book on folding paper aeroplanes for Christmas, and it provided many hours of fun for both of them, folding planes at home, in cafes, and then bringing them on test flights.

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We played board games and cut paper snowflakes to decorate the home.

We found time for all the random things I’ve always wanted to do with them but did not have time to do during the school term.

Jason did a bit of cooking with his papa’s help. When the minced chicken dish he turned out tasted quite delicious, I asked him how he seasoned it. His reply? “Oh it’s easy, I just dumped in a little of all the spices you have in the kitchen!” No wonder…

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The boys were way more adventurous in the kitchen than I ever could be. I suggested they search out some recipes. They came up with their own instead, mixing and matching their favourite ingredients they could find around the home. Think pork ribs with cashew nuts (not bad!) and Jason’s favourite – steamed corn with mashed bananas, topped with raisins (eewww…!) He loved it. Shannon was as supportive as a little sister could get. I figured it’s an acquired taste. I’m not sure I’ll ever acquire it…

They attempted to fix up a trolley from Ikea. Thankfully, their papa came to the rescue midway.

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And while they were busy, I had time to put together some easy Christmas gifts for a few parties we were invited to. A jar of baked nuts, (nuts available at NTUC), mixed with pretzels and MnMs, and small jars of spices – all made pretty with some plaid ribbon.

The best part of the holiday? We slept in every morning, only woken up by the two early birds when they jumped into our bed. We enjoyed our snuggles (before the squabbles started).

 

Santa Claus is coming to town

One of the things we do during the year end holidays each year, is to get the kids to make Christmas cards for our extended family. I pack a box of festive supplies and let them lose on them.

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During one such session yesterday, I overheard the following conversation:

Shannon: I’m going to write Santa a letter. Maybe he will like my card and give me a present.

Jason: (rolling his eyes) There is no such thing as Santa. Silly baby!

Shannon: Who says? I will try and maybe I will get a present and you won’t.

Jason: How is Santa going to come to our house? The only way is from the windows. And if that happens, we will think he is a thief and call the police. So there is no way Santa can come!

Shannon: I will leave Santa some cookies and milk.

Jason: The food will rot and insects will come.

I have no idea where she gets such notions from, because we hardly discuss Santa or gifts from Santa. Maybe she gets ideas from books, or her friends.

Anyway she ignored her brother and happily wrote a letter for Santa.

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Family Yearbooks

One of the things I wanted to do when I left my job last year, was to organise our family pictures. We’ve taken lots of pictures over the years, especially after the kids came about. Some have been printed, some slipped into albums, others left largely forgotten in camera SD cards, computer hard disks, on Facebook or in handphones. Basically they are all over the place.

I like the idea of having a printed yearbook to summarise our year, but it would be too onerous a task to start from scratch and have one for each year. So I purchased five coupons from Photobook Singapore last year, with a six month deadline, to force myself to get started on it.

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I’m sure there are many options out there for printed photobooks, but I didn’t spend too long researching. Since I had so many books to catch up on, I found one that fit my budget – $30 a book without delivery (they routinely have promotions so this was the best deal I saw then), for 40 pages, with pre-designed pages I could just add pictures to, Delivery costs $10per book, so it works out to $40 per yearbook. I figured it’s cheaper, neater and easier than getting photos printed, buying an album and having them laid out nicely. The price seems to have dropped $2 to $28 or so this year, but again, it fluctuates so wait for a good deal if you want to get one.

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I did one year per book for 2011 to this year, but condensed three years into one book for the earlier years: 06 – 08 (after Jason was born), and 08 – 2010 (after Shannon was born).

I had some trouble finishing the books before the deadline, possibly because I did it too close to the deadline and the last minute frenzy caused uploading of pictures to take too long. The process left me endlessly frustrated, so I wrote in to ask for an extension which they were happy to oblige. The size I chose was the medium landscape (basically an A4 landscape), and I kept to it because I wanted all books to stack nicely.

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It’s been a great way to look back on our years so far. We occasionally take them out and have a good chuckle reminiscing about Shannon’s botak head as a baby, Jason’s cherubic looks as a toddler (what happened to you now, we tease him), and our travels as a family. Relatives and friends who have come by also enjoyed flipping through the books.

I got another two coupons earlier this year, for a 2014 book as well as one for our travels before the kids came along. Again I nearly busted the deadline and had to write in for an extension.

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This is what the inside looks like. The designs are different for each book, depending on which you choose. One can also design blank pages from scratch but I didn’t have the inclination to do so. Most yearbook designs start with a Year At A Glance summary page, with the rest of the pages spread out through the years.

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Below are the two pages for February 2014. The colours, design and layout are suggested but there is the flexibility to change them around as you wish. I included a page that marked my last day in ST.

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And a Mother’s Day card drawn by Jason.

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The books are too pretty to be left on a shelf, so they now sit in a basket as part of our home decoration.

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Here’s to more years of memory-making!

Jason turns 9

Sometimes I find it hard to believe my first-born is now 9.

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Continue reading

Shannon’s “new” table

The kids have been back to school for a week now. Jason in P3, and Shannon in K2. I’m still luxuriating in the fact that I have mornings free to do my own thing, now that both are in school in the mornings. Unfortunately, I’ve been down with a cold the past few days, so my plans to exercise and do a variety of other activities have been put on hold.

Meanwhile, Shannon was recently gifted my sister’s old study table. There is a corner in their shared bedroom where her kiddy table used to be, but I thought a proper study table would come in useful when she’s in P1 next year. Continue reading

December, in summary

It’s been a good, long break. I turned down any work that came along in December, and have been soaking up time with the family. We did many things, we also did nothing on some days. With everyone at home, I haven’t felt inclined to sit in front of my laptop to blog, not even at night when everyone’s asleep. Continue reading

Mid-Autumn Fun

I’m a big believer of family traditions. It’s Mid-Autumn Festival today, and since a couple of years ago, we started a mini-tradition of bringing the kids downstairs to the playground, where all the neighbourhood kids congregate with their lanterns, sparklers and candles on Mid-Autumn Festival. I sense such festivities being met with decreasing excitement as the kids grow older, so I was a tad surprised when both Jason and Shannon enthusiastically agreed to go downstairs with their lanterns tonight. Continue reading

DIY hot-air balloon lantern

It’s the time of the year where we pull out our lanterns, let the kids play with fire (candles and sparklers), and eat over-priced, exotic flavoured moon cakes. But apart from the usual fanfare, mid-Autumn festival has taken on a DIY perspective since the kids’ started preschool because Shannon’s school organises an annual lantern-making competition that involves recycled materials and parents. Continue reading

Painting up a storm

I was telling Jason recently about some paintings by my ex-colleague, Sandra – huge canvas ones hung on the wall in her new home, and how pretty they looked. Something about my account piqued his interest and he asked to buy some bigger canvases so he could do the same. Like Shannon, he doesn’t want to go for lessons, but for different reasons. Continue reading

Something is looming

They are colourful, intricate, and remind me of the friendship bands of my school days. I’m talking about the Rainbow Loom bands, created by a US-based Malaysian-born engineer. The craze has reached my home, and we finally relented and got Jason a pack of the colourful bands that is all the rage among kids now. Yup, it’s Jason who asked for it. And when he did, my first reaction was: “Um, isn’t that for girls?!” His reply: “No lah. My friends, the boys, are all doing it.” Continue reading

Garden inspiration

When I met Shermaine for lunch at Concetto in The Cathay a couple of months back, we spotted an indoor herb garden in the restaurant. I’ve always wanted a herb garden by my kitchen window but hubby was convinced it would not succeed because we don’t get direct sunlight there. Encouraged by the indoor garden I saw, I naively attempted to create one in my kitchen. Oh we had so much fun preparing for it, using an old fish tank my husband got for free because it leaked. Continue reading

SAHM – Three months on

I woke up last Sunday to a flurry of SMSes and Whatsapp messages on my phone. They ranged from: “Oh I see you went back to writing for your ex-employer” to “Aha, gave up on being a SAHM already? Went back to work?” The reason for the messages from my well-meaning friends? I wrote a column in Sunday Times on the lengths teachers go to to engage parents. So some thought I had gone back to work. Nope, not at all. Continue reading

Making difficult decisions

I thought I wouldn’t have to make difficult decisions like choosing between kids and work since I had quit my job. I thought wrong! Before I left ST in February, I had agreed to be on the selection panel for MOE’s outstanding youth in education awards. MOE asked me because of my involvement in Compass and I had marked the date down in my diary way ahead. Continue reading

Ideas for Mothers’ Day 2014

We’re not big on celebrating “Hallmark holidays” like Valentine’s Day, Mothers’ Day or Fathers’ Day. Valentine’s Day passes like any other day, while we may gather for a meal to celebrate Mothers’ Day for my mum and mum-in-law. The thing is, neither of them are big on such celebrations either. So while we may not always bring them out for a restaurant meal or shower them with extravagant gifts, we do try to do something special for them. Continue reading

Typo crate knock-off

One of the things I really missed doing when I was working, was having time to craft. It could be something as simple as making a card, working on a scrapbook, or making a photo frame. But I didn’t have the energy or mental state to do it. Yes, there were nights and weekends, but by the time I was done with work or housework, I didn’t feel like doing much else apart from lazing with my kids.

So I haven’t messed around with paints much since my previous attempts here and here. Continue reading

Love doing laundry? It’s a sign!

The last two weeks have been the busiest since I stopped full time work in February. Several freelance writing deadlines converged with two workshops I agreed to conduct plus a Groupon deadline for some photobooks I have been wanting to complete. I learnt my lesson the hard way, no more piling too much on my plate!

While some things had to give in the last two weeks, for example, simpler meals than ever if that’s even possible, or even eating out, I had to keep up with one thing – laundry. Continue reading

Quick Organisation At Home

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See the clutter-free surface, organised spices and oil and neatly arranged ladles?

It’s hard to believe that two hours before the picture was taken, I was dealing with an overflowing filtered water dispenser that I forgot to turn off (it works like a tap). I was filling water in my mug when three-year-old Shannon called for me. Since the water dispenses rather slowly, I left the mug on the counter as it was filling up, and went to see what she needed. One thing led to another, and I started giving her a shower. It wasn’t until I was drying her off with a towel that I suddenly remembered I was filling up my mug! I knew it was too late even as I ran into the kitchen. Water was flowing off the counter, onto the stove, onto the floor, and horrors of horror, filling up my two deep drawers where I keep my pots and pans. Continue reading

September 2013

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Look at the unadulterated joy on their faces and I miss the holidays already. Time flies when you’re enjoying yourself, isn’t it? It’s no wonder this month flew by so quickly especially since I took time off work to spend time with the family during the September holidays. The kids still talk about the ostriches we saw during our Desaru trip, which was just an hour away from Singapore. The trip was made more pleasant because we had a fuss-free journey where the kids entertained themselves with an activity bag. Continue reading

Easy lantern using recycled materials

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I enjoy doing crafts with my kids, but there are crafts I would not think about doing, unless I was asked to, like in this case – to make a lantern using recycled materials. So I’m thankful Shannon’s school organises an annual lantern-making competition, with a few specifications: to use recycled materials and it should be a combined parent-child effort (Let’s just say it is a good thing they did not specify exactly how much work should be done by each party). 🙂 Continue reading

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