Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Xmas 2015

Our Xmas holidays have been a blur of family, friends and fun and we feel very blessed indeed.

Bubs woke up at the crack of dawn on Xmas morning and I could hear his little feet stampeding to the tree, a stunned pause before shouting at the top of his voice, "Daddy, Mummy, Santa ate the cookies! And look, he left a note!" He came running in, bouncing on our bed and happily brandishing the note (which I may or may not have written *shifty eyes*) from Santa with the words "Thank you, Bubs".

Present opening time was fun as we watched the look of sheer delight on his face as he tore open each wrapping. The funniest part was when Siew stuffed her pressie into a cereal box to make it easier to wrap; Bubs ripped the gift wrap apart and exclaimed happily, "Cornflakes! I love cornflakes! Can I eat them now?"

Dinner was at my uncle's place where he hosted (and roasted) his annual turkey extravaganza. I can tell you that the tukey bones made for a very excellent post-dinner soup stock.

Bubs helped my Mum with the annual glutinous rice ball making for the winter solstice. I accidentally tipped in too much blue dye and the poor kid suffered having smurf hands for the rest of the day.

We've been having play dates quite often since most of his friends are on school holidays.

This was at the Youth Park's playground where Bubs and his friends chased each other through the sun dappled grounds filled with the laughter and happy squeals of children.

This was my Xmas treat for myself - the Laura Mercier mini caviar eye stick set. I'd been eyeing this for quite some time since I'd the full sized version of khaki and loved how pigmented it was. When the salesgirl told me that this was the last set in Penang, I immediately grabbed it; what made it an even sweeter deal was that I got 10% off the price with my Sephora black card points, yayyyy me!

Since we spent RM200 at Gurney Paragon, Bubs and his gal pal, Little H, gained entry for the giant bouncy castle. I did feel that it was a bit of a rip off as the children were restricted to only 50 mins (not even an hour!) inside but *shrugs* the kids had so much fun, they were so reluctant to leave.

The Spice Arena (formerly known as Pisa) revamped their iconic public pool and and it is so much more gorgeous now. My cousin, Jean, remarked that the kids' pool looks like something out of Willy Wonka's chocolate factory and I couldn't agree more!

It's a massive play area filled with candy themed slides, water shooters and even a seesaw right in the middle of the wading pool. About a quarter of the pool is open air so you get beautifully strong sunlight warming up the end of the pool. It was jam packed with kids and adults supervising plus there isn't a fenced up entrance so you really have to pay close attention - no surfing (pun intended) on your phone as your little one might easily wander off somewhere else.

I think Bubs and us alike don't ever want this holiday to end :) 

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Xmas

Just a couple more hours before Santa drops by.

Bubs left him cookies and a note beside the tree. He also worried about Santa accidentally eating the candle inside the lamp, which we assured him, no one would even think of doing that.

We're reading this beautiful work of art by paper engineer Robert Sabuda for our bedtime story tonight before snuggling under the covers while listening carefully for the sound of sleigh bells. Maybe we'll try hard to stay awake to creep out to spot a familiar figure with a belly like a bowl full of jelly; maybe we'll dream of colourful presents all awaiting us under the tree. One thing's for sure: we're creating a lifetime of memories to be cherished, even when the last tinsel has been removed from the tree and the last ribbon unraveled from the gifts, our hearts will be full of love and laughter from this wonderful season.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Monday, December 21, 2015

During the Holidays

Hip hip hooray for school holidays, year end holidays plus some of the nicest weather that Penang has had in a long while. Like my coll said, it takes bouts of toxic haze to make us appreciate the jewel-blue skies and fresh breeze here.

Bubs hit the pool at a friend's place along with his assortment of beach toys.

I choose to bury my toes into the sand and my nose into this new adult book. Based on a loose retelling of Beauty and the Beast combined with faerie lore, Sarah J. Maas's romance between Feyre, a human, and Tamlin, a faerie High Lord is sizzling!

Bubs had a play date at the Audi Dream Farm with his mate and it was so cute to hear the conversation between the little chatterboxes. This time around, I finally can tell the difference between a goose and a duck: ducks have longer beaks and geese have shorter, more pointy ones.

The rabbit hutch was their favourite attraction as they could get up close and feed the bunnies. I still don't quite get Bub's love for this as they have fat, chubby bunnies at school that they get to feed carrots to instead of small pellets.

Since we were at Balik Pulau, we took a sneak peek at this gorgeous new street art done by Russian artist Julia Volchkova of a fisherman mending his net.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Felt Xmas Cards

Xmas card crafting has become an annual event for Bubs. This year, we tried our hands at felt cards after being inspired by this post and the snowman one. The beauty of the Internet is that there are heaps of brilliant ideas out there to inspire you.

You'll need:
Card stock
Felt (Daiso has small squares in jewel tones)
Potato (If you're opting to make the snowman version)
Alphabet templates
Embellishments (sequins, sparkles, etc)

I traced out the shapes onto the felt and cut them out. Bubs was tasked with gluing them.

For the potato print snowman, I sliced a potato into half. Bubs painted it with white poster colour before carefully stamping them onto the card.

Wait (preferably over night) for the stamp to dry before drawing details on with markers.

Glue felt onto the cards. With the snowman representing the letter O, we cut out different letters to make up the words JOY, SNOW and LOVE.

Bubs also had fun making Xmas trees with felt triangles.

He was so proud of his cards!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Xmas Reading

"Wordless books? That's like asking for teh peng (iced tea) mai teh (without tea)!" Hubs scoffed when I first showed him the concept of children's' books without words.

Raymond Briggs's The Snowman is on our Christmas reading list after I discovered that Chinese translated books cost less than half of the original English versions. Given my very limited Chinese reading skills, it's a good thing that the book is wordless.

Bubs was enthralled with the soft and gentle illustrations about a boy that builds a snowman that comes to life. At the beginning, Bubs asked if we should write out the story in pencil onto the pages (I've been sneakily doing that for a few other Chinese translated picture books we got) but I pointed out that the beauty of a wordless book is that the reader is able to change the words each time they read it, so it doesn't stay fixed. Plus, you're able to do the storytelling in any language you want to.

Even Hubs had to admit the tale was beautifully told in the muted sketching.

Here's Bub's version of a snowman and reindeer :)

Monday, December 7, 2015

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

It's funny how Bubs has changed my point of view about Christmas so much. I used to view Christmas as mass commercialism. During the first year when Hubs and I were dating, he asked if we should exchange Christmas presents and I gave the poor guy an earful about rampant waste and profit maximization from retailers.

Post Bubs, I find myself putting in a lot of effort for all kinds of festivals. I know I sound like a cliche, but we are lucky to live in a place where there are so many major festivals throughout the year so I try to make the most of it for Bubs to enjoy and learn.

Fairy Godma calls our Christmas tree as a strange and wonderful place where mushrooms, birds and gingerbread all co-exist happily. Bubs and I have been adding to our stash of Christmas ornaments and our criteria is cheap, cheerful and most importantly: non-breakable. This year, we added Ikea wooden birdhouses (Hubs said they're the perfect size for cockroaches to crawl in and make themselves cosy), a golden glittery butterfly and Fairy Godma even threw in a pair of felt owls with beautiful red trailing streamers.

Hubs played Christmas music from YouTube while we put up the tree together and wrapped presents. Bubs was so proud that he's finally considered big enough to use scissors to cut the tape and stick them on the presents. I also caught him stealthily shaking each present to guess what is inside.

Bubs and I baked gingerbread together (while poor Hubs did the cleaning up in the kitchen after that). Bubs helped out more this time around by mixing the ingredients, rolling the dough and stamping the cookie cutters firmly.

The Lego advent calendar has been the highlight of Bub's bedtime routine in December. He absolutely loved the Star Wars one we got last year and this year, I got him the Lego City version for a change. He calls them "star windows" as they practise a similar concept to an advent at their school. Bubs added some Star Wars minifigs to this year's advent for a cute scene.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Being Yourself

It's been a really busy time at work for the past couple of weeks and with all the issues coming in, I feel like I'm on a never ending fast-paced treadmill so this pic helped in putting a smile on my face. My cousin, Jean, made this beautiful drawing for me and I have such a soft spot for this quote as it's something that I want Bubs to know: be true to yourself; there's no point putting on a facade just to fit in when you can do so much more in standing out.

It resonates especially strongly with me because when I know how hard it is to want to fit in as much as possible. When I was little, no one in my family could speak a word of Mandarin but my parents plonked me in a Chinese school. I was the only kid in my class that had non-Mandarin speaking parents and I stuck out like a sore thumb. Language was just a small part of the barrier, culture was much bigger; my family all read English newspapers, watched English movies and listened to English music. My classmates were discussing Cantonese serials, Taiwanese pop artists and glued to Chinese wuxia (martial heroes) novels.

It took me quite a while to get comfortable in my own skin and discover who I am and what I really wanted to be (a bookworm with a compulsive shopping addiction). Always be Batman, Bubs, you're my favourite kinda super hero :) 

Friday, November 20, 2015


Lately, Bubs has been learning finger weaving at school and was very excited about it so paper plate weaving (or building a spiderweb as we called it) was a fun way to show him other forms of weaving.

You'll need:
A paper plate (try to get ones with thicker/sturdier rims)
Hole puncher
Card stock/pipe cleaner/embellishments

This needs just a lil amount of prep work which I did when Bubs was having his afternoon nap.

Cut out a circle in the paper plate, leaving just the rim behind. The easiest way to do this is to place a bowl in the center then slice carefully using a penknife.

Punch holes into the rim of the paper plate. If the paper plate wasn't that flimsy, I'd have let Bubs do this himself - he's fascinated with hole punchers :)

Cut out a long piece of yarn.

Start by taping 1 end of the yarn to the plate and thread the other end through the holes.

Continue until you've completed the length of yarn and tape securely.

Every spider web needs a spider, right? The easiest way to do this is cut out 2 coin sized black card stock and glue them together. Use pipe cleaners and goggly eyes to embellish anyway you want.

If you used pipe cleaners for the legs, carefully position them onto the yarn web by twisting them around. Otherwise, you could just glue them together.

Voila! Your very own spiderweb :) 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

7th Anniversary

For our 7th wedding anniversary last weekend, I'd made dinner reservations at an eatery that we've been wanting to try for a while.

It started out quite innocuously. In the afternoon, Bubs complained that the back of his neck was sore. Hubs placed the back of his hand against Bub's forehead and noticed it felt warm so I took his temperature which was raised. We gave him some Panadol, mopped his forehead with wet towels and made him take an early afternoon nap.

When he woke up, he seemed fine so we stayed in bed, watching cartoons.

After a while, he said in a tiny voice, "Mummy, I feel cold." This time, his neck, his tummy and his ankles were hurting. His temperature was also spiking so I called the pharmacist to ask if it's ok to give another dose of Panadol after just 4 hours (Yes it is, if the child is feeling discomfort).

Hubs and I were deliberating between going straight to Emergency or wait a couple more hours for the hospital's night clinic to open when Bubs suddenly burst into tears, wailing that it was painful "everywhere". We rushed all the way down town to the hospital's emergency with a tearful Bubs screaming. His little body was still flushed with fever.

The ER nurse handed me a basin filled with warm water and a towel, told us to strip him and sponge him down all over again.

This is the crazy part that Hubs and I still look back in disbelief.

Bub's temperature dropped, his crying ceased and he was back to normal. There we were, all 3 of us sitting on the narrow ER single bed and Bubs was laughing and talking at the top of his voice.

The ER nurse must have thought that we were all nutcases. She discharged us and told us to see the pediatrician at the night clinic just to rule out anything serious.

So instead of a swanky dinner, we'd buns from the hospital's bakery. Not that Bubs minded, his appetite returned as he chomped down on his kaya bun with gusto.

I didn't know to laugh or cry given that Bubs was now full of beans.

"Look, Mummy, I'm Spidey!"

Hubs looked at me, "did we just hallucinate all that?"

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

What's in the Bag

This has to be the month of splurges *looks around guiltily* My standard excuse is that someone needs to stimulate the retail economy so it might as well be me ;)

It's our 7th wedding anniversary and although I love fresh flowers, they're a bit of a waste for me so I dropped massive hints to Hubs to get me this instead ...

Tiny white flowers embroidered into a scalloped hem of this floaty, chambray skirt from Forever 21.

Because I aim to have a pair of pointy toed heels in every single colour under the rainbow ;) Low heeled sling backs in a muted shade of gold, this ticks all the boxes on my list.

Look, Hubs, I pointed excitedly at my just past shoulder length hair, it's finally long, I've saved so much on haircuts this year!

Big deal, he shrugs, look at the amount of spending you did on hair accessories.

Opppps ... I think in the process of trying to grow out my bob, I ended up with quite a number of intricately beaded Forever 21 headbands and hair pins.

I've to admit, it's taken me quite some time to realise that shopping for boys can be fun after all. Bubs ended up with some goodies at the newly opened Sports Direct outlet at Udini Square. His eyes popped out when he saw the Spidey hoodie and boxers. There was also the coolest Animal (my favourite Muppet) tee that Bubs didn't really fancy so I just got it a few sizes up for myself instead!

There was also a Star Wars R2D2 shaped cereal bowl giveaway with 2 giant boxes of cereal so you can guess what will be on the breakfast menu for the next few weeks ahead ;) Plus for Lego fans out there, Shell is having a collaboration so you get to purchase a Ferrari themed Lego poly bag for every purchase of Shell fuel above RM40.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Fun Science: Dyed Flowers

This is one of the prettiest science experiments we've done in a while: showing how plants "drink" water from the ground using capillary action.

You'll need:
White flowers
Food dye
Jars of water

Drop food dye into different jars filled with water. The more concentrated the mixture is, the brighter the colours of the flowers will be.

Bubs carefully jotted down his experiment in his journal.

He observed how the flowers slowly started getting coloured the next day.

Day 3 before we called it quits. The white petals showed up light streaks of colour which were more concentrated at the base of the petals. Ours was a bit of a failure because we didn't use put in enough food dye but it was still fascinating for Bubs to observe the changes which didn't photograph too well.

Bubs had fun though and we're thinking of going ahead with the next variations: dyeing celery stems!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Where Did October Go To?

October came and zipped past us so fast that I'm still reeling from the fact that it's just a few more minutes before November starts. It's been a pretty intense month with work, family gatherings and Hub's birthday :D

Happy birthday, Hubs! We celebrated with lunch at Rasa Sayang and his birthday cake was a medley of cupcakes and mini desserts pinched from the dessert buffet with Lego figurines on top. I know, wife of the year award for the amount of effort put in, right? LOL

It surprises me that Bubs has been showing so much interest in Roald Dahl books. These were definitely some of the best bargains we've got from the Big Bad Wolf book sale. I've started reading them aloud to Bubs before bedtime, serializing them over a few nights and he's hooked on to them. "Just one more page, pleaseeee," he'd plead when Hubs turns the lights off.

Trick or treat! Japan produces the best and cutest snacks ever. Period.

Bubs and his mate went nuts at Jump Street. It was our first time there and they went nuts over the amount of space they could run around in. At RM27 (peak time) for an hour, the both of them were bouncing all over the place, literally. Their favourite bit? The giant foam pit. "It was like swimming in marshmallows, Mummy,"
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