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 :) 
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