Why my relationship works…

I took a bit of a break because I just needed to clear some space in my head. We’re about to make quite a big decision, a sad one at that too, so I just haven’t really felt in the mood to blog. But I’m back now!

Phew, what a busy last couple of days – and rainy ones too! We have just had downpour after downpour, and I have absolutely LOVED every moment of it. I had to run errands on Friday and every time I was about to get out of the car, the rain would start pouring down (and it even hailed on us) so there was a bit of sitting around in the car waiting for the rain to subside. Even though I tried, Jacob still managed to get himself wet (lots of jumping in muddy puddles).

But nothing beats a rainy day than a warm snuggle in our bed! This is the scene in my bed at 6.30am a  few mornings ago – love these two but no space in bed for me, sigh!

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Today I’m meant to talk about what makes my relationship work. Of course, there are lots of deep underlying reasons, but here are just a few fun ones…

  1. We love the same genre of movies and TV series. Okay, so this isn’t the most important thing but it certainly makes things easier on movie nights. Plus, we both enjoy a nice hot chocolate and cookies while lounging on the sofa together.
  2. We complement each other – I am the dreamer and he is the realist. I am the impulsive one and he’s the one who will tell me all the pros and cons before I jump into something I’m over my head in.
  3. We love travelling together. We’ve been to a number of places together and we’re keen to keep exploring the world together (except now we’ll have to lug two boys along with us too!).

  4. We have the same sense of humour – a bit left wing and sometimes a little politically incorrect but we share it in close quarters. We send each other funny pics or videos on Facebook sometimes!
  5. We love being together but also don’t mind if we each get a bit of “me time” – like sometimes he’ll play basketball or play PS4 with his friends, and sometimes I get my girls nights out. It’s all about balance!
  6. We love eating together. Hubby and I are both adventurous eaters which is so much fun – back in the day, we used to go out for all sorts of cuisines (though now we mostly eat at home or have takeaway due to child constraints)

  7. We profess the same faith and go to church together. I think it really helps us in other big life decisions because our faith also defines underlying values that we live by as well.
  8. We appreciate each other. Maybe I don’t tell him enough, but he does so much for me – from the little things like serving me when I’m feeding Jared or cleaning up after I cook in the kitchen (as I make an awful mess). And for always fixing my tech issues and for getting all my favourite shows. And I always feel appreciated by him for all the stuff I do at home with the kids, cooking meals, etc.
  9. We make beautiful children (and love them to bits!). I know people say that having kids can take its toll on your relationship, but I feel that our kids bring us together as well and we end up making more amazing memories together.

What makes your relationship tick?

Game of Thrones Night (and more of the blog challenge)

I’m a couple of days late for the blog challenge now but have been flat out over the weekend and today, and then tonight was Game of Thrones night in our household.

Game of Thrones night is like a sacred ritual in this house. We make sure Jacob is asleep in his bed and that Jared is pretty settled (and mostly asleep) before we begin. We often have chocolate-laden desserts prepared, or at least a nice hot drink. Over the weekend, Jacob and I made pumpkin choc chip muffins which are to die for – top that with Aldi salted caramel ice cream with a hot chocolate and you’re all set for an amazing experience. (No wonder I’m not losing any weight lol!)

But anyway, I just need to say that Game of Thrones is SOOOOO good! Yes, I know that it does have a bit of unnecessary nudity (particularly in the first season) but the storyline is so full of twists and turns. But you probably already know this…

I wouldn’t say I’m obsessed, (no, I’m not) but I was at Aldi the other day and I noticed they were selling a whole lot of kids winter clothes including fleece pajamas. I saw this design and could not pass it up! It wasn’t too pricy at all (just over $10 each) and I now have wildling babies.

wildling

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I am going to cover “One thing that you could teach others” and “What inspires you” in one blog post.

One thing that I could teach others

I’d like to think that at the age of 26, I have accumulated a wealth of life experiences and that I’d be considered “learned” in certain areas of life. I have been a jack of all trades but I admit that I’m pretty okay in some areas.

However, perhaps the thing I feel I can teach others most is about music. Yes, I can teach you how to play the piano if you like (I’ve been learning since I was like 3) or guitar or ukulele. But I can also teach you how to sing and to just appreciate music for what it is.

I’m no prodigy – in truth, there were a number of times I made my own music teachers cry because I was just that bad. I’m not a concert pianist, and I lack technique (because I don’t practice, full stop) but I’ve been told that I’m the type who ‘feels’ the music. So if you’re that type of musician who wants to learn that way, I’m the person for you.

I also used to write songs – and sometimes still do but lack the time to pen things down. This (embarrassing) video was taken 6 years ago, and it was the reason I named my previous blog “Reality Hits”.

In all seriousness, I’m thinking of working on the music side of things and potentially starting to teach piano lessons. Of course, I will have to work out my syllabus and refine my own technique (which is hard as I barely get a moment to myself at the piano – the toddler always insists on joining in) but I’m thinking it will still be a good thing to upskill and to share my talents with others!

What inspires me

I suppose I have different inspiration points at different times of life. Sometimes it’s budding young entrepreneurs that inspire me, and sometimes it’s strong female figures who seem to be able to juggle a million things at once and still come up on top.

Lately, I’ve been feeling inspired by people who, despite the odds, are able to rise up above their circumstances and make a new future for themselves. Someone I know has exhibited that – I don’t know her that well, but even in just seeing the progression of her life on Facebook, I’m just so impressed and happy for her.

Basically, she had a baby (who is just the most gorgeous thing!) and had to drop out of high school. She tried to make things work with the dad but it didn’t work out. So there she is raising her little boy with help of her mum (and now I believe she has a new partner). But she was also working hard in the background and was just accepted into Uni!

I love hearing stories like these – stories of real people who just keep trudging on despite the trials and the stigma. People like these dig themselves out of a rut and come out on top of a mountain.

I’m not sure if she reads my blog, but if you do, I just want you to know that you absolutely inspire me! 🙂

What’s my morning routine?

We’re onto the 10th part of this blog challenge – I thought it would be hard to keep up but I guess I love pouring out my thoughts so much that it hasn’t seemed too difficult to find the momentum. That’s also possibly because of the number of hours that I’m awake in a day versus the hours I sleep (and one fine day I might crash and wake up like a week later?) – but so be it!

Today I’m meant to share my morning routine with you – I hope you can stomach it! 😉

First thing in the morning, I wake up to light streaming through my curtains and birds chirping outside my window. I stretch and yawn, feeling great that I’ve had a good night’s sleep and am ready to take on the new day! I sit back against my plush pillows, sipping herbal tea and trying to decide what colour I’ll paint my nails. Bring it on, skincare regime and yoga…

morningI should feel like this every time I wake up in the morning…

Oh wait, sorry, I think that might be happening in an alternate universe, but certainly not in my house…

Somewhere between 4.00am and 5.30am
Jared (the 12 week old) stirs. He either goes back to sleep easily, or he’s in the happy chatty mood that is so cute but also means he’s not going back to sleep for at least another hour or so. Which brings me to…

Somewhere between 5.30am and 5.45am
Jacob (the 2 and 3/4 year old) rises, and there is the rushed scurry between hubby and I to try and get him to go back into bed. He doesn’t go back to sleep, but some days he does agree to lie in bed until his Groclock sun rises (which is around 6.45am). Other days, it can get quite loud…

6.40am
Hubby gets out of bed and gets ready for work. Jacob and Jared conspire against me and both are wide awake, and Jacob conveniently sits on my head and tries to get me to read him books. So I drag my sorry self out of bed to make Jacob breakfast if hubby hasn’t already done it. I put on the kettle and pop a croissant into the convection oven. Then I make my coffee and try to enjoy my croissant while cuddling the bub and feeding Jacob his Weetbix bites & Cheerios.

One thing i might mention is that we say the “Superman” grace every morning and practically every meal (courtesy of Jacob’s cousin in Canberra who taught it to us when his family were over). It goes like this:
 (To the tune of the “Superman” theme)
Thank you God for giving us food
Thank you God for giving us food
For the food we eat
And the friends we meet
Thank you God for giving us food… Amen!

7.45am
Hubby leaves for work and I try my best to get things in order for the day, such as:
– Get Jacob to finish his breakfast and feed Jared
– Wash hands, brush teeth, clean Weetbix off my clothing and milk out of my hair.
– Change both boys’ nappies and make them presentable
– Feed the dog and top up her water
– Put Jared down for a nap before he loses it.

20160519_080313Shh, Jacob, don’t wake him!

And finally, we work out what we are doing for the day. The following are some of the things I usually do during the week:
Going to playgroup. I often go to one that’s tied to the school Jacob will be going to, and I’ve just started checking out a bilingual Mandarin playgroup too, which is really interesting (and I’m so amazed at how much Jacob has picked up after only going twice. Today he literally sang me one of the Chinese songs – he wasn’t even paying attention when they were singing it, or so I thought anyway!)
Swimming lesson. Jacob LOVES swimming (though he puts up a fuss all morning and all the way there about not wanting to go, and then when we’re there he doesn’t want to go home). Routinely after swimming he gets a nice hot milo and a hot shower at home.
Shopping. I usually try to do this on Jacob’s childcare day but sometimes I have to attempt the shops, ugh! Lots of coping strategies including numerous snacks, entertainment, and sometimes we play hide and seek with the pram cover (mainly when I want him NOT to see the Peppa Pig car ride on that we’re walking past).
A morning in. Sometimes we just have a lazy one – chill out and play with Lego, play outside, read some books or sometimes we do sneak in a bit of TV (if Jared is asleep and if I need to get housework done).
– Church. Jacob loves to go to church as he enjoys the kids program and gets to see his grandparents and sometimes his cousins too.
Anything. Like tomorrow, I’m taking him to this event called “Touch a Truck” where the local council is giving kids the opportunity to ride in and operate a garbage truck! So excited and really hoping there won’t be too many people there!

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What’s the best part of your daily routine?

Interview with Yukiko

When I started this blog challenge, I was looking through the topics  – when I came across the one about interviewing another blogger, someone came to mind right away.

Yukiko (whom I know as Ying) and I were high school besties and she’s been blogging since forever (and doing a great job at it too). She’s also one of most talented people I know – she can speak multiple languages (including Mandarin, Japanese, etc.), she can literally do magic, she’s an amazing photographer, she’s also great with makeup and she’s just a really wonderful person to be with!


Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your blog http://www.yukikotan.com?

I am a travel and photography addict! I write about mostly travel and beauty reviews, and I prefer telling my story through photos so I spend a lot of time on my photos to make sure it’s a good photo before it goes on the blog!

What are some things that keep you inspired?
I love reading blogs and vlogs, so I spend quite a lot of time just blog hopping and watching Youtube videos on a daily basis.
My fav blogs would have to be Inthefrow, thelondonder, and annstreetstudio.
Favourite Youtubers – Fleurdeforce, ChriselleLim, Inthefrow

Can you tell us about someone famous/interesting that you’ve met along your blogging journey?
To be honest I think all media invites have been extremely interesting for me, if I didn’t started blogging, I don’t think I would have had the chance to be invited to any of the events. My most memorable one so far would have to be when Hennessy flew me to Penang, paid for my flights and accommodation just to attend a party event. Everything was really well though and I felt so spoilt throughout my trip.

What is your favourite place in the whole world and why?
If we are talking about cities, then it would be Kyoto, I love the culture, the story behind the city but if it’s a place we are talking about then it’d be Canal Rocks in Western Australia, I mean, have you seen the place? It’s breathtakingly beautiful!

What do you like to do in your spare time?
I love photography so during my spare time I like going through Pinterest for more photo inspiration and ideas for my next shoot. I do also enjoy practicing magic and reading the encyclopedias when I have time to spare.

If you were given a million dollars on the condition that you had to spend it all today, what would you do with it?
A million dollars USD or RM (Malaysian Ringgit)? Hah, if it’s RM then probs just a small house as an investment but if it’s in USD I’ll still get a house, and then buy myself a couple of trips with Fourseasons private jets. Then, with whatever’s remaining, I’ll head to http://luisaviaroma.com to do more shopping. =p

Check out Yukiko’s blog HERE.
You can also check our her Youtube channel HERE for awesome fashion Vlogs, which if I actually followed, I might actually not look like a dumpy mum haha!

Thanks again for fitting me into your busy schedule and answering my questions! 😉

mayo 3
覚えてますか?

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Who is your favourite blogger and what makes her blogs awesome?

6 of my favourite children’s books

We’ve come to the “Book Review” part of the blog challenge. Last night I realised it was a bit late for me to start reading a book to review (i.e. an actual fiction/non-fiction book written for adults). More so because I was falling asleep by like 7.30pm and that my brain could not get past the cover page.

So, instead, I’m going to share with you six of my favourite children’s books, as voted by Jacob who knows all the words.

1. There’s a House Inside My Mummy
Author: Giles Andreae
Illustrator: Vanessa Cabban
There's a House Inside My Mummy - Giles Andreae

When I first found out I was expecting again, I was really keen to get some books to explain the concept of a new baby to Jacob (who was just under 2 years old at the time). This book came highly recommended and it was really easy to read and used very simple comparisons, and I found it really helped Jacob relate to my pregnancy and to the baby in my tummy. There’s one page I found a bit unnecessary though (about Mummy’s door being rather “tight” – errr….) but other than that, a great book!

2. Peppa’s Car Ride
By Ladybird (doesn’t say the author’s names)
Peppa's Car Ride : Peppa Pig Series - Ladybird

I had to put a Peppa Pig one in, right? (Jacob is obsessed with Peppa Pig) I initially bought one for my nephew and then I found one in an op shop so I bought it for Jacob too. It actually has moving wheels which makes it all the more fun! Jacob loves reading the book and has put Peppa Pig stickers all over it as a sign of his approval. I also love that because the car was taken to Granddad Dog’s garage to be mended, Jacob now uses that word. If he breaks a toy, he says “Mummy, this toy needed to be mended.” Cuteee!

3. Toilet Time for Boys
By Dr Janet Hall
Toilet Time : A Training Kit for Boys - Dr Janet Hall

Okay, I had to add a toilet training book into the mix too! For the record, Jacob’s still not successfully toilet trained at the moment – we tried before Jared was born but he didn’t really take to the idea, or like he didn’t want it to be an ongoing thing (he told me “No more toilet, mum. Nappies please.”). But we do enjoy reading this book however – Jacob loves the whole idea of sitting on the toilet and it just presents the idea of toilet training in a simple and encouraging way. I only have the book but not the full activity pack, so I can’t comment on that, but fortunately we got a Huggies pull-ups pack which included a potty training resource and wall chart that has Lightning McQueen on it (and Jacob is absolutely SOLD! He loves Lightning McQueen) so we will start on that in due time!

4. I Love Mealtime
Author: Joy Berry
Illustrator: Dana Regan

My mum bought this book for Jacob, as well as another Joy Berry book called “I Love Bedtime”. He likes this one better – I’m not sure why, maybe because the main character is a boy and there’s a dog in it too? It’s also sorta ironic because he isn’t a fan of mealtime in real life haha! But this book is nice and clear – it explains why we have certain eating practices/etiquette and why (i.e. if you eat too many sweets, you get a tummy ache). I’m not sure that it has had any effect on Jacob’s table manners, but one can only hope!

5. Sunshine and Snowballs
Author: Margaret Wise Brown
Illustrator: Charlotte Cooke
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I absolutely love this book! I’m not sure what it is but there was a certain emotion it evokes – the illustrations are just beautiful too. You might realise by now that I love books with rhymes/poetry because it just has a lovely ring to it (and I love to hear Jacob say the last word of each sentence).

The book starts out with “Summer, summer, in the sun” and it’s funny because there is a little girl at our church called Summer, and Jacob instantly thought the girl in the book was called Summer. It’s so hard to explain the concept of seasons to a little child! And he says that the boy in the book is Jared because Jared has a winter hat like the one the boy wears. So yes, it’s about Summer and Jared playing at different times of the year. I love that this book has helped Jacob make the connection with natural elements – he’ll talk to me about rain and thunderstorms, and the other day we had a foggy morning and he was so excited to experience the “grey, silent” fog. Definitely a favourite!

6. Pull-out “Jonah and the Big Fish”
Author: Josh Edwards
Illustrator: Chris Embleton-Hall

I love these pull-out books – some other stories in this series include David and Goliath, Noah’s Ark and the Christmas Story. Jacob loves David and Goliath the most because Goliath is huge and roars (Oh wait, no, that’s mummy roaring) but he also loves all the others too. I highly recommend these books because they’re interactive, easy to read and fun – and to prove that, here’s a video of Jacob actually reading this book with me (this was a good 4 months ago)!

Happy reading! 🙂

Oh no, not more baby photos!

So, I’m nearly halfway through this blog challenge and today was an easy one – a photo post! Only I have to make it complicated for myself, right?

I thought that this would be an amazing opportunity to show you more pics of my kids! I do my best not to compare my kids, but one thing I love to compare is what they looked like at different stages of their life. Hence I’ve put together a few pics of what Jacob and Jared looked like at the same age. (Jacob’s always on the left, Jared on the right)

At birth01 At Birth

At 1 week old02 At 1 week

At 3 weeks old03 At 3 weeks

At 6 weeks old04 At 6 weeks

At 9 weeks old05 At 9 weeks

At about 11 and a half weeks (which is what Jared is today)06 At 11+ Weeks

From all these pictures, I’ve come to the conclusion that Jacob has a HUGE nose!!! Okay it’s not huge but like lately I look at him and think his nose is huge! Maybe because Jared’s nose is small?

Anyway I hope you’ve enjoyed these pics of my darling boys. xoxo

Almost-vegan mac and cheese

And I’m back after a lovely weekend! We went to church on Saturday and then had a bowling night with the church group – terrorizing the bowling alley with our kids (8 between the lot of us)! Aw nah, they were all pretty good.

And today we had a quiet day at home, which is exactly what I pictured for Mother’s Day. I just wanted to be able to catch up on some things at home – weed my veggie patch, get through my numerous loads of laundry and sort through the kids’ clothes because Jacob’s now into size 3 and Jared is into size 0, so lots of phasing out to do!

Anyway, today (or rather, tomorrow) I’m meant to post a favourite recipe, so I’ll share with you this “almost-vegan mac and cheese” recipe that seems to be a go to – it works well in the veggie-smuggling front and has been well-received by vegan and meat-eating friends alike!

I actually don’t like macaroni and cheese. I remember once when I was little, I had mac and cheese and it made me spew – it was just way too cheesy and rich for me! Thank goodness now I’ve found a recipe that’s not as rich but just really tasty (and actually a bit healthy too!)

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I decided to make this recipe today – partly because I needed pictures, and also because it’s yummy! Included in my prep above is my favourite hot chocolate from Aldi that is awesome on a rainy autumn night such as this! I wish I could show you a picture of Jacob savouring it but unfortunately he wasn’t in the mood tonight. Failed the toddler test tonight, sob!

I got the original recipe HERE and just made a few changes here and there. It probably is fine fully vegan as well, but I just like to sprinkle it with a bit of cheese before baking for a bit of a yummy kick to it!

Ingredients

1 500g packet of macaroni
2 potatoes peeled/diced
1 carrot peeled/diced
1/2 chopped onion
3/4 cup water (preferably from pot of boiled veggies)
1/2 cup raw cashews
1/4 cup coconut milk
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp garlic powder or garlic paste
1 pinch paprika
salt and pepper to taste
grated cheese, to top it off (optional)
frozen peas and corn (optional)

Method

  1. Soak the cashews in warm water for 30 minutes before starting the sauce.
  2. Cook macaroni al dente, according to package instructions (usually requires boiling for 6-8 minutes in salted water), drain, and set aside.
  3. Bring some water to boil in a small pot. Place chopped potatoes, carrots, and onion in the boiling water, and cook for about 10 minutes, or until vegetables are tender and soft enough to blend. Cooking time will vary slightly, based on how small you have chopped your veggies.
  4. When veggies are soft enough to blend, take them out of the water, and place them in your blender. Add ¾ cup of that cooking water to your blender, along with your remaining ingredients except for the cheese, peas and corn.
  5. Blend until smooth.
  6. Or, place macaroni and sauce in a baking dish and mix through with the frozen peas and corn, sprinkle with cheese, and bake at 180 degrees Celcius for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese browns on top.

If you’re a meat eater like me, you can also add things like chicken, tuna, beef mince, etc. but trust me, it’s awesome just as is!

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Anyway, I feel that I didn’t quite do the last challenge justice as I only posted one pic of the town (suburb) I live in. So here’s another shot:

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That isn’t my house – this is just opposite the reserve close to our home. This picture is pretty close to my heart as this is the day before Jacob was born – I had lost my mucous plug already (sorry if TMI) and was already having light contractions. I took my dog for a walk as I figured I wouldn’t be sure when I’d be next up to walking her. It was a lovely spring day – it had rained in the morning and now a beautiful rainbow stretched across the sky. I felt excited, scared, but a great sense of calm as well. 8am the next morning, my life would be changed forever.

Today, I celebrated Mother’s Day as a mother of two! We actually celebrated last weekend (breakfast in the Barossa) but I still had a luxurious breakfast – chocolate croissants, strawberries and a hot chocolate! Yummy! Did I mention I was on a diet? Oops.

To all the mums I know, and particularly to my mum and mum-in-law, I hope you have had a beautiful Mother’s Day! Thank you for all the ways you have been a blessing in my life! Sending love from my two lovely boys.

cutie

What did you do for Mother’s Day?