Paint me a picture…

I cannot believe it is November. Or actually, it’s halfway through November and I reckon I’ll blink, and the rest of the year will be gone.

The past few months have been a bit frantic yet also rather mundane for no particular reason at all aside from the fact that my once tiny infant is now a boisterous crawler! We have been spending a bit more time at home to give the kids time to explore in their own time, yet it feels like I have been running a marathon each day with them!

Jacob will be 3 years and 3 months old next Monday. He grows more boy-like every day to a point that sometimes I find it hard to fathom that he was once so little.

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Jared will be 9 months old next Wednesday. Many people are shocked when I tell them his age as he is rather big (and also a rather fast crawler).

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It’s also been getting warmer this side of the world. On Thursday it hit 34 degrees, and I was going to do some outside water play but it was quite windy (and that flares up my hay fever) so we opted for a bit of messy play with yoghurt paint.

Yoghurt paint is so simple to make – I just used Greek yoghurt and a few drops of food colouring. The kids loved it – I strapped Jared into Jacob’s booster seat and let him sit a the table, which he loved.

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Jacob did some painting and then took some foam letters to do printing. Meanwhile, Jared painted, sucked on the paintbrush and started licking the yoghurt off the paper until his tongue had a green tinge!

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I hope to get back into blogging and sharing a bit more of our family escapades. Til then, I hope you all enjoy the rest of your weekend.

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Father’s Day DIY chocolate cards

One of the odd things I found when I moved to Australia is the fact that Father’s Day is in September. Really?? I always thought it was in June! I think the International Father’s Day is in June but for us Aussies, we do it in September – probably because it’s more or less warm enough to fire up the barbie?

Anyway, it’s Father’s Day weekend, and my husband is incredibly hard to shop for! Either I get him something incredibly corny and pointless, or the thing he wants absolutely and utterly blows the budget (for example, his last present was a smart watch). But anyway, I wanted to do something a little different and more personal, so I searched for ideas on the net, and decided to pair a little humour with a bit of chocolate.

While we have a range of chocolate bars in normal Aussie retailers (Snickers, Mars Bars, KitKat, Smarties, etc.), I wanted to broaden the range a bit so I checked out Blackeby’s Sweets in the local mall which is a confectioner that carries a whole lot of imported chocolates. So chocolate shopping we went!

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Naturally, our boys wanted to help out, which often ends up in disaster!!! For one, both of them wanted to eat the chocolate – Jared wasn’t fussed that it was chocolate, like he’d eat a sock if I gave it to him, but Jacob was really interested and was like “Can I open this one? Just one pleaseeee??”

Finally, when I successfully convinced Jacob that the chocolates were not for him, we started to write the messages and stick the chocolates on. Yet again this process took forever as the kids continued to try and eat chocolate and stick/unstick the chocolate from the cardboard. Not to mention Jacob kept asking me “Who is this one for?” for literally every piece of chocolate, to a point that I practically begged him to play a game on my phone so he would just stop asking me haha!!

Disclaimer: I just put Jared on the table to take this picture – normally I don’t put 6 month old babies on dining tables. No babies were injured!

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At long last, these are the cards I came up with. Which do you think is the funniest?

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Anyway, if you’re ever short of ideas for an interesting card (be it Father’s Day or a birthday) and the person is a lover of chocolate, why not try this out? 🙂

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there (including my dad who lives many miles away and if I had made one for him, it probably would have melted on the way there)!

Some toddler life lessons…

We’ve had a number of busy days and late nights, including a staff party, an 18th birthday, singing at an old folk’s home, a church games night and 2 bonfires! I’m actually surprised at how well Jacob is taking all this, without his catch up naps too! But I think I’m going to take it easy the next few days to get him back and rested so he doesn’t just explode on me one day!

But over the past few days, we’ve had quite a few funny moments that really encapsulate life with a toddler, and also have reminded me that one can’t be too careful.

One of these lessons is don’t have permanent markers in your house. Just don’t. Even if they’re hidden in a pencil case in the middle stationery drawer in the study behind closed doors. Because your toddler will find it, and he will use it. This is now our wall calendar – thank goodness it actually was down on the table at the time, not on the wall, otherwise the wall would be blue too!

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Jacob also has a knack of colouring in things that he likes. Like in his colouring books, he’ll full on colour the faces of the things he likes, such as Thomas the Tank Engine’s face or all over Elmo. Here he got hold of some junk mail and has expressed a great preference to a certain bakery item – if you read the small print, it’s iced donuts.

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Another lesson (or more like a fact) is that toddlers sometimes don’t intentionally want to be funny, but they just are. At playgroup, we were discussing Australian animals and the craft for the day was to make an emu with a paper plate and ice cream sticks. Jacob worked hard at it with the other kids and when he was done, he said loudly “The flamingo is finished!!!” I think all us grown ups had a bit of a giggle. Here is his flamingo:

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Also, a quiet toddler is usually a toddler who is up to mischief. I was making breakfast for Jacob and things went quiet – I thought he was in his room, but clearly he was in our room and had climbed into the cot. Yes, those are stickers on Jared’s face. Jared didn’t seem too fussed about it…

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But one important lesson I’ve learned is that my world would be a duller place without my toddler. Happy 2 years and 10 months, Jacob – less than 2 months to your birthday now! Can you believe it? And Jared is 4 months old tomorrow – time flies when you’re having fun!

Wish List Collage (toddler style)

I’ve made it to challenge topic number 2 – a wish list collage! Just to make things fun, I decided to let Jacob get involved with my wish list (and I put a few things on his wish list on this too – though in truth I reckon I’d be just as excited as him if he got them!).

Before I get into it, I’ll just explain the progression. We were playing around with some cellotape and chalk (after doing the wishlist) – I was showing him how the chalk goes on the paper but not on the sticky tape. Then he kept bugging me to make him a treasure chest (he’s into pirates at the moment) so I used an old box and we stuck his chalk/sticky tape design onto it and put lettering stickers on it, and voila! We have the word “Quest” on it too because he wanted to use the letters Q and U, so I thought we’d just put another word there that sorta went along with the theme!

In the bottom corner, those are a couple of things he put in his treasure chest – a Thor dress up hat, number candles, a tiny green bell (which was confiscated after in case someone swallowed it) and Jared’s socks.

But anyway, back to the point. I was doing a wish list and thought I’d let Jacob make it with me. My kids are my life so there are a number of things that I want that really are for them, but seeing them with something they like makes me so happy. Anyway, here it is!

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Sorry if it’s hard to see, but I’ll now explain what is what. It’s a bit all over the place, full of tangible and intangible things, but this is sorta what I’d like at the moment.

  1. Money

    Yes, folks , I did put a picture of money here. Hubby was watching me make this and he’s like “Who puts MONEY on a wish list?” But in truth, I think we all want more money, so I’ll be honest. There are so many things I would do with more money. I would possibly have another child (we haven’t decided yet, but $ is ultimately a factor). I would probably travel a lot more. I would eat out more and hire a cleaner to keep my house in check. I would go back to study, learn a new language, the list goes on. But the fact is that I don’t have the money to rationalise many of these things, or rather I prioritise other things over my wants. But one day!

  2. A White Christmas

    I chose this picture because Jacob loves snowmen, and tells me he will build one one day. Which is hard as we live in Adelaide where it doesn’t snow (though it has happened once in a blue moon). We’d really like to have a white Christmas one year – maybe somewhere in Germany / Switzerland / Austria or even over in the UK. We initially thought to do it next year but think we might wait a few more years so both boys will actually remember the experience.

  3. The Wiggles Concert

    So, there was a Wiggles Concert here in Adelaide last week and we missed it!! Ugh. I really would like to take Jacob to something like that – either Wiggles or Playschool or even Mister Maker or Disney on Ice. I’ve just been doubting that he can sit still though so an “active” concert where the kids can join in would be awesome. But yes, one fine day we’ll do this. And maybe mummy here might even be able to go to a concert of my own too – top of list would be Ludovico Einaudi or Piano Guys!

  4. Healthy Eating

    Yes, it is a salad. But really, I really wish that I could live a healthier lifestyle and eat better, fresher, greener food. I know part of it is my bad management (my mum was shocked at the state of my pantry when she visited me last) and also making poor choices. And the fact that I LOVE all sorts of food, particularly the hearty, fatty and decadent! I have been eating like a pig since I started breastfeeding but I hope for it to change! We have been eating more salads and fruit lately but I still need to cut down on sweets and portion sizes – last night I had a double helping of spag bol as I was SOOOO hungry!

  5. Mummy and Son Matching Clothing

    By now you’re thinking “What kind of list is this?”. But yes, firstly I admit I’m the type who loves to dress my kids alike, but now I’m taking it to another level – I want to be dressed like them! There are so many adorable ideas and I was thinking maybe when the kids are older, we’ll do a family photoshoot wearing matching things!

  6. More Travel

    I want to travel the world! I want to scale mountains and swim in rivers; I want to see big cities and small country towns; I want to hear foreign tongues being spoken, experience different climates and taste authentic cuisine. Of course, a lot of this has had to be put on hold due to having young kiddos, though we have been travelling a bit (but mainly in Australia or in Asia/on our way to Malaysia to visit relatives). But I’m confident that we will travel more in future!

  7. Japan (and Disneyland)!

    One of my most desired destinations is Japan! We’re hoping to go there next year but still in the early planning stages. I just love so many things about Japan – the culture, the food, the history, the language, the people… and I’m really excited to go there as they have so many awesome and kawaii things for little kids to do, particularly Tokyo Disneyland!

  8. Bubble Tea

    I reckon I’ve always liked bubble tea, but in my pregnancy with Jared, I was obsessed! It was about the only thing I enjoyed consuming aside from coconut juice, so hubby spoiled me and bought it for me. He knows my order now – large Thai milk tea, 50% sugar and no ice. I was so obsessed I had bubble tea at my baby shower! And I think the addiction has stuck, though I don’t have it anywhere as much!

  9. Tree Fu Tom Garden

    I’m really keen to start up my very own fairy garden in my back yard. Not much grows there, but I’m hoping that I could maybe beautify it with gnomes and fairy houses. But Jacob is not really into fairies – rather, he told me he wants a “Tree Fu Tom” Garden since Tree Fu Tom is one of his new favourite shows. I’m not sure if you’ve seen the show (or if you want to) but this boy Tom transforms into a tiny fairy-sized superhero and he goes out to help the citizens of Treetopolis in his back yard. So, yes, I’m on the lookout for cool solar houses and toadstools etc.

  10. Beach Holiday in Paradise

    I’ve been reading so much about this place called Paradise Resort Gold Coast, which is this awesome kid friendly resort that I’d love to go to! It’s got pools and a number of playgrounds including water play but also rock climbing, ice skating and a Kids Club so parents can have a day without the kids! Definitely sounds like a fun holiday! But I’m also keen to go back to Far North Queensland to bask in tropical paradise.

  11. LOTS of Lego!

    This certainly would be Jacob’s wish, but in truth, I love Lego as well. I never really got into it as a kid but I just love seeing how Jacob gets into it and builds so many interesting things. I’ve actually already bought him some Lego Juniors (which is for 4-8 year olds, but they have so many cool vehicles/diggers that he can make). I might try some of that with him from his 3rd birthday!

And so, that’s my wish list!

On an ending note, I just wanted to share a couple of pics. We went for some buffet breakfast on Sunday and it was sublime! On the way there, the sun was really bright and was shining in Jacob’s eyes. This is his “The sun is in my eyes face”. Then he decided he’d had enough and put my breastfeeding shawl on his head. Oh well. Gotta love his problem solving skills!

DIY Cardboard Door Signs

Finally I’ve had time to do a bit of craft with Jacob – or more like incredibly easy DIY projects because I am not incredibly artistic. In fact, I’m good at creating messy, clunky things – hence why Jacob loves making art with me!

We had a dilemma to solve. Daniel and I were constantly confusing Jacob’s and Jared’s towels, mainly because of the frequency of us changing towels for them. One poos on a towel, the other makes his towel completely muddy, etc. We try to put them in the same spot at all times but it doesn’t always happen. Anyway, I decided that I would make name labels for Jacob and Jared and put them up behind the bathroom door to make this process easier.

Hence I employed the assistance of my crafty boys! One loves painting and the other just loves peeking at what we’re doing (though in truth, he was actually just tipping over sideways as I took the photo)!

We cut out two little pieces of cardboard (from a pizza box actually!) and decided to do some painting. For some silly reason, I only had fabric paint at home and was unwilling to lug both boys to the shops to buy paint, so we stripped down to bare minimum to paint the cardboard. I certainly recommend poster paints that can wash out from clothing because it was an absolute struggle to clean up, especially since Jacob dripped paint on our white tiles (EEK!). Just FYI, Vanish works really well for getting these stains out of tiles! It was just a bit of fun really – Jacob was more keen on painting himself in truth!

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This is the finished product of the painting. Yes, it doesn’t look like much. Did I mention I was good at clunky, messy craft?

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Earlier this year, my husband’s grandpa turned 90 and we made a memory jar for him. I bought rustic-looking lettering stickers to decorate the jar. I checked and luckily, we had enough letters for JACOB and JARED. And voila, the finished product below, which we stuck on the back of the bathroom door with Blu Tack! Now we won’t get their towels mixed up again (unless we put them in the wrong spot, of course), and Jacob is absolutely proud that we’ve actually used his artwork for something functional!

Also, another thing I thought was worth a mention is Jacob’s ingenuity in creating a drink that will become a new go-to in this house. I’m not sure if you noticed in the picture further above (the one with the stickers), but there is a box of these absolutely AMAZING cookies that we buy from Coles that are like 40% chocolate chip! That’s like nearly as much chocolate as it is cookie! They also crumble in the most fluffy of ways and melt in your mouth when dipped in milk!

So, anyway, Jacob had been pretty good at mealtime so we gave him one cookie with his warm milk (which he drinks from a sippy cup). Jacob removes the sippy cup lid, puts the cookie in, replaces the lid and gives it a shake. Then he proceeds to drink it and realises he has made the most amazing cookies milkshake hot chocolate concoction! Delicious! I didn’t get a chance to take a picture of him drinking it, but I did get this shot of him having an ice cream yesterday (and lovin’ it!)

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Hope you all have a scrumptious week ahead!

All about the eggs

One thing I miss about living in Malaysia is the many public holidays we get there – anywhere from Chinese New Year to Hari Raya (Eid) and even Deepavali! Here in Australia, holidays are far and few, but Easter is one of them and is especially  meaningful to us.

We go to church on Saturdays and I am involved in something I’m passionate about – children’s ministry! I never used to be – in fact, I used to think I would be awful with kids and just felt awkward when little kids would talk to me and ask me to act in roleplay games or sing silly kids songs. And then I had a child, and I discovered the child in me!

Now that I have kids, I really enjoy trying to teach my children in creative ways (even though I am not exactly artsy and am nowhere near “Pinterest mum” standards). I’m also a bit frugal with my art i.e. I can’t justify spending a lot on supplies. Hence resulting in an art project like this – Jacob painting with homemade flour/salt/food colouring paint on the back of a nappy box! No art smocks in this house!

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Anyway, for Easter, I wanted to do something simple for the kids so I made a little Easter activity pack for them so they could have something to do during the sermon. I found a little Jelly Bean Prayer/poem that can help kids remember the significance of the event through colours. The word search was more for the primary aged kids, a colouring sheet and stickers, which are always well received. I also made a threading cross our of card and gave the kid some yarn to build their motor skills – sadly Jacob was more interested in tying it around his head and pretending it was a crown (still on topic I suppose, Jacob).

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I found a really cute video about the significance of Easter, which I don’t think Jacob really understands yet, but I do hope that in time he’ll be able to grasp it and also take it seriously. Sometimes I worry about his lack of empathy, or the fact that he finds it funny that Goliath got hit in the head and that Jonah got eaten by a fish. Hmm… another post about empathy for another day perhaps.

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We also listened to the Easter sermon about eggs – I mean resurrection eggs! You can buy them from Koorong or any Christian bookstore, and they’re fun for toddlers. The kids were called up to the front to open up the eggs. Here’s what the kids found in the eggs:
A little donkey, silver coins, chalice, praying hands, whip, rooster, crown of thorns, nails in the shape of a cross, spear, linen cloth, stone and the last one was empty.
Do you know the significance of these symbols in the Easter story?

And finally, while I know that it is more commercialism than anything else, but why not get in on the whole chocolate egg business? We had an egg hunt at church and also at my brother-in-law’s place – here are our munchkins feasting on their spoils (which we eventually removed from them before they ate their own weight in chocolate)!

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I hope all of you have had a blessed Easter and may we remember the true meaning of the season.

But He was pierced for our transgressions;
He was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on Him,
and by His wounds we are healed.
Isaiah 53:5