Ways to keep a toddler occupied

Saturday, March 30, 2013

I have never felt more occupied since lil bunnikin's arrival. She's a pretty high need and lil sleep baby thus i've to frequently be by her side doing the things she's doing else she'll fly into rage. Lately, as she progresses into her 16th month, she's getting better and is able to sit and play by her own while I do my chores. That's about the only thing i can be doing as if i start typing away on my laptop, she'll be screaming for action. Thus, to juggle my work (which requires the lappy) and not to mention blogging, I've to constantly do it when she's asleep, which doesn't leave me with much time!

Anyhow, am constantly on the lookout for stuff to keep her occupied and boy do i need to put in effort in that department as the hubs will only sit her before the TV if i'm not around! URGH. Below are just some stuff we've been doing of late:

Clearly bunnikins has been mimicking me! Good start to good housekeeping! Now if only she starts putting back her toys!

K somehow has a penchant for toilets. She frequents our toilet, and lately, she's able to bring her potty out when instructed!

K's all time favourite! She can sit there for at least half an hour before walking around the house with sand (which i dread!). But yeah, love this Moon Sand as it feels like the real thing except that it's clean and can be recycled! I lay a plastic sheet to contain the mess. Afterwhich I often have to vacuum the floor!

Homemade Playdough
Am reluctant to purchase those oh-so-expensive playdoh sets @ Toys R Us, thus decided to make some instead! Turns out nice!
Play Dough Recipe:
1 cup white flour
1/2 cup salt
2 tablespoon cream of tartar (find it in the spice section)
1 tablespoon oil
1 cup water
food coloring

Mix first 4 ingredients in a pan. Add water and mix well. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for 3 – 5 minutes. Dough will become difficult to stir and form a “clump”.  Remove from stove and knead for 5 minutes–add food coloring during kneading process. Play dough will keep for a long time stored in a covered plastic container or plastic sandwich bag.

DOT DOT paint!! bought it recently at a Spree. Bb K adores it and is always asking for more. Some ways of using it as shown below:

End product. Tree cut out from cardboard. BB K have been having endless fun peeling out the apples instead of sticking them! Somehow i feel the bluetack is more interesting than the apples! Anywayz, the tree can be recycled for other purposes too. Currently I'm using it to teach K the alphabets.



Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A young woman, stands with an air of carefree confidence that is most noticeable in her serene almond brown eyes outlined with a dash of kohl. Soft porcelain smooth face with rounded cheek bones, proportionally slim nose, high trimmed brows, soft pouty pink lips, and rounded chin. Wondrous sparkles gaze out in playful curiousity as she smiles. A description of perfection.

That I am not.

Sadly, I haven't been blessed with the most beautiful skin. I probably had the usual soft baby skin upon birth but that was marred by Empress Dowager (aka mom) when I hit puberty and started sprouting pimples. Armed with the prick or what i'd like to call the squeezer and a box of tissue, she'd pin me down and squeeze with all her might as if seeking revenge. Because of such torture, I was scarred. Literally. My face was filled with angry red scars and sometimes with dried up blood. Empress Dowager's rationale was to "clear away the bad blood" but unknown to her, she's actually breaking my vulnerable capillaries. Porcelain complexion has never been in my dictionary. Instead, large pores, clogged pores, oily skin, acne were always words i associate with. Because of this, I grew up pretty much a low self esteemed girl deep down. On the outside, i appear strong and bubbly, but all these were just a coverup. Once someone attacks my soft spot and passes snide comments, I'll wither. This went on for years and when i started working, i tried to salvage the situation by visiting the doctor for medication which caused immense peeling. Later, as the bank account got a little fatter, I tried facial, only to wail when the lady did the extractions. That, too, failed. No product and no amount of facial helped. Later, when the Empress started working at a famed skin clinic @ Toa Payoh, I visited the dr only to be put off by his aloof attitude. During all these, I was in the midst of a relationship with my then bf, now husband. I felt tremendously inferior because all his friends' gfs were slim, fair and had gorgeous skin. I stuck out like a sore thumb. Many a times i was scutinized and criticised by some of his mean friends who did so thinking it was great fun to see a girl pissed or cry. Once i recalled, at a food centre by Bugis, "A" kept tormenting as he prattled on. My patience was tested by 'A' so badly, i slammed the table in public and walked off. Since then, they were careful with their words.

This insatiable hankering for perfect skin went on. I've never been so challenged as I embarked on this arduous teenage journey. Physical beauty is a basic criteria for being successful in many industries that creates escapist and idealistic versions of the world. Given the immense pressure this consumerist world, obsessed with beauty and youth, exerts on us today, I can't help but feel stifled. Covering up with heaps of foundation and concealers made things worse. It aggravated the blocked pores and perpetuated a vicious cycle. I was at my wits end. Thankfully, the hubs (back then bf) was wise enough to see beyond outer beauty. Afterall, beauty is only skin deep. That's the consolation i put forth to myself. The hormones carried on bitching as I aged. The oil glands did not stop oozing out those disgusting yet you-go-to-have-them oil. Then, i discovered THE PLACE which kept my misery at bay -- NIKS MAPLE CLINIC (for the record i have no affiliation with them)
I'm also pretty much like all consumers, constantly trying to determine which combination of products works best for my skin, given the generous amount of options out there in the market and thankfully, the products suit me. Be warned however that the queue can be horrendous.

When I preggers with BB K, my skin was at it's best! Pimples seem to be kept at bay and best bit was that my skin wasn't oily! One of the perks of being pregnant! Now that lil bunnikins is 16+mths old, my hormones are in a mess once again and the oil simply oozes out profusely! Anywayz, instead of lamenting, I try to do more. In my quest for the perfect skin, I've recently tried out a new facial series by Rachel K, former Singapore beauty queen. 

Below is my typical facial regime:

Step 1: Milk Cleanser from NIK's to get rid of my makeup followed by Citrus Cleanser from NIK's to give it a good clean; Lastly an AHA exfoliator which i don't find quite effective coz it doesn't produce those little beads which will give my face a good scrub.

Step 1: Dr Brandt's Toner -- looking fwd to finishing the bottle coz i don't quite see the advantage of using it; CURE exfoliator which is used only once/ twice a wk; Habo Labo's Moisturiser (this is something I swear by when my skin was utterly dehydrated during pregnancy and lastly, Aroma Gel from NIK's to keep the pimples at bay

Step 3: My latest Rachel K collection. Vitamin Booster, Day cream and Night cream. Nice smell and doesn't irritate my skin so i suppose it's still good? Love love love the mask! it's gel like and has 30g of essence in it! put it on, leave it for about 10mins or even wear it to bed, it's absolutely fine!!! no rinse involved! Perfect for a lazy and busy mother like me.

Step 4: for the eyes: La Mer's must-have eye cream which i use sparingly only at night coz it's tremendously expensive for one small little bottle!!!!; For day it's the roller from Garnier. Quite useless for a woman of my age if you ask me; Of late, I'm trying Faceshop's Snake Venom (or at least that's what the sales person said it was)...it's said to boost collagen and fill up the wrinkles! So far my skin is taking well to it and hmm maybe it's my imaginable but i feel the lines on my neck are plumped up!

It's really a lot of work being a woman. And like they say, the world doesn't have ugly women, just lazy women. Unfortunately, these days with a change of role, I've evolve to become the latter. However, I'm constantly reminding myself to upkeep and up the glamometer so that the hubs will feel refreshed everyday (or at least once a wk!). It's really important for us women to still upkeep ourselves. Although it's a sad fact that marketing and society hoodwinks us into thinking there is nothing else more important that all the glamour and hoopla, you can't secretly agree that it makes us feel good if people around us appreciate the pretense. More importantly, that's one way to spice the marriage up and prevent the hub from straying! So i'd better start being more hardworking in this department!

What's your facial regime and products that you swear by? Do share! 

Lastly, I leave you with some skin care tips from http://www.prevention.com/beauty-1/16-skin-care-tips-derms-do-themselves/pour-protection

Oh no! RIP my beloved tooth!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Following Monday's visit to the my favourite dentist @ Cityhall, my heart has been left unsettled. It was meant to be a regular cleaning session but I was in for a shock. Reason, she found that i've got a dead front tooth and had to get a root canal done asap! I've always thought such a procedure is for the older generation who don't take much pride in oral health. But i was bestowed this "honour"! If it hadn't been the fact that I signed BB k up for a research program, I wouldn't have thought i had a dead tooth. Apparently, the dentist at National Dental Centre saw some discolouration and ran an "ICE" test. I felt nothing on the tooth. Think that it was a good thing, coz afterall, sensitive teeth isn't a welcome feeling right? Well WRONG! i jumped the moment he did the test on the other front tooth. He suggested i do an xray on my next visit to my regular Dentist, which I did and Alas! After running another test, this time with an electrical current, it's official --- an autopsy is in order. The tooth is pronounced Dead! The electrical current was run on the tooth at an index of 64 and i felt nothing. Absolutely Nothing. To give you a better idea, a current of level 3 was run on my other tooth and I almost wanted to give the dentist a whack in the face! So I was advised to get it done asap to salvage the tooth and have scheduled for the op to be done on Friday. Great. A day before my best friend's hen's night. Hope i survive.

So what does it involve?
Root canal treatment involves the removal of the pulp tissues from the tooth in the event that it gets infected or inflamed. The pulp can be infected or inflamed due to either deep decay or an extensive restoration that involves the pulp; cracked or fractured tooth due to trauma; excessive wear of enamel and dentine exposing the pulp and sometimes as a result of severe gum disease.
Signs of pulp damage may include pain, prolonged sensitivity to heat or cold, discolouration of the tooth, swelling, tenderness of the overlying gums or a bad taste in the mouth. On the other hand, there may be no symptoms at all. If pulp inflammation or infection is left untreated, it can eventually cause pain, swelling and loss of the supporting bone.

That episode left me with a heavy heart because after all the hard work I've pumped in, money just goes down the drain literally. the estimated cost of a RCT starts from $800 and I don't think i can use my medisave to cover its cost. It's unexpected events like these that irks me! First it was the major flooding of my car last January (repairs amounting to $1k), then came a lost parcel which saw a deficit of $120. The latter paled in comparison of coz but still, it's hard earned cash! Now, this. When will the God of Fortune walk in? It really feels like Lady Luck is not only failing to smile on me but also glaring in my direction and slapping me around the face for good measure. I had been praying that the new year will herald an improvement in my fortunes, but i suppose i shouldn't be too optimistic, afterall, my zodiac is on the last amongst all the other animals. 

For some reason the nagging fear of the forthcoming RCT made me feel like strangulation was in session. Breathless. I came home early today only to see the house in a mess. The hub was home in the morning you see and you'd think the least he could do was to wash his coffee cup and breakfast plate? Nope. Everything was dumped in the sink as it it's an automatic dishwasher. Clothes are strewn all over the place and diapers were placed carelessly around. What's new. Each time I leave lil bunnikins alone with the father, the house will be in disarray. As if it isn't messy enough. Although I'm a disorganised person, I detest mess. Yes i know that sounds awfully ironic. I try to be as neat as I can, but truth betold, I'm probably hiding all the unwanted stuff somewhere. Heaps of paper piles up on my desk and I'll just shove it under my desk. Every sheet seems important and I can't seem to figure which to throw. Decluttering has always been an arduous process. You might think that given the advent of technology, organisation on the computer might be a tad easier. WRONG. I was just scrolling through some of my bookmarks and realised that heaps of them are no longer in existence! I ought to spend time deleting them and putting them in a more comprehensible manner. The mess extends to my life too. I find myself handling several stuff at one go. Multitasking used to be easy but now with a cluttered brain, it's getting a little cloudy. I try to pen down the stuff I need to do and strike it off once that's done. A sense of achievement when that happens. However, in my relentless pursuit of covering more grounds, I find myself leaving task A dangling whilst I embark on task B! tsk tsk.  

Am I alone on this? Anyone care to share your multitasking/ organising tips?

FTWM: Tons on my plate

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Work. It has always been synonymous with my life. Right from graduation, apart from during my honeymoon, i can't quite recall when I took a good break. Even whilst pregnant, I didn't quite rest. I pushed myself to work 6 days a wk right up to wk 40. After giving birth to BB K, i rested for 2 months and was hitting the road again. Am I a workaholic or a masochistic? I suppose part of me is happy to seek tranquility in my work and the other part of me did entertain thoughts of being a SAHM.

Support is really important when one is is a FTWM and for that, I have my in-laws to thank. Many FTWM would celebrate the support given by their other half but my hubs leads a jet-setting life, so mostly I'm left to fend for myself. I recall the first month being extremely tough as I didn't have a confinement nanny and had to look after lil bunnikins myself at night. It was hell as bunnikins woke up every 2-3 hours to feed. On the 3rd wk, the hub had to fly right up till the day of her 1mth celebration and meanwhile, i had to be in charge of the logistics for the celebration. It wasn't easy given that I could not leave the house. Thank goodness for the Internet and my BIL who did most of the leg work for me and my cousin who helped me piece together 50 sets of 1st mth cake packages. Yup. I must be mad to do up my own boxes and cakes, but that just some of the things i did to keep myself occupied and the blues away since lil bunnikins didn't quite allow me to sleep. Yup, her sleep pattern was shit and again, for that, i have my in-laws to thank. haha...They'd usually come over to my place after work to have dinner and afterwhich, it was Fun fun fun and over-stimulation for the baby.

See those little flowers on each box? they were painstakingly handmade by me! Am rather proud of myself for putting the whole affair together!

Tags made by me, Cakes baked by the cousin and eggs made by MIL. The rest were bought and pieced together.

Fortunately, life as an only child has prepared me for this. Ironic it sounds? You see, in my family, my parents didn't believe in pampering. In fact, their motto in parenting is "Spare the rod and spoil the child". Thus I grew up resilient and was able to weather whatever curveballs life threw at me. Well almost. I do cave into fits of insanity and have episodes of hormonal imbalances when things on my plate gets a little overwhelming, but hey, I'm only human!

Today, bunnikin's sleep patterns are still quite crappy though a big improvement from before and i celebrate the fact that I'm a FTWM. It has pushed me to the limit and forced me to multitask like never before. Often, I'm impressed with my efficiency for having to do the chores myself, cook her food, teach her, play with her, pump in the car (due to the nature of my job i had to do that whilst breastfeeding) and work! All these are possible as my work mostly takes me from 2-10pm. However, guilt does kick in when I step into the house and bunnikins is asleep. I'm always told that she'll be calling for me each time bedtime (and milk time) comes. Once, she was yearning for my return and stood by the main door, in the dark, waiting. I was, of coz, no where to be seen. It is times like these that I entertain thoughts of being a SAHM or WAHM at the very least. But, NAhhhhhh....it's far too tiring! haha..imagine having to think of activities 24/7 and facing a kid who is now gathering momentum towards her terrible two...hmm..that thought scares me. Furthermore, the feel of being financially independent is adrenaline pumping. So, even though there are times when things seems awfully tough due to the immense lack of sleep and the shitload of work, I have to persevere and continue my journey as a FTWM. How else would I be able to feed my shopping obsession? Don't forget, i'm a shopaholic by avocation. Someone needs to stop me from buying more dresses and bags! If there's a shopaholic anonymous program, I should sign up!

Project: Declutter (again)

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Didn't CNY just passed not too long ago? Strangely i had the urge to clear my wardrobe once again after being inspired by an article on this issue of Her World which suggests how one can sell one's clothes and other treasures. I can't imagine how one can amass such a collection of clothes! i'm still appalled by my inert ability to hoard. Many years ago, whilst still in uni, I ran an online business of selling stuff from bags to clothings. Things were going well with Yahoo Auctions still around. However, every since it's demise, I couldn't find another platform which could give me the same returns and subsequently,  I was too involved in dating and enjoying life that I left things as it was. Fast forward, i tried to sell my stuff once again online, but this time i realise it was a different ball game altogether. Competition was fierce! Blogshops were sprouting out and to survive, one really has to be seen and heard! Also, the effort put into these blogshops are massive! Photoshoot, models, shopping carts etc! Whatever happened to the good old measure-and-post ways? You really got to have good networking skills, a pretty face or bulk in order to engage models and conduct a proper shoot! So, the fire to sell died once again.

However, since learning about the S.M.B Buy/Sell/ Swap, it has rekindled my hopes! Yes, in case you missed the badge, i'm now officially on Singapore Mom Bloggers! Woohoo!! i reckon since the blog has slowly evolved into a diary to record lil bub's milestones and other family activities, why not hop onto the bandwagon! Was a tad shocked to see how many mommy bloggers are there! n wow, their blogs put me to shame! things are so organised in most. Whilst my labels are mostly go with the flow. This bad habit of not completing one thing and embarking on another thing has extended to my blog. The brain just can't focus keep still at times. And those mommy blogs have oh-so-nice layouts!! I'm a very aesthetic person and for years, i thought my theme was pretty nice, but yeah, now i think i might be inspired to revamp! We'll see.

Ops! see how i deviate again? Yes. Selling stuff. I'm not the sort who would stand for hours at some flea, so hopefully I'll be able to find new owner for my wears.

Time Check: 1am. Project Decluttering begins. Yup, I do crazy things after lil bub sleeps! That's the only time i get to organise things a bit!

I'm very anal about colour coordination and being organised. Pretty ironic when you know me better and see the way i handle other aspects of life!
Prior to CNY, I've cleared close to 4 big bags of clothes. And now, i'm still able to find stuff to clear! I haven't been ruthless enough. But *sigh*, every single piece seems pretty and some which seems too tight now might just find its way up my butt again someday! Clearly i'm in delusion once more.


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Am feeling a tad overwhelmed and lethargic today. Perhaps it's the weather. The fireball has been amazingly fiery these days rendering me moody and lazy. Such a feeling usually creeps up on me over the course of a day, like a slow-rising tide. The thought of just taking a day off from things returns to lap the perimeters of my brain. I should be thankful and happy. I am. Just that with so much on my plate, i can't help but throw a hissy fit at times. I've been praying that this new year will herald an improvement in my life in all aspects, but each time a summon is issued (yes, got 3 within a week at different locations!), i can't help feeling that Lady Luck is not only failing to smile on me, but also glaring in my direction and slapping me around the face for good measure. 

Each time such a feeling ebbs in, i'll take a step back and reassess. We should be more optimistic says Nanz Chong-Komo, the famous entrepreneur behind One.99 Shop which grew from a single store into a SGD14million business! Her uncommon optimisim and courage in facing the setback when ONE.99 shop fell into liquidation due to the onset of SARS, and courage in facing this setback head-on made headlines in many publications.  I ought to learn from this mother of three!

As the saying goes, an idle mind is the devil's playground. Thus I'm always trying to keep myself occupied (too occupied such that i'm all over the place at times). Negative thoughts would cross my mind occasionally and I have entertained some of them, but i will not let them kill my dreams and dampen my hopes! One way of keeping my spirits up is to look at past and present pix of lil bunnikins!! Sigh...how she has grown!!
Love her standing hair!
Where did all her fats go? gosh! She's still wearing that same duckie romper at 16months old!
Miss my iphone!!! love the app Red Stamp! Wish they have it on Android!
Can't help laughing at this photo each time i see it! totally makes my day!

Just the other day, something amazing happened. I was walking home along the corridor one night at 9pm. at that same instance, lil k decided to stop having shadow play (a nightly activity with Daddy) and abruptly walked towards our main door, in the dark. As i approached my door, i could hear her anklet tinkling and thought it might have been my imagination but the moment i opened the door, she was there, standing with open arms, receiving me with the brightest smile, calling out to me "MAMA". BLISS. One may attribute this to coincidence but it happened before. The next day, whilst daddy was taking a dump, Lil K was hanging around. Thus daddy said "go find mama". Obviously, mama wasn't home from work yet. But yet she walked towards the door! The following day, she walked at that same hour to the door refusing to budge. Daddy had to open the wooden door and left her there, holding on the the gate, waiting for her mama. It is times like these my heart would melt and cringe in guilt.  Seeing my baby grow brings on the tenacious side of me! thank you for being in my life lil bunnikins! Mummy loves you!

Educational Products

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

In between, when i have pockets of time (huh? when does that happen?), I've been conducting preorders. I honestly do not know where i found such time but I suppose motherhood makes us do the most amazing things! Primarily, the preorders are conducted with BB K in mind! Everything I sell, BB K would probably have a set too! Thus i thought, why not benefit other fellow mommies? 

Lately, I'm into educational stuff. Have been plagued with guilt for not fully tapping onto my knowledge and spending quality time with lil bunnikins. Yup, enough of being a fashionista and being obsessed with pretty little dresses afterall, BB K can still fit into her 3mth old clothes! FYI, she's nearing 16mths! Talk about economical! So instead, i've turned my attention to developing her brains. Particularly through the use of Montessori toys. 

For those of you who aren't familiar, Montessori education is an educational approach developed by Italian physician and educator Maria Montessori. Montessori education is practiced in an estimated 30,000 schools worldwide, serving children from birth to eighteen years old.
Montessori education is characterized by an emphasis on independence, freedom within limits, and respect for a child’s natural psychological development, as well as technological advancements in society. Although a range of practices exists under the name "Montessori", the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) and the American Montessori Society (AMS) cite these elements as essential. In Singapore, there are heaps of preschools which claim to be conducting Montessori, but one true blue school with the relevant certification by AMI is Montessori For Children. http://www.montessori.edu.sg/. I'm not too in favour of having bb k spend half a day at a school only to be engaged in her own Montessori activities (they typically would be allowed to do their own activities, according to their ability). Socialization in my opinion is insufficient in such environment. And given K's nature, HA! i bet she won't be able to sit for long. She'd rather be chatting away with the teacher or her friends! However, teaching her independence is also important and there are so many aspects in Montessori which applies to daily life. The many disciplines include Sensorial, Botany, Practical Life, Language, Mathematics and probably more. I'm no expert but i reckon these will benefit the lil one as well. So i've decided that some form of Montessori to be conducted at home, thus the preorder for Montessori Toys. You could check out the range here: http://jumpstarttutors.com/shop/. These are pre-orders thus if you are interested, orders will only arrive approximately 2-3wks upon payment, subjected to availability. Do contact me should you be keen at any point in time. Now if only I live in a bigger house and have bigger storage! I've amassed so many things for bunnikins that it's getting a little out of hand in terms of organising!

Another exciting thing which I'm conducting preorder is for Chinese Books. Many friends have complained that Mandarin is a language which they fear that their kid will have problem handling as most speak English at home or that they don't have proper grounds for training. I on the other hand am worried about the English language as I'm the only one speaking to Bunnikins in English (apart from her maternal grandparents who visit once a wk). Every subject that are examinable in future (except Chinese) will be in the English language thus I'd be freaked out if my baby is weak in this area. Totally embarrassing too given the nature of my job! Then again, over at my in laws, apart from playing ball and looking at nature, mostly she'd be exposed to the ipad and ancient television programs. Thankfully, the lil one doesn't seem too keen in the latter and would turn away after a glance. This said, I still like bunnikins to be doing stuff that are more beneficial. Thus it spurred me to do yet another preorder -- Check it out here: http://jumpstarttutors.com/product-category/chinese-books/. These are seriously quite interactive and kickass if you ask me! More fun than any of the English books i have for K at the moment!

So if anything catches your eyes, please contact me at contact(at)jumpstarttutors(dot)com. I'll be closing the first preorder this Sunday (10 March 2013) so HURRY, Show your support! Place your orders now! 

PS: Still wondering where in the world i find the energy to do all these. HTMLs and all these tech stuff drive me nuts and even though there's a guru at home, often I'm left to figure things out myself via forums. Sigh...the things i do for the extra cash for diaper/ formula!! =P 

Some of the cool stuff from this collection: