Play Area Organization and Recycling

Play Area Organization

I have been super busy for the last 2 weeks.  I clocked in 15 hours daily and had 10pm conference calls every week nights.

You got to do what you got to do right?

In the past 2 weeks, I couldn’t even think straight. I’d lose my train of thought within 2 seconds, taking a shower seemed to be a huge chore and waste of time, even taking my meals seemed like a waste of time.

Like seriously.

The craziness has mellowed down now and I can finally take a step back and breathe. And then I realized over the weekend that a few things things fell through the cracks – for example the state of my house! It  finally got to me last weekend. So I decided to tackle AK’s little corner in the house. From the before photo, it looked like a designated dump site and that is also after my helper put away some stuff! I spent an hour sorting through the toys and finally managed come out with a workable play area for AK! See? She can even sit at the table and play unlike before!

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What did I do with the rest of the toys?

I put separated them into 2 bundles.

1 bundle is going to my friend who is expecting a newborn.

The other bundle is going to my church friend who constantly collect stuff to be given to orang asli folks and the needy.

I am happy that at least the stuff will be inherited by other children who’d enjoy them.

 

Recycling IZUMIO packets in Malaysia

My used IZUMIO packets have been piling up at a corner of my house and it’s such an eye sore. I hate it. I have endured it for months and yesterday, I couldn’t take it anymore! 

See?

This is just a fraction of it! I have 4  boxes of them all sorted out to be sent for recycling already. If you’re an IZUMIO consumer, don’t throw the empty IZUMIO packets away, cut out the plastic but from the packet, separate them and send them to your nearest recycling center. If you have kids, get them to do it too. I’ve a photo of Ashley and Aidan doing this somewhere in my phone but I am too lazy to search for it.

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Next, I want to organize my photos! I have a billion photos or more in digital format and I need to find time to make photobooks.  Help! I need time and patience for that.

 

My Dad is the Best!

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My parents stayed with us for 2  weeks and whenever they are in town, they spoil us. They spoil me. While I was working in my room, he brought a bowl of pork bone with lotus root soup  which they have been cooking since morning for me to drink. It tasted SO SOOOO good! It has  been awhile since I’ve tasted really good home-cooked soup. My parents, particularly my dad thinks we are deprived of good food since my helper basically cooks the same thing every week. I am not complaining. We’re simple. But my dad thinks we’re deprived. LOL!

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On one of the mornings, he brought me my breakfast while I busy working. Garlic friend rice, tomato, fried egg and bangus (Philippines grilled fish) which my helper gifted us when she came back from her Christmas holiday. (Bless her).

My dad is the best!

Chinese New Year Reunion Dinner

So what did you all do for Chinese New Year? We remained in KL and it was so nice being in the city with hardly any traffic. My parents flew to KL to be with us during this festive season. We had an early reunion dinner and mom cooked everything. Bless her.
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We had pork with yam slices, sweet and sour fish, stewed duck, vegetables, accompanied by steamed white rice. Yup! She cooked everything. Mom’s cooking is the best. I should really learn from her. I have been lazy but I really should start learning from her. Mom also makes the best Hainanese Chicken Rice. She showed me how to make it and I even took photos at each step of the way and wrote notes but I’ve never put it to practice before! #fail!  I should really  start compiling all the recipes from my mom. The only thing is that my mom can never give me is accurate measurements for her recipes because she uses her gut feel when she’s cooking.  I on the other hand need a fool proof recipe. Help mom!

Day 4 and 5 – Karuizawa and Shinjuku

Back to blogging about what I did in my last Japan trip before I forget…..

After day 2, we went fruit picking at Karuizawa. This is a new experience for me. I’ve not picked apples from an apple tree before!

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We could pick as many apples we wanted to eat at the  farm and could only bring back 1 apple with us. Anyone who wanted to bring back more than 1 apple needed to pay for it. Fair enough. The apples were huge! I couldn’t even finish 1 apple when I was at the farm. It was nice, juicy and sweet and the apples are 100% organic – as assured by the Japanese farmers.

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When we got onto the coach, everyone was given a huge Hokkaido pear thanks to Naturally Plus.

After that, we headed to Old Karuizawa Town. 1486032459540 This town is a small, sleepy town lined with many interesting shops from souvenir, to clothing shops and many nice cafes and restaurants too. It’s a pity that we had only less than 2 hours to spend in this town. I would love to go back to this town. There is a also a beautiful church in this town (walking distance from where we were) which I totally missed. Like I said, I wish we had more time. 1486032503435 1486032370432

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 1486032538257 We then headed to Price Shopping Plaza. It’s an outlet mall and by far the most beautiful outlet mall I’ve been.    1486032666744  The outlet mall had all the usual branded stores. I didn’t do much shopping for myself because I was going to Italy a month later and that’s where I planned on splurging :)  I bought a couple of sports stuff for the family but that’s it.  I spent my time with a beautiful soul exploring the grounds, sat outdoors for lunch and basically tried to soak in the environment as much as I could.  1486032758457 I wish my kids were with me then especially AK because I know they’d love to run around and play without me having to worry if they’d be at risk on stepping on some dog poo. After this, we headed to  Tokyo and checked into Shinagawa Prince Hotel. Dinner was free and easy so we decided to explore the places nearby and ate in a ramen shop.  1486033481608 The next morning, we stuffed ourselves with breakfast and was ready for a full free-and-easy day. 1486033677940   We were dropped off at Shinjuku and we decided to head to Shibuya.  The last time hubby and I were at Shibuya, we totally missed Hachiko. So this time, I made it a point to have a photo taken next to Hachiko :) 1486033752981 We crossed the Shibuya Crossing and took a stroll and headed towards Harajuku.    1486033838976

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It was Halloween Day that day and they closed off a street at Harajuku for the Halloween parade. Families all decked out in Halloween costumes walked up and down the street in a procession. It was a pretty sight.  After that, we tackled Takeshita Street. It was PACKED!!!

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I was hoping to find some interesting cafes nearby so that we could sit down and relax. But that didn’t happen. LOL. After conquering this street, we took the subway back to Shinjuku for dinner.

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We met the rest of the group and then headed to our next and last hotel – Narita Excel Hotel Tokyu. The next day, we bade Japan adieu. Till next time. I’ll be back this year for sure!

If you’d like to read what I did on the previous days, click on the links below.

Day 1 – Mt Fuji – Oshino Hakkai

Day 2 – Shizuoka – Karuizawa

Wardrobe Wars

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In the spirit of Chinese New Year, I got AK to don her batik cheongsam today – but not without a struggle. Thanks to Mr Bean cartoon this morning, she relented. She’s only 2 years old but more than 50% of the time, she’d refuse to wear what I pick out for her. ARGH! Imagine my frustration when I get her a pretty dress or pretty shoes only to be rejected by her.

Sorry lah sayang. Tomorrow, you can go back to wearing that My Little Poney dress or that favourite tutu dress of yours.

Do you have wardrobe wars with your kids?

Post Chinese New Year Diet

For the last 3 months, my diet plan has gone topsy turvy! First it was Japan, then Italy, then it was Christmas, the new year, Singapore and then Chinese New Year.  Holidays and the festive seasons are the worst times to maintain a healthy diet – at least for me. This has caused my diet to go off on a tangent!

But it’s ok.

I’m getting back on track starting from today!
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For breakfast this morning, I had  2 soft boiled eggs  with a dash of Maggie sauce, a banana and I finished off with a packet of IZUMIO and 3 capsules of Super Lutein. IMG_20160729_134929

For lunch (I am so proud of myself), I had my usual Kimchi Cauliflower Fried rice. I haven’t had this in a long time and it feels good getting back on track again!

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What’s in my Kimchi Cauliflower Fried Rice?

Kimchi, canned tuna, cauliflower, button mushrooms, carrots, pumpkin, yellow pepper, egg plant and sometimes top it up with croutons.

For tea, I felt peckish and snacked on mixed nuts and nope…. I didn’t reach out for Chinese New Year cookies and junk on the kitchen counter.

Gambateh!!!

Parenting. An Ongoing Journey.

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We are truly blessed that both Ashley and Aidan are very loving and caring towards AK. No jealousy whatsoever. Just pure love. To be honest, if I were to compare between Ashley and Aidan (I know I know I should not be comparing them but the Asian mother in me cannot hold back), Aidan seems to have more patience with AK. There was only a handful of times where I witnessed Aidan losing his temper with AK. 99% of the time,  he has been very  accommodating to AK’s demands. Sometimes she’s grumpy and throws tantrums but  Aidan would just take it all in. Ashley on the other hand doesn’t take much crap from AK. She is more of a disciplinarian compared to Aidan and she is the one who doesn’t 100% give in to AK. Which is good in a way. There is balance. Yin and Yang.

These kids of mine have changed me. I used to be very uptight about how inconvenient certain things would be e.g. if AK were to freely push the stroller, then it’d be difficult to look after her in public etc (yea yea I was uptight like that). But the kids have taught me to throw a positive light on things.

Chill mom,” they’d say or Ashley would say, “Don’t look so serious, Mom.”

After having Amelie, things that would usually stress me out before don’t stress me out now.

For example, when Ashley and Aidan were babies, when they threw a fuss before I sat them down on their respective car seats, I’d get all worked up stressed out. There was a lot of power play involved too now that I think of it. With Amelie, I just went with the flow of things.

No stress about her not taking her afternoon naps. Just sleep earlier in the evening and it worked out really well for us too.

No stress if she doesn’t want to sit on her car seat. It just takes more time to coax her to sit on her car seat. Of course the kids help to distract her too.

No stress if she doesn’t want to wear the clothes I planned for her to wear. Just don’t plan it. With less expectation, you’d have less disappointments.

No stress when she doesn’t want to eat or drink her milk. It just means that she is not in the mood. We adults are like that sometimes too.\

No stress when she wakes up in the middle of the night crying. There’s always a reason if she cries since she cannot fully express herself in words.

Parenting. It’s an ongoing journey. The moment I think I have everything  worked out, the kids throw a curve ball. So as a parent, we need to be agile and learn to adapt. It’s fun. Challenging at times but  so rewarding and such a privilege.

Let’s Go Kai Kai!

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Photo taken in Jan 2017 (AK at 2y 3 m)

When I went downstairs one day all dressed up and all, AK saw me and quickly took her sandals and squealed, “Yay!!! Kai Kai!” And then she hurriedly attempted to work the straps on her sandals.

A few days ago, I read a post by a mom in one of the mommy groups on Facebook. She posted on how she was contemplating on a second child and she said that  doesn’t know if she has enough love for a second child.

You know what? I don’t blame her.

I had the same thoughts as her as well when I was expecting Aidan. I think it’s only natural that these kinds of questions pop into our heads.

No judgments needed.

From my experience, after having 3 kids, all I can say is……

1. Don’t over think it.

2. Children are blessings from God.

3. And we may not know it but there is a lot of more room in our hearts to love more than 1 child.

Whilst we were enjoying being with the kids a few days ago, my dad asked me, “Na? Can you imagine if you guys didn’t have Amelie?”

I cannot imagine life without her so much so that that night, I had a nightmare that I lost her forever.

Like seriously.

 It’s one of the worst nightmares I’ve had. In my dream, I prayed that it was only a dream and when I woke up in the dream, she wasn’t there. It was horrible. Like a dream within a dream. When I finally woke up, I hugged her tightly! I almost had a heart attack!

Retail Therapy with Zalora

I had a few things on my mind yesterday and I wasn’t really ready to start work after a nice break (Chinese New Year). So I resorted to the best therapy ever  – retail therapy! I checked out a pair of shoes from Zalora a few weeks ago and ever since then, it kept popping up in my Facebook feed as an advert! (Smart buggers). So I decided to indulge and logged on to Zalora to get myself the shoe and a top. I expected it to arrive in a few days time but the delivery guy arrived at my doorstep at 10am this morning! I was pleasantly surprised. And on top of that, the shoes and the top fit perfectly. Yay! I don’t need to return/exchange them (Zalora’s exchange/return policy is really good by the way. I’ve returned and exchanged many items before without any hassle.)

Keep it up you guys!

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I got these….

 

Day 2 – Shizuoka – Karuizawa

My Japan post is long overdue considering that the trip was made in Oct 2016! I better get on with it before my next Japan trip :)

Ok, after Day 1, we went to the Super Lutein factory located at Shizuoka. This was my second visit to the Super Lutein factory hence nothing was new to me. They shared how the soft gel capsules were made, how the precious ingredients were encapsulated into the soft gel capsule and what they did to control the quality of the product before they were distributed to be sold. You can read more about it in my post which I published here last year. When we left the Super Lutein factory, the factory workers bade us farewell until we were literally out of sight. Japanese hospitality. Gotta love it.

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After the Super Lutein factory. we headed to Lake Kawaguchi for a sumptuous lunch.  It was a wet and gloomy day and the yummy food kept us nice and warm.1486031506873
1486031856024 Can you see the Naturally Plus banner on the building to the right? That’s where we had our lunch. Yup – we had the whole place to

ourselves.    Directly opposite the restaurant is the beautiful Lake Kawaguchi. Breathtaking in real life. The photo did not do it any justice at all.

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After lunch, we spent the rest of the day in the coach  and headed to Hotel Karuizawa 1130. If I am not wrong, it took us more than 3 hours to get there. It was a very long journey. These are some of the places we passed during the journey.

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1486031622597 1486031396136Hotel Karuizawa 1130 is a 6 star resort and is one of the highlights of this trip. We arrived just in time for dinner. We had a buffet dinner and enjoyed a large spread they had to offer.    1486032031253 This was round 1. I didn’t manage to snap photos of the subsequent rounds because I was too busy eating and having fun chatting with lovely company. This hotel was apparently the most  expensive hotel that we stayed in during the trip. When I stepped into my room, my jaw dropped. It was a huge suite and I had it all to myself!   147765071971992b2fece397ff3519c5e1bd7a888d8233b061d8c003eae1f079665b49e5fc89637fb3c4375115f4d0356506b81f550f64cc97c954e4b6db34d81f4acf67cef17

When I opened the door, this was the entrance which I was greeted with. Bear in mind that it was dark at first and I really didn’t know what to expect. Plus I was going to be sleeping in the suite on my own.
14776506426495e0c30fa2998d9cb2294f9ec935c3f64db4964e8c31b523b86007e24ab7671febfc37eef709cf17110178eb5311cb5254a365634982556b4542b1b5868405387   To the left of the hallway was the bedroom. 147765065615443b4021721b9c9355b2cf4b2d56e2a293758640fdf2e8d3fe7ec74f556a599508215cd3004693e2700a1e8dd198d907d284d4cf75bdc00556ee4f9b195e039d8 To the right of the hallway was the bathroom.

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1477650663792f6d71e575fbfd3ff801894c2d6fcde60d63a6d893cdf4a279f94db47c454fddacaf5de33144eb08339f82016f0d5b0f597b8257428d994dcaa3d1f5b0f224319   And next to the bathroom was another room for the WC. 1477650679311a1745d2e8eeb7c41ac9f5fae5cebfae0edfb48ba70c05d67475a625006e8d9b0d8575016ef4a39e878321fbfda0ab5fc94f0379db0aef6941869c69d889ba6f2 To the end of the hallway, there was a mini kitchen, a living room and a second living room which was more traditional (with tatami mats and all)1477650689283d2adb9b2330989e1a009f111baf6533e356bbe3563c802ca823c351f7731e32cacb006b7da47a8a69378a1cae02767ec92aa2c458f264675f6d5af3c77bce78d147765070493013e7c02218d359d7af853058eff016bb9c5ab1d743a910c8575f0d3fcf67481db0a335f44b7ed936a334b9085d6814818f0f7aef0d63fc4b14732b650e581036This is the view of the suite from the end of the living room looking towards the entrance of the suite. No doubt the furniture were very dated but for Japanese standard, the space is a luxury.

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The next day, we managed to enjoy the beautiful surroundings of the resort. I am not sure when I’d be coming back to this resort again but I want to go back there with my family soon!

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It’s so difficult not to stuff your face during a holiday. So whenever I can, I try to have a clean and healthy meal. It’s not very hard to do that in Japan compared to Italy (I have yet to blog about my Italy trip).

On Day 3, we explored Karuizawa. Look out for my next post.

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