2020 Year End Review

Thursday, December 31, 2020

Photo credits

It's the last day of the calendar year 2020 and looking back, it feels like forever but also very fast at the same time. I can't explain what I meant haha but maybe because a lot of things have happened despite the quarantine and the lock down. Internally, I feel like I have changed so much from the beginning of this year.

To begin with, I started off venturing entrepreneurship. At first it was just a personal development thing wherein I thought I should wise up financially after being hard hit by enormous debts. Like a child with a new toy, I was obsessed in the beginning. Gradually though, I realised that I wasn't after entrepreneurship per se, but finance management as a whole. Why and how is a different story altogether but I am laying low with business ventures and focusing more on family and employment. Being financially wise is a long journey and I shall keep learning as 2021 comes.

2021 reading list includes this new book 💗

If I have to assess this year, I would say it had been extra difficult - not just because of the outside circumstances like bush fires and COVID - but in terms of relationships, I had to learn lessons the hard way. Sometimes, you need to distance yourself with unhealthy relationships, even if they are family, before they end up becoming toxic. In time, everyone learns about the value of respect with one another. I know I have and to be honest, the pain is still there but I am ready to make amends if need be.

However, the saddest of all that happened this year was losing a loved one. Our beloved tito Rudy was finally called by God. Indeed, it was with a heavy heart that we accepted his fate. For me, it was hard to let go of the plans I had. As the holidays were approaching, I thought about sending him and Tita Angie some parcels as gifts. They have helped us significantly when we migrated in Australia and it was the least we could do to repay their kindness. But God has a different plan. Late in November, we travelled back to Morwell after 5 years to be with our relatives.

A place where we have so much bitter-sweet memories of...

My Dad was extremely unhappy too. Tito Rudy was a well loved and respected older brother. However, I'm quite thankful that they were able to spend quality time with each other in the last couple of years. And now, Tito Rudy is resting in peace.

But 2020 isn't all about the sadness and trials. There were birthdays to celebrate of course, of Darla turning 2, Daisy turning 11 and Demi turning 13 (officially a teenager now!). Never mind mine and hubby's ages hehehe. But we thank God for giving us another year again. It is also a year of celebrating the loved ones that we still have with us. Each and everyone of them - family and friends.

Then there was also the dramatic CPA examinations, which I passed thanks be to God. It was dramatic because I invested not only time for this examinations. Tears and sanity too. I just realised how hard it was to go back to study sleep deprived. Ever since Darla was born, the hardest for me was to commit to schedules. She still wakes up every nth hour at night. True enough, on the day of the exams, Darla decided to wake up at 2am - and wanted me to be with her. So I took the exams with a splitting headache and crushed spirit. It's a miracle I passed - that's worth celebrating!

But the best feat I thank God for was finally moving to our new home sweet home. I think we really need this space after 6 years at the old house. It was such a breath of fresh air for me. We didn't buy our dream house yet but since we have had Darla, the new blessing in the family, we needed more space - I, especially.

Now I am able to pursue my hobby all the more - here on my crafting desk where the magic of cardmaking and sending paper hugs take place!

At the end of it all, I am just thankful that my loved ones were kept safe and well, for the good and the bad things that shaped me for who I am today, and for having true and good people in my life right now.

Wishing everyone a year full of happiness and peace!

#happymess 😆
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Blaxland Riverside Park - A Nice Place For Family & Friends

Sunday, December 27, 2020

One of the things we learned from tita Joy and tito Rudy, our family friends in Morwell, was to spend as much time outdoors with the children and if possible with other family friends too. Tita Joy and Tito Rudy shared this advice as they recall their experiences during the prime of their lives. 

It makes sense. Our children becomes more and more independent as they grow older and I dread that age when they will find it better to stay at home with their gadgets than enjoy the nature with us.

Lucky, our friends organised to meet up one Sunday. We were supposed to hit the beach but the weather that day was cloudy and a bit cold so we went to a park instead. We stopped at Soria family's house first and drove by convoy to Blaxland Riverside Park where the Dumaog family were already waiting.

Darla with the adorable twins while waiting for Soria family to get ready 

It was fun! We set up 2 beach tents and the grilling plate where we cooked meat and sausages. While waiting for the food to cook, the children went to the playground which was a bit far but still within eye's reach. My lovely girls took Darla with them so I had a bit of time to myself.

Later on, the Borbe family joined us too. The more the merrier!

The children having fun on the hill

After eating, we went about on our own for a bit and took Darla to the water park. She loves playing in the water so I made sure to bring her swimming suit and change clothes too. Soon after, the others joined and the Dumaog family had to leave so we packed up our tents. We spent the rest of the afternoon looking after the kids while they had fun in the playground.

Darla loves the water

Meanwhile, the girls finally got over their being shy and were catching up among themselves. They used to be always together as little girls but it's been a while since they last mingled. So it was really great to see them warming up again.

Then we had dinner over at the Borbe's house of what was left of the barbecue plus Thai dishes care of sis Lau and bro Peter. Thanks to the lovely couple for such a nice and relaxed dinner.

Darla playing with her friend on the sand which she calls the beach

Finally, at 8 past, we had to leave and call it a day. It's not fun to separate not knowing when we could all catch up again but nevertheless, we had to rest too hehehe.

Indeed, it's a great idea to enjoy the outdoors with family and friends and Blaxland Riverside Park is the perfect place for families with young children.

Darla with her friend enjoying their walk at the park

Thanks be to God for a great Sunday! How did your Sunday go?

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Easel Cards With Calendar Tabs for 2021

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Ever since I have been exposed to the joy of cardmaking, I could not count anymore the number of cards I have sent out.

That's the beauty of this hobby. The reason why I really strive to continue despite not having enough time is because the happiness is just incomparable. 

Knowing that you were able to make someone's day a bit brighter or just make them feel special are but simple things that could also make me happy. I know how it feels to be taken for granted (so much so that I've learnt how to shrug off the pain) and it's not a good feeling I tell you. With one simple card, at least someone feels cared for.

Here are some of the cards I made for the holiday season. Right now, I just wanted to share the final outcome. Maybe, some other time, I will post a tutorial for those who love cardmaking too. :)

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Simple Pizza Recipe From Scratch

Our home made pizza, hot and fresh from the oven - yum!

This is a recipe I chose to make with my children for our family weekend bonding. As I have always said in my previous posts, we're not experts in baking so I particularly chose this simple recipe because it only has 4 ingredients, not including the pizza toppings:

  • 1 3/4 cups self-raising flour
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup boiling water

Our choice toppings

To make the pizza base, follow these steps:

  1. Combine the self-raising flour and parmesan cheese in a bowl and mix them
  2. Make a well in the middle and add in the vegetable oil and boiling water. 
  3. Stir with a fork to mix all of the ingredients. Be very careful as the water is boiling hot.
  4. Knead the mixture to make the dough.
  5. Set dough aside to rise. Prepare the toppings and start preheating the oven at 210⁰C.
  6. Roll out the dough onto the pizza trays. You can make 3 pizzas if you double the recipe and probably even 4 if you make the bases really thin.
  7. Spread pizza sauce - ours were sauced to the edge. Yum hehehe.
  8. Then add mozzarella cheese and toppings of your choice. We used pepperoni, ham and mushroom on ours.
  9. Bake for 15 minutes or until cooked.
The girls making the dough by themselves

While making the dough, I noticed that there is an appropriate way of kneading to achieve a good texture. I discovered this because we doubled the recipe so we made 2 mixtures.

The first mixture was kneaded by Daisy without any problems. My husband tried to knead the second mixture but it kept sticking onto his hands. Even when we added more flour, it was still sticky. At this point, Demi took over to knead with the same results.

Expert hands - Daisy folds the dough and kneads it to perfection

Then I had an idea to let Daisy do it and sure enough, she managed to make the dough texture perfect without adding any more flour. Too bad I wasn't able to video it but next time we make pizzas, I will keep in mind to capture the process on camera and update this post.

Anyway, Daisy used to love playing with slime so she learned the skill of kneading hehehe. During 3rd grade in school, she was chosen by her teacher, Ms. Downes to be the class slime expert. All the students came to her and she helped them make perfect slimes. 

Waiting for the dough to rise - start preheating the oven

It's amazing that she was able to use this skill for our baking adventure today. Great job Daisy!

Meanwhile, Darla was also busy mixing her own recipe hehehe...

The master chef

The girls did their best to put the toppings on generously. It pays to be playing pizza making apps on their gadgets, I guess. Hahaha. Kidding aside, that's actually me and Darla playing the app all the time.

All done and ready for baking :)

It was Daddy's turn to put the pizzas inside the oven. A+ for family team work!

Finally, time to enjoy the our masterpiece. Darla was taking a nap by the time the pizzas were cooked. Oh well, the master chef can judge it when she wakes up.

Time to eat the fruits of your labour guys!

The pizzas turned out really well! It was the best dough I have ever had and not because we did it hehehe. It was soft but not rubbery which is what I don't like with most store bought pizzas.

I think next time, we might try making the dough with herbs minus the parmesan cheese. We'll also make the dough thinner and probably heat them up a bit before adding the toppings to make a crispier crust.

Thanks to Australia's Best Recipes for this recipe. You can also check it out here.

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Evolution of Sassy Girl - My Spirit Character

Sunday, December 20, 2020

I just realised that I didn't really tell the story of how I changed myself from "Sara Crewe" to "Sassy Girl." So here is a long overdue update from 10 years ago when I wrote my intro.  

I had a happy childhood. I grew up in a middle-class family and Dad never lacked in providing for us while Mom was the one doing everything from cooking, to washing and everything else in between. It was a very sheltered life but my small circle of friends and relatives was more than enough to make me feel extremely lucky.

My world was safe and I made it a point to share this privilege, by being kind to the weak and poor. I was more keen to be associated with the quiet ones in school, like Sara. 

Not that I was high and mighty like her. Sara, despite all the power of having everyone at her feet in a whim, chose to befriend the weaklings. It was this trait that I coveted from her.  

However, there was a point in my life when I was betrayed and all of a sudden, these strong and ugly emotions were eating me up from inside. That's when I thought that I can never be Sara because of the monster living in me. Sara underwent tremendous hardships in life too. The big difference though was that she wasn't betrayed by the very people she loved. 

The people she loved remained loyal to her.

I have to admit, I lost my self in the process and I became this reclusive person. I was afraid to invest in friendships afterwards and I think to this day, I adapted that trait. Fortunately for me, I already have a best friend before this happened (thanks Bes, you know who you are) and another one earned while I was being burned (you know who you are too). These people are the ones I can say "I will trust my life with."

At the time I watched "My Sassy Girl," I haven't experienced all these things yet. I was a great fan but I could not relate much except for the sassy part. I've always had the talent to burn guys who showed interest in me hehehe. Perhaps, not the physically abusive part but when a guy gets too cocky, I can kill his pride in an instant with my dark humour and sarcasm until he rans away like a dog with his tail between his legs - harsh! 

Cocky guys end up with a dead pride hehe

But it worked like a charm, ask the living proof, my hubby hehehe?

It was after I rose up from rock bottom when I began to associate with her. Sassy girl fronted a mix of spirited but nonchalant attitude because she was hiding her true hurting self. 

I thought so too...

If that was her way of protecting herself, I don't know (she was a fictional character after all) but the concept was appealing to me. In this manner, I can still face the future even while my heart was still healing from the hurt.

And it certainly was so much better than revenge, which was my initial motivation to continue facing life.

And so it was decided. Using the popular metaphor nowadays, Sassy Girl became my spirit animal (or rather spirit character). To even fortify that my choice was appropriate, Sassy Girl was a big part on how I met my soulmate and ended up with him.

That story, however, would have to be told on another time and post.

What about you? Do you have a spirit character too? I would love to hear your story. 🥰
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School Holiday Activities for Kids - Save $100 on Rebates

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

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Hi lovely parents! It’s school holidays again and while we feel excited to spend time with the kids again, some may be apprehensive because it also means we have to keep them from being bored.


School Holiday Activities For Kids

I’ve got some idea to share with you (which we have actually started since last month) on how we can spend time with our kids without making it feel like a task.

  • If you like baking, search up for simple recipes so the kids can easily cope while you do only supervision. Here’s a simple muffin recipe I can share with you – the girls and I had fun making them!
  • Depending on the weather, you can spend the entire Sunday outside at a park or at the beach. You can organise one with family friends to be social too.
  • Invite friends over for lunch or dinner – both adults and children can catch up.
  • Or every once in a while, let them stay at home, do whatever they want – you know – unlimited screen time (well, not really unlimited but just a chill day for all you where you all can enjoy personal time).
  • Or enrol the kids in sports or creative activities.
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Basic Skills You Need As An Entrepreneur

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

So you want to start a business but you're thinking: am I cut out to be an entrepreneur?

Same here... I have always wanted to be. There's something inviting about it: the flexibility, creativity and if sustained, the self-fulfilment and security. In the end it all boils down to giving yourself and your loved ones a much improved quality of life.

But entrepreneurship is not learned in school. So naturally, we are not confident as to whether we have the skills to become one, much less succeed as one.

But did you know that you don't have to be tech savvy or an expert in finance to become an entrepreneur? These skills are a bonus but they don't guarantee your failure or success.

I have seen this proven. There's this community of entrepreneurs I joined where we can help each other out in terms of strategies and inspiration. The number of successful people came from diverse backgrounds: working from different industries, stay at home, parents, single, young, old. So that makes one think, what do these people have and do I have what it takes too?

Here's the good news. The basic skills you need are already in you. Probably not used, but if honed properly, it's there. You have the guts to succeed as an entrepreneur.


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Year End Reflection

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

2020 has been a really challenging year for many of us, and before this year ends, it's an excellent time to reflect on our achievements and learnings.

Last year, I decided to start making time-capsules for the whole family. It's a fun way to look back at how our year went and also realise how we have grown as individuals over the year.

This year, we'll be opening our time-capsules from last year and then make new ones to read for next year.

If you want to try this out with your family too, here are some of the year-end reflections that you could use:

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