Showing posts with label life & parenting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label life & parenting. Show all posts

Home Experiment for HS Students: Importance of Brushing our Teeth

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

It all started when my eldest daughter sought my help for her school project. They need to present an experiment which they could perform at home. Believe me, it wasn't easy to come up with on for the obvious reason that we lack materials and equipment at home. 

Initially, we thought to do an experiment about whether plants would grow better with more human attention than not, but this is not the growing season so it didn't work.

Then I remembered this commercial about a toothpaste when I was young. In the commercial, they brushed a couple of shells with brand x and y toothpaste and then immersed them both for 24 hours in bleach.

We had to replace the shells with eggshells to accelerate the results and replaced the objective by pointing out to the importance of brushing our teeth in general than comparing brands as this was not a marketing experiment.

Finally without further ado, let's jump in. And by the way, credits are all to my fantastic daughter who is too modest to take the lime light.

Purpose of the experiment

The objective of this home experiment is to show the importance of brushing one's teeth and possibly, to also discourage us from eating too much acidic foods. 

At first, we didn't think that there would be varying results between the brands of toothpaste used, so we only used 2 in this experiment. 

The results were surprising.

Background of the experiment

Eggshells were used because they have the same chemical composition as our tooth enamel, making them react similarly with chemicals.

Bleach represents the acid that damage our teeth. According to, one of the main causes of enamel erosion are acids found in the foods and liquids we consume. 

Saliva constantly neutralises acid in our mouth to protect our teeth. But eating too much acidic food and drink, and not properly brushing our teeth can cause the outer layer of enamel to degrade over time.

You can refer to the article mentioned above for examples of food that can cause enamel erosion.

Equipment used in the experiment

The clear disposable cups we used didn't come with lids. Demi had to transfer the eggshells and bleach to another container with a lid so she could bring them to school for presentation. 

If you need to present too, save yourself the hassle and get yourself disposable cups with lids online.


Demi prepared 3 disposable cups and labelled each as follows:

  • Oral B
  • Atomy
  • None

She then put equal amount of bleach in each cups.

Bleach on cups experiment

Then Demi started brushing one of the eggshells with ATOMY toothpaste. She left the toothpaste on before immersing the eggshell into the acid. 

Then she brushed the other eggshell with Oral B. As with the ATOMY, she left the toothpaste on and then immersed the eggshell on the bleach.

Finally, she added the eggshell without the toothpaste in the acid last.

All eggshells were immersed in bleach by 19:40 PM.


After less than 5 minutes, the eggshell without any toothpaste on was already crumbling. When we looked, the eggshell has completely disintegrated.

We left all eggshells overnight and checked again after 24 hours. 

The objective of the experiment has been achieved. Clearly, brushing our teeth is important in reducing the effect of acid on our teeth enamel. 

We thought that there wouldn't be a difference in the results of either eggshells with ATOMY or Oral B. Or if there would be, we thought that the eggshell with Oral B would hold its shape better because the toothpaste was marketed as good for "gum care and enamel restore."

Meanwhile, ATOMY is marketed as a toothpaste with "propolis" and "green tea extract." Meaning, its antibacterial properties help to prevent bad breath. While this feature had been proven by actual users, in this experiment, it wasn't very relevant.

Photo below was after 24 hours

After 24 hours, both eggshells with Oral B and ATOMY held their form. Surprisingly, there were less broken pieces found in the eggshell with ATOMY than the eggshell with Oral B.

There has been differences in the photo because we had to place the cups somewhere safer. Initially, we held the experiment on the kitchen counter but had to move the cups in a corner where it's not accessible as bleach is a dangerous substance.

As such, the lighting also changed but in the photo below, it is clear that the eggshell without the toothpaste has crumbled to the ground. The eggshell with Oral B had decreased its size dramatically and you can see that there were more broken pieces at the bottom. 

Meanwhile, the eggshell with ATOMY toothpaste held its shape the best among the three.


Demi's experiment had been a good eye-opener about the importance of brushing our teeth as well as choosing a better diet to keep our teeth healthy. We do not disregard other factors, of course, such as genetics and lifestyle.

Although it was not part of Demi's hypothesis in the beginning, it appeared that choosing a brand of toothpaste is also important if we want to keep our teeth healthy.

Despite the fact that we already use ATOMY toothpaste, this experiment only made me more confident and thankful that I made the right choice. ๐Ÿ˜

PS: Feel free to re-create this experiment for a school project, for marketing presentation, or just for fun with the kids. Just be very careful in using bleach. Use gloves and mask!

PPS: If you want to shift your brand to ATOMY, message to buy from me. Thanks in advance! ๐Ÿ’—

PPPS: The toothbrush used here is also ATOMY. It's soft bristles contain fine gold dust for antibacterial properties, keeping your brush clean 24/7. If you're tired of getting moulds on your toothbrush handle, go for this one. For the technology used to make quality toothbrush like this, their price is very cheap. If this convinced you to change brands, message to buy from me too hehehe. Thanks in advance again! ๐Ÿ’—

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My Birthday Wish

Friday, June 11, 2021

When you're almost 40 and you're running a household with 3 children at different life stages (1 teen, 1 preteen and 1 toddler, all GIRLS!), your own birthday is nothing more than a day to break from the daily routine. So instead of the usual 7-hour work, I took a half rec leave - to run errands and then treat the family out.

I'm not complaining. In fact, the mere messages of family, friends and friends of friends who greeted me on Facebook were more than enough to make me happy - I'm very easy to please. But yesterday was filled with surprises and I can't say thank you enough to everyone and most especially to God, for making my day a happy one.

First of all, I woke up to see my husband's gift right on top of my office desk. Although I knew what's inside (they're specific requests so this one wasn't a surprise haha), I couldn't wait to get my hands on them. It was distracting me while I got ready to go to office hehehe.

Mommy book and bluetooth earphones (for audio books and podcasts)

Then, at work, my boss brought a box of Krispy Kreme donuts for the team. We usually don't bring food on team meetings so it felt a bit festive to have some sweets while discussing. ๐Ÿ˜Š

After the meeting, I went to lunch with 2 of my closest friends at work. Both of them had surprised me with gifts too. 

My lovely friends ๐Ÿ’—

When you're old, you get to understand that people's time are valuable and so the mere fact that they spent time to have lunch with me was more than enough to make me gratified. But to have surprised me was just beyond what I prayed for. Thanks be to God to be blessed with such good friends in my life.

Then I received greetings from sis Karen and a photo of ube cake she baked (my favourite ube cake!) and a chocolate bouquet. She hand delivered the gifts at home and I just couldn't wait to see them in person.

She has always been sweet like that, which is admirable considering that we have the same birthdays. Of course, I have something for her too, but the day just went crazy yesterday that I wasn't able to drop the gift off to her house.

As I have said, I didn't really plan to make this day special. In fact, after lunch with my friends, I rushed to meet my husband (and our baby tagging along) at Blacktown, so I could organise Daisy's enrolment for High School.

After the enrolment, we took the opportunity to run some more errands (buy food stock, canvas for carseat upgrade, etc) while we waited for the girls to finish school. When the girls arrived, they were both hungry and tired so we had to get them some snacks while we did more groceries and finally took them to dinner - the only part that's related to my birthday celebration hahaha.

By the time we're finished, it was 7:30pm. As usual, it was a day packed with errands and running after Darla. ๐Ÿ˜„ Duties never end when you're an adult ๐Ÿ˜‚ but it was a good kind of busy day. A contented kind of tired.

I looked at the messages from various people, the gifts before me, the memories of this day filled with blessings and lingered on to the good feelings inside. 

When you're almost 40, and a parent, and working and busy, birthdays are the perfect time to stop a few minutes, catch your breath, and remind yourself that if you have food on the table, a few people who care, a job you can keep, your family and loved ones are kept well/safe and just enough money to live by, then you are already blessed beyond words.

lAll I can say is thanks be to God for another year of witnessing His love and care. I've had more than enough share of happiness for my birthday today, I don't think I'd want anything else for myself anymore.

And so, as I blow out the proverbial candle on my cake, my wish goes out to everyone else out there - those who are in pain, those who are suffering, those who are in need, those who are in sorrow. Whatever it is they wish for in their heart, then that is my also my birthday wish.

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Why I Bought A Retro Game Console For My Kids

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

This mini retro game console arrived by post today! I felt really excited while we took turns playing. I and my husband felt like Jedis showing these children how it's done. ๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿคบ๐ŸŽฎ  Old school? Yes! And I am not ashamed of it hehe.

Retro Game Console Australia based
The retro game console or better known as Family Computer to the retro parent like me ๐Ÿคฃ

5 Reasons Why I Prefer Retro Games VS Modern Games

When the Retro Game Console arrived, I couldn't wait to try it out right away. After my husband had set it up, I felt so excited and hopeful already. Just manage your expectations though, as the graphics aren’t half as good as the games nowadays. But just seeing Mario on the screen this morning made my heart jump for joy. 

As I was hit by waves of nostalgia, I realised that I wanted my kids to experience this happy part of my childhood too. I was more convinced than ever that I made the right decision for choosing the retro game console over the modern game consoles. Here’s why:

  1. Retro game console is relatively easier to set up.

It’s basically plug and play. I usually leave the technical side of things to my husband but he had the console set up in no time.

As I have mentioned, we haven't tried Xbox or any of the modern game consoles but I heard that there are more complexities in them such as requiring wifi and updates. Sorry to say this, but I might not have the patience to learn these things which will obviously kill the excitement a bit.

  1. Retro games are familiar and easier to teach and navigate

I know that kids nowadays are fast learners so they will definitely learn how to play the retro games in no time. The problem is, I and my husband might not cope up with the opposite hehehe. Which means, when we play as a family, then we won’t be on the same grounds.

The kids might sense this and subsequently, might not be keen to join their parents anymore.

  1. Retro games are more family oriented

Retro games weren’t called Family Computer for no reason. Because the console isn’t wifi supported, you’re most likely to play with your family side by side with a retro game console.

Modern game consoles and most games and apps on the other hand, were designed for online gaming. As I have mentioned previously, I am not comfortable with my children playing online with strangers because of the dangers lurking in the internet.

Call me a paranoid parent, I don’t care. But the truth is, we didn’t have to deal with these dangers as a child. I don’t see why I shouldn’t protect my children from these risks as well.

  1. Retro games have more interesting backstories

I didn’t realise this but if I have to compare the games we played before vs the games children play now, retro games were more creative when it comes to stories and characters.

Take Mario Brothers, for example. The main characters as well as the villains may look cute but the game is actually about a noble love story of a guy trying to rescue a Princess from the hands of a turtle-and-dragon-cross-bred king.

But I think what stands out is that the games before always had the good side trying to defeat the bad side unlike the violent ones that are rampant nowadays.

  1. The final point, it was cheaper and smaller

When I saw this ad, I was really impressed to see how cheap the game console was – and free shipping Australia-wide too!

The unit was very small too, so it’s easier to store away when you’re done. Again, because it is less complex, there’s not a lot of cables and parts either.

Why I Bought The Mini Retro Game Console 

Earlier last year, I posted about my problem controlling my kids from too much screen time. Although I have found ways to limit their use of gadgets, such as giving them other activities and establishing screen time rules, I still think of ways up to this day how to get their hands off their gadgets as much as possible. 

If I could totally get them off their phones and iPads, that would be best. These smart phones and tablets pose as a huge distraction especially when the kids get accustomed to social media. Chatting with their peers eat up valuable time that should otherwise be spent for reading or studying. Not to mention the great risk of these children being exposed to predators who could easily disguise behind fake accounts. 

However it's not all bad and ugly for gadgets. Giving them access to these technological advances is also a necessity these days. 

For example, my daughter hones her artistic skills in digital drawing and learns about entrepreneurship by using her iPad. They also use their gadgets to research about lessons in school. 

But as parents, who are also busy with work, a toddler and other responsibilities, I and my husband can't always control their activities online. That is why if there are ways to limit their access to gadgets, then I go for it. 

Gaming and gadgets

One of the challenges in successfully detoxing the kids from their gadgets is gaming. I tried talking to my girls about taking away their phones and iPads, and while they were more accepting to let go of their Social Media (which they shouldn’t even have in the first place), they are more reluctant to give up playing games.

I can totally understand them with this one because video games also played a big part in making my childhood happy and memorable. I know the gaming world has changed so much many, many years after, so it took me a long time to decide which one to get for the kids. There’s Xbox, PlayStation and Nintendo Switch but I have no idea how each one differs as I have not tried any of them, not even once.

Then I found this Mini Retro Game Console in an ad. Out of impulse, I decided it’s about time, added it to cart, checked out and crossed my fingers for the best.

I remember my own childhood days when we'd all gather in the living room around the Family Computer/Retro Game Console. Each of us had our own favourite games: Mom was best at Bomber Man, Dad at F1 Race. 

My eldest brother was the best at Punch Out while my other brother, who was probably the best gamer, excelled in Rock Man as well as a lot of other games I could not recall anymore.

Those were such fun times. We were connected and cheer on each other to win (or otherwise lose when we're angry haha). But those were memories etched in my mind forever. I have a lot of hopes that this Retro Game Console would also be an instrument to more family times for us, and I just can't wait to play and beat my husband and 2 girls lol!

Ate and Darla teaming up in a game of contra

You can purchase the Retro Game Console here: Retro Mini Video Games - Console Built-in 620 Classic Games Dual Gamepad Gaming is A Choice for Children and Adults (Grey) AV Output 

Retro Mini Video Games - Console Built-in 620 Classic Games Dual Gamepad Gaming is A Choice for Children and Adults (Grey) AV Output

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My Toddler Is Breastfeeding So Often, It's Killing ME ๐Ÿ˜–

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

My breastfeeding experience

Darla is the first and only baby I have breastfed. When I was pregnant with Darla, I approached my friends who were well-known breastfeeding advocates, for advice. I thought it was simple. My idea of breastfeeding was nothing more than what I see from pictures. But these were ads, one-sided, happy mom and happy baby having a tender bonding moment.

The real deal was shocking to say the least. On Darla's second day (night as she was born at 12 midnight) she began feeding non-stop until I got bruises. The pain and exhaustion plus the anxiety of starving her was more than enough to break my spirit. That was my first taste of cluster feeding, and it sent me down to my knees begging for a bottle of formula milk faster than the sun could rise. 

But I did not give up breastfeeding altogether. After a month of mixed feeding and bugging my friends for help and inspiration, I managed to go back to exclusive breastfeeding. It won for the simple reason that it was noticeably the most beneficial for Darla and me. Darla used to vomit after formula milk feeding because she couldn't control her intake. As for me, I kinda liked the convenience of not having to wash bottles and carrying light when we travel - not that we travelled much when she was a baby. ๐Ÿ˜

I have a love-hate relationship with breastfeeding

So no doubt, I loved breastfeeding. BUT, I can't say I love it all the time.

In fact, if you're still breastfeeding your toddler and you're like me (impatient), there might be times you have thought about weaning him or her if you haven't already. I know I have. Since Darla turned 2, I've been debating about it, but only when she cluster feeds and sucks the life out of me, literally.

For starters, it's frustrating me because I thought after 6 months, breastfeeding would be less often. Not for me. My almost 3-years-old-toddler actually still wakes up more than 3 times during the night to feed. If I'm lucky, she'd feed for 10 minutes, let go and sleep again. If not, she feeds for hours, let go and then cry again!

So why am I not weaning her off? I was already going to actually, but recently, Darla got sick. With no medicine but 24/7 breastmilk, she was feeling better again in just a couple of days. At that time, I was reminded of what I would be losing if I give up breastfeeding now. Darla's immune system relies so much on breastfeeding. If I stop it now, she might get sickly too.

On top of that, there are the less obvious benefits we'd lose if we stop now. Toddler years are developmental years and based on lots of studies, it's a powerful tool in soothing a bruised knee, ending a tantrum, or putting an overtired toddler to sleep.

Still, knowing these benefits doesn't really give a concrete answer to my problems with a cluster feeding a toddler. Sleep deprived, stripped off of energy, sometimes even giving me stomach aches, I often feel like pulling my hair out. I'm not gonna lie, I'm stressed out!

So what can I do?

Some tips from helpful moms on the net

Full article by Renee Kam can be read here.


Plan out activities for your toddler to keep him or her busy - playing with toys, going out to the park. When your toddler is busy, she's distracted to even think about breastfeeding.

While this is true, it can't work for me. I have work during day time and although my hubby looks after her and keeps her busy, there comes a point when my toddler would snap out of her trance and look for "Mommy!"

Take some time out

Some moms recommend leaving your toddler behind with someone so you can take breaks and indulge yourself. 

This sounds like a good idea. But as per first point above, I can leave Darla behind unfortunately not to take a break but to work, work and work. Weekends are for family and husband's time to go out of the house and run his errands, so I can't take a break either.

Ah never mind. I'll take a break when I'm dead!

Turn to like-minded mothers for help

I've got a lot of like-minded, well-meaning mothers like me in my life but I'm not sure if I should turn to them. For one thing, they have their own toddler(s) to tend to. Another thing is that they're all very busy too.

Perhaps, the only mothers I could turn to with be the ones with older children. They've got some spare time however, they won't be able to relate as much. So yeah... I can't do this one either.

This too shall pass

Finally, setting your mind for better days - perhaps this is the most feasible in my situation. I remember the nursery rhyme "Going on a bear hunt."

The song goes, "We can't go over it. We can't go under it. We're just gonna have to go through it."

And that's exactly what it feels like right now...

Oh well, I'll just pump my veins with HemoHIM and lots and lots of vitamins and supplements to get out of this alive! ๐Ÿ˜‚

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Terrible Two? Wait Til Your Toddler's Three ๐Ÿ˜

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Temper tantrums by my toddler

My almost 3-year old daughter was singing the chorus part of Roar by Katy Perry one lazy Saturday afternoon while we were lying on the bed. 

"...tiger, fighter, dancing through the fire..." she went in her cute toddler articulation. After a few rounds of singing the same lines over and over, she got stuck and then looked at me while singing. I thought she needed guidance so I started singing along.

To my shock and horror, my baby threw a full blown tantrum. She was so angry her entire body stiffened like a plank. Meanwhile, I was speechless at her reaction and I can feel my only-just-starting-migraine escalating as I racked my brain for resolutions. 

"Foolish, foolish you!" I scolded myself in my head. I looked at her disbelieving. I've normally done this before: she looking at me and on cue I would help her. Then she would give me an appreciative smile. So what did I do wrong?

Don't get me wrong. This is not the first time I've seen her throw a fit. But her previous meltdowns were mostly due to frustrations from difficulty in communicating. It was a common scene with her dad and sisters but not to me. I was usually the one to pacify the situation. When her dad and sisters don't get what she's saying, I'd translate for them and her frustration disappears.

But this - her utter displeasure at my assistance - was alien to me. 

So what did I do?

Well, first I stayed calm and thought of the situation. Maybe, because she's getting older, she wants to be more independent and my assistance was taken as interruption?

So I said sorry for interrupting her and then I tried to hug her. But her tantrum only got worse. She was squirming out of my arms and so I let her go before she hurt herself.

I tried to divert her attention as well, but there wasn't much within my reach to distract her. I've read that babies are supposed to have short attention spans but I know my toddler to be quite stubborn. I ditched the strategy as it wasn't working. Besides, the more I said something, the more she raises her voice to block me out.

Then I asked her what she wanted. I've read somewhere before that when your child throws a tantrum, the one phrase that could make her listen to you was: what do you want?

However, I realised later on that this was more applicable for tantrums stemming from communication frustrations. As I have assessed, she was upset because I intervened. Her tantrum was more of a violation of her "autonomy."

As a last resort, I raised my voice and told her to "stop!" She only got louder, of course. I couldn't get any angrier because in this instance, I myself can't point out what she did wrong. She was just innocently singing, I interrupted, and boom! CHAOS!

Finally, I decided to leave her alone. I secured her first and made sure that nothing around her could hurt her, and then told her I will leave. Besides, I was on the brink of losing my cool anyway. 

As soon as I got out of the bedroom and closed the door behind me, her crying subsided. After a few more minutes, she completely stopped. I opened the door and there she was, lying on her stomach waiting for me. She's calmed down and ready for peace talks hehehe.

From then on, I learned to hold back jumping at her aid. Children aren't the only ones learning from their parents. Sometimes, we do too. That incident was a reminder to me that my baby is growing up and she needs to also learn how to do things on her own.

I shouldn't be hovering around her all the time anyway because helicopter parenting is not helping our children to do grow up independently. So from now on, we just watch Darla do things on her own and are more careful to jump at her aid.

Understanding how a child's mind works help in dealing with our children. But brace yourself still, it's not going to be easy. I have forgotten how I went with parenting my 2 older girls when they were toddlers (after the 9 years gap!) and so everything I am experiencing with Darla is new to me.

X means you're wrong and I'm right ๐Ÿฅต

So cheers to all the mommas out there who are raising toddlers. The nights are long but the days are short. Cliche, I know but it's the truth. Before we know it, they're babies no more. These are hard days, nevertheless, precious so no matter how difficult it gets, let's treasure these days - that is after pulling our hair out. ๐Ÿ˜ซ๐Ÿ’—

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April Is Here - It's Darla's Birthday Soon!

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

We love the month of APRIL ๐Ÿ’Ÿ

A new month begins and just like that, the first quarter of 2021 has already gone. We're 5 days into April already and I'm thankful that we began the month with a 3-day thanksgiving in church. We were also able to spend quality time with friends and people we love. Indeed, April has given so much already thanks be to God!

This month is special for us because Darla's birthday falls in this month (29th). Not only that but we also celebrate our anniversary on the same day as my cheeky toddler's birthday. I have shared this story in my post before but let me just share briefly again how it happened. It's simply magical ๐Ÿ’–

Darla's birthday falls on our anniversary

I was scheduled for caesarean section on 2 May 2018 (or was it 5 May, I can't remember anymore ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿป‍♀️). But I felt a steady wave of contractions on the morning of 28th April. They weren't very strong but the waves were frequent and lasted a minute or so for each contractions. At 5am on a Saturday morning, I was already awake. 

A couple of hours later, the contractions were still steady but weak. Feeling exhausted, I fell asleep at around 8am despite the discomfort. By 1pm, I was bleeding a little so my husband decided to take me to the hospital. I can feel she's coming out!

Lucky I had packed the hospital bags beforehand. Still, it was chaotic for hubby since the girls were still very young. He had to go back and forth from the hospital and home to check on them every once in a while. 

As for me, I was so nauseous with no energy left in me. Still, I couldn't go in because there were other mothers who were "more ready" for birthing hehe. Finally, at 11:30pm, they wheeled me inside the operating room and hubby and I knew we were going to celebrate our anniversary while I was being cut open! ๐Ÿ‘€

What a celebration! The nurses and doctors were greeting us both for our anniversary and new baby! My husband was only able to go back home at 3am to check on the girls who were, thank God, sleeping safe and sound.

It has been 3 years since that glorious night. So now, every 29th of April, instead of our anniversary, I'm busy brainstorming for our little girl's birthday bash ๐Ÿ˜

Here are snippets of her previous year's birthday parties.

First birthday - Under the sea themed party ๐ŸŸ๐Ÿฌ๐Ÿ 

Of course, the first year is always the most special. Indeed, I've put in a lot of effort and turned the house around to make it look like under the sea while hubby was in charge of the food. It was a success considering we stayed within the budget too hehehe.

Decors were all handmade by yours truly :) food cooked by my hubby - the cooking was so much more difficult than decorating so kudos to my hardworking hubby 

The backdrop was a cheap $2 party table cover in aqua colour. I just added in the different coloured crepe paper streamers at the bottom, and scrunched-up aqua serviettes as coral reef. Then I printed and cut out Darla's photo and name, then added the cut out of sea creatures from foil paper. 

I added some mermaid string lights around the table and filled the house with lots and lots of balloons in shades of blue, teal, pink, purple and white for the bubbles

Even the bunting banner at the top was DIY. I traced and cut shells from cardstock in light aqua, then topped them with the aqua-coloured serviettes and silver foil letters. I used my teal ribbon to connect the shells together.

We've also arranged the backyard because the lounge and dining area were too small for everyone

For the backyard deco, I just covered the tables with party table cover. I've ran out of aqua so I used pink for the desserts table. Then I used large foil balloons and silver bunting banner all store bought - it's an easy alternative as this was last minute decisions and I've had enough with DIY hahaha.

DIY giveaways - treasure chest and sand bottle charms

The giveaway trinkets were also handmade but I couldn't make a lot due to time constraints. So I only made 6 treasure chests out of printed cardstocks (template here) and 7 bottle charms. The chests contained gold coin chocolates for kids. The charms were fragile so I gave them away for the adults. In between taking care of Darla and making more of these? I probably needed a year before hand hahaha.

These were all of the thank-you souvenirs

I also added these children's books for my giveaway items. My 2 girls had outgrown them so it was perfect to find new homes for them. Then I added some bags of lollies and stationeries all in mermaid or under the sea themes (the books weren't under the sea themed). I included bookmarks in the bag and for the books for a personal DIY touch.

The prizes - "guess the number" bottles of lollies - and Darla's info board containing some trivia about her

I didn't make a lot of prizes because I didn't have a lot of games prepared. To be honest, I was clueless how I'd be able to handle the program knowing that Darla would cling to me the whole time and that hubby would be busy in the barbecue grill. So very thankful to sis Alma, our impromptu MC that day, she was amazing in keeping the kids entertained. Such a natural! ๐Ÿ’—

DIY under the sea photo booth frame

I also made photo booth frames although I remember that hubby and I hardly had any free time to take photos - I just went overboard maybe because I was so hungry for arts & crafts too after a year of no excuse to do anything except take care of a baby ๐Ÿ˜†. Fortunately, my wonderful visitors were able to have fun and use them in their photo ops.

I made the frame out of a cardboard box wrapped in aqua table cover (the excess I have cut off from the backdrop). Then I printed the mermaids, the diver and the fishes and sharks out of A3 paper and just cut and patched them up together on the cardboard. I cut the faces off last with a box cutter.

The other photo booth frame - Instagram 

Because I didn't want to waste the other side of the cardboard box, I decided to make another photo booth frame (I was able to make 2 photo booth frames in one cardboard box - see, I went over-overboard haha). This one was a down-played frame of just Instagram.

Cake and photo frame

The cake was just a simple swirly blue I bought from Michel's. I would have preferred a teal one but the store didn't have it. The toppers were bought from ebay and I just customised it to write Darla's name and the die cut of the number 1 on the shell. It looked a bit bare in the beginning so I decided to add some pink swirl lollipops. It completed the mixture of blues, purples and teals.

The shadow box beside the cake wasn't intentional. It's just that I have this spare shadow box I bought way before Darla was born plus itching hands and lots and lots of unused crafting supplies. So I came up with something useful for Darla's birthday hehehe.

Darla's gown was this pretty dress gifted by sis Karen

Darla's mermaid gown was gifted by sis Karen. I was so happy indeed, because I didn't have the luxury of time to get out of the house when Darla was still a baby. I just added a dark purple bow in the middle, some shell-sequins and aqua crepe paper at the bottom, to match it with her very colourful birthday party theme.

The invitation - I made them at least a month before the birthday

Finally, here is the invitation which was the first of all the DIY I made for her birthday. It's a shell that opens up to a pop-up mermaid version of Darla with long hair hehehe. This was before I had die cuts and stamps so every single detail here was fussy cut - oh except for the intricate seaweeds behind the mermaid-Darla (which was from Stampin' Up!, the cardmaking company that introduced me to the wonderful world of handmade cards).

Second birthday - Emma Wiggles themed party ๐Ÿ‘ง๐Ÿ’›

Second year was so-so because nothing compares to the first and also because of covid lock-down. She loved Wiggles (and Blippi) when she was 2 so she was really delighted to be "Emma" on her birthday.

Our simple backyard table

Emma-Wiggles-theme was a hundred times easier then under the sea, but it was also very simple. All things just had to be accentuated by the colour YELLOW and that was it! Darla's costume alone had carried the theme for itself hehehe.

For this party, the only DIY parts perhaps were the number 2, the lopsided-balloon-boquets and the cake topper. The table cover was just an excess fabric I bought years ago to make white skirts (for KNC) when the girls were still little, while the yellow satin/silk (faux) fabric was excess from a bow I created for our choir costume when I was 6 weeks-pregnant with Darla. 

Great stash, I didn't have to buy anymore for the party decor! Good timing too, because we can't really get out of the house except for essential reasons during those times.

The number 2 was fun to create - however, I should have used a yellow background instead of hot pink

Balloon art was never my forte, so this was my best attempt at decorating using balloons. The cake was made and gifted by sis Karen again - the best baker there is in town ๐Ÿ˜‰ Around this time, they have finally moved to Sydney after years of living in Muswellbrook. They were able to join us for a simple backyard birthday party.

The cake isn't just pretty but also yummy! Creamy, buttery and just the right hint of sweetness.

Darla enjoyed the party, feeling like an adult in Emma costume and drinking off her champagne glass! It's plastic, don't worry hehehe.

As for her coming 3rd birthday, her interests have gone more diverse from Wiggles to Blippi, to Nastya and Diana, Mulan, Wonder Woman and so much more. But she's into Disney princesses and because she already has an Elsa gown, so Frozen themed it is hehehe. 

Besides the party theme, I haven't really planned anything yet so let's hope and see what happens!

Until my next post God willing! Wishing everyone a happy month of April!

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We're Not Everyone's Cup Of Tea - And That's Okay

Thursday, March 25, 2021

This morning, I was surprised by a lovely email from my colleague. She's a dear friend who's a lot older than me and she's so motherly that it's hard for anyone not to love her at all.

She remembered me because recently, there were 7/8 positions advertised and she encourages me to apply because she wants me to make my mark now. How sweet, I was emotional after reading her message.

However, promotions and studying are the last things on my mind now. Besides my hands being full with a toddler, work and side hustles, I just don't feel very capable and confident right now. 

I told her so and coaxed her to give the opportunities a go. We both got promoted at the same time, but I'd be very happy to see her advance ahead of me. Then she can mentor me hehehe.

But then she replied that she wasn't interested because she's retiring soon. Then she further said, "You are very smart Jenny - there is no need for any one to mentor you. I have told your [TL] that." Her message really lifted up my spirits.

I was flattered, of course, but mostly just thankful because she gave me some self-confidence when I felt like I am failing at everything at the moment. 

I'm a bad mom, I am slow at my work, I am this and that... that's what I think most of the times recently. But mostly it all boils down to me being a very unpleasant person. I don't why, but my mind has been mostly occupied with negative self-talk lately.

Then it dawned on me and I realised that our circumstances have a great impact on what we think, but we can change that. It's hard to say things out but the reality is, there will be some people in your life who wouldn't like you or hold grudge and have something against you and they'd make a point of making you feel that. 

I know I should do myself a favour and live the life lessons I often share on my Page - focus on the good and forget about the ones who make you feel bad for no reason - but it's just so hard.

I think a lot about these people. I think a lot but mostly the "why's." What's so abhorrent about me? I know I am not perfect, but is there ever one? I could be quiet most times but I think a lot, to the point of sometimes hurting myself inside.

So my friend's message was like a gift, a blessing. Peace to my exhausted mind. It reminded me that there are people - silent and distant as they may be - who secretly wishes us well. 

Sometimes, we forget about them because we don't see them a lot. We don't live closeby or they aren't in our social media. But they're there.

Think about these people instead. People who build you up instead of talking ill about you behind your back. They are the ones happy to see you succeed and they cry with you when you're down.

I think I should add in my crafting list to make a Photo Book of Lovely People. I'll include everyone's faces, starting from my husband, my children, my relatives and then the friends who I can trust my life with. This shall help me shift my wondering mind from asking too much WHYs because the truth is, there might not even be an answer.

It just so happened that we are not everyone's cup of tea and that's okay. The good news is, there will always be some people who will secretly pray for you too despite your flaws and shortcomings. Think more of them and make them your role model. Actually, a better idea would be to secretly pray for them too... ๐Ÿ’—

Cup of tea inspirational quote
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Separation Anxiety with Toddlers

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Gloomy view from the office today

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in March last year, we have been working from home full time. I'm grateful for the opportunity to keep my job at the same time not be exposed to the virus. Working from home has really been a blessing to me.

We are one of the luckiest here in Australia and now, in just a year, the number of cases has been kept to zero - at least here in NSW. It's been months since we have kept it down and when we do have cases, it's usually just one or a couple.

Now we're slowly easing back into normal as businesses start to spring back too. I don't think we'll ever go back to being FULL time in the office. But this week, we've started to go at least once a week in the office.

Our team's landing day is every Thursdays, and today is the first of that weekly work at the office.

I'm not complaining. A lot of people think it's a good break for me. And to be honest, I think I probably need it too. Darla's been super attached to me since we started working from home full time. And come to think of it, it's because I never really ever went out of the house just by myself since lockdown. I'm such a homebody to a fault.

When I did need to go out, on seldom occasions I'd ask my husband to take me out of the house, I'd be with the whole family and always, always with Darla. 

I didn't realise this was going to cause a massive problem for my toddler: separation anxiety.

I have read about it before going back to work after maternity leave. Darla was only 1.25 years old that time, it would definitely be a challenge. 

On my first day back at work, I was expecting the worse. But it turned out okay. Everyone was okay. My husband was okay when he video called later in the day to show a smiling baby. 

But today feels very different. From the moment I woke up this morning, nothing feels like going right.

I have been suffering from hyperacidity for about a week now. I can tell that it's because of stress, not just with Darla being so clingy but about so many things. It's just one of those phases when you feel overwhelmed, you know like when it rains it pours? 

I know this will pass and all, so I don't really feel the need to tell anyone about what I'm going through except now that I'm sharing it here. But the truth is every time Darla cries for me, at night, in the morning, every waking hour... my stomach hurts. I don't think anyone will understand me anyway.

Last night, I slept feeling ill. This morning, I was apprehensive about going to work. Should I just call in sick because of my hyperacidity?

I was already in the bathroom washing, brushing my teeth... then Darla cried and demanded for me to go back to bed. She knows I was going to work this morning. Immediately, my stomach churned and my head hurt.

Husband sent a video of her crying for mommy by the front door. 

I won't to go through the parts where I turned into a monster lest somebody feels like judging me. In any case, judger, you don't have to bother, I've already got a lot of guilt and negative self-talk going on in my mind so whatever it is you're going to say, I probably have told myself.

But I feel like my head is about to explode now. Thinking, over-thinking. Will she be okay for today? Will she still cry? How are they gonna last this day without me. This guilt eating me up even though I know I HAVE TO DO THIS. I have to go to work. 

Heck, I have to be alone too... and it really doesn't help that even my own husband doesn't understand me. He keeps on saying, "Ako na ang bahala," but... I don't know what to think because in the past year that I was working from home, I feel like both of them have become attached to my presence.

So even though I am by myself now, the whole day my mind was consumed by thoughts of them. I spent majority of my break time buying toys for Darla and just got myself the saddest-looking fillet-o-fish from McDonalds (I probably should have taken a photo of the burnt fish and tiny cheese falling off the side of the bread as evidence that I'm not being dramatic here) for a QUICK lunch. 

Everything I do, I feel like I need to it quickly. That's how it has been going for years now.

Toys I bought this lunch time

Anyway, enough of my bitterness... Right now (2pm), she's sleeping. Later on when she wakes up, I hope the pictures of the toys would appease her.

To be honest, I had been debating from lunch time whether I'd pack my bags now, go home and continue working late tonight. I feel guilty for not making things easy between my husband and baby.

But, part of me says, stick it out. Tough love.

Meanwhile, I'm curled up inside my  mind, hugging both of my legs while saying over and over, "things will get better next week, the week after that, and the week after that..."

Slept at 1:30pm after crying endlessly. 
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Catch Up With Old & New Pals

Sunday, March 7, 2021

Photo credits to Lanie's darling daughter - not a bad shot from a 7-year-old little girl ๐Ÿ˜
From L to R: My hubby, me, Lanie, Val and Bong

Last Saturday, we hosted lunch for my old pals from USA&Co. and their common friend. 

Intros first: USA (Uy Singson Abella) &Co. CPAs is a public accounting firm by former SGV partners. I had my first job there (for about 5 years) as Junior Auditor and then Senior later on. Such fun times and good friends I made there! I just found out that it's now known as M.F. Padernal and Co.

I met Lanie there, when I was assigned under her to assist with a BPO client in Kapitolyo, Pasig. She soon left for a private company and then Val joined the firm. They didn't meet at USA&Co. Val and I left in the same year (2009). I was later employed at Philex Mining while Val moved to the same company where Lanie was working. That's how they knew each other.

Bong and Val met in PNG later. And then it turned out that Bong was Lanie's classmate in college.

So much coincidence, it's amazing hahaha. I haven't even mentioned that when my hubby was working in Saudi Arabia, he was colleagues with Lanie's childhood friend too. 

Lives intertwined... small world. Clichรจ. I thought it only happens in books. ๐Ÿคฃ

I haven't seen them in a while. Well, more than a decade for Val and not ever before for Bong hehehe and so a grand feast it was.

Hubby cooked seafood marinara pasta, Shanghai chicken spring rolls, fried chicken, spaghetti and grilled stuffed fish (I know, I am so lucky to have a wonderful hubby) plus my friends surprised us with pork chops, daing na bangus, charcoal chicken and cassava and leche flan for dessert. 

Too bad, I wasn't even able to capture any of it hahaha. We just kind of dug as it was past lunch time. I was late from my supposedly short trip to the park with Darla because I took her there while waiting for my visitors. Unfortunately, she needed a looooot of convincing before I could make her come back home.

Anyway, I really had fun catching up with them. Naturally, being old friends, I felt comfortable with both Lanie and Val. But even if I haven't met Bong before, I immediately liked him too. 

When Val and Bong left, Lanie stayed a bit longer so we could still chat. Her lovely kids had fun playing with Darla and the neighbours.

Happy children 

The catch up was definitely a much needed highlight for my week. I'm not complaining but after our weekend fun everything just went downhill from busy to stressful! 

Beginning of the month meant case updates but the level of busy-ness was just crazy. Plus, there's this bad client feedback which, my boss assured me, didn't hold water but that still dampened my mood. Then there's this complex case that's giving me a huge headache but a lot of learning. Thanks to my really supportive TL I see a glimpse of the light at the end of the tunnel now. 

That was the work side of life. As for the family life, Darla was back to her disruptive sleep patterns, which made me sleepless for nights too. My eyes are always feeling sleepy and dark circles under them are screaming for attention. Then my husband and I are having misunderstandings with budgeting. Time for another "date night" this Thursday to update my student abouy finance 101.

Rant over hehehe.

So now we're ending our weekend relaxing at the park.  

How about you? Have you ever experienced reuniting with old pals?

PS: I can't wait to find time this week and create cards for the March giveaway. I hope I can post it just in time. I really need to unwind soon and what better way to do it than crafting! 

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Weekend Fun

Monday, March 1, 2021

I am feeling a bit sleepy today - probably from the hangover of an exhausting but fun-filled weekend. My husband actually did most of the work and preparation but I'm just naturally incapable of storing much energy maybe hehehe.

Anyway, I took a flex leave last Friday so it was a long weekend for me. I just wanted to spend a day with Darla - all for her. I've been wanting to take her to Max Webber library for the Story Time. Besides, 2 of the books I have reserved were already available and I can't wait to pick them up. 

But before we headed for the library, we stopped by sis Erl's house to pick up her gift for Darla. She's told me about it months ago but our schedules hardly meet. Someone else handed it to us last Friday and Darla was very pleased when she saw her new toy. 

While in the car, she couldn't wait to get her hands on the toys hehehe ๐Ÿ’—

She couldn't quite get that it was from "sis Erl," as I repeatedly told her. So when I was telling her, "That's from sis Erl," to her it registered as "That's sis Erl's" and so she protested, "no, Darla..." because she wouldn't part from it as soon as I handed it to her hehehe.

At the library, she did enjoy the Story Time but she much preferred playing "floor is lava" with the square pieces of carpet they should sit on. She participated every now and then, occasionally clapping when something's funny or when she liked the nursery rhyme. 

But for the most part, she'd jump from one square piece to another. At one point, she made herself a bed. ๐Ÿ˜ฉ

She was lying down on the square pieces of carpet but would sit up and clap if something piqued her interest

She reminded me so much of her older sister, Demi. I was worried she'd find it difficult to socialise being always inside the house. But when her Lola and Lolo (Grandma and Grandpa) took her to daycare, she teamed up with the oldest child in the class and together, they made their own program barely listening to the teacher.

After library, she was ready for her afternoon nap and while she was sleeping, we drove to Costco and Woolies to do the normal groceries and also buy stuff we need for Sunday. 

Next stop, we took Darla to Nurragingy Reserve Park so she could play at the water park and also ride her "new" bike. I was running out of battery so by past 4pm, we drove home.

Darla remembered her new toy so that kept her occupied the rest of the evening. She reckons the girl is "Anna" because of her braided pigtails and the guy automatically becomes "Kristoff." So whenever she wanted to play with sis Erl's gift, she would tell me, "Anna, Kristoff." Hehehehe.

Breakfast served by chef Darla

I was impressed by the quality and details in this wooden toy set ๐Ÿ˜

Saturday was still busy for hubby. He still had some things to buy at Strathfield and I decided not to go so he can accomplish things more quickly. While the toy continued to occupy Darla, the book I borrowed also occupied me hehehe. Maybe this was another reason I'm sleepy. I couldn't put it down no matter how sleepy I was!

Hubby couldn't believe I finished the book in 2 days - I could have finished it in 1 day without interruptions ๐Ÿ˜‚

By Sunday, we were definitely busy so I had to set aside the book. We have some visitors in the afternoon - for my February Sabbath anniversary, for our new house welcoming (which was really lame because we moved here for about 5 months now hahaha) - for whatever reasons. It's just nice to get together with friends once in a while.

With my fellow February celebrant, sis Laurice

The young ladies enjoying a Korean barbecue fest

There's so much to be thankful for in those 3 days of weekend fun. First, the realisation that someone loves and cares for your children, that's really heart warming. Being able to enjoy a day off from work to spend time with my family is another thing I am grateful for. 

The little kids playing in the backyard

Having a husband who helps out  does everything for you. He did everything, the groceries, cleaning up the house, tidying after. Having food on the table - good food on the table actually - it's one of the things I sometimes forget to be thankful for.

Also, celebrating my years in faith and having friends in church to celebrate it with are also big blessings for me. The bonus of a perfect weather yesterday was like icing on the cake. 

On top of it all, these sweet babies had fun and to see the joy on their faces just makes your heart full!

Such sweet babies! 
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