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

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. 😎ðŸĪšðŸŽŪ  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 ðŸĪĢ

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 😖

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. 😁

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! 😂

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

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

We love the month of APRIL ðŸ’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 💖

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 ðŸĪ·ðŸŧ‍♀️). 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! 👀

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 😁

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

First birthday - Under the sea themed party 🐟🐎🐠

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! 💗

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 😆. 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 👧💛

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 😉 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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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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Weekend Crafting Projects

Sunday, February 7, 2021

Just a quick share of my crafting project this weekend: DIY home posters and other prints.

These are reminders and house-rules I established for the children.

The stairs poster was a necessary reminder because last Wednesday, Daisy slipped on the steps.

The stairs were made of timber but we normally don't wear shoes or slippers when going upstairs. Barefoot is fine. 

But that day, she was wearing her socks on from last night. She was almost downstairs when she slipped. Lucky she was holding onto the railings so the fall wasn't that bad. Still, she hit her bottom and back.

I told her to never wear socks again when climbing up or down and this poster will remind her and everyone else.

Made out of recycled cardboards and wooden-look vinyl

Screen time rules is for the children's use of gadgets although the adults in the house sometimes need a friendly reminder too. 😊 I established a program where the girls are also reminded to be helpful around the house at the same time give them the opportunity to earn money for things they want.

The girls each have a screen-time-rules-poster, a weekly screen time counter. How it works is that they earn 1 minute extra screen time when they do tasks at home. They can use these accumulated points from Friday nights and weekends or give them up in exchange for money. 

That is how they earn for things they want and they can keep the money in this cute wooden coin counter from Kmart. Instead of the coin denomination labels at the top, we covered them with their goals instead. They have up to 5 goals plus 1 slot for giving.

And that's it! Hope everyone is having a nice weekend.

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Date Night Parents with Toddler Style - Week 1

Friday, January 15, 2021

Shortly before 12 midnight, my husband and I sat across each other and started our evening date (FINALLY!). I talked hubby into this last week but I was on the brink of cancelling it. Midnight is a bit too late for a dinner date isn't it? 😂

For parents like us who can't get out without the baby, an indoor dinner date is just as exciting. Seriously, why didn't we think about this before?

Merely minutes ago, Darla was showing no signs of sleeping soon and it was past 11pm. Our very alert toddler was still watching her latest movie obsession, Mulan (the 2020 film 😁) while simultaneously re-enacting the scenes - complete with props hehehe. Eventually, she got cranky and by the time I took her upstairs for bedtime, in a matter of minutes she was knocked out. So was I hehe. 

Our little warrior, loyal, brave and true ðŸĨ°

I almost stood up my handsome date, but I pushed myself to wake up, get dressed (yes, my idea too hahaha) and go downstairs. Nevermind the hair, left it as dishevelled as it was. Food was prepared already. Besides, we really needed this rendezvous.

The handsome date wondering what the chef put in his dish 😆

It's funny. We haven't dated in a long time so it feels awkward. Once the food were settled on the table (by the chef and the maitre d' which were none other than US 😆) we were snickering at each other like kids. If only hubby could say, "This is ridiculous!" (and it was) but he knows better than to verbalise that.

Anyway, the objective was to enlighten my husband about our budgeting. You know how in relationships, there is that one person who controls the money? The husband may be the CEO, he gets the last say in decision-making but I am the CFO. I established the rigid policies especially in spending hehehe.

Cheers to resourcefulness 🍷

After the food was gone, I can tell that the hubby was getting sleepy and ready to retire to bed. But I was just getting fired up. I just learned about this personal finance management thing that could actually work for our situation. This deserves a post of its own hehe.

In my excitement, I think the date ended more like a classroom one on one lesson where I was the strict teacher who would scold her student at the tiniest signs of not paying attention. 

Just kidding (half kidding hehe, I did get very serious and passionate 😝). To wrap it up, I gave him the task to manage our diet on the other hand. Other than money management, weight loss was our other immediate goal.

Steak night for week 1 of dinner date.

Afterwards, I became the maitre d' again, took the plates away and cleaned the table. Dinner date was done. The beauty of doing it indoors was that we could go to sleep right after.

But this isn't the end of it. For the next 4 weeks, we will hold another one. Then it would be monthly for the rest of our lives (hopefully and God willing). Maybe someday, we can actually go out to a proper restaurant but while we can't leave Darla yet, indoor dates will do. It's not so bad after all.

It's a good way to be in touch with each other and for parents like us, don't let having a baby hinder you from having alone time. It's a great opportunity to talk, make plans and just connect.

Until our next date night which I'll share again on my succeeding posts!

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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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Mom's Day Out Turns Into A Guilt Trip

Saturday, August 29, 2020

After 5 months of working full time from home, today was the first time I got out of the house to go to the office again. My laptop was having issues connecting to the monitor so I had to take it to our IT for bios update.

In the morning I was finding it hard to get up and get dressed but once this routine was over, it actually felt good to dress up again. I'm so glad my work clothes still fit hahaha.

Leaving the house wasn't too bad. Darla cried but only for a little bit. I felt free being just ME minus the little toddler.

Commuting with my high school daughter never seemed more fun.  The funny thing was, I used to always guide my daughter where to go. This morning, she was the one leading us. I was very impressed!

Another funny story was when I arrived at the building, I forgot what floor we used to be in so I got off at 26th. I only realised that I made a mistake when after more than a minute, nothing still seemed familiar. Not that I didn't get confused when I got off at 27. I stood at the foyer for about a minute before I finally figured out which way to turn. To make sure I was on the right floor, I went to try my locker. Surprisingly, I remembered this one without problem hahaha. 
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Darla's 2nd Birthday!

Monday, May 4, 2020

Darla adores the pretty cake and was excited to blow the candles!

Last Saturday, we successfully celebrated Darla’s 2nd birthday. She turned 2 last Wednesday, 29 April, but it was too gloomy that day, so we decided to postpone it for the weekend. I’m so glad we did! The weather last Saturday was better, sunny albeit windy and cold. Plus, we were also able to invite over a close family friend despite the quarantine. 😊 Just right on time, visitors of 2 adults with 2 children under 18 were allowed from Friday on wards.

Thanks be to God for a successful celebration of another year for Darla.

Our lovely visitors

The master chef with his critic 😂

Darla with the pretty twins, ate Chloe and ate Claudine 👧👧

This year’s theme was Emma Wiggles. Unlike last year’s Under The Sea theme of purples and teals, Emma Wiggles is more of bright yellow and white colours. I tried to keep the decoration low-key this year. It was low cost too. I used fabrics I found from my old stash, a couple of wide yards of white and just enough yellow satin, some confetti and yellow balloons and a number 2 handmade with paper daisies.

I enjoyed making this! I wish I used yellow background though instead of hot pink

Thankfully, the birthday celebrant had a good nap around noon time so I was able to set up the party decoration peacefully. I had assembled the balloons early in the morning and the table skirt was a breeze. However, propping up the balloons was a challenge because the wind kept toppling them over the edge. I had to replace the clear glasses I used because they were too thin and tall. They didn’t hold much strength even when filled with water. I had to use sturdier 2 litres drink bottles. They ended up not as “aesthetic” as I wanted it to be, but it solved the problem ha-ha-ha.

The not-so-aesthetic drink bottle 😂

I don’t want to be biased about myself but I think it turned out just fine. 😊 Here are some of the photos from the party.

The initial set-up

We had to add another table on the side for more space 😁

Meanwhile, the food was a hit. The very devoted Daddy woke up early to start cooking. On the menu was stir-fry noodles, fried chicken and crispy pork-hock, crispy noodle salad with Asian dressing and Korean barbecue of prawn and different meats. For dessert, we had fruits and a matching Emma-themed cake made by my exceptionally talented friend, sis. Karen.

After the decorations and food were set up, we started to dig in even when the celebrant was still asleep. We were all so hungry from all the hard work. Besides, I’d be better off eating without the baby tugging at my sleeves anyway hahaha.

The Korean barbecue was yummy, hands down. It’s so much cheaper to do it at home too. All of the meat were thin and they cooked real fast and tender. The sauces made a good complementary flavour to the meat too.

We bought the meat and sauces at various shops in Strathfield.

Crispy pork hock, fried chicken, salad, prawns and Korean barbecue meat

The sauces were ssamjang, cham sauce, sesame oil and sesame seeds

2-stove with wide plate for only $69 at Kmart

The crispy noodle salad was yummy too! It replaced the rice for me, while the stir-fry noodle replaced the rice for the kids.

At 2pm, sis Karen and bro Wendel with their toddler twins came by with the home-made birthday cake. Finally, the main attraction made it to the table. This time, I decided to wake Darla up so we could start singing and she could blow the candles. Of course, Darla had to change to her Emma dress and shoes too!

Very pretty cake, thanks to sis Karen 💓

It was good to see you again, Soria family!

Finally the highlight of the party, here is the very posh celebrant holding fried chicken on one hand and champagne glass on the other 😂

She loves her chicken and fake champagne glass 😂

It was a great afternoon and everyone had a great time!
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My Baby Turns 2!

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Darla turns 2 today! In motherhood, you can certainly feel the famous adage, "the nights are long, but the days are short." It has been 2 years of interrupted sleep and unpredicted schedule but those years couldn't possibly contain the happiness that our baby brought to our household.

I will never get tired of reminiscing too... from the moment I found out I was pregnant, when we found out we were having Darla Jenn instead of Nilo John and how two years ago, Darla has forever changed the way my husband and I celebrate our wedding anniversary, because she chose to come out at the same day, 12:33am of 29 April.

The doctors scheduled her birth via CS operation on 2nd of May and while waiting for the date, I read my life away because that was the only thing I could do gracefully. 😆 But early 5am of 28 April, I started feeling the cramps - as for the book? Never touched it again since then hehehe.

I thought Darla was going to come out that day but for some magical reason, I managed to survive the whole day with only a small brekky and a constantly cramping belly. I never had the full contractions though - beats me why. ðŸ˜Ĩ I waited in the hospital from lunch time until 11:30pm when I was wheeled into the operating room. Finally, we're going to meet our baby!

I won't go into the details of the day because I have told this story before. But to me, it's a very memorable event that I like to tell myself over and over. Indeed, our anniversary had been different since then. Instead of romantic dates, which boss baby won't allow anyway, I excitedly plan on birthday parties.

Last year's party was Under The Sea because of Darla's natural affinity to the water, like a fish. And here is the evidence, the sheer delight on her face the first time she experienced the beach.

Too bad I didn't really have the time to post a blog about her first birthday but on a later post, I will share, if not the story - because the actual excitement has long gone - at least the decorating ideas for moms who like to DIY their parties. 😁

In between those days from her birth to now, we have slowly known who our baby is, she is such a character! In the hospital, I will never forget how the nurse commented that "she's ferocious!" because she saw her tearing frustratedly at my empty breasts. 😆 She is indeed a strong-willed girl, just like her 2 older sisters. She knows what she wants and how she could get it.

She used to like avocado and papaya a lot. But she has moved on to fried chicken, porridge, cheese and baby junk food. She's generally not allowed to eat cakes, ice cream and adult junk food but she gets away with tasting bits here and there. And she knows how to remind herself that the food is not allowed by waving her pointer finger while saying, "no, no, no..." Cute!

She loves music too and screen-time. ðŸ˜ģ Judge me now, she's on the screen more than she should be. But everything's not in vain whenever she sings a new nursery rhyme while dancing too! She knows all her ABC's too (actually for a couple of months or so now), along with shapes and colours too!

Her latest trick? She can hold her 2 fingers now, for 2 years old! 😄 More than pride, I feel happiness. To me, it really doesn't matter when she started reaching her milestones. If I could keep her a baby forever, I would but I also can't wait to watch her grow. *Sigh* the ironies of motherhood.

She also likes to join in on conversations now. On family bondings, we would let her interrupt the conversation with her gibberish talks. We don't really understand majority of what she's saying except a few words we can pick up, like "Blippi," "Emma," "Peppa," "Daisy," "Demi," and so many other words she pronounces so adorably.

Our baby is growing up too quickly. Now that she can express herself better, I decided to decorate her party after Emma Wiggle. She loves playing dress-up as Emma so I got her an Emma costume from K-mart. This will make her extremely happy!

Today is a gloomy day so we're doing her party on Saturday. The sun would give the backyard a lovely glow together with all the yellows for an Emma-themed birthday party!

And here is my baby Darla, on our first union. 💓

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