COLOUR YOUR SELF

At about the age of 2, Nat started doodling instead of random scribbling. I doodled a lot throughout my youth, especially on the sides of my textbooks and lecture notes, that was how I kept awake during class but somehow when I started working, I stopped.

And then when I saw Nat's doodles, I was so inspired by them, not that I thought he was talented in art or anything along those lines but they brought joy to him and myself. As Henry Miller once said:

"For me, the painting of children belong side by side with the works of the masters... The work of a child never fails to make appeal, to claim us, because it is always honest and sincere, always imbued with the magic, certitude born of the direct, spontaneous, approach."

It was Nat's doodles that sparked off the creativity in me.  So after some time of thinking through about what this inspiration should transpire into, I decided to make some of his doodles into cards/notebooks and will be selling them to inspire others to doodle and colour. They are simple cards for a quiet time of joy and rest. Cards which you can give to a friend. It has been a long time we have 'made' a card for someone, haven't we? And if you've always been wanting to doodle regularly, you can start off with a small notebook. To find out more about the cards/notebook and how to purchase them, you can click COLOUR ME.

This is a one of the cards that I coloured in and doodled a little on. It's a depiction of myself. I call it "The Blue Frankenstein", haha. How about you? How do you see yourself or another person in your life?

PS. This little project of mine is just to spark off some art inspiration in our lives and is not for profit. All proceeds will go to charity :)

PLAYDOUGH FUN

In my childhood, I played with playdough in a very simple way: just sculpting stuff or using my playdough maker to make food. Now, there are so many different ways the kids can play with them! Here are 4 activities that Nat has played with playdough. Ahem, Noe is still not accustomed to it, she dislikes the gooey mushy texture at the moment, perhaps one day she will be ready :)

PLAYDOUGH AND COOKIE CUTTERS

Managing with cookie cutters are probably more suitable for older children like kindergarten. Any younger, you end up doing all the work. I started Nat off with a big round aluminum pie tin for him to make and design a cake. Interestingly, towards the end, he started making little tiny cakes on lids! They look so yummy!

playdough fun

PLAYDOUGH AND STRAWS AND STICKS

Here's an activity that's suitable for toddlers, place sticks into the playdough and then thread the pieces of straws through the sticks. It was probably too easy for Nat, so he got to cut the straws on his own and he could practise his cutting skills. I reused the pie tin from the cookie cutter activity and he requested to mould it into a shape of a star!

playdough fun

PLAYDOUGH AND MATH

I had an expired bag of pop corn kernals and I used them for a sensory bin activity. He loved the kernals so much, I thought we could use them with the playdough for math. First he had to match the number of kernals to the number and stick them into the playdough. Then he had to add up the numbers. I never expected that picking up the tiny kernals and getting them out would train his fine motor skills too.

playdough fun

PLAYDOUGH AND CONSTRUCTION VEHICLES

This was the winning playdough activity! 45 minutes of uninterrupted independent play! It was fun seeing how he explored using the playdough as props, sculptures or 'cement'. But I really was trying very hard to hold back because I was thinking of all the toys I had the wash! All the playdough was like stuck in the grooves! I soaked them into a big pail and we washed them together during bath time. Thank God for water play during bath!

playdough fun


And here are some links to other mommy blogs which have inspired these activities:

COUNTING AND ADDITION ACTIVITY TRAY

PLAYDOUGH CONSTRUCTION SITE

PLAYDOUGH WITH STRAWS AND TOOTHPICKS

IN OUR THIRTIES AND THRIVING

It was just another gathering of friends for a celebration of birthdays but this time we didn't just hit the 30s, we were considered well into our 30s. Nostalgia, reflection... or perhaps more of a positive brooding was inevitable and it resulted in this list during our conversation:

8 things we we commonly do now that we are in our 30s:

1. WE WOULD LIKE TO REST AT HOME DURING PUBLIC HOLIDAYS

Partying or going on an adventure is not to be arranged unless it's of a special significance. Even arranging to meet friends is on a case-by-case basis.

2. WE WOULD LIKE TO HANG OUT IN OUR OWN VICINITY

By that we mean no traveling from Jurong West to Pasir Ris and anything which involves two opposite ends of Singapore. Somewhere preferably within our GRC (town). 

3. WE WOULD LIKE TO MEET AT ULU (NOT CROWDED) PLACES

Crowded places are on our official boycott list. We try to avoid crowds at all times. Best situation is when someone offers to open up their house. We love cosy housewarmings.

4. WE'VE A SELF-IMPOSED CURFEW OF 2130HRS

Because we really cannot stay focus any later than that. Gone are the days we can talk into the wee hours of the morning. If we do, the recovery process takes at least 2 days.

5. WE EXPERIENCE FOOD COMA VERY FREQUENTLY

We don't really eat a lot or rather we try not to eat a lot, and say we are not very hungry but somehow still end up over stuffing ourselves and our brains go to our stomachs.

6. WE LOVE TO 'STONE' AKA STARE INTO SPACE AFTER SOME TIME

From the start, we talk fast, loud, concurrent conversations happening at the same time and then there is that moment where we pause for a while, for some time, hopefully not too long.

7. WE KEEP TALKING ABOUT THE PAST AS IF THE PAST WAS LONG LONG AGO

We talk about stuff in our youth as if it was in our history books. Seriously if this goes on, are we going to be a broken record for the next like 50 years of our life!

8. WE NOW ADD AN 'O' TO OUR KOPI (COFFEE) ORDER

Our coffee orders are switching from "Kopi" to "Kopi-O" and maybe even "Kopi-O Kosong". And let's throw in the double negatives as well, 'Kopi Siew Siew Dai".

Dedicated to all my friends in their thirties: Here's to the thirties and more prosperous years ahead! Yum Seng (Cheers)!

(Photo taken by valerie)

(Photo taken by valerie)

HEADGEAR OF THE DAY: HELMET AND HELMET

There's a silly love between the siblings. From the start, they were not naturally close. They didn't really show affection to each other but more of a certain indifference - minding each others' business. Increasingly and steadily, they have shown moments of closeness, moments of conflict and moments of randomness together. One thing is for sure, they love to dress up in different outfits together.

LIVING A FRUGAL LIFE WITH POSSIBILITIES

Some families with a single breadwinner have prided themselves on being able to make that sacrifice for the family. I held that word 'sacrifice' closely to my heart too, maybe too closely. I constantly told myself, it was a worthwhile sacrifice, for the sake of the children. However over time, that same word 'sacrifice' that uplifted many families, made me feel guilty of my decision to only work part time from home. Guilty of not providing enough for my family, guilty of not having that financial means to expose my children to various programmes, guilty of not giving them the best resources. I kept seeing our situation from a perspective of lack and neediness. I caught myself saying things like, "Oh we can't buy that because it is too expensive," or "Oh we can't go for that because we do not have enough money". And that guilt trip caused me to feel very lousy as a person and as a mother. Jealousy and envy of other women who appear to have it all started to set in.

Then I went for a course on creativity. It taught me skills to think creatively, to harness the already present creativity in me. And there was this particular phrase "Being Frugal and Flexible" that stood out from one of the course readings. It talks about "Jugaad" - which is about doing more with less.

I realised the word 'sacrifice' and me just didn't go together! Personally, I don't want to view our decision for me to stay at home as a sacrifice because we're not giving up a certain lifestyle for something else. We're redefining our lifestyle, we're making a deliberate choice to choose something different. Through practicing frugality, I started to see the possibilities in the resources we've. For example, we've many toys - DIY toys that I made, we made, the family made. I started to cut down on wasteful consumption by using cloth diapers. I see supply rather than lack in our lives when I recycled more. Now I find myself having a more meaningful discussion with Nat when he asks to buy something. We try to process the decision together. We try to think of solutions creatively.

When God told Abraham, "I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore," (Genesis 22:17) I think from then on, whenever Abraham looked up at the stars in the sky, I don't think he could see the actual descendents, I think he saw the hope, the promise, the possibilities in the stars. Now I no longer worry about our finances or fear lack because I know He is my Jehovah Jireh in so many possible ways for our family :)

frugality

(photo taken by Chienway, words by Rebecca, inspired by Psalm 8)