Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Not for Likes, Nor for Shares

It's been a while since I minimize my sharing actively and loiter less around the social media. For those who are among my Facebook circle, you would have noticed I am much quieter on that platform now. I have even volunteered to step down from Munch Ministry, a little baby I've worked long and hard for in the past few years.

All these decisions and actions was birthed when I started a 40-day Love Singapore concert prayer throughout July till Singapore's National Day. Praying for the nation, for the people and for our families was what I've committed to do on this 40-day prayer journey (something which I've never consistently done, but I did this year). During this 40-day journey I've been jolted out of my comfort zone to take a long, serious and hard look at my life as a christian the past few years.
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Like what my dear friend, Rachel has shared in her recent blog post (click on link to read), I've fallen into the social media trap. I eat, live, breathe, being active on the social media. Trying to get ahead - to look out for increased number of likes/shares of my posts, working long and hard all day so that I can look successful. I try to say the right thing, share the right ideas, have the right "stuff", have the right social status, rub elbows with the right people, all in an effort to pass society's popularity contest and win its approval. This is indeed a result of placing all the priorities at the wrong place with a wrong motive. It's just a means to win love and acceptance from the outside world.

I was reminded by God that I am His child and I am loved by Him. He is well pleased with me. It's not based on my performance. It's based on my relationship with Him through Jesus, so I have to stop striving to establish my identity and prove my worth. Gaining acceptance, more likes and followers was never His plans for me and it shouldn't be a scoreboard others grade me that I should base my worth on.
Henri Nouwen rightly puts it - "life, service, worship, everything flows from God's affirmation of us at the deepest centre of our being. But when we try to establish our identity on something other than relationship with God, the consequences are devastating."
This calls to mind of a song I've sang as a christian for so many years, and the truth in the lyrics only recently dawn on me that when I turn my eyes upon Jesus, everything else in this world (the world's way of seeking self-worth, gaining riches and being influential) just grows strangely dim (ie. not of any great importance anymore).

With a more deliberate decision to stay away from social media and to be in a position walking closer and waiting upon the Lord, my dear friend, Rachel and I have started a prayer ministry. We avail ourselves to pray for anyone who has a prayer need, so please feel free to drop me a PM in Facebook or email. You don't have to be a christian, you just have to share your need for prayer, and we will gladly pray for you.
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We are open to any christian friends who wish to join us as part of our Intercessory Prayer group. Our prayer meetings will be weekly on either Wednesdays or Thursdays from 10am - 12pm, in various locations of Thomson/Bishan/Toa Payoh/Upper Bukit Timah.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Survival Tips for SAHM : 7 Tips on Grocery Shopping

Research has shown that 60%-70% of what ends up in our grocery basket/carts is unplanned. Grocery shopping doesn't have to break the bank if you know what you are doing. So pick and choose from among these tips below, which I hope it'd be of good use to you and your family:

Set a Budget for Your Groceries
Before I usually head out to the market or supermarket, I'd decide how much I am willing to spend. This makes prudent grocery shopping. I'd also be conscious of how I will spend those $$$. Though I'd always be reasonable and know my limits. In addition, I'd use cash or pay by NETS for all my transactions at the grocery stores that way I will be more careful of how I spend.
Shopping List
With that plan in place, I wrote down on a separate piece of grocery list separating the categories into Meat/Fish/PoultryVegetablesSauceMisc items. Makes navigating around the grocery stores much easier and usually would not miss out anything that's necessary for my meal plans.

Before I head out to the supermarket I'd double check what I might have left in the freezer/fridge/pantry to ensure that I don't buy unnecessarily.
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Buy Only the Items on the List
I am one who would usually end up with frivolous items in my grocery basket. You know, things which I want over things which I really need. Hence, spending extra $$$ yet taking up storage space at home. Since the beginning of this year, I made it a point to just buy what I need (stick to buying only the items that I've prepared on my list) and buy in the appropriate quantity/amount (ie. not to over-buy or stock pile).

Cut Back on Meat
Meat is expensive. We don't go vegetarian completely on every meal but I do cut down the amount of meat I put into the dishes I cook. I combine more vegetables/legumes/tofu with meat for some of our stir-fry dishes. In our meal plan, I add fish into our dinners more often as well.

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Try Store Brands
I would pick out store brands for items such as pastas, olive oil, dried spices etc. as these items are usually less expensive at the supermarts and I believe all food manufacturers follow standards to provide safe food and beverage products of reasonably good quality.

Ignore the Snacks or Promotional Items at Check-out Counters
Smart marketing people always place small and frivolous items at check-out counters playing up on the subliminal/incidental appeal to shoppers who are waiting in the line to pay up. So try not to pick up any of those items if you have no plans for it. I've fell into that before and added more than what I've budgeted for my grocery shopping, so don't be fooled!

Go Grocery Shopping When Kids are in School
Whenever I go grocery shopping with my kiddos, we'll somehow end up with some kind of junk food or anything frivolous such as a toy or extra pack of sweet drink. Even if I try to stick to my guns and refuse their relentless requests, it'll almost always end up an unpleasant shopping experience when I had to say 10,000 times of no's to them on every request that they make about buying that something extra. So in most cases, I save more $$$ when I shop alone.

If you are looking for more tips and or ideas on cooking, baking and managing meals at home in an easy and quick way, do check out my "Easy Meals for Busy Moms" continuing series.

This post is part of a blog train hosted by Gingerbreadmum where 31 stay-at-home moms share their survival tips. In the journey of motherhood, we all need support and encouragement from one another to know that though it's not an easy path but it's definitely worth while and we need not walk alone on our own. You may follow the entire SAHM survival tips series by clicking on this link and bookmark it, the list of participating moms and their links can be found at the bottom of the post.

The next mom in this blog series is Justina. She has been a SAHM for over 5 years and has three little boys. She would be sharing her tips on her blog, Mum in the Making, on keeping sane, and managing amidst the mess, mayhem and madness that seems to come packaged with little children!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

June's School Holiday Planning

It's that time of the year again, here's to share how and where I do my research on where to bring the kids to and how to keep them occupied for the month's long of break before I tear my hair out.

We don't have the luxury of going on overseas holidays and so that makes me more vigilant in ensuring that the activities I pick out for the kids would excite and keep them happy.

The usual place I go to for my research are split into FOC (free-of-charge) and Paid Programs (and if it's paid, it's got to be worth it; read: cheap and good!).

The highlight of every June's holiday for my kids would be the 5-day long Vacation Bible School.

 It's run by some churches in Singapore. Here's the list of churches (that I am aware of) that are running this program during the June school holidays. Call up to these churches to find out more of their VBS program and dates.
International Baptist Church
Thomson Baptist Church
Maranatha Baptist Church
Life Bible Presbyterian Church

Following last year's Big Eyes, Big Minds, Singapore International Children's Film Festival, we will be re-visiting it again this year with a whole host of new films to view. The kids really enjoyed it tremendously last year so I've decided to book the tickets for this year's film fest (click on the link to check them out) once again. Just for a taste of being artsy fartsy!

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The Yakult Factory tour has been something on my to-list with the kids for quite a while now. Finally, we managed to book our seats with one of the Community Clubs in our neighbourhood this time. Here's the link to the PA's website, for the various Yakult Factory Tour go to the search menu and key in "Yakult". Be sure to book them fast as they usually get fully booked quite quickly.

It's only $5 per person (we are Passion Card members) the cost covers all transportation to-fro the Factory and the CC. This is what I considered cheap and good! *smile*

Recently heard about this new program that's up at our Singapore Science Centre and decided that we'll pay the Kids Stop a visit.

More details about this newly set up section in the Singapore Science Centre can be found here (click on link).

The Dinosaurs Dawn to Extinction exhibit at the Art Science Museum, has been an exhibit that Little Man has been pestering me to bring him to, so it's naturally being planned into our June's holiday program. Need no further introduction as it's been around for quite a while now.

The annual Children's Season by the National Heritage Board is here again and there have been many new programs lined up in the various museums that we will pay a visit to. Just to name a few, National Museum (Masak Masak - my childhood), Philatelic Museum (Horses for Courses), iExperience (Children's Infocomm Workshop).

Have heard and read so much about the Children's Garden at Gardens By the Bay and this is the next must-go venue for my kids. I'm probably one of the last persons to bring the kids to visit this place as so many have raved about this place for so long now.

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Besides those activities listed above, we will make our way to the National Library on a weekly basis. While I've researched but the June's programs at the National Library website is not up yet at this point in time of this write-up. Here's the link where you may check out later what they might have lined up for the coming June holidays.

That just about covers most of the activities we wish to do for the coming June school holidays. Should we have more time, we just might chill out at the swimming pools of the Safra Club which the kids absolutely love to do! 

For more ideas and info on where to bring your children to and what to do during the coming holidays, you might want to check out the following websites :

Here's a wish of a great school holidays ahead to all of you great moms and dads out there!

Friday, May 09, 2014

Advertorial: Health is Wealth

I have been recently down with a bad flu, a super potent flu bug that was! It knocked me down close to 2 weeks. While I was down, I could literally do nothing much except to sleep, eat and take care of the children's basic needs. That's when I truly value the saying, 'Health is Wealth'!

No matter how careful or how well thought I think my daily meal plan is for the family, there are still essential nutrients that we will lack somewhere somehow. Especially the need of EPA and DHA (click on the link to find out what are they and why are they important). Here's a quote from an article I took from here (click on link)
"Hundreds of studies suggest that omega-3s may provide some benefits to a wide range of diseases: cancer, asthma, depression, cardiovascular disease, ADHD and autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis." 
We don't usually get enough of these omega-3 fatty acids that is important in promoting general good health in our diet. It is also important 'brain food' to young growing children. So a high quality supplement of these fatty acids is crucial.

I recognise that now I am already more than 40 years of age, it's essential that I be cautious of what I consume, as my recent general health report shows that I have a high cholesterol level which the Doctors are warning about my food intake.
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Lately, I was being introduced to Forever Arctic Sea Super Omega-3 Natural Fish & Calamari Oils. I must say I was pretty impressed at what I saw on this demo video on how the Forever Arctic Sea's Omega-3 fish oil could absorb those unhealthy fats that are found in our arteries quite effortlessly. Which was in turn a piece of good news to me, as in, I don't have to be consuming medication to lower my cholesterol level, but turn to supplements instead.
As I researched further about the Forever Arctic Sea, I was even more convinced why I should continue to have this as my daily supplementary diet. Here's why -
I think it's important not to just keep a healthy diet and lifestyle, it's also imperative for us to upkeep the nutrients that may be lacking in our daily diet with supplements. As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure!
Besides Forever Arctic Sea fish oil, my family and I are also consuming these supplements at the same time -

Forever Kids Chewable Multivitamins and Forever Daily (click on the links for more details on each of the supplements).

To purchase Forever products or to enquire more information about any of the products I've mentioned in this write-up, you may contact Mr Gerard 9187 2760  (ID no. 650007304758)

Disclaimer: I have been gifted all the products mentioned in this write up for sampling. No monetary compensation was given for this advertorial. All opinions are 100% my own.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Something I Learned While Raising My Son

I have never imagined being a parent could be quite crazy until I have a son. It was a real test to my sanity and of course to my highly strung nature. Read more of the growing pains I've been through during Little Man's younger years, here and here.

What can I say, parenting boys vs parenting girls is so different, seriously, I need to keep calm and just be a mom!

It's no secret that most boys are active, energetic, loud and are prone to roughhouse. Let's face it, handling boys can be quite a huge handful compared to girls (generally speaking). Here are some of the very interesting things I've discovered about having a son as I brought up my little man the past 8 years!

I read with great amusement a quote and I can certainly relate to it -
Forget that old poem about snips and snails and puppy dog tails, says Sharon O'Donnell, a mom of three boys and the author of House of Testosterone. "Somehow it's been changed to boys being made of 'fights, farts, and video games,' 
Sorry I digress... so back to my discovery...

He does not stop moving!
From the moment he wakes up in the morning till he pass out at bedtime he works on only one word Go Go Go and on only 2 speeds - fast & faster! But I've learned to catch up! (*panting*)

Clothes shopping is easy & cheap
How complicated can boys' attire get? Shirts, T-shirts, pants, bermudas, jeans, shorts... and almost anything goes with everything. So I literally kept it super K.I.S.S. (keep it simple silly)!

Stains and Tears are all over his clothes!
Ripping through the knees on khakis, jeans and even pajamas! Grass stains, mud stains, pasta stains, paint stains and unidentifiable stains... Thank goodness clothes shopping for Little Man was easy & cheap!

Roughhousing is innate!
Boys are naturally physical. Jumping off furniture, climbing up 'walls', the rolling on each other, you name it... Play fighting and roughhousing is hard-wired into many boys. It's how they connect *gulp* and often leaving me nervous. But the experts say it's healthy, that's how they foster positive relationships, boost the body's feel-good chemicals and promote intelligence *raise eyebrows* and somehow after watching how my Little Man plays with his friends or even observing other boys playing together... I just had to agree with the experts!

He's one goofy boy!
Boy humour can be extra goofy and I don't get it sometimes. He tells me that my dinner tastes like poop. He calls anything and everything poopy even sing about poop *arggh* sometimes I laugh but most times I scold and because I did what I did, the poop talk was given more value. I have since decided to not give anymore attention to such talks!

Guns and swords are part of his DNA
As much as I tried to disallow toy weapons, it just make it much more exciting to the boy! He's able to pretend using a weapon out of anything he could lay his hands on. So I've since given up trying. What I've learned was, what we see as violence, the boy sees as a dream of saving the world. Pretend play involving fantasy aggression - whether it's cops and robbers or zombie apocalypse - can be a useful way for boys to understand right and wrong.

Making a trip to the A&E is expected
Boys will be boys! 8 out of 10 boys (base on my own observations) have been rushed to the A&E due to accidents they met when playing, running or during physical activities. It's no difference with Little Man! At age two he sustained a 6-7 stitches long cut on his left eye-lid.

The recent incident which almost led us sending him to the A&E was when he swallowed more than 8 cherry seeds and turning to me with his purple lips due to cyanide poisoning!!!

I try hard to stay calm and collected on the outside even when I was freaking out inside.

Listening skills doesn't come naturallyWhile girls' hearing is more sensitive, boys tend to be more tactile, less verbal and more impulsive. It takes at least 1 minute of repeatedly calling out my son's name to get his attention. This is not a disorder, it's just the way this boy is wired. So instead of yelling my instructions from afar, I am making the effort to get his attention by walking to him to get my instructions delivered by being physically in front of him.

3-2-1 and he forgets
He forgets his homework, water bottle, wallet, consent forms... and on and on! He forgets, I nag, yell, complain, threaten and punish! There's a saying, "A child who forgets has a parent who always remembers!", so it's really not his fault that he's forgetful then.

I am now going to apply these rules - stop remembering for him, I won't say "I told you so!", and will not tell him what will happen... just let the consequences do the talking for me!

When in doubt, hug!He has a harder time verbalizing his problems and most times he will burst out into tears after seemingly trivial events. The hubby has developed a strategy to help our son and that is to offer a solution that is physical and not verbal, in this case, a hug. It's since been a default cure-all, and it's so far worked wonders. A minute later he is all patched up and ready to rumble again.

It's not easy being a parent these days but I've learned to take it to my stride and have decided not to be complacent where parenting is concern. It doesn't mean that once the children outgrow the infant/toddler/preschooler age it's time for me to take a backseat in the upbringing of the children. The children never stop growing and at every stage of their growth there are different needs that I have to prepare myself for.

But I guess, the most important thing for me to do, is to enjoy the process of growing up with my children no matter how challenging or crazy life might be as a parent.

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