Countdown to Joash's 6th Birthday

Lilypie - Personal pictureLilypie Kids Birthday tickers

Countdown to Jayna's 5th Birthday

Lilypie - Personal pictureLilypie Kids Birthday tickers

Countdown to Jaide's Birthday

Lilypie - Personal pictureLilypie Kids Birthday tickers

Countdown to Joram's Birthday

Lilypie - Personal pictureLilypie Kids Birthday tickers

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Pictorial Manuals

Joash may not be deemed by the Singapore education system as a high achiever but he sure is very smart in his own ways. I was telling him yesterday that everyone is good at something and it is our responsibility to help teach those who are not good at it. He then said that one of his classmate does not know how to draw properly and proceeded to create pictorial manuals to teach someone how to do so in three simple steps. Needless to say, I was greatly impressed by his initiative and quick thinking. So proud of him!

How to draw a boat

How to draw a car

How to draw a train

Monday, March 25, 2013

More Home Improvements

In preparation for our 4th child, some changes have to be made to accomodate the new addition. The first of which would be the dining area. Our table has the max capacity of 6 and with 4 kids and 2 adults in the future, we'll need every space on the table and every side available. Thus, we have to find somewhere else to put the children's dish rack and shift the table so that everyone has a place to sit at. We bought a kitchen trolley to put at a corner so that the dish rack, tissue and kitchen towel are within easy reach. Joash and Jayna are seated beside the trolley so they have an added responsibility of setting the table and getting those things for the family during mealtimes.

I originally wanted to get another toddler's chair from IKEA for Jayna since she has long outgrown the highchair. However, for some reason, they decided to stop producing it. The other alternatives are simply way too expensive. I tried looking for one elsewhere but they just didn't fit the criteria. 

Inspiration struck me when I realise that Joash is only short of 2 inches to be ready for the normal stools and Jayna can take over her brother's old chair. I started looking for paddings for his stool but they were all not very stable. I prayed for an idea and one fine day, I realised I could stack another stool and use scotch tape to bind the legs tightly together. I have all along been using rubber feet to stabilise the stools so the whole contraption was really effective in resolving the issue. The amazing thing is I didn't even need to spend any money and the final product still blends into the dining set. Are you able to tell which stool has been modified from the above picture?

To make space for the mattress to be pulled from under the bed at night to sleep on, I had to move the children's table into the living room. Since Joram would be using the playpen for the first year of his life, the study area is too cramped for my liking. I'll just have to be patient. When Joram starts sleeping in the bedroom with the rest of the kids, I can finally give away the trusty playpen and revamp this area into a decent place for serious education. This is especially so when Joash goes primary school next year and he'll need a proper place for homework and revision.

With more kids, we need more space for bath towels. We bought another towel rack so that we can effectively dry them for the whole family's use. The empty bar at the back is happily waiting to greet Joram's towel when he decides to grace us with his presence. LOL

Our old laundry baskets had been with us for more than 6 years and recently I'd noticed that they were getting very moldy despite the fabric being water and odor resistant. It was high time we disposed of them and got new ones. I was looking for plastic laundry baskets with lids but they were either too expensive or made into odd shapes. I eventually found these IKEA boxes and they fit my needs perfectly. These are supposed to be for waste sorting but they are easy to clean, easy to use even for the kids and can keep the odor in before the clothes are due for washing. Best of all, they are really affordable. (Can you tell by now that I'm an IKEA fan? LOL)

Okay. This is not directly related to Joram but it has been bugging me for a long long time. In order to save money, I've always bought cheap floor mats. However, because they are of inferior quality, they are not exactly anti-slip nor absorbant or they tend to shed fibre despite multiple washing. With three kids walking in and out of the bathroom now, I keep having to remind them to be careful when using the floor mats in case they slip or scold them for playing with the flaking fibre or even the mat itself! Finally, I had enough of all these nonsense and used the cash vouchers my SIL gave me and invested in really good floor mats. Voila! All my problems are solved instantly! I kinda feel stupid for bearing with the inconveniences just to save that bit of money. Ah well... no point crying over spilled milk.

And yes, at long last, we bade farewell to the old moldy blue swivel chair the kids loved so much and got a plastic one to replace it. Unfortunately, it doesn't spin very well so they have one less thing to entertain themselves with. But they'll live. In fact, they stopped complaining about it within a week. *grin*

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Eating Veggies

I know parents who are very strict with their children about eating everything on their plate including what they don't like. I think that it's a wonderful habit to cultivate. However, Joshua and I both love to chat during mealtimes and we want family dinners to be an enjoyable time to eat and interact among family members without distractions and we're therefore unwilling to force the issue. To aid good dining etiquette, we have no TV or toys near the dining table, not that our TV is used at all normally anyways, and we focus on table manners such as leaving the table only when one is totally done with food and drink (there's no coming back after leaving), keeping mess to the minimum and talking only when one finishes chewing.

As for eating food that one dislikes, we parents set the example by trying everything set at the table. We talk about nutrition when we eat and encourage through education and coaxing. I will purposely cook with ingredients which they like and make sure that everything adds up to a balanced diet in the course of the week. Instead of giving biscuits or other sweet snacks during tea break, I am very extravagent in letting the kids try all sorts of fruits, even the expensive ones. Thus, even if they don't eat much vegetables during dinner, I won't need to fret over it. 

Jayna is great at eating her veggies. She is willing to eat even brinjals, bitter gourds, peas and long beans! Jaide is fine with most veg as long as they are soft and cut up enough for her to chew easily. Joash is the direct opposite. He hates vegetables and it takes a lot of persuasion for him to even try a bite. We can tell he has already decided that he hates it even before the food gets into his mouth! He used to like broccoli in cheese, corn and carrots. But in the recent year, he has lost that taste. Once in a while, he takes a few pieces of leafy veg, provided the sauce is flavourful enough. Thus, it's time to use other methods of encouragement. 

Recently, the kids watched a Hello Kitty cartoon at the grandparents' place which talked about eating food they don't like. Inspired, I made 'medals' and will let them wear it for an hour if they manage to eat the food they dislike. The last attempt was the green peppers but only Jayna was willing to finish it up. This time, I bought really cute looking tomatoes and made the tomatoe 'medals', hoping that Joash would at least try them. We shall see how it goes... :P

Jayna's green pepper medal

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Myth Busting Part 2

Myth 1
People say that if a child looks like a certain gender, the next one will most likely be that gender. Aunties around my place are just so sure of that. They commented that my next one is a boy because Jaide looks like one. Fair enough. But how do they explain why Jayna turns out to be a beautiful girl when Joash looked every bit a boy and hardly anyone mistook him for a girl when he was a baby?

Myth 2
Many believe that letting the babies wear hand-me-downs will make sure that they become easier to raise and they'll be more obedient. They are confident that my children's good behaviour comes from the fact that I gave them old clothes to wear. Right. Don't they know by now that Jayna's temperament negates their theory? She wore hand-me-downs too but she's anything but easy to take care of. 

I do pray that these people will one day see the folly of their superstitions and trust in the Truth. For the truth shall set them free.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Preparing for Joram

I've always thought that newborn clothes are super adorable but to see them all hung up there in the laundry area gave me that warm fuzzy feeling all over again. Thanks to a churchmate, I have no lack of clothes for my fourth one. We are indeed blessed!

The clothes

Blankets and baby beddings

Cute teeny weeny socks & mittens

I've also gotten Joshua to wash the pram to be kept in storage till it's time to let Joram use it. Also, the pram garage was too dirty and worn out to be used for a newborn pram so I made another one. This is my third garage and shall most likely be the last since as per our habit, once the kid learns how to walk steadily without falling down, we would stop using the pram/stroller. For now, Jaide is still stumbling pretty often while walking so we started using the hand-me-down light-weight stroller from my CG mate instead of the cumbersome pram. Since I will most probably put Joram in the sling till he's too heavy to carry for long when I go out, Jaide still has quite a few months to master the art of walking till we make her relinquish the stroller.

One thing that irritates me is that those people who distribute junk mail have this annoying habit of putting their flyers and brochures on top of my garage. The material used to make it is not meant for any sort of weight and thus the junk mail will damage its roof. I sure hope that my sign will deter such inconsiderate acts at least for this last one.

New garage!

Is this idiot-proof enough?

Next up, we'll be scrubbing the bathtub clean and putting it in storage too when we transit Jaide to being bathed while standing like the older siblings. I suppose we can afford to wait another month before we do that. Then, with the hospital bag packed, confinement food ordered and confinement shampoo plus body wash bought, we will be all ready for the arrival of our prince Joram. I'm so looking forward to finally seeing him for the first time!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Guessing the Gender

It always amuses and frustrates me, depending on my mood, how some people are so incredibly sure they can tell the gender of my baby simply by looking at the shape of my stomach. They are never convinced when I tell them that my pregnancies ALL look the same, be it boy or girl. So, those of you who claim to have that special power, do try to guess which ones are boys and which ones are girls? I'll believe you if you can really tell them apart accurately.

Picture 1a
Picture 1b

Picture 2a
Picture 2b

Picture 3a
Picture 3b