Countdown to Joash's 6th Birthday

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Countdown to Jayna's 5th Birthday

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Countdown to Jaide's Birthday

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Countdown to Joram's Birthday

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Thursday, December 24, 2015

DIY Insect Screen


It is absolutely fabulous to have almost constant breeze from the kitchen windows. It keeps my workspace cool and ventilated. Plus, it makes the laundry dry much better. However, the strong wind blows in tiny insects too, especially the dead ones which offer no resistance to the gusts of air. 

Thus, after some research online, I decided to purchase a DIY insect screen kit from Qoo10. The materials were delivered the next day and I put them together in half an hour. Yippee! Now, I only need to occasionally clear the window sill of the tiny carcasses of the insects instead of having to clean them up from all over the kitchen.

I'm glad that the view is still almost as clear as before. What a worthwhile investment. 

View by day...

... and by night.

Orchard Lights Tour


We started the new tradition of going Orchard to see Christmas lights and we have every intention of keeping that going. This year, I was more prepared. I made sure that all the kids had a nap in the afternoon, something I hadn't done in a long time. Only Jaide who slept the least became cranky towards the end. 

Even though I thought to walk in the opposite direction of last year's tour, the concentration of pretty lights and activities caused me to decide on the exact same route in the end. LOL One funny thing that happened was that a foreigner actually asked to take a picture with us because we were the "Super Family" aka all wearing the same Superman t-shirt! Hahaha...

This year, Orchard Gateway got voted the best dressed building so we had our dinner there. The food at Shin Sapporo Ramen was really affordable and good and the place was pretty deserted so we had a great time there. Then off we went on our annual Christmas lights viewing.

Orchard Gateway

Icicles

Orchard Central


Big swing chair for all of them

313 @ Somerset

Mandarin Gallery

Street lights

Takashimaya

Tangs: Still the one declaring the Truth!

Wheelock Place

These lights remind me of cookies...

Paragon

ION Orchard, my favourite!

There were volunteers raising money for KKH so we bought 2 tiny hat clippies with blinking lights from them and got a free balloon with blinking lights too. 


This year, we met my ex-colleagues from SYFC and I was very encouraged that they used the Christmas murals to share about the true meaning of Christmas. There were also games stalls where children got to listen to different parts of Jesus' birth story. Keep up the great work, brothers and sisters in Christ!

Posing at the mural

Hearing about how Herod killed babies
in order to eliminate baby Jesus. *sob*

This year, the kids asked to watch the street performances. There was an uncle doing magic tricks and juggling acts. Another one was by the Annoying Brothers who were delivering a slapstick comedy routine. Then a Japanese young man demonstrated a short breakdance. The hilarious thing is he got Joshua to be his assistant for the show!!! Watch the video below to see a snippet of it. *grin* The kids got the hang of putting money into the bag/hat after each entertainment as appreciation. 

Now you see it,
now you don't!

Breakdance!

Joshua's moment of fame!

Since I happened to pass by Nippon-ya, I took the opportunity of the kids eating their Yami Yogurt supper to purchase a box of kitty biscuits to hang on my teacup whenever I enjoy my french rose bud tea. *swoon* We ended once again at Paragon's junior playground. It was 11pm by then so we called it a night. 


   

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Designed for Efficiency


When we first got our marital home, we could not do much renovation due to financial constrains. Thus, I had to make do with whatever that was already there. I am so glad that I can have, at long last, my perfect workspace. This is especially necessary with a house twice the size of my previous home. I have to be even more efficient to be able to clean the house, do laundry, cook and take care of 4 kiddos all by myself. 

First, I chose the colour not just to brighten up the place. Since everything will turn yellow with time if constantly exposed to oil fumes, it will not be so obvious if it is already yellow in the first place! LOL I invested in a quartz countertop and glass backing for easy maintenance. Stains will not show up so easily with the sparkling marbled effect of the material. 


I requested for two faucets at the sink because I need one of them to dispense filtered water. And since my children help me out with washing dishes, it is useful to have an additional tap when I work side by side with one of them standing on the stool. 


In order to maximise the space under the sink, I got a long tension rod so that I can hang baskets meant for sponges and wiper sheets above all the things at the bottom. 


I made sure that there is plenty of space between the sink and the cooker so that I can quickly prepare ingredients on the chopping board without worrying about food dropping to the floor. Dishes and knives are within easy reach. I also made sure that there are two power sockets for infrequently used appliances such as a mini air-purifier, air-fryer and multi-tiered steamer which are normally kept in the cabinet underneath. 


I decided to convert to an induction cooker because Jayna asked to be taught to cook next year. It'll be far safer when there isn't any open flames. I realised that it is so much easier to clean and maintain an induction cooker as compared to a gas stove. Another good thing about it is that I don't have to worry about running out of gas in the middle of cooking like I used to. 

I placed the condiments near enough for me to marinate the ingredients and use them while I cook yet far enough to prevent getting splatter from stir-frying. The pots and pans are kept directly below for quick access. 


I'm so glad that with a bigger kitchen, I can have plenty of counter space to put my rice container, raw sugar jar together with my oven and kettle without cramping them. It is such a relief to have a proper cutlery tray, right sized drawers and shelves of the right height for all my stuff. 



Instead of being squeezed into a corner blocked by dining chairs, my trolley for plastic tableware finally has its own place near to the dining area. The kids now do not need to come all the way into the kitchen to get their eating utensils, tissue or wet wipes and throw rubbish into the dustbin. The fridge is right beside it so they can easily get their breakfast cereal and milk in the morning without bothering me too. No more dangerously getting in my way while I work in the kitchen. Yay!

Old method
New method

I totally love my new laundry area. In the past, I kept unused hangers on an exposed hanging bar but they collected dust and rusted very quickly. Now, I fitted two tension rods into one of my big laundry boxes to store them instead. I can take off the lid whenever I need the hangers and put the lid back when I'm done. 


I've always been using my dining table to sort my laundry but it is very difficult when the kids need to eat at the dining table too. Thus, I decided to custom-make a foldable table that can be tucked away when not in use. What a truly great space-saving idea!

All the way up for drying...
All the way down for easy access

I am extremely grateful to my CG mate for suggesting this EZ Living Clothesline System to me. I can permanently do away with a clothes fork, which has been such a hazard to my kids and I whenever they help out with the laundry, since the laundry poles go up and come down with a simple pressing of the button. It even comes with its own illumination, UV lights to kill germs and ventilating fans to aid in the drying of the clothes.

In case you're wondering,
this is an extendable clothes fork
for reaching hangers on
laundry poles at the ceiling


Last but not the least, I brought over from the old place my indispensable 16-inch fan to keep me cool while I cook or give extra wind power to dry the laundry on rainy days. I love it that it's white and blends into the background, sitting unobtrusively atop the fridge. 

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Star Wars @ Changi Airport


After a few of my friends brought their kids to the newest craze in town, I decided to follow suit. 

However, regulations at Changi Airport have changed since the last time we were there a year ago. First of all, the plushies could only be purchased if we have $60 and above in ONE SINGLE RECEIPT. This is something not mentioned on the posters, only on the website. But who would check the website if one is already physically there??? And why would I think otherwise when we got the Minnie Mouse plushy by combining 2 receipts last year?

In order to do that, I actually bought Frozen plushies for the girls and got cupcakes galore for dinner, against my policy of eating sweets only on weekends. My efforts and money went down the drain when I realised that I did not make the criteria. In the end, we still had to clock yet another $80 at the supermarket to finally get the stormtrooper that my eldest boy was so keen on!

We got another shock when we realised that they decided to limit the T3 slide to children above 130cm, which none of our kids are! So all the $10 and above receipts which I collected became void! Yet another major waste of good money... Worse still, one has to be at least 110cm to go for the free slide. Jaide did not qualify!!! To appease her, I had to push her around at high speeds in the stroller for cheap thrills while the older pair overcame their stark disappointment and dashed off to queue for the shorter slide. What a torture to my poor ailing body!

I tried to salvage the receipts we had, so the older two got to go to the bouncy castle TWICE, to their gleeful delight. We then had to keep the younger two entertained at the interactive console which was really nothing to rave about. They lost interest really quickly. Woe to Mummy and Daddy... Sigh!

This will very likely be our last outing to the airport in the near future.

Made matching wristbands for the 'boys'

Matching bracelets for us girls

So indulgent!!!

Happy kids

See how our resident monkey
get to the touch screen...

Look at their beaming faces!

The kids' loot