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February

Friday, 27 February 2015

February is a short month and Lunar New Year falls in this month too. The festivities certainly makes the month seems to pass by too fast. 

We try as much as possible to have some outdoor play during the weekends. The boys are having a running competition to see who can runs the fastest. Big J obviously won the race.

A photo posted by Jolin (@thejsarena) on

Then, Small J had some workout on the monkey bar with some help from daddy!

A photo posted by Jolin (@thejsarena) on

Small J favourite word nowadays, shh... When he sees a cat, a baby or a fish, he will goes shh... (meaning to keep quiet because they are sleeping). I love the way he says that and how he puts his finger on his nose. He has the exact same pose for saying 'nose' too.

A photo posted by Jolin (@thejsarena) on

Love the look of magic in his eyes.


As for Chinese New Year, we didn't managed to take much photos. Here's one from Big J wishing everyone a Prosperous Lunar New Year!!


Of course, February is also the month that I officially become a full time mother. It has been almost a week since I started this new job. I must say that it is more tiring than working. Plus, the fact that we have all fallen sick, most of my time is spent looking after the sick boys and lying on the bed as I KO-ed from the medicines. Hoping everyone to get well soon.

We also did a review of My Messy Box and I have a box to giveaway! Do take part and support.

Take care and into March we go!

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My Messy Box - A box of Sensory Fun

Over the years, I have read a lot about the importance of sensory play. You can read about the benefits of sensory play here. Sensory play are often messy too. The more mess, the more senses the child will engage as he or she plays. In the process, the child will learn about his senses, the environment, language and most importantly, it is calming. Unfortunately, we are always put off by the amount of mess and would rather not engage the kids in messy play. I did try my best to engage the kids in some sensory play, at least those that are not so messy and are easier to clean up.

This was one of the most messy play we ever had. This was Big J when he was about 18 months. He was wiping the paint all over himself, including his face. #OMGMoment


To contain the mess, we always lay down the floor with lots of newspaper or plastic sheets. 


Of course, we have our favourite water play. These are easy to setup and clean up. For ease of clean up, we usually do the activities in the kitchen or the bathrooms.


Parents who are also concern about the mess, like us, will be happy to know that there is a new product on the market, 'My Messy Box'. All the 'mess' comes in a box and with activities that encourage hands-on learning.


The clear box you see above is the premium tool kit which contains the following - pail, rake, spade, scoop, netted scoop, magnifying glass, pipette, tweezers, sorting tray, apron, measuring spoons, funnel, sponge and a plastic mat. These are the tools which you can use for any kinds of sensory play.


Inside the carton box, you will find 3 packs of fun activities - the creative pack, the active pack and the explorative pack. There are also instructional cards with guides as to how you can use the packs.


The theme for this box is 'Sea of Dreams' and all the activities are centred around the sea. The Creative Pack contains one or two crafts for the child to create. This is where the kids are encourage to let their imagination run wild and create their little masterpiece.

First up is to create a fish! The materials are provided in the pack. Big J loves pulling and kneading the dough and pasting it onto the template. This provides training for fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Big J loves doing this and proudly posed with his masterpiece.





The second creative craft is to paint a treasure box. The paints, brush, gems and glue are all provided in the pack. So convenient!




Next up is the Active Pack. The active pack contains small little toys which encourage children to role-play. We did a treasure hunt with these by hiding the treasure box somewhere in the house and Big J will need to find it using clues provided by me. We also added these into a water sensory bin and created a 'under-the-sea' theme. Lots of speech and imagination in the process.


When we first received the box, the boys were so excited to get started. So I gave them the tools in the premium tool box and they had a great time pouring and transferring water. The tools are small, just the right size for little hands.


In the Explorative Pack, it contains the base material for sensory play. For this theme, the base material is jelly. We soaked the jelly overnight in the box provided, noting the size of the jelly, and viola, they became so big overnight.


I added the jellies to their usual waterplay and they spent a long time touching and squishing the jellies. We added the toys from the active pack and they had a great time 'swimming' the fish and the diver in the sea. I'm glad Small J can take part in this too.


Here's the deal

My Messy Box comes with 3 subscription plans.

- Monthly subscription: $34
- 6 months subscription: $192 + Free Basic Toolkit (pail, sorting tray, rake, spade, scoop, netted scoop and apron)
- 12 months subscription: $360 + Free Premium Toolkit (pail, sorting tray, rake, spade, scoop, netted scoop, apron, magnifying glass, pipette, tweezers, measuring spoons, funnel, sponge and a plastic mat)


Do check out their Website and Facebook page for more information.

Discount

The kind folks at My Messy Box is giving all readers a 5% discount for all subscriptions. Simply enter the code Js5 during check out to enjoy the discount.

Giveaway

To make the deal even sweeter, My Messy Box is generously giving away One My Messy Box (Theme: The Whimsical Garden) to one lucky winner. 

Compulsory steps:
1. Like The Js Arena Facebook Page.
2. Like My Messy Box Facebook Page.
3. Like and Share this Facebook post on Facebook. Please set your post to public so that I can see it. If not, it will not be counted.
4. Leave a comment on this Facebook post stating why you would like to win this box and tag 2 friends.

Note: The above steps 1 to 4 are compulsory. Please ensure that you have completed all the steps if you want to win.

Bonus chance:
5. Follow me on Instagram @TheJsArena
6. Repost my giveaway photo on Instagram. Remember to tag me @thejsarena and hashtag #thejsarenagiveaway

Terms and Conditions:
1. Open to Singapore residents only.
2. All entries have to be completed. Incomplete or inaccurate entries will be disqualified.
3. Giveaway is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.
4. Ends on Sunday, 8 March 2015 2359 hrs (Singapore Time).
5. Winners will be announced by Friday, 13 Mar 2015 on this blog post, facebook page and email.

Giveaway has ended and the winner is
Ashley Tan
Congrats!!


Disclaimer: We received a box of My Messy Box and a Premium Toolkit for the purpose of this review. No monetary compensation was involved. All opinions are 100% mine. 


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Sick

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Yes, the boys are sick. Again. Me too.

Why are they sick again? Why?

Sometimes I really doubt my level of mothering. Is there something that I am not doing right? Is our hygiene standards too low? Is it my genes that give them low immunity? Just what is wrong?

Perhaps, we should start doing these to keep ourselves virus and bacterial free.

1) Nobody comes near my children.


2) Everyone to disinfect their hands before touching my children.


3) Best if they can wear a clean suit.


4) Confine them in the house. No playground, no shopping, no anywhere.


5) Reject anyone who wants to offer them a biscuit, cookie, sweet, cold drinks, etc.


These are just for laugh. I will still welcome anyone to play with the boys. But if you are sick, better be a bit automatic. I will still welcome goodies for them, but in moderation ok?

Rant finish.

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I Got My Dream Job - SAHM

Monday, 23 February 2015

Four days of holidays are over. While many people get back to their usual job, I got myself a new job. I have survived my first day as a full-time mother! It wasn't too bad because I only need to take care of one of the boys. Big J is continuing his childcare until the end of this month, so this week is still like a vacation week for me.

Small J is sick and he pretty much slept and laze through the day, but he needs me to stay beside him. When I went off, he came and drag me to the room to laze around with him. Today, I managed to serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, fetch Big J from the childcare, give them and myself a bath and even catch a small nap with Small J. Not a bad start on my new job.

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I remember when I was a secondary school girl, my teacher asked the class what our ambition was. I answered 'To be a Tai Tai'. Raise your hand if you have the same dream as me.

So now, I officially have my dream come true! I quitted my job and now declare myself a Stay At Home Mom (SAHM)!

But, a SAHM is not the same as a Tai Tai! Yes, I know. A SAHM has much more things to handle and have to worry about money. Definitely not a glam Tai Tai. However, apart from the material aspects, being a SAHM is so much more fulfilling and enjoyable than being a Tai Tai. I know when I am with my kids, I can laugh my heart out, I can roll around with them or do funny stances together. Being able to stay by the side of the kids when they achieve their milestones will be my greatest satisfaction.  

I got a lot of questions from people around me when they know that I'm quitting my job.

1) Why you quit?
Because of reasons that I can't say here.
Because I want to spend more time with my family.
Because I don't want to miss more milestones that the kids are achieving. I have already missed a whole lot of them! The kids only have one childhood while I can find another job in the future.

2) Your degree wasted already.
Nope. My current job doesn't make full use of my degree knowledge anyway. With my knowledge I believe I can guide and teach my children better. Teaching them and being there for them as they grow, is much more value-added than sitting in the office.

3) No money how?
船到桥头, 自然直. Money can be earned. But the growing up years of the kids will not come back again once you passed this stage. Budget will be tight for sure but we can cut down on unnecessary spendings and be more frugal.

4) Wah.. good life leh, become Tai Tai liao.
Erm... not really. Which Tai Tai needs to chase after kids, do housework, spend cautiously, dressed in tees and shorts, be a teacher, cook, doctor, etc? SAHM don't stay at home and shake legs ok. Furthermore, the amount of work at home is never ending. You have to work 24/7 and can't take MC or leave as and when you like.

With two active boys, my days might get more frustrating or I might get angry or impatient. But I am sure the excitement, laughters and fulfilment will wash away all the unhappiness.

Waves to the all the SAHM out there.

PS: This group of amazing SAHMs wrote about their worth as a SAHM. It's very inspiring read. Click on the button and read their stories.

PSS: You can help me on my journey of being a SAHM. If you see those tiny ads on my blog (on the side or below this post), clicking on them will earn me a teeny weeny bit of money. Every cent counts now. Or you could support me by sharing my posts and liking and sharing my FB Page. Thanks a lot!!

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My Cooking Journey #12: Black Bean Soup, Pan-fry Cod Fish, Black Pepper Chicken Wings

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

This week's meal was very simple and easy to prepare. I cheated a bit. The Black Pepper Chicken Wings which I bought from NTUC was already marinated. What I need to do is to cook it!

I also made a pot of nutritious Black Bean Soup for both Js. Black beans is good for the digestive tract, rich in protein, fibre and anti-oxidants. This soup is also one of my favourite soup during confinement. It is said to be helpful for increasing breastmilk supply especially if you boil it with pig trotters. Yumm... I'm already hungry thinking about all the confinement food. 

Lastly, a simple pan-fry fish for the family. Before serving, I drizzle a few drops of Lemon essential oil and this gives the fish dish a refreshing taste!



Black Bean Soup

1 rice bowl of Black Beans
1 packet of Pork Bones (from NTUC)
5 Red Dates

1. Soak the black beans overnight.
2. Blanch the pork bones. Wash and set aside.
3. Wash the red dates and cut into half. I'm using dates which has already been de-seeded.
4. Put everything in a pot and add in water. 
5. Bring to a boil. Lower fire and let it simmer for 3-4 hours. 

Since I am using pork bones, the slow simmer will draw out all the nutrients and collagen from the bones. When you are drinking it, you will feel a sticky after-feel on your lips. These are the goodness of collagen. You may replace the pork bones with pork ribs, pig trotters, chicken bones or chicken feet. For a stronger taste, you can add in a slice of dried cuttlefish too.



Pan-fry Cod Fish with Lemon

Cod Fish
Olive Oil
Butter
Lemon juice

1. Wash and pat dry cod fish.
2. Heat olive oil in pan. Once heated, add in butter. 
3. Place fish in pan and pan-fry. Flip over and fry the other side.
4. Dish and sprinkle some lemon juice over the fish.

Butter will give the fish a aromatic taste. You can omit this if you wish. I use 3 drops of Lemon essential oil mixed in a tiny little bit of olive oil and drizzle this over the fish. (Note: I am using Young Living Essential Oil and I would not recommend replacing this with other brands of essential oils.)



Black Pepper Chicken Wings

This is one of my favourite black pepper chicken wings. I bought this from NTUC at the halal section. The wings are already marinated and I simply pan-fry these. Easy Peasy!


For more recipes, check out 'My Cooking Journey'


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All About Me

Monday, 16 February 2015

Every term, Big J's childcare will have a parent-child project, where the parent and child will have to work on a craft together. The theme for this term is 'All About Me'. We are supposed to do something that goes along the theme.

We did a book which chronicles the growing up years of Big J.


I selected a few pictures of him, printed and cut them out. I also made pages which shows some of the important milestones of his growing up years, for example, his birthdays, things that he can do or his favourite activities.

I showed Big J the photos and we talked about them. I was feeling all sentimental as we talked about the past. My baby is growing too fast! Then, I show him the pages of the book and I read out the sentences. He choose the photo and stick it onto the page.


After he had finished sticking all the photos, we decorated the cover page. Since he couldn't write, I took his hand and we wrote down the title of the book. He pasted some stickers and scribble a bit on the cover.


After this, I stapled the pages together to form a book.


There, a simple book about Big J which he loves reading nowadays. Try this out with your child too!

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My Cooking Journey #11: Fried Udon

Monday, 9 February 2015

Was busy busy with CNY cleaning that I did not have the time to cook. Instead of whipping up a 三菜一汤, I cooked a simple fried udon for the family. Just nice that Big J loves all kinds of noodles. This dish is also very versatile and you can add in any ingredients you like. If you like it to be spicy, you can also add in some chilli padi or sambal chilli.


Fried Udon

2 packets Udon
Minced Meat
Shrimps
Meatballs
Carrot
Crabsticks
Mushrooms

Sauce:
1 tsp Sugar
1 tsp Sesame Oil
1 tsp Soy Sauce
1 tsp Oyster Sauce
1 tsp Mirin
2 tbsp water


1. Boil the Udon in a pot of boiling water for about 2 minutes.
2. Strain the Udon and soak in cold water and leave aside.
3. Heat up oil in pan and fry garlic till fragrant.
4. Add in minced meat and cook till half-cooked.
5. Add in mushrooms and cook till mushrooms soften.
6. Add in the carrots, crabsticks, meatballs and shrimps and stir fry a while.
7. Add in the strained Udon and the sauce and fry for another 3 minutes. Serve!

Bon appetit!

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5 Things I Will Do Differently in 2015

Friday, 6 February 2015

2015 is a significant year for me. I will become a SAHM in a few weeks time and I have plans to make my family's and my life more meaningful. Here are 5 things I will try to do differently this year in the hope of improving my life.


1. More home-cooked meals

I want our family to eat more healthily, hence there will be more home-cooked meals for us. I am not a very good cook but I will try my best to cook something edible for the family. Follow me on My Cooking Journey.


2. Do up a cleaning schedule and do some cleaning and organising everyday

Or at least every alternate days. I have watched videos on organising and learnt how important it is to do a little cleaning each day instead of doing everything once a week or a month. I am planning to work out a cleaning schedule and set aside 30 minutes to an hour everyday to clean up the house. It could be wiping the surfaces of tables and cabinets, putting away things or vacuum the floor.

3. More play-learning activities

The main reason of me deciding to be a SAHM is to be there to teach both Js. I am hoping to do more play-learning activities with them. There will also be more outdoor activities. Check out these 100 Reasons to Spend 1000 Hours Outside.

4. Disconnect to reconnect

I have to confess that I spend quite a number of hours on my phone, checking emails and social media. I am very guilty of this. This year I have decided to stop using my phone when I am with the boys. I want to be with them and not to be on social media. I also have a bad habit of looking at the phone when I am walking. I want to kick this habit too. No more looking at the phone while walking.


5. More heart to heart conversations with hubby

Ever since we had kids, we seldom sit down and have a proper conversation. Most often, we will be doing our own stuffs after both Js are asleep. I really hope we can set aside 15 minutes to talk and to reconnect with each other again. So Dear, if you are reading this, let's do this together ok?


There, these are my 5 things I wish to do differently this year. I hope this inspires you to make some changes to your life too. If there is something which you have always wanted to do, take some time and think about how you can take small steps towards achieving it.


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This is part of the '15 or 5 things I will do differently in 2015' blog train. If you need more inspirations, click on the button above to find out what other 34 Moms want to do differently in 2015. Next driver on the train is Christy from Kids 'R' Simple.


Christy is a FTWM who has 3 lovely children. Recently, she has a career transition at the peak of her busiest motherhood years and she has hardly time to breathe. However, she is determined to focus on the finer details in life through 5 things that she thinks are paramount to living happily and living in the moment. If right now, you are living a busy life like her, her 5 things on her list may resonate well with you. Stay tune to Kids 'R' Simple and read on!

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My Cooking Journey #10: Stir-fry Broccoli, Ginger Chicken Wings

Monday, 2 February 2015


Broccoli with Minced Meat and Mushroom

Broccoli
100g Minced Meat
1 Punnet Brown Bunashimeji Mushroom
1 Carrot, sliced
Garlic

Marinate for meat:
1/2 tsp Cornflour
1 tsp Sesame Oil
1 tsp Oyster Sauce

1. Marinate the minced meat with the marinate and set aside.
2. Cut the broccoli and boil it in a pot of water. Boil for about 2 minute. Don't boil too long because we need to stir fry these again later.
3. Heat up pan with cooking oil.
4. Stir fry garlic till fragrant.
5. Add in minced meat and stir till 3/4 cook.
6. Add in mushroom and carrot and fry.
7. Add in a little bit of water (about 1 tablespoon) and stir in the broccoli.
8. Give it a quick stir and it is ready for serving.



Ginger Chicken Wings

8 Mid-wings

Ginger (about 8 cm, can use more if you like ginger)
1.5 Tbsp Sesame Oil
1 Tsp Oyster Sauce

1. Grate the ginger onto the wings.
2. Add in sesame oil and oyster sauce and marinate overnight.
3. Arrange on steaming plate and steam for about 30 mins.


I didn't cook any soup because my mum cooked extra the day before and we brought the soup over.

This meal cost about:
Broccoli - $0.81
Minced Meat - $1.20
Mushroom - $1.25
Chicken wings - $3.10
Total - $6.36

Small J had the broccoli dish while Big J shares everything.

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