Happy Chinese New Year to our readers :)

Today is the day where all the little kids dress up in their traditional clothes to celebrate chinese new year in school. Kate doesn’t like anyone messing with her hair so I had to bribe her with some new toys (recycled from the older kids) while she sat there getting her hair tied. Then I got her to pose for some photos. (I’m normally not like that… this is what blogging has done to me. Now I feel sorry for the 5 older kids.)

Put your hands together like this.

Yes! Nice!
Blur look
Now take these 2 oranges and hold them properly.

Look at me! Smile!

(she’s still trying to figure out how to smile nicely)
“Gong xi, gong xi”

Her smile looks so forced that I decided to give her a little tickle.

Much better.

“Ok, mummy, are we done?? Do you want me to do a chicken dance for you as well?”

Here’s wishing one and all bountiful goodness and love this lunar new year!


GONG XI FA CAI!

My priorities for 2015

This coming year is going to be really interesting for us. The 6 kids will be going to 5 different schools and 3 of them are entering new schools and new phases. #1 is awaiting her ‘O’ level results and will be going to JC/Poly (gasp! Already??), #3 is moving on to Secondary 1 and little Kate is starting pre-school!

Despite the madness of the year-end season and trying to get everything ready for the new school year, I managed to find time to have a peaceful lunch by myself to sit and plan what I want to focus on in the coming year. Life has a way of pulling us every which way if we don’t have our priorities clearly set out. So here’s 5 things I’m going to concentrate on in 2015.

My private planning retreat

1. To love and serve

I attended a retreat recently, and took home a very precious guiding mantra: To measure our lives in love. The more I live this way, the more life makes sense to me. I will make a conscious effort not to measure my days by what I have accomplished but by how much I have loved. Not only towards my family and friends, but to every single person I meet.

2. Do it now

I’m one of those people who don’t spring into action immediately. When we get vouchers or anything, I would put it aside to do it ONE DAY. And that day seldom comes. When the kids ask me to take them to do this or that, I’ll be excited and say, yes, lets! One day. I owe them tons of places and experiences which I said I would take them some day. I have decided that instead of putting things off, we will make it a point to do it as soon as we can.

3. Make good lunches

There’s something about food which equates with love. Especially when the kids come home from school ravenous and are greeted with a nice meal which mummy lovingly made for them, it puts them in a very jolly mood and conversation flows. Unfortunately, with my very dismal cooking skills, there were many occasions when they rushed into the house with a cheery “Hi mum! What’s for lunch?” And they took a look at the unappetising plate of food which tastes even worse than it looks, their mood literally deflated right in front of my eyes. Like a balloon. This year, I will make an effort to improve my cooking skills especially since Kate is starting pre-school which leaves me with more time on my hands.

4. Do good

Flowing from the premise of trying to show love to everyone we come into contact with, a practical way for children to put this into action is through doing good to others. I have decided that every evening at dinner, I will ask each one of them to share 1 good thing they did that day. I don’t expect them to be able to do that everyday, but we will give it a try and by listening to one another’s examples, it would open their hearts to simple ways they can show kindness to people around them and hopefully one day, it will become second nature to them.


5. Add humour to parenting

#3 heard me coming into the room and she ran into the bathroom and hid with Kate in the bathtub. I chided her with a stern tone, “Please go out now, I need to put Kate to bed”. Yes I know. I’m always the kill-joy. I could have lightened the whole situation by quipping that it was a fantastic hiding spot before asking her to leave the room and it would have changed the mood of things.

We met an Australian lady on one of our resort holidays and the kids had a fantastic time playing with her and her 2 year-old son. There was a sense of joy in the air and I realised that she made jokes all the time and everyone felt happy and the mood was light and jolly. We don’t have to make parenting any harder than it already is, so I’m going to try and remember to add humour instead of walking around with a grim face half the time.

I am looking forwards to 2015, simply because I have found a new perception of looking at life. Instead of dreading the challenges that will come, I will embrace whatever the journey holds, and experience everything in it’s full presence. Every emotion, every situation. And not be afraid to laugh, to cry, to hug, and to share heart to heart. For with 6 kids from 2 to 16, the days will bring with it many surprises, difficulties and heartbreaks. I cannot stop many of them. And I do not wish to anymore.

Here’s to a new and exciting 2015! 

Ask me at the end of the year if I have survived it ūüėČ


Linking up with:

www.ajugglingmom.com


~ www.mummyweeblog.com – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~ 


The Gift of Christmas

The past few weeks, we made a conscious effort to avoid the crowded malls and frenzy of the season, and instead prepared ourselves for Christmas in simple ways.

#3 and #4 have been hard at work with me making these handmade Christmas tags to raise funds for Radion International. We sincerely thank you for supporting us yet again. We also took the lovely children from Mindsville home for a fun outing at Changi airport and everyone enjoyed the extravagant Christmas light ups and decorations.

Batch 1: Sold

#1 made a trip to Shanghai to visit her aunt and spent a week volunteering at WILL home, helping to take care of the 10 children. Such an inspiring story where Pillar Tan, a lady with a big heart, adopted these children from an orphanage and are raising them as her own. More details in another post, for anyone interested in volunteering there or contributing in other ways.

Batch 2: Sold

I asked the kids what does Christmas mean to them, and they chorused unanimously, “Presents!” I shook my head and started my spiel on the significance of Christmas (yet again), and then repeated my question. There was a pause, then they hollered, “Christmas parties!”

Batch 3: Sold

The influence of the commercial world is all too great. Although I don’t like to get caught up in it and the stress that accompanies it, I like that the season brings with it routines and traditions like letting them spend a day at their por por’s place to decorate the Christmas tree and eat pizzas out of the boxes on their laps. We have been going for the same organised Christmas parties for more than a decade and all these form good memories and shared experiences for the siblings. Every year as they grow older, I ask them if the parties are getting too childish for them, but they say it’s still fun. I’m secretly glad that they have not grown up too fast.

However, we cannot lose sight of the real meaning of Christmas and all I can do is to continue giving them opportunities to show love and care to those less fortunate than themselves and hopefully as they grow up, the presents and parties will pale in comparison to the real gift of Christmas.

Batch 4: Sold

Here’s wishing you a beautifully blessed Christmas with your families and loved ones. May we, who have more, be like a star, shining brightly for others who are in need. 

MERRY CHRISTMAS !

from Kate & all of us here

~ www.mummyweeblog.com – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

Life Lesson #15: The day they fly

Yesterday was the first time #1 flew by herself. She left for Shanghai to spend 3 weeks with her aunt who lives there. We felt it was a good time as she had just completed her ‘O’s.

#2 sending her to the gate

Not only was she physically going away, but I knew that this marks the beginning of her flying away from our nest. When she returns from her trip, she will be entering a JC or Poly and that is a huge jump from being within arms length while in secondary school. 

Seeing her walk through the departure gates, the thoughts that filled my mind were not so much about missing her or worrying about her. Instead, it became apparent that what we did over the past 16 years of our lives were to shape her for today and the years ahead.

To shape her for the days when we are not there to guide her. To shape her as she enters the tumultuous teenage years, where possible bad influences from peers will test the foundations which we had laid for her.

It’s not easy to know if we have done our job well as parents. There’s also no turning back time, especially for the eldest when a lot of the time we didn’t know better, and parented her as best as we could. All we can do is to continue to love her regardless, as she walks her own journey. And to never cease in our prayers for her.

Other life lessons (which I’ve learnt the hard way):

Life Lesson #2: Don’t over-sacrifice
Life Lesson #4: My bucket list
Life Lesson #6: Passion vs Family

 

~ www.mummyweeblog.com – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

Koji Jap restaurant – I have fallen in love with Omakase

We took the kids out for dinner to celebrate #3’s results and decided to try the new Japanese restaurant Koji Sushi Bar at Pickering street. Besides the usual menu, they have Omakase which literally translates as ‘chef decides’. There is no menu, and the chef is free to whip up a Japanese style 11-course meal with whatever fresh ingredients he has on hand. When you make a booking, they will enquire if there are any foods which you do not eat. This is our first time trying Omakase, which seems to be all the rage now, and we went for the $100 nett dinner. Most times I find it hard to decide what to eat, so I was happy to go with the flow and be surprised by the dishes.

We started off with a cold dish of century egg tofu with tobiko (flying fish eggs). Very yummy.

Century egg cold tofu with tobiko

Next came a simple platter comprising of hamachi with truffle, snow crab and fish cartilage. Fish cartilage!

We all love chawanmushi (steamed egg custard), and this version with truffle oil was delicious.

Chawanmushi with truffle oil
Fresh assorted sashimi

After all those interesting light dishes, they proceeded to serve single portions of sushi one after another. As expected of any respectable Japanese establishment, very fresh Uni (sea urchin) sushi was included in the line-up.

Uni sushi

The kids enjoyed ‘painting’ their sushi with soya sauce. The older ones tried mini bites of the more exotic sashimi like the uni and scallop but didn’t like them, so the hubs and I had extra portions!

Fresh scallop

Just as I felt I couldn’t eat another piece of sushi, along came a nice hotpot with slices of raw wagyu beef. 

Thin wagyu slices

It was truly a lovely dining experience. Great for people like me who can’t decide what to eat, are open to trying new food and love surprises!

Koji Japanese restaurant

Koji is a cosy little establishment, so do make reservations. Prior booking of at least 2 days notice is required for their Omakase menu. Let them know your budget (starts from $80 nett). We were informed that the central air-con switches off at 10pm so don’t expect to hang around till late.

There were some bronze statues of coolies some steps away from Koji and we ended the night having a great time taking funny pictures and laughing about how much (or little) we knew about the history of Singapore.


Koji sushi bar

3 Pickering Street
#01-42 Nankin Row
Singapore 048660

Tel: 62256125

Opening hours:
Mon-Sat: 

Lunch: 11.30am – 3pm
Dinner: 5pm – 10pm

Sun & PH closed

~ www.mummyweeblog.com – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

Life Lesson #13: Confronting death teaches you about life

I’ve been volunteering at a hospice as I’ve always been drawn to palliative care from the time I was a student. This morning, I¬†was pushing an elderly lady around the gardens and she asked me to stop to gaze at the colourful flowers. They brought a smile to her face. Then she spotted 2 little sparrows and she was¬†delighted.

 
It struck me how alike she is to my kids when they were young. How they would stop to inspect the flowers and burst into childlike wonderment at the beauty of a flower.
 
It got me thinking. At the beginning of our lives, it’s the simplest things like having the love of mummy and daddy which is most important.
 
At the end of our lives it is again the warmth of family that we need most. 
 
How do we end up chasing after all the wrong things throughout our lives? How do we allow our priorities to shift so dramatically?

As I left the hospice, I asked myself, if I was on my deathbed what would I regret? Most likely, I would regret being overly harsh on my¬†kids and yelling at them so much, instead of disciplining them with¬†gentleness and love. Most likely, I would regret the many times I brushed them aside while I tend to all my seemingly more ‘important’ work. Most likely, I would regret choosing to be angry at them instead of immediately forgiving them and hugging them tightly in my arms.


And I asked myself, if I was on my deathbed, what would I be thinking about? Would I be able to easily bring up all the beautiful and happy moments with my family? Would I have uncountable memories of good times, filled with fun and laughter, tears and joy with my closest friends?

At the end of my life, what would I be left with? Things? Titles? Or People?

It takes death to put life into perspective.
 
And I know, it is the little things which make up L I F E.

However, to live life fully like there is no tomorrow, that is the hard part.


Linking up with:
mamawearpapashirt

 

Other life lessons (which I’ve learnt the hard way):

Life Lesson #2: Don’t over-sacrifice
Life Lesson #4: My bucket list
Life Lesson #6: Passion vs Family



~ www.mummyweeblog.com – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

SKIRT – A remarkable dining experience at W Hotel

We love steak, and for special occasions we used to go to Morton’s at Mandarin Oriental for good steak. We haven’t been there in many years as it’s getting quite crowded and noisy. We heard that SKIRT at W hotel is very good, so when a friend invited us for his birthday dinner I was happy to abandon my 8pm bedtime and head out to Sentosa.

We were greeted at the entrance by raw slabs of meat hanging in the display fridge. These people are certainly serious about their beef! The chefs work in an open-concept kitchen and there was an open grill right smack in the middle of it.

Our meal started off on a lovely note with this pretty looking flower shaped bread. Most importantly, it was served warm.

What struck me immediately was that despite being a very high-end restaurant, the waiters do not assume you have deep pockets and instead of recommending the most expensive items, they even suggested we share. We wanted to try everything, but restrained ourselves and ordered 3 starters to share amongst the 4 of us. The oysters were flown in from Coffin Bay, and were fresh, as expected. Visually appealing too, with the dash of colour.

Fresh Oysters from Coffin Bay, Australia

I love tuna tartare and this didn’t disappoint. The sauce tasted Asian though, which was something I didn’t expect. 

Tuna Tartar & Avocado $28

The starter that blew us away was the prawns. They were big, firm, and the colour was a beautiful reddish-orange. And my, they tasted soo good. Nothing too over-powering, just perfectly done. The waiter told us they were flown in from Madagascar!

Carabinero Prawns $25 each

For our mains, I settled on the Full Blood Wagyu Grain Fed Beef (Skirt $68) which was the smallest portion at 200g, as I already had an earlier light dinner with the kids. The way it was presented and the picture taken doesn’t do it justice at all. It was good. Really, really, good. Oh, and you see those two cute little bottles in the background? One is an Apple bourbon palette cleanser and the other is barbecue sauce.

Full Blood Wagyu Grain Fed Beef

The Tenderloin Grain Fed Beef looked absolutely juicy and appetising. Was really good too. The waiter did suggest that the 4 of us share 3 mains, which would have been just nice, but the men were so ravenous that they wanted their own piece of steak. I was completely stuffed by the end of the meal as we tried each other’s cut.

Tenderloin 250g

Along with the mains, we ordered 4 sides. My favourite was the mashed potato (Truffle potato puree $16). Smooth and creamy with a hint of truffle oil. Super duper yummy. The onion rings (Beer battered onion rings $10) were also good.

Portobella Mushroom $16

We were given a complimentary piece of cake for the birthday boy and we added 2 desserts (women always have a spare dessert stomach, isn’t it). We didn’t quite fancy the chocolate chocolate chocolate (the one in the background.) The chocolate mud cake with ice cream was not bad. By that time we were so stuffed that the desserts didn’t quite stand out. 

Dessert

We really loved that the place was cosy and quiet (or maybe because we were there on a weekday). It is also big enough that even if we had brought the older kids along, we could have made reservations for a corner and wouldn’t have disturbed the other diners, although our pockets would have burnt a hole (there is an age restriction for kids). We definitely over ordered, but if you were more conservative, I’d say it would set you back about $150 – $200 per person without wine.

Lovely ambience

After dinner we took a constitutional along the waterfront to digest all that food. With the million dollar boats as eye candy, it was a perfect end to a perfect meal.

A fellow mummy blogger celebrated her 9th wedding anniversary there recently and she ordered the Tasting Plate of 5 Breeds. Check out her post to get a better idea of which cut of beef to order. In fact, I only found out after reading her post that I had chosen the top grade beef. No wonder it was soooo yummy. Happy 9th anniversary, V ūüôā

~ www.mummyweeblog.com – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

Kate’s 2nd birthday: A kampung affair

Our littlest turns 2! We had a party at home with close friends and family and I was heartened to see the older kids rally around and help out. #2 even invited her friends over and they were so sweet to come several hours earlier.

#3 was too tired to climb up to add ‘happy birthday’

They all helped to prepare the finger food for tea, decorated the cake and organised the goodie bags. #3 tried stringing some decorations from the ceiling but it didn’t turn out quite well. One of my good friends came by early and she gamely climbed up the ladder in her dress and added some finishing touches.

Initially when we asked Kate if she wanted a party she said no. You want presents? No. You want your friends to come and play? No. Finally the girls asked if she wanted a Mickey Mouse cake and she said yes. Since she’s only 2, I wanted to start small and not over-indulge her with an extravagant cake and decided to bake one ourselves.

The girls’ first attempt at working with fondant

Mickey Mouse seemed straightforward to make, with 1 large circle and 2 small circles. We bought ready-made fondant but it was pretty tricky to roll out as it was very sticky and we almost failed and ended up with a pretty miserable looking mouse. Thankfully another good friend turned up just in time to help. She had gone for cake decorating classes and was able to salvage the cake with the very limited resources we had.

We all worked hard but I think the medal for working the hardest must go to the hubs. He went to the supermarket at 9am and spent the entire day cooking. He boiled soup and made mee sua for our breakfast, then went on to cook bolognese pasta from scratch to feed the hungry troop before we started on the party preparations. As the guests arrived, he fried batches of chicken wings so they would be served piping hot. He even set up a BBQ for dinner and stood at the pit to make perfectly grilled steak. Medium? No problem. Medium well? Coming right up. He even made creme br√Ľl√©e for dessert.

Some of my friends’ husbands couldn’t believe it and asked if he was a moonlighting chef. He finished off his daddy duty by showering Kate and getting her ready for bed. In case you were wondering where I was all this while, I was kept extremely busy entertaining the guests and making sure everything was running smoothly. Oh and of course, busy enjoying the food as well. He was glad her birthday comes around once a year. How I wish her birthday was every other week.

We could have gotten everything catered – the food, the cake, the decor. But this kampung style of everyone pitching in to help makes it all the more fun and something to laugh about in the years to come. Kate had a swell time and was happily singing and dancing even though it was way past her bedtime. Now she understands what a birthday means. When anyone wished her “happy birthday”, she will break into the “happy birthday” song ending with a loud “happy birthday to ME!” After all the excitement, she was totally knocked out and slept with her arms entwined with her best buddy.

K.O.!

Ah, so nice to be the 6th child.

Happy 2nd birthday, Kate!
~ www.mummyweeblog.com – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~