Chinese New Year 2017

Chinese New Year every year is more or less the same for us. A few weeks before, we start decluttering and spring cleaning the house. I’m getting better at letting go of things, yay! The hubs and I will make an annual trip to Yong Peng to buy his favourite pineapple tarts from a family bakery and seeing the table full of cookies in the red-capped bottles signifies the start of the season for the kids.
Breakfast with her bear

The day before CNY, the excitement picks up as the younger kids dress up for celebrations in school. By 11am, all the kids are home and there’s a buzz around the house. With kids spanning such a wide age range, busy with their own schedules, I can see the wisdom in the reunion dinner tradition and schools and workplaces giving everyone half a day off.

Steamed bamboo clams with garlic

The hubs and our helper start cooking early in the morning and relatives come over for prayers followed by lunch. After which, the older kids head over to my parents’ place to help prepare our steamboat reunion dinner. We have an early dinner with my family and return home by 8pm for Round 2 with the hubs’ side of the family.

Yu Sheng

This year we had a lavish reunion dinner complete with freshly shucked oysters. Stomachs full, it was time for the rather riotous “lo-hei” ritual.

Annual family photo
We take our annual Wee family photo on reunion night as that is the only time everyone gathers at the same time.
Gadgets, gadgets, gadgets
Kate and her cousins, and the ubiquitous gadgets. This is what bonding looks like in their generation.

It’s a long day for the kids as they woke up at 5.30am for school, and we call it a night just past midnight.
Look at those cheeks!

The 1st day of CNY is spent at my parents’ place as that is where my dad’s clan will descend. He is the youngest in a family of 11 kids, so it’s twice as many relatives on my side of the family. Sadly, because we only meet once a year, my kids are not close to their cousins. We get home and the hubs starts cooking again for friends and relatives who come visiting.

On the 2nd day of CNY, we go over to my parents’ place for lunch as relatives from my mum’s side and family friends will gather, as they have been doing from as long as I can remember.

Bak kut teh

By Day 4, the hubs was exhausted from 4 days of cooking. We had friends visiting from overseas, and as the kids were back in school, we accompanied them on the drive up to Meleka. It was a nice 2-day break and we took things really slow.

We like this aunty’s bak kut teh, and it’s quite amusing how everyone at the coffeeshop sat and waited patiently as this aunty cheerfully prepares the claypots for one table at a time.

Memories

Felt like we were transported back in time as we strolled the streets and spent the whole day eating, without background complaints of “Where are we going? Why are we eating again?”

It’s been a good CNY thus far with no tempers raised nor cranky meltdowns, only hoarse voices from too much bak kua and pineapple tarts.

I was asking one of my kids what she liked most about Chinese New Year. Is it the ang pows? “No”. The food? “No.”

“I like that there’s a lot of people around. And relatives. And your friends.”

There’s grounding in family and traditions. I hope that’s something we will pass on from generation to generation.

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

Kate turns 3 with a cosy party at home

Kate has been waiting for this day for a long time. Her slightly older cousin turned 3 several months ago, and when asked her age, will declare “I’m 3 years old”.

Kate would follow suit, only to be reminded that she is still 2.

She’s been hearing the constant refrain “You will be 3 when your birthday comes.”

Hence she has been awaiting this BIG day, when she can finally say SHE IS THREE. Like a badge of honour.

Her party last year was a low-key kampung-style affair, where everyone chipped in. The hubs cooked the dishes, the kids decorated our home, the older girls’ friends came over to help out and tried their hand at making a Mickey Mouse cake, and Kate’s friends played with her toys. At 2, it doesn’t take much to make them happy.

This year, having celebrated several of her friends’ birthdays in school, she requested for a Sofia the First cake, which I ordered from Bake Avenue 3 weeks in advance.

She has also been asking for a ‘sparkly princess dress’ after seeing her cousin wearing one and watching too much Sofia, so her aunt bought her one for her birthday present.

Cheeky poses

The whole morning, the entire family was busy preparing for the party, and Kate could feel the palpable buzz of activity in our house which put her in an ecstatic mood.

I ran through with Kate how she should graciously give the party bags to her guests when they are leaving and thank them for coming (and not cry or whine that we were giving away her toys).

For the party bags, I didn’t want to put token toys which would be thrown away, nor fill the bags with candy as the majority of the kids are 3.

I came across these adorable play dough Party Favours from Tickle your Senses, and knew they would be the perfect take home gifts for her little guests. Not only do they look appealing, but the play dough is of premium quality which is non-toxic and taste-safe.

Party favours $5

I figured they would also be well-received by the handful of older kids, and suit both girls and boys. Perfect. #2 commented that they smelt so good (essential oils were added) and the texture was better than the commercial ones we had.


Their party favours range from $5 – $10 per child, and the sticker on the lid can be personalised with message and theme.

I have to say a big thank you to the 2 lovely mums behind this homegrown brand for obliging with the sponsorship which made Kate’s birthday that much more special.

“Thank you aunties for gifting us all the party bags and play dough. My friends and I like it very much!” šŸ™‚
Love, Kate
The older kids took care of the entertainment and organised simple party games for the little ones.

Being the resident chef, it was natural for the hubs to be in charge of the menu. He went to the market bright and early and spent the whole morning in the kitchen. That is his way of showing his love for the children.

Everyone enjoyed his legendary fried chicken wings, which he only whips up during parties. The girls helped with the platter of finger food and made an assortment of heart-shaped sandwiches.
Yummilicious!

Midway through the party, as more and more guests arrived, Kate was overwhelmed. While receiving yet another present, she shook her head and cried out, “I don’t want anymore presents!” The poor kid giving it didn’t know how to respond.

When we got round to cutting her birthday cake, she was still rather bewildered by all the attention and wanted to be carried.

Sofia the First Cake

After the kids had their cake, we set up the Dough Table Party set which Tickle your Senses had also sent over. Their tubs of coloured play dough and assortment of cutters were all so pretty!

Play dough accessories

The kids naturally gravitated to the table as it looked so inviting, and the parents could enjoy their cake and conversations in peace. I have never seen such detailed princess-sy cutters, and they were easy to use too. Just let them know your theme and guest numbers and they would be able to customize something suitable for your party.

Lil’ princesses hard at work

All in all, it was a splendid little party.

On her actual day, as it was a school day, we waited for the older kids to return and had a simple family celebration at home. This time, Kate seemed to understand it was her special day and revelled in the attention.

How extremely fortunate she is. More than 3 years ago, when I found out I was pregnant with our 6th child, with the kids’ stuff given away, our resources further stretched, and starting all over again with a young one, we didn’t know what the future would hold.

Kate’s 3rd birthday

3 years on, I still marvel at how Kate’s life is unfolding, as we take things one day at a time. It was a poignant reminder that

If God brings you to it,
He will bring you through it.

Happy Birthday my dear Kate.

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

Our CNY through the lens

Here’s what we have been up to for the past few days.

Reunion dinner is always a pretty rowdy affair as the whole clan on the hub’s side descends on our house. Some of us go for an early dinner on the other side of the family and come back for round 2. The traditional Lo Hei is the highlight of the meal and we do it when everyone is back.

Yu Sheng

This year we were more controlled and didn’t need to send in the dogs to lap up the food from the floor.

Riotous celebration
Annual photo-taking of 3 generations on Reunion night.
The Wee clan
The 2 youngest in the family for now.
Kate’s latest ‘smiling pose’
The girls had to vacate their rooms as our house was turned into an inn for our relatives from KL. They did it quite grudgingly because they kept asking why couldn’t it be the other 2 who had to give up their room. Maybe next year we should draw lots. In the end, they had a great time with their cousins and wished they could have stayed on longer.

The men holding fort in the kitchen. Thankful to have many good cooks in the family.

Seasoned salmon sashimi

Quiet afternoon bonding over card games with their uncle. #5 trying to explain his move. He surprised us by how well-thought out his move was.

More visiting. Little missy telling me the dog bit her finger.

On Sunday night, we had a simple dinner at home as the kids had to settle down and prepare for school. I love eating fried nian gao but had the impression that it was too difficult to make and have to wait for my sis-in-law to make some. #2 loves it too, so we decided to google the recipe. It was surprisingly easy! Just whisk together some flour, baking powder, eggs and cold water, dip it in and fry it. But somehow, the batter didn’t turn out crispy. And we found out that we should have refrigerated the block of nian gao to make it easier to slice. Will try again tomorrow with hopefully a better recipe.

Supper with the older girls

This year we had a rather pleasant Chinese New Year as we didn’t pack too much activity into each day and could relax, feast, and enjoy one another’s company. Kate is also much easier to look after as compared to last year, and thankfully she’s very sociable and allowed her older cousins to take care of her.


We are indeed fortunate to have such large families both on my side and the hub’s side of the family. Every year as we gather with our extended families, I am reminded to be grateful for familial ties which gives the children roots and traditions to ground them in an ever changing world which is moving towards individualism. I hope they will grow up with the same kampong spirit so evident in our parents’ generation.


~ 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 ~

Chinese New Year 2014

Chinese New Year is rather enjoyable and stress free for us. We don’t have to do much house hopping as all the relatives converge on one place at the same time. The kids love cny not only because of the hong baos, but because of the yummy goodies and drinks. Kate must have found an unattended packet of drink and she’s sucking with all her might to get whatever is left in it. She knows that if her gor gor or one of her jie jie notices it, they will quickly swipe it from her as she’s too young for sweet drinks.

I’m almost getting some!

As we live with my in-laws, and my dad-in-law is the eldest in his family, all the relatives will come over to bai nian. After lunch, we head off to my parents’s place where my dad’s family of more than 80 members will converge. Easy, all done in one go. Kate was rather tired as she slept late the previous night of the reunion dinner.

All ready to go to Por por’s house
My dad is the youngest of 11 siblings, so the family is very large. The sad thing is that the younger generations only get to see one another once a year, and they are not close at all. We can hardly even remember all the names of the new additions! One of my cousins came up with a good solution. She tasked her sons to speak to 10 relatives and write down a short paragraph of each of them. Maybe we should all get our kids to do that the next year.
11 families under one roof

Then it’s back home for dinner as more relatives pop by. It was a rare photo opportunity to capture 3 generations of males playing bingo together!

“Ah gong, you are losing!”
For the 2nd day of CNY, it’s back to my parent’s place. This time, my mum’s relatives come over for lunch, and usually any of my friends who have no other visiting to do will swing by too. These are my closest friends from our secondary and JC days. And of course, what’s cny without a spot of mahjong?
“Heh heh, my dad’s cards are awesome”

The 2 boys in the house are enjoying each other’s company even though it’s the first time they have met.

Jumping on the trampoline
Everyone was occupied so Kate wandered around trying to amuse herself.
“Hmm, I think I’ll take this bag home”
“Better check first if got money or not”

She missed her morning nap and crashed when the hubs took her home. 

The best pillow

After her nap, it’s round 2 of fun! Her cousin’s birthday happened to fall on the 2nd day, so we went over to my sis-in-law’s place for the party. 

Minnie mouse themed party

This time, the Lo Hei was done outdoors as we had learnt our lesson from the previous mess!

Huat ah!

~ mummy wee – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

Reunion Dinner

Every year we do 2 reunion dinners on the same night. We go over to my mum’s place at 6pm, then head back for dinner at 8pm with the hub’s family. It’s a good thing we live close to my mum.

Lo-Hei or Yu Sheng (Prosperity toss)

For as long as I can remember, we’ve always had steamboat for our family’s reunion dinner. We all love steamboat, and I’m glad the kids do as well. There’s just something so comforting about traditions that you carry through from your childhood all the way to adulthood.

Cuddles with grandaunt

I couldn’t resist taking a picture of this plant. The flowers only bloom during Chinese new year. Apparently, the Chinese buy living blooms to decorate the house as it signifies rebirth. My mum has one growing in her garden! How lovely. The vibrant colours really lifts my mood šŸ™‚

Beautiful hues

It’s back home and round 2 of Yu Sheng. 

Symbol of abundance and prosperity

Everyone ready?

Let’s see who can toss the highest
The aftermath
Who’s the VIP this year who gets to sit on Ah Gong’s lap?
Here’s wishing you and your family a very happy and prosperous Lunar New Year!
Auspicious pineapple tarts

~ mummy wee – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

Annual Christmas Party

Every December, there are a few Christmas traditions which the kids look forward to, which signal to them the start of the Christmas festivities. One of their absolute favourites is a Christmas party that a dear friend so generously invites us to every year. It’s a rather unique party whereby besides a guest appearance by Santa, there are many game stations for the kids to play. The fun part is that they are each given a card, and when they score points for the games, they will get some stamps on the card. They collect as many stamps as they can to redeem for gifts at the end of the party.

#5 trying to knock the cans down

#4 is hard at work trying to earn as much stamps as possible to complete her Christmas ‘shopping’.

Very popular minion game

Not only do they redeem gifts for themselves, but they also take this opportunity to redeem gifts for each other’s Christmas presents, and for gifts for their little cousins as well.

Discussing which toys are the most worth it

There are a lot of other activities going on at the same time, and one thing they never fail to join in is the colouring competition.

Giving their best shot

Their efforts paid off and #5 was the winner for his category! They were so proud of him and #2 gave him a great big hug!

The elf lady looking on in amusement

This is the first time in her life that Kate has seen a Santa Claus! She’s quite puzzled as to his appearance.

“It sounds like a man, but looks more like my soft toy!”

When they got home, they were eager to wrap up all the gifts they managed to redeem and checked off their list of presents to buy.

Almost done with their Christmas shopping…


Sane tip: While the kids were busy having fun and ‘working’ hard for their stamps, the adults sat down to enjoy the buffet spread. Don’t we just love Christmas! I’m also glad that my kids still enjoy such traditional games which are not electronic and find so much fun in these simple childhood pleasures. A lot of the other kids their same age did not want to play those games any more as they found it too childish or lame. I guess a lot of them have also been robbed of their childhood as their parents put too much emphasis on academic success and they have lost their carefree attitude and have grown up too fast. What a pity.

Save tip: The kids are ever so appreciative of kind ‘Auntie E’ who gives them the opportunity to go for this incredible party every year. Thank you once again, Auntie E!



~   mummy wee – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore  ~

Berjaya Times Square Theme Park – Kuala Lumpur

Last weekend, we drove up to KL for my mum-in-law’s 70th birthday party. I asked the kids if they wanted to spend the afternoon in Bejaya Times Square and they all shouted “Yes!”

We used to take them there every year when they were younger, but as they grew up, we explored further holiday destinations. Going to Times Square was one of their school holiday tradition and they missed it very much.

Our road trip began at 7am

We allowed the kids to watch a movie on the iPad for awhile, and once we hit the highway, got them all to take a nap. The older 5 had a nice long nap while Kate fell asleep only 10-minutes before we reached KL. That’s how it always is, isn’t it!

We had lunch, checked in, then headed straight for Berjaya Times Square, which is located in the Bukit Bintang area. We always stay at Park Royal Hotel as it is within walking distance from Times Square, Overseas Restaurant and Pavilion (a huge mall that I love).

If you are wondering which hotel is more suitable for your family, Park Royal is newer and nicer, while Berjaya Times Square Hotel is well-worn, but the rooms are larger and more convenient if you have young children.

It sounds illogical, but they still prefer this theme park compared to Disneyland, Universal Studios and Legoland simply because it is in air-conditioned comfort and everything is very compact and you don’t have to walk as much. The upper floor is for the younger kids and they have a whole range of rides suitable for tots from 1-6 years old.

Kate on the Merry-go-round

Besides the merry-go-round, they have the bumper cars, viking, bumble bee, train ride and botanic drive.

Bumble Bee

They had a swell time with their cousins, and could have happily played the whole day if given the chance! There’s also a mini movie theatre which screens different movies throughout the day.

Botanic Drive
Crazy bus

#5’s favourite is the bumper car. Even on a Saturday, the queue for each ride is only about 10 minutes long.

Honey Bump

I remember Parkway parade used to have this viking swing when we were kids! The good ol’ days..

Molly’s Cool Swing

They have 2 playgrounds, one for older kids and one for toddlers. They also have a mini theatre where movies are screened for free.

Playground

The toddler playground..

Don’t ask me why she wanted to go down head first!

For the adults, teens, and brave tweens, the lower floor has enough thrilling rides to keep them entertained for hours.

Dizzy Izzy

#1 asked me to accompany her on the rides but there’s no way I’m going on any of them!

Spinning Orbit

In the end, she went on this roller-coaster by herself as none of her younger siblings dared to join her. 

Supersonic Odyssey

I heard lots of screams coming from this one.

DNA Mixer

After about 2 hours, the kids were still playing happily so I passed Kate to my mum and headed downstairs to FOS. We used to joke that it’s an acronym for ‘Full-of-Singaporeans’ as we were likely to bump into a fellow Singaporean.

Factory Outlet Store

The prices are really cheap, but it is not always possible to find the correct sizes for the kids. However, this time I managed to find lots of bodysuits for Kate. What a steal at RM30 for 3 pieces!

Love the captions

It is interesting how this is a Muslim country and this mall is not one of the newer malls, yet their Christmas deco can rival Takashimaya’s in scale. 

Nice big Christmas tree

The kids played until it was time to head across the street for their grandma’s dinner party. It was a surprise party with about 70 guests and everyone managed to keep the surprise! This is our favourite Chinese restaurant in KL.

Restoran Oversea

At Times Square, we tried to get Kate to have a nap but she couldn’t as it was too noisy. First time in her life that she did not have a nap in the day. Before the first dish was even served, she drank her milk and promptly fell asleep. As we did not have any more boot space to bring along a stroller, she slept on 2 chairs.

Seriously K.O

They have quite a lot of good dishes like the big head prawn, salted fish with slice pork, special bean curd and their steam fish. But the most popular dish is the char siew which has to be pre-ordered.

Oh so succulent

Longevity bun

It was a long day filled with lots of fun and excitement for the kids. We walked back to the hotel for a good night’s sleep before driving up to Penang the next day.


Sane tip: Even though this theme park is old, we have come every other year and the kids can spend a full day here. I find it enjoyable as it is not under the hot sun and we don’t have to wait long for each ride.

Save tip: For a theme park, this is really value for money. It cost us about S$15 each for a whole day of fun!


Operating Hours:
Mon-Fri: 12noon – 10pm
Sat, Sun, Sch hols/Public hols: 11am – 10pm

Admission rate:
Adult (13 & above): RM48
Child (3-12): RM38
Family rides (only 4 rides at upper level): RM25
Family (2A & 2C): RM138
Senior Citizen (55 & above): RM15

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