Happy CNY!

Happy Lunar New Year to all who are celebrating! (Or Happy Chinese New Year, as they say over here in Malaysia).

It’s already February, and not only that, we have just whizzed past the 1 week of school holidays and it’s already over. Boohoo. 😦

To be honest, CNY isn’t quite as cheery an occasion as it used to be for me when I was younger, and mostly it’s because it is often a stark reminder of all the complex histories and offences and heartache surrounding the relationships between various family members.

What helps though is having a young soul in the family like our little Jamie here. He was all excited about the fireworks and lion dances and cheerfully giving loud “Happy New Year!” greetings to relatives as we visited their houses.

My Mum actually enlisted his help to hand out cookies when we were at their place and an uncle and his family came over to visit. Jamie took out every single snack jar and managed to successfully get every one of them to take a piece from each jar. I’ve never seen them eat so much during a CNY visitation before (at least from what I remember of past years). Haha. I guess it does make a difference when a child is around.

It’s wonderfully refreshing to see Jamie so enthusiastic about all these CNY traditions. In fact, he got really sad one time when we had to cancel a trip to a cousin’s place because they forgot about our appointment and were out at that time. So kesian.

I guess sometimes as adults, we need these reminders to find joy in the small things. I hope when Jamie gets older and more jaded about life that at least one of us in the family will still cling on to the positive perspective of things. I will certainly miss these simpler days where he is so young and easily pleased.

Tomorrow there will be a Chinese New Year party at Jamie’s school. From what the principal tells me, it sounds like it’s going to be a whole load of fun for the entire student population (which isn’t that big, since this is preschool after all heh). I’m kind of excited for what’s in store for him, and we are preparing a simple dish for him and his schoolmates to enjoy.

Just as he is levelling up in life, so are we. It’s still a fairly new thing for me to be signing as a parent for his Message Book from school, and talking to teachers etc as an authoritative figure in his life. Makes me feel so grown up. Haha. I am in charge! (Whether I handle the responsibility well enough is another matter, of course).

Speaking of parenting and family matters, there’s actually another fairly current story to tell about that. But perhaps I shall leave that for another post. Perhaps tomorrow?

Paint and potatoes

Here’s what Jamie and I did on Tuesday evening… 

One of these papers bears my artwork. Guess which one?

What happened was we had a bunch of potatoes that were turning green. I remembered reading somewhere that this wasn’t a good sign when it comes to consuming them, so I thought why not do something else with them instead of just throwing them out. 

I watched a YouTube video (I’ll embed the video below) on how to make stamps out of potatoes, and found that it was really simple to do. So I went ahead and did it. 🙂 

All you need is potatoes, a kitchen knife and some cookie cutters.
Here’s the full collection I made that day.

Here is Jamie really excited just after we’d finish setting up and before the activity had actually begun… 

It was the first time Jamie was using stamps, so he didn’t really get the concept of pressing it onto a paper and lifting it up and repeating the same actions in a different spot on the paper. 

After showing him how it should be done a few times, I finally gave up and let him have fun with the paint in whatever manner he preferred. 

Letting Jamie create artwork with paint as he pleases.

Here’s the thing about art & craft activities with toddlers: Sometimes you can’t really foresee how they might want to do the activity. Most times, they want to do things their own way, and this means they may sometimes do it differently or wrongly (from our adult point of view). 

But I guess part of the fun is letting them explore and try things out in whatever ways they want to in order to satisfy their curiosity. Indirectly, I guess they’re learning something there. 

The challenge for me is being gracious enough to let things be and suppressing the desire to intervene or influence how he experiences it. Also, that disdain for messiness which may actually be necessary for them to grow and learn. 

A side note: Jamie has this really cute way of pronouncing “potato”. It comes out sounding like “pee-tay-toh”. I think it’s absolutely adorable. Heh. 😍

And I shall leave you now with the YouTube video below. 

Drop me a comment if you have done something similar too? I’d be curious how it went, especially if you did it with a toddler like I did. 😊

Long live DIY


I would really love to stay and write a decent post about the artsy activity that Jamie and I did today, BUT it’s just slightly past 12 midnight. And the bad mummy that I am, Jamie is not asleep yet.

So this will have to do for now. I stumbled across it while doing a quick round in YouTube as I soaked my fungus infested toe in a salt bath.

Which sound is your favourite? Mine will forever always be that of a pair of fabric scissors slicing through a large piece of cloth.

And what in the world is ASMR? (Was reading it in the comments). Need to find out.

Camp Nanowrimo, day #3

Precisely what it says.

It has begun. 

Based on my past track record, especially with Nanowrimo, I have not ever finished what I started before. So, it doesn’t bode well for me. But hopefully this time around, something will change and I’ll actually make it to complete my goal. I’ve set myself a very low one this time: Write 31 pages in July, with a spotlight on creative writing. 

I’ve managed to keep up to target so far with an average of a page a day. What would be great is if I can write ahead of time and complete a few pages at once so I have some buffer to spare when I start falling behind (which will almost certainly happen at some point). 

Should I share what I have penned down on this blog? I’m not sure yet. Would it bore you to read 31 days of random, unrefined writing? Let me think about it a bit more before I decide. Perhaps I’ll just share the link to the Google Doc version or something.

Anyway, just a brief description about my Camp Nano project: It’s called Imperfect: A Creative Project and is based around the said theme. I don’t intend for it to become too melancholic, although for the time being, it seems a bit slanted towards that based on what I already wrote. I intend for it to be more of a hope giving, mindset busting kind of thing, but let’s see if I can actually achieve that. Will need to inject some sunshine and humour into it on the next page I write. Hehe. 

Meanwhile, it’s awfully late (isn’t it always?) and I’ve got work commitments. See you later. 

Booked

BookXcess store at The Starling, Damansara Uptown

It’s been a pretty chillout time over here for our family, since we’ve got a four day weekend to enjoy right now, thanks to Hari Raya Aidilfitri holidays. Instead of cramming activities together and rushing about with almost zero downtime (as would happen for us on a typical weekend), it’s nice to have the opportunity to take a more leisurely approach for a change. 

One of the things we’ve done so far was to visit the relatively new BookXcess store at The Starling, thanks to the hype created by this particular says.com post. (If you aren’t familiar with the name, these BookXcess guys are the ones behind those epic Big Bad Wolf sales that we often enjoy over here). 

Our main aim was to hunt down more Thomas & Friends books to add to Jamie’s collection. And I am happy to report we did achieve that goal…

 

Thomas & Friends books for our little boy 🙂

Books, particularly those from overseas, are an expensive commodity here in Malaysia. Not sure about how it is where you’re from, but here, paperback novels cost anywhere between RM20 – RM40 (and in some cases, perhaps even more than that). So budget-wise, it’s rather costly to frequently purchase new books. 

But thanks to people like BookXcess, we are able to obtain books that are brand new but yet at a much cheaper price than their original retail value. Apparently the books are sourced from places where there has been excess stock that was difficult to clear or something like that, hence the ability to offer it at a discounted rate to hungry readers out there like us. 

Look at that price slash. It makes such a huge difference to parents like us.

For parents looking to continuously expand the bookshelves of their young children, this is an infinitely good thing. Just you look at that difference in the price tag. Mind you, these are not even hard cover books. So a normal price of RM32 for a short, thin children’s book like that is just absurd. At RM7.90 or RM9.90 though, it all seems like a more reasonable amount to impose on our wallets. 

So thank God for stores like these. It gives Deric and I a chance to rejoice, because finally we have new material to read to Jamie every day, instead of those same few tales that we have already been reading to him ten thousand times. 

Anyway, since we are on the topic, let’s talk a bit about my own love affair with books. 

I guess you could say my passion for writing stems from my interest in books because if there was no desire in me to read books, I think it’s highly unlikely that I’d want to endeavour to write them. (I have yet to successfully write a book though, but that is another long story for another post/day). 

It is because of my parents that I developed a love for books, and for that I am grateful. It was to the point that I would literally pick up anything and read it. The only limitation to that being more of whether it’s something that I deliberately wanted to read about or otherwise. 

What I do regret though is not having read enough books by this age. I should have been more well read by now, and it would have done wonders for the way I write. But unfortunately, I didn’t do more back in the days when I had more time on my hands. Right now, I have more books on our shelf at home than I can cope with, and that’s kind of sad. I want to be able to buy new books, but I feel it’s not justified because there are so many in my possession that I haven’t even read yet. 

Guess I should make it a priority to devour all the unread books I have as soon as possible. Perhaps nursing time is a good opportunity (while that routine still lasts for Jamie and I). 

Anyway, I’m proud to say that Deric and I seem to have passed on a love for reading to Jamie and it seems to be a habit he loves, at least for now. Let’s hope it sticks in the long term. Fingers crossed.