Bubbles Cheer and her Presidential Elections Prediction

Phew. I just went through about a week of crazy work days. And when it rains, it sometimes POURS! 

My part-time cleaner decided last week to stop working for us! Just when I got everything down pat in our weekly schedule. It was really bad timing on her part as she also absented herself the previous week. You can just imagine the backlog of chores that need to be done. I am not upset with her leaving to choose easier work, but disappointed that she didn't keep her word to give me time to source for alternative cleaners.


Looking on the happier side of things, I would like to share some of the funny, heartwarming (some cheeky) stuff that my dear Bubs has been saying. She definitely is one talkative kid! I have already tweeted some of these, in case you find them familiar. Hope you enjoy reading these as much as I enjoyed them!

The Presidential Elections
My mother: Bubbles, who do you think will win? Tan Cheng Bock or Tony Tan?
Bubbles: Tony Tan!
and then: I want Tony Tan to come to my birthday party!

In the car
Daddy is Big!
Bubbles is Small!
Mummy is Woman!

At church
She's talking really loudly.
Me: Bubbles, can you talk SOFTly please?
Bubs: No! (Thinking) I want to talk HARD(ly)!

Talking to her aunt
Bubs: I went to the petrol station!
Aunt: You did?
Bubs: Yes! Then the car went there, then the petrol pump pump pump!
Aunt: Oh I see, did you pump the petrol?
Bubs: Err no.
Aunt: Then what did you do?
Bubs: I was just standing there.

After an overnighter at my parents' place
Bubs: Bubbles missed Mummy!
Me: Aww, I missed you too!
Bubs: Bubbles love Mummy! I don't want Mummy work! I want to take Mummy's office away!

Seeing a plaster on my toe
Bubs (looking concerned): Mummy what is that?
Me: Oh, it is a plaster. My toe hurts from too much standing.
Bubs: Mummy's toe painful?
Me: Yes it is.
Bubs: Bubbles pray Mummy's toe ok.

Eating her snacks
Bubs (holding up a piece): Mummy, would you like some?
Me: Ok! (taking the piece)
Bubs: Not too much Mummy!

Kicking Daddy's seat in the car
Roboman: Bubbles, please don't kick the seat!
Bubs: I want to kick seat!
I turn to give her a stern look.
She immediately changes her kicks to smooth stroking motions.
Bubs: I'm just dusting the seat!


Have you bought the discounted coupons for SparkleThots goodies yet?
Do it now before this offer closes on Friday!

Coupons are valid till the end of the year so you can use them for Christmas shopping!

I just saw this - new in the store. Lovely! :)

Q&A on Maternal Nutrition

I'm excited to share with you today the answers to the maternal nutrition questions that you posed!

I would like to thank Dr Peter Chew for taking our questions and providing these answers. Dr Chew is a Senior Consultant Obstetrician, Gynecologist, Infertility Specialist and MIS Specialist, currently in private practice at Gleneagles Hospital.

Special thanks also goes to Abbott Nutrition and Similac Mum for supporting this email interview in conjunction with their Growing the Milk Bank event held a couple of weeks ago, that I unfortunately wasn't able to attend.

Here are the answers we have been waiting for. I have grouped the questions according to similar type for easier reading:

Breast Milk Supply Issues:

1. What is the impact of maternal nutrition on the quality of breastmilk? What are some maternal nutrition guidelines to follow in ensuring sufficient breastmilk supply? (During pregnancy and after)
Once delivered, the baby only source of food is breast milk from their mothers if the mother breastfeeds. As such, the quality of maternal nutrition is critical during and post-pregnancy, as whatever the mother consumes will be passed on to the baby and determine the nutrition composite of the breast milk. 

One way to ensure the quality of breast milk is to maintain a balanced diet by following the food pyramid. Consuming food with carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins and nutrients are important to ensure the maternal milk supply is sufficient and nutritious. If the mother is severely averse to certain food, fussy about food or malnutrition then they may want to consider maternal milk supplements that will provide the vitamins and nutrients required. 

As a general guideline, during pregnancy, mothers need an average of 300 more calories than a normal person and post-pregnancy, especially with breastfeeding, mothers need an average of 500 more calories than a normal person. 

2. Many mothers have supply dips when stressed (eg. returning to work) - are there special supplements or foods that they should consider taking more of during these periods of low supply?
When people are feeling stressed, it will affect their hormones, and that is the same for breast feeding mothers, who may experience an effect on the milk supply. At this stage, mothers who would like to boost their milk supply can consider maternal supplements such as milk powder and vitamins. 

Similarly as mothers cannot produce DHA naturally, it is important to consume food such as fish or drink maternal milk supplements, such as Similac Mum formula from Abbott, to boost the quality of the breast milk. Milk supplements would be a convenient way for them to gain the necessary nutrients that they require to ensure adequate breast milk flow and nutrients. 

Mother's Diet and its Effect on Breast Milk:

3. Is it possible that a baby will not be adequately nourished if maternal nutrition is poor? Does eating junk food daily, and not taking care of what I eat affect the nutrients going to my (fully breastfed) baby?
Yes, if the mother isn’t eating well and not taking in quality food, it will then affect the quality of milk. If a mother consumes only junk food, then the baby will be getting ‘junk milk’. It is vital to note that the milk quality is from the nutrients absorbed by the mother and it will be passed down to the child. 

4. Is there an easy way to remember what transfers into breastmilk and what doesn’t? For instance, alcohol does, and we’re told that strong flavours like curry would. And fish oils do. How about rum in rum-&-raisin especially if quite a good bit of rum is used? Perhaps an explanation of how certain substances enter breastmilk/composition of breastmilk would help us understand why some things are transferred but not all.
There is no barrier between the food consumed by the mother and the milk she produces. Mothers should remember that whatever they eat will directly translate to the nutrients that the baby receives.

5. How long do medicines or other toxins stay in milk? Eg mother has to take antibiotics or other medication, or cannot avoid inhaling some volatile organic compounds like petrol (while at the petrol station) or paint, or pesticides (through fogging to prevent mosquito breeding).
The medicines and other toxins will stay in the milk as long as the mother consumes them. So once a mother is on medication, she should temporarily stop breastfeeding the child. To keep the milk supply going however, mothers can consider pumping out the milk for discard so as to maintain the flow, until the body is healthy to breastfeed again. 

Mother's Diet and its effect on Breastfed Baby:

6. If my baby reacts with loose stool after eating certain foods (eg. dairy), does it mean that he has an allergy to those food?
Yes, the mother’s diet will have an effect on the baby and so with the reaction, he is probably allergic to the food. For those babies who are not breastfed however, they are usually more prone to allergies such as rash on the skin and loose stool. 

7. Is breastmilk an adequate source of nutrients for a preschooler as compared with the same volume of cow's milk?
Assuming a preschooler as 2 – 3 years of age, then no. According to World Health Organization, it is recommended that the minimal period for breastfeeding is 6 months as key nutrients are delivered to the baby during this period. After 6 months, breast milk alone cannot sustain the growth of the baby, and the baby will require other supplementation. Breastfeeding after 6 months helps to foster bonding. 

8. Assuming a mother has an adequate diet, does breast milk provide an adequate supply of iron to a baby who is 6 months or older and who has yet to eat meat?
After 6 months, it is recommended that mothers start introducing the baby to semi-solid and gradually solid food. Similarly, it is important for the child to consume a balanced diet and they should follow the food pyramid closely. 

Mother's Weight-loss and Breast Milk:

9. Is there any danger of toxins that are stored in a mother's fat getting into breast milk as she loses weight post-par-tum?
From a medical point of view, fats do not store toxins so there is no link between toxins and fats. As such, there is no danger in losing weight post-partum, as long as the mother maintains a balanced diet to ensure an adequate supply of breast milk that is nutritious for the baby’s growth.

I hope you found these answers useful!

For those of you keen to get the new Similac Mum with Advance EyeQ Plus®
by Abbott Nutrition, you can read about it here or request for a sample.

A Dollop Of My Home: Building Memories

Thank you for sending in your photos for the A Dollop Of My Home series!
I've received lovely contributions that will be showcased every Friday.
Email me if you want to send in photos of your home :)

This week's photos are from Leney, who is expecting her 1st born next month. Most interestingly, her EDD is the same as mine was 2 years ago! Exciting times ahead for her :)

When I received Leney's photos, the first thought that struck me was how she surrounds herself with pretty things that reminds her of special times shared by her husband and herself. 

This zebra painting is special as the couple bought it as their 1st (paper) wedding anniversary gift to one another. I thought it such a sweet idea! Leney especially loves that she gets to see this painting whenever she walks from her lounge room to the bedrooms. 

Next up, she shares with us her little home 'office' space. This is where she spends her time on the Internet, and when she works from home. You will see a little inspiration board just above the quaint desk where she pins up ideas, photos and to-do lists. I love the pop of red on the chair matched by the boxes on the shelf!

A closer look at the bookshelves reveals memorabilia that each mean something to the couple. The personalised name plague in particular, was from their honeymoon in Fiji. The resort where the couple stayed at had it made and hung on the door of their bure. They just had to take it back as a happy souvenir! And isn't that little bicycle so lovely?!

Leney has done up her baby's nursery so beautifully too. See her photos here and here! I'm always taken by pretty nurseries especially because we never did do one up for Bubbles!

Thank you Leney for sharing your lovely home with us!

Are there also special items in your home that hold much meaning to you? 
Or perhaps a pretty nursery to share?
We would love to take a peek into your home


Grab a deal at SparkleThots

I'm pleased to share that SparkleThots is offering special discount vouchers for readers of A Dollop Of Me! Read on if you enjoy accessorizing without breaking the bank, or if you have in mind special women that you want to gift these lovelies to!

Here are some pieces from the shop that caught my eye:

Initials of your choice are handstamped on the teddy! Love!

From now till Friday 2 Sept 12 midnight Singapore time,
YOU can buy $35 vouchers* worth $50 of purchases in the store!
That's a whooping 30% discount!!

Here's how:
1. If you are on Facebook, Like the Facebook Pages of A Dollop Of Me and SparkleThots. If you live on Twitterdom, Follow our tweets here and here.
2. Leave a comment on this blog saying "Liked!" or "Followed!"
3. Purchase the Vouchers via Paypal here:

4. SparkleThots will send you a unique code.
5. SHOP at SparkleThots! Check-out via Etsy as per normal, select 'others' for payment method, and input your unique code.

*Vouchers (and any unused amounts) are valid till 31 Dec 2011. Unused amounts in a transaction can be carried over for a maximum of one time, after which it will be forfeited (ie, maximum of 2 purchases per voucher). Vouchers may be used towards shipping fees and are not valid on discounted items.

SparkleThots Go Out!
SparkleThots will be out at a Tiong Bahru flea this weekend
Join them this Sunday afternoon from 11am to 5pm at  41 Kim Cheng Street #01-31.
More details here

Spread the word now by clicking on the "Share" button at the top of this post!
Happy shopping :)

To the Singapore Zoo!

The highlight of our weekend was a trip to the Singapore Zoo! It was Bubbles' first ever visit and she had an absolutely wonderful time. Her enjoyment of the place far exceeded my expectations! We were so pleased :)

Check out my happy kid!
When we stepped into the Zoo, one of the first things she said was:
Mummy, what is that smell?! while looking perplexed.
When she was told it could be animal poo, she was most tickled!

Bubbles took her first ever pony ride!
I'm gutted that my photos didn't turn out well at all. 
I was too excited about my baby riding on a pony that I didn't get my camera settings right! Boo :(

Still, we remember that she saw the pony, exclaimed: I want to ride that! 
and proceeded to run all the way to the stall.
She's not yet 2, which is the age you are supposed to be allowed to ride, but we didn't tell ;)
She was so thrilled and even tried to wave to us from afar

And of course, she reminded us again and again that she wanted to 'swim' when she saw the huge waterplay area at Rainforest Kidzworld.
We knew that would happen and came prepared with her gear.
She had so much fun we had quite a bit of trouble getting her to leave!
She also remembers seeing zebras, monkeys (including orang utans), giraffes (she kept asking to go into the enclosures so that she could hug them), and elephants (one of which she spotted doing a huge poo and was so excited by!).

Another memorable part of the outing for her was the Animal Friends Show. She was thrilled by the performing cats and dogs, and later announced that her favourite Zoo animal were dogs! Haha!

We saw a marriage proposal being done towards the end of the show. The man came dressed as a knight and actually danced in front of the entire audience while his girlfriend was on stage! The audience thought it was hilarious and everyone was clapping and being generally supportive. My poor Bubs though, totally freaked out, shivered, cried, clung on to me and asked to go home! I think he must have looked too queer to her, and we were too close for comfort as we were seated right in front. So we left, just when the girlfriend said 'Yes' :)

Till today, Bubbles tells us that she did not like the "man that dressed up"!
Thankfully she accumulated many other wonderful memories of the Zoo and I'm sure we will be back again and soon!

A Lady Lunch at Soup Broth Asia

A few weeks ago, I penned in an appointment for a lunch this week with Lady J, who is back from Geneva for a month or so. Fresh from my pleasant blind date x 4 experience, I was ready to meet another new online friend.

I was quite thrilled when Lady J suggested lunch at Soup Broth Asia. I love soups and this place uses rich stock as its soup bases and throws in fresh ingredients before serving. The soup ingredients are thus tasty as they have not been drained of flavour in preparation of the stock.

Unfortunately, to get to this place, the poor woman had to power-walk quite a distance to meet me, and destroyed her heels as a result! Amazingly, she didn't mention the discomfort at all during lunch and it was only sometime after the meal, when I found out what she endured! I told her that if we ever meet again, I will insist on giving her a lift. Must!
Now Lady J is someone who has a keen sense of fashion, and it was her Wardrobe Raids series that first drew me to her blog. Surprisingly, we didn't talk much about fashion that day, although we really should have as we were wearing a similar colour palette of blue/teal and orange. I was really sorry that I forgot to bring my camera!

We shared about the going-ons in our lives, and actually covered quite a wide range of topics - a bit of each - almost as if we were scanning through pages of a book hoping to read as much as possible before the lunch hour was up. There were also moments where we both felt comfortable enough to share a little more about our individual struggles, and sought to encourage each other. I thought that quite special.

We parted with her presenting to me 2 sets of stickers for Bubbles. How sweet! :)

A Dollop Of My Home: Starry Starry Night

Thank you for sending in your photos for the A Dollop Of My Home series!
I've received lovely contributions that will be showcased every Friday.
Email me if you want to send in photos of your home :)

This week's entry touches a special place in my heart because it shows artwork by a child :)

PC, a mother of 2, sent in this photo showing a corner of her home. Interestingly, this is a TV console that does not house a TV, but is filled with kids' toys and family portraits. Isn't that idea so heartwarming in itself? Occasionally, PC places fresh flowers - either roses or daisies, to fill the air with beautiful floral scents.
The highlight of this space is a canvas painting hung on the wall. It was her daughter's attempt at Van Gogh's Starry Night - her very own interpretation. Although she may continue working on this piece, I already love the vibrant hues she chose and how this piece anchors the space.
You may want to pop over here to see photos of PC's kids' room :)

Thank you PC for sharing this special place with us!

This next part of this week's post is an extra piece that I feel compelled to share. If you are looking for decor ideas though, I'm sorry to have to disappoint. However, perhaps you are on the same journey with me - trying to be conscious of beauty around. You may then enjoy this little story :)

2 days ago, I woke up late and was a bunch of frazzled nerves. I was bustling around the house getting ready for work - washing up, changing, packing Bubbles' things to take to my parents' place etc. As it often happens, I was flinging things around, stomping here and there, and pretty much working myself up even more as I glanced at the clock 587329 times.

Then something magical happened - I walked past my laundry area. It sounds funny I know, but I was taken by this:
The order of which the clothes were hung, with a graduation of soft pink and blue hues, made this pleasing to my eye. I almost immediately felt my frazzled nerves calm down a few notches. I started to notice the newness of the morning air, and the light breeze blowing through the house. 

I'm still amazed that this happened. All because of laundry!

Are you a visual person too? 
If you have had a similar experience I would love to hear your story!

Do you showcase your kids' artwork at home?


Sandplay for the tactile kid

One of the enjoyable things about bringing up children is to watch their personalities unfold, and along with that, their preferences, inclinations and quirks.

Recently, at our Botanic Gardens outing, my gf commented that Bubbles was a very 'tactile' kid. Indeed she is!

She loves textures, and enjoys exploring different sensations with her hands and feet. At a park, while other kids are playing ball, she would prefer to touch all the different rocks, grass, leaves and branches. You would also often find her stooping down to grab gravel and soil from the ground, squishing them with her hands and letting the grains fall between her little fingers.  

When painting, she would often prefer to feel the paints on her skin than to put them on paper!

Here's her at sand play. One of her favourite activities!

Why wear shoes when they can be used for scooping sand?
Pleased as pie at finding a good-sized rock
Have you sent in your questions on maternal nutrition? Are you currently breastfeeding or planning to? I'm compiling a list of FAQs on maternal nutrition to be answered by an Obstetrician & Gynecologist. So if there's something about nutrition for breastfeeding mums that you're curious about, or a burning question that you've not gotten a reply to, here is your chance. Comment here and I'll compile a list and get the replies for you. Till the end of today! :)

A baking good time at Café Mosiac

We stumbled upon a marvelous complimentary programme for kids by Café Mosiac over the weekend. It all started with the gf craving for scones. She craved for it so much that she spent part of the morning calling up eateries that could likely serve scones at lunchtime (and take reservations). Thankfully Café Mosiac at Carlton Hotel did, and we all trooped down for their Lunch cum High Tea buffet.

Imagine how thrilled we were when we discovered they have sort of a party room for diners' kids, where fun activities are carried out. In the middle of gorging ourselves, my gf and I took our kids to a Muffin baking class while the dads continued wiping out their plates.

(Sorry about the low quality pics, I dug out an old Canon Ixus and quite forgot how to use the functions properly. I shall keep them smaller than usual here!)

A chef giving a description of ingredients to a bunch of enthusiastic kids (and some camera-toting mothers).
She interacted really well with the young ones! A natural.

The batter given to each kid was neatly portioned out into squiggy things (sorry I can't remember what they are called!). I helped guide the Bub to half-fill the muffin cases. 
(no photos as my hands were occupied)

Here is the Bub concentrating very hard putting an assortment of white chocolate chips and M&Ms into the muffin cases. Gloves were provided but they were obviously too big for her! She consciously avoided the raisins as she does not like them =P

Very pleased with her handiwork ;)

Sorry 2nd muffin on the left! Only 2 M&Ms have been accorded to you!

Baking time!

Each child got his/her own pretty box of muffins to take home - the exact ones that they 'made'!
The kids were thrilled :)

It wasn't all baking too!
We missed an earlier activity on balloon sculpting, 
but the staff generously gave the Bub this kitty cat to take home. We've named her Snowy :)

If you are looking for a family friendly place to dine on weekends, you might want to try this. My friend and I were really quite impressed with the attention given to the kids' activities. The buffet spread is pretty enjoyable too :)

Café Mosiac
Lunch Buffet only:
$42 per adult, FREE for children 5 to 10 years, $21 per child 11 to 12 years.
Sat and Sun: 12 noon - 5pm
Kids' Activities: 12.30 - 2.30pm

Psst, are you currently breastfeeding or planning to? I'm compiling a list of FAQs on maternal nutrition to be answered by an Obstetrician & Gynecologist. So if there's something about nutrition for breastfeeding mums that you're curious about, or a burning question that you've not gotten a reply to, here is your chance. Comment here and I'll compile a list and get the replies for you.

The Mask

Oh hi!

Someone should tell my mummy to do this, especially when she takes photos of herself for her blog. 
You know, she's strange and doesn't like to show her face. 
Maybe I should give her this nice big leaf I found at the Bo-nic* Gardens!
I walked around this way last Saturday. It was quite a fun thing to do.
I didn't bump into anyone too.
A very hungry caterpillar ate the leaf and left holes so that I could look through them.
I really don't know why my mummy kept laughing, do you?


Keeping Fresh

Kotex recently contacted me about reviewing their new series of panty liners - Kotex Fresh Plus Liners.

Now, I accepted this review because more than a decade ago, a gynae I consulted with recommended that panty liners should always be used to keep the V-zone dry and reduce the likelihood of getting infections. I took that advice seriously and since then, I've been a regular user and have tried a variety of brands.

For those of you who are pregnant, you might find this helpful as pregnancy creates more discharge and it is physically more difficult to clean the V-zone with a bulging tummy in the way!
I was interested in this series as the 3 types of liners it includes each has an innovative feature not seen elsewhere. Let me introduce them:

1. Kotex® Fresh Plus Ultra V-Care – 1st Ever Bacteria Control
- First liner that is tested to successfully inhibit the growth of yeast and bad bacteria, providing protection during use.
- Designed with KOTEX® Comfort-Flex to provide protection as you move.
- Allows for air circulation around your V-zone.

While this has not been clinically proven to prevent infection during use - I thought the bacteria control was an excellent feature as it is no fun getting any form of infections. Used along with good hygiene practices, this feature is an added plus.

2. Kotex® Fresh Plus Gentle Care – 1st Ever Gentle Care
Dermatologically tested with pH Balance to match body’s natural pH level, and against allergies and irritation.
- Designed with KOTEX® Comfort-Flex to provide protection as you move.
- Allows for air circulation around your V-zone.

I'm really into products that match the body's natural pH level as I'm prone to allergies. That this range has been dermatologically tested against key allergies and irritations which is great for me. Having a liner that has a pH level close to that of the body's optimum pH is useful because it signals a lower irritation potential for this range of liners.

3. Kotex® Fresh Plus Designs – 1st Ever Designs on Liners
Draws inspiration from nature for its attractive colourful designs.
- Contains mild and natural scent to help soothe your senses.
- Designed with KOTEX® Comfort-Flex to provide protection as you move.
- Allows for air circulation around your V-zone.

Finally, something fun and playful for those of us inclined to wearing pretty things :) Here's an example:

For those of you who would like to gauge the liners' thickness, here is a photo I hope will help:
I would say that it would be in the mid-range of thickness compared to other liners in the market. Not ultra-thin but also not bulky thick. They fit well and while I generally prefer thinner liners (forget about those ultra thick ones!), these Fresh Plus liners have the advantage of keeping the V-zone drier as they don't get soaked up so fast.

And if it is the visual appeal that matters, no, these do not show through skinny jeans ;)

Alright, if you want to try these out, they're available at all major supermarkets!

A Dollop Of My Home: Everyday Goodness

Thank you for sending in your photos for the A Dollop Of My Home series!
I've received lovely contributions that will be showcased every Friday.
Email me if you want to send in photos of your home :)

This week's A Dollop Of My Home post is made up of photos that impressed me with the meaning they hold for the warm-hearted Jacinta.

Her kitchen sink area brightened up by pretty blooms. Like LadyJ who was featured in an earlier A Dollop Of My Home post, she loves having  fresh flowers in the home. I like the carpentry work and the shiny backsplash!
While most people dread dishwashing (myself included), Jacinta sees this spot in her home as one where she has "enjoyed much cleaning and cleansing of her spirit". She says she has actually experienced quite a few epiphanies while washing the dishes! I am inspired by this sharing and must say that this has helped reframe my attitude towards dishwashing!

This next photo shows a little corner of Jacinta's living room where she does her devotions and reflect on God's goodness. The large space simply holds an encouraging verse, potpurri, reading materials and notebooks. This space allows her to clear her mind and to focus each day.

Thank you Jacinta for sharing your photos and thoughts!

This series has been running for 12 weeks today.
What have you enjoyed most about it?
What more would you like to see?
Are there specific homes that you would like to recommend?
I would be happy to hear your thoughts, do leave a comment or drop me a mail!

When the markets crash

In the last few days, we have seen 2 crashes in the financial markets. Once last Friday and a worse one on Monday.

As a result, Roboman had to be at work for part of our National Day, and continued to monitor the situation from home the rest of the day.

Bubbles and I hung out together in the morning, and I found myself having to explain to neighbours where my husband was on a national holiday.

That night, as I was putting the Bub to bed we had this conversation:

Where is Daddy now?
He's at the computer working my dear. 

With a knowing look, she replied:
Supermarkets crashed, Daddy make better?

Oh my Bubbles!!

Gifts from a SAHM

I've always considered myself blessed to have wonderful friends. As an icing on the cake, many of my friends have amazing abilities and talent. I enjoy being inspired and challenged by their creativity and zest for living, and am humbled by their generosity.

Last week, I received a message from a dear girlfriend:
Hi dear, I made 2 cars from cardboard for (her son's name) .... Would you like one for Bubbles?

In all honesty, I had a big ? in my mind, until her next message came with pictures of the cardboard car.

The car looks like this:

How awesome is that?!

She made 2 cars from a large cardboard box that housed an OSIM chair that she bought. Check out the design - the cut-out windows, wipers, headlights and wheels! My favourite is the pair of wing mirrors - they even have glass glints drawn on them! Her little 4-year-old son helped her paint the car as a playtime activity. 

I really don't know how this amazing friend of mine managed this as a SAHM with no help!

To top it off, this lot of cupcake 'ice-creams' sat on her kitchen counter-top the day I went to collect the car:
She made it for her son's class as they were learning about the Letter 'C'. My dear Bubbles was given one as a treat too. She enjoyed it tremendously.

Thank you R for the years of friendship we share. You're one amazing person!

Part-time Help to the rescue

My part-time cleaner's pretty shoes :)
I have been meaning to write this post for the longest time, given the number of occasions I've described both verbally and via email how I cope with housework. If you are considering hiring a part-time cleaner as we have, as opposed to having live-in help, hopefully some of what I share will be useful!

This is going to be quite a detailed, even boring, post about how I manage domestic chores in my home. Don't read it unless you need to! You've been warned.

First up, the facts:
My part-time cleaner comes in twice a week. I pay her on a weekly basis and she stays between 3.5-4 hours each time. I can honestly do with fewer hours I think, but as we really like her, I'm happy to keep to this arrangement.

Here's how I manage key aspects of housework:

1. Laundry - we have too much of it!
I always make sure that I've laundry hung up to dry the day before my cleaner arrives. On the day she comes, I throw in a load of clothes and turn on the machine. She will then take down the dry clothes to fold/iron and help to hang up the wet ones. She has since learnt to use our machine and is able to help wash a 2nd or even 3rd load of laundry if needed. If I happen to have too much clean laundry on the days she is not around, I'll just chuck them in a chest of drawers she has access to when she arrives. This way, I don't have to fold or iron any of our clothes! As we now trust her, she also puts folded/ironed clothes back into our wardrobe for us too. If you are not comfortable with that, you can simply dedicate a small table and hanging rack to have your clothes placed.

2. Kitchen - the bulk of our grease!
On the day my cleaner arrives (and, dare I say this, sometimes even the night before!), I leave everything in the sink for her to wash. I find it incredibly helpful that she washes up whatever I've used for the day's cooking as well. I will cook when the Bub naps, so my cleaner knows to clean-up only when I am done with the kitchen. Being one of those experienced cooks in her family, she sometimes gives me tips on (and possibly gets appalled by) my cooking! Once, when Bubbles woke up early from her nap and I wasn't done with dinner, she helped me cook my chicken curry! While I still need to do the dishes on the other days, having the help when she comes makes a difference to me!

3. Bathroom - why can't these things self-clean?
My cleaner cleans our bathroom after I'm done bathing the Bubs. I really appreciate this as she will help clean up any artwork mess, and rinse the the bathtub. It literally takes a load off my back for her to do this!

4. Bedding - easiest of the lot
This one is easy. I used to just place a stack of clean sheets on the bed if I want her to help change the sheets. These days, she knows when they are due for changing and would confirm I want a change before helping herself to our clean sheets to do the changing. This is great for me, as remembering when sheets need to be changed is not one of my priorities in the larger scheme of things!

5. The rest of the housework
The rest of the cleaning would be the usual - packing, wiping, vacuuming and mopping. Here, I must state that I am not fussy about how things must be done, and leave it pretty much to her. In fact, she bought some of her own cleaning equipment (we paid her of course) as she said she was more comfortable using those. I'm perfectly fine with whatever helps her do the work better! There are just a few things where I specifically asked to be done with certain regularity. As examples, Bubbles playmat needs to be wiped and flipped over once a week, and my plants watered with each visit. You can decide what you want scheduled and make it known!

There, this is what I recall from the many times I've shared this with fellow mothers :) I'll be happy to hear any other tips anyone else might have too! Let this be a sharing of best practices! =D

A Dollop Of My Home: Looking up and out

Thank you for sending in your photos for the A Dollop Of My Home series!
I've received lovely contributions that will be showcased every Friday.
Email me if you want to send in photos of your home :)

Every time Friday comes around and a post for A Dollop Of My Home is due, I can't believe how the week has flown by! I hope yours has been a good week and that a restful weekend lies ahead!

Today's photos are from Zentrek, a woman of many talents and interests. This first photo is really one after my own heart as I adore large, open bookshelves like this! It is one of her favourite places in her home, and she feels fortunate to have this space for her collection of books that used to be stored in boxes. She gets a happy feeling when she walks into this room and see the wall of books!

The deep brown of the wood with the grain showing is beautiful, and really admire how neatly she has kept the books. Love the mix of horizontal and vertical arrangements. I've already told Roboman that I want a bookshelf like this if we ever move apartments! hee

This next one shows a gorgeous living room view that she enjoys. I would love to live on a high-floor like this, with unblocked views! One can just imagine standing by the window appreciating the surroundings and breezes that come by.

The terrariam, one of the many potted plants in her home, is a lovely touch on the window frame. Like many of us living in an urban environment, she has come to appreciate little pockets of green around the house :)

Thanks Zentrek for sharing! :)

Do you read A Dollop Of My Home?
All of us have spaces in our homes that we enjoy.
Do share yours with us by emailing me your photos!


Breakfast Picnics

The Bubs and I now go for breakfast picnics regularly. 
Sometimes, lil furry friends are brought along.

We make teddy bear cheese sandwiches together each time,
packing them along with whatever else we fancy.
I love it that crumbs can be dusted off to feed the birds and ants.
 She loves to go about barefoot these days.
Once, she carefully arranged her shoes between my slippers like this :)
 Love these hair grips on her hair :)
Do you enjoy picnics too?

How to get a tot to like you

encourage her creativity,
by doing things like these:

Throwing her into a container full of her favourite doggy toys:
letting her brush your hair/face with a dishwashing brush:
It is easy to see why Bubbles like a certain Auntie Imp very much, isn't it?

Where does that come from?


Heya people, I've been in quite a state of busyness both on the work and personal front! I haven't had the time to respond to many of the emails in my inbox, and I'm so sorry about that. If you haven't heard from me, give me till this coming weekend ok?

Thank you too for your encouraging comments on my Too Big Shoes post. Am very touched and will respond soon!

Over the weekend on the way to church, Bubbles asked me 2 questions that I want to record here:

As her eyes caught the glare of the sun:
Mummy! Where does the sun come from?
Oh, God made the sun. It is a planet in the universe that is very hot!

A few moments later, pointing out the window:
Mummy! Where do buildings come from?
Huh? Err, buildings are man-made. They are built of bricks stacked up on top of each other.

Oh! Just like Bubbles' Lego!
Yes, baby!

(Wondering if the question Where do babies come from? is going to be asked soon! Uh oh!)