Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A Decade of Candlelight

Time passes so fast it's crazy. In a blink of an eye, I've been in City Harvest Church for 12 years and have celebrated TEN years of our signature Candlelight Services! From single to married to being a mother, I can't believe time just flew by!

I was feeling especially nostalgic this year so I've compiled photo collages of all the candlelight services I've attended since that first Candlelight Service in 2005, with the exception of 2008 and 2011 (likely that I got tired of taking the same thing every year haha). Watch how we evolved over the years as our handphone cameras got better and better! *laughs*


CANDLELIGHT SERVICES

2005

Our first candlelight service in our temporary premise at Expo Hall 8!
First time that we experienced the whole hall being lighted up by our candles alone =)


2006

With my beloved "before-I-was-married" cell group
(Look how young we were! Now most of us are married!)


2007

Another year at Expo with my cell group


2009

My first candlelight service with my "after-I-was-married" cell group (seen in the next photo);
I was 3 months pregnant with Girlee!


2010

Girlee's first candlelight service!


2011

Our first candlelight service in Suntec Convention Centre!
One of my favourite photos of our family
(Which I had used for our Christmas greeting)


2013

Candlelight service while heavily pregnant with Baby Boy (and hoping he would be born on boxing day but he was a day late)


2014

Baby Boy's first candlelight service!
Look how excited he is! =)
Our little family

I love this tradition and hope we'll continue it for years to come. Who knows? One day I'll be celebrating candlelight services with my grandchildren! Now won't that be fun =)

Monday, December 15, 2014

Todbi Air Motion Hipseat Carrier

I have tried several carriers this year but I have not tried a hipseat carrier. Hence when Todbi launched their range of Todbi hipseat carriers (all made in Korea) in Singapore, I was excited to give one a try!

The box that it came in is classically white with light blue accents
Todbi Air Motion Hipseat Carrier
(Comes with an instruction manual, dustbag, teething pads and air pump)

The folks at Todbi were very kind to have provided me with a cute pink one as they knew my favourite colour is pink (even though I was also ok with the other colours as I would be carrying a boy anyway). Of course when it arrived I changed my mind because I love the pink! I had always had dull black or blue carriers so pink was a nice change :D

I was very intrigued by the hipseat as I had not touched or used one before. I was very curious, wondering how it would work.

Hipseat front view
Hipseat top view
(Generous space for little butts)
I unzipped the hipseat to find a light styrofoam and an inflatable plastic thingy (which you can pump with air every time it deflates after use)

The instruction manual (yes, I'm the kind of person that reads instruction manuals!) said that the air provided greater support for your abdomen such that even mothers who had a C-section can use it with ease.

"Wow, that's cool." I thought to myself. "But I wouldn't know until I try it out!"

And so I did. Please note that you must wrap the strap around your waist and not your hips as you strap on the hipseat. Don't forget to secure with the belt to provide greater security. Unlike other carriers, hipseats are designed to be used on its own if you find bringing a full carrier out to be a hassle.

Three postions that you can wear the hipseat (left to right):
1) Face-to-face, 2) Front-facing, 3) Side

The downside of these positions is that at least one of your hands must be constantly supporting your baby so you can't be completely hands-free. Nevertheless, it is still useful for short distances when you just need to run a short errand with your baby but don't want to strap on a full carrier.

If you need to be hands-free or if baby needs to sleep, simply attach the top half of the carrier to the hipseat.

Top half of the carrier
Attach by zipping up the top and bottom (hipseat) and attaching the clasps for greater security and support

Then all you need to do it put it on like you would for an ordinary carrier.

Place baby on the seat first before putting on the shoulder straps and securing the back strap in place
(Side note: my baby loves to bite on the grey mesh in front so put a cloth there if you don't want your carrier to be dirty)

There are also 3 positions available for the full carrier: 1) Face-to-face, 2) Front-facing, 3) Back.

Front-facing (left) and back (right)

I think hipseat carriers are one of the few in the market that allows you to safely carry your baby Front-facing. Baby Boy loves this position as he can do his people-watching thing while we shop.

For the Back position, I love how the thicker waist strap was wide enough to cover all the "baby-fat" on my tummy unlike my other carriers that usually made me look like crap. Baby Boy doesn't really like this position, although I suspect it's because my hair kept sweeping into his face! Haha.

Face-to-face
(front and back view)

The most common position for all the carriers I have is the Face-to-face. Baby Boy looked quite comfortable in this position and had space to wiggle around, unlike my other carriers where he was stuck literally to me and had no space to breathe. Now that he is older and needing his space (sigh), he definitely prefers this carrier.

Close up of the hipseat (sideview);
Love that the wide belt provides more support for my hips

Compared to my other carriers, this one also had the most additional features which included a front pocket and hood to protect the baby from the sun and the rain.

I love this cute little pocket at the side for storing the hood and other little things like pacifiers
The front pocket can be unzipped and rolled up to reveal a mesh underneath for better air circulation for your sleeping baby so that he does not overheat
(Perfect for hot countries like Singapore!)
Rolled up front pocket
Hood for covering the baby's head
Love the removable buttons that allow you to remove the hood when it's not needed (unlike Ergobaby carriers)
We thought the hood could be a little bigger though as my boy doesn't like it wrapped too much over his head (he doesn't like anything over his head)
Teething pads that you can attach to the shoulder straps for your baby to bite on
(They should probably have teething pads for the front of the carrier as well cos my boy keeps biting on it!!)

As usual, I did my usual side-by-side comparison of the Todbi Air Motion Hipseat Carrier with my other carriers (see my detailed review of my Baby Bjorn & Ergobaby here).

Comparison table

Although the Todbi carrier was the most expensive, it also had the most positions and additional features; hence I think it is very value for money. I particularly love the many positions to choose from! This is going to be the carrier of choice for my travels overseas :D

GIVEAWAY!

If you're interested to try one, great news; we are giving away Todbi Air Motion Hipseat Carrier (worth S$299) to ONE lucky winner!

Sponsored by Global Outsource Solutions Pte Ltd, the exclusive distributor of Todbi

Simply follow these steps to qualify:

(1) Leave a comment on this blog post on your baby's age and why Todbi Air Motion Hipseat Carrier will be good for both baby and parent

(2) Share this blog post on your personal Facebook page and tell your friends why you think Todbi Air Motion carrier is great PLUS Tag MadPsychMum and 1 friend (keep the post public so that I can see it!)

The best answer will be picked by the folks at Todbi. Good luck! =)

Terms and Conditions of this giveaway:
a) This giveaway ends on 21th December 2014 (Sunday) and is only open to readers living in Singapore.
b) Participants must complete the entries above in order to qualify. Incomplete entries will be disqualified without notice.
c) The winner will be chosen by the sponsor and must respond within 3 days after being contacted by me otherwise another winner will be drawn.


Disclosure: A complimentary carrier was received from Global Outsource Solutions Pte Ltd for the purposes of this review and giveaway. No monetary compensation was received; all opinions are my own.

P.S: Follow My Baby Carrier Reviews as I personally put various baby carriers to the ultimate test!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Travel Tips 8: Fully Utilising Your Hotel Room Amenities

If you've stayed in a hotel before, you'll know that while having an iron, a hair dryer or even a weighing machine in the room is awesome, you don't really utilise them about 90% of the time (especially not the weighing machine after you had just eaten a large meal!).

I thought to myself, why spend so much money if I can't make full use of my room's amenities?

So here's sharing 10 ways to ensure that you use all the amenities in your hotel room to the fullest capacity! =)



1) Shower Cap + Shoes = Clean Luggage

Great for packing odd-shaped shoes like the hubby's Crocs!

Fast and easy to pack your dirty shoes in your luggage and even reuses the shower cap so that you save the environment! =)


3) Iron + Fabric Paint = DIY T-shirt

Back of a shirt that my bff and I painted for another bff when we were all younger, single and carefree. Each T-shirt had our unique personalities. I still keep mine! =)

If you have bored kids in the hotel room and don't know what to do, why not buy some fabric paint and decorate an old T-shirt any way that they like? After that, all you need to do is turn the shirt inside out and iron on it (with the iron in your room of course!) and you've got yourself a masterpiece! =)


3) Iron + Bread = Toast

Bread and aluminium
Wrap the bread in the aluminium foil as shown before applying a hot iron directly on it

I learnt this trick from this blog. A friend said she has made toast this way many times in her college hostel. I thought it was genius!


4) Ironing Board + Your Stuff = Additional Table


Brought so many stuff that you can't find a place to put it? You can consider putting light-weight items on the ironing board! It's especially nifty when you've got kids (we all know how much stuff they have!). Just make sure that they don't knock it down!


5) Weighing Machine + Luggage = Luggage Weighing Scale

Trying to see if my luggage is overweight..
(It wasn't!)
Might work better for smaller luggages rather than my huge one

This idea came to me by chance when my hand-held luggage weighing scale couldn't weigh my heavy luggage after we filled it with all our shopping loot in Bangkok. The weighing machine is not terribly accurate though. Plus another 3-5kg and it's about right.


6) Disposable Razor + Clothes = Frizz Remover

Using a disposable razor to remove the frizz on my girl's dress

I can tell you from experience that this really works! It's definitely better than trying to pluck the frizz out yourself using your fingertips.


7) Mini Sewing Kit + Pouch = Emergency Bag

My pouch that I bring everyday to work

Add other essentials like plasters, nail clipper, pills such as Panadol and charcoal, and a mini Swiss army knife and you've got yourself a handy emergency kit to bring with you everywhere! Don't ever underestimate the importance of an emergency kit. You don't know how many times my kit has saved someone who needed it desperately =)


8) Toothbrush + Lipstick = Perfect Red Lips

Disposable toothbrush and my lipstick
Using the toothbrush to prep the lips for the lipstick

Prepping your lips before applying your lipstick ensures that you get longer lasting lip colour. I had no idea till I googled for alternative uses of toothbrush =)


9) Toothpaste + Dull Jewellery = Shiny Jewellery

Disposable toothpaste that comes with the disposable toothbrush
My dull silver jewellery that required polishing

All you need to do is rub the toothpaste onto the metal and viola! It's polished like new!

The photo can't really capture it but you can already see a difference in the shininess of the chain

Here're 10 other uses of toothpaste, if you don't have jewellery to polish (remember that toothpaste cannot be used on pearls!).


10) Shampoo + Dirty Clothes = Clean Laundry

Shampoo is available in almost all hotel bathrooms

Google for alternative uses for shampoo and you will find a whole list of them! One of my favourites has to be for hand-washing dirty laundry or getting rid of stains on your clothes. When you're overseas and don't have any laundry detergent with you, this is one handy tip! =)

And there you have it! Technically, you can also follow most of these tips in your own home but why pay when all of it comes free in a hotel room? So now you know what to do when you're staying in a hotel next =)


This post is part of my series on Travel Tips for the Wanderlust Parent.
Follow me as I share my tips for planning your next family vacation


Head on over to My Travel Page for a whole list of our travel itineraries!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

I Didn't Throw It Away: a Treasure Trove of Memories

I have a box of stuff that I bring with me as my family moves from house to house. Even after I got married and moved in with the hubby, that box came with me. I even upgraded it to a nice stackable plastic box from Japan Home!

The hubby has been trying to get me to get rid of this box of memories. He complains that I force him to throw stuff away all the time but I don't do it myself. After a lot of nagging, I finally threw away some of it but for the rest, I just couldn't bear to part with them no matter how hard I tried!

Curious to find out what's in my treasure trove of memories? Me too! (The thing about "collecting" is, after a while, you forgot what you have collected!).

Here are my little treasures (in the order of how long I have kept them):

1) Schedule Books

My schedule books, one for each year since 2004

Every year since 2004, I have used a schedule book to note down my appointments. Except for the first schedule book, all of my schedule books were bought by the hubby. Each book neatly documents my life (in coloured pens for each category no less): our first dinner, our first movie, our trip to Sentosa, my babies' birth, my baby's first kick, my baby's first ultrasound, and many more! I will never forget a date because I have it documented in my books! =)

Sadly, nowadays with Google Calendar, I no longer record it the old-fashioned way. Instead, it is recorded online. Although it is still recorded, the feeling is a lot different.

2) Chocolate Boxes (and Other Gifts from the Hubby)

My momento from the days when the hubby and I were dating

In those days when we were a poor fresh graduate with a low-paying first job and student loans to pay (hubby) and a poorer university student (me), dining at Fish & Co was considered a luxury for us (nowadays that's considered a normal lunch or dinner). Hence, every box of expensive chocolates that the hubby got for me (and you know how much I love chocolate!), I kept the box!

I have kept these chocolate boxes for the last 6-10 years and refused to throw them away because they remind me of the days of small beginning when we had nothing and yet we were happy and thankful. I must not forget where we came from and how far God has brought us when we put our faith in Him.

3) My First Wallet

Pink and zebra print Roxy wallet that I used in JC
(Keychain given to me by my JC bff)

I know I have a lot of wallets when I was in Primary and Secondary school but this was the first one I bought with my own money, which I absolutely love! Till this day, the black, white and pink combo is still my favourite colour combination of all time!

I have had this wallet for the last 15 years because it is now part of my collection of all the wallets I have used since then (and I tend to use a wallet for more than 5 years). And the quality is so good that it can still be used! Maybe one day my girl will inherit it =)

4) Stamps & Other Gifts

Stamps given to me by family and friends, a bottle of seeds and a container of stars given to me by various people

We were very poor when I was young so every little gift I received from my friends, I treasured them all (did I mention that my love language is gift-giving? I think you can tell..).

I have kept these for the last 16-18 years because they remind me of my secondary school days. And I think I'll continue to keep them for years to come!

5) Handmade Fabric Necklace

Handmade fabric necklace with the words "sky dragon" stitched on it

Years ago when I just hit puberty at 11 years old, my dad brought my whole family to Yunnan, China. It was a major trip that included my mum, 2 siblings, grandmother, aunt and uncle. I remembered climbing up a hill and seeing the locals selling all sorts of handmade goods. The daddy bought this for me as a souvenir because I liked the bright red colour. I have kept it for the last 20 years ever since!

6) Cute Paper Bags

These are adorable paper bags that were very popular when I was a child

I don't know who gave these to me or even why I kept them for so long but these paper bags have been with me since I was in Primary school. I just think that they are cute and since they have been with me for so long, I just didn't have the heart to throw them out. I think I have kept them for the last 20 years at least!

7) Barbie, Pooh & a Girl's Brigade Bookmark

One of my favourite McDonald's Pooh toy with purchase of a value meal
Barbie and my Girl's Brigade bear bookmark

This Barbie is not my first Barbie; it's not even mine! It was my sister's and she ended up giving it to me because she hated dolls (true story). My first and only Barbie got her head ripped off because I thought you could fling the Barbie round and round by grabbing her by her hair. Apparently not. And since then I never had another Barbie because my mum probably didn't want any other Barbies to end up like my first one. So even though this is technically not mine, I kept it for the last 16 years, shoes and all, hoping that one day I can pass it down to my girl (although by then she'll probably think this is too simple and unfashionable for her..).

8) Rattle Bear

My first soft toy: a pink rattle bear the size of my hand

It has lost its formal glory, looking nothing like it did when it left the toy factory. The hubby told me to get rid of this ugly thing but I refused. Why, this ugly bear is 31 years old! Yup, it's as old as me!

My mother loves to get rid of all my things but even she did not get rid of this bear. The aunt (her sister), bought it for her first newborn niece (me!) when she came to visit my mum at the hospital. I have had it ever since! I love it and hope I can keep it forever =)

You just can't take the secret hoarder out of me! *grin*

What do you collect for years and have not thrown away?


Tomorrow, Adeline from Growing with the Tans will show you some of the things she has hoarded over the years, and hopefully, her husband won't make her throw them away after he reads the post! She is extremely sentimental about everything and anything, and would be living in a house packed with "treasures" if she could. Adeline is currently curating a Keepsake Box for her son, Noah, and hopes that he will appreciate the items she has collected and kept for him, when he is older.








This post is part of a blog train hosted by Agatha from Green Issues by Agy


Follow the daily posts on this blog train and read about stories behind the things we have kept for many years and why we didn't throw them away.
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