Little Lessons: Learning about patience

give our children room to grow

Vera, my eldest, my sweetest (only) daughter. She is loving, funny, and easy to love, in every way. But at times, the things she does (or doesn’t do) really get to me.

I’m over at A Pancake Princess today sharing more about my “losing-it” episode with my little girl, and the lesson I learnt from it – a lesson on patience.

Do hop over to have a read.

This is Little Lessons #23. Grab our badge and link up your little lessons / reflections / learning activities below!

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Giveaway: Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages of Children

Children’s Day is coming up this week, and I’m really excited that Focus on the Family is kindly sponsoring this giveaway of a copy of The 5 Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman!

5 love languages of children

This book has been a great resource for us, and I’ve shared a few lessons I learnt from it before. (Read them here and here.)

Today, I’m going to share 3 of my favourite tips (from the book!) on how to love your child if his /her love language is acts of service.

1. Make a favourite snack when your child is having a difficult day. – JJ’s love language is acts of service, and he’s always reminding me to make him his favourite chocolate brownies whenever he’s feeling upset or just needs some reassurance.

2. Instead of telling your younger children to go to bed, pick them up and gently carry them and tuck them in their blankets.

3. Assist your child in fixing a favourite broken toy or bicycle. Simply taking the time to repair it communicates love to a child whose love language is acts of service.

I hope these give you some ideas to start this special week on a right (and loving) note.

And…It’s giveaway time!

One reader will walk away with a copy of The Five Love Languages of Children. Just enter the giveaway by following the steps in the Rafflecopter app below.

** Remember to leave your email address when commenting on this post!**

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms & conditions:
– Contest ends 5 Oct, Sunday, 11:59pm
– Open to Singapore residents only
– The prize has to be picked up from Focus on the Family’s office at 9 Bishan Place #08-03 Junction 8 Office Tower
Singapore 579837. Mailing is possible at an additional charge of $2.
– The winner will be notified by email. If he/she does not reply within 3 days, we reserve the right to re-select a winner.

PS. Subscribe to Focus on the Family’s newsletter now to receive a free family activity pack! :)

Weekend wishes and musings on marriage

“Marriage is not simply the luck of the draw, or something that we get involved in which just unfolds before us like a long movie. Good marriage, like good individual lives or good art, are conscious creations. They are made.” – Kevin and Marilyn Ryan

I’ve been thinking about marriage and relationships lately. More specifically, on how much intentional effort and time it takes to achieve a deep understanding of each other, and to grow in intimacy and trust.

I confess that with three little ones, it’s easy to let the kids take over and steal the show. (And to let marriage subtly slide into second place.) Because their voices are so loud and their needs so immediate, everything about them comes first.

But what’s urgent may not always coincide with what’s important. And marriage is one of those things that can easily be shoved to a corner, while we’re busy fighting fires or changing poopy diapers.

I need to remember to place my marriage as priority, and to place my husband as priority. It comes second to none, except perhaps our personal relationship with God.

The weekends are usually busy and full of different activities, commitments.  But I pray that this weekend, you’ll make time to savour some sweet moments with your spouse, recollect some good memories perhaps, or even a funny incident. Hold hands, even as the little ones tug at your shirt. Share with him what’s been on your heart. Be ready to listen too.

Be humble, quick to forgive, and slow to anger.

Have a sweet and loving weekend, friends.

Captivating Cavalia

The hubby and I took off (almost like wild horses) from our usual parenting duties to catch Cavalia, and we did not regret a thing.

Cavalia is much more than just a circus show. Hailed as an “equestrian spectacular,” it is a mesmerising display of acrobatics, dance, theatrical effects, combined with a touching tale of friendship between man and horse.

Cavalia

cavalia an enchanting experience

Featuring a “moving” backdrop via a 60-metre-wide giant screen, and a colossal 50-metre-wide stage, all housed under the largest touring tent in the world, Cavalia is truly a performance in a class of its own. It is a treat for all the senses, and I felt like I was being immersed in a different world – a world where dreams, humans and horses collide in one beautifully-choreographed dance.

The stars of the show are the 50 elegant and majestic horses. The opening scene was of one horse galloping across the stage, the longest stage I’ve ever seen at any live show (by the way), to allow for the horses’ magnificence and grace to be displayed in freedom and full glory.

I was struck by the love and respect shown for the horses. After each act and performance, the acrobats could be seen patting and stroking the horses, as if praise and affirmation is as important to a horse as it is to a human being.

Cavalia has everything you would want in a performance. Emotion, friendship, camaraderie, fun, energy, comedy, and beauty. I also loved the way the cast engaged us as an audience. They asked for claps and cheers (not that they needed to ask, really), inviting us into their inner circle to learn to appreciate the beauty and majesty of their trusty equestrian friends.

Breathtaking scenes

Of course, there were the daredevil stunts – Roman riding (one rider standing astride two horses), riding upside down, standing on one leg, even jumping over hurdles at top speed. All these served to elicit squeals, wows and gasps from the enthralled audience.

I enjoyed the aerial acts. The female aerialists were graceful and perfect in timing and accuracy. It was breath-taking to watch, and I couldn’t help but hold onto my seat wondering if a slight miscalculation would occur. Obviously, and thankfully, none ever did.

The other scene I loved was that featuring the horse whisperer. With a deft change in movement, a skip in his gait perhaps, the horses got their cue and changed their formation or stopped and posed. It was amazing how trusting they were of him, and him of them. He was so comfortable and confident amidst these unbridled horses running around him. The relationship, and resulting performance, was magical to behold.

A tale of friendship between man and horse

I have only one word to sum up Cavalia. Captivating.

Cavalia in Singapore will have its last performance under the White Theatre Tent at Bayfront Avenue (next to Marina Bay Sands) on October 5, 2014. Be sure to catch it! Tickets are available at Sistic.

We received media invites to catch Cavalia. All opinions expressed are mine. Photo credit: Cavalia

Little Lessons: Discovering your child’s talents and gifts

Vera was busy painting last Sunday.

rainbow painting

When I asked her about her artwork, she said:

“Someone squeezed this black thing here (which looks like an ink jar to me…) and a rainbow shoots out!”

I was a little surprised at how she got the idea of squirting a rainbow out from a little black pot. But I just stood back and let her do her thing. Occasionally, I glanced over just to see how she’s going.

After she was done, I asked her what were the two things jumping on the rainbow. (I honestly thought they were monkeys…) She said they were water droplets since a rainbow is formed from droplets in the air, and light shining through them. (She had just been learning about the water cycle at school.)

I just stood and examined the finished piece. We’ve long realised that she’s interested in art, and loves to doodle and draw on her own. Obviously since the days of Frozen, everything has to do with princesses and castles and snow and kings and queens. But occasionally, she goes and draws something out of the blue – like this one.

She loves rainbows. She always has. (Maybe it has something to do with Aunty Waijia’s A Taste of Rainbow book that she read long ago.)

I remember thinking sometime back about discovering each child’s interests and area of giftings – yes it might seem a little young to jump to conclusions about where these may lie, but I think what they naturally like to do, and also seem to excel at, give us some handles to go by.

In all honesty, I don’t think I’ve done much to hone her interest in art. I’ve pretty much provided the paints, different media for her to paint on, and sometimes we paint twigs, leaves, and other little things that we pick from the park. Yes we also love to do simple crafts at home. But that’s about it. I think it’s time to pick up some art books from the library.

At some point in the near future, I’d love to bring her to take up some formal art lessons, but for now I am enjoying watching her express her ideas and personality through her paintings and drawings. It’s raw, childlike and gives me a window into her thoughts and feelings too. It’s also a joy to behold, every new piece is like a little surprise. I hope she continues to love and express herself through art.

This is Little Lessons #22, which runs on the blog every Thursday. Do grab our badge and link up your little lessons / reflections / learning activities below!

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Life as a WAHM

I’m sharing snippets about my journey as a WAHM over at the Focus on the Family blog today.

Most days, I hardly have the time to run to the toilet, much less sit and type an email. Then I feel like a crazy juggler, with more balls up in the air than I can handle. So what’s left to do but to multi-task, drop a few less important things like doing groceries or searching for a lost piece of Lego, grab a coffee (somehow this never gets dropped) and tell myself that I’ll get better at this.

Eventually.

Hop over and have a laugh…I mean, read.

Review: An hour of fun and delight at Bubble Magic

It was a laughter-inducing hour of bubbles, light, music, shadow-play and comedy, thanks to the dynamic duo behind Bubble Magic.

bubbles on a rubber band

Different contraptions were used to produce different bubbles – long bubbles, floaty bubbles, and even a bubble tunnel that a train can run into.

magical huge bubbles

What the kids loved about the show, apart from the bubbles, were the “two funny men,” as JJ calls them. He kept chuckling and giggling to himself, which was quite a sight to watch too because I’ve never seen him react like this at a show.

Vera too. Later on, I asked her what’s her favourite part of the show, and she said when the two men used the hose to spray gas at each other’s faces, which are just some of a whole bag of funnies that they delivered with gusto and deadpan looks, no less. (For young kids, slapstick works most of the time.)

Quick, fan the bubbles!

The bubble show shows just how amazing and limitless imagination can be, when allowed to experiment and run wild that is. Imagine a show conjured up entirely by bubbles, accompanied by the clever use of lighting and colour to create drama and character, as well as different wacky music to add to the comic relief. Oh yes, let’s not forget the dance moves too. Hilarious.

Bubble Magic: Pep Bou’s Wonderful World of Bubbles runs till 14 September 2014. Tickets are available at SISTIC.

Disclaimer: We were given three tickets to watch Bubble Magic for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.

Fearful of getting stalked? Relax, it’s just FOLR

Sponsored

Mention location tracking app or anything that allows my location to be tracked in real-time, and immediately I find myself conjuring up scary thoughts about stalkers, kidnappers, and other bad scary things.

So when I chanced upon Folr, a location-tracking application that gives real-time information on the whereabouts of family members and loved ones that you “follow”, it took me a while to get past my mental block.

But as I pondered about the usefulness of the app, I realised that technology can also be used to draw people closer, and to aid us in daily life. A few scenarios popped into my mind:

- When I want to locate my baby-sitter who’s due to be home with the kids soon.

For peace of mind in knowing that my granny’s helper who’s bringing granny to her hospital check-up is at the right place.

When I’m wondering what time the hubby will be home, so that dinner is ready (and still warm) when he gets home.

Folr screenshots

I’ve been playing around with the app, and find it easy to use and pretty intuitive overall. The most important/useful thing is, it allows users to decide whether to accept / deny the request to follow. That means users have complete autonomy.

Since no one can force your child (or spouse for that matter) to be followed, you will have to help your followee understand that it’s for mutual benefit and convenience. I reckon that the relationship first needs to be marked by trust and openness as well.

Another useful feature is that the followee can choose not to be followed during certain timeslots in a day, or on certain days. So for instance, if you’re travelling and prefer to have your GPS turned off. Or if you’re shopping for a surprise gift for your spouse, then obviously you wouldn’t want to be tracked at that moment in time. (See time and day settings in the second pic above)

But what about the safety of my loved ones? What if my phone gets hijacked by someone else?

The good news is, there is a web interface in the making that will allow for forced logoff from the web. There, you will be able to delete all your followings while keeping the app running, so that you can still see the location of your phone.

Will I be able to estimate when my spouse or child is going to arrive home from work or school?

This feature isn’t available now, but ETA (estimated time of arrival) and speed of movement are advanced features that will likely be built into the next version of the app.

~~~

I think working parents who have babysitters at home will find this app handy. Schools and other organisations can also use the app to mark student or group member attendance at events!

If you’re keen to have a peace of mind from knowing where your loved ones are, here are 3 simple steps to take:

  1. Download Folr FOR FREE from the Google Play Store or App Store
  2. Activate location-based services for Folr in your devices’ “Settings”.
  3. Open Folr to create an account and login.

Repeat as necessary for as many other devices as you would like to track. Thereafter, you can start adding group members, or starting a new group.

Do note that the FOLR app is currently free, and allows you to check the current location of your followees. If you need to view their detailed location history, the yearly subscription fee is S$38.98.

Do give it a shot, and let me know what you think!

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