Saturday, October 31, 2015


It has been 2 years since I last made a layout for Vera to document her birth story. Ever since, my stash of papers have been sitting in the folder for the longest time.

Tell me how unfair is it ? Xav has 2.5 albums full of layouts which  I did for him while Vera got the one and only piece ! I told myself that I have to re-ignite my scrapbooking engine again.

I have some mummy friends who asked me how did I get started with scrapbooking and if it's going to burn a big hole in the pocket ? I have to say that the materials do not come cheap. Hence, I only buy my materials when the local scrapbooking stores (LSS) are running promotions.

The collection is a never ending as there will be new collection coming up each time. What I did do to prevent myself from over buying :
- Self Control, buy only materials that you need
- Buy only designs that are suitable for use for most occasions and themes.

I started with a die cut machine and a set of alphabet dies which I bought from Krafer's Paradise. My collection started to grow over the years when the stores have really good deals and there are pages in Facebook, SBM II, where crafters at times will de-stashed at low prices.

This time round, I started to scrap up some photos that were still lying under my computer table and WITHOUT using the die cut machine. Here's something you can do without having a die cut machine.

There are some materials you might need to do up your layout:
- Acid free coloured or pattern cardstocks or thematic stacks I show below. It saves up a lot of time when comes to decorating the layout with these nicely printed cardstocks of different designs in the pack.

- Tape glue
- Foam dots (if you want to make the photograph or chipboard sticker "stand out")
- Punchers if you have some. Taobao sells some decent punchers at really affordable prices.

 Circle foam dots ( left) & Martha Steward border punch (Right)

- Paper cutter
- Chipboard stickers

The green polka dot butterfly chipboard sticker

- Alphabet thickers
- Flatback stick on pearls

Flatback pearlies on the butterfly

- Washi tapes 
- Rub ons (just like tattoos)
- Photos

1. Plan a theme of what you would like to do up. I started with a family theme in mind since it's the family photo we had from the Camping Theme Mini Photoshoot Session with Orange Studios last year.

I punched the edge of two pieces of cardstocks to create a border and had the photo sticked on it. The colours of the cardstock is to match the colours of the ready designed family themed cardstock.

Materials used for the layout below :
- Coloured / Patterned cardstocks
- "Love" ticket decorative paper
- Foam dots
- Chipboard stickers
- Flatback pearls
- Tape glue

Layout #1

The second layout which I did was for Xav's class photograph. This took me less than 10mins to complete !

Materials used :
- Patterned cardstock (Grade School Stack as shown earlier in the post)
- Chipboard stickers
- Washi tape
- "Friends" sticker
- Tape glue

Layout #2

The third layout was for our recent Coney Island cycling trip.

Layout #3

I bought these MT limited edition tapes two months ago from the MT Fair 2015. Perfect designs for the theme !

MT Washi Tapes

Materials used :

- Coloured cardstock
- Washi tapes
- Foam dots
- Chipboard stickers
- Rub ons
- Tape glue

Rub ons (Adventure Seeker wordings)

Here's how I control my spending :
- Buy only when they have sales and promotions. Normally I frequent Paper Market, Made with Love, Maple TreeHouse , Spotlight and Krafer's Paradise. These are the few local scrapbooking stores.
- Online shopping (you be surprised their stuff can be much cheaper than the retail stores here)
- Buy at destash prices in scrapbooking pages or join in sprees.
- Taobao shopping king or queen if you are one ? No , am not. But my friend did helped me get some stuffs from there.

So who says you need a die cut machine to start scrapbooking or spend a bomb at one go to get the materials? You can try to start making up one during your MeTime to de-stress. Trust me that it can be quite therapeutic. Hope you find the above tips useful and may it help to kickstart you on your scrapbooking journey.

Thank you for reading and if you would like to stay tune for future updates, do follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram !

Disclaimer : This is NOT a sponsored post in anyway.


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Let's get around San Francisco - Day 3

Third day morning was planned to tour around the city via the Cable car.  We made our way to Fisherman's Wharf and started to look around for the tram station. We did not know that they were in fact known as "Cable cars" until we found the boarding point and took the Powell/Mason Line.

Photo taken with Canon Power Shot SX530 HS

Photo taken with Canon Power Shot SX530 HS

Photo taken with Canon Power Shot SX530 HS

These cable cars move by gripping an underground cable that is in constant motion and powered by an engine located in the central powerhouse.

Photo taken with Canon Power Shot SX530 HS

There will be a "grip man" on board the cable car operating the grip and ringing the bell. Another man who is the conductor will take the far and help to oversee other things on board.

To change the direction of the cable car, the "Grip man" would need to push it around manually. 

Photo taken with Canon Power Shot SX530 HS

We chose to sit at the exterior to enjoy the scenery though the cold wind were blowing against our faces while during the return trip, dear chose to sit in the interior as it was much warmer.

Photo taken with Canon Power Shot SX530 HS

Standing on the footsteps on either side were allowed too but you would have to hold on to the pole in front of you. The super friendly Xav was waving to the patrons on the other cable car whenever one passed by.

Photo taken with Canon Power Shot SX530 HS

Up and down numerous steep slopes, moving around the city in a different mode, can be pretty thrilling.

Photo taken with Canon Power Shot SX530 HS

The houses and cars neatly parked in a row.

Photo taken with Canon Power Shot SX530 HS

Photo taken with Canon Power Shot SX530 HS

Vicinity of the Union Square where general shopping districts, hotels as well as theatres are located.

Photo taken with Canon Power Shot SX530 HS

Zooming in from afar which you can trust Canon Power Shot SX530 HS to do it.  It is engineered for EXCEPTIONAL long-range photography with a 50x zoom lens.

Part of the steep slopes
(Photo taken with Canon Power Shot SX530 HS)

Photo taken with Canon Power Shot SX530 HS

The Goddess of Victory statue on top of Dewey Monument, Union Square
(Photo taken with Canon Power Shot SX530 HS)

We strolled around the area before we made our way to one of the cable car stations as planned initially, that we would take from the beginning, right to the other end and back.

During busy times, queues could be pretty long. We walked several blocks down to try our luck in hopping onto a cable car with lesser people. Spot for this yellow painted poles or look out for any forming queues.

Some tips if you are planning for a cable car ride :
1. Bring along a windbreaker as it can be chilly.
2. Keep your belongings on your laps.
3. Watch the safety of the child at all times.
4. If you are visiting in July, do catch their annual cable car bell ringing contest !

5. Do check out the Cable Car Museum if you would like to learn more about the heritage.

Photo taken with Canon Power Shot SX530 HS

Right after the Cable Car ride, we went for a quick walk around Fisherman's wharf, around the vicinity of Jefferson where the cluster of seafood stalls were located. It was jam packed with tourists, generally a typical tourist attraction! You will spot this iconic signboard (on the right) if you are coming to this area.

Photo taken with Canon Power Shot SX530 HS

Photo taken with Canon Power Shot SX530 HS

The stalls sold a variety of fresh and succulent seafood in a cup. Be sure to give them a try !

Photo taken with Canon Power Shot SX530 HS

Photo taken with Canon Power Shot SX530 HS

Photo taken with Canon Power Shot SX530 HS

Time was as usual pretty tight on schedule as we need to start driving towards Las Vegas. It's pack and eat on the go again! So what did we missed out this time !

We totally missed eating Joe's Crab Shack, I totally missed it ! And did not get to try the sourdough too as it's not the kids' type of menu. On top of that I think Xav will not appreciate them. But if you do want to try, go for Boudin Bakery where it sells the best San Francisco sourdough bread and they do have self- guided bakery tour too as per what I read online.

One of the coolest tourist activities which the little ones can sit in too ! Too bad we did not have the chance to try this out. Go sight-seeing in this GPS friendly and storytelling car around at your own pace.

GoCar Tour 
(Photo taken with Canon Power Shot SX530 HS)

And travel around the city on the Segways too ! But your must be a minimum 12 years of age and weigh at least 100 pounds and not in excess of 260 pounds.

Segway Tours
(Photo taken with Canon Power Shot SX530 HS)

Am sure the kids would love to go onboard the City Sight-seeing Hop On Hop Off bus !

City Sight-seeing Hop On Hop Off
(Photo taken with Canon Power Shot SX530 HS)

Our last destination to visit before we left for Las Vegas, we drove to Marina Boulevard where you see a lot of families having their picnic with the totally awesome , most scenic and breath-taking view of the Golden Gate Bridge as the backdrop.

Golden Gate Bridge
(Photo taken with Canon Power Shot SX530 HS)

It was really freezing with the strong and cold wind blowing into our faces but how can we just leave without taking any pictures !

Photo taken with Canon Power Shot SX530 HS

Applying my knowledge from Canon Imaging Academy, Fast Track Workshop in capturing a jump shot.

Photo taken with Canon Power Shot SX530 HS

I did spotted the Transamerica Pyramid from afar during the cable car ride and here I chanced upon it while we were in the car. That's about it for our stay in San Francisco, making out the most of what we could do given the tight timeline. 

Transamerica Pyramid from afar
(Photo taken with Canon Power Shot SX530 HS)

Anyway, just a note, am not sure if all hotels are the same. Both the hotels we stayed during the first two days, do not provide with necessities like toothbrush and toothpaste. Not an issue for us as I always have a habit of bringing our own during overseas trip.

If you have missed out on our previous posts, here are the links to bring you back :
Pre Trip Preparation : Our Travel Essentials
Day 1 - Disneyland Theme Park in Anaheim, California
Day 2 - Alcatraz Island - The Rock

Thank you for reading and if you would like to stay tune for future updates, do follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram !

Quickfix - Sliced Red Grouper Fish Soup with mixed vegetables

Running out of ideas on what soup to cook for lunch? Recently, my appetite was pretty bad. I can go without meals for the whole day without feeling hungry. Hence, I decided to cook something simple and light without having to eat out. The best dish that can be cooked will be one pot meal which requires minimal washing as well. This is perfect for lazy days.

Quite similar if you realise with the previous post on sliced fish soup or mixed vegetables soup which I posted before, the trick is change the fish and the type of vegetables to cook with to create a somewhat the same but different soup.

- Red Grouper (sliced)
- leeks (sliced)
- tomatoes (cut into wedges)
- siken tofu (cubed)
- shimeiji mushrooms
- parsley (optional)
- soy sauce
- pepper
- bonito stock powder (1 stick)
- water (1500 ml)

I got some stock powder from Isetan. I always use them when we eat steamboat at home. Surprisingly, naturally sweet tasting without overwhelming the taste buds. Alternatively ,you can also prepare the stock with ikan bilis. Verdict was the soup was light and tasty, a hit with the kids too.

If you don't want to go with rice, try pouring over a bowl of cooked mee-sua too !

Here are other similar quickfixes for soups:
Chicken Soup with Vegetables
Sliced Fish Soup
Tomato Egg Drop Soup

My favourite kitchen tools :
Garlic Press
Daiso Egg Timer

Thank you for reading and if you would like to stay tune for future updates, do follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram !

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Baked Cheesy Portobello Mushrooms with Prawns

I documented this dish about 2 years ago with just plain cheese. On and off, I think I did baked once a while. Today, the feeling of just wanted to cook something just came by and I went to shop for all the ingredients needed for lunch and dinner. It's a EAT AT HOME Day otherwise it will be "What shall we eat for dinner ?" yet again at Seletar Mall.

Steps and ingredients are the same as the post which I provided the link with from above, just a little different from the usual, today I added in diced prawns and top it together with the cheese.

You might want to try out different ingredients, perhaps adding in scallops , shredded crab meat, diced squid to make some cheesy seafood toppings.

I actually overlooked that  I am having this in the oven and went to attend to Vera. Ended up with a plate of over-baked Portobello mushrooms  but it was still a hit ! Nothing was left as usual. How encouraging when Vera took her bite and told me "yum yum !" For little kids, do cut the mushrooms up into bite size to prevent choking.

Baking time takes about 25 mins or you may wish to monitor and remove it once the cheese turns golden brown.

Thank you for reading and if you have enjoyed reading my posts, do follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram !

Saturday, October 24, 2015

The dramatic 25 & 26 months old

The toddler stage, a stage with loads of fun , loads of cries and loads of dramatic moments. This is the  drama-mama of  mine at her 25 & 26 months. She starts to say "Heylo , Hi !"

Crying or Laughing ? Drama-mama @ 26 months

Pretending to cry

Poke like this to get deeper dimples

Vera's killer stare

See where did I hid the mini pau ?

The aunty version of Vera

This picture here may earn her some sympathy points with her tears streaming and yet she can still give her pout lol ! I know am bad but I can't help taking a picture of how she reacted to after being scolded by me.

And not forgetting her beautiful smiles.


Which girl doesn't love to doll up ? Her daddy dearest got her, her first set of Hello Kitty accessories.

Vainpot @ 25 months

The picture with korkor below is indeed a priceless shot. She seems to be telling "eeehhh korkor, please go and have your shower before kissing me!"

But I tell you she is really sweet, everyday without fail, when she hears me opening the door from outside, she knows that Koror is back with me and she will run to the door, greet us excitedly "hi korkor, hi mummy !" and jumps up and down happily, giving us her biggest hug.

She will do the same to her daddy dearest too !

She loves to put on my sunnies whenever she sees me wearing my pair.

I am secretly hoping that she can be an avid reader like Xav. Hence, am slowly introducing her picture books. She loves these big books and extremely hearts this particular copy. She flips herself when I am busy but she will come "mummy, I want read ! Book!"

Vera tends to look at the illustrations, the expressions of the people and animals. I realized that she tends to feel for that character and tried to act out

Vera & her giant book

One of the books which I loaned from the library with really nice illustrations. I believe in exposing young readers with a lot of pictures. It just like showing them the world around them using pictures.

She loves to identify body parts now. Any of your little one into this now ? I'm teaching her mandarin more than English. A total opposite of how I taught Xav. She takes it better and seems to be more bilingual as compared to Xav at this age.

She loves give a little poke in our belly button, gave a little "owww" and if you echoed back "ouch", she will give a little laugh and gave a kiss on our belly buttons.

She can identify : head, hair, ears, eyes, eyelash, nose , mouth, hands, legs, teeth and tongue.
She can say : hair, eye, nose, maw (mouth), bearbear (belly)

Her top favourite will be eating. Anytime she sees food, she will shout in delight "yam yam ! I want eat, I want eat ! " Her chanting goes on until food is given to her.

Don't think of feeding her if she decides to feed herself. You will never have a chance to touch her spoon. Perhaps this is the difference between someone who loves to eat and someone who don't love to eat. Both Xav and Vera are totally in contrast in this aspect.

On good days, she can self feed herself with really minimal mess. Maybe it's a girl's thing that they will tend to be less messy ? She can usually do without a bib and she understands when we gave her instructions like :
- keep your head over the bowl/plate so that  the food will not drop out of the plate
- hold onto the plate
she will try her best to carry out the instructions. But this mummy here may sound like a broken recorder when you hear my constant reminders to her.

Self-feeding @ 25months

Happy with her corns
Her favourite food will be the one you hear most often : Bread / Mian Bao (In Chinese) , apple, melon (usually refers to water melon), cake, nana (banana), vege (vegetable).

She loves piggy rides ! At times, she will just plop onto my back and tell me "mummy, kiki, kiki" (meaning piggy ride)

She really loves animals ! Especially dogs ! To the extent when we were out one day, she saw a dog and told me " I want dog !" and wanted me to chase after the dog so that she can touch it. She will make the sound of the following : quack, meow, woof, roar , neigh, tweet, baa baa, pawoo,

She can pronounce : Bear, Duck, Dog, Cat, Fish, Bird, Monkey, Crab.

She is also nuts about crabs ! She will make me walk to the section in NTUC, where there used to be live crabs where the seafood section is and got upset initially when they removed the crabs. Now, she takes it better and will tell me "No more crabs."

At the Tze Char stalls, she never failed to ask us to bring her to the tank and "disturb" the crabs. Since she is so into crabs, I actually saw this hand painting idea on pinterest and got her to paint hers to make a crab.

Hi 5 !
In fact, the thought of documenting down the date of her masterpieces came into my mind. Hence, I used Dear Lizzie's date stamp and made a stamp on the painting. Good way to document down the size of Vera's palm at her 26 months too.
Vera's handprints, dated 6/10/2015 @26 months

Vera's hand painting of a Crab

As for transportation, she will tell us : car, train, truck, basii (bus). I find it really amusing with her basii as I highly think that she is trying to say that in mandarin which is known as "ba shi"

She greets us : Daddy, Mummy, Korkor, Porpor, Yi (yiyi), Ma mah (grandmother), Gonggong, Gugu, Ang-ker (Uncle), E-na (Edna cousin)

In terms of speech, am sure she is not ahead nor on par with peers of her same age. I'm trying to manage my time and engage her more by singing and talking more to her. Reason being, the GP told me that she has signs of speech delay. I am still keeping her under my own observation. Hoping to see things get better by the time she is at 30 months old.

I look forward for more milestones to be unlocked by Vera but at the same time, not looking forward for her to grow up so fast.

Stay healthy and keep your smiles always with you my little gal. Another 7 more days to turn 27 months. =)

Thank you for reading and if you have enjoyed reading my posts, do follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram !  













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