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Book Review: Spark Joy 24 February, 2017

Posted by dear1dear2 in Around the House, Dear2, Slice of Life.
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I couldn’t manage to borrow a copy of the acclaimed KonMarie book “The Life-Changing Method of Tidying Up” but found a copy of “”Spark Joy” from the National Library instead.  This book is indeed inspirational too!

Whether as a FTWM or a SAHM, I have often feel that our house is always overly cluttered.  Our 3-room HDB flat often seems overwhelmed with soooo many things that every once in a while I’ll buay tahan to the max and complain to Dear1 that I want to do a spring clean.  Indeed, at every new milestone, like when just before Baby1 was born and the “maternal instinct to clean out everything” suddenly kicked in; and same thing when just before Baby2 was born; when we chased Baby1 and Baby2 out from our bedroom to their own children’s room; or when the storeroom seems to be filled to the brim every now and then.  After reading , I found out that this urge to “spring clean” is actually more philosophical than purely just spring clean!

Basically, a tidy house:

  • Reflects your tidy life, and your tidy character.
  • Makes you understand what you really want (ie your material needs and wants)
  • Makes you ponder on what you want in life too. “Tidying orders the mind, while cleaning purifies it”.
  • Makes cleaning easier.  When there’s less things in the house, faster cleaning means more time for play.
  • Makes finding things easier. Because every item has it’s own place.
  • Of course means you spend more wisely since you’ll be cautious of what you add to the house.
  • Leaves only items that “spark joy” in your house.  If you see items that spark joy everywhere in your house, naturally you’ll feel happier.
  • Makes you discard all the items that don’t spark joy for you. When these dreaded items are out of sight, they’re out-of-mind, so there’s nothing to spark unjoy.
  • Enables better air flow.  When there’s no stagnant qi and better flow, everyone’s supposed to feel better!

Reading the book, it seems there’s already a large part that I have employed in my own life all this while (perhaps I can be a consultant just like KonMarie, giving lessons to other people, writing books, all merely passing on to other people what I do on a daily basis.  ;p).

1) Tidy by Category

Whenever I do spring cleaning, clothes is always the first category to be axed.  I often noticed that when my wardrobe is much neater, aka when I can better sight the clothes that I’ll wear, and sell to karang kuni those that I won’t wear anymore, this alone is very therapeutic. Or rather, the sense of over whelmness will absolve very fast.

KonMarie also advocates clearing the clothes first, followed by books, papers then komono (miscellaneous).  Her rule of thumb is, only keep those that “spark joy”.  This is where I come short, because very often, you tend to keep certain clothes that are barely worn, for “just in case”.  KonMarie says that this is a no-no, for if that time really comes (ask y0urself, really got?), you can always find a substitute from your existing pile.  Also, because it’s an item that “sparks joy”, you feel happy during this once-in-a-while usage too.

Clearing papers has been part of our habits too (but one that Dear1 and I only discovered in recent years.  Perhaps this is part of us maturing and gaining more life experience over the years?)  Like her, we have decided to discard most papers nowadays.

KonMarie also says always to tidy by category, and never by location, ie tidy bedroom first, then living room next.  You run the risk of transferring your garbage from one room to the other if you do that!

2) Keep Similar Items Together

This is also a rule of thumb when I keep things at home. Batteries and cables in 1 location, spares toiletries in 1 location.  Sometimes when Dear1 asks for a random item, I can usually retrieve it easily even though I can’t remember it’s exact location most of the time.  Because similar items are stored together, the random item will usually be found where it’s peers are!

3) Tidy Komono and Sentimental Items Last

The rule is, you tidy the easy ones first, and leave the tricky ones to the last.  It’s easier to settle all the easier clothes, books and papers category first; this gives you more confidence, more peace of mind, and more time to handle the supposedly more time-consuming ones.  For komono, aka miscellaneous items, every one may have different categories, for instance kitchen tools, hobbies (sewing, robots, art and craft etc), so tackle each sub-category one by one.  Again, the rule of thumb, discard those that do not spark joy, and keep only those that spark joy.

4) Kitchen as Ease of Cleaning

KonMarie refutes the common conception that the kitchen should be designed for ease of use.  Throw this concept out of the window!

Ever since we have our own house, my philosophy is to store all condiments, pots and pans and as much as everything within closed doors.  Finally there is someone who agrees that this is the better method, as compared to having a “ease of use” method.  While having to open and close cupboard doors and drawers frequently when cooking every meal, I find that a neat kitchen stove is more appealing than an oily-looking one. And KonMarie aptly coins this as the “ease of cleaning”.  Wah, what a revelation!

5) Fold and Stack Clothes

We converted the deep Toyogo drawers to shallow Ikea drawers when Baby2 came along, and started to store the clothes in horizontal rows rather in vertical clothes so that all the clothes are easily visible, and easy to extract.  A neater wardrobe is so pleasing to the eye!

“Spark Joy” also sheds a couple other points that are new to me:

1) The Annual Spring Clean is to Clean, not Tidy

How often have I felt overwhelmed and extremely exhausted whenever I do spring cleaning.  Because I have been doing it the wrong way!

KonMarie says cleaning and tidying are not the same thing (ermm, so obvious, but yet not so obvious, right?).  So when you do Spring Cleaning, means you only clean.  But tidying first then clean is definitely much more efficient and less daunting, so please always tidy first!

2) Praise your Spark Joy Items, and Bid Goodbye to the Rest

KonMarie really appreciates all her items.  For those that spark joy and remain, she’ll praise them for bringing beauty to her, or being a great helper, or for bringing joy to her life (isn’t this what all of us should do, being appreciative to what you have in life?).  For those that she decides to discard, she’ll thank them for being part of her life once, or for having served it’s function, and keep these out of her life forever (again, isn’t this reminiscing the good times before and being grateful, but resolve to remove them when they become an obstacle?).

3) Dorn your House

KonMarie must be a super feminine lady; she dorns her house with many pretty things and stores all her things in nice pretty boxes, even all the underwear. I think this must be their Japanese culture where Japanese craft is always so delicate and pretty.  And when you see many pretty things, you’ll naturally feel happier too?  She arranges all the bras in color code, with the brighter ones in front and the darker ones at the back.  For underwear, each and every piece is folded and wrapped like a candy, exposing the front detailed laces.  Seems very elaborate, but perhaps seeing all your under garments arranged so prettily and colorfully really brightens your day, and wearing these cherished pieces in the inner wear really makes you feel cherished and confident too?

4) Compare

KonMarie says the best way to know if something sparks joy is to compare. When we cling on to too many material possessions, this tip becomes so useful!  All these pyjamas are favourites, but between this and that, which one sparks more joy?  Or when there are too many art pieces by Baby1, choose only the top 3 to keep.

5) It has to come from your Heart

If someone wants to tidy, it has to come from within.  In the book, the example is, you can’t get someone to tidy if he doesn’t want to, because he simply does not have your same perspective that things are not in order.  On this, I have to acknowledge that I finally understand why Dear1 does not always see the need to do spring cleaning, because things did not seem out of place from his perspective….

“Spark Joy” has been very enlightening. I’ll be trying to incorporate some of these ideas in our home, and in our life.  It’s also especially heartening to know that my minimalist personality and lifestyle actually have been recognized by some to be beneficial.  :)

– Dear2

What are Your Values? 18 January, 2017

Posted by dear1dear2 in Dear2, Dollars & Cents, Slice of Life.
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I am still in search of myself, and when I came across a parenting book that says, “a parent is a role model who inculcates her values to her kids”, I am stumped – what are my values?

I had not prepared myself as a SAHM.  It sure looked easy – stay home and look after the kids.   But 3 months on, I am still asking myself, what value add have I added to the family?

I heave a big sigh of relief now that Baby1’s pencil-holding grip is finally corrected.  Dear1 and I had observed this some years back, and we thought that she’ll correct herself along the way.  But when she still holds the pencil awkwardly 2 months before starting Primary School, I had to rectify this problem lest it becomes a perpetual habit.

Baby1 and Baby2 are much happier now too.  Both of them get to spend one-on-one time with me every day now when the other sibling is in school, and sulks when the sibling is dismissed from school.  A good problem, one that I should pay attention to.

Dear1 is happier too, now that he does not have to listen to my daily wimps of “which hawker centre to eat for dinner tonight?”.

Despite these improvements, there has been numerous emotional and mental downs while I try to become the super SAHM that I think others are.  Chinese New Year is just next weekend, but I still cannot bring myself to set my 2017 New Year Resolutions. *groan*

So I thought, instead of doing up a grand master plan, maybe I’ll start with something small first.  So, let’s start with Values.

Hmm…… Values….

For one, Dear1 and I try to advocate “no processed foods”.  This seems to be going down pretty well with Baby1 and Baby2, when every time I cook sausages or fishballs, they’ll chant to me the numerous occasions when the grannies cooked these. It is pretty easy to steer clear of these – just don’t buy them.  But for chips and fast food and ice creams, Dear1 and I have to constantly remind ourselves that “once in a while” must really mean “once in a while” and not every other day/ week/ month. We want our girls to grow up eating healthy, so these food habits really must start young.

For the second, I must really stop thinking that food courts or restaurants are alternative foods.  How often have I complained that food courts are “so oily, so fried, so not nice, yet not cheap”!  And restaurants are “so salty, so noisy, stinks the clothes, and so not cheap”!  Food courts and restaurants are really so not value for money.  (I think the concept of value of money has been practiced by Dear1 and myself all the while, so Baby1 and Baby2 should be pretty used to this concept?)  Conversely, hawker centres are yummy and value for money!  And of course, home-cooked are the best in value-for-nutrition.

Talking about queues, Singaporeans soooo like to queue!  “If you see a queue, it’s probably nice!”  But not us – Dear1 and I don’t quite subscribe to this.  Long queue may mean inefficiencies, not necessarily equate to food yummi-ness.  So one of my indicator of nice food is to do a visual sweep of what others are eating, heehee!

Dear1 and I are quite contrarians – we don’t chase after the latest trends like what most people do.  Take for instance Food Panda and Deliveroo and all the food deliveries aps out there. It’s so convenient – branded foods are just a call away.  But food is meant to be enjoyed, so what’s the point of having a spread of cold, soggy, too soft or too hard branded food in front of me?

Values.  I think I need to appreciate myself more.  Improvements will probably not happen in leaps and bounds for me from a FTWM to a SAHM, because I may really had been doing a pretty good job juggling work and family then.  Our financial circumstances have changed, but since I was already pretty frugal from young, these values have not changed; perhaps only more stringent now.

I need to trust myself more.  Or perhaps don’t fret or worry too much.  If there’s a problem, use my brainy thinking hat and think out a solution, and resolve the issue, TA-DA!  Or if my tweeny brain is stuck, I can seek for inspirations from my loving Dear1 who is always there to support me.

– Dear2

K-Drama and Us 31 December, 2016

Posted by dear1dear2 in Dear1, For Him For Her, Moving Pictures.
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Today is the last day of 2016. What an apt time to write a year-in-review post for our new found hobby – K-Drama! Haha…

K-Dramas have been all the rage these year and we’ve definitely also watched a few K-Dramas on and off. However, we’ve never really been hooked. Until this year.

Before we review the dramas that we’ve watched this year, let’s first take a step back and recap the dramas that we’ve watch prior to this year.

Back in the school days, I recall Dear2 being hooked on Winter Sonata. She must have re-watched it several times, but I did not watch the drama with her. I also recall Dear2 watching Autumn in My Heart, Summer Scent, Stairway to Heaven, The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince, Jewel in the Palace.

Dramas that both of us watched together included All In, Temptation of Wife, My Love Patzzi, My Lovely Samsoon, Dr. Jin, Witch Yoo Hee, and most recently Good Doctor.

After watching all those dramas, we just didn’t get the irresistible urge to join the craze. It was more of a sporadic interest, whatever drama advert that caught our attention.

Well, that was exactly what happened earlier this year, when I heard about the good reviews about Descendants of the Sun over the radio. We decided to give it a shot. After all, catching a good K-Drama is infinitely better than watching the crap on Mediacorp.

But there was just one problem. DOTS was still airing in Korea, how were we going to watch it? All the previous dramas were watched either on local broadcast TV or DVDs that we bought.

After a quick search online, we realized that K-Dramas can be streamed online quite readily with English subs. It was also then that Dear2’s colleague introduced her to viu. That must have opened the floodgates.

There was no turning back. We were captivated by DOTS and we watched one show after another throughout the year. Even Japan Trip planning and Hong Kong Trip planning were temporarily shelved so that we could catch up on K-Dramas. Haha…

Dear2 and I are typically not trend followers. We would catch on to it only if we evaluate it to be something that we genuinely like. I guess that makes us late bloomers to the K-Drama trend, and it is really only because K-Dramas are becoming that good.

So, after watching DOTS, we watched it again. Yup, again. Next, Dear2 wanted to see more of Song Joong-ki, so we watched Innocent Man. After that we decided to catch up on some well reviewed K-Dramas and settled on My Love from the Star. That started the craze for Kim Soo-hyun, and we followed up with The Producers, Moon Embracing the Sun, and Dream High. In fact, Moon Embracing the Sun OST became my defacto music track at my office.

After that, I wanted to see more of IU, so we watched Infinity Challenge Music Festival 2015. That got us hooked on Infinity Challenge and we watched many many more episodes of it. We also liked Yoo Jae Suk and G-Dragon from the Music Festival and watched a few more episodes of variety shows such as Please Take Care of My Refrigerator and Happy Together. We also forayed into some Running Man episodes but it wasn’t as entertaining as Infinity Challenge. Some time during this, we re-watched My Love from the Star.

As luck would have it, IU would feature in Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo which was conceptually similar to 步步惊心 (which happened to be another drama that Dear2 enjoyed a lot). So there’s no way we would miss this.

After this, I was on a business trip and Doctors was available on KrisWorld, so I watched around 10 episodes of it in-flight. Upon my return, Dear2 caught up and we finished the series.

Next up was Love in the Moonlight and both of us were enchanted by Park Bo-gum. We watched our first 1 Night 2 Days because of him, and right now, we are catching up on Reply 1988. Concurrently, we are watching The Legend of the Blue Sea, but it has been quite boring so far, don’t know if we’ll be able to finish watching it.

Phew~ What a year it had been. Dear2 and I have been swept by K-Drama fever, and it may well continue into next year. I think it is nice that we share a common hobby so we look forward to the late nights catching up dramas together after the children go to bed. We also have common topics to talk about, be it reading dramabeans, discussing the storylines, condemning local productions, moon-eyeing Korean idols. Haha…

Gotta go, Dear2 is waiting for me to watch Reply 1988 ep 8.


@#$%^& In, @#$%^& Out 16 November, 2016

Posted by dear1dear2 in Baby, Dear2, Learning Training, Slice of Life.
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I don’t know about you, but my 4yo and 6yo seem to pick up what mummy and papa say quite well. And sometimes they remember words from last time too.  Omg.

They say don’t talk down to kids, and don’t lie to kids.  Dear1 and I have been consciously trying to do that since Baby1 was born, and we’ve maintained the same stance to Baby2 too.  We always try our best to talk the same level with them, and we rack our heads to warp the unmentionables into factual statements so as to avoid telling any white lies. But at the end of a tired day, or when you are in a rush, tempers flare, your own emotions run high and @#$%^& comes out from your mouth unknowingly. Don’t think kids don’t pick these up, because they do.  Before you know it, they internalise this, and @#$%^& comes out from their mouths too some time later.  OMG!

The ‘experts’ say children are like sponges, so read to them, play with them, bring them outdoors and explore, teach them new languages, sign them up for abacus and creative thinking and programming and music and singing and arts and science and math.  But few experts emphasize the importance of how adults should watch ourselves when we interact with children.  I say adults because I mean ALL adults, not just the parents.  You, mummy and daddy are definitely at the front of the line, but same goes for the grandparents and teachers and aunties in school and stall owners and bus driver and the auntie who chat up with us on the bus.  Basically, anybody who comes into interaction with children.

Children are like sponges – they take in what they see and hear, and translate these into their own protocol.

As a FTWM, I frequently excused myself when Baby1 and Baby2 misbehaved. Half of myself and my time was fully committed to work, 9 hours for sleeping and recharging my drained-out cells, and the remaining 3 hours to Dear1 and the 2 kids.  Do housework, coach spelling and homework and piano practice, cuddle everyone, cook.  I didn’t want to waste any precious time to be the black face and correct the kids’ misbehavior.

The moment of truth came during our 2 weeks holiday in Japan earlier this May.  Before the end of the first week, I was super maddening angry with both kids.  For the first time in 4 years since Baby2 was born, we spent the whole 24 hours together everyday with both kids, and I realised to my utter astonishment that they have soooooooo many bad habits.  Where did they learn these from!?  I knew there were bad habits, but why are there so many!?  How will they grow up from here?  I was crushed.

After a painful cut, I am now a SAHM.   There are various competency levels for SAHMs, and I am still pondering on the kind that I want myself to be.  But I know for sure that apart from imparting knowledge to my 2 girls (I mean, I have to make good use of my 15 years of education right?  What better way than to be an educator to my own 2 girls), I want to teach them manners and respect and gratitude as well as other life skills.

And while doing all that, I need to constantly keep myself in check, in my words, in my actions and how I carry myself in front of them.  Gambatte, mummy!

– Dear2

Zootopia Try Everything 7 October, 2016

Posted by dear1dear2 in Dear2, Slice of Life.
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When Zootopia was released, I’d thought that was just another entertaining animation.  There are so many movie animations for kids these days, and one more seemed another senseless one.  But after we watched it, hey, it seemed to be pretty meaningful – small little bunny who aspired to do BIG things, and eventually succeeded.  Simple idea but presented in a zoo-zoo way, nice!

And recently when Baby1 came home with the lyrics for her year-end concert, WOW, the lyrics for <Try Everything> seemed very meaningful!

I messed up tonight, I lost another fight
I still mess up but I’ll just start again
I keep falling down, I keep on hitting the ground
I always get up now to see what’s next

Birds don’t just fly, they fall down and get up
Nobody learns without getting it wrong

I won’t give up, no I won’t give in
‘Til I reach the end and then I’ll start again
No I won’t leave, I wanna try everything
I wanna try even though I could fail
I won’t give up, no I won’t give in
‘Til I reach the end and then I’ll start again
No, I won’t leave, I wanna try everything
I wanna try even though I could fail

Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh
Try everything
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh
Try everything
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh
Try everything
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh

Look how far you’ve come, you filled your heart with love
Baby you’ve done enough, take a deep breath
Don’t beat yourself up, don’t need to run so fast
Sometimes we come last, but we did our best

I won’t give up, no I won’t give in
‘Til I reach the end and then I’ll start again
No I won’t leave, I wanna try everything
I wanna try even though I could fail
I won’t give up, no I won’t give in
‘Til I reach the end and then I’ll start again
No I won’t leave, I wanna try everything
I wanna try even though I could fail

I’ll keep on making those new mistakes
I’ll keep on making them every day
Those new mistakes

Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh
Try everything
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh
Try everything
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh
Try everything
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh

Try everything

These lyrics tugged at my heart strings, especially when they will be sang by the K2 kids who will be ‘graduating’ from the childcare centre at the end of the year, moving on to Primary School next year.  For a 6-year old who has been in a childcare facility for the past 4 years, she may not fully comprehend the scale of what ‘Primary School’ means, but for us parents, we all know very well that this will be the beginning of formal education, of chasing that academic results, of coming to the society, of really encountering peer pressure.

As parents, what kind of parents are we, and what kind of parents do we want ourselves to be? There are soooooooo many parenting resources and articles and hearsay nowadays.  During our parents times, parenting advice mostly came from their Da Gu’s Third Aunt, or from San Jie handling her own 4 children, or from the next-door neighbor, or from the aunties at the vegetable stall.  If you had a “how far away is the sun from earth” question, your dad will probably ask you to “go library and find the answer”, or “ask your teacher”.  Today, we’ll just quickly google the answer, or for the indirect questions, pose it on social media to seek mass help. Apart from these help that we actively seek, there are lots of content explosion which some inevitably lands into our line of sight too.  The will and wisdom of the modern parent needs to be so much stronger now!

Try everything. Of course we won’t be asking Baby1 to try everything.  Why try drugs, smoking, gambling, alcohol, promiscuous sex, if we’ve already know that these are wrong. For other things, we’ve been through the education system, so we know that you’ve-better-study-hard-to-have-a-good-life, and we know that you-need-to-do-this-to-achieve-that.  Sounds right?

When Joseph Schooling won the first Olympic Gold for Singapore, everyone was surprised. No Singaporean had achieved such big goals before, so I’m pretty sure Joseph’s parents did not have a prior glamorous Olympics record themselves. But try did Joseph, and win did he.

As parents, we are continually learning, and continually applying. We just want the best for our children, (albeit the definition of ‘best’ defers from person to person), and we just want our children to grow up well.

I am very nervous about Primary One, because that’s a whole wide world out there.  We will not be able to shelter Baby1 24/7, and she will need to learn independence and navigate herself among the masses.  Apart from courageously try everything and not be afraid to fall (like in the lyrics), we also want to instill in her, knowing what is right and wrong, and to always do the right thing, and learn when to say ‘No’.

For the ‘graduating’ K2s, take heart! Birds don’t just fly, they fall down and get up.  Arm yourself with lots of courage and prepare to embrace the world!  Mummies and daddies will always be behind you!

– Dear2


Just for Thoughts 3 October, 2016

Posted by dear1dear2 in Dear2, Slice of Life.
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Recently the kids borrowed a book titled from the library, and money is defined as “what you exchange with time and skills.”

Money = what you exchange with time and skills.  How fitting is this description!

As a working mum, I sacrificed the bulk of my day times, for 5 days a week, working hard in the office.  Not physically toiling, but the drain of brain cells, and the eyes barely able to maintain opened, every work day, is no exaggeration.  Every week day, all I want to do when I reached home in the evening, is to quickly pack the kids to bed, shower, and hit for the beds.  For everything else, can we leave these for the weekends?

I was engineering trained, but had been working in non-engineering fields since graduation. For the past 9.5 years in the same company, I gained much experience in my work, and was able to put these knowledge and skills efficiently in my work.

So, yes, I gained money through the exchange of my time and skills, but that was about it.  There was no love nor passion in what I do, and I was finding it harder and harder to explain to my kids on what I do.

How do you tell your kids what you do, when you don’t actually believe in what you do?

How do you encourage your kids to be serious in their learning, when you were an all As student but ended up disillusioned and passionless in your work?

Since young, our parents and uncles and aunts liked to tell us to “study hard, so that next time can have a good job”.  But “good job” in those days meant an office job, as compared to manual work. For our parents’ generation, the baby-boomers generation, pushing their children to tertiary education was their goal and pride.  Once your child has the paper qualifications, his/her future is secured.

But for the majority of us born in late 70s to 80s, 99.99% of us do not become doctors or lawyers.  With the paper qualifications which our parents painstakingly acquired for us, we became office workers. Our parents were satisfied, because we did not have to take on the manual work like what they had suffered in those days.  We bring money home.  We formed our own families.  We pushed our children to take up many enrichment courses for fear that they fall behind their peers.  We spend what we earned so as to keep up the societal norms.  We did not realise that we were already in the rat chase, constantly chasing after that piece of cheese.

In this pursuit, how do you respond to your child when they ask you “why need to study hard?”

“So that you become a useful person” is the kind of response that I would like to tell Baby1 and Baby2.

“Like mummy and papa” is what I would like to add too.

In order to nurture and inspire our kids, let us parents lead by example by leading fulfilling lives ourselves.  Of course, the ideal situation is a job which you love and which pays a lot. To achieve the latter, you’d better be good in what you do!

– Dear2

Minimalist 28 September, 2016

Posted by dear1dear2 in Dear2, Dollars & Cents, Shop till you drop, Slice of Life.
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It’s fascinating to know how much clothes we’ve actually got, every time when I clean out the house.

Every now and then, I’ll want to buy new clothes.  Perhaps more tee-shirts to wear at home.  Perhaps a couple more polo tees for my weekend wear.  Hmm, the kids should get more clothes too; we definitely need to go Tung Chung Outlets get some kids wear during our Hong Kong holiday next month!

But halt!  During the ‘Spring Cleaning’ this past week, I’ve uncovered mannnnnnnny items which we’ve long forgotten about!  Really out-of-sight, out-of-mind, haiz.

First and foremost, 3 new pairs of army white socks still pristine in their packaging.   Dear1 was contemplating of making a special visit to e-mart to replenish these.  Thanks to procrastination, we haven’t actually got down to e-mart before these 3 pairs were uncovered, sitting snugly in the shoe cabinet some more!

From our wardrobe, I found:

  • 3 packs of facial cotton.  OMG, since when have I been using facial cotton!?  I’ve got no idea, but it seems such a waste to discard this.
  • 2 home tees, not worn before. Omg, why!?
  • 4 pajamas.  Hmm… didn’t realise that I’ve got this many.  And Dear1 always keep asking me to buy more, grr…
  • x number of nightie. Urgh, Dear1, we’ve really got to stop buying more night wear for me.
  • Dear1’s underwear, all looks new.  Omg, to think I always ask him if he need new ones every time we are at a Departmental Store.
  • 4 bottles of hair serum, and 1 bottle of hair conditioner.  OMG.

Around the house, I also found:

  • A pack of kitchen towels, not opened yet.
  • 2 floor mats which look brand new.
  • Ah yes, I didn’t forget the new bath towels which we got earlier at a sale – so, there’s still 2 of them.
  • Oh, here are the torchlights, we could use them for travelling, no need to buy torchlights again
  • Hmm… 2 cute pillow cases.  I can use these to make the bolster case for Baby2!

I did major cleaning of the ‘insides’ this past week, de-cluttering and throwing out the things which we REALLY do not need.  I don’t think Dear1 and I like to buy things; compared to some people, I think we are really not fashionable nor have the material need to want to possess branded goods or the latest tech gadget.

But over the years, we’ve seem to have accumulate quite some bulk to the house. I tend to buy things when they are on sale, so like the hair serum and extra towels, these were either got at a good discount, or when we needed to make up the minimum amount to qualify for the discount.  Unknowingly, many of these items became ‘spares’, sitting in the cupboard waiting for their use turn, sometimes idling there for a couple of years until the next spring clean, which they are eventually discarded as they’ve expired, opps!

I want to go on a minimalist lifestyle.  Recently I came across this clip of a Japanese guy who advocates this.  The furniture in his house looks like they’re all bought from Ikea – the compact and cheap type.  He digitized all his photos and music albums and books, converting his entire hobby collection to a mere hard disk.  And he’s only got like 15 pieces of clothing, including 5 underwear and 5 pairs of socks!?

The minimalist lifestyle is not about having less; it’s about knowing what you want.  Don’t we all have a bag too many, x number pairs of shoes, work clothes, glam clothes, weekend clothes, home clothes, PJs, but still think we need more clothes?  And I won’t even go into the collector’s items; I personally do not believe in collecting anything, lest they just accumulate dust (and which I need to clean).

Singapore throws out xx tonnes of waste every day.  I can’t even imagine where these trash goes to.

  • Know what you need (Is this item really what you need? Before buying, confirm that we REALLY don’t already have one sitting somewhere in the house?)
  • Reduce
  • Reuse

I shall try to follow these mandates, and set an example to Baby1 and Baby2 too.  :)

– Dear2

School Dental Centre 21 September, 2016

Posted by dear1dear2 in Baby, Dear2, Sports & Health.
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When Baby1 was in N1, we were very concerned that the childcare centre that she attended did not seem too keen to teach the 3 year olds on oral care. “If childcare will start to teach the children self independence, like eating on their own, keeping their own bags etc, shouldn’t teeth brushing be taught early?  Plus the kids have their meals and milk in the centre.  Plus shouldn’t good oral practice starts from small!?”  We tried to persuade the centre to start inculcating teeth brushing after meals, but the centre only acceded to train the kids to rinse their mouths, and only after lunch before bath. Duh.

Dear1 and I truly believed that good oral care should start young, so we made sure that Baby1 brushes her teeth every morning since then.  Night brushing was challenging, as we counted on her dozing off and having a good night/ uninterrupted sleep while drinking her bedtime feed.  At both the grandparents’ places, we prepared her tooth brush and mug, and constantly reminded the grandparents to brush their teeth, but gramps being gramps, they seemed to encounter different types of difficulties in enforcing the brushing of teeth, haiz.

The last part of oral care have to be regular visits to the dentist.  I am one who is okay with dentist visits.  Of course it’s usually uncomfortable, and always bloody and painful, but I like it when the dentist always removes all the hard plague, something that I could never prevent from ‘growing’ despite my rigorous daily brushes.  Dear1 is more squeamish about dental visits.  Something about the “eeeeeeeh……… zzzzzzzhh…..” of the machinery sounds that Dear1 couldn’t stand, (or simply a childhood fear which is surprisingly very common among many adults?  keke).

Dear1 suggested that we bring the kids along when we go for our (supposedly) yearly dental check-up.  I said “Are you sure?” and “Am I really up to it?”  One: What if Dear1 freak out during his visit?  Two: What if I freaked out during MY visit.  Luckily at this point, I chanced upon a mummy’s blog about the School Dental Centre.  This mummy’s eldest child is about the same age as Baby1, so I was very curious to see how other mummies tackle this issue (which we have to start SOON!).

The School Dental Centre is located in HPB Building in SGH.  It seems to be providing dental services to school-going children, but pre-schoolers can visit them too.  We made an appointment for Baby1, which the earliest Saturday slot was a couple of months later.  Since this is just our first introduction to dentists for her, we were in no hurry.  In fact, a few weeks leading up to the BIG DAY, we borrowed a couple of books relating to dental visits from the library.  Through the picture books, we preempted Baby1 of what’s to happen during the visit.

On the actual day, true enough, Baby1 was scared to the max.  The Dentist was all nice and friendly.  There were many other kids around but that didn’t make Baby1 any braver.  Nor the many colorful cartoon stickers on the walls or equipment liven the atmosphere any more.  Baby1 wouldn’t sit on the chair no matter how we coaxed (or threatened, when all patience and encouragement failed).  She finally relented when the Dentist allowed her to sit on Papa while Papa sits on the chair, phew.

The Dentist did a very swift check (lest Baby1 decides to back down).  Luckily her teeth was in very good condition, which we all kept praising her (and fueling her pride) afterwards and continually even till now, keke. The Dentist also showed her the proper techniques for brushing teeth (seems like the protocol).  Before we left, the Dentist whipped out a box of stickers for Baby1 to choose.  That was the WOW.  For braving the ordeal, all the kids get to bring home a sticker!  How encouraging!  With the permission of the Dentist, Baby1 took 2 stickers, one for herself and one for Baby2 who had been silently watching the whole process with us.  Dentist said Baby2 should come too (though she was only 2 yo then).  We made two appointments for both girls approximately one year later.

Since then, we have been to the School Dental Centre for three times for the kids’ yearly checks.  Next year, Baby1 can no longer come here, as she’ll be in Primary School which the school will take over the yearly dental check ups. For Baby2, she’s still very much looking forward to the next year’s visit, because she’ll get a sticker after the visit!  Keke!

We highly recommend the School Dental Centre for kids.  Baby1’s going to be 7 yo next year, and she’s still having her entire set of her baby teeth, plus 3 molars sprouting at the back.  All kudos to the nice dental experiences (frankly, I think the reason why many adults still have phobia of dentist, must surely be due to bad childhood experiences, hush hush), she’s proud of her pearlies and always takes care to brush them well.  And it’s only $9 per visit (for Singaporeans), so do book an appointment for your kid soon!

– Dear2