Reblog: A day in the life of a Waldorf kid

The Waldorf playgroup on Thursdays morning at West Coast Steiner School starts off like this…
A small playground in the school yard
All classroon signs are beautifully handmade or drawn
We are greeted with a different scent every week – lavender, rose, etc…
All toys are made from natural materials such as wood, logs, ceramics…
Wooden instruments…
Wool and knitted soft toys…
cloth and handmade dolls…
Parents who attend playgroup are required to bring a piece of fruit each to cut them up and share it during morning tea
Playgroup is not only a place to play, but a place to bond and get lots of cuddles
How cool is this little guy’s toenails? LOL
One of our favourite moments of the day, bread making!
Our lovely Playgroup Coordinator, who’s been absolutely amazing at guiding us through playgroup with the Waldorf philosophy
Each parent is also given a task to do for the day
It’s a tradition to light a candle to give thanks…
Morning tea time outside the class garden. Table and stools all made out of wooden logs. How awesome and nature friendly!
Our share of fruits for morning tea… yums!
Little NAPB enjoying her fruits “kampung” style! 😉
 Mommy R & Little R
Thank you for being such an inspiration to me to want to be a super mom
Kids get to take part in daily chores to their interest and abilities
All in all, the Waldorf playgroup is an ideal place for parents to grow together with their children, it’s about connecting with your child as a whole. It’s very cosy and family orientated, compared to a Montessori playgroup, where independent play is more encouraged. Waldorf keeps the children’s mind opened and promotes willingness to learn through their own initiatives, which is what I’m hoping for Big Warrior. We’re already seeing some positive changes in Big Warrior’s attitude towards socialising, hopefully she will continue to blossom and flourish as time goes by.
*This was written in 2014. Fast forward 2016, Big Warrior’s been with the Waldorf School for almost 2 years. And the difference we’ve seen in her is just amazing. She may not be learning her ABCs and 123s in school at the moment, and won’t be till she’s in Year 1, but the little things that been cultivated into her as a person is undeniably valuable. Learning to share her load with house chores, being a team player, showing kindness and empathy, reaping the harvest that she helped sow, etc… these are things that the common public education do not put emphasis on. However, these are the important building block of being a successful human being. I’ve never pushed her to learn academically, but even without me (or the school) teaching her, she’s already well-versed with her alphabets and can count up to 30, which to me is a big surprise because she did her own learning through listening and observing.
I will be forever grateful to have stumble upon a Waldorf Steiner school for my children. My only hope now is that they will cherish their blessings being a Waldorf child and growing up without unnecessary social pressure.
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Reblog: A Wonderful Family Getaway: Lilly Pilly Cottage Farm Stay @Gidgegannup, Western Australia

I can’t believe it’s been 2 years since we’ve been to Lilly Pilly! We’re seriously missing this little quaint cottage, and fingers crossed we’ll be able to make another trip there before Nemo is born. Anyway, here’s a recap from our wonderful experience there is 2014.
Nestled in a secluded farmland among towering Jarrah trees, the Lilly Pilly Cottage embodies the spirit of an ultimate Australian Bushland experience.
This homely, fully self contained little cottage has three comfortable cozy bedrooms, catering up to eight people. Since there were only five of us (one being a toddler), we had plenty of extra space to, well, waste. It’s a pity that in the midst of all the excitement, I actually forgot to take pictures of the rooms, but I did manage to take one of the lounge, which is equipped with a fireplace! How awesome is that?
Within the hundred-acre land, only thirty-five acre is utilised as a farm, an organic vineyard and two cottages; the rest of the sixty-five acres are kept in its natural form of Australian bushland. In the farm you will find a flock of sheep, some horses, cows, alpacas, and chickens. Patrons are encouraged to join in during feeding time every morning and evening. That particular activity quickly became Little Miss NAPB’s favourite time at the farm getaway.

 

 

 

 

 

“This is how you feed the chickens, daddy!”

Say “ahhhhhhhh”

 

“You gotta open your mouth before eating, Baa Baa Sheep”

Poor Baa Baa Sheep getting impatient while Little Miss Perfectionist attempts to sort out the hay, LOL

Such a proud moment for us that Little Miss NAPB was brave enough to be in such proximity with the animals

Being the farmhand of the day also meant that Little Miss NAPB had to help out with raking and transferring of the haystack prior to feeding the cow and bull.
A huff and a puff… Stacking the hay sure is hard work!

And some random shots of the cottage’s surrounding…

The organic vineyard
 
Overall we had an awesome and memorable experience at the cottage, and would absolutely love to return again. But perhaps not till sometime later in the future. It’s not exactly cheap at roughly AUD$550 for a two night stay, but I guess if the accommodation was shared between two to three families, it would definitely be worth it. Of course, if you were to stay for a week, the price per night would be much cheaper as well.

Thank you, Farmer Ray, for your generous hospitality. We will definitely meet again!
And thank you Goong Goong and Popo for the treat to this amazing getaway!
Lilly Pilly Cottage
Gidgegannup, Western Australia

Have a blessed Easter, everyone!

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Big Warrior proudly holding her gigantic Easter egg painting, and her Easter egg basket, complete with a hand-made chick and an egg. I can’t even begin to express how thankful I am that she’s attending a Waldorf school. The educators there make everything so meaningful and precious. They take the time to explain to the children the meaning and origins of Easter. It’s not about egg hunting, or chocolate bunnies, their school is never superficial in that sense. It’s about rebirth and new life. So instead of making the kids go on an egg hunt, they plant new seeds and bulbs around their school yard, and give blessings on new life. Each new plant carries new life from within, and slowly and steadily, it grows onto full blossoms in Spring. Doesn’t that sound much more meaningful than just gobbling down chocolate eggs?

And then there are the yummy hot cross buns, a symbol that represents the rock which was rolled across the opening of the cave in which Christ’s body was laid. The recipe for the buns are essentially Sultanas mixed into a bread dough, which relays the bread and wine aspect of the Last Supper. I’m not a Christian, nor am I a religious person, so I’ve always known Easter to be just a day for chocolate binging. LOL. But now knowing what I know, even I can begin to appreciate the beautiful meaning behind Easter.

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If anyone is keen on making some hot cross bun, here’s a recipe from Collette Leenman.

HOT CROSS BUNS

1 teaspoon dry yeast

1 cup slightly warm milk

1 beaten egg

1 teaspoon mixed spice

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 cups fine wholemeal flour

50g butter

50g brown sugar

1 cup sultanas

Stir the yeast into the milk and add the egg and 2 tablespoon flour. Mix together and cover with a damp tea towel. Leave in a warm place for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, rub butter into the flour and mix in the sugar, spices and sultanas. Combine this with the yeast mixture and knead well, adding a little more flour if necessary to form a soft dough. Leave in warm place, covered with a damp tea towel for an hour.

Grease an oven tray and divide dough up into buns to place on tray. Leave room between each as they should nearly double in size when baked. Leave for another 10 minutes in a warm place. Make crosses on buns using a white flour and cold water mixture of thick glue consistency, which can be applied with an icing forcer. Bake at 190 degrees C for 15-20 minutes. While still hot, brush with a glaze made from 2 tablespoons of white sugar dissolved in 2 tablespoon boiling water. These buns are best eaten hot.

Overall, it was a wonderful long weekend for us. We’re grateful for friends who’ve made effort to keep us entertained and fed while Duke’s away for work. They’ve helped keep me sane for longer. 🙂

And not forgetting a picture of Little Warrior (gotta be fair, hey), waiting patiently outside my shower while I took a quick buffalo rinse. I must say she did look quite comfortable there, don’t you think? LOL.

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Ahhh, what can I say, I’m blessed to have such wonderful children to keep me entertained.

 

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Reblog: Dear Children, let’s talk about men

Dear children,
The time has come where we welcome in a brand new year, which means we’ve survived another year as parent and children. Hopefully, we all have become slightly wiser too. It’s been a wonderful journey being your mother, and I hope I will continue to watch you both grow and blossom into beautiful young women.
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So, before we end 2015, I just wanted to talk to you a little bit about men. 20 years from now, you will probably meet someone. Someone who will sweep you off your feet, someone who will take your breath away. And then before I know it, you’d probably be telling me you want to get married, which comes to the first point I want to make. If the guy doesn’t even bother seeking permission from us before asking your hand in marriage, don’t marry him. Call me old fashion, but that’s how it should be done. It shows courage (that he’s brave enough to face your daddy who will be holding a rifle) and respect (that your then old woman has had to put in so much love and effort into raising you). But let’s talk about what you should look for in a man, before you even think about getting hitched.
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In all honesty, I can’t tell you what is the perfect man, because what is perfect for me, may not be suitable for you. But I know what qualities a man SHOULDN’T have, and if you notice any of the points below, then please just head to the other direction sweetie.

  1. If a man talks about himself more than he talks about you both as a couple, then smile and thank him, and WALK AWAY. Because he’s just given you a glimpse of how your future would look like – him being all about himself and you’d just be, well, you. Total separate entities.
  2. If you do get to talk about the future, about having children, and you get the hint that he thinks women should do all the work raising a child, WALK AWAY. Parenting is teamwork. If a man is not man enough to change diapers or cradle the baby to sleep, he’s not man enough to be a father. No man should ever tell you he’s not born to be part of parenting. And believe me, I personally know men who are like that.
  3. If a man constantly needs to have the last say, WALK AWAY. You are an educated grown woman who has a good head on her shoulders, you don’t need a male chauvinistic pig to burden you for the rest of your life. Marriage or life as a couple is to be comfortable enough to not have the last say. You should value laughter and happiness over being right. That’s how marriages last.
  4. If you get the feeling as if you’re a maid when the man is around, then you probably are becoming one. In this case, RUN. I didn’t raise you to be slave. I’m not saying that house chores should be shared equally between man and woman, I’m saying that a man should be comfortable doing SOME chores. In my humble opinion, women should still be handling most of the operations at home, but if done right and being showed appreciation accordingly by your man, you shouldn’t feel as if you’re slaving yourself away. Your daddy has always been hands on with everything that goes on in our lives – parenting, house chores, business, etc. And we ALWAYS get things done TOGETHER. The key word here is together. If you’re going to be a couple, you need to work like one.
  5. If a man gives you even a tiny hint that you need improvement in any way, accept his criticism and go to your room. Sit down in a quiet corner and ponder on what he said. Why or what is he telling you to change? Perhaps it’s your temper or bossiness, if so then it’s probably a good sign that he’s trying to bring out the better side of you. Perhaps it’s your boobs that are not big enough, or that you’re not thin enough, in that case you should probably thank him, and then kick him out of the house. Because what happens when 20 years down the road, you go out of shape after giving birth to your children? Is he going to constantly remind you how in need of improvement you are? A genuine man will only try to improve you mentally and emotionally, and give you the necessary support to self-improve physically if you should wish to. God knows how much effort your daddy has had to put in to fix me mentally and emotionally, and I’m forever grateful that he was willing to be with me through every step of my self improvement.
  6. Make sure he treats you well, but don’t let him fuss too much over you. You’re not a tofu, you’re not made of glass. Be independent, but at the same time, let him take care of you. Never let him substitute presents for presence. A Tiffany ring means nothing if he’s never present in your life, especially after you have children. Simple gestures such as peeling the prawn for you, saving the best part of a dish, helping you with the dishes, cooking supper for you, making you hot chocolate milk at 2am in the morning, taking the kids off your hands so that you can have some “me” time, etc tells you how much you matter to him. Yes, your daddy did all those, and more. And if you ever have kids, that’s the best way to show your kids what kind of gentleman to look for when it’s their turn to fall in love. Some of us never had any good examples to benchmark with, but you have had the privilege of watching and feeling first hand how a man should treat a woman, never let yourself be taken for granted.  You’re worth more than that.

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Well, enough said about men, talking about them takes a lot of energy away from me, and there’s too many to list in one article. Now I would like to also give you some advice, from one woman to another woman. You might agree with some, and not agree with others, and that’s okay. Because what is right for me, might not be totally right for you. You work out which ones resonates and makes sense to you.
  1. Never ever degrade or complain about your other half in public. You may talk it out with him in the privacy of your own room, but never in the eyes and ears of the public. Why? Because doing so, not only tells others that he’s a jerk, you’re also indirectly telling others that you’ve been stupid enough to fall for a jerk. Internet memes such as this one, “Dear Mother-in-law, don’t teach me how to handle my children, I’m living with one of yours and he needs a lot of improvement” is just plain foolishness. You can’t choose your family, but you can definitely choose your spouse. So if you are telling the world that you’re living with someone who “needs improvement”, you’re basically telling the world that your husband is not good enough. So then, why marry him in the first place?
  2. Value laughter and happiness over being right. Women tend to nag and find faults in men. Doing so won’t bring you any closer, in fact, it will only push the men further away until they find some other woman who will show them smiles and laughters. I see too many divorces happening because the minute the man steps into the house from a stressful day at work, the first thing he sees is a sour-faced woman, and the first thing he hears is an earful of complains. Always smile, because it’s always the smile that leads us to fall in love in the first place. The rest (complains) can wait, at least until a few hours later.
  3. Life as a couple will never always be smooth sailing. But if you are lucky to meet your soul mate, then the journey will be a lot easier and enjoyable.
  4. Be happy. Happy wives equals happy husbands and happy kids. Make  parenting a joyful thing for your spouse. Make them look forward to spending time with the kids. Tell them how wonderful the kids are. Teach the kids to make something heartfelt for their daddies – be it a simple drawing, some cupcakes, a lego creation. Always tell them how awesome their daddy is because that’s how it should be. Never argue or fight in front of your kids. They need to see a united front in order for them to grow up positively. Save the arguments for the bedroom.
  5. Always know that you have a second home with us, no matter what or when. When you marry someone in the future, your home will always be where your husband is. It is expected that at some point of time (and if you marry the right person) you will be more comfortable with your husband than your parents, because that’s who you chose to spend the rest of your life with. You can’t choose your parents or siblings (so we must accept the fact that not all family members get along), but you can definitely choose your other half, so choose wisely. Take your time. Live in together for awhile pre marriage, and please use the necessary precautions. At least then, you get to see each other’s true colours before signing the papers, because courtship is very different to marriage. Your first love might not be your last, but that’s perfectly okay because if you’ve never been through a few, how would you know that you’ve found the right one? Go ahead, and test the waters.

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Anyway, I think this letter is long enough for now. I need to go catch some sleep before you both wake up from your slumber, otherwise you’d probably won’t be able to recognise your zombie of a mother. Having said so, please be prepared for another letter sometime in the future my darlings. Mommy and daddy loves you to the moon and back.

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Reblog: My life as a new and improved mother

*** This was written in 2014, but I thought it was a good reminder again for myself this year.

In just a few hours, we will wake to a new day, and into a new year. While this year has been a fruitful year, I know 2014 will only bring greater experiences into my life. Life has been kind to me, even as a new parent, I managed to pull through the ups and downs of parenting without causing too much damage. Lol.
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So to end this year, I’d like to give myself a pat on the back and at the same time, jot down 10 important points that were reminiscent of my parenting experience in 2013, and hope that it will serve to guide to me be a better parent in 2014.

1. The best guide to parenting is your maternal instincts. Skip the best selling books on parenting and pregnancy and whatsoever. Parenting should come from the heart, not mind. If your heart tells you to co-sleep with your child, do it; if your heart tells you to carry your child, do it. No one (including the nanny, grandparents, Great Aunt Beatrix, parenting experts, even your paediatrician) knows your child better than you.
2. It’s all worth it. Having a baby means less (or non-existence) late nights out, sleeping in, movie dates, unhealthy fast food, me time, etc. But it’s okay, because a) none of those things do any good to your health anyway; b) the amount of joy (and occasionally headaches) that you get in return for having your little bundle of joy makes it all worth it. Having a baby completes your life, learn to enjoy it.
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3. Happy parents = happy baby = happy family. Noticed how I placed “Happy parents”first? That’s because your baby needs to feel that you’re okay to feel okay. If on the occasion it makes your life easier letting your child watch that thirty minutes of TV, so you could finish off your dinner preparation before hubby gets back, do it. If you had a really sleepless night yesterday and don’t have the energy to cook your child a wholesome meal, consider a simple sandwich, or noodle with soup, or fried rice. It’s okay to go with the flow once in a while. And if you’re happy, chances are your child will be happy too, and when your child is happy, it makes parenting so much easier and enjoyable.
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4. What feels natural is best. Yes, at 25 months, my not-so-little bundle of joy is still nursing, but only to sleep; she still co-sleeps with me; she loves cuddling up to her daddy at bed time. In this modern age and day, parents are encouraged to force independence onto their children at an early age. Well, as much as I tried following it out of peer pressure, I decided I feel better going with the flow of what feels natural to me and my child. I no longer feel ashamed to admit that my child still nurses occasionally everyday; I’m happy that she loves sleeping in between daddy and mommy; and daddy can’t seem to sleep peacefully without having her near him. These things feel natural to me, to her, to us. And I can’t think of a better way to live life than to live a life that feels natural to me.

5. Fever and infections are part and parcel of growing up. They are there to help build a strong immune system. Ever since Little Miss was six months old, I’ve learnt to trust her little body to fight off infections with minimal medical interventions. She’s never had anything major that her own body couldn’t fight off, with a little help of homeopathic and natural remedies. Out of her two years of existence, I could count with one hand the amount of times she’s had to take Paracetamol for fevers more than 39 degrees Celsius. Her immune system is stronger than many children I know, and I know it’s because her body has been allowed to develop as it should have.

6. Opinions can differ, but they stem from the same ground – everything we do, we do it for the love of our children. Some believe in spanking, others believe in a more gentle approach; some believe in eating organic everyday, others don’t have the luxury of affording better quality food; some believe in pharmaceuticals, others believe in nature and homeopathy. It’s never easy trying to make the best choice for your loved ones, but as long as it’s acted in accordance to your conscience and informed judgement, there is no absolute right or wrong in your decisions.

7. Respect others. Everyone else is fighting a harder battle than you. Just because you don’t see it on the surface doesn’t mean it’s not happening. Everyone has a history that justifies their actions, and until you understand their stories, don’t go pointing fingers and judging them for their actions. The same goes for parenting styles. Your friend choosing to undergo a C-section instead of a natural birth doesn’t make her less of a woman, it makes her a strong woman who is capable of making her own choices. A relative choosing to bottle feed her baby with formula milk doesn’t make her any less motherly, maybe she has a medical condition that prevents her from being able to provide breastmilk. Respect others for their decisions, their lives their choice.

8. Love your partner. He’s the reason why you’re still sane in amidst of all your parenting ups and downs; he’s the reason why your feet are firmly on the ground with your decisions; he’s the reason you have that beautiful little miracle in your arms. Vice versa. She’s the reason you have a family; she’s the reason why you strive to be better in every way; she’s the reason you have a HOME.

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9. Love yourself. Do things that make you happy and relaxed. Because ultimately a happy you equals happy spouse equal happy parents equals happy child.

10. Last but not least, praise your child everyday and listen with an open heart. Tell her how brilliant, beautiful and precious she is. Love her for who she is. She could be naturally reserved, active, dreamy, grumpy, but it’s part of who she is. Nurture according to nature instead of against it. Work with your child’s natural behaviour. Listen to her. Listen to what she’s really trying to tell you, so she knows that her voice DOES matter.

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I have a lot to improve on as a mother, but I know I am a lot better than last year. Hopefully, I will be even better next year.
Happy New Year everyone! May the next year bring you more wealth, better health, and an abundance of happiness!
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The unRoyal Family Photoshoot

Our much needed family photos, taken by the very talented Blee Photography based in Western Australia. This was taken end of 2015 at a private estate in Roleystone. Unfortunately, both warriors were feeling a little under the weather, and weren’t very cooperative that day. But the pics did turn out better than I expected. 🙂

 

Do visit her website here for further information and portfolio. 🙂

 

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