Thursday 31 October 2013


Balancing Retirement Plan...

Met up with a dear dear friend my age, who had all her retirement plan planned out beautifully and at such a young age like mine, she already made a lot and knows that she would be able to retire in style... and I thought to myself how wise she is not to overspend, not to have debts, but to save and invest for retirement. As her wealth increases, so is she also busy managing her wealth, monitoring... the markets - insurance, stocks, bonds, property markets, etc.

Then I look at myself. I just went part-time, so less money to plan for retirement.....

Then a voice whispered into my ears... are you sure you still want to go part-time????


And I answer, yes, I still want to go part-time.

I won't have the time to monitor markets and with less money now, I don't have the need to spend time monitoring the markets

Though I will not be able to retire in style, i will still be able to retire in peace. I am not poor, I will not go hungry. I will be content with that.

I have now passed the second temptation in the first month of going part-time.

But my friend's good habits of not overspending, saving and investing will continue to inspire me to continue in these good habits I will be re-looking at insurance. Thanks very much, my dear friend

I am very happy with my friend's lot in life, and I am very happy with my lot in life

The Bible says:

"give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God." - Proverbs 30: 8-9

Learnings from Margaret Thatcher

Perhaps no matter how powerful a woman is/was, at the heart of a woman is still family... this would not be her regret in her 30s, 40s and 50s, but came at her 80s... Food-for-thought from the late ex-British Prime Minister:

"If I had my t...ime again, I wouldn't go into politics because of what it does to your family."

Wednesday 30 October 2013


Wisdom From Other Blogs: Is Your Child’s Schedule Too Tight?

Something for me to learn, especially as an Asian with a super-kiasu tendency mom :-)

"…children in urban contexts …are constantly being moved from one activity to another. They are hurried in the morning and rushed to bed at night, with a... flurry of activities throughout the day. There is precious little time for thoughtful conversations and exchanges because those things take time. Without opportunities for reflection, it is difficult to consolidate any information."

And how true... I am attest to this after going part-time:

"A person not overstretched by a tight schedule is likely to have a calmer, sharper sense of mind to appreciate the true purpose of an activity, and savour the sweetness of idle moments as time well spent."

Do One Thing At A Time... & Concentrate Completely

As any mom (or dad) knows, children are a high-pressure, full-time job. Often we are left completely tired and flat out. In trying to multi-task and idealisticaly trying to do everything, I want to remember this one golden piece of golden:

"She taught me lots of things, including that you should only do one job at a time and concentrate completely. Whether she was writing a speech or tidying a drawer, it had her total concentration."

- What Personal Assistant Cynthia Crawford learned from the late ex- British PM, Margaret Thatcher

Forgiving myself for not able to do it all, I am looking forward to spending time with Joshua and seeing a dear dear friend visiting from Singapore tomorrow, one thing at a time :-)

P.S. I can't thank my employer enough for allowing me to go part-time, so that I can do one thing at a time :-)

Saturday 26 October 2013



Halloween is everywhere. It is hard to avoid it. But can we celebrate it in a wholesome way? We are thankful to find this book which provide a Christian perspective to the celebration of Halloween that is wholesome, cheerful, edifying and encouraging. It tells how God is like the farmer, and we are like the pumpkins, chosen by Him, our cores are made clean by Him and given His light. May this Halloween filled your lives with the light of God's love. 

20.10.2013 (4Y7M15D) - Carving out a cheerful Jacl-O-Lantern together with Daddy.

Daddy drawing out the face and...

carving out the "head"...

Removing hte pulp together...

Here is the finished Jack-O-Lantern, looking happy and cute :-)

The happy glow glowing in the dark :-)

This book is available from Amazon:


Updates 14 October 2014

19 October 2014

Updates: 11 October 2015

Updates 28 October 2015:

Our Little FECS was so proud to show me the pumpkin that he carved all by himself without any help, when he got home from the Scouts today.

Our Little FECS with his model Scout friend, B, that we all love :-)


Wisdom from Other Blogs: It’s OK to Strive and Fall Short

Just what I need to hear and to learn...

Thursday 24 October 2013


J Summary (4Y7M19D) - Asking Questions

J is in the phase of asking questions, especially in the last two week. From profound questions which we have difficulty answering scientifically except to point him to God such as who has made the planets, who has made the stars, who created the first kid, who created the first parents, who created the first parents... to how is milk made, how eagles look like, which we can show him with an iPad.

J also asked if how we can make meat, if meat can be made from plants. J likes to eat meat, but is bothered with the slaughtering of animals to provide meat. We told him that in the future, meat can be made artificially (but I am not sure if I would eat it).

Daddy remarked that J is thinking a lot. His kindergarten teacher has remarked that J is very reflective. Those questions he has about creation mirrored those questions I had as a very young child. It seems that in this aspects, J and I are very similar.

Tuesday 22 October 2013


Reflection: Building A Healthy Family

Building a healthy family, that is one of my greatest desires in life. I don't want just to have a family that functions, but I want to have a real healthy family, one that is truly one in mind, heart and spirit.

I have forgotten so much of what I have read from the book "7 Habits of Highly Effective Families" by Stephen Covey, but 3 things stuck to my mind:

1. To have a clear family mission statement, a strong family culture and cozy family traditions
2. To have regular family time/meeting
3. To have one-to-one time with the children.

These all requires time, to nurture them and bring it alive in our family. Me going part-time is the first concrete step in the direction I have taken, with Mr. FECS' blessing.

On the first point, we have not have a family mission statement yet. This could not be rushed as we need to understand ourselves better. But we are building many cozy family traditions into life. So we are approaching from the bottom up, before we carve out our family mission statement. But I have a dream. We want to be a family with strong emotional bond, truly helping one another, and from there, we can truly reach out to others. We are far from being such a family yet.

On the second point, family meeting, I wrote from the beginning of this blog that my greatest wish is to have family fellowship together, singing and praising God, and we are not there yet, although we have started having regular family time since 18 February 2014.

On the third point, having more time for the family, I now have more time to spend with Mr. FECS and our Little FECS.

Here are some good family focus websites:

There are so much room for growth. I will spend more of my free time in prayers. Truly truly it is very important to seek God. He is the only source that could help us build strong family, a family that would honor Him, a family that puts moral character at the core, a family that has wisdom.

The Bible says, "seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." - Matthew 6:33

This is a book that I am reading and re-reading:


J Summary (4Y7M17D) - How to Explain the Reason to Love Learning?

I don't quite have an answer to that, and I am seeking. If you have suggestions, would be grateful if anyone could share.

J is a rather compliant child, although he can also be very stubborn - like mommy and daddy! After a period of refusing to write Chinese characters during his Chinese class and protesting practising the piano, he is returning to be willing to practise his handwriting each morning and practising the piano each day again. I don't force him, but perhaps the subtle pressure exudes out of me. This is my weakness - having a balance of having parental expectation and totally allow the child to choose for himself - a fine balance that is not easy to reach and requires a lot of discernment and wisdom. Both school of thoughts are correct, it all depends on the context and situation, and thus require discernment and wisdom.

And discernment and wisdom, alas, I don't have much, especially if I neglect to go on my knees to pray. Left to my own human nature, I am so weak, useless and lousy, but God is so great and good, I could not help to praise Him!

J is in general a child who loves learning, yet at times, he can also not have the will and drive to follow through. Ok, well, he is only 4.5 years old. Hello there, are you nuts, you must be thinking.

The book from Growing Kids God's Way speak about providing the child the moral reason why to your teaching, encouraging and correcting. I learn from the same principle that it would be important for me too to explain to J the reason why loving learning is good. Yet, I am not good in explaining why he should love learning - learning his ABCs, his numbers, etc. He does like it, and do it, but I am trying to inculcate greater passion. I am still learning, and does not have much to share on this front yet.

In fact, I am going slow on this, as I am finding that it is so important for J to truly know God from His heart, to grow a healthy family. I am going slower on the academics as you can see from the direction of this blog - there are less posts on Montessori and kids' activities, as I devote on developing character, on shaping our family. Not that I will end efforts on the academic side, on the fun activities, on the Montessori, but such posts will be less frequent. I need to devote more time on building a healthy family, a family with a strong emotional bond, interdependence and not independence (the next post).

JN Summary - Passed ALL His Exams!!!

JN wrote me an email saying that he had good news to tell me last week, and waiting eagerly for my weekly call to Singapore. I had not been able to call for 2 weeks since I was on business trip and vacation in New York.

I phoned him last Friday and he told me that he had passed ALL his Secondary 1 NT exams - English, Maths, Science and Chinese!!! He failed all his subjects during the mid-year, and that was the news I received, when he visited us in Copenhagen. I didn't have any high hopes, except that he would do his best. We will love him unconditionally.

Whenever we have some time between sight-seeing and resting, I have introduced him to Khan Academy ( and he practised his Maths.

So what a pleasant surprise to hear that he had passed all his exams and came in second in English in his class. This has given him much more confidence, and I really congratulate him for his hard work. It also gave him the confidence that he could reign in his ADHD as he grows older, and perhaps this is a sign that the ADHD is diminishing.

He will be joing half of his class to switch to Normal Academic Maths from the current Normal Technical Maths.

I asked him what made the difference, and he told me it is a mixture of having good teachers, tutors and his own efforts (and I believe that Khan Academy helped too). My gratefulness to his teacher Mr. Tan and his Maths relief teacher for their hard work in providing remedial classes after school. These are the things I truly appreciate about Singapore - having teachers who care. (Mr. Tan also offers tuition and classes for those who came out of prisons in Singapore, providing them a second chance to take their GCE "O" levels exams.)

I told JN that it was really well done that he did well for his exams, but that his self-esteem should also not depend on academic work, otherwise, his life will be a yoyo, going up and down according to his grades. God loves him (full-stop). And I also took the time to teach that one should not neglect character development. Character development is the most important, above everything else. JN listened in.

Talking about character development, this is also one of the reasons I am going part-time. I am so lacking in it. I am reading the "7 Habits of Highly Effective People" and really trying to form good habits, with God's help. I realize that I could not do things with my own strength - the spirit is willing, but the flesh is soooooo weak! At times, I feel discouraged, but I have to pick myself up and try again. At times, I feel I am such a lousy mother, but I have to forgive myself and try again.

I wish I could do more for JN from afar... but God is faithful. In moments of my discouragement, God showed me that He is in control. He has helped JN to do well for his exams - which was really a miracle, considering how badly he performed during his mid-year exams.

This is a thanks-giving to God. How unworthy I am (I tend to look at black spots and get discouraged), yet how kind and compassionate He is. He enables JN to have self-motivation even as JN battles against ADHD. He enables J to have self-motivation for practising the piano and practising penmanship. He enabled J to be super patient with us, as we did a whole day of shopping at Woodberry in New York. Most of all, God has seen my father through a successful heart operation and even kept his kidney functioning (doctor said there was a high chance that after the op, kidney dialysis would be required), but this did not have to take place. All the miracles, how I thank and praise our God.

Life is never fair, and full of ups and downs, but in the midst of pains, discouragements and struggles, God gave so many many blessings along the way to cheer me up. I don't deserve it, and I am truly truly thankful.

God helps me to stay faithful in my weekly phone call to JN. No matter no insignificant my efforts are, any fruits are in God's hand. I just need to be faithful.

To create conversation topics, I sent JN the book "7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens" to spur him on character development. I have been trying to practise the "7 Habits of Highly Effective People" and "7 Habits of Highly Effective Marriage" after attending a workshop sent by our boss from my workplace. Not one who is eloquent and good in talking and counselling, I can only rely on God and His mercy and loving-kindness and pray that God will help me in the months ahead. Here is the book:

I have also bought this book for myself, and going part-time will allow me to read more books. I have so much to learn, and even more that I need to learn to do into practise - practise, practise, practise:

Thursday 17 October 2013


J Summary (4Y7M12D) - Took Own Initiative to Practise the Piano

We just got back from New York. My last business trip, before I went part-time (while, technically it was my first business trip while on part-time work, since my part-time work started 1 October 2013, and this business trip took place 8 October 2013, but it will certainly be my last business trip, otherwise it does not make sense that I am going part-time!) My Significant Other and J came along for an extended vacation.

The jet lag from New York and the lack of sleep has taken its toll and J felt sick today and stayed away from kindergarten. It was my first real day off work after going part-time. It felt so good that I could stay at home with him, without feeling bad about having to take a sick leave, since I am not working today.

At first, I was a little disappointed that J was sick on our first real day together after I went part-time, but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. It gave me a chance to nurse him without feeling guilty that I am taking time off work, and that took the pressure off, and I could be totally relaxed, since it was my time.

We had such a relaxed and wonderful bonding time together, if anything. We spoke Mandarin the whole day, something which I had felt could be better, but since I was working full-time, my time was limited with him (well relatively-speaking as compared to many other working moms, I think I have made a lot of effort with all the time I have left).

We had a slow and relaxed breakfast without rushing - oatmeal porridge. While waiting for me to prepare breakfast, J was very cooperative to do some homework. He did a page of Chinese handwriting practise and coloring. Not all days are like that :-) and I better enjoy while it last. I got the chance to stock up the food cubes - carrot puree (which I add to his oatmeal). He initiated to play Montessori after breakfast. But while waiting for me to finish washing the dishes after breakfast, he played with Lego, and after that, wanted me to play with Lego with him. I wasn't working, so we built a Lego hospital together. I showed him patiently (relatively more patient compared to when I was working full-time, there I found myself unavoidingly looking at the efficiency of time, and caught myself counting the minutes) how to build it according to the instruction booklet. He and I then improvised it. There were times, when he asked me to help him. He has this tendency to ask for help, without first trying out on his own. Having time on my side, I told him that I would give him some time to try on his own without my help, and then I would help him after he has made the attempt. I agreed with J to set the timer for 10 minutes for him to try out on his own. He did, and he built the green plant from the McQueen Lego himself just half the time before the time went off. I commended him for doing his way and said that it was totally good. I also showed him how to fixt the one shown on picture, so that he was able to see the steps, and he replicated it thereafter. It was good that he was willing to try it out on his own.

We went on to Pretend Play - Playing Supermarket and Montessori activity - Geometric Solids, both of which he had chosen.

I made chicken noodle soup for lunch. After lunch, I was tired that I allowed myself a nap, since I have not fully recovered from our New York trip. It was the first time in years I had managed to allow myself a nap. J only napped for 10 minutes and went downstairs to play. I thought I should direct him what to play, but since we have more time now that I am on part-time, I didn't resolve through. Besies I was in need of a nap.

While I was sleeping, I heard him practising the piano, all on his own initiative. I was pleasantly surprised. I was glad that I didn't follow through my resolve to direct his play, before I napped. It was a lot sweeter, when I had the chance to see that he has chosen to play the piano all out of his own iniative. That means that he wanted it himself.

I was not there to correct him. He practised "Perrot Siger til Månen" and "Oles Nye Autobil." He played again until he got the pieces correct. The self-motivation was his own. I realized that my presence in the past may have discouraged him to play the piano, as I had the tendency to correct him when he pressed the wrong note. It was a good lesson to learn.

J asked from downstairs what I thought of his playing, and I commended him from upstairs that he played very well.

J requested for tea-time and we have tea-time together at 4pm.


Being with J the whole day did not quite allowed me to cook a real dinner, and he was too hungry, so we had the lunch leftover noodle soup. I didn't get to touch on doing any laundry. Haven't quite have a routine yet, now that I am working part-time.

This evening, I told J that I was very proud of him that he practised the piano all on his own without any of my prompting today. I was also very proud that he corrected his own errors. He said that it was easier for him to correct his own errors, just as Kati the piano teacher said. I should try to achieve this balance.

J is a child and is not 100% obedience all the time, but there are good days and bad days, and today has been a wonderful day.

Because I am now on part-time, I was able to allow Daddy to work a little later today to catch up on his work, since we have been away to New York. It definitely allowed some buffer to our day. Still the day went by so fast, that we were late for J's bed time, as we went out to buy groceries at 6pm and came back at 7pm, where his ideal Bed-time cum Schooltime starts at 6.30pm.

It has been a full day (I still did not get to do everything I would have liked to), and a very simple normal non-glamour day, with J, but very enjoyable, because it was unrushed. I was more patient and allowed more time to slip away, without feeling the pinch for time, which was so when I was working full-time. It was nice to be able to enjoy a simple day at home. With all the challenges of working part-time, I am thankful I made the choice and am very grateful to have the choice approved by my employer. I still have a lot to learn (learning to have time for myself without feeling guilty, learning to be less achievement and result oriented), and this year of part-time of learning has just only begun.

People asked what I am going to do with the time I have now. Really I don't have much ambition, except to enjoy the presence of J, to have time for myself (it should be easy, but it is not), and I guess these are my unambitious goals. It should be easy to reach at the end of the year of going part-time.

I also find that ironically, I am having less time for my blog, even as I have gone part-time. J's activities are increasing (piano, Chinese class, swimming and football) and those time released from me going part-time will be going to these activities. I am learning to be more selective of my posts - less pictures and organized text - not a recipe for blog success. Ironically, now that I have gone part-time, I should have more time for my blog, but my blog is more and more for me to remember our lives, and less and less aimed at readership, as I find that I have less time for it.

The first real day of going part-time, and I could see that I have no regrets doing so. I am jotting this down so that years down the road, when J leaves the nest and I started to regret going part-time all these years (as I am seeing many empty nests mom tend to do - regretting that they stayed home), this would help me to remember what a difference it had made to our simple everyday life.


I want to remember this quote from Sally of I Take Joy:

"But parenting is not about vindication or getting even or looking good. Parenting is about loving guidance, tender correction, and maybe even a firm tone that is matched with a loving smile."

Thursday 3 October 2013


J Summary (4Y6M28D) - Celebrating J's 4.5 years old birthday

2.10.2013 - Preparing for his birthday party the following day
Joshua and half the class were sick in March, and thus, we decided to make up for it and celebrate his 4 1/2 year old birthday with his kindergarten classmates.


We did a Montessori Birthday. You can read more about it here:
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

My Favourite Books

Montessori Materials