Sunday, July 31, 2011

A Piece of Lithuania

Ashrie received this small doll from his Tito AR (Tito is the Filipino term for uncle). It is actually a keepsake from Lithuania. He said the giver told him that this is the national costume of the Lithuanian highlanders or what they used to wear, or something of that sort.

The doll is crafted from yarn and meticulously-dressed in what it seems like a hand-woven fabric. “Just where is Lithuania?” you may ask. That was exactly my reaction. (I usually hear the name from the Ms. Universe pageant way back in the Philippines because they air the beauty competition yearly.)

So for our information, here’s an overview of the Republic of Lithuania.

Lietuva (lee-u’too-vu) is located in northeastern Europe, the biggest of the three Baltic states. It is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, and across the Baltic Sea to the west lie Sweden, Norway and Denmark. It shares borders with Latvia to the north, Belarus to the southeast, and Poland to the southwest. Its population is 3.2 million.

Its capital and largest city is Vilnius.

During the 14th century, Lithuania was the largest country in Europe: present-day Belarus, Ukraine, and parts of Poland and Russia were territories of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. ~Wikipedia

And finally, a photo of their native costume.

Ačiū. (Lithuanian term for thank you very much).

Friday, July 29, 2011

Butterfly Wings

Nothing to do with all the paper bags at home? Well, aside from reusing them, you can also take one and turn it into a creative craft project with your kiddo. Since we have a girl, Jane turned it into butterfly wings. You can even make various projects following the same idea that I will share today.

A big paper bag with cord carriers/handles
Glue or double-adhesive tape
Masking tape
Craft paints
Paint brush

1. Remove the cord carriers/handles. Cut away the sides and the bottom portion of the paper bag. (We will be using the two large sides and the cord.)
2. Join the two large sides together with a masking tape and cover the entire surface with sketch paper.
3. Draw the outline of one wing on one side and cut both pieces together.

4. Sketch the design and paint.
5. Let it dry and attach the cord.

Then, fly and reach for the stars (so to speak)!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

27 Months

It's Ashrie's 27th Month and it's time to celebrate with the little princess.

And look, even her puppet friends joined in the fun! Happy Ashrie's Day! We love you sooo much!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Homecoming 2011

Ashrie was only six months when we last visited the Philippines as a family. It was our first flight together and the last time we had a reunion with both our parents and relatives.

Now, Ashrie is two years and three months old and we are going back next month to our home country for a week-long holiday. Her 28th month will fall between the dates. Also it’s just a few days after our fifth wedding anniversary, so we’re sure to have even a small celebration.

Tickets are already booked, homecoming sweets are bought, and activities are being squeezed in our very tight but flexible itinerary, aware that once we reached our destination, it’s anything goes! But it’s still better to have a plan.

Ultimately, the important thing is that we’re going home very soon. Oh, I just can’t wait.

Friday, July 22, 2011

A Tale of Two Villages

Apps come and go, on my iPod that is, but there are some which are mainstays, or regulars that even when I had that dreadful synching mishap a few months back, they are back and there to stay.

If you are familiar with Pocket Frogs, I had already collected 100% of the Anura species only to have it unintentionally deleted. I reinstalled it but in the process lose the interest to redo tasks and continue acquiring all the awards.

Not so with these two villages, I restarted from scratch and reached the same level whence I stopped with even greater tenacity than the first. So before any accident happen again. I wish to immortalize these two personal favorites through this blog entry. Other apps are just so easy to setup again since it is not a continuous game and you are not building or taking care of something day by day. Hence, I hereby present you the tale of two villages.

First, The Smurf’s Village.

*Gargamel found the Smurfs’ village and scattered the Smurfs far and wide. With Papa Smurf's guidance, it’s up to you to build a new village for the Smurfs to call home. Based on the original cartoon and comic art, players begin the game with only a single mushroom house and a lone plowed plot of land. From there, things quickly progress, allowing players to build specialized houses, elaborate gardens with colorful crops, bridges to span running rivers, trodden paths, and more.

And the second one, Bug Village.

*This is Bug Village, a tiny town where you build and nurture a colony of active ants and busy bees! Construct homes to attract playful bugs and direct them to the garden, where they can gather resources to expand your village. Feed your bugs to keep them energized and healthy. Add cute decorations and flowers to make the colony buzz with excitement! Small is beautiful in Bug Village!

Yes, I’m still a kid. At heart (and mind) sometimes…

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Ashrie's First Visit to Sentosa

With compliments to Evangel Family Church which sponsored the recent Filipino Fellowship gathering in Sentosa, we were able to visit the island again. (The last time we were there was when my brother-in-law came to visit us here in Singapore way back in 2008.) The church provided a coach after the Sunday Service, the hearty lunch and the prizes for the fun games.

It was indeed a hot afternoon of island fun. And the youngest in the group which was Ashrie made full use of the opportunity to play with the cream-colored sand of Palawan Beach. It was about 2 pm when we arrived at Sentosa.

 A Side Note: Earlier at home that morning, while everyone was busy preparing for church, I noticed Ashrie opening the kitchen cabinet. She said she was looking for “something”. A few seconds later she was shouting that she found “it” while holding a plastic pouch containing her sand/water play toys. With no one reminding her to bring those, she might have associated the beach with her purpose-specific plastic toys! Probably because in our last two beach holidays, she was carrying these toys along. The first was in Bintan and followed by Pulao Ubin after a year.

Back to my story, so there we were and while most of the others are playing fun games, she was busy with her little sand masterpiece. Needles to say she was always with adult supervision.

At around 5 pm, the coach is back to bring passengers back to Yishun MRT, but we opt to stay a little longer. There are a few others who remained as well.

We just did a short stroll and then headed to Vivo City for dinner and a little shopping. Then we rode a bus for a long journey back home. It’s easier said than done but we’re happy we’ve joined this trip and we’re so glad that our little darling enjoyed the day.
At the entrance of Food Republic
She found a friend at ZARA
Until next time!

Goodbye Baby Toys!

Ashrie has grown tremendously well in the past two years. That is in all aspects of toddlerhood-physical, emotional, intellectual, social and even musical! Even her "play" changes dramatically, the things that interest her, the objects that capture her attention and the toys or activities that keep her busy at least for a few minutes.

Hence, we are saying goodbye to her baby toys. We are sending them to Raya, her newest cousin in the Philippines and to the soon-to-be-born baby boy from Mr. and Mrs. Triggs!

We are also giving away most of her baby clothes with the exemption to those which she wore on special occasions and the ones which became our personal favorites on her.

Letting go of her baby belongings is quite an emotional process for us but it's all part of growing up, even as parents.

And now that Ashrie has more space on her closet and toy storage, we can have more quality playtime with the rest of her toys. I guess it's about time we go for some serious shopping (my wife permitting). =)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Number Wheel

It’s been a while since I‘ve posted a kiddie craft project and I’m just so glad MyGirls made a new one. This time it’s a simple clock-like project (actually it’s a really a clock with one of its hands missing) you can do with your kids. All you will need are the following materials:

Cake board
Craft paints
Paint brush
A push pin
Correction pen
Double-adhesive tape

1. Remove the foil covering of the cake board.  (You can also use a thick card board)
2. Using a pencil/marker make 12 equal fractions.
3. Paint it in different colors. Let it dry.
4. Use a correction pen to write the numbers 1-12.
5. Pin the arrow pointer.
6. Paste it on the wall using the tape.

We use this device to further familiarize Ashrie with numbers and to introduce Time-Telling.

More arts and crafts projects soon. We’ll keep you posted.

Eleven Point Four

I always think of "rice" when equating a baby's weight in kilograms. From the grocery, we would always buy either a 5 or 10 kg pack so I have a pretty good estimate on how it really weighs. It's heavy (for sure) especially if you will be carrying it for a long time. And the more you get exhausted, the heavier it will seem.

11.4 kg! That's a lot of weight to carry. And that's Ashrie's weight to date. To note that her weight is just average for her age.

11.4 kg equals the weight we need to carry everytime she refuses to walk or when she rejects the idea of riding back on her stroller again (which is getting more often).
Up and down the stairs, in and around crowded malls, along busy corridors and hallways…
And unlike the pack of rice which stay still and stationary while you’re carrying it, or you can put down when you’re tired, or worse wouldn't mind getting bumped, the baby is simply just the opposite.
But as they say, and I have to agree, it’s better to carry a heavy but healthy baby than a light but undernourished child. And for sure, there’ll be a lot of more weight and plenty of “carryings” in the future.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Anatomy of Happiness

Happiness is defined as the state of well-being characterized by emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy (via WordWeb).

I was browsing through Ashrie's latest photos and I noticed the various levels of smiles she has, depending on the activity she’s doing. Her smiles reminded me to think on how blessed we really are to have her as a daughter.  And leads me to ponder on what truly makes us happy.

We always want her to be happy. It is our deepest joy to see her laughing and in good health. We like to see her in her happiest moods, may it be during Tickle Time, when she’s humming a tune while playing, or when she’s dancing like a ballerina!

But you see, it’s so easy to be happy when everything’s sunny and all things are going as planned. It’s difficult to even smile when everything seems gloomy and out of hand. That’s natural, even toddlers do that.
So as parents (or as adults) we ought to know better.
We should remember that material things would not truly make us happy. We will never stop wanting things. We will always want a better one or more of what we have right now. This is an endless and a tiring cycle, a vanity. 
Wealth is just one of the many things that we thought would make us happy, but won’t. Other things include fame, beauty, intelligence, power, and many more. These would just lead us to frustrations and further loneliness...
My say: “Do not look for happiness in all the wrong places. Better yet, do not always seek to be happy.  Instead, desire to be contented. Count your blessings. And rest your future in our Creator. This doesn’t mean that we live a life of slackness; rather we must live a life of faith, hope, and love.”
And what would make us really happy (besides family, friends, and other tangible things)? To be truly happy, one must be in the center of God’s perfect will.
To end, I will quote the Apostle Paul from his epistle to the Philippians: I'm just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I've found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am. Philippians 4:12-13 (The Message)
Be blessed…

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Greg Foley’s Thank You Bear Series

For this week, our daughter is reading the Thank You Bear Series by Greg Foley. We borrowed three books from the community library last Sunday and it is such a joy!  Ashrie’s enjoying the simple but witty illustrations and the adventures of two friends, Bear and Mouse.

We love these books for its simplicity, innocence, and genuine friendship.  All books have Bear and Mouse as its main characters and other forest animals as extras (you can see these same animals in his other books as well and they seem not to care).

A big “thumbs-up” from us and looking forward for more good books from the young author. You can know more about him and the Thank You Bear Series by visiting his website.

Happy reading!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Summer Jazz 2011

Been studying about "oxymorons" at church for the past weeks. Good thing the concert held last Friday wasn’t part of the series because a Rain-Drenched Summer Jazz would not be a very good title. Instead, it was a perfect Friday evening, cool and breezy, with the amphitheatre filled to the brim and even overflowing with spectators young and old.

Evangel Family Church have organized yet again another successful event for the Evangelites and the community as well, as they bring home BigStreet, a jazz band from Sweden. The band played jazz tunes (of course) from their album The Tree of Life and even some popular songs like What a Wonderful World and Somewhere Over the Rainbow during the concert.

Evangel had provided practically everything the audience needs – from sheltered seats to snacks like IKEA hotdog sandwich (talking about Swedish delights), fish balls, chips, popcorn, cupcakes, drinks, and even ice cream for FREE! There are more than enough for everybody! They even gave away iPods during the performance breaks to the volunteers who joined the simple game.

What's next? We better be looking forward to that. Meantime, here are some photos of the event.

Jazz by the Waters
Big Street in LIVE in Singapore!
The Crowd
Ashrie enjoying her bag of chips and
the Twinkle, Twinkle Little Stars song
See yah!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Roller Coaster

I have read before that toddlers are on an emotional roller coaster. They are made of strong emotions that pull them in different directions. And that their emotions "hang by a thread".

I always tell my wife that Ashrie and I have a love-hate relationship as father and daughter. She's  giving me tight hugs and butterfly kisses one minute and then detest my presence in the other. So I have heard both “I love Daddy soooo much!” and “I don’t like Daddy!”.

Toddlers are just like that.

Family Pics 2

Some juicy, leftover photos taken last month. Shot particularly on our little celebration of Father's Day 2011 at home after church as a souvenir of quite a memorable day for me. Here they are...

Keep smiling!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Just Like a Princess

Snapped this photo of our little princess (without the tiara) at Jack's Place. Her Royal Cuteness was sipping her royal mango juice from her royal straw just like a real princess. =)
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