my babies

Saturday, March 31, 2012

How the baby get in there???

Today, while lying in bed cuddling with Adam and Mia...
Adam: *holding my tummy* Where the baby lives?
me: here..the womb..
Adam: How the baby come out mom? He goes up from your mouth ke?
me: no, sometimes the doctor cuts through the tummy to take the baby out... or sometimes baby come down through the vagina, like Adam and Mia...
Adam: that's disgusting!
me: nope, that's the right way for the baby....
Adam: oooh....
Adam: then how the baby gets in there?
me: errrrr.... *looked at my husband for help. he ran quick as he can to the bathroom!* Allah put him there...
Adam: what? no..... how he put in there? doctor inject something tajam here to put baby in ke?
me: no, baby grows from the egg... go get your Human Body book....

thank God indeed for that book!
from there I answered more bold questions about how the baby grows...
oh my, i wasn't prepared for this. I didn't think I'd be answering those difficult questions this early on..

p/s: no i am NOT pregnant!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, March 30, 2012

little reminder

I was working on my embroidery hoop (on right) when he came, saying he wanted to 'knit like you'. This time he saw I was embroidering letters 'mommy's knitting room' - for my studio* - he told me he wanted to make one for his** room.

Children model what we do, what we say, the values we take seriously.

Every day I am reminded of this. It is a big responsibility. But I'm glad for it. It motivates me to be a better person. The kind of person I want my kids to be, the kind of person I want to be.

syukur alhamdulillah..

*pictures of my room coming up.
**Adam has a room he calls his own. but he has yet slept in there.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

oh my

this is the reason i wake up in the morning. this.

*Mia saw me uploading this photo to blog. She promptly smiled and said "Aaahh, ni Adik read Octopus for Adam..."

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Art smocks

Recently Mia began to show an interest in painting and drawing. Every day she tells me she wants to paint. Usually I let them paint with their clothes off. Some time back I wanted to make an art smock, I've already cut the waterproof fabric, but the pattern called for long lengths of wide bias tape which I don't have (and too lazy to make) so the cut fabric had been sitting in my ufo pile for quite a bit. So to save my girl from anymore naked painting, I thought I'd just wing it and make the smock with no bias tape.

It was pretty simple to sew up. the back overlaps and closes with velcro.

pockets on the sides

I bought similar waterproof fabric from Ikea last weekend to make another smock for Adam. The surface of the fabric is matte, not shiny like Mia's smock. It turns out that is easier to sew with and it has better drape too. Recommended! Ikea has it in a few other prints..

I made it similar to Mia's, but cut a bit straight (and not so girly) and wider. The sewing is a bit wonky as you can see. Just a quick after-dinner sewing and completed in just about an hour.

Now my babies can make as much mess as they want!

(they already do, come to think of it)

Monday, March 26, 2012

Adam the hero

I heard little cat noises from the back window since afternoon, but thought nothing of it. In the early evening when I was about to start dinner Adam came in the kitchen with me and heard the noises too. I opened the back door to let him check out what it was.

It turned out there was a baby cat trapped in the drain. All wet and weak. Adam said "I have a great idea! I'm going to rescue him!". Now you see I felt a bit torn at this, because, errr..
.I'm scared of cats?! oh yes, the secret's out. But at the same time I felt proud and rather curious at Adam's determined announcement. So I said yes.

He climbed in the drain all by himself. Not one bit scared.

All safe and dry.

Then he proceeded to whisper to the cat, telling it 'Don't worry, I'm here..' 'Wait for Daddy to come home..we'll take you to your mommy' 'You're safe in our house now'. He carried on calming the cat for quite some time after that. I busied myself with dinner at this point, trying not to hear, hoping he won't ask to keep the poor little cat. But I did catch him singing Twinkle twinkle and Old Mcdonald to the cat. Oh dear.

The next day he rescued yet another baby cat, also from a nearby drain, which we concluded to be the first cat's sibling. We put them together with food. Hoping they will be safe.

Good job Adam.

(sorry we can't keep them! but he didn't ask, he knows mommy's secret)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Adam made pants

Probably spurred by his recent success in making his own apron, Adam declared out of nowhere;

"I want to make my own baju and seluar" (top and pants)

This mama was more than willing, as you can imagine. My baby boy, all of a sudden is showing interest in sewing? oh my, be still my beating heart.

He chose his fabric - red - his current favourite colour.

A little one's interest comes and passes in a blink of an eye, and you other mamas well know, so I quickly grabbed a pair of pyjama pants right out of the (unfolded) laundry pile, laid it down on folded fabric and let him loose. And by that I meant letting him draw and cut, using my very sharp fabric scissors. Not an easy thing to do considering how uptight I can be about other people touching my sewing things (ask my husband!). But I managed it and so did he!

As you can see the lines are roughly cut. But in the spirit of unschooling - So what? - that's gotta be my new motto now. After a while I find myself relaxing and and so did he. Boy what fun we had.


the little sister enjoying herself too

It's surprising what a four year old can do when given the chance.

Or rather, it shouldn't be a surprise. Children can do great things. Never underestimate them.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Sewing tips, by Adam

The other day my mom made an apron for Mia. It's pink with pictures of sweets and cakes. Pink is for girls so I can't wear her apron. So I told mom "I want to make my own apron! Use your *knitting!" She got all excited. This is the first time I asked to sew for myself. Chill mom...

I have this old apron that came with my kitchen. It's nice but all dirty now. I used the apron to draw my new one. I chose the green fabric myself. I used my color pencil and mommy's ruler to draw.

tadaaaa!! Then I just cut through the line..

Then I started pressed the the feet of the machine for me because I can't reach it. I think next time I must figure out a way so I can use the presser feet myself..

the other part I liked was pinning

it doesn't matter if it's wonky...just go with it...

sewing is easy peasy!! I've helped my mom millions of times so I can tell how it works...don't worry if the lines aren't straight...

my apron!!

If you're thinking about starting sewing, stop thinking and just start sewing! If I can do it, so can you!

*Adam refers to all my sewing and knitting things as 'mommy's knitting'

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Mindful baking, mindful parenting

Yesterday morning when he woke up, the first thing Adam wanted to do was bake cookies. He bought a stegosaurus-shaped cookie cutter during our last cookie decorating session and he was excited to try it out. With my thoughts from that session still fresh in my mind, I was mindful of my own actions while baking with Adam. I wanted to let him have the freedom to do things his own way without my interfering. Unless my help is asked for. I cleared my mind of any adult worries - mess, wrong measurement, wrong spoon, 'wrong' way of doing things. So what, right?

Adam using the mixer. We've used this before but normally I would hover around like a mother hen, worried that he might lose control of it, splash the paste all over the kitchen or hurt himself. This time I let go, and I realised he already know how to use it well and safely.

This girl didn't want to miss out on all the fun :)

mixing the dough by himself

the dough is ready

this is the stegosaurus. I think it should be used with a different type cookie, the kind you roll out and cut with this cutter. Our dough was soft and sticky. But never mind, Adam figured out a way to use his cutter.

Freshly baked yummy goodness! the stegosaurus turned out humungus but Adam was so proud of them and declared they look 'just like stegosaurus in my book!'.

As adults, we have this tendency to teach. I think John Holt described it best;

Anytime that, without being invited, without being asked, we try to teach somebody else something, anytime we do that, we convey to that person, whether we know it or not, a double message. The first part of the message is: I am teaching you something important but you are not smart enough to see how important it is. Unless I teach it to you, you'd probably never bother to find out. The second message that uninvited teaching conveys to the other person is: What I 'm teaching you is so difficult that, if I didn't teach it to you, you couldn't learn it.This double message of distrust and contempt is very clearly understood by children, because they are extremely good at receiving emotional messages. It makes them furious. And why shouldn't it? All uninvited teaching contains the message of distrust and contempt. Once I realized this, I found that I had to catch myself all the time. I have to catch the words right on the edge of my tongue. The problem is that we human beings like teaching. We're a teaching animal, as well as a learning animal. We have to restrain that impulse, that habit, that need to explain things to everybody... unless we are asked " By John Holt.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Cookie decorating session

I was excited when I heard there were going to be Little Chef Workshop at Alamanda last week. We spent the week making aprons (will blog about this later) and then went early last Saturday to take the kids.

I put Adam's apron on first, then the instructor came over to put Mia's apron on...I could sense disaster coming. The girl doesn't respond well to kindness from strangers! She started wailing out loud and refused to join in the session.

Adam plotting on how to decorate his cookies

I thought it was going to be a baking class but actually the cookies were ready made, they were just going to decorate it. But still it was interesting..

Mia all moody and said 'Adik scared Uncle...'

putting the final touches on his star cookie

That look on his face was priceless!

*Price per session = rm10

It was a fun session. The kids had fun...but I observed something during the session. While teaching the children how to decorate, the instructors showed them a 'finished' product and specifically instructed them to copy the cookie exactly. Any initiative to be creative is promptly turned down. They had to follow the exact colour, the same technique. When Adam was going to decorate his second cookie, which was a dinosaur shaped one, there was no 'finished' dinosaur cookie to copy. I was relieved and thought, oh finally we can see some freedom and creativity here. Adam chose yellow and blue to decorate his dinosaur and the instructor said 'Yellow??? Choose green la....come is better...there's no yellow dinosaur....'

This again made me think about schooling and our school system. Most schools operate on this strict basis of conformity. They expect all the children to fit into the same mold. They decide of what the children must learn, and how, and leave very little room for individuality.

So what if the dinosaur is yellow?

Thursday, March 15, 2012


I made some handtowels for the kitchen last week. The towelling fabric was a gift from a friend (thank you Yum!) 2 years ago and I've been planning to turn it into handtowels since then...a project delayed by 2 years! I'm glad I finally cut into it :)

The towelling fabric is very absorbent, and does the job well...Now we have something pretty and also practical in the kitchen...even my husband approves, so I'm happy :)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Of milipedes and homeschooling

Late afternoon today. Mia napping on my lap. I was on the computer, doing research on homeschooling. Adam came up to me.

Adam: What're you doing mom?
Me : I'm reading sayang..
Adam: What are you reading about? Ants?
Me : *almost laughed. caught off guard at the word ants*
Adam: Then what is it you're reading about?
Me : I'm reading about....homeschooling children.
Adam: *immediately* DON'T!
Me : Err....why?
Adam: It's boring. Let's read about milipedes.

(there seem to be a milipede fiesta on our front yard recently)

Adam: Where milipede live? What he eats? Where is his house in the deepest? Look in the laptop mom.

(meaning let's do a search on the internet)

Then Mia woke up and all three of us looked up milipedes on the internet.

We pored over interesting pictures of milipedes. Where they live, what they eat. Their eggs and reproduction system. Then this leads to his sudden interest in ground beetles ( they eat milipedes!! ) I let him use the computer himself, clicking on anything that looks interesting on Wiki. Soon he was opening up the Arthropods Portal, the Insects Portal and looking up many other insects of interest- spiders, cockroaches, centipedes. Later in the evening he went outside with Mia looking and digging for milipedes, feeding them dead leaves (that's their food!) and feeding them water. All the while he was talking and asking questions constantly and excitedly. I realise it's all just fun and *play* to him. The learning just comes like a bonus.

He came right at the moment when I was thinking about homeschooling, but feeling afraid. Feeling so uncertain. There are so many days in which I think I can barely cope with surviving the day - laundry, cooking, chores, trying to be patient with the kids - let alone trying to homeschool. I mean, am I doing more harm than good by keeping my kids at home with me rather than sending them to school? How will I bear having little to none me-time? Will it hurt our relationship eventually? Will I be destroying their future? Will they have no social life? Will I be able to teach the difficult subjects as he grows bigger? Will he go to uni? Adam is 4 yo and already people are asking me left and right why isn't he at school yet.

But on days like today, I feel hopeful. If he were in school today, which school teacher with a class of 20 would have the time to look up milipedes all of a sudden? Even if she wanted to, there are 19 other students in the class needing attention, there's a probably a schedule she needs to keep up with, a subject she needs to finish teaching. Perhaps his sudden interest in the topic came up at lunchtime as the school timetable dictates. She might have to say 'not now Adam'. The next day the interest might've passed, or he would've been too afraid to ask, not wanting rejection again or to avoid humiliation, or to avoid disturbing the class. How many times has this happened to us? Might we have missed our life's passion with these little questions left unanswered?

My four year old son doesn't read by himself yet. He doesn't respond well to 'suggestions' like - would you like to learn to read this yourself? Do you know how to spell train - no, he immediately lose interest at these gentle 'push' to learn to read. In a class he might be classified as and 'average' student, or 'too easily distracted' or 'distrupting other students in class' or maybe even nearing 'difficulty learning'.

BUT, he LOVES books. He loves being read to, he loves the topics in his books, he takes books everywhere he goes. He has a set of encyclopaedia (not intended for his age) that he loves because they are about 'real things'. So far he's learned about the human anatomy, pre-historic animals, insects mammals reptiles, ocean creatures, trains and other transportation.....all at the same enthusiasm as getting a new toy. His interests jump unexpectedly from one topic to another , with no rhyme or reason, not following any set schedule or timetable. These are topics beyond what society says a 4 year old 'must know'. Many topics are beyond what I, a 30 year old know. I find myself learning many new things I wouldn't have even asked about.

So, on days like today, the reason becomes clear to me. I must write it down, for other days when it feels bleak, or frustrating, or challenging, or just plain tiring.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Cushion cover tutorial

I made more of these cushion covers. They take very little time and fabric to make. I made them really simple, and let the beauty of the fabric take center stage. Would you like to try?

Start by measuring your own original cushion cover that you want to replace. If you don't have it just measure your pillow and add maybe 1/4"-1/2" ease. Mine was a 15.5" square. Add seam allowance of 0.5" x 2 = 1".

Cut your fabric to your measurement. Mine was 16.5" square. Oh I have a terrible habit of not pressing my fabric before I you can see in the above picture...but don't do your fabric first k :)

Pin one of the seams (this seam is for the zip). Machine baste (use the largest stitch length setting on your machine) this seam with a 0.5" seam allowance.

Then stitch 2" from the 2 edges of the seam with a regular stitch length to reinforce. I stitched up to 2" because my zip was 15" long. Decide on how far you need to stitch up depending on your cushion size and your zip size.

Press open the seam.

Pin your zipper to the center of your seam. Look at the above picture. This is what I mean by 'decide on how far you need to stitch up' . The end of my zipper is about 1.5" from the edge of the seam. So I decided to sew up to 2" in to encase the zipper.

Change to a zipper foot on your machine. Sew close to the zipper teeth on both sides.

Using a seam ripper, rip open the machine basted seam. Leave the 2" (that you reinforced ) of both edges closed.

Your zipper seam it ready! Wasn't that easy? Leave the zip slightly open.

Pin and sew the other 3 seams with a 0.5 seam allowance.

Trim the edges.

Turn the cover inside out from the zip opening.

Press the edges, slip in your pillow and you're done!!

Enjoy your beautiful cushions :)


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