Lantern O’Lantern

So I have to admit that my boys’ enthusiasm for recycled lanterns have worn off
My 9 year old is now at the stage of ‘why-make-lanterns-when-you-can-simply-play-with-fire’

It’s easy, simple and fuss free
All you need are some candles, a lighter and a pail of water, just in case something else caught fire besides the candles

I guess lanterns are for grown up moms, like me, who never really grow out of their childhood

Obviously, my preschooler follow suits because he can’t wait to do everything his elder brother does
And we let him do just that

I remember the look on my friend’s face when he realised that the hammer our 3 year old was carrying was a real one and not the Bob the Builder type

The horror on our parents’ faces when we told them we won’t be installing window grille in our home (we lived on the 8th floor)

And the disapproving look we get when people found out that we never child proof our kitchen. In fact, the kids love to play in the kitchen. I even set up an area for them to ‘cook’ with me

I could list down the things we allowed the kids to play with since young and I am quite sure many will shake their heads and I risked being labelled the ‘negligent parent’

I realised that it is a fine line between being neligent and letting go

We believe in teaching our kids to handle danger and not to wrap them up in cotton candy world
Falling and getting hurt is part of learning and growing and being a child, is the best time to so
You read all these in parenting books and blah blah blah

After being a parent for close to a decade, I realised that parenting is like shopping
You choose the best you can find out there, the one that suits you most
Often, what looks good on others, may not look good on you
You make a choice, live with it and learn from it
At the end of the day, there is only one person who is really responsible

Anyway, I digress

So I wasn’t quite ready for my preschooler to skip the phase of creating and playing with his own lanterns
And thus, I didn’t stop at our hungry looking lantern for Mid-Autumn festival

I went on to make what seem like the current craze
They are everywhere but the kids don’t even know who they are because they never watch the movie
But his friend came over for a playdate and carry a plush little one with him and so I thought I make him one too

Then we fell in love with Pete, the Cat who loves his white shoes
We love how he always look on the bright side of things
We love how good he is at embracing changes and always choose to be happy

It is such a simple book yet so meaningful
Even the adults learn something from him

We made one using our Almond milk bottle, blueberries container and plastic egg carton

then the other day, after a trip to the pumpkin patch, we got inspired
We gathered some mineral bottles, some plastic containers and made these ‘scary’ lanterns

We ended up with a lantern galore at our entrance hall to meet our guests and I am contemplating whether to add more to the collection



My Favourite 4 Letter Word, SALE

So I confess, I am a shopaholic
but not the filthy rich kind who can close both eyes, sign off big ticket items in big designer stores without wincing a bit

When I was still working, which was about a decade ago, shopping was like driving
The satisfaction and freedom of spending your own money is similar to the feeling one gets when sitting behind the steering wheel

Liberating, empowering and in control
Financial independence is one of the hardest thing to let go when I chose to quit my job, stay at home and be a full time mother
Being independent is a big thing for me and being financially independent forms a large part of it

Then I quit my job, became a mom and had to move to the States for 2 years
Shopping was no longer limited to retail shops in big shopping malls

There were factory outlets, online shopping, ebay, amazon and garage sales
And without an income, satisfaction takes on a different meaning involving the lovely 4 letter word usually in red – SALE

You don’t just shop, you shop for things that are on sale
And the satisfaction comes from getting the best deal

I studied the best strategy to get the best bid on Priceline for hotel deals
I know the sales rack in Target like the back of my hand
The items that go from 30% discount, to 50% to 75% and that’s when you grab them and feel really smug about yourself
The rush and the sense of achievement, my husband calls it cheap thrill
I snapped back at him that I am helping him save money !

The truth is, I ended up buying stuff that I didn’t really need at really good prices
There were children’s toys, clothes, shoes, books, kitchen utensils, and scrapbooking materials that I was still struggling to finish after 5 years

During the few times we had to pack and relocate, I was determined to learn my lesson and not become a slave again to this alluring 4 letter word

My strategy so far has been abstinence

And having 3 boys in the family who simply abhor shopping helps
They often dictate where I go and what I do
So far I have been quite successful in keeping my shopping addiction in check except for a couple of occasions

Then last Saturday, there was a community sale in our neighbourhood, which was effectively a garage sale, the kind of treasure hunt sale without the red tag

I was hoping to get some outdoor furniture, so I woke up on Saturday morning, skipped my morning jog, hopped onto my minivan and was out of the house before everyone woke up

The thing about garage sale is that you can get really good quality stuff at a ridiculous low price especially in a good neighbourhood

There were 5 piece dining set that cost 50 bucks, book shelves that cost a dollar each, books that cost 20 cents and outdoor playset that cost 20 bucks

Depending on the items, I don’t usually pay more than 10 bucks for most things from a garage sales
The same item will usually cost more on craigslist or ebay, that’s how things are

So my heart raced each time I saw the balloons tied to a lamp post, an indication of a sale just around the corner
I slammed on the accelerator, swerved the car and came to a screeching stop, like a adrenaline junkie on a loose

3 hours into this, I was completely exhausted and was ready to call it a day
And I drove home with a full load that looked like this

Because I was such a sucker for wooden toys
I lugged home wooden baby toys, table, a shape sorter and a dollhouse although I only have boys and they are 4 and 9 years old who don’t really play with a toy sorter or a dollhouse!

But all these were all selling at 10 bucks or less and the sales junkie in me was reeling its head and I just couldn’t stop it
Yikes !

And the best deal for that morning had to be a complete Mizuno ladies golf set, probably older than my elder boy packed in a hand-stitched leather golf bag that cost me only 20 bucks !
I ended up canceling the one that I ordered on Amazon the night before, of a much inferior quality but cost 10 times more the price

You gain some, you lose some
That’s the real deal
And I am still trying to quit

Are you a shopaholic or a sale junkie like me too ?



On A Rainy Day

It’s the beginning of fall and the weather has been quirky

It still gets really hot on some days when the sky is clear with the sun shining furiously
And I could still trot around in my t-shirts and shorts

Then on some days, it gets really chilly when the overcast sky refuses to relent
which puts me in a gloomy mood and reminds me how I dread the cold weather

The other day, it started to rain and it rained and rained whole day

To kill boredom, the kids put on their raincoats (which didn’t stay on for long)
And spent a long time collecting raindrops that fell off from the rooftop while I fiddled with my very under utilized DSLR

And they laughed and giggled as if the raindrops tickled them



And I realised while we try to teach them the things that can give them a happy life
Perhaps they already taught us a happy life is but to live simply


Linking up with Mamawearpapashirt’s Little Lessons – because as parents we are growing and learning with our children

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