Advent 2017: Day 20

I managed to convince the kids to put their toy collection through the Konmari wringer – and we managed to reduce it by half!

 

We donated some of the toys to the Salvation Army and I’ll bring the rest to donate to the MINDS charity shop as well as the Dignity Mama Bookstore.

P.S. We are following the Advent calendar from Truth In The Tinsel this year!

P.P.S. Check out our other Advent posts here with lots of crafty fun for the season and subscribe to our YouTube channel!

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Advent 2017: Day 19

We had a quiet day today, just doing some watercolour painting and letter writing.

 

P.S. We are following the Advent calendar from Truth In The Tinsel this year!

P.P.S. Check out our other Advent posts here with lots of crafty fun for the season and subscribe to our YouTube channel!

Advent 2017: Day 17

My birthday is coming up, so this means two things:

  1. Project For Awesome is happening!
  2. The Barn Owl takes me out on a date!

 

Thoughts from today:

  1. Going to the Cathay Platinum Movie Suites at JEM was a real treat!
  2. Star Wars: The Last Jedi was a little problematic in places, but I still loved it.
  3. Please join us in helping to decrease World Suck by supporting the Project For Awesome, either by donating (in exchange for some very cool swag) or by voting for your preferred charity!

P.S. We are following the Advent calendar from Truth In The Tinsel this year!

P.P.S. Check out our other Advent posts here with lots of crafty fun for the season and subscribe to our YouTube channel!

Advent 2017: Day 8

Thumper is a little bit under the weather today, so it’s been rather quiet around here. He perked up after a little rest, so we still managed to make it a productive day.

P.S. We are following the Advent calendar from Truth In The Tinsel this year!

P.P.S. Check out our other Advent posts here with lots of crafty fun for the season and subscribe to our YouTube channel!

Advent 2017: Day 7

I have written about volunteering with The Boys’ Brigade Share-a-Gift Project before and this year was the first time that we were delivery volunteers with our own BB boy!

J joined The Boys’ Brigade at the start of the year and I cannot tell you how proud I was to see him in his full uniform, valiantly helping to carry the heavy bags of groceries to the Share-a-Gift beneficiaries.

Sadly, this year the donation drive has been a little bit slower than other years – so if you are at the supermarket and see the Boys in Blue, do stop by and see what items they need! As of this post, they need more 2L bottles of cooking oil, halal tinned foodstuffs, condiments (like soy sauce and ketchup) and instant noodles!

For more information on the BB Share-a-Gift project please click here

By the way, the board game that we are playing is called ‘Ravensburger Labyrinth‘ and it was a gift from the Outlaws last year. We still love it – and sometimes Thumper gets in on the action too! (Buyers note: You can get this game from My First Games or from Amazon)

P.S. We are following the Advent calendar from Truth In The Tinsel this year!

P.P.S. Check out our other Advent posts here with lots of crafty fun for the season and subscribe to our YouTube channel!

Expanding a child’s worldview: Part 3 (Reaching out to our local community)

So, yeah, I promised to tell you about J and Little E’s ‘Tomorrowland’ party. Well, after watching the movie, we had several discussions about how we can reduce World Suck and make an impact (no matter how small) on our society.

J and Little E were most concerned about world hunger and food wastage, and they asked if there were ways to move excess food away from landfills and give it to people who need it.

Well, I had a look around and found out that there are charities in the world that support the redistribution of food, and we have one such charity right here on our little island! Yay!

I was very pleased about finding The Food Bank Singapore. Although donating to World Vision is one way to help combat world hunger by targeting at-risk populations around the globe, I felt that it would also be meaningful to get J and Little E involved in helping our local community as well.

The Food Bank Singapore accepts donations of unused or unwanted surplus food and allocates it to the needy via a network of over 130 member beneficiaries such as soup kitchens, family service centres and other voluntary welfare organisations. They also run a Food Pantry which is a shop stocking consumable food that cannot be passed onto their member beneficiaries (because they have less than 2 months of shelf life), where individuals can purchase a variety of food items for a donation of S$1.

J and Little E went into our pantry first and found a bag full of items that we were unlikely to use by their sell by date. This was a pretty good start, but they wanted to do much more than bring a bag of food to a Food Bank Box.

This is where the ‘Tomorrowland’ party comes in. J and Little E decided to turn their birthday party into a food drive, so we sent out the following invitation to all our party guests:

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J and Little E’s birthday party invitation

This way, they were able to raise more support and awareness for the initiatives that they were most concerned about!

We tried our best to encourage our guests not to go out and buy more food, but to look through their pantries first. This way, J and Little E’s friends would also be involved in actively finding the food donations and reducing food waste within their households… and hopefully this would also open up the opportunity for conversations about world hunger and food wastage in other families besides our own.

All our party guests were really, really generous and the kids were so happy to see how much food they were able to collect! You can see in the picture below a snapshot of some of the food items that J and Little E collected during their birthday party food drive.

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Collection and delivery!

The next day, we drove down to the headquarters of The Food Bank Singapore to deliver the collected foodstuffs.

J and Little E helped to unload the car and place their donation onto a large pallet manned by one of the The Food Bank Singapore staff members who helped us to get all the food into the warehouse.

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It’s a full pallet of food

Inside the warehouse, there were boxes and pallets of donated food items waiting to be sorted by type and shelf life, then cleaned, neatly packed and stored away.

The Food Bank Singapore is only run by two full-time administrative staff, who are tiny young ladies who do everything from inventory taking to heavy lifting to managing deliveries, so they are highly dependant on volunteers to help them. They were very kind enough to take some time out of their busy schedule to bring us on a little tour of the warehouse and show us how things are run. Thanks, ladies!

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Inside The Food Bank Singapore headquarters

As you might imagine, The Food Bank Singapore is desperately in need of volunteers, from drivers and delivery assistants, to chefs and food nutrition educators, to photographers and party planners! There’s all sorts of ways that a willing volunteer can help – and there is even a Junior Foodbankers Club for kids aged 5 years and up, to help encourage volunteerism.

As a Junior Foodbanker, kids will get a change to volunteer at the warehouse, participate in food drives and craft sessions, and have access to educational tours to farms, factories and wastage centres, as well as other volunteering opportunities at The Food Bank Singapore’s beneficiary centres or homes! Membership is completely free – just email enquiries@foodbank.sg to register.

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Join the Junior Foodbankers Club!

I’m really proud of J and Little E for organising their very first food drive and for becoming Junior Foodbankers – and I hope they will continue to work at making the world more awesome!

Even the tiniest of actions can change the future. – Tomorrowland (2015)

For more information on The Food Bank Singapore, click here.

For more information on locations of The Food Bank Singapore Bank Boxes, click here.

For more information on volunteering opportunities with The Food Bank Singapore, click here.

For more information on the Junior Foodbankers Club, click here.

Expanding a child’s worldview: Part 2 (Understanding the needs of others)

As J and Little E get older, I have been trying to find new ways for them to understand their role and place in the world, so that they can grow to be socially responsible people.

They of course understand by now that they are not the centre of the known universe, and that there are people all over the world who lead vastly different lives, people who have been born into hardship. They are aware that there are people in this world who are denied basics that we take for granted – things like clean water, food, healthcare and education. However these are all big and abstract concepts for a small child to grasp, and the challenge I face is finding concrete ways of helping them to understand that every person can do something, no matter how small, to make the world better.

After watching the movie, Tomorrowland, the kids were ready for action, so we sat down with them to talk about the various ways that they could help other people in the world.

One of the things that they decided to do was pledge a portion of their Chinese New Year angpow money to helping alleviate poverty.

The Barn Owl and I decided that the best way for them to do this is by sponsoring a child through the World Vision Child Sponsorship Programme. I like this programme because it deals with the root of poverty in a community and works towards empowering them towards self-sufficiency. That is, the goal of the programme is to eventually see that the community achieves stability and financial independence.

My dear friend, Lyn, was the first person I knew who had successfully sponsored a child via this programme. The community which she supported for 11 years had become financially stable and World Vision was able to complete their work and leave the community on its own. During this time, she was able to watch her sponsored child grow up and graduate from school.

I thought that it would be amazing for our kids to grow up alongside their sponsored child, so what I had J and Little E do was to each choose a child to sponsor who was the same age as themselves. So, J is now sponsoring an 8 year old girl from Nepal whilst Little E is sponsoring a 5 year old girl from Sri Lanka.

Once the kids chose a child to sponsor, they were each sent a picture folder of the child and a profile of the community where this child lives. I showed them where their sponsored child lives on a world map, and some videos depicting life in those communities. Then I encouraged them to write letters of introduction to their sponsored child.

I asked J and Little E if they would like to send any small gifts along with their letters and they had plenty of brilliant ideas. At first, they wanted to send things like food, baby panadol, soap, shoes and water filters. World Vision doesn’t allow any items that cannot be flat packed into a single A4-sized envelope, so we had to be more thoughtful.

We decided to send some paper dolls for the girls to play with. There are tons of printable paper dolls on the internet, but I didn’t want to send them any light-haired and light-eyed princess dolls (for obvious reasons).

I was over the moon when I stumbled across these gorgeous Princess Tiana “The Princess and the Frog” paper dolls by artist Cory Jensen which come with a large array of gorgeous dresses and accessories! Hooray!

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Yes, I painstakingly cut them out too

We also included a set of ‘plain’ paper dolls for the girls to colour in and cut out themselves, a set of colour pencils with a pencil sharpener, stickers and pretty hairclips, and wrapped all of these up inside a clear plastic A4 envelope to protect them in case the parcel gets wet during delivery!

I hope the little girls like their gifts – and I hope J and Little E will become more socially aware through interacting with their new penpals!

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A special parcel for some special little girls

If you’d like to sponsor a child or make a donation to World Vision, click here.

Download the Princess Tiana Paper dolls by Cory Jensen here

Download the “I am a Princess” Paper Doll colouring page by Cory Jensen here