Saturday, December 24, 2011

Blessed Christmas! “Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.” (Romans 5:1 NLT)
May you know and experience the Reason for the season - we are the reason for His Coming! We are blessed indeed!

I remembered this video that Tracey shared last year, it is so wonderful to have a joyful moment of worship and praises amid bouts of shopping and present frenzy :)

We are just back from Beijing, we had a great, great time. I managed to limp all over Beijing, even up the magnificent Great Wall. Here are some pics from our trip

Blessed Christmas everyone!

Monday, December 05, 2011

What do our scrapbooks tell about us?

Firstly thank you all for your support and comments during my stint on The Digi Files 35, and the sale in my store, really appreciate you so much!
Yes, I'm afraid I  fractured my little right toe over a week ago, and have been on medical leave from work, trying to rest it and let it heal. I greatly appreciate the rest, but the injury came at a bad timing, as we are due to leave for Beijing on 7 Dec. We can't cancel (booked the cheapest no cancellation airtickets) so to Beijing I shall go, hobbling, limping, or otherwise! Unfortunately we had planned skiing as well, I will have to sit that out :(

But the enforced rest gave me time to plan the trip and to enjoy lots of scrapbooking! I did some layouts from our daily lives for our 201 1 Album  using the templates from my Template 262 Album Set
Above: The boys are on holidays now and on the computer everyday (gasp) We limit them and schedule in games time everyday - great family times - we play to win! (wink)
Credits: Paper from Keen by A Pennington, Spinner by Amanda Carlson, alpha by Designs by lili

Below: Jared has graduated from Primary School! By the way his final PSLE results were great, praise be to God! It ensured his place in the difficult to get in six-year integrated program school. However he was not able to appeal to R's school, where he had hoped to join his brother. We encouraged him to trust that the Lord knows best, He makes no mistakes! and J has accepted this with enthusiasm.We are just so thankful :) This layout is made to remember his graduation and tell him how proud we are of him!!
Credits: A+ by The Tattered Pear, Hat by Chelle's Creation, Paper by Jennifer Barrette
Above: Ryan continues to do extremely well in school, surpassing our expectations time and again! 4.7 GPA!! How did he do it? Made a layout to celebrate his results and how proud we are of him too!
Credits: Paper from Bloom by A Pennington, paint by EM Designs, word art by Lauren Reid
Above: Found these photos in my iphone of those days spent revising for Jared's exams. Lovely pics of father and son hunched over Math problems, just love the sight of them :)
Credits: Pencil, shaving and scribble by Rachel B Designs, abc word art by Holly Designs, paper by Simple Girl Scraps

Below: During the hols, we allow them more gaming time, and sometimes dh join them as well. I will not be able to understand but it is amazing how much bonding they can have over these games!
Credits: Paper by Jennifer Barrette, console by Kate Hadefield

What do our scrapbooks tell about us?
You know, as the year come to a close, I reflect on my scrapbook pages, and wonder:
1) Did I capture all of our lives this year and who we are in my scrapbooks? and
2) What do my scrapbook pages tell of us and our lives?

To Question 1: I must say I scrapbook a disproportionate # of pages of our travels, just because so many photos are taken and they are such memorable family time and journeys. Of our daily lives I have captured quite a bit, including a Week in the Life this year, but what is missing is what each of us do outside the family, at work, at school, eg of dh and his tennis, of the boys with their friends, as I rarely have photos of these. Mental note to include some of these pages! 2nd note to self: our faith is such an important part of us and I must add/include pages that reflect how God is involved in our lives.
How about you, do you feel there are any aspect missing from your pages?

To Question 2: If I am a stranger looking at our pages this year I would probably find this family is one that loves their travels, one that has a close family bond, and one that spends a lot of time studying, lol! Yes unfortunately we live in a society that gives opportunities based on a somewhat narrow definition of meritocracy and academic results have become so important. Dh and I try hard not to join the pressure-cooker system, we will push the boys and are strict to the extent that we know is within their abilities, but we try hard to expand their world view, other interests, apart from studies. We believe our children are God's gifts to us as much as we are His stewarts to raise them to know Him, love Him, live their lives in His Will and for His Glory. So we want as much to train them in Godly counsel and discipline, as to enjoy the beauty and joys God has created for us .... hhmmm, much prayer required to stay on track! The boys might not agree though ... couple of years ago, J went up during Sunday School worship to ask for corporate prayer - his prayer request? " My parents are too strict." !!!  LOL.  We press on...

Do not, however, think we are those overpowering parents producing over-achieving kids aka Tiger Mom  ( Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua - she has controversial views) - case in point: I have failed in getting both our boys to learn to play the piano or any musical instrument for that matter. R made it to grade 1 and J did not even touch grade 1, before we heaved a collective sigh of relief and agree they just don't have them musical cells and let it go. :D  To this day dh regrets though and can't help thinking that I (being the one who can play) could have pushed them a little harder and they will  now be able to enjoy making music (something dh did not have a chance to learn)... I guess we will never know...?

More Layouts
Well, I digress... we certainly have too many travel pictures, and here are some more! Used my old templates to do these next ten layouts, and went with white background to simplify further, completing all ten in about 3 nights!
These layouts are all  from the time we spent at the World Expo in Shanghai last year, it was an amazing experience for our museum loving family, it was literally a World Museum for us! For 3 days we pounded the huge compound, trying to get into as many pavillions, sample as many types of foods, shop at as many markets, watch as many performances, experience as much as we can!!

Click on image to enlarge
See below left how Jared was so tired out he fell asleep at one rest stop (Template 22)

Various Pavillions showcasing China's technological advances (Template  93)
And only at the World Expo we get to visit North Korea and Iran!! (Template 231)

We spent time in the exhibits of the African, Pacific Islands and Middle East countries, those we might never have a chance to visit (Template 159) see top left pic J again fell sleep waiting for me to do some shopping :D

Had a chance to visit some European and South America countries (Template 85)

Morroco and Turkey were full of culture and mystery (Template 49)

The Italy and Sweden pavillions were so classy and chic! (Template 91)

Then we had a chance to  visit the China Pavillion, we begged to be let in on the last day of our trip,     having not been able to acquire entry passes (due to over-popularity) and the guards let us in! (Adapted from Template 106 -  this new one is available for download further down as Template 285)
The best exhibits were this animated ancient painting that stretched an entire hall and every person in the painting 'came alive'! And we  got to see the superbly preserved Horse and chariots from Xi Ann! (Template 25)
Magnificent China Pavillion! (Template 75)
All credits for the previous ten layouts: Paint from Painted On by E.M. Designs (this must be the most used resource in my stash!!), crayon scribbles by Brittish Designs, Purple painted background by Corina Nielson (color changed), Globe and pink dots by Kaye Winiecki, postcard stamp and ancient map from Wanderlust by Pink Reptile Designs, pink paint by Something Blue Designs, Paper with writing, flares, wire word art, arrow all from Around the World collab by Sahlin Studio and Brittish Designs

On the same trip last year in June to Shanghai, we also made a sidetrip to visit SuZhou, famed in ancient days for its beautiful gardens and waterways. The city was built on crisscrossing canals, which were used for transportation instead of roads. It is a modern city now, but pockets of of its classical beauty remains:
Credits:  Paper by Chelles' Creations, foliage brush by Tracy Ann
Credits: Paper from Scrap Addicts, paper flower by Sahlin Studios, and leaves by Rachel Young

In the evening we took a break at this traditional tea house and had a game of chinese chess.
Credits: Paper from Lucky Papers by Simple Girl Scraps, leaves by Anna Aspnes, tea leave heart shape by Sahlin Studios and Chess piece scanned in by me

An unforgetable boat trip down the historically rich canal 
Credits: Paper by Simple Girl Scraps, leave art by K Pertiet

Finally, dh had to take these photos of all the bikes we noticed, how they had been lovingly added personal touches, how practical and depended upon they are for all forms of transportation :)
Credits: Paper from Delilah by Allison Pennington 

And while we leave for Beijing, I will leave you with these two 12X12 templates to play with 
This is now available as part of Template Pack 7 in the store. Thanks for your interest!
This is now available as part of Template Pack 7 in the store. Thanks for your interest!
It will be great to hear your comments, I will post from Beijing if I get the chance!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

I Survived my Child's first overseas trip without Me!

I'm so, so, so VERY honored to be invited back to be part of The Daily Digi's Digi Files for November! Today Yin Designs is being featured, so do hop over to The Daily Digi to take a look :) Thank you to Steph and Katie for this great opportunity!

And here is my contribution to the Digi Files #35!
I greatly enjoyed creating these pages, especially the single pages, all photos taken by dh using his Vista Quest , must be the tiniest digital camera around, I think, that takes these quirky little pictures, that makes these interesting layouts :)
Credits: Background paper, paint smudge, sea shells, word art, ringspill from Tropical Paradise by WM(squared), word arts by Suddenly Artistic , word art and flower sticker from Vacation by Wild Blueberry Ink

I Survived my Child's first overseas trip without Me!
Jared has come back safely from his 4 days school trip to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam! His school took 200 12 year-olds there for learning (museums and the Cu Chi Tunnels), sharing (they visited a Vietnamese school) and sight-seeing. We wonder how the teachers survived it and are so thankful to them for giving our kids such a great opportunity! (Ryan laments that he still had not had such a chance at a school overseas trip) The trip costs each child S$590 (about US$480), our government Edusave fund paid S$300 and we paid the rest. It was a great deal as they stayed in a 5 star hotel and flew SIA!
Before he left for the trip I nagged him so much, he kept telling me "Mom i know what you're going to say for the next 15 minutes!"and proceeded to do just that, lol. I tried to be a level-headed, modern, open mom, but it was hard to stay cool and calm especially when all the kids did not call home as instructed on the first night, 4 hours after touch down at Vietnam! They were apparently delayed and were too tired when they got to their hotel past midnight. The next few days were almost the same in terms of communicability and it sure was hard for me! Thankfully some of the moms (who had daughters that messaged a few times a day) fed us boys' moms some information so we could 'get' by, bless the girls, haha!
Especially during each evening when the three of us left at home find ourselves having these rather quiet and serious conversations, we so missed the sometimes crazy, nonsensical inputs from Jared! I was going on so much about missing Jared that dh and Ryan joked about drugging me till Jared got home, lol!
In due course after a 2 hour flight delay Jared arrived home none the worst, thoroughly enjoyed the trip, a little wiser, and a little more independent. And me, a little better at letting go and letting my little boy grow up :) He will be thirteen in 2 months time and I know there is a lot more of letting go I will have to do - as Tracey said to my last post, this age is so exciting, this age also keeps us on our knees!

Here are some photos he took on the trip:
This is a board game J and his team mates made, for 'teaching' English to the Vietnamese children they met. I must ask him, I'm not sure how it's played :)
And here's a scene from Ho Chi Minh City. Bikes everywhere!
He had no photos where he was in the picture! There were lots of photos where his friends were holding their cameras to their faces taking photos of him though, lol. Aren't they cute! It's fun looking through the lens of my son!
Some time ago I came to know about this lovely scrapbooking community where the focus is on anything Disney related! You can find Disney tips, resort & travel info, Disney layouts and scrapbooking supplies! Recently I had a chance to get to know a group of ladies at who are volunteering to make photobooks for families of children who have had Make a Wish trips to Disney World. The books are of photos from their wish trips! It is just so meaningful I had to join them. However, it is the lives of the children and the families, their courage, joy and grace that touches and blesses us many folds more. If you would like to contribute or help, please let me know by emailing me at yindgs at yahoo dot com dot sg, and I'll link you up if they need more help. Isn't it a privilege that our hobby can be part of something so meaningful!

And here are more Shanghai trip layouts, it was really nice scrapping the photos and reminiscing and checking my travel journal for details to journal, I do have so much to catch up though!
Here we were at the Science & Technology Museum. It's almost compulsory for us to visit the Science museum in every city we visit :P . What was different in the Shanghai museum was these various robots doing Gungfu moves, dancing chinese dance!
Credits: Background Paper by EGiovanni, stickers from Danielle Engebretsen, Allison Pennington, and 'Science' page by Abish Allen created from PDD Hypothesis
This next layout is from the time we spent at the Historical Museum of Shanghai - really charming museum that brought to life how the traditional chinese and new western ways coexisted in old Shanghai.
Credits: Background paper and coins by Girl Boheme, Flowers by Heather T, and Alpha by Jady Day Studio
And then we spent a meaningful time at the old home and museum of Mr Sun Yat Sen, learning a lot about his life, ideology, brilliance, and his love for China and the people.
Credits: Background paper from Sahlin Studio's watercolorpapers, black ink by Emily Merritt, Borders by Shawna Clingerman, alpha by Retrodiva designs
And here is the first of many layouts to come, featuring the World Expo at Shanghai 2010! We spent 3 full days at the World Expo, exploring many countries' pavillions, exhibits, finding out about places we might never be able to visit, tasting their food, buying their souvenirs, it was so much fun and interesting and just the sort of stuff my family digs :)
Credits: Background paper from Chelle's Creations, earth and word art by Kaye Winiecki, flags by Miss Cato
More photos from the World Expo - night scene - arguably even more beautiful! We got there as early as we can and leave as late as we can, and start again the next day!
Credits: Background paper by Pretty in Green, glitter by Emily Giovanni
This template is now available as Template Pack 8 in the Store. Thanks for your interest!
And here we are with my cousin's family in Shanghai, we had a great, great time catching up, enjoying their hospitality and company!
Credits: Background paper by Allison Pennington, border from yesteryear by The Tattered Pear, alpha by Gina Miller
This is now available as part of Template Pack 7 in the store. Thanks for your interest!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Seasons of Life

We are studying Ecclesiates in church and it does feel like a season of life is passing for me! Jared's big PSLE exams are finally over. Certainly studying was a big part of it, but more than that, Jared has grown and matured so much in so many other ways :) In my opinion, the Lord allowed a rejection from his dream secondary school, and through it Jared learnt the powerful lessons of humility, teachability, responsibility, working for a goal, and the personal satisfaction of working hard on something and knowing you did well. I know, big words and phrases, huge stuff!

He is also learning to Gpray and trust God about the choices - he hopes to try applying for the dream school again when the results are out while also asking Him for guidance about the other two schools where he has been offered a place. Can you imagine, my little boy, facing such huge decisions so well?

Last week, J and I had a cute candid conversation about this, that went something like this:
Me: You know, if you find that you tend to excel at big national exams, you should go to school A.
J: No, I prefer relaxed.
Me: Then you had better go to school B, which is a six year program that allows you to skip one national exam! No need to try for the 'dream school'!
J: But I prefer interesting.
Haha! He sure has his own priorities clearly sorted out! We continue to pray and await God's choice!

Right after the exams, J's school informed that they are organizing a school trip to Vietnam and Jared is selected. Wow, another step forward, travelling overseas without mommy! He is terribly excited about the without mommy part, only I am cringing inside, lol. I have to let go, it is that season of life :)

Similarly for dh, remember I completed a page myself for a daybook in my life in Aug? I also got dh to do a page and this is the result:

I so loved to read some of his answers, especially "I am creating... a stable home for the family" Love him!

And also some of his deep concerns for Jared showed "I am thankful... for Jared's getting into 2 great schools, what a terrible feeling for him if he had to face rejection at such a tender age", "I am hoping... that Jared will go through these exams with his spirit intact"

And this is funny and so accurate: "Around the house... toys, toys and more toys. a busy house, full of creative activities: stop motion movie making, computer game writing, scrapbooking and tonnes of books."

If you haven't, capture your day and your sentiments in a Daybook page and include it in your scrapbook albums!

It was so nice to be able to do a post after a long month! I played around in blogger and found that a new series of dynamic views are now available and it looks real cool! Here's a preview, click HERE to try the new view. You can even toggle to different views on the black menu bar there!
I'm now making great efforts to catch up on my trip photos! I'm probably only a third way through my Shanghai trip album that was in June last year! Here are some I did so far:
This layout is from a morning we spent in QiBao, touted in the guide book as an original town preserved, but we found it to be terribly turned into a tourist trap! Still, being where the chinese tourists go was interesting, just look at the top two pictures in the second column from the right. Those were pig snorts and baby ducks! I ran from the scene, dh managed to take the pictures, lol!
This Miniature 'museum' was also in Qibao, you won't believe how tiny these furnitures, vases, sculptures were! About an inch tall but oh so delicately carved from semi-precious stones, just amazing.
Next we went to a fun shopping space at Tai Kang Lu built into old alleyway homes, it's now has hip and cool shops existing in these old buildings with families still living in the upper stories.
And this was how we spent an authentic sunday morning the Shanghainese way, in the City park. These above layout templates are in the store.
And I bought my first strand of real cultured pearl necklace in this Shanhai market. At least, I hope they are real! The store owner shaved the pearl with a knife, to show me that underneath it is authentic pearl with real sheen and shine. Looks real to me! I loved that I could customise the length and select the individual pearls that I want for my necklace!

This is now available as part of Template Pack 7 in the store. Thanks for your interest!


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