Wk 40 – October Updates

It’s that time of the year again! Each October of the Blog is a “change” for me. Is it the change in season to a colder weather, hence I’m more alive or the stress of the exam period? Anyway, I often hide away certain posts for the past year and edit my blog layouts during this time.

Why do I have the time to update now?

I had been hard at work finishing up Ling’s first year photo albums in “Project Life” format. She’s almost 2 now… I need to finish this project for her or it will never be done. A few days ago, the photos are finally done (463!) and uploaded for print at Persnickety and I can finally take a breather. After the photos are printed, I still have to slot them into the physical albums and write some text on journal cards. Then, it will truly be done.

What I’ve Been Busy With For the Past Few Months…

(that I gave up blogging on both sites, SCROLL for a LONG POST):

First, A Turning Moment

A few months back, I discovered my precious Photobooks turning “mouldy” in my cabinet and that really shocked me. I had always printed all my photographs in Photobook format since 2008 when Dar was born. I did our travels, Dar’s baby albums, several outings and staycation albums in photobook formats.

The more recent ones which I printed last year are still kept in a new cabinet for browsing as they seemed alright. The ones that were not, were albums of Dar’s precious baby photographs which I didn’t print out in physical 4R (9 years ago). I will have to re-print them out all over again! *scrambling to find the digital formats in one of the very old hard disks…

This made me think, IF I continue to print my photographs as paper in Photobooks, this issue would pop up after a few years and then I will lose all the memories I had painstakingly recorded and compiled. Most importantly, the children would not have baby photos of themselves for their future children to look at. I only hoped my most recent Photobooks would stay alright after I transferred them out from that cabinet…

Hence, the decision to print them out as physical copies from now on. In true archival quality, instead of paper. The mouldy issue happened to two different photobook companies I tried so it’s probably not the printing issue but due to mould existing in our environment. It’s so hard to keep them out in humid Singapore.

1. Scrapbooking Projects

Thus, I started “Project Life”, a physical album pocket page scrapping format. I had to spend a lot of money purchasing the binders, pocket pages and printing the photos but it’s worth it, to preserve our memories. Our children really enjoys looking at photographs we had taken, so I’m doing it for them and myself.

a) Project Life Travel (First Start, Trying out)

I started doing our South Korea Trip in Project Life Format. It wasn’t an easy process for me since I just started out. However, after two weeks, it was almost complete except for journalling day by day and a few photographs. The printing journalling was completed until Day 2 Morning and I would be continuing them after I printed Ling’s baby photos. That’s why I couldn’t blog on my travel blog.

From now on, I will be doing the journalling for my Travel Album first and then upload for the Blog, versus the reverse, because I feel the completed Photo Project is more important for my husband & children to browse through than the blog. The blog had become secondary from now on. I might be back to blogging later after I’m done with these more essential Photo Scrapbooking Projects.

b) Printed 12 x 12 (From now on)

Another Area I’m focusing on in my memory-keeping is our Daily Life Albums. I had been compiling  our Weekly Photos in a Yearly Album. For 2015, I did two Photobooks with Digital Project Life Layout Formats. I also did a large number of my own layouts for 2016 but did not complete them enough to compile into a Photobook. Also for 2017, I did until March and didn’t have time after that.

Therefore, I skipped Blogging and really focused on completing these. I managed to finish the first half of the year 2016 before skipping to do Ling’s album. 

I started with printing those digital layouts I had completed in the past, through a USA company in 12 x 12 inch size. Then, I slotted them into a physical 12 x 12  album. The Glossy Photographic Print looked really gorgeous and true to what I see on my computer! After that, for the next few weeks I laboured over digitally creating the layouts of Year 2016. They had been uploaded and I will be printing them soon.

c) Printed 8 x 8 (Ling’s Toddler Album)

Though I hadn’t done her first year album, I had been creating digital 8 x 8 layouts, compiling photographs weekly for Ling from 1 year onwards. They were printed into two Photobooks, 12-14months and 15-17months (100 pages each). After discovering the mould issue, I gave up on Photobooks and started printing them in 8 x 8 physical photographic print instead. They are then slotted into page protectors in a 8 x 8 Project Life Album (you can get them from Spotlight). As it’s cheaper to buy in bulk from the website directly and import from the USA, I will be doing them after I get my photographs settled.

Right now, I’m busy with compiling her 22months – 24 months for upload and print.

This is a sample of how it looks like.

Ling’s Digital Layout of 22 months

The same templates are used Weekly and I do about 4-7 pages for each week, depending on the stories I wanted to record. Sometimes, I want to record more details when I see certain photograhs so I would write a small paragraph in English and Chinese.

This recording actually started from my Facebook where I would upload her pictures in a private album to share with my family and friends. Beside each photograph, I write English and Chinese captions explaining it. The Chinese captions are for my parents whom do not know English.

I thought they looked quite nice placed together so I decided to copy & paste them into the album from her 1st year onwards. It then evolved and became this template from 17 months onwards.

2. Happenings in Dar’s Life

Term 4 Compo and Oral Exam

We did revision the previous three weeks for English and Chinese writing. He wrote at least two compositions for both Subjects. The books we used for Chinese Composition Revision were:

  • EPH- I’m The Best in Composition Writing 作文我最强 3/4

The “作文满分没问题 3 ” was very useful in helping him with the structure of Chinese composition writing as he could practice example sentences for beginning, middle and conclusion, make sentences using helpful connectors, descriptive words and emotional words. These step by step exercises helped me guide him in revising for composition.

For English Composition Revision we used:

This is the English Version of the composition book for Chinese. We used the pictures to do two compositions where I asked him to work more on his descriptions, “show not tell” and add in more dialogues.

More Free Time / Less Assessments Daily

Dar did well for all the Term Tests, so starting from Term 4, I decided to cut down on our daily revision with assessment books. Except for school homework and some writing exercises to prepare for composition exams, he didn’t work on any assessments for English, Maths and Science.    

I decided he needed more “free time” after school so he can develop more ideas of his own and be creative. When he was bugged down by homework and the assessment work for the entire afternoon until evening, he didn’t have time to draw and could only read sometimes. Now he could draw, create with Lego and read much more. 

Due to this, he actually started doing a picture book of “Holiday Stories” depicting a boy taking a holiday trip with his parents across countries and places he invented himself.

Clay and Regular Art Class

I also felt he needed to work on his Art more so as not to waste his potential and we decided to start Clay and Drawing Class at his previous Art Studio during the end of August to Middle of September for five lessons as a “trial”. Firstly, to gauge whether he likes it enough to be a regular class and then, whether it’s really useful for him. 

The outcome was that we decided to sign him up again for regular Art Class and do Clay works only during the holiday workshops. He still prefers 3D art but I persuaded him that he needs to build up his 2D art skills first.

Soon, he started on Art Class Weekly every Friday at Thomson and I got busy again fetching him to the place. It’s quite tiring that I had to baby-carry Ling, carried the stroller and back-packed my heavy diaper bag. We didn’t want to put it on Sunday like before, as we enjoy going out to places during weekends.

You can view more of his Clay Works & Art Works in his Art Gallery Instagram, @darcreativelab. which I would update periodically.

First Clay Class. His attempt at creating a cup. Not bad for a first try!

A post shared by DariusC (@darcreativelab) on

3. Home Art Fun With Dar-Ling

I used to get angry with him for not having the interest to do Art works outside of regular enrichment Art Class even though I provided so many materials for him. Recently, I came to the conclusion that it’s because he require someone to guide him in the usage of materials. 

Thus, I told him that we would allocate time for a Home Art Lesson with me during one of the weekdays afternoon. I did not have a structured plan but thought we should focus on sketching, shading and drawing things from different category each week. I also bought clay materials to work on some clay works as he loves 3D stuff. Also, to cater to the two of them, I specially went to IKEA to buy a new table so they could do the Art and Craft lesson together on one table, instead of using the dining table.

Teaching Dar some art techniques while giving Ling materials to scribble beside us. Used Dining table for first lesson but will use a new table from second lesson onwards.

We completed two sessions so far and it was quite fulfilling to learn how to draw an animal and practice painting. I will share more details about this in another post soon. 

Instagram @ ourbabyoflove to update Art & Craft Activities or Home Learning

I had an instagram account for ourbabyoflove in the past but set it to private after some time.

Now, I’m thinking to update our “Home Art & Craft Lessons” (Photos of Art Projects we tried) or home learning with both of them in this account. 

If you are interested, you can follow this instagram account: @ourbabyoflove

4. Piano Playing

After considering for a long time, we set out to buy a digital piano for Vin at the Yamaha Piano Fair in September. We ended up with a silent acoustic upright piano, after talking to the experts. They felt its better for long term playing since Vin is seriously learning, I’m planning to learn too and our daughter may learn in the future.

Ling has certain interest in music and she loves to go to our keyboard when Daddy is playing, to strike a few keys. That’s why I’m planning to support her in music education in the future, as well as Art. She likes art too.

As for Dar, he didn’t have any interest in learning a musical instrument but since we have a piano now, we are making him start learning. His Daddy would use an evening or two to teach him using the Yamaha Grade Books which he is learning from.

Vin started taking lessons in August after discovering his love for the piano. The four songs he learnt from the keyboard we bought last December could no longer satisfy his urge to learn more songs. I’m impressed that he progressed very fast, even though this was the first time he’s learning an instrument. He didn’t even know how to read notes before and is now doing Book 2 of Grade 1 (4 books), after only four lessons.


Term 4 Exams Revision

I will be focusing on revision for the next few weeks and as his first exam subject is Science, I will be printing out notes I made for my tuition pupils last time or teaching him to make his own revision Science notes. 

For English, we would be focusing on Comprehension and using two assessment books. For Maths, we would be doing challenging problems.

Unit Studies Lapbooking

I had been wanting to do lapbooking for the longest time. There’s always a lack of time since we were using assessment books daily. Since I’m moving away from assessment books, I’m back to trying out Unit Studies with Dar using storybooks, so he could learn more English in a fun way. My resource is from the homeschoolshare website. I’m trying one storybook first to see how he takes to it.

Craft Work with Ling

Ling is turning 2 years old soon and I had been doing most of our learning using storybooks or videos. She discovered scribbling recently and needs to do it daily. I felt it’s time to let her do more Art & Craft work. We may even work on one craft each day or do Letter of The Week activities. For these, I bought a variety of art supplies and play-doh.

So that’s it with a long update about our past few months and upcoming activities. I’m going to get busier but it’s going to be lots of fun working on artsy projects! Hope I can update here again more often!


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  1. Hi,

    I have a P2 girl. Since you mentioned using assessment books in your home revision, do you think that assessment books are useful for revision? If you are going to stop using them, what do you intend to use now?

    Thanks a lot!

    • Hi Lynn,

      I’m still using some assessment books in our revision for practice of questions, just not totally.
      For the past two years, we used to do a subject daily for revision (weekdays only) even when there was no test coming up because I feel we need to practice often. We would also do it even during the school holidays.

      However, his foundation is quite good now so I’m starting to shift away from the need to practice questions every day but starting on doing other things such as art or unit studies on good literature books or English topics.

      For Chinese, he is still doing assessments at least once a week to revise on characters and comprehension. He’s weaker in that.

      Assessment books would be used for days nearer to the exam dates(like a week or few days before). The rest of the days I would like to give him more free time if possible for his own creativity and for us to work on in depth topics, making lapbooks. That’s my idea. Hope this clarifies.

      I still believe in assessment books and thinks they are useful for revision as learning to apply whatever he learns to questions is important. However, I would just target specific areas he’s weak in. Such as comprehension or challenging problems. I often only do a few revision worksheets very close to the exam dates to get him practice.

      Usually, most of the time I sit down with him to study the theory more in depth. Such as science, I will go through the topics from the textbook first, do some notes worksheets that I made myself and only after that, work on a few practice worksheet questions.

      We still work more on languages (English and Chinese) because I believe it is more important than other subjects. Once you have a strong foundation in English, you can understand the questions asked in Maths and Science. A lot of times, pupils misread the questions or don’t understand them at all.