Travel Cheap with 2 kids + layovers

When you are traveling with kids, I have mentioned that it is best to travel light.  For cheap flights, you probably would encounter layovers so it is very wise to carry less items.

For my trip to Tokyo, I have a 25 hours lay over @ Beijing. Since handling 2 toddlers is already a heavy load. I definitely recommend having everything packed in one luggage. Even if you have to check in one big luggage, do it. Since a hand carry would most likely not be enough space to put your baby items.

I’ve made sure I’ve done research. Most airports where there are airlines with long layovers, they will have this paid service to have your luggage stalled at the airport for a fee so you can be cleared free while you wanderlust in the country for 25 hours. I’ve checked that Beijing airport has this service for 50 RMB per day which is definitely worth it for us. I would recommend doing that and having a backpack to just put 1 days worth of cloth and necessity while your out and about.

This will definitely make your travels easier as hauling a luggage around Asia can be very crowded and dangerous for your little ones. I like to have more clear room to push my stroller and not worry about my luggage.

Depending on which terminal you get out from, here is good link provided by the airport to guide you to the storage service area.  Check it out if you are going to be going to Beijing. I know Shanghai also have this service. If you want to find out about other airports, feel free to send me a message and I can check!

thanks for reading about my little advise!

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HOW to travel light & with kids! Packing Tips

Traveling is fun and packing is not.

DAISO helped me pack!!!! for cheap $1.50!!!! 

Since I have little kids travelling with me, I always always want to emphasize on packing as little as possible. I hate how my in laws and parents would pack SO MANY items that are really unnecessary while travelling. My husband always complain because if they packed many items, it will end up being us carrying it; even if they say that they will, unless your cold heart and won’t help the old senior citizens out. Haha, actually my husband sometimes would purposely not help so that they will understand not to bring so much the next time.

I recalled going on a trip with my mother in law for a weekend. She brought so many items, it wouldn’t fit in one bag. My husband told her that it should be no more than one bag so we can travel light. We need our hands and energy to be focused on the kids. She didn’t listen, brought a few bags and it was just a hassle trying to carry everything and watch the kids. She would always say to us, “I don’t have much items, its all packed for your kids.”  We often get annoyed of this response. In conclusion, there goes lots of toys, cloths, things we really don’t need into the suitcase. CLUTTER THAT IS. which makes it really hard to find anything when we unpack and makes packing everything up a whole lot of time wasted.

HERE COMES TO BEAUTY OF PACKAGING ORGANIZERS!! WOOHOO.

I’ve bought these amazing little organizing packets that allows you to fit everything tightly together and not feel like a mess! The method I find the most useful to maximize space is by rolling the cloths.

Reasons to fold cloths by rolling: 

  • you can easily find your cloths without have to spread out everything
  • very neat
  • space maximization

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I highly recommend buying a few of these and just limit 1-2 of these per person so we know how much we bring along the trip. Plus it makes finding things really much easier. You really want to save space to bring home goodies + you want your hands to be free to carry the kids and watch over them.

It’s really dangerous when you travel and let your kids run around at a location that your not familiar with. Things and accidents happen just within mere seconds and there is no “sorry” that can turn back time. I get really paranoid and would make sure my kids are next to me the whole time. They always have their hands held by my side or they would be pulling my shirt to make sure we are all connected together. It is definitely turning on my mama bear binoculars; better safe than sorry.

 

I know there are higher priced packing cubes out there, I really chose the cheap one from Daiso as it serves its purpose! But, if you do want to go more high class and fancy. My cousin bought ones from this website and I’ve heard great things about it. You can check them out yourself.

Packing Cubes  – This Company do good things and work with Charity. Check it out! 

Expectation for Entering Kindergarten

Hi everyone,

I’ve been applying to Kindergarten for my oldest daughter as she will soon be entering. I’m new to schools and have found it quite confusing at times. I wanted to share with you what most schools have told me to prep for my child. Hopefully this will help yours to be on track or use it as a guidance

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NOTE THIS IS THINGS YOUR CHILD SHOULD KNOW BEFORE THEY ENTER INTO A CLASSROOM- or you can simply start working on these aspects.

  • Count from 1-20
  • Write numbers 1-20
  • Read & write all Alphabet
  • Know how to sound out short words
  • Know how to sound out the Alphabet
  • Memorize home address
  • memorize phone number (parents number or an emergency contact number)
  • Trace and color pictures
  • write own name
  • addition + subtraction with numbers 1 to 10
  • know her birthday
  • listen to story without interruption
  • tidy up after himself/herself
  • recognize Shapes and Sizes

This is the information I’ve received. They are going to have an assessment before they enter into class. This is to make sure that the kids are broken down into classes for their proper level. I thought this was only something private schools do, but I guess wrong since my child is going to be attending public school and do need to take an entry assessment.

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I’ve search for some good sites to help prep your child. Feel free to use these as references.

Kindergarten worksheets for tracing 

Beginning sounds worksheets

vowels worksheets 

Shapes & colors 

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You can never be too prepared for SCHOOL REGISTRATION time!

I’m in lots of mommy support groups and clubs where school registration seems to be a hot topic. Everyone has their own side of the story and what to do or not. As a newby mom myself, it  is really hard to know when is the appropriate time to start looking at schools for the kids.  I want to take this time to share my experience with you and let you know what I’ve learn.

It may be different for your Country, but I live in California and this may apply to some of you. I’m still learning with my mamahood ways, but I’ll share to everyone what I know now.

1. Do you research of schools you may want your child to potentially attend

  • do note that private schools and public schools have different registration dates
  • private schools may have early registration dates and deadlines for “early decision” making for those who know that the school is their priority
  • private or public both take parent involvement very seriously; you are going to be a sense of community so what you put forth is what you will get out. Your essentially your daughter/son’s role model
  • TALK TO THE SCHOOL yourself. Don’t just listen to other parents because you need to feel the school yourself. Your kids are going to go there for quite a few years and you want to make sure you have a good feeling
  • trust your guts and instinct. If you don’t feel something is right even when people tell you that the school is #1. It may not be the #1 school for you
  • every public school has a “Balanced Score Card” that is to be shared to the public, it is a reporting to allow parents to know where funds are disperse and why in such ways
  • API and school ratings can give you a general idea of how the school performs to get the ball going and to give you a clue if that the school you want your child to attend. Simply plug in the name of the school on this website and see what you find. 

2. Mentally prepare your child for school  

  • before they even start, tell them about school
  • give them the good and bad so they will be prepare
  • respect their ideas
  • try to identify their interests
  • look for common grounds or aspect of the school that relates to your child

3. Do your logistics early on

There are usually the general few forms that are necessary when applying for schools. I’ve applied to several private and public. This is what I found we should have handy

  • proper identification of the parent and guardian: driver license, state license or passport
  • proper identification of the child you are registering: birth certificate, adoption form, passport
  • all clinician shots record: We use to have a record in the yellow “immunization card”, but technology made everything fancy so some hospitals have forms for you to fill out and request shot records. I personally have Kaiser for the family and it takes 3-5 business days to have forms to be filled out. So time yourself, don’t wait till the last minute to get your shot records or any forms the school may need.
  • Usually 2 valid address verification documentations: water bill, PGE electricity bill, car registration, mortgage statement, rental agreements are solid pieces to have handy. It doesn’t hurt to have them all, just in case some schools don’t accept one, you do have the backup documentations in hand so time is not wasted and you won’t have to make another trip
  • print a copy of your application form. Make 2 copies, 1 for you and 1 for the school

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Other things to keep in mind about picking a school

Private schools are accessible to everyone even if you lack funds

Always ask if the schools have financial aid or scholarships, lots of parents don’t know that you can fill out a universal application online . Ask about volunteer work and other ways of accommodation. The schools know that we all just want the best for our kids, so communicate with them and see if you can work something out. Don’t let $$ be the blockage of obtaining a education path you choose for your daughter/son. The worst they can say is “no”, but at least you tried your best.

Home school

If none of the school works out, there is always the option of home schooling your child. Register yourself as a “private school” and get the right resources and guidance at your district educations office. You can look into materials online as well, there are bunch of resources that can guide you.

This is a good resource network to learn more about Home Schooling. Click Here to read more. 

Inter-district school transfer

Lots of family may or may not have heard about this one. Before I become a mother myself, I didn’t know that my child can attend schools in other school districts as long as the parent works at the district. For working parents like myself, we may have long commutes and the school hours may just not work for your schedule. You can look into the schools around your work place and apply for a “interdistrict” permit. Each school district is different, but you can definitely go to your own school district and the district that you want to attend to obtain more information. I’ve heard stories where the school districts tell you to go back and forth to get information. Do yourself a favor, take note of when, where, who, what etc. as documentation and record keeping so you can hold people accountable.  Click on this link to learn more about District Transfers. 

 

Interdistrict Transfer/Reciprocal Agreement

An interdistrict transfer/reciprocal agreement is when parents/guardians wish to register/admit/enroll their student(s) at a school other than the designated school that is in their attendance area outside of their district.

California Education Code sections 46600–46610 External link opens in new window or tab. permits parents/guardians to request an interdistrict transfer/reciprocal agreement. The fundamental basis for this provision is the signing of an agreement between districts. Interdistrict transfer/reciprocal agreement must be approved by both the student’s original district of residence and the district to which the student seeks to transfer to. Both districts must approve the agreement before it becomes valid. The agreement may extend for a maximum of five consecutive years and may include terms or conditions. It is within the authority of either the home district or the receiving district to revoke an interdistrict transfer/reciprocal agreement at any time for any reason the local board or district superintendent deems appropriate.

If a request for an interdistrict transfer/reciprocal agreement is denied, the student’s parents/guardians may file an appeal to the county office of education in the student’s district of residence within 30 days of receipt of the official notice of denial of the transfer.

FLASH BACK TO VALENTINE WITH KIDS

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This is what KitCat and Belle did. We know that Valentine’s Day is meant to be spent with your love ones alone but when you have kids, some things changes. At least for me, everything evolves around my two darling love monsters.
Instead of spending just the day with my husband alone. We decided to check out the new playground that opened right outside of City Hall SF! For those who are touring the Bay Area or just looking for a new park to visit. You should check this out!
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The location is literally right outside of City Hall building which gives you quite a view of all our historical building in one place.
Photo of City Hall - San Francisco, CA, United States
In my idea, this playground may be more appropriate for older toddlers because the structure is pretty big and design high with compartments that are super high which may be hard for babies to climb on: too dangerous. But if you are planning a Friday or Wednesday here, I think it would be a nice idea since it has a bit of everything.
You can go into City Hall and take pretty pictures. Have the kids run around the new playground. When your a bit hungry, they have different food trucks right next to the playground to grab a bite! (If you go on Wednesday’s, you can even do you grocery shopping at the farmers market).
Photo of Off the Grid: Civic Center - San Francisco, CA, United States
I say that this is not a typical park with lots of green area and secluded to nature. It’s more of a different feeling and type of hang out area I would say for “City life”.  If you guys don’t believe it, give the spot a try! At last, it’s free! So why not ??
Give the spot a visit and let me know what you think!

SHOP KitCat Belle’s Closet

We tend to buy way much more things than we need. KitCat & Belle decided to share pre-loved pieces and brand new items in hope of helping them find a new home and make good use by those who may wear them!

We accept payments through VENMO & PayPal

Paypal: mamalovefab@gmail.com

Check out our pieces and direct message me for pricing + questions!

We are going to post @ least once a week with items & styles from KitCat & Belle

Honesty -The importance to Kids

Honesty

This topic sounds like its something given, something everyone knows. But, it is really surprising to me when I speak to my friends and family how “Honesty” plays different roles at home. We always vouch that people should be honest with each other and honest to yourself but we see adults lying to kids (I’m not saying all parents do, but sometimes parents do lie).

My true story: 

Kids tend to lie because they are afraid something bad will happen or they will be punished for “bad” actions. For instance, my daughters Crystabelle and Catherine was playing in the tub and spilled water all over the floor. What is their first reaction?  What  are they thinking in their little mind? REALLY depends on the adult. When I first became a mom, I would yell and scream, punish them at the “thinking chair” to let them know that it is not okay. This method worked for to stop them for a while and have them “behave”. But what I found out is that, they start to be very scared and careful to tell me what they do. Kids will always be kids, so they are going to get themselves into trouble; we can’t avoid or stop them from doing things. They are exploring!

So rewind back, if I had a chance to go back in time. I would instead let them know, “It is alright and thank you for being HONEST with mommy. Things happen and I see it is not good for such and such reason……xxx……….but I really appreciate you being honest to me and we will take care of it.”

Ever since I let them know that it is alright when things happen to come tell me the truth, they became much happier kids and were able to communicate with me. In matter a fact, they think twice before they do something or they would ask me what I think if they did A and B. Being honest is very important because that will accompany them throughout their lives.

The next time something happens, take a little time to step back and think about what you want to tell your kids. Instead of yelling, how can you make this situation into a learning lesson? How can we effectively communicate with our kids?

I would suggest some books you can read to tell during story time so they can be interested in reading (Click here for books related to Honesty) and it would also be a good chance to hint to them about honesty; so they don’t feel as if you are targeting them every time. We don’t really need to be sitting down the kids and lecturing them every time we want to teach them something. We can have role play, story time, park time, etc. to learn and open their horizon! Learning should be fun and happy!

When I first realized that I was pregnant, I had a full list of expectations for how I want to raise my child. I was constantly debating if and when I should be a tiger mom or I should be “cool” mom. I’m not sure if anyone of you have had that thought train or is pregnant right now and thinking of the same.

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picture for attention: KitCat wasn’t modelling for this picture, she was looking at the pictures in the book. I wonder what she was thinking? Do you ever wonder what your kid is thinking? 

I kept changing my list of expectations up till the day that my child was born. Even then and now I am still rectifying my mind. When I see other parents are taking such and such actions, I would either want to make sure my kid is doing the same or even more. With my long list, it got me stressed out to the point that I became unrealistic.

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If you are doing the same or even thinking before the baby is out, take a step back and relax. Calm yourself and go with the flow. This might sound very cliche but really if you try to take a few steps backward, you will be able to see that your kids are just kids who need your love. With the love and care, you will be able to learn more about each other. Instead of putting unrealistic goals or unaccomplished things you want in your childhood into your kids.

WhatsApp Image 2018-02-07 at 12.44.44 PM picture for attention: KitCat being a kiddo that she is!

What I learn from my kids really help me mold the way I actually raise them. I’m going to share one aspect per blog page to give you insight on what I think. Note this is solely just my personal perspective. It does not mean that it is the right way for everyone. If you find it useful, give it some thought. If you find it not, share with me why. I’m super open to discussions.

  1.  RESPECT YOUR KIDS
  2. THE IMPORTANCE OF HONESTY 

Respecting Your Kids

Respecting your little ones is important

  • Give them the respect you want to receive. Don’t think because they are kids, they won’t understand. Learning starts from day 1 when they come to this world. Every day is a learning lesson for them. As a baby, they are examining the world looking through their pupil to see what kind of environment they are in, how their parents are interacting with them. As toddlers, they continue to explore the world with a cautious eye. If you haven’t heard before, your child is a mini version of you. So mommies and daddy’s should be aware of how you act!

I say this with true story in mind: My daughter is currently 4 years old and little do we know what is going on in their brain, she copies lots of habits and talking gestures that are similar to her dad and I.  One morning, I described her sister KitCat doing an action that meant no good. I asked Belle what she thinks the teacher would say? She answered, “Shit, What the F word”. I was really shock because she used the term correctly at the given moment. Instead of saying No you are wrong, I took this as a learning lesson for the both of us.

What did I learn from this incident? 

  1. This is a big notation to myself that my daughter is actually listening to our “adult” conversation at all times even when unexpected.
  2. She really understands more than I thought.
  3. Instead of yelling at her, I wanted to take the time to explain to her what the word means and why it is inappropriate to use. Even if you feel kids don’t know, I suggest to continue talking and educating them as if they understand 100% completely. If you do so, they will know you have true respect for them and they also learn the reasons behind your teaching.
  4. Acknowledge you are wrong. I know sometimes it’s hard for adults to say to kids that we are wrong but if something is wrong, you need to set an example letting them know. “Yes, I’ve made a mistake and I apologize.” Teaching them about HONESTY is very important to their growth mindset.
  5. A good approach I use to teach my kids about “respect” is through reading books. This also helps build their vocabulary and interest in reading! If you don’t have know what books to start reading, click here for some suggestions & recommendations. 

 

For the next blog, I would like to share with you HONESTY.

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