26 February 2016, by Mandy Loh

Castles, Caves and Birthday Cakes

February is always a bit of a whirlwind month for us, with Chinese New Year (CNY) and also Caris’ birthday to celebrate, all within the shortest month of the year!  (By the way, I can’t believe my little baby girl is now TWO!!!)

As per last year, we went up to Ipoh for the festivities, and since we had an entire week there, we decided to fit in some fun excursions during our stay as well.

On Caris’ actual birthday, we brought our little princess to a real castle! Kellie’s Castle, according to Wikipedia, was a personal project by William Kellie Smith that started in 1915, but unfortunately was never completed due to his untimely death. Whatever the history, I just found it really cool that a big castle like this exists in the middle of nowhere in Malaysia!

Our first attempt at taking a family photo resulted in two grumpy kids not smiling for the camera, very typical of them!

Lil' grumps...

Lil’ grumps…

So I decided to bribe them with…ice cream! I told them that if they would shout “ICE CREAM!!!” and look at the camera, I’d buy them some! Check out how excitedly Cristan responded!

Caris was distracted by Cristan shouting "Ice Cream!!!"

Take two! Unfortunately, Caris was distracted by Cristan shouting “Ice Cream!” and didn’t look at the camera!

And as promised, I gave them their sweet, icy treat! 🙂

Birthdays are for indulging!

Because birthdays are for indulging!

That evening, over dinner with family, we celebrated Caris’ birthday with a kueh lapis birthday cake since we had it for CNY. (Keeping it simple, Mommas!) Caris happily enjoyed the attention and the birthday song, blowing out the candles right on cue.

I'll huff and I'll puff and I'll blow my candles out!

I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow my candles out!

Sweet Cristan kor kor had prepared a special present for Caris. He asked me specifically to help him buy a Hello Kitty pencil case on his behalf, because he knows Caris loves Hello Kitty. And because we didn’t have any wrapping paper with us, he happily spent a good portion of the morning decorating a brown paper bag that we used to wrap the present in. Thankfully, Caris slept in that morning, so we had time to finish the project!

Hard at work

Hard at work

The finished product!

Proudly showing off the finished product!

Sometimes, I just get blown away by how wonderful a big brother Cristan is to Caris. It really makes my heart swell when I see them being loving and kind to each other. Of course, these sweet moments only happen, oh I don’t know, about 0.2% of the time, but those moments certainly make motherhood rewarding and helps me deal with the rest of the 99.8% when they drive me to the brink of insanity!

The next day, we visited this interesting cave/ tunnel, right in the middle of an active quarry. I joked that we might see Batman there, and for the rest of the day, Cristan kept asking me where Batman was!

A beautiful view from inside the dark "Batcave"

A beautiful view from inside the dark “Batcave”

A tranquil lake surrounded by hills and greenery greeted us on the other side of the cave tunnel

A tranquil lake surrounded by hills and greenery greeted us on the other side of the cave tunnel. I’m sure Batman wouldn’t mind a place like that for his Batcave!

When we got back to Singapore, I held two more belated birthday celebrations for Caris, one at her preschool, and another with my family.

This time round, they shouted "Cupcakes!"

Celebration in school. This time round, we shouted “Cupcakes!”


Caris loves playing with sand, so naturally a great place to bring her for her belated birthday celebration is the beach!


Spending time with the cousins – simple pleasures of childhood!

Caris was so cute during her birthday song - she was dancing and swaying side to side!

Caris was so cute during her birthday song –  dancing and swaying from side to side!

I believe in keeping birthday celebrations simple and fuss-free for my kids, spending quality time with loved ones and having fun in the great outdoors. Kids are actually pretty easy to please and this approach is also much kinder on our wallet! I do hope these moments become treasured memories of a happy childhood for my two munchkins!

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