About Me

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Hi, My name is Sienna Chaw Naga aka Baby Si. My daddy's name is Karthik and mummy's is Jamie aka KarMie (Karthik+Jamie). 
I am proud to be a Chin-dian!!! My daddy is an Indian American, mummy a Malaysian Chinese and they met in the States while working together at Cummins, Inc. I was made in China :) Since then, I have travelled to Japan, Australia, New Zealand, China, India, USA, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia (all while being comfortably in mummy's womb). I took my first trip when I was only 3 months n we went to Phuket, Thailand as mummy needed a vacation! 2 yrs later, my parents gave me a baby brother, Skyler Chaw Naga aka baby Skye! Now we live in Charlotte,NC (USA)...
Do leave me a comment if u think WE r CUTE :) 
Hope u like reading my blog... xoxo, Baby Si!!! Here's my first blog entry: http://karmie080808.blogspot.sg/2012/10/my-first-blog.html 
 To advertise, Plz contact my mummy at: jamiechaw@gmail.com
About my mummy: 

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Amusement park for SMALL kids!!!


Camden park, West Virginia!!!

Looks like this place is the place to be for our family every summer. 
It's become a family tradition since last summer (when we moved back to USA from Singapore!)
Can't believe it's been a year and 2 months in the USA and lots has happened since then.

So this summer we are back to Camden Park
(Since it's only about an hour from my in laws place n we were visiting them)

                               

There's many reasons TO visit Camden park and there's many reasons NOT to!

Reasons TO visit:

1) It's great for SMALL kids. 
The rides are catered mostly for small kids!!! 
There are only a few rides catered for older kids. 
Sienna (who's 5+ yrs old) rode on ALL the rides except for 2. 1 of them is the biggest roller coaster ride there (which she wasn't tall enough) and the other one is the haunted house ride (she was tall enough but she was just too scared to ride it).
Skyler (who's 3+ yrs old) got to enjoy and ride on most rides too! (Only a handful he couldn't)   

                               



2) It's FREE for kids 3 and below
So Skyler was free last year and this year... 


3) Lines are short!!!
Just imagine queuing up with small kids under the hot sun. 
But since lines were short, it was a "breeze"! 
No whining, complaining... the only one we queued up and waited for 20mins was the water log ride. It was slow moving since the logs can only fit 4 at a time. The rest of the rides, we queued up only for 5 mins and then we were on it the next round!
Some rides they could just unbuckle n off they went to choose a different car/bus/motorbike n repeat the same ride without having to queue up as there weren't any lines!!!




4) The park is just "big" enough.
The park is just the right size for SMALL kids. 
Sienna & Skyler walked the whole park themselves without having to sit the stroller! 
(we brought the stroller as usual just to dump our "barang barang" aka stuff...)
The rides weren't far from each other...

5) Sneak preview of Disney trips in the future!
Since Sienna & Skyler are too young to ride on most rides n remember Disney to really enjoy it to the fullest, Camden park is a good preview!




6) Location...
Located only an hour away from my in laws place. 
Perfect since we were already visiting them during the summer holidays!

7) Their ice cream!!!
It's one of the biggest soft serve cone servings I've ever seen. 
1 cone was shared by all 4 of us. It was super yummy n creamy
Perfect to end our day especially on a hot day!!!
Their funnel cakes were filling my nostrils from afar n calling my name... this momma had to just walk away from additional calories...lols!

Reasons not to visit:

1) Adults have to pay!!!
Each adult is $22! 
So even grandparents, uncles, aunties, etc tagging along to see the kiddos having fun still have to pay. N they can't enjoy all the rides. Just a few!!!

2) It's an OLD antique park built in the year 1902!
So don't expect the rides to be super smooth... lots of squeaking sounds!




3) Toilets!!!
Following point no. 2) above, don't expect the toilets to be hotel standard!!!

4) No water fountain...

5) No shelters!
Be prepared to stand under the hot sun and be sun tanned while queuing for the rides...unless you bring an umbrella and poke everyone in line... this "aunty" here refrained herself from embarrassing Mr. Hubby...lols! we were all "50 shades" darker from the aftermath!!!


                               

6) Their cable car ride didn't have any seat belts n the handles can be lifted up!
We (the parents) were NOT a fan of this ride since there was NO belt that secured us in... just a bar that can be opened and closed any time during the ride! 
We weren't aware of this before hand until we were whisked up to our seats!
We had to hold the kiddos extra tight... 
Surprisingly the kids sat still the entire time n enjoyed it so much that they wanted to ride it twice!!!






Tips:
1) Go on a Sunday or after 5pm every weekday (print a coupon from their website and bring it along) to get a $5 off each adult ticket.

2) No food and drinks allowed in the park.
But we pack some kid friendly snacks n some water bottles in our stroller. No problems with that. Of coz don't pack an entire picnic meal... food and drinks can be bought inside!

3) Load up on sunblocks, drink lots of water to stay hydrated. 
Bring umbrella, hats, sunglasses, etc...

4) Wear slippers/flip flops...
Don't wear nice covered shoes especially on the water log ride as your shoes will get soaking wet!!! 
***Ahem... Mr. Hubby***
Bringing extra clothes is not needed as the hot sun will dry it in no time...

5) Bring a stroller!
Not that Sienna and Skyler will want to sit in it any more, but it's for the parents to load our stuff in it!!! So we didn't have to carry any of it...

6) Check the weather!!!
It's stated on their website that no "rainchecks" or refunds if it rains!
We checked before hand and the weather said cloudy but we got some drizzle. But do note that they don't close the park when it rains only when it starts to thunder!!! 

7) Don't go on rides that require additional charges like the paddle swan boats, carnival games, putt putt, and the newly opened real life pony rides. Your kids would already be exhausted from going on the other rides (some, more than once!)... you wouldn't wanna waste time, money n energy on the paid ones!!! Sienna & Skyler were happy enough that they didn't notice all the paid ones...

8) Sit at the end of the train.
On the train ride, be sure to head to the last cabin so you can enjoy the ride "smoke free". 
The exhaust gas/smoke was blowing from the front of the train.



We had the most enjoyable time this time compared to last summer. 
The weather was super nice... cloudy, cooling, breezy!!! 
Lines were shorter
The kids were bigger n could enjoy most rides.
Skyler still talks about the rides even days after the trip!!!

But this time round, their cousins and grandparents weren't able to join in the fun! 
If not it would have been triple the fun!!!


                             


Verdict: a MUST visit place for small kids!!! 
This momma approves...

Here's a video that Mr. hubby made from last year and this year...ENJOY!!!
Year 2016:

Year 2017:

Monday, 10 July 2017

Diaper FREE!!!

 
My motto for this post:
Being diaper FREE!!!
"JUST DO IT"
 
We have been delaying Sienna from being completely diaper free since we were busy moving (2 times in Singapore) in a span of 3 months and (2 times in USA) in a span of 2 months!!!
But as soon as we bought and moved to our own "permanent" place here in Charlotte (North Carolina, USA), we knew right away we had to pull the plug and just do it!!!
The kids had their own shared room with their own mattresses!
No more sharing with mommy n daddy...
 
When to know when your kid is ready:
For Skyler it was extremely EASY.
We knew right away at an early age of 2.5 yrs old that he can hold his pee all thru the night as he wakes up with dry diapers in the morning.
Whereas for Sienna, she will wake up with wet diapers so very often.
So we started them off with NAP time first.
And soon we knew SiennaSkyler were ready for night time.
 
Here are some important tips when starting the diaper free process:
1) buy a good reasonably priced WATERPROOF mattress protector! I cannot emphasized how much this is so very important and a life saver! Ever since we moved into our new home, we bought high quality quite expensive mattresses for the kids since high quality mattresses are important for everybody coz we spend 1/3 of our life sleeping. It's my OCD telling me that we can't ruin the mattresses with pee and it's unhygenic to sleep in dirty mattresses anyways. How do you even clean and dry soiled mattresses and worst case might further lead to mold?  So the best solution is to cover it up with WATERPROOF mattress protector. After doing some research n reading reviews, I got one that costs only $10 on sale (regular price $12.99) twin size (Cannon brand from Kmart). N every time the kids get an "accident", just throw it in the washer n dryer (following the instructions on it)!
So hassle free n stress free...
The "kiasu-ness" in me even layered in between the mattress n mattress protector with another layer of disposable mattress protector just to be double sure!!! Lols... but so far so good...
 
2) avoid drinks, yogurt n juicy fruits after 7-8pm.
My kids sleep late at around 10 pm. (This will soon change once Sienna starts kindergarten this August).
We used to give them their hot chocolate drink an hour before putting them to sleep (thinking they need their milk to sleep). But it's just a mental n community habit picked up from other parents/TV/etc ... now we give their hot chocolate milk right after they wake up from their nap, 5pm! And it works out fine for us...
 
3) take them to pee right before bed.
(And AGAIN just to make sure) ~> "kiasu"
We asked them to pee before brushing their teeth n then we start our nightly bedtime routine (family prayer, story telling/reading a book, kiss our night night kiss ritual). Then right before the lights are being turned off, we make them pee AGAIN for the 2nd time.
And surprisingly there would still be a little pee left in their tank!
 
4) wake them up in the middle of the night n take them to pee!
We heard this from other parents but as you know I just got my freedom n my beauty sleep back beginning of this year (stopped breastfeeding)... so heck no am I waking up! Lols. I have hinted this to Mr. Hubby but nahhhh, it didn't become a reality.
 
5) as soon as they wake up, remind them first thing first! Go pee pee... a few times Sienna was too excited to tell me about her dream or any story "under the stars" that by the time she made a run to the toilet, she would pee on the toilet floors!!!
Then after pee, they can jump into our beds to give us morning cuddles n kisses...
Skyler just goes with the flow! Monkey see monkey do... he's at a phase where he thinks his jie jie Sienna is the coolest n loves to copy cat his sister...
 
6) start a reward chart for every dry night.
Daddy kept track of every dry nap and night for both kids on the calendar with a smiley face for more than 2 months.  After 10 smiley faces, the kids got to pick out their favorite picture for a printout. This really helps them to psychologically enjoy the success of keeping their beds pee-free!  The smiley faces were becoming more and more common as the weeks went by...
 
7) stay persistent n positive!!!
Many times it crossed my mind that maybe Sienna isn't ready yet. (But then again she's 5!!!) n to put her diapers on again. So I kept telling myself to stay focus n don't get stressed whenever she has her "accidents". Just another load of laundry, that's all!!! Kids can sense us, so stay positive n assure her that she can hold it in. True enough, the next day she was all smiley n told me she can indeed hold it in!!! She was getting discouraged too when she wet her bed a few times in a row. But they will learn a few times after getting their pants wet...
 
8) Accidents do happen!
That's why they are called accidents... Lols!!!
Remember: just another extra load of laundry...and stay positive!!!
 
I'm happy to announced that the Naga household has been diaper FREE since the beginning of this year!!! Say no more to diapers in this house...n say hello to more shopping for this momma... Lols!!!
Yes, the diaper bag that I had for the past 5 years has been dumped into the dumpster this year since breastfeeding cover n diapers have been taken out of my vocabulary!
Hello Prada n Gucci bag ... okay, kidding only! More like Coach, perhaps?
 

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Quick trip to the beach!

Quick trip to the nearest beach, Charleston, South Carolina... 
3.5 hrs drive from Charlotte, North Carolina !

It was our family's first time stepping foot into the state of South Carolina
What better way than a quick drive to the beach! 
Seems like everybody we know were heading to the beach during the summer holidays so we thought why not?

My in laws came along and it was our first trip holidaying together... 
(If you don't count Malaysia/Singapore/India)

Day 1:
Checked into our hotel room n had our first southern food for lunch! 
We were so starving that we just went to the nearest restaurant across our hotel. 
It was my first time to Cracker Barrel but unfortunately southern food isn't my cup of tea
Lots of deep fried stuff and food was bland. Mr. Hubby agreed too but we told ourselves that we have to try a local one and not chain brand restaurants. 
So we shall give southern food another try! 
Any recommendations on where to eat or what to order?



After lunch we headed straight to the beach! 
There's plenty of beaches to choose from in Charleston, SC. After doing a quick research, we decided to head to Sullivan Island as it claimed to be family friendly with smaller waves, alcohol and pets are not permitted. If you are a surfer, you might wanna check out Folly beach which is the closest beach to downtown. The waves are much bigger and you will be surrounded by surfers!
The downside to the beach we went to was there wasn't any toilets on the beach and you need to walk quite a bit from free street parking. We were prewarned from our research, and made sure the kids did their "businesses" right before.



The first thing this momma did on arrival at the beach was to scout for shaded trees (that's the Malaysian in me)... but to my dismay there weren't any shade in sight!!! It was scorching hot but the "Angmoh" Americans were sun tanning as if it was so nice n comfortable?! 
Thankfully I brought my trusty umbrella along n i was the ONLY one walking around covered up holding an umbrella... Lols! 
Next time u see a covered up Asian crazy aunty holding an umbrella, it's gotta be me... do say hi!


I have countless times been mistaken as Indonesian/ Thai/ Malay/ baba nyonya n here in USA, as Hispanic... getting any tanner shall make me loose my Malaysian Chinese identity! 
I'm already so tanned, and once I'm brown, I can never go back, only black!!! 
My skin will remain tanned/brown... soon, I might as well be mistaken as Indian/black? Lols...



So what did the kiddos Sienna n Skyler do as soon as we got to the beach? 
Dragged Mr. Hubby n my father in law straight to the water... surprisingly the water was warm enough for them to enjoy a good 45 mins... before this momma had to call it quits as it was toasting/roasting them too much!





They got to collect some seashells n then we headed to check out the light house but unfortunately it's just a historic monument n not accessible to the public. Think the infrastructure is too old.


We drove to the next beach nearby called Isle of Palms but unfortunately you can't drive along the beach to see it. So we decided to skip it as it was too hot n headed to get some ice cream to cool us down. N then headed back to hotel for a nap.

Dinner at night ~ Thai food at "Mei Thai restaurant"!!! Yummy n huge portions...

Day 2:
Breakfast at hotel.
Downtown Charleston here we come!!!
Tips: There's free parking along Battery street (might be limited  during the weekends)

Since our trip is a short one, we decided what better way to explore the whole city thru a free walking tour. Yes, FREE! But the tour guides work exclusively for your appreciation. You choose how much you thought the tour was worth. So tip accordingly. 
We've used walking tours a lot whenever we traveled... in Amsterdam, Sydney, Toronto, etc. 
It is the best way to learn about a city and it's never boring! 
Even our kids enjoyed taking in the sights in the quickest way! 
But we made a mistake this time coz we never had to reserve before hand. Just show up and join the tour. Unfortunately, they had a limit on the group size. So we were bummed but we still continued our own itinerary just by following their list of itinerary. "Copy n paste". 
Here's the link to book the tour -> click here
http://www.freetoursbyfoot.com/charleston-sc-tours/

1st stop~ White point gardens. This garden features numerous revolutionary and civil war era cannons. The garden is lined with shaded oak trees, perfect for having a picnic while taking in the sights and see breeze of the Charleston harbor.
Sienna n Skyler were running around on the grass. 




Then we proceeded n walked thru French quarters + cobbled stones road to our next stop.



2nd stop~ Charleston old city market. Lots of antiques, souvenir and trinkets. It is a sheltered market but oh my was so HOT and not air conditioned. It reminded me of "Chatuchak market" in Thailand but on a much much SMALLER scale.
Tips~ Be sure to carry cash
We didn't buy anything as we read it was overpriced. 
Instead, our stomachs were calling for food.

3rd stop ~ lunch in any restaurant surrounding the city market. 
We were so hungry n chose the 1st one we saw, "Market Street Deli" ~> Sandwiches n gyros.

4th stop~ must try, local snack dessert. Pralines!!! (and home made fudge n home made ice cream). So YUMMY that every calories were well spent... well, it's vacation so who cares! 
But be warn that your kids will be sugar high. 


5th stop~ free trolley/bus. We hop on a free bus to get around + sight see. There's 3 different routes. 
Tips~ u can get the map + schedule on board the bus. Bus is Air conditioned which was a saver since we got to cool off for a bit.

6th stop~ kings street. 
We were there at the right time because on the 2nd Sunday of every month, the whole street is blocked to car traffic so we could walk freely and enjoy street performances, people watching and dining el-fresco!


Kings street is lined with designer brands and a good mix of antiques n local shops
This momma did good n did NOT do ANY shopping!!! 
Can't shop in peace anyways when u have 2 young kids with you...
Even though we didn't buy anything, it is still a nice place to people watch + stroll along.

Sienna and Skyler were surprised and speechless when they their fav. princesses!!!
Princess Anna and Elsa!!! (and the other guy, who?)



7th stop ~ waterfront park + pier. 
Offers great view of the Charleston harbor
Sit in the bench swings and take in the views of the Charleston harbor. 


They said if you are lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of dolphins swimming! 
From there you can see the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge. 
The pier reminded me of Sydney harbour in Australia. 






Dip your toes in the Famous pineapple fountain n there's also a huge water fountain where kids were cooling off. Sienna n Skyler just stared at the other kids as we didn't bring any change of clothes!




8th stop ~ rainbow row + the Battery. 
The Battery: Once a defensive seawall, the area is now known for its historic homes, mostly ultra luxurious waterfront homes!!!
We walked along the battery wall back to find our car parked along Battery street. Look to the opposite side of the ocean, you will see a long row of colorful historic homes known as the "Rainbow row". 




Places on the list that we didn't had time to visit:
.Angel oak tree ~ over 1000 year old tree, the oldest oak tree in the east coast! 
Things to note: It is a 25 mins drive from downtown Charleston and closes everyday at 5pm. Thus, we couldn't make it in time.

.Charleston tea plantation. (127 acres).
It is America's ONLY tea plantation!!!
Things to note: It closes everyday at 4pm. Thus, we couldn't make it in time.

.Charleston farmers market~ only opens on Saturday mornings. 
We missed it coz we arrived in the afternoon.

.We skipped the horse carriage tour as we were beaten down by the heat already n figured that we have mostly explored downtown by foot ourselves.

.Red barn ~ free petting farm animals (horse, goats, chickens). 
We skipped it as the kids have done this before elsewhere n figured we could do this anywhere.

Charleston definitely offered more than what I imagined and expected. 
Everywhere we drove, we saw palm trees!!! 
Anytime I see palm trees, it always turn me on vacation mode... 
To think that this beautiful city of Charleston was on our short list of cities we were thinking of moving to. We didn't choose it as it was a bit too far a drive from my in laws. And sadly it was hit by hurricane Matthews and gets flooded every once in a blue moon.

We only stayed 1 night but oh so beautiful Charleston, we will definitely be back!!!