Sunday, January 26, 2014

Families Without Borders: Living in Nebraska, U.S.A. | Guestpost by Mummy Alissa

Sakura Haruka is a blog sharing parenting experiences and inspiration for the parents we are, to become the parents we want to be. In 2013, I featured the joys of parenting from different families in Singapore.

However, it's a great big world out there and now, I want to broaden this idea to find out the wisdom and experiences from families in other countries and cultures :) Families Without Borders is thus a bi-monthly series where mums & dads around the world can introduce what's a "typical" childhood to them, family traditions, parenting tips, challenges growing up, and fun things to do in their country. It's always fascinating to get a fresh perspective on parenting and see where our similarities / differences lie. I'm sure there are some interesting lessons to be learnt from those raising families in different societies as well.

Much appreciation to all those who took the time to guest post for me, and for being open about their parenting ups and downs. If you have a story to share, please email me at sakuraharuka {at} live {dot} com.


A typical childhood in the United States is having fun with game systems, watching TV, and playing with toys.

I know our family isn’t typical. Our boys do have a Nintendo DS, but they only play it once a week. We do not have cable. TV is pretty limited in our house. Our oldest builds with Legos a lot and reads a ton of books. Our youngest is a collector and crafter. It’s not unusual for us to go into his room and see leaves collected from the outside and a jar full of random stuff. They both love to dress up in costumes. That may sound crazy for two boys to dress up, but they are creative little actors/storytellers.

Our family celebrates Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, Easter, and Independence Day. Christmas is our biggest holiday. I start buying for Christmas right after the holiday for the following year. Toys, clothes, and craft things come from Santa, Mom and Dad. For Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter, we get together with our extended family. Everyone brings something to eat.

As a family, we have game nights, movie nights, and talk sessions. We bake together, spend time exercising at the Y, and build little wooden projects at the Lowes Clinic. If a big box comes our way, it takes a long time for us to throw it out. We have to build something with it first.

Today, some challenges growing up in the US are that children have to have adults with them everywhere they go. When I was in upper elementary, we could walk to the park and play outside by ourselves. There are too many bad things that can happen to kids today. Parents today worry about their kids being kidnapped.

Overall, parents seem to be moving away from acts of violence, such as spanking to discipline their children. Many parents in the US have a timeout spot or chair. I really feel that kids understand way more than what we give them credit for understanding. Our oldest would sit in the time out chair when he was two years old, and talk to himself about what he did wrong. When our boys can’t get along with each other, they have to sit on the landing to discuss how to solve their problem.

Fun things to do in the US really depends on where you live in the US. The main attractions for most people are Disney World and Disneyland. I’ll stick to Nebraska, where I’m from. Henry Doorly Zoo is one of the top rated zoos in this country. We have small amusement places like buildings filled with bounce houses, others packed with go carts, bumper cars, and other small rides. We have a lot of museums to choose from. State parks are always fun. We love going camping in the summer months, and sledding during the winter months.

Alissa Apel is a mummy, a college art instructor, blogger, wife, daughter, sister, and a baker. She has four blogs, but she blogs on Planet of the Apels the most, where she shares stories of her family life and personal interests.

There's a perception that Singapore is very safe as well, but low crime doesn't mean no crime and incidents do happen {note recent case on alleged kidnapping in Chinatown which the police said is not true, but is a rather probable scenario nonetheless}. I think most parents here don't want to let their kids roam about on their own until maybe they are in upper-Primary age? We want our kids to grow and learn independence, but it's hard letting go when you know the different dangers that lurk around and we can't control. It's a tough balance for sure. I don't think I'll let Lil Pumpkin go out and play on her own without any adult supervision until she is 11 or 12 too!! Am I being too over-protective this way?

Last 2 days!! To usher in the Chinese New Year next week, I've a special KidsFest 2014 Giveaway happening on my Facebook page now until Mon 27 January 2013 {2359hrs}. Hop on over to win 4 Category 1 tickets {worth S$248} to the Horrible Histories Awful Egyptians family performance on Sat 8 Feb, 5PM at DBS Arts Centre! 2 sets to give away for you and a friend's family, courtesy of Discovery Kids!

No minimum age limit but recommended for kids aged 7 and above {I'll be bringing Lil Pumpkin there since she loves mummies & monsters!!}, come discover the foul facts of death and decay with the meanest mummies in town, learn how you enter through the Gates of the Afterlife and what you need to avoid being eaten by Apophis! With songs and participation, there's no better way to learn about Egyptians than with this one-hour performance :)

Not sure what KidsFest 2014 is about? Read more here.



An Apel a Day said...

Thank you so much for the feature!

Soo Ying said...

I like this new series!

mail4rosey said...

I don't think you're being overprotective at all.

And I am so happy to see Alissa featured!!

Super nice article. I've been to Nebraska and some of the places mentioned. I like it there, nice people and good food!! :)

Ai Sakura said...

Alissa: thanks for your contribution!

Soo Ying: thank you :)

mail4rosey: fantastic! hope to visit one day too

Theresa Mahoney said...

I love Alissa's blog. I like reading about her family! It seems that even though she has boys and I have girls, we share pretty much the same family values. I am happy to see her featured here.

Indah Nuria Savitri said...

lovely articles! imagining live in this is the new feature ..fantastic idea! and I love your family story, too..soo colorful...