Tuesday, 2 April 2019

It is our 10th Blog Annivesary!

Blogging has been a very exciting journey for me. Together with my firstborn's age, Mum's calling turns 10. It's our 10th blog anniversary! 

Writing is not my finest skill, looking back at my posts, I chuckle at the silly posts, poorly photographed pictures and bad grammar. It was like a nostalgic walk through. Inspirations may have left me quite a little 10 years on, growing kids with privacy I guess. Blog posts have significantly declined and I attribute that to the birth growth of Instagram, where we share more in there during the recent years. So yes, from not knowing what their Mum does for hobby, the kids now know I share stories and some parts of our life on blog, Facebook and Instagram (@mumscalling). And yes, I seek their approval before sharing photos and stories about them.

As much as being authentic, I do not mask my parenting journey. I share true stories, not the always positive, but the challenges faced as a parent. If a story is just too private or embarassing, it does not get a go for publish. Truth is, I am a relatively private person. If you have followed through our 10 years, I have always adopted a very generic style. A blog is not necessarily a share of an explicit life.

And no, being on social media does not make me a social extrovert expert. I am on the contrary quite an introvert. I am one with few words, especially in a new environment. Not because I am unfriendly or unapproachable, but I am a natural shy who usually takes a passive role. I am no social butterfly at media events, but I am always elated to meet familiar blogging friends. And of course, make new friends by breaking through my shy cocoon.



10 years did not come easy. There are many who have started a blog, but later left drowned in the ocean of blogs. It takes so much love, passion and discipline to keep the cob webs off a blog. I obviously did NOT start a blog for reviews or monetary. If you think blogging pays, I would say it comes inconsistently with the payments good enough for snacks buy. That's my blog's worth. It was simply sharing, learning and wanting to keep up with milestones. I have never thought it would grow to where reviews and collaborations come in. 

To date, we have done 124 reviews on blog. Excluding those on Instagram. Reviews are mostly barter trades, you get the product for free, but you do some work with it. You take photos, write and direct how best to bring it across to represent both sponsor and self, as a parent user. Do not think lightly of the work behind each post. And of course, if a product does not benefit us in any way, we do not even proceed across the initial stage.

Going forward, I hope to still keep up with blogging. For as long as it allows me to. It is a great way to document and share our experiences and vacation travels. It heartens me the most when readers send me words of encouragements, positivity and how much my sharing has blessed them too.

Thank you for staying around this humble little blog, Facebook and Instagram with us!


Wednesday, 6 March 2019

KL Day 2 - Farm in the City

I know! It took me such a long time to get Day 2 of our KL trip up from the time we shared on our KL Day 1 - Aquaria KLCC and Petrosains Discovery Centre. Procrastination is horrible.


Farm in the city is designed to resemble a typical Malaysia village or “kampung” setting. It encloses many different species of giant tortoises, birds, fish, deer, goats and other exotic animals.

Farm in the city

Most animals are free to roam and we were mostly walking through them any point of time.

We entered and started with feeding the free roaming giant tortoises. Vegetable for feeding was given, we did not have to purchase it. It was many different spices of tortoises within the enclosure.


Giant tortoises


Free Flight Bird Aviary 
A large and airy enclosure for birds. Visitors are encouraged to interact with the birds by feeding and petting them. Get plenty of close up photo opportunities if you managed to get near one. You will need to pre-purchase some animal food at the ticket entrance for these birds. It gets really exciting when the birds peck food off your palm.

Bird feeding

Pet Village
At the pet village, we got up close with home animals like rabbits and guinea pigs. Fed them and held them in our arms. Food for feeding these pets are also given free in the enclosure.


Reptiles cavern
Experience the world of reptiles in the Reptiles Cavern, see up-close, and walk through the uniquely designed cave like enclosure which houses the longest species of python, the smallest species of crocodile and the Mangrove Snakes. Definitely not my favourite part of the farm.

Moods Lake
A large rippling lake of clear water which is home to Mandarin Ducks, Black Swans and White Swans. The lake also is home to our flock of Pelicans. And if you managed to catch the feeding time of the Pelicans, you may get your hand to a fish for feed! Was really a great experience for us.


Fish for feeding

Pelicans

LongKang Fishing 
A reminder of the past that deserves preservation. LongKang fishing is not as easy as it seems. It was nonetheless some fun time we had with the net chasing fish. And of course, we released the fish back into the 'drain'.




Savannah
Once you enter Savannah, be prepared to be greeted by their extremely friendly goats and deer. This is where we got to meet an Alpaca too. Their food can be pre-purchased at the ticket entrance. And these animals do not go easy on your food. You will be pounced and chased upon, if you do not feed them quick enough. It reminded me of being chased by a deer in Nara, Japan years ago.


Deer feeding



Twilight Creatures
We met some nocturnal living species around such as the slow loris and owls. Try if you are lucky enough to spot an owl turning its head 270 degrees.


Wise owl


Exhibition Hall
We thought this was really an exciting part of the farm. We purchased food from a self dispensed machine to feed some clever raccoons, then met the sleepy skunk and the Prairie Dog. We also witnessed the process of incubating chicken eggs at the nursery, with opportunity to hold a baby chick. The boy bravely held some reptile on his arm too!


Baby chick
For the brave
Prairie dogs

Feeding raccoons

Falabella horse
We met the Falabella horse, which is the world's smallest specie of house. And nope, they are not ponies. It is smaller than a pony and don't have a strong back bone. Not suitable for riding of course. On the other hand, its easy be trained and make an excellent guide animal.


Falabella horse

Pony Ride
Pony riding is available in the farm at a cost. We didn't check that out though.



It is a relatively good sized farm that took us about 3 hours to leisurely stroll through. The boys had great fun and I think the hands on experience of feeding these animals adds colourful memories.
 


Address:
Lot 40187-40188, Jalan Prima Tropika Barat,
Bandar Putra Permai, Seri Kembangan. 43300
Selangor Darul Ehsan. Malaysia

Opening hours:
WEEKDAYS: 10:00am-6:00pm
WEEKENDS: 09:30am-6:00pm
Closed on every Tuesday, excluding Public holiday & school holiday.

Tickets pricing:
For non-malaysians
Adults (12 years old and above): RM58 
Children (11 years old and below): RM48
Senior Citizen (60 years old and above): RM48
FREE for babies and toddlers below 90cm 


Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Matilda The Musical (with Backstage tour)

Adapted from one of Roald Dahl's books told in 1988 and directed into film in 1996, Matilda the musical made its way to theatrical stage in 2010. And today, to the shore of Singapore, at Marina Bay Sands. The Singapore season marks the first time this hit musical has ventured to Asia, having toured to Australia and New Zealand from 2015 to 2017.






Matilda Wormwood is a young girl who is extraordinarily genius. Unfortunately, though, Matilda is unloved by her parents who are constantly glued to the TV and who think that reading books is weird. Her Mum firmly believes that looks are better than books. They do not understand her, and often treat her badly. And when Matilda starts school in Crunchem Hall, she met her tyrannical headteacher Miss Trunchbull who loathes children, treats the students horribly and calls them maggots.




Matilda's wit is out of this world, it encompasses a little naughtiness as she plays tricks on her family to get back at them for mistreating her. Looking at her smartness, strength and fearlessness, it exemplifies bravery in both little girls and adult women to take a stand and change their own destiny when being bullied. Hard days do not last, we will meet an angel. Matilda's teacher, Miss Honey is one kind and gentle lady who befriended her and believed in her potential.


 

We are most thankful to have caught this musical from the pages of a book, communicated through songs, dance and visual characterization. Our kids have read the book and watched the movie countless times. We cannot deny Matilda's wit is out of this world!

The 'revolting' children! Maggots!

The musical has a beloved soundtrack made with catchy tunes and witty lyrics. We specially love the song Matilda sang, Naughty. And each time she sings, we can anticipate a clever mischief up her sleeve. Clever mischief is one that will not be uncovered. Don't tell my kids I said that. We specially love this part of the lyrics that goes, "Just because you find that life's not fair it doesn't mean that you just have to grin and bear it. If you always take it on the chin and wear it. Nothing will change... ... Sometimes you have to be a little bit naughty" 

Join the Revolt!

4 Matildas and their signature poses

I know, what does this song teaches little kids about being naughty?!! One will only know if you share the same fate as Matilda, an injustice childhood. Along the way, Matilda discovered that she has superpower to move things with her eyes, and that was incredibly some 'magic show' we witnessed as being part of the audience. It was some murmuring moments of, "How is that possible?!" Keep your eyes fixed too on the scene where cruel Miss Trunchbull held a girl up by her pigtails and seemingly hurled her across the 'theatre'. That was a scene amazingly portrayed!

This approximately 2.5 hours of musical kept the kids and our eyes fixed on stage, scene after scene. Oh, be back slightly early during the interval because Mr Wormwood (Matilda's Dad) will be around to entertain a little before the next scene unveils. And what the ending unfolds is a bitter sweet one, not much of a twist from the book and movie, just more casts joining in.

And for the minority percentage of those who did not know, Matilda is played by our local talent who is half British and half Singaporean. 9 year old Sofia Poston is one of four young actresses who took turns starring the title character. She is truly inspirational.

Great job, Matildas!


Dorothea and us with Mr and Mrs Wormwood


BACKSTAGE TOUR
The set design is glorious and filled with huge amounts of detail and charm. It somehow makes me think of the board game, Scrabble. With letters and words sprawled across the stage as an intelligent setting of the musical theme. 

Welcome set

The swings that the casts sang "When I grow up" with was brilliantly engineered in span of years. They are really woody sturdy!


An unusual audience view

I always had impressions of backstage being like a store house filled with frantic crew before and during each show. But not as I had imagined, every prop, set and accessories are neatly stowed and placed for quick change over. Which means the props for every set is ensured with ample space for moving in and out of stage. Nothing is placed in its way. The props are also cleverly designed with technology and great mobility. For instance, the desks of the classroom are on wheels at the release of a lever. Moving in and out of stage gets swifter.





Showing how the table moves




Spacious layout
 
Look what was seen on Ms Trunchbull's desk?! A detention book list. Of those who do not do their rehearsals properly. The main point is, there are details in it! Not just a book prop.

Chokey list!




The make up table for quick change over. Wigs do wonders to a look.

 
Makeup table
 
And this boy scored a photo with Ms Trunchbull's chair! If you can try to see too, the school's badge, Cruchchem Hall (seen also on the students' blazer) was designed by Quentin Blake, illustrator of Roald Dahl's books. 

Oh, and Ms Trunchbill was intended to be a man, to make his role stand out at a gigantic terror.

Ms Trunchbull's chair

See the smaller props neatly stowed in this cupboard. Every prop has a proper placing. But I have not been to chokey. Chokey is a very tall but narrow cupboard that is 10 inches square so no one can sit or squat in it. It closely resembles an iron maiden. This quoted from the novel.

Props' home

These 'CCTVs' that Ms Trunchbull watches slides onto the stage like a pulley. Instead of going up and down, it goes sideways. So it is really fast to get it out on stage at one pull.

Impressive stage set
 

So yeap, that's a simple backstage tour we had. All sets and props are brought over and along to whichever country the musical is touring. Takes a day to pull down, but 3 days to put it all up. So much work behind the scene which we often do not know.

Matilda The Musical is playing at Marina Bay Sands from 21 February to 17 March 2019. With unlikely news of extension. Young Matildas shouldn't be doing overtime. We have also shared some short clips of the preview scenes on our Instagram handle @mumscalling. But nothing beats to to catching it live for the full atmosphere and experience. It is a worth to watch show that delights every young and old audience. A highly entertaining and unforgettable family musical!



To purchase tickets visit Sistic. Kids below 3 years old may enter without a ticket. We had the 2 year old in tow to the theatre. It was his first musical which he sat and slept through with minimum fuss. Quite an achievement for us.






'Back to school' with Matilda

A family that totally supports reading and learning!



Event Date
Thur, 21 Feb - Sun, 17 Mar 2019 Tue - Fri: 7.30pm
Sat: 2pm and 7.30pm
Sun: 1pm and 6pm
Venue
Sands Theatre at Marina Bay Sands
Ticket Pricing
(Excludes Booking Fee)
Tue - Thu
VIP Reserve : S$178
A Reserve : S$158
B Reserve : S$138
C Reserve : S$108
D Reserve : S$88
E Reserve : S$68
VIP Box (For 4 seats): S$712
Box Seat (For 4 seats): S$632
Fri - Sun
VIP Reserve : S$198
A Reserve : S$178
B Reserve : S$158
C Reserve : S$128
D Reserve : S$88
E Reserve : S$68
VIP Box (For 4 seats): S$792
Box Seat (For 4 seats): S$712
 
 
Disclaimer: Tickets were given for the purpose of this review. No monetary compensation was given. 
 
 

Thursday, 31 January 2019

KooBits Maths Digital Learning [GIVEAWAY]

1 in 2 Singapore primary school students are using KooBits problem sums to improve their Maths. That is about 8000 plus Singapore primary students. In the case of our household, the daughter isn't using KooBits in school, but the son is. Ratio of 1:2 indeed. 

KooBits develops digital tools and platforms to help children learn better. They engage children with beautifully designed software and learning content. KooBits software tools are intuitive, interactive, media-rich and highly motivating. Co-developed with top educators and experts in child development, KooBits learning contents are age-appropriate, relevant and aligned to the latest education curriculum and syllabus. One of the top Maths learning platform in Singapore.


How do you like the idea of going beyond the traditional classroom barriers? I love that we do not have to travel in and out for enrichment classes, love it for being flexible and self paced. And of course, it takes lots of independent learning. But that is where we are gearing our kids up to, isn't it?! Assignments can be assigned within KooBits by their, yours truly, Mama. As a Mum who doesn't send my kids for any academic enrichment, I love this fantastic idea. 


Such learning platform is perfect for our family dynamics. 

How KooBits help with the learning journey 
Proven Maths Learning Method: Singaporean Maths model method is highly recommended by educators worldwide. Because it helps pupils understand maths questions clearly and solve word problems effectively.

Questions breakdown and walkthrough: KooBits breaks down the question and walks through entire solving process with video tutorials so your child knows exactly what to do and feels confident implementing every step. 

Great solving details shown in the video below, a primary 3 Maths question. It breaks down word problems using bar model method learned from the video lessons. 




Every child learns differently, and we make decisions differently. This digital platform may be used as an additional supplement or even more perfect if your child isn't doing any Maths enrichment. I like that it helps reinforce what they have learned in school. It definitely helps us see the value of flexibility and potentially exclude commuting hours in our schedule, if we ever do Math enrichment.


OVERVIEW
Upon log in, you will find these tabs on the Dashboard:
- Brain games: Games that give that brain a workout and a breather from work. This mini arcade section is only available from 8am to 6pm daily. It only allows a maximum play time of 25 minutes daily. And to play, your child needs 1 Koko credit per day. That is earned by doing assignments! 



- Challenge: There are 10 bite sized challenges for complete daily. A daily task for the kids. This portion of work is only available from 6am to 10pm. Just so the kids do not compromise on sleep hours, I guess.



- Homework: I am able to assign homework and deadline based on the schedule of MOE (Quick creation) or customise (Custom creation) by selecting specific skills and questions. I prefer the latter, so I can assign based on her school's learning pace. Best part, I do not have to self mark the work. Everything is automatically marked and explained, if there are wrongly answered questions.

 

- Self Practice: This is very much self led and allows independent revision. The practices are all topical and each skill level comes with both lesson and practice. Lessons are usually short videos of detailed explanation and diagram visuals. The practices are also categorised into mechanical sums, problem sums and high ability questions. It covers a wide range of questions from easy to challenging questions, to stretch minds of the little learners. And if there is any question our child stumble upon, a video tutorial with step by step solution of models and diagrams is just a click away. 

So yes, it is a whole lot of independent learning and discipline with KooBits.





- StoryMath: A comic story that tells of the adventure of a fox. And the chapters are unlocked gradually. Just so the kids do not get to captivated with reading, and forgot about Maths practice. 




We love this whole idea of practicing Math with the element of fun. It is nicely presented and extremely enticing in engaging a child to learn Math. Even for one who has Math phobia. This subscribed package has all topics and practices covered. The subscription is only at $8 per month or $99 per year. Get a 10% discount off a year subscription if you sign up with this paypal link. After discount at $89. Readers exclusive discount! 


GIVEAWAY
We have a 2 months of KooBits subscription for giveaway to 4 winners. 2 on Facebook and 2 on Instagram. Do ensure that your child is not subscribed to the school's KooBits account to participate. Your child only needs one account for all access.

FACEBOOK
To participate, simply: 
1. Like Mum's calling on Facebook
2. Like KooBits on Facebook
3. Tag 3 friends whom you think will find KooBits useful, in the comment section of this Facebook post

INSTAGRAM
1. Follow @mumscalling
3. Tag 3 or more friends in the comment section of the post (ONE tag per comment please)

You may try your luck on both Facebook and Instagram. Giveaway ends on 08 Feb 19, 2359hrs.


Terms and Conditions:


  • Winners will be picked by random.org
  • Winners will be announced on Facebook and this blog post
  • Winners will have 24 hours to respond, failing which a new winner will be drawn
  • Date and Time of workshops are firm
  • All incomplete entries will be disqualified
  • All entries will be verified before the winner is announced 
  • To be fair to our sponsors, social media accounts set up purely to take part in contests will be deemed ineligible to win.
  • Giveaway is no way sponsored, endorsed, administered or associated with Facebook or Instagram 

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

CNY Delivery - Poon Confectionary

Poon Confectionary is one of the oldest makers of homemade tidbits and Chinese New Year Goodies in the market. They came from a long line of family bakers, and were famous for Muah Chee and Pineapple Tarts, long before 1971. The Poon Family baked goods from home and sold them at hawker stalls in the streets of Malaysia.  

Poon expanded to Singapore in 2018. Keeping in line with the trend of buying goods online in today’s times, they have decided to launch operations online for the convenience of shopping and gifting. If you have tried them before you will know what to come back for, if not, hop down to their location for a time of free tasting!


FREE TASTING LOCATION
502 Macpherson Road
S368204 (Opposite Caltex)
Opening Hours: 1pm – 10pm Daily
Open on Weekends too
Contact Number: 9762 6523 / 9663 4314


We say food tastes its best being homemade and handmade. Made with natural ingredients without preservative or artificial flavours. As the years went by, many traditional bakers turned to automation and machinery to increase the volume of their goods. Poon knew that the taste of each cookie is maintained and upheld by their family tradition of hand-making each cookie by hand, with only light machinery used.

And here are some mouth watering goodies Poon Confectionary had sent us.




Needless to say, we had a prelude to CNY feasting even before the actual. And here's our verdict of the cookies.


1. Golden Pillow Pineapple Tarts ($15.72)
These pineapple tarts melt in your mouth. Soft, buttery and not overly sweet. They are lovingly shaped to bite sized without being messy. I am usually one who would always opt for an opened face tarts over closed, but I realised this is not a bad option too.

2. Hae Bee Hiam Sambal Prawn Roll (虾米条) ($14.41)
This is our all time favourite! Almost hard to stop the moment you start. Sambal Prawn Roll, also known as Shrimp Roll, is spicy but filled with astonishing goodness. Each bite crunches in your mouth and fills your taste buds with awesome tasting shrimp. I find this slightly more spicy than the commercial ones. It was not too bad for me, but it sent the kids jumping up and down. If you had like something richer in spice level, this is definitely the choice.

As a side note, their prawn roll is made with shrimp but it is more commonly called a prawn roll. Most prawn rolls are also made with shrimp.

3. Green Pea Cookies (青豆饼) ($14.41)
An alternative for those who do not like almond cookies, green pea cookies are equally good. Being green pea, they are sometimes an acquired taste. I find them great tasting, but not the kids. Oh well, they remove the peas from their fried rice all the time. No surprise.

Poon confectionary assures that there is no better green pea cookie out there in Singapore! Fragrant and crunchy with a light, buttery aftertaste of green pea. This delightful cookie’s recipe was one of the first in their family tradition. It has since been perfected many times, resulting in the splendid Green Pea Cookie.  


Prawn rolls, pineapple tarts and green pea cookies

4. Salted Egg Chips (咸蛋薯片) ($14.41)
This is a must-try for salted egg lovers. It is flavourful, but we felt that it lacked some crunch and crisp. Or perhaps, we have not eaten enough salted egg chips for compare.



5. Kuih Kapit Love Letters (Peanut Butter Filling) (花生鸡蛋卷) ($14.41)
Love Letters with delicious peanut butter fillings. This was our best and most well liked at home! And you won't believe that the peanut butter is 100% Homemade by Poon, with a slightly salty, not-so-sweet taste. Soooo good!

Each love letter has been folded and baked to be buttery, slightly sweet and deliciously tasty. The peanut butter filling makes it all the more glorious. And though it looks thickly filled, it is not at all jerlat. You won't get sick of it.


Photo credit: Poon Confectionary

Kuih Kaput Love letters

This gives a good idea of the choices you can make when carting over at Poon confectionery, https://cnydelivery.com. And of course, they have many more other CNY goodies choice for your hosting and gifting options. Delivery fee is at $6.90 if your orders are less than $100. And yes, they deliver to anywhere in Singapore.


DISCOUNT CODE
Cart out with code mumscalling for a 10% discount. Happy Shopping!


Poon Confectionery
Facebook (@cnydeliverysg)
Instagram (@cnydeliverysg)
Contact:  9762 6523
Email: admin@cnydelivery.com



Disclaimer: Goodies were sent for the purpose of this review. All opinions and photos, unless otherwise stated are solely ours.