Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Hi-5 House hits show - 2014

Mary, Stevie, Dayan, Ainsley and Tanika! Do you know them? Your little ones might. They are the members from the now Hi-5 team! 1,2,3,4 Hi-5! Hi-5 was launched in Australia in 1998 with five dynamic performers entertaining children aged 2-8 with music, movement, problem solving and play. A good 16 years of existence! The Hi-5 program had won many prestigious awards and even captured the hearts of parents. So was mine. And of course, I only knew about them since my kids had a little of that TV fetish.

The current Hi-5 members are as follows:
1. Stevie Nicholson (2007–present)
2. Dayen Zheng (2012–present)
3. Mary Lascaris (2013–present)
4. Ainsley Melham (2013–present)
5. Tanika Anderson (2014–present) - Their newest addition after Lauren left this year 

Photo credit: Hi-5
With new members replacing and evloving, the essence of Hi-5 episodes remained purposeful. They're not only educational and engaging, their songs and costumes are also very catchy. Js would sing their tunes all the time.

It will be of much excitement if they put together their house hits live before our eyes. Imagine a concert with cute little fans dancing to the coolest moves and singing along with their favourite hits. Wait not, the moment is nearing, the Hi-5 gang (including chats and jup jup) is touring to Singapore this December, for only 2 days! I bet your little fans know chats and jup jup.

It's December, it's the holidays, it's a month of extra presents and love. Surprise our little ones with a great time of sing along and dance along with Hi-5! Js will be so looking forward to it.

Get ready for the show by tuning to these popular Hi-5 hits searched out on youtube. Surprise your little fans that you can sing along:

Hi-5 House hits show tickets can be purchased from sistic 
Date: 5 (Friday) and 6 (Saturday) December 2014
Venue: The Star Theatre, The Star Performing Arts Centre
1 Vista Exchange Green, #04-01, Singapore 138617 
Time: 11am, 3pm, 7pm (For both days)
Tickets: $105, $95, $65, $45 (Excludes booking fee)

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Saying "sorry"

Very much often, humans are covered with that tinge of pride, that we find it difficult to swallow and admit a fault. Never mind that we decide not to apologize, what's more concerning is when we decide to find more faults on others to make ourselves feel better and magnify our righteousness.

I must say apologizing is sometimes not an easy task. I was like that and I have since learned to mellow down much. I'm a Mum, I have little followers after all.

In a recent instance, when I was signing up a course for Jazz in a music school, I was very much frustrated with some inappropriate courses they recommended me. Then I called up their other branches with the same queries and found out I was offered some different information. I blew up a little at the lady I spoke to, as I was upset with the diversity of information given. Fast forward, with much little stories within, I found out I maligned a wrong person. Information given was absolutely right, I got confused. Not only was I regretful, I was also deeply embarrassed for not sorting my information right. I am often too hasty to anger. Terrible I know.

Oh well, I could have come out with more excuses like them not giving me solutions, having a new staff on board handling my queries or for getting me all confused. Instead, I decided to end things amicably by apologizing on my blunder mixed up. I could have walked off and ignored the damage done by me. Leaving them apologetic, feeling bad and probably have some curses behind my back, but nah, I think they did a great job and not deserve my typical Singaporean style of complains. I apologized to end our day well. 

So then, very often, when Js did something wrong that warrants an apology, the intention and sincerity is very much important. I often get grumps and unwillingness when I hint them to apologize. I had to repeatedly emphasize on our purpose of apologizing. We know saying sorry isn't just a word and it ain't easy at times.

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And she gives me sweet notes when she upsets me

Parents often make saying sorry a little of compulsory, to make ourselves feel better instead of the kids. But it may not be a meaningful lesson to teach and learn. Don't belittle the word "sorry', there's simply so much out of it. How about some steps to appreciate the art of apology:

1. Question the scenario: Make them ponder about it. Destroying someone's build up blocks or doodling on others work would upset the person and it's really painful to watch efforts go to waste. We often conclude those acts with mischief, but let's ask why they did it. Questioning also ensures that we don't malign the wrong person.

2. Phrasing our request: Instead of saying, "Can you say sorry?", I often try "Could you say something to make him feel better?" Coming up with their own words of comfort with a sorry and hugs not only help mediate situations, it sends them thinking about their act.

3. Amend: Yes, it's a great start with that verbal apology. All would be better if complimented with some acts to rectify the situation. A joint effort to fix something or checking on each other feelings would be wonderful. 

4. Sincerity: It takes some readiness to understand the intention and bring out that sincerity. If they aren't sincere about it, I'll tell them to try again later when they're all ready. What is an apology without great understanding and good intention within.

5. Forgiveness: Ah hah, working on the victim now. When my other child decides to play punk by saying, "I'm still upset" or "I cannot forgive" I know they are kidding. Kids are widely acclaimed to forgive and forget the quickest than any grown ups. Isn't it wonderful that we're starting all these young?!!! I'll remind them that an apology has be courageously sent out, forget about the spilt milk that we can't gather. Let's move on.

6. Outcome: We must have all realised apologizing made everyone felt better! Which is the outcome we want to achieve. It's perfectly alright to apologize for our mistakes.

The art of apologizing should not to be ignored or taken granted for. It shapes a child to take on responsibilities for mistakes, recognize a fault, relieve a guilt and mend things right. If only the World revolves like this. There's just so much to learn from being sorry.

Monday, 29 September 2014

Pizza making with Ricciottino

We had an afternoon of pizza making with Ricciottino!

Js had a doughy and cheesy filled time with making pizza. They went rolling over their dough, spreading tomato paste over and topping it off with that generous amount of cheese! This team of little budding chefs was led by Chef Gero, the executive chef of Ricciottino.

No idea why Daddy has that expression
Tomato paste
After flattening and filling the dough with paste and cheese, the pizzas were sent into the oven for bake. While waiting, they were very much entertained by a balloon sculptor. Lovely balloons she created.

While waiting
Not too long later, their pizzas were ready!

Ready pizza with Chef Gero
Their self made, thin crust pizza was very much to their liking! I couldn't believe they wolved down 3/4 of the whole pizza, while the man and I helped ourselves with the leftovers. Oh yes, they were deliciously edible despite some unsightly presentation. Yummy! I love thin crust pizzas. 

Hoping for an offer
They enjoyed, very contentedly their pizza making and savouring moments!

He says it all
Other than hands on fun and yummy pizzas for taste, the kids were presented with a certificate and brought home a little rolling pin as their souvenir. 

Ricciottino is a destination of choice for authentic and affordable Italian gourment food and pastries. For Piccolo chefs workshop, you may check into their facebook for more registration information.

Disclaimer: We were given the opportunity to attend this workshop with no fees involved. All opinions and photos are solely our own.

Friday, 26 September 2014

A holiday session with groundworks

During the September holidays, Js journeyed on a 4 days "I Keep Trying" program, conducted by groundworks. This program designed for little preschoolers, ages 4 to 6, focused on the values of Perseverance and Diligence based on the moral tale of ‘The Ant and the Grasshopper.’ Learning the importance of working hard and not giving up. Just exactly what my little Js need more insights to, in their every day life. 

Our competitive culture is very much saturated with centres that conduct enrichment courses and recreational programs for kids. It's not common to chance upon centres that set heart in moulding the characters of our younglings. I'm glad we had the opportunity to hop into this preschooler program, facilitated by one the founders, Claire Ong. A very amicable lady with a great heart and passion in developing children and youths of the future.

Groundworks has collaborated with JEMS Learning House from Hong Kong to offer fun experiential lessons for preschool and primary school children in Singapore. The curriculum focuses on building character and values as a foundation for raising leaders, and covers 3 domains: Identity, Relationships and Community. Popular topics include confidence, manners, perseverance, communication and leadership. Very much concentrated on personal effectiveness and character.

Here's a brief on what was covered throughout their 4 days program:
Day1: Introduction of the term "Keep Trying." The story of the Ant and the Grasshopper was told, where the ant exemplified the meaning of 'don't give up' and 'keep going.'

Day 2: The kids learnt how they can keep trying at school. They listed and talked about the subjects they find it challenging to comprehend, revisited the story with questions for the kids.

Day 3: The kids learnt how to keep trying at sports. I witnessed from outside the class how J pair kept trying in the game of soccer. Facilitators and friends would cheer them on, till they scored a goal! Oh yes, David Beckham in the making.

Day 4: The kids learnt how to keep trying in games and puzzles. My easily frustrated Js have since gained more determination in fixing puzzles. I love the way they coordinated teamwork in solving puzzles.

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Puzzle in team
The initial 5 days program had been well spread into 4 days, 2.5 hours session each. A well allocated duration for preschoolers. For myself, it was a bonus to send both kids into the same program, while I enjoyed that me time with my cuppa coffee and some reading. It was a good trade. 

Although this program was designed for the 4 to 6 years old, I sent Jare in on the second day. Claire was really inviting to allow my barely 4 year old to join in. "Perfect!" I thought. Jare had more of the 'giving up' attitude than big sister. Was really appreciative that Jare hopped in too! New environment always pose uneasiness to my both, but games and much interaction warmed them up in no time. After a while. I could tell they were enjoying, very much. 

These days, whenever Js tell me, "I cannot", "I give up" or "Help me," too quickly. I'll calm their frustration and say, "Keep trying" with the act of pulling my fistful hands down, like a 'rooting for you' sign. They would turn shy and smile. Once calmed, they're all ready to try again. I had this little joke with them about calling Ms Claire if they didn't persevere or try hard enough. It's funny how they got reminded this way. Even more interesting on how such learning is effective when outsourced in a group setting, with planned activities. As much as we read about books on characters, nothing beats putting words into actions.

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"Keep Trying!"
It was delightful to watch how Js and the other kids had fun in the sessions. I could hear laughter and screams of excitement from the outside. There was so much joy in their learning. It was also heartening to see passionate people inspiring and building the characters of our developing young ones. Their world of bubble is beyond the academics. What is a universe of knowledge without a good set of personal values?!!!

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And they graduated!
At the end of the final session, Jazz asked for more! I felt her sense of reluctance that the sessions had ended. I knew the takeaways were drilling some major works in their little heart. I hope they will practice what was communicated, and continue to hold on dear to the value of "Keep Trying."

All parents have expectations of our children's character, so do I. It's a gem to see coachers rising to conduct programs targeted at character development, especially in kids and youths. It takes a village to help raise children. Groundworks is running another round of "I Keep Trying!" coming November. If you have older children, you might be keen in their primary or teens program. Do sign up now to enjoy the early bird discount promotion, by 10 October (Friday) 2014.

Program fees and schedule as below:

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Don't miss being an early bird

Tan Boon Liat Building
315 Outram Road S(169074)

Thank you groundworks for this opportunity given to Js! 

Disclaimer: Js were given the opportunity to attend the preschoolers program for the purpose of this review. No monetary compensation was given. All opinions are solely ours and photos are credited to groundworks.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Worst days as a Mum

Every job has its best and worst days. I don't present the nice and beautiful things on social media all the time. I have my dark days too. The unique thing about our role as a mum is that, it's irreplaceable. Like it or not, stay on! That corporate job that pays can be replaced with anyone of similar skills set, but not the role of a Mum in the family. 

Bad days aren't what we are looking forward to. But a recollection reminds me that I've gloriously overcome the disasters. I recounted the days when I thought life was being hard on me:

1. Under the weather: It's terrible serving active children when their only carer is near bedridden. There was a time when I was struck by a fever, spinning headache and sore throat, I had to hold the fort to care for Js. It was also then, that I decided to settle their lunch with biscuits or crackers when my then neighbour turned up at our doorstep with porridge for the kids. Thankful for kind neighbours!

2. Sick kids: What's more heart-aching and physically draining than taking care of our unwell kids. Even more exhausting when both kids are down. These are the days when I would lean closer to prayers, step up in faith that they get their pink health back quickly.

3. An over-scheduled day: There were days when I was too occupied with other commitments and personal stuff (hobbies inclusive) that I neglected the kids on the whole. A whole full day with that lack of Motherly guidance makes me feel incomplete. For some bugging reason, I feel sorry when they play aimlessly and look terribly disorganized for too long.

4. An over worked up day: There are days when the vessels in me feel like they are breaking apart. Nothing connects and I can't think right when I see messed up play doh, paint or scattered toys with no responsible owners. Or how about a stained floor or wall? I became a victim of yelling, nagging and all sorts of insane punishments. Oh yes, there are such days when my nerves are totally wrecked. When war is over, I feel really guilty about my styles adopted. That feeling of aftermath guilt, "I shouldn't have yelled that high pitchly" is terrible.

5. An uncalled for remark: I've never been fully confident about how my children would behave in home or in public, with family or friends. Tell me of a child who never had meltdowns. There was an occasion, when someone (I know) blatantly made an uncalled for remark about my child. Being hurtful is an understatement, I was devastated! I was terribly upset for almost a week, before I decided to let God and let go of that hurt. I've been so foolish that I got upset with the kids for the behaviours displayed, in trade for that remark. I knew they were innocent. I rejigged my thoughts and affirmed myself that I've never been an irresponsible parent in any part of their growing up journey. I held them in my womb for a good 40 and 38 weeks, I birthed them, I nurture them and they are mine to be loved, just as anyone's. Obnoxious remarks are uncalled for. You don't have to love my children or my parenting style, just keep opinions to yourself. 

A Mum needs that load of patience and tolerance, which are often pegged to our schedule and sometimes our mood. Days are terrible when I lose them. Out of these days, there's always something I think I can do better:
  • Prioritise and manage time better. Mismanagement of time often affects my innocent ones.  
  • Keep undesirable objects out of their sight, even if you think it's of no threat. Making mess manageable.
  • Put the unimportant tasks aside, stop to give attention. Read that requested story, play that game or give quality conversations with eye contacts.   
  • Manage my mood. Good and bad news are everywhere, let's try to be partial.
  • Sift out nasty comments and stay true to my parenting values.

There's much revelation gained out of every situation. Wiser and stronger we become! Remember, there's always something thankful, even in midst of the worsts.

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Get that tranquil tea when the going gets tough

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