Tuesday, 31 December 2019

Patience in 2020

We arrived the end of year 2019. I hope the upcoming year will be better than this. We have so many things to be thankful and grateful for. When you start focusing on being thankful, there'll be no time left on being sore over unpleasant stuff.

I'm a stay home Mum with extremely little keep from freelance writing, and with the man being the sole breadwinner we managed to get on a 20 days California adventure this holiday. I've never dreamed this far since we went on single income. Thankful that we are never in lack.

Snow in Yosemite

Thankful too, that we managed to plow through each year without outsourcing any part of the kids' academic to tuition. No better satisfaction than looking at the amount of fees we saved. But honestly, when parents tell me the plunge of grades from primary 4 to 5, I get a little chicken out on containing everything to home. I hope I can continue to be chill about it.

As much as I love how the year ended, I've to confess the journey wasn't easy for me. Routines and schedules are nothing new to a stay home Mum, either it gets super packed that week or much fixed. Juggling kids of three different schedules, needs and demands, I felt I've lost a big part of sanity. I used to be really patient, like patiently taking down all their demands and questions even at the worst of me. This year, I noticed I couldn't do the same, my patience has been thinly spread throughout the year. I'm quick to get angry, I'm quick to scold and sometimes, I don't even bother if we are home or in public anymore. The disciplinary mum in me is just quick to jump in. If Motherhood is a test, I think it's an F on my report book. I'm flat out learning how to raise kids. 

I've spent too much time disciplining, correcting, chasing works and habits to be done. And as the kids grow older and busier, we have less time for quality bonding. I'm so glad we slotted in a vacation this year end. Family vacations are so essential, it compels us to put everything aside to just explore and play as a family. Nothing more beautiful than that. Wait, even so, the scolding and disciplining get into the holiday too. 

The toddler who is turning four next year, grows with a feisty temperament each day, and yes, he's still snuggling in my nest. I see some guilt sending him to school when it doesn't justify my role as a stay home Mum. It's a matter of time, I know. And cost too. But for some sanity, maybe it's worth that fee.


Don't stop playing!

While we still can, we should play more, while we still can, we should build home, esteem, confidence and character of our growing child. I was at the park with the kids last week, just thinking of how we can spend more time doing things as a family, before the kids start to really get busy with their own lives. I wondered if the rigorous weekend schedule kids have is worth trading over family time. What is the end goal and achievement of packing a weekend with classes and lessons. As much as I rejig, the daughter is still a victim of weekend classes because of gym. At least, it's just her for now, and we'll just have to be more focused on spending quality time together. All before those little hands and feet grow into adulthood. Growth is too fast. 


In 2020, I hope for nothing more, but patience. With home, with kids, with mess, with growing, with teaching, with failures, with successes and all the many thing that encompass around patience. 

May peace and patience be with you too. Happy New Year!


Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Chinese Style Steamed Barramundi

Exams are near for school going kids. During this period of time, I would up their vitamins and fish intake. Fish being rich in Omega 3 is essential for brain health, which is most needed during this crunching moment.

If your child doesn't like fish, here's a starter fish that you can try, Barramundi from Kuhlbarra. Fresh from farm to your doorstep in 48 hours. Kuhlbarra's barramundi is antibiotic and hormone free with 5 times more Omega 3 than regular seabass, threadfin and grouper. It is known for its sweet, clean taste and firm texture. A good start with eaters who are resistant to fish.


Insulated box

The fish arrived chilled and nestled in ice within a sealed and insulated box for maximum freshness. Each portion of fish is vacuum-packed to preserve freshness and quality. It can stay fresh in your fridge for up to a week! Or freeze it if you plan to cook it beyond that. 

Individually vacuumed pack

And if you like cooking fish the Chinese steamed style, we have one recipe for share. Almost just like restaurant's taste.


Steamed Barramundi

Ingredients preparation


Chinese Style Steamed Barramundi
Ingredients (Serves 6-7)
1 kg Barramundi fillet portion
1/2 tomato (sliced) (optional)
3 tablespoon seasoned soy sauce for seafood
1 tsp Shaoxing wine
3 tablespoon oil
2 inch fresh ginger (julienned)
Scallion (julienned)

Directions
1. Wash and dry fish with paper towel.
2. Place fish on steam plate and spread tomato on top of the fish.
3. Steam fish for about 15 minutes.
4. While fish is steaming, combine soy sauce and Shaoxing wine in a small bowl. Set aside.
5. Heat oil in a small pan.
6. When fish is ready, discard excess water on plate. Spread ginger and scallion on top of the fish and pour hot oil directly over the ginger, scallion and fish. You should hear sizzling sound when pouring.
7. Drizzle the soy mixture over the fish.
8. Ready for serve!

Optional: I usually steam tofu and tomato along with fish for added protein and vitamins.

On the seasoned soy sauce for seafood, I use Lee Kum Kee. 

This is one extremely simply recipe, yet satisfying to the taste bud. Try it and let me know if you managed to achieve that restaurant like taste!

The fish was extremely fresh. So fresh that I didn't even pre-wash it with salt. There is absolutely no fishy or muddy taste. I'm much sure fussy eaters will easily include it as their food choice. My big kampong family loves fish loaded with ginger and scallion, so here's one you see crowded with it.

Scroll on for a discount code with your order of Barramundi... 





DISCOUNT CODE
Get fresh fish to your wok today! Purchase above $90 to get 20% off total. Check out with code: kuhlkaren20. Code is valid till 31 October 2019.


Have a wonderful culinary adventure with fish!



Thursday, 10 October 2019

Ortho-K with Videre Eyewear

The daughter reads a lot and extensively. It is impossible for her to get by a day without reading her novels. When we found out that she was myopic at the age of 9 with power of 200 degrees for both eyes, I was upset with ourselves for not taking better control of her eyes. Nagged and reminded, reading habits just don't change. It is insane when she brags about being myopic due to reading, and not screen time *Face palm*. Oh well, this is Singapore where being myopic is prevalent. Truth is, there's no cure, it can only be slowed down by managing the progression of myopia. Children with high myopia face a greater risk of developing other eye conditions such as glaucoma, cataracts and retinal detachment at an earlier age in adulthood. All of them can lead to blindness.

We know it is some significant issue we are talking about now. 

Orthokeratology (Ortho-K)

A year on from wearing glasses, Jazz is at power of 300 degrees for both eyes. We took a first step to one of the options of myopia management, Orthokeratology (Ortho-K) treatment. I hear of its presence in the recent years, but has never given it a thorough thought because we are talking about children and lenses! How well are these little hands able to handle them, and how safe is it for their eyes? It was not without worry before embarking on this journey and decision.


Putting on the lenses

Ortho-K are gas permeable contact lenses that are worn at night to sleep and will gently reshape the cornea to temporarily correct short-sightedness. Myopia occurs when the eyeball elongates. Ortho-k contact lenses apply pressure to the cornea, flatten it and reshape the cornea overnight. Next day, Jazz has unassisted clear vision that lasts for one full day. After which the cornea returns to its natural shape. It takes some time for the reshaping and adjusting of her cornea from the first night of wear, before clear vision kicks in. Within a week, she was able to achieve vision as like wearing her glasses. More precisely, on her 4th day. 

Results may vary for different users base on their eye power.


Teaching of routine


The Assessment and fitting

While we were very much sold by the benefits and convenience of Ortho-K, not every candidate is a good fit for it. A series of assessment needs to be done. Jazz had hers assessed with Videre Eyecare, where she received a comprehensive assessment of checking her vision health, eye measurements and eye abnormalities. Videre has a wide array of technology advanced diagnostic equipment for eye examinations. The lenses were customised based on the topographical map of her eye. After these assessments, we waited about 1.5 weeks for the made to order lenses to be ready.

Assess vision health

These were some necessary tests needed to analyse if she is a good candidate for Ortho-K. She was! But, there was a 'but'. Her vision may still not be 6/6 even after being on these lenses. Her pupil size is large and there is an uncorrected of power of 25 degrees. I don't know how to explain much on its technicality, but we felt it was not a considerable problem. I appreciated this piece of information being given to us up and foremost before we decided to commit. Some perfectionists may decide against the idea of proceeding.

People with astigmatism are eligible for Ortho-K too.


Measuring the length of the eye


The Hold Back

I had a long chat with their optometrists. Like any worrisome parent, I questioned much to get our assurance before committing. Jazz was definitely excited about the idea, but her parents were more cautious about the cleaning and having lenses in her eyes during sleep. They were very patient in ensuring all we needed to know about Ortho-K lenses. Ortho-K has been around for long, it has evolved to get better and safer throughout the decades. It is a non-surgery and non-invasive treatment for myopia control. A safe treatment which we need to be diligent about the cleaning process.

I guess what accelerated the decision was that the daughter was keen and motivated to embark on the journey. The motivating factor was strong to keep her constantly putting in effort with the lenses.


The Routine

It is a new routine for Jazz who will have to put on her hard lenses nightly before sleep and remove them the first instant she awakes. Honestly, it is a hassle to have these included into her routine, but the freedom of being glasses free during the day impelled her much. She does rhythmic gymnastics actively, and this brought her immense convenience during training and school hours. She is today convinced of all the effort's worth!

The putting of Ortho-K lenses was a challenge for her, as a first timer. It took her three nights to finally put them on like a seasoned user. I was only by her side on the first two nights, after which she is independently on her own, taking good care of the lenses. I must credit Videre team of optometrists for patiently guiding and encouraging her through the process. There was even a detailed step by step print given by them for bring home.


Assembling her accessories

The accessories needed along with her lenses include saline, eye drops, conditioning and cleaning solution as well as the case for storing the contact lenses and suction stick for removing the lenses. These are probably the ongoing costs of maintenance.   

We got Jazz to clean her lenses at her desk, instead of the sink. Knowing how expensive these lenses are, we cannot afford any terrifying ordeal of the lens getting washed down the sink. Accidents do happen.



Rest days are also introduced after the first few weeks of usage. For now, Jazz's eyes get to take a day of sabbath every 2 weeks. After which, she can take a day off every week for rest. The incentive day we call it.


The Follow up

Jazz collected her Ortho-K lenses on a Friday evening where she was aided to put the lenses on. She went home with the lenses, and it was the earliest night for her to call it a day. It was not easy, and got so uncomfortable that the only ease was to shut her eyes for sleep. 

We were taught how to remove the lenses the next morning on our own. I learnt it too, just so I can be of help. The next morning, on Saturday, we went back to Videre to get her eyes checked for any potential dryness and cornea condition after a night of wearing it. All was good! Follow ups are really important. I am glad that there are strict follow ups the initial weeks, after which a 6 monthly eye health examination. 


Removing of the lenses

Checking of eye health

The toughest problem the optometrist shared with us for Ortho-k users was not dealing with infections or eye related risks, but the calling back of Ortho-K users for follow up checks. This is surely not a problem with young users who are accompanied by parents, but teenagers refusing to go back for checks. By sharing this, I felt the genuineness and sincerity of their clients' vision health being their top concern. And they really do follow up closely with our appointments. Making sure we do not miss any.   

So yes, follow ups are important. It not only tracks progress, it can help detect problems early.  


How long does the lenses last?

Each pair of hard lenses is designed for a year of usage. If taken into good and gentle hands, lasting up to 1.5 or 2 years is not be an issue. The only change that may occur is the power of the eyes, if there is a change, the lenses need to change as well. 

Young users whose myopia progression has yet to stabalise will be recommended on Ortho-K for as long as they can, till they are about 18 or early 20s when their eye power has stabilised.


Cost

The initial pair of lenses cost the most. It is $2200 for this first pair of Jazz's lenses. As of this date. They range from about $2200 to $2800, depending on how complicated the issues are. Subsequent pairs will be at about 65% the initial pair. It may not be affordable as it sounds, but the convenience it outweighs is rewarding. There is so much joy being free from glasses. The daughter testifies that.



Ortho-K is great option for young children, and we hear children as young as 6 years old on Ortho-K! The younger the eyeball, the more capable it is of changing shape. Early intervention is the best. These lenses are also great for those who need vision correction but have difficulty with wearing glasses or traditional daily contact lenses. For people such as athletes, or those who work in a dusty or overly dry environment, Ortho-k makes all the difference! So yes, adults are good candidates too.

Videre at Forum


Various machines for tests


Huge shop space

We are very much contented to have Jazz's first pair of Ortho-K assessed and fitted at Videre Eyecare. Not only are their equipment comprehensive and up to date, seeking out a professional and reliable optometrist brings us much assurance too. 

These being said, always encourage our kids to cultivate good reading and screen habits. Head outdoor frequently for play! If myopia is a tough prevention, delay it at least.




And yes, she is one happy girl being freed from glasses!






Videre
Forum the Shopping Mall
583 Orchard Road
#01-26/27/36/36/37
Singapore 238884
Tel: 6369 0041



The Centrepoint
176 Orchard Road
#01-34/35/36/37/38/39
Singapore 238843
Tel: 6219 3656


Disclaimer: Sponsored post



Thursday, 3 October 2019

The Birth Order Book

Birth order can influence who you are, whom you marry, the job you choose and the kind of parent you are. Do you agree? 

I've completed reading this book on 'The Birth Order Book, Why You Are The Way You Are' by Dr. Kevin Leman. Which after reading, I began speculating the birth order of friends whom I did not know of their birth order initially. It was fun to know that I was largely right.

Does Birth order make sense? The book began with listing examples of famous people and their birth orders. And how it made sense with the occupations they were in. And yes, birth order does make sense to a reasonable extend. It enlightened me much and helped me understand myself and the people around me, especially after knowing their birth order. Which is why the world is made up of leaders, followers and the rebels.




Here are the birth order traits I lifted from the book:

Firstborn and only children
Reliable and conscientious, they tend to be list makers and black-and-white thinkers. They have a keen sense of right and wrong, and believe there is a right way to do things. They are natural leaders and achievement oriented. 

Only children take those characteristics a step further. Books are their best friends. They act mature beyond their years - they are little adults by age 7 or 8. They work independently. And they can't understand why kids in other families fight. 

 

Middleborns
They're the hardest to pin down of all the birth orders, but they'll be the opposite of the child above them in the family. If the firstborn is very conventional, the second will be unconventional. Middle children walk to the beat of a different drummer. They are competitive, loyal, and big on friendships.

Being the middle child means living in a sort of anonymous haziness. But that's not all bad. If a middle child is anonymous, he can get away with occasional laziness and indifference. He's not pushed as hard or expected to accomplish quite as much as the one who came before him. The drawback is that without being pushed,  he may never fulfill his potential. The middle child of the family is often the negotiator who tries to keep the peace.




Lastborns
These social, outgoing creatures have never met a stranger. They are uncomplicated, spontaneous, humorous, and high on people skills. To them, life's a party. They're most likely to get away with murder and least likely to be punished. They often retain their pet name.

But there's also a flip side to being the youngest. Although they're the little star in the family constellation, it's no fun being the smallest, because it means they spend a lot of their time wearing hand-me-downs that are ragged, incredibly out of style, or too big. Being the youngest also means that they get picked on from time to time and maybe get called an unflattering nickname. 




These birth order traits being shared may be inconsistent if there are variables in the birth order, which include age spacing, gender of the child, the relationship between the parents and a few others.

In my family of three cubs, I find the traits very much matches the first and middle kids of mine. While the last born is one we can't identify at that tender age of three yet.

The book went on to cover more details into the various birth order as well as how to parent children according to their birth order. It also gave tips on dealing with perfectionism in the firstborn/only child, making the middle child feel special and helping the lastborn to grow up from the coddles and cuddles.  

You don't have to agree with whatever is shared, because I didn't for some too. Some traits don't exactly define me and my siblings. But the insights and 'secrets' shared definitely helped me discover why my siblings, ex co-workers and children function the way they are. In fact, we would have already known the character our children, it is most beneficial to know more about parenting them according to their birth order personalities.

Much shared and said, at this moment of parenting and growing, I think we shouldn't lock children into their birth order, but allow each child the opportunity to experience the various choices and decisions in their growing up years.

'The Birth Order Book Why You Are The Way You Are' can be found in our local major book stores.


Disclaimer: A copy of this entertaining book was given for the purpose of this review

Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Shopping malls in JB

A continued update on our trip to JB last holiday... totally forgotten about this sitting in my draft.


We visited Komtar and City Square Mall since there are next door neighbors, and a 10 minutes walk from our Double Tree hotel. 

I find these malls very much typical and nothing fancy on apparels or any much cheaper than shopping in local. Same brands at almost the same prices.

There is an Angry Bird activity park in KOMTAR, but we skipped it. We overlooked their fixed weekend sessions timing and turned up at an odd hour of 4pm. Which left us for an hour of play till 5pm, before they closed an hour for the next session to begin. While tickets are valid for the whole day, we had a dinner appointment to attend to. Their Friday to Sunday, PH and school holiday operational sessions timing are:

10am to 1pm
2pm to 5pm and 
6pm to 10pm






City Square Mall JB 

We prefer City Square Mall than Komtar. There were better vibes and seemed more lively here. It was not too long at Komtar before we walked over to City Square Mall. We visited and bought some books from Popular book store, not any cheaper for English books, but Chinese books were definitely competitively priced. Our local membership card can be used here too. Do bring along!


At Popular

Another great place to visit for value would be the arcade. Arcade games and kiddy rides are lowly priced here! You don't really feel the pinch for playing bad at it.


Spot claw machines

Molly Fantasy

And of course, food! If you know how pricey DC Super Heroes cafe is at MBS, you will fall in love with the one here. So much more affordable! We didn't try, so we can't vouch for its taste. As long as it excites the superhero child fan, anything else doesn't matter.


Looking eager to enter

Cheap!

Cheaper!

We will have to give this a try if we ever come back!

Instead, we had some drinks and snacks over at 许留山(Hui Lau Shan), which was surprisingly good! The curry platter we ordered was very yummy! A close enough taste to the curry fish balls in Hong Kong.


Tasting dessert sampler

It was more of a gastronomic trip than shopping for us.



R and F Mall

The newest and closest mall to our causeway! It is huge, but retail spaces are not fully taken up. Even though retail occupants were not filled, we spent quite some time within the mall. The shops are a mixed of outdoor and indoor front.

The kids went on an indoor playground adventure at Kiddomo Discovery, my parents did massage and my man did a haircut.


Outdoor shops
 
We shared about Kiddomo some weeks ago. Glad to have a chance for visit this trip. Here's a quick share of the playground within.


Baby gym for below 3 years old

Cycling fun

Quiet play

Searching for play toys

Love this place for parents and kids to chill out. Lots of seats and power points for the hanging around parents. 

Rest and relax

Netting fun

Game Slide

Show case his singing

Performing station

Power Ride station
It is largely a mix of both digital and structured innovative play land for the today's kids. The place is huge with ample space for the kids to run and explore. It is rather cold in there too. Bring a jacket along for play.

The kids had much within, especially the boys. Jare really liked playing with the digital games, while Juboy enjoyed much with the net structure and toys. Jazz was probably a little too mature for these, but she still had fun expending her energy.

There were tables, benches and a little kitchen for pretend play, but no food or kitchen pots and pans for pretend play. I thought it will be good to add more toys to their shelves for kids who choose to do quiet play. 

There is also a cafe with the premise, so coffee perk for parents and food perk for the tummies. 


Continued... 
Going back to the mall... The Alley bubble tea is found there. And we love that it is a store space with seats within to enjoy your drinks. 


Indoor seating available


We also had lunch at Matang Seafood ( 马登海鲜鱼粥), which was very good! It's prawn seafood porridge was delicious and very much to the liking of our taste buds. It was a delightful treat and surprise find in the mall. 


Prawn porridge


Another delicious discovery we spotted was Potato Cheese. Hailed from Taiwan, and we were glad to have tried it! It was a great tasting combination of cheese and potato with their various flavours. A must try!


Waiting for our order

Potato Cheese
 
A really yummy treat! I can't find its store unit number on the directory. If memory doesn't fail me, it's on the same level as Snacks Boy (next share). Sharing all shop units at the end of this post.


Last of all, we shopped for lots of tidbits at Snacks Boy. A huge store of snacks variety, with some available in Singapore too. So not all snacks are that cheap after all. We went for their local snacks instead and bought some olden time toys like tamagochi and brick game for play. Always nice to spot some flashbacks. 


Snacks bring on happy faces


Great place to stock up on snacks

And if you want to spend less in here, visit this store after a filled lunch or dinner. Research has proven that groceries or food shopping with a hungry tummy prompts you to put more stuff into your shopping cart. Important tip for note. 

R and F mall is a great mall for food and some shopping. Just that most retail spaces are not up and operating yet.


Address: Tanjung Puteri, 80300 Johor Bahru, Johor
Operating hours: 10am to 10pm

Kiddomo: Lot : 1-086b
The Alley: Lot : G-153 -154
Matang Seafood: Lot : G-148 - 149
Snacks Boy: Lot : 2-097 - 100