Wednesday, 22 February 2017

The Ant and the Grasshopper [Review]

The Ant and The Grasshopper is an Aesop's fable about a very hardworking Ant and a Grasshopper with nothing much to do all day. In this play by itheatre, there is a Caterpillar who visits time to time, and calmly carried on doing what caterpillars do best.

The Ant would work all day long collecting grains of wheat and storing them in her larder, in preparation for winter ahead. The Grasshopper would laugh and say, "Why do you work so hard, dear Ant? Come, and rest awhile, listen to my song. Summer is here; the days are long and brIght. Why waste the sunshine in labour and toil?" 
 
In a Chinese saying, we had like to say enjoy the bitterness first, and then sweetness later. It describes what exactly the Ant was up to, working hard for the now just so the later is well prepared.

Photo credit: itheatre

While Summer doesn't last long and winter is soon here, the Ant who has got food stored in its home has got it all prepared for the cold freezing season. The grasshopper who has been singing and relaxing all day long wasn't prepared for the season. When winter arrives, he was left in the cold, freezing and hungry. Watching the Ant warm and comfortably prepared with her stash of food, he knew it was best to prepare for the days of necessity. 

We love the moral and lessons learnt from this play. While the Ant is really hardworking with no rest and the Grasshopper plays with no work, it taught us that the key to life is all about balance. Blending a little of both the Ant and Grasshopper's trait will be ideal. There is a time for everything.

It taught us to heed the advise and warnings of people around us, and not just continue to live in our own World. Often, the most comfortable spot should not be permanent.

photo credit: itheatre

Oh yes, and there was the Caterpillar who was afraid of change. The insects comforted her that nothing stays the same and that change can be a good thing. Along the seasons, she transformed into a beautiful butterfly who loved the change she had become.

The play was bright, fast-paced and interactive with colourful characters and tuneful, catchy songs. We were well entertained not just by the play but the interaction with the insects who would get you off the seat for some exercise. It was also highly humourous and the appearance of the ladybug, ladycoco is most likely to get you into stitches! Everyone loved her.

Photo credit: itheatre

It all ended well on a sweet note. We always say true friends are those whom you see during trials and hard times. We saw how the insects came together to render help with wonderful friendships displayed.

This is a great play with meaningful lessons for take away. Work and leisure will be viewed differently again.

Catch it before it closes on 19 March 2017! And don't forget your photo opportunity with the casts at the end of the show.


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The Ant and The Grasshopper is a 50 minutes musical is suitable for THE WHOLE FAMILY – ANYONE 3 years old and above! Get your tickets here!

Ant and The Grasshopper
Date: 18 Feb to 19 March 2017
18 Feb - 10 Mar 2017,  Thu - Fri: 10.30am
14 Mar - 17 Mar 2017, Tue - Fri: 10.30am and 2.00pm
Sat and Sun: 11am and 2.30pm

Venue: SOTA Drama Theatre
1 Zubir Said Drive, Singapore 227968


Disclaimer: We were given tickets for the purpose of this review. No monetary compensation involved. All opinions are solely ours. 
 

Friday, 17 February 2017

Things I want my son to know

The second born, Jare turns 6! In no time, it's another P1 registration phase for us. This boy being our first son, surfaced the many differences between parenting a little girl and a little boy. It really isn't quite the same. Apart from their individual characters, we know vastly boys are into trucks and girls are into tutus. It takes a load of tolerance to fully understand why he has got ants in his pants while sister is cool still when it comes to any waiting game.

We knew there can't be the same expectations, there can't be equal results and milestones are different. 

Along the years, he has matured much in words, thoughts and acts. I knew he was getting more reliable as I saw how he cared for his little brother, ensuring his baby moves are well taken care of.

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I thought, perhaps, it's time that we can have some sensible advises. And here are mine to him: 

1. Don't be afraid of insects! Your Dad complemented me because he would rid roaches and other creepy crawlies without a tinge of fear. That makes him a hero easily.

2. Be Magnanimous! Leave the pretty petty to the girls, while you exhibit the noble and generous mind. Only with generous minds, you can achieve greater things. This trait makes up a man.

3. Don't be a hoarder of things! Always clean and clear out whatever stuff that has been categorized as useless. A clean and tidy man appeals.

4. In case you are not keen in further developing other skills, then Grades matter! If not, bring on those big dreams in mind. 

5. It alright to drink, but Don't get drunk! It gets you all messed up and No! It doesn't impress.

6. Perspiration is inevitable. Don't be afraid of the heat and sweat, we are birthed in the tropics. 

7. Read maps well. You have no idea how important it is for a man to lead.

8. Respect girls. Keep your hands to yourself! You should not do what you wouldn't like anyone to do unto your sister.

9. It's alright to cry. Just make sure you are alone or with Mama.

10. Be prudent, but don't be stingy. Generosity is an opportunity to bless. 

11. Don't be a male chauvinist. We are always in one or more ways co-partners with the girls around us. There are girls who can inspire and empower your life.

12.  Always love your family. You will meet new people and eye candies, but always keep Family in mind. Don't let anyone put your family down, stand up for them.


Yeap, 12 wonderful word gifts for the boy. One to meditate on each month. Oh wait, my son turned 6 not 16 eh? That's ok, it's good to have an early start.

Happy 6th Birthday, Jare! We love you so so so much, more than you will ever know. Thank you for always inspiring us to stay happy and positive. You do have a very contagious laughter that no one else has. Go on and spread that good cheer.


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Love,
Mama


Friday, 10 February 2017

Calligraphy Art Kit - Dottieshop

We love all things beautiful and we love the creative flair you can add to handwriting. We found love in calligraphy...

Some time ago, Jazz and I were at an event where we saw a lady promoting her skills of calligraphy writing. It spoke strongly to us. We want to learn! The folks of my era will probably still remember calligraphy classes during Art lessons, and I treasured the skill so much that I kept the pen and ink for a very very long time. It's gone as of today and without practicing that for decades, it's clean forgotten.

This recently, our friend Dotz,  from Dottieshop heard our desire to pursue the art of writing and instantly offered her pack of calligraphy kit. Being excited is an understatement, Jazz is overjoyed! A moment when I finally witnessed the girl outgrowing those princessy activities.

The kit was most conveniently packed in a zipped folder with full set of instructions, practice sheets, brush pen and print cards. I didn't know calligraphy came in brush pen.


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I explored it together with Jazz and it really was a wonderful way to bond. The written instructions were well organised and easy to follow through. The writing on the print card allowed us to admire and visualise the weaving of letters into beautiful words and phrases. 


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Beautiful things are highly contagious. The boy wants to learn too! Practice sheets ran out, so we used a notebook for practice. After which we realised, Dottieshop will be more than happy to send a link to print more practice sheets, if those in the purchased kit is insufficient.


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I love how Js are occupied this way, learning a new Art. Jare is 6 year old, so I do think it's appropriate for any keen child above 5 or 6. The kit is highly portable, light and compact. You can bring it for travel or anywhere you like. Of course, you do need a good amount of space where you can have the right posture for writing. 

Dottieshop seeks to create things of beauty. You can choose from brush calligraphy, water colour painting, scrapbooking and paper replicas. Jare even tried drawing and painting dinosaurs with her dinosaur art kit. All too fun!

Dotz conducts various workshops every now and then. You may follow her on Facebook for updates! She is one talented Mumpreneur with great ideas and inspirations.

This calligraphy kit is priced at $39. It is the perfect solution to picking up this skill without having to find time for a workshop. To order, you may 
Email Dotz at: dottieshop@gmail.com

View her beautiful creations and products over Instagram @dottieshop_sg

Have a great time with Art, it's therapeutic!


Disclaimer: No monetary involved. Friendships involve only honest opinions. Thanks Dotz!


Monday, 6 February 2017

A Peter Rabbit Tale by SRT [Giveaway]



Somebody stop that rabbit!

Peter causes nothing but trouble with his constant mischief, and when he breaks the rules and steals from Mr. McGregor's garden, he knows he's gone too far. Afraid of what his mother might say, the only option for this little fugitive is to leave his warm rabbit hole and run away into the big world. Somewhere he can do whatever he wants and be free of responsibility.

He goes on a musical adventure of new places and new faces as he discovers the importance of family and the wonderful freedom of being himself.

A Peter Rabbit Tale is based on beloved children's classic by Beatrix Potter and beautifully imagined by Sarah Bundt.

This play teaches children the importance of family and to cherish their loved ones. It is another heart-warming tale brought to you by SRT

Not to be missed! Get tickets here.


A Peter Rabbit Tale
Dates
28 Feb (Fri) to 14 Apr (Fri) 2017
Weekends and Public Holiday : 11am and 2pm
Weekdays: 10am

Venue
KC Arts Centre Home of Singapore Repertory Theatre
20 Merbau Road
Robertson Quay
Singapore 239035

Ticket Pricing
(Excludes Booking Fee)
Weekdays: S$28, S$25
Family Package of 4: S$95 for Cat 1 tickets
Family Package of 4 (with TLC CD Vol.2): S$107 for Cat 1 tickets
Weekend and Public Holiday: S$48, S$38, S$35
Family Package of 4:
Cat 1 (with photo taking)*: $163
Cat 2 (no photo taking): $129
Family Package of 4 (with TLC CD Vol.2):
Cat 1 (with photo taking)*: $175
Cat 2 (no photo taking): $141
*Ticket includes a photo taking session with the cast in costume.
(Applicable for Weekend show only.)


GIVEAWAY
We have got a family set of 4 tickets to giveaway to the 04 March (Sat), 11am show. To join this giveaway, simply:

1. Like Mum's calling on Facebook
2. Like SRT on Facebook
3. Tag 3 friends on this Facebook post, whom you think will be keen on this giveaway.

Giveaway ends on 13 February 2017, 2359hrs. Best of luck!

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 show is firm
  • All incomplete entries will be disqualified. 
  • All entries will be verified before the winners are 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

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Decluttering is all about discarding!

Is it Chinese New Year soon?!! Yay to decluttering!

I've been so bogged down. What else, but kids. In midst of trying to upkeep my motherly roles and duties, I've been trying very much to keep the house in good order. That is, to tidy and declutter. With a determined mind, I am crafting our space to be more peaceful and comfortable. Not sure about you, but I get a terrible headache by the sight of clutters and items without a 'home'. I got really serious and embarked on a reading journey with Marie Kondo's book, The Life-changing magic of tidying up - the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing. She's one sensational consultant who coaches on the magic of tidying.

When I first read about her, I had reservations as she probably doesn't know what she's writing from the aspect of living without kids. 

Decluttering is for anyone, regardless of age. I had the kids on board our tidying journey. The book recommends that before we move onto tidying, we should discard whatever that doesn't spark joy to us. That is, hold onto each piece of clothing, toy or memento, and ask yourself if this item truly sparks joy and whether it deserves a keeping space in the home. Keeping items for the sake of "just because" doesn't give it a strong reason for staying.

We began with the rooms. All in the recommended sequence, clothes, toys, books, CD/DVDs and papers. Moving onto shoes soon. Before tidying, we gathered each category separately, and from there trashed out, almost intensely, a total of 15 garbage bags of clothing, toys, books and of unwanted stuff!

Clothes were sieved out by my Grandma's helper to bring home and toys were mostly donated or sold on carousell. A great way to cash out your preloved items. And sometimes, you feel better that someone will pay for what you have truly treasured. It seems easier to let go this way.

These are 2 bags left of clothing for our friend to bring over to Cambodia.

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Clothes for donation

I reckoned if I needed to keep the kids room in a tidy and clutter-free manner, I do need their involvement. That's pretty much of how Js spent their December holiday.

CLOTHES
Jazz's wardrobe is still spilling with clothes that she had to keep discarding and get more serious about keeping clothes that truly spark joy. Mum's fault, I know. For buying too much clothes.

It's true, raising daughters are more costly. Not much of a choice, she borrowed space from her brother's wardrobe, next door.

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Wardrobe declutter

After which, we folded the clothes with Marie Kondo Method. Her key is to store things standing up rather than laid flat. Here's how we folded most clothing. First, fold each lengthwise side of the clothing toward the centre (such as the left-hand, then right-hand sides of a shirt) and tuck the sleeves to make a long rectangular shape. Next, pick up one short end of the rectangle and fold it toward the other short end. Then fold again, in the same manner, in halves or in thirds. The number of folds should be adjusted such that the folded clothing fits the height of the drawer when standing.

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Neatly displayed clothing

I've to say we really love this method of folding. It's a pity that we took this long to discover this method. It allows us to at once, glance at the clothing we have and not miss an opportunity of neglecting any piece.

TOYS
These were almost tough to sort because every piece seemed to spark joy among them. And for having kids of varying age, we keep a huge range of toys. Mum's fault again, for getting too many toys. But seriously, we've cut down much on toys buying. Most were blessed or gifted on their birthday. Which is one major reason why I often spend much time and thoughts on gifting.

So then, even after a massive sweep, the toys are still very much invading their room space. Different gender attributes much to the toy collection too. It ranges from cars to princess plays. In fact, the older kids are spending more time in school and gradually less time for their toys at home. It is wise to only keep toys that they really love and look forward to play after school and over the weekends. 

Loose and free toys that comes with meals or food packaging are such a pain. We discarded a big lot of it.

BOOKS
We sorted the books which was another headache as Js love books. Still, we managed to sieve out some that doesn't spark anymore joy. Brought them to the books exchange corner at the library, in hope to give the books another life in a new home. We slowed down in buying books, and instead, visit the library more often.

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Books exchange corner - All our contribution

Some books have sat on my shelves for years without being completed. I knew that 'later' or 'another day' is unlikely to arrive. I swept those books off my shelf for the books exchange corner too.


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Tidied bookshelf

PAPERS
Lastly, we sorted papers. I am one Mum who treasures much of what the kids have created at home or in school. Their room has got crafts, doodles, drawings and papers laid around. I treasured them so much in the past that I would stick every creation onto coloured paper to create something like a lapbook.

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That very day, we went through every piece, from the littlest doodle to their nicest drawing, most pieces don't spark joy in them anymore. Discarding them was a green light and it did feel lighter for having a big space freed up. If the creator didn't mind me discarding, I should not mind too.

And of course, they kept a few pieces that they really loved.

I've to confess, even after a mega wipe out, their room still look much intense with toys and books. I attribute this to the fact that I have 3 kids, and their room is the only space we keep most toys.

There's still much work to go in our rooms and common spaces. Not only it's a massive project, it is extremely time consuming. You do need to set aside much time for a mega project like this. And of course, with a changed mindset of not hoarding.

We have learnt much from this period of massive decluttering:

1. Buy things more carefully and consider carefully where it should be kept in the house. 
2. Don't buy meals or food just because of toys.
3. Retract from being a typical Singaporean, going and queuing for freebies. Which most times, the stuff given are deemed unnecessary. We should get picky about freebies too.
4. Some hobbies require the space for storage. It really is quite a consideration before plunging into a series of hobby collection or activity.
5. If we designate a space of each item, we don't have much problem with clutter.
6. Don't stack. Instead try storing things vertically up, where you have good view of everything. 
7. When you buy something new, use it soon! Most times, we keep till forgotten. Or if not, buy only when needed. 
8. Believe what your heart tells you in sparking joy.
9. Space is valuable. Keep only the precious.
10. In our ever busy days, 'later' or 'another day' quite means never. DISCARD.

Though much have been reduced in the process of tidying, we have yet to come to the point where we know it's just right for us. More needs to be reduced. We do need more room and space for comfortable rest and really enjoy being home.

This is just progress of the kid's room. There's just so much about decluttering! And perhaps, another post for progression in other areas.

This coming season of spring cleaning, are you looking to only rearrange and maximize space, or discard and store items that only spark joy? Things that stay should be worth a keeping space in your home. I think we have come to a point to only possess the things we need and really love.