Thursday, 13 June 2019

Our first camp with Families For Life

Last weekend was our first taste of camping together as a family, with Families for Life. Read camping, not glamping. When the invitation of this P.L.A.Y camp came, I hesitated. The princess mind of mine was processing the many images of camping in nature. Tent, public toilet, insects, food and the many out of comfort concerns.

Family that camps together, stays together!

I firmed up decision only when I thought of the many vacations we had with comfortable hotels and beds, and that we should try to do vacation more differently this time. No air con, no bed, no television and no wi-fi. Only modern nature. Mentioning modern nature because at least, we don't have to answer our nature calls the back to basic way. We actually have a place to shower! We did 2D1N at PAssion WaVe Pasir Ris where all activities were held within this premise, except for some activities that required us to walk out to the park. 

Fun activities and programmes were planned for the 50 participating families by experienced instructors from Better Trail. My heart cheered so much just by looking at the families who put comfort away to sign up for this camp, which we found out it was mostly the Mothers who did the enthusiastic signing up. Only Mothers have such wonderful idea of bonding! But I was probably the most courageous among all, my three year old seemed to be the youngest of age in the camp. I mean, what state of mind was it to bring a toddler to an overnight outdoor camp? And a whiny one. I had Juboy in my arms literally throughout most activities. He wouldn't leave my arms. 



Day 1
It was the pitching of tent upon arrival. A really easy task of opening the tent like an umbrella! After which we can put our belongings in the tent, but be mindful not to put any food there. The ground ants sniff out really fast. 

Obviously, only the men at work

After tent pitching was workshop for the parents and games for the kids! I attempted to leave my three year old with the kids group, but was called out from the workshop not too long later to a crying toddler. Yes, I had him in the workshop with me and the husband. Lucky though, he slept through the most of it. The parenting workshop talked about the 5 love languages of our kids, which sent us thinking about expressing more of our love in their dominant love language.

We then break for lunch followed by more games and activities. The kids got on to make some structures out of air clay and this was probably the most enjoyed activity by Juboy. He finally left my arms. While the kids were pinching on clay, I took some time away to make a tote bag out of an old tshirt. One that I will never get a chance to explore or do at home because 'me' time is rare. These activities were conducted in air con rooms! Best part. 


Air clay session for kids

My tote bag out of an old tee

We proceeded to do some nature walk together as a family. The facilitator leading this nature walk was knowledgeable and engaging. I am certain everyone learnt a thing new and different that day. Kids above 10 were brought to a different adventure of rock climbing, but Jazz decided to stay with us. 

Learning about ferns. P3 science.

After which, we played more games along with other families. I really love how it exposed our kids to not just play among themselves, but with an extended circle of kids and parents of varying age group. I was most glad to see my shy kids opening up to new friends and other parents during games. It is a play goal achieved when we have fun with no generation gaps in mind. 

Listing our family values

Time of song and dance

Night activities were interesting too. The camp's theme was Star Gazing. We were in for some learning on astronomy with a fun quiz at the end. We looked at stars, moon and spotted planet Jupiter through telescopes, and ended the night with some star craft making.

Back to being a student

Star craft making

We winded down the day with shower and supper (biscuits and milo). The kids had much fun making their own milo! Everything is DIY at camp, it is advisable that not to bring your helper along. Get the kids to work.  

In the tent
Jumping into the next morning scene when I saw our facilitator, she asked if I had a good sleep. In all authenticity, I replied, "Of course not". 

Pitch dark tent

I am princess pea, a tiny stone in the ground causes me much sensitivity. Okay, exaggerating. I managed to get some sleep. It was not easy drifting to sleep because the tent was really warm. Not the kind of warmth when family snugs together, but humidly warm. And there were five of us in one tent. Maybe we should consider bringing a portable battery operated fan next time. It got very much cooling in the wee hours though, and that was when we were thankful for the thin blanket we brought along. Trees and dew drops cooled the air.

RISE AND SHINE. We survived a night in nature. Even the toddler.

Day 2
I must say, the highlight of this whole camp was the family race. It was a race of segmented activities that allowed us to accumulate points as we play along. It was FUN!

It bonded the family teams together, bringing forth every individual's strengths and weaknesses. There were attractive prizes, but we were more focused on the play journey than the winning goal. Of course we wanted to play hard for the prize, but the daughter and I had to leave before the race ended because Jazz has gym class to attend to. The koala Juboy had to follow of course. The man and Jare stayed on strong to play. It was some good one to one time for this middle child and his Dad. 


Indoor game activity

Trusting his family

Sibling team

Cooking is his serious business

Readers' Special 
A quiz will be asked to start off the race. If your family gets it right, you may get a head start to begin. Bad at riddles, it took us some wrong tries and probably evesdropping to get it right. I can't exactly remember or copy what the long quiz was about, but 'bond' is the answer. Wind has its word that it was the same quiz last year, and probably next.

Tanned and tired, we ended the camp after lunch. Jazz was at gym, while I headed back with Juboy to reunite with the husband and Jare. It was some beautiful and interesting memories we collected during the camp. I witnessed a different side of the kids, especially Jare. I saw how he really enjoyed the camp, got excited about games, showering and teeth brushing. The venue does not have very promising toilet facilities of sparkling standard, and he seemed so army ready! 




So proud that Jazz and I actually put away our princess thoughts to get this near to ground and nature! 

Families are for life!

Meals
It was amazing how we adults actually fuss about camp's food, when the kids were not at all complaining. Food given was not fantastic, but it was not too bad either. To some grown ups, food is a serious business. I thought we had to exemplify being easy with eating whatever food choices given in front of the kids. My husband had KFC delivery in his mind, but I rebuked him. 

I thought it will be a good idea to get families cook or BBQ their own meals though. It is not often families come together to cook. The cooking role is not just for the Mama, but everyone! 


I did think we did look like refugees


First day's lunch

Dinner that felt like breakfast meal

Last day's lunch

We applaud the move of bringing our own utensil and cutlery to minimize disposals at meal time. My most enjoyed part was the after meal, when the kids would wash our used plates, forks and spoons. They were so enthusiastic about washing up for us. All I did was to sit back and watch.

Washing up!

All in all, I urge your family to take part in camps like such to bring the family bond to a whole new level! Where everyone is more task oriented than gadgets oriented. Camps may not be something we would take great initiative to plan on our own, but with a fuss free planning on location, logistics and food, Families for life has got it all covered at a very affordable cost. In fact, there are many fun family activities they organise periodically. Do check them out! I really appreciate this ministry!

Nature camp is very much about insects, crickets chirping and roosters crowing to the morning wake. Yes, roosters in the park. And for being the the east, the sunrise was scenic. An experience we do not have in the comfort of the home. More importantly, the kids have a whole new experience to remember and talk about.

I advocate this camp. It not only brought us closer to nature, we also bonded much as a family. A family that camps together, stays together! Staying tune... till next year.


Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Mothers and Roses

Flowers don't tell, they show. A rose can never be a sunflower, and a sunflower can never be a rose. All flowers are beautiful in their own way, and that’s like Mothers too.

Thinking of the times I nag and talk too much to the kids, I thought maybe I should just be like the roses in my vase. Sit pretty and silent. Like roses, Mothers can make everything sweeter. 

Where just by looking at it, you feel encouraged, cheered up and inspired! And it is probably the least effort of doing something to get our mood lifted up. Fresh flowers are medicine for the souls.


Roses signal joys

Roses reflect genuine expression and unconditional love. Some similar parenting traits we share. They stand and portray what they truly are and they do not have to worry about how they bloom or wilt. Well yes, the fragrance and visual loveliness brings joy to a room for several days before fading away. At least, there were beautiful moments before fading. Working like an anti aging cream, we often harvest its petals to extend its appeal further.

Roses only sent me some red roses, and I chose red simply because red stands out best among the rest of the rose colours. It is a loud declaration of love and passion! Or more significantly, it is too bright to be missed out in the home. 

Roses only are famous for the quality of their roses and signature gift box. When the courier rang my door bell it was an unforgettable first impression receiving roses in a box with a beautiful bow over it. I received 12 long stemmed roses arranged beautifully in the box with care instructions and a note card. It was a different and unique idea from the traditional bouquets.


12 stemmed roses in their signature box

Their flowers are nurtured by the worlds best growers in the Ecuadorian mountains, each rose reaches an impressive 65cm in length within their 15-week growing period before being distinguished by color and character. Each stem is then carefully arrayed in our elegant, signature gift boxes which, never fail to secure a transcendent first impression. Quality is no mere coincidence.

And they arrived beautifully fresh! 

Mothers need a little love to bloom and brighten up their days. Send your Mum and loved ones a box of fresh roses today! We don't need occasions to brighten a day. Who doesn't love flowers? I do. The only consideration is practicality and pricing. But the joy and cheer it brings to one is priceless!




GIVEAWAY
We are running giveaway of a box of 12 stemmed roses over on our Instagram, @mumscalling. Do hop over to participate. Giveaway closes on 14 June, 2359hrs. Great chance to surprise someone's day with the sight and smell of fresh roses.



Friday, 31 May 2019

Playeum - I Opener: Play with senses [GIVEAWAY]

Playeum, Singapore's Children Centre for creativity is up with a new exhibition titled I-Opener: Play with Senses. I-Opener features the aesthetic and sensory play-worlds co-curated and co-created by artists with a disability. It is a play space that invites children aged 1 to 12 to explore their senses through play and the arts.

Read I-Opener

While the term exhibit may sound serious and untouchable, Playeum is the total different, it highlights the importance of sight, touch and hearing in a child's discovery of the world and holistic development, that includes aesthetic awareness, artistic engagement and active participation.

If you have been to Playeum, you would have already know its creativity is mission-based and is a non-profit venture that is supported by community and corporate partners. It is a registered charity which brings play into the lives of children who need it most. 


 


Spaces within the Exhibition
Clement Space
A sensorial interactive space designed, produced and created by Dr Dawn Joy Leong, an autistic artist. In a time in which the world seems increasingly void of calm, her focus on white in her design allows children to explore their senses by feeling, interacting and changing the movable elements. It was amazing how our mood got instantly calm the moment we stepped in here.



Cavan Scope
Cavan Chang is an artist with down syndrome. His creation is an invitation for his audiences to enter his colourful world, and create a multitude of new collages by playing with his artworks. Love the fun idea of dropping the collages into a picturesque art.


SOLScape
Inspired by two dimensional artwork of Sol Pickens, a young boy with autism. He makes his drawings come to life and transform them into three dimensional structures. In this space, children are invited to transfer their own two dimensional works into three-dimensional playscapes.

This is how all of Sol's drawings look like on a piece of paper. It looks impressively designed when the sides are folded up to make up a furnished room space.


2D drawing

SOLScape

Poetree
Jo Devadason is a poet with down syndrome and the voice behind Poetree, that can be found around the space. From an early age, she developed love for books imaginary play and self-expression. Her poetry and wordplay gives voice to her views and perceptions of the exhibition.


Jo Devadason's poem


We further explored the following technological inventions and play areas created and designed by Din Chan, Imran Mohamad and Dr Esther Joosa: 

The Eye Track Painter
Create colourful collages just by letting your eyes roam. We love how this can be a great activity for patients with cerebral paslsy. It works simply by looking and drawing with eye movements. It truly put the sense of sight to some artful use.




Tyre Light Play Projection
Discover shadows and light, and watch it project onto the high wall. Guess too, which vehicle this gigantic tyre belongs to? An airplane!




Hologram Projector
Experiment and transform your artworks to three dimensional. A space we actually missed out during exploration!

The Colour Cave 
A sensory cave to further explore Cavan's colourful world with various textiles.


Colour Cave

The Nook
A space where creative minds meet, set directions and create mindful collaborations. Simple as it looks, it is actually where our three year old spent most time at. Play is not all about toys.


Creative accessories

Creative play

The Maker Space
A space that will always remain core to Playeum and where children's innate creativity, critical thinking, communication and sensitivity to one's self and others manifests. This is one space the older two kids spent most time at. They created crafts with the extensive range of materials available for use. Creativity is endless in here.


Maker space

While Jare was working with his creation, he had a boo boo incident with the hot glue gun provided. Do be careful with it, but let's not hinder that opportunity of allowing our kids move into the more adventurous zone of self creation. I like the idea though, that glue guns are placed at a higher than toddler level. And to be honest, this is a very self-guided play which may not be toddler friendly in some areas. Stay watchful while your toddler roams.

Playeum is an unstructured playful mix of art and play for the young and old. Our kids really enjoyed their time in there! 

The exhibition is set to run from 1 June 2019 to 26 April 2020.


Open ended play!


Playeum - I-Opener: Play with the Senses
01 June 2019 to 26 April 2020 (Soft launch from 14 - 31 May)

Address:
Block 47 Malan Road
#01-23 Gillman Barracks
Singapore 109444
Opening Hours: 
Tuesday - Sunday
10:00am to 6:00pm
Contact: 
62620759
share@playeum.com

FREE parking on Sundays

Nearest MRT (5-10 Minute walk) 
Labrador Park MRT (Circle Line) 

Admission
Child (Aged 1 - 12): $22
Accompanying Adult: FREE
Additional Accompanying adult: $10:00



[GIVEAWAY] Heap Thanks to the nice people at Playeum, we get to giveaway 2 pairs of child's ticket to play! A pair on Blog (Facebook) and another pair on Instagram. To participate here, simply:

Facebook
1. Like Mum's calling on Facebook
2. Like Playeum on Facebook
3. In the comment section of this Facebook post, tag 3 or more friends whom you think their kids will to love play in Playeum!

Giveaway ends on 07 June, 2359hrs. Best of luck! Do hop over to Instagram @mumscalling to try your luck too!


GIVEAWAY CLOSED. Congrats Debra Li!


Terms and Conditions:




  • Winners will be picked by commentpicker.com
  • 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
  • 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
  • Wednesday, 29 May 2019

    Uncle Leong Seafood Alexandra [GIVEAWAY]

    Uncle Leong Seafood is a place we frequently dine whenever we have family occasions. First founded in a neighbourhood coffeeshop amidst Ang Mo Kio estate, Uncle Leong Seafood has now heightened into three full fledged restaurants in Punggol, Toa Payoh and Alexandra. All under the same arm, but different management.

    I questioned, why uncle Leong? Simply because children would affectionately greet its founder, Uncle Leong!

    Uncle Leong Seafood is the place to go for crabs! It serves larger than average crabs. You will not go wrong ordering its Claypot Crab bee hoon, cooked in great tasting broth and complemented with bee hoon. Even our kids enjoy it! And we love that dose of cai xin vegetable added to make up a more balanced meal. And of course, there are other food choices if crab is not your love, or unfortunately your allergic enemy.

    Claypot crab bee hoon

    Crab eating trains patience

    Another of my favourite would be their creamy butter crab, which is a must to always go with fried buns (man tou). My kids call their boss at the Alexandra outlet, 曼头叔叔 (Man tou shu shu). Trying their luck for some free buns, I guess. And their generous gravy leftover from the dishes is a good takeaway for bring home. Heat it up the next day for whatever food you think complements it. Great idea eh? You are most welcome!

    Creamy Butter crab

    Other dishes that my family always enjoy are its Fragrant Crispy pork in lettuce, deep fried beancurd, wasabi mayonnaise prawn, salted egg prawn and yang zhou fried rice. The items on our regularly ordered list.

    Great tasting food is why we keep coming back! 


    Fragrant Crispy Pork in lettuce


    Yang Zhou fried rice

    Uncle Leong at Anchorpoint (Alexandra) is its newest branch. Standing two levels tall with spacious seating, tasteful embellishments (empty crab shells deco) and dining rooms that can be partitioned into a private area, it is also a prefect place to hold private party functions. Great service too! If the folks of your family and friends are into Chinese cuisine, think no further, holding it here is a good satisfaction to everyone's taste buds. Serving good food is an important key to hosting. My brother held his daughter's one year old celebration here, and all guests complimented loads on the food.

    Do contact them for a customised party price list!


    Empty shell deco crab

    Party food set up

    Dining room that can be partitioned. Photo credit: Uncle Leong Seafood

    Upper level. Photo credit:  Uncle Leong Seafood

    And when it comes to hosting, other than great tasting food, we do want to ensure that there are sufficient seats for our guests to eat comfortably. This is the perfect venue! But first, gather your family and friends, set a date and make your way down to give these delicacies a try.

    Scroll on for Discount code and Giveaway!


    DISCOUNT CODE
    Quote ULS@ALEXANDRA for a 10% discount off your total bill. Valid till 30 June 2019. Not valid on Father's Day and eve of Father's day. 


    GIVEAWAY
    The best part of this post is, the boss of Uncle Leong Seafood at Alexandra is giving away 2 x $100 vouchers here on Mum's calling to TWO winners! One on Facebook and the other on Instagram. Heap Thanks for his generosity! To participate, simply:

    FACEBOOK
    1. Like Mum's calling on Facebook
    3. In the comment section of this Facebook post, comment which dish will you most likely order at Uncle Leong, and TAG THREE friends whom you will love to feast with.

    INSTAGRAM
    1. Like this yummilicious Instagram post
    2. Follow @mumscalling
    4. In a single comment of this post, tag 5 friends whom you know love crabs!

    You may try your luck on both Facebook and Instagram. Giveaway ends on 05 June 19, 2359hrs. Best of Luck!


    Address
    Anchorpoint Shopping Centre
    368 Alexandra Road
    Singapore 159952

    Opening hours
    Mon – Sun: 11.30am to 2.30pm
    (Last order 2pm)
    Mon – Sun: 5 to 10pm
    (Last order 930pm)

    Contact
    Telephone: 6259 9861
    Email: anchorpoint@uncleleongseafood.com

    • Winners will be picked by commentpicker.com
    • 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
    • Terms and conditions of vouchers are firmed
    • 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

    Terms and Conditions for winning vouchers
    • Valid till 30 June 2019
    • Not valid on Father's day and eve of Father's day
    • Limit to only 1 crab not more than 800g
    • For dine in only 
    • Other terms and conditions may apply

    Wednesday, 22 May 2019

    22 Stories Multi-room theatre [REVIEW]

    22 stories is one unique kind of interactive show and story telling fun of its own. It is a fresh concept of multi-room theatrical experience from ANDSOFORTH Jr. The masterminds behind hit shows such as Tales of Grimmsneyland and Wonderland. This time round, audiences are in for a big treat as they enter a sprawling, 20,000 square foot play area and explore 22 unique, Instagram-worthy experiential rooms.

    Spot the ugly duckling

    Inside the Cheshire cat

    The Four Colourful Worlds of room are:

    STORYLAND
    1. The princess and the neon pea
    2. The emperor's new clothes
    3. Hansel and Gretel's adventure in the forest
    4. The witch's candy house
    5. Spot the Ugly Duckling
    6. The magic beanstalk climb and slide

    WONDERLAND
    7. Down the rabbit  
    8. What time is it?
    9. Wonderland's Garden
    10. Inside the Cheshire cat
    11. The Queen of hearts

    GRIMMSNEYLAND
    12. I wish for more wishes
    13. Snow white's poison apple
    14. Cinderella's carriage
    15. Sleeping beauty's resting place
    16. Under the sea with the little mermaid

    LAND OF NIGHTS
    17. Aladdin's lamp
    18. The magic carpet
    19. Aladdin's thieves market
    20. Jasmine's place
    21. The Cave of Treasure
    22. Alibaba's Discovery


    During each session of 4 hours, you will move freely through 22 rooms across the four colourful unique worlds, where you can queue for shows and meet characters. Each room has 11 showtimes, with two 40 minutes interval in between. This will be the best time to load your camera with photos as you explore the rooms, since no shows run during interval. It is also the time when you should get food for your juniors, since the session time overlaps dinner/lunch. Drinks, food and snacks choices such as donuts, chicken wings, fish taco, meatballs and mashed potato are available for purchase on site. Not much to my liking, we ate a little and had a super late dinner elsewhere. If not, fuel up your child before entering.

    Whichever works for the little tummies.

    Food aside, this is the next best place to spend your other 40 minutes will be the slides at The Magic Beanstalk Climb and slide. Our kids went on it umpteen times! Adults permitted too!


    The magic beanstalk climb and slide

    Rooms will then be closed about 15 minutes before each show to prepare for turnover. Our visit was all good at a no rush pace. You will definitely be able to cover all shows if you are on time for your session. We were half hour late, and sadly missed two shows. 

    22 stories is what you can cover in 2 different weeks. Each week covers only 11 stories. Two sets of characters alternate every week. If your pocket leads you to a bigger budget, it is recommended you attend two sessions, one on an odd week and one on and even week, in order to enjoy the full range of characters available.

    Listing them here so you can plan to buy tickets according to your child's favourite characters. 

    Odd Week (Orange star on given map):
    1. The Queen of Hearts
    2. Fairy Godmother Fabrizia
    3. The Little Mermaid
    4. One of 40 theives
    5. Magic, The Carpet Ride*
    6. Aladdin
    7. Hansel
    8. The Royal Card*
    9. Genie*
    10. Emperor's New Suit
    11. Alice*
    12. Cinderella
    13. Mama Duckling 

    Even Week (Green star on given map):
    1. Snow White
    2. Princess Jasmine Badrouldabour
    3. The Royal Card*
    4. Genie*
    5. Jack and the Beanstalk
    6. Magic, The carpet ride*
    7. Cheshire Cat
    8. The Mad hatter 
    9. The Candy Witch
    10. Ali Baba
    11. Sleeping Beauty
    12. Alice *
    13. Princess and the Pea


    *Characters appear on both weeks.

    We had tickets to the Odd week.
    Magic, The carpet ride

    One of 40 thieves

    Each showtime is about 10 minutes. The respective character in each room will tell a short story and give its audience a simple mission to accomplish with much fun and interaction. Prep your kids to play along with the characters, if not, the adults will be tasked to play. So yes, it is suitable for both the young and young at heart. Do explore the place light, because you will need to be ducking and winding through small secret passages to meet characters.

    The Little Mermaid

    Sea of balls!

    The kids had tremendous fun as their favourite childhood stories came to life through meetings and interactive art installations across the various rooms. It is one impressive concept that dared to be different. The set ups, props and costumes were astoundingly beautiful, contrary to what I had imagined it to be sheepishly put up. What delighted and impressed me most, as a parent was that the characters were not only quick witted and expressive, they spoke good English with a captivating story accent. Even their door keepers were very well trained!

    It was no wonder all the kids were listening attentively every moment. Even our short attention span toddler followed through, with some aided help on the missions though.

    Queen of Hearts

    Genie!

    With Hansel

    Cinderella

    The Emperor's new clothes

    It was also pleasant that each showtime contained a small group without feeling cramped up in the room. There was good amount of space for move around and time for interaction. In fact, it would be more awkward being the only family during that show. Good for taking photos with no photo bombers though.

    Every room is assuredly a wonderful place for photo! Except that some rooms' lighting was a tad dim or uneven for good photos. 


    Alice

    Down the rabbit hole room

    What time is it?

    Wonderland's Garden

    Oh, don't forget to hang in till the end for a mini march out parade where all the characters will be out for a finale appearance!

    So, is it worth travelling all the way down to the wild wild west for this? I will give a resounding "Yes!" I have also put up a video collage of the fun we had, do hop over to our Instagram story/highlight @mumscalling for view. Hopefully, it helps affirm your wavering thought about catching the stories.

    Get your tickets now! 22 stories promises plenty of laughs, fun and all-around wonder! It is a land of curiousity in here. A different kind of experience for your little one.


    22 Stories 
    Date: 1 May to 30 June 2019
    Days: Friday, Saturday and Sunday 
    Time: Friday: 5.30pm - 9.30pm    Weekends: 10am-2pm, 5.30pm - 9.30pm 

    Location:   
    PeopleUp @ Pandan  
    200 Pandan Gardens, Singapore 609336

    Prices:
    Standard: $38 Admits One
    Family pack: $140 Admits Four
    Nearest MRT: Jurong East MRT
    Nearest Carparks: Public Carpark at Ayer Rajah CC OR Opp Pandan Gardens Blk 414

    Get tickets here

    Disclaimer: Tickets were given for the purpose of this review. All photos and opinions are as usual, solely ours.