Thursday, 31 December 2015

Time well spent

The month of December had been very eventful for us. I've never felt so accomplished, or rather, truly savour the life of a Mother till the luxury of time gave opportunity. We had a lovely month that was lightly scheduled with classes, but with a schedule of fun. It's beyond words when I say sanity is taking a break from my Mama-taxi routine, slow down and enjoy time with the kids.

It did mean I spent much more time with the kids! And honestly, I love it.


We did vacation and came home rejuvenated.
We got addicted to fun.
We left the TV almost untouched because we've been out to play.
Almost everyday!
We caught many movies in the cinemas,
One of which turned them into Star Wars expert.

We were in for feasts and parties because Christmas was here.
We read stories and the true meaning of Christmas.
A festive beyond gifts and Santa.
It was about the birth of Christ, the reason for the season.
We opened presents one after another, with much thankfulness within.
We were heartened by family and friends who kept us in mind. 
They knew Santa was made up, but we continued to play this year.
Who doesn't mind extra gifts?

We shopped for groceries,
with the frequent requests to pay at the self checkout counter.
On those rainy days, we explored new board games.
Sunny days, we hung out playing with bubbles and roller blades.
Oh, it's one nice thing to watch them still amazed by short-lived bubbles.

We shared endless hugs and kisses.
 Discussed about the right and wrong moral acts.
We concluded, sometimes life is not always fair. 
I marveled at how much they have grown,
and wondered where has the year gone.
We are one evolving family.
We discovered and re-discovered more about each other. 
With gladness, I smile at the beautiful memories we built and are building.

We never looked much into time because our agenda was free.
We shared more bedtime stories and prayers.
We overran bedtime and time to rise.
There was no better time to snug in bed.
We played, danced and sang.
We farewell our teachers and friends during the last school day.

I had more opportunites to take glances at them.
 I told them that they are beautiful and handsome,
and that I love them more than anyone else.
Not even the prince or princess they will meet some day.
A Mother's love is never to be overtaken.
Yes, I am one unique identity.

We were reminded that this should be home,
Where love and fun shall abide.
Always.


Love, 
Mama


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Monsters under the Sea and Universal studios

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A Happy Christmas indeed!

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Kids stop, Movie and Gardens by the bay

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Home activities

To serve God as a Mother is time well spent. While reflections should be a constant, I'm so overly blessed for these children heaven-sent, and for a beautiful month like this. To take time slow and be rewarded with a well-deserved break from the sometimes heavy laden routine. It was a great wrap to the year.

We hope, you too, had a wonderful wrap to the year. Remember to slow down as much as we can, to savour Motherhood!

Looking forward to a greater year ahead. Cheers to 2016! Happy New Year!

Friday, 18 December 2015

Health is truly wealth

And so we are back from a rejuvenating getaway. Any getaway that breaks us free from routines and schedules is all well worthed. Looking to update our travel soon.

Just the week before we set foot for our travel, Js fell very ill. Jare was down with a week long of fever, followed by Jazz. The kids took turns to be in and out of school, while I felt almost exhausted running the roles of a nurse and a Mum.

In midst of our battle, when sickie days show no mercy to what's in plan or scheduled, we got really caught and sometimes, I wonder if we really have to battle some events with a sick body. It's no brainier to know we should stay away from classes or events when sick, but sometimes it's more than just the usual. Js had enrichment classes to attend and Jazz had even much to cover in the month of November. She had a violin and graduation concert. Not forgetting the numerous rehearsals, as well as her usual violin, piano and swim classes in between. Everything swarmed up in the third week of November, I felt hectic and tired just looking at her. How did my 6 year old get so bogged down by schedule suddenly?!! I had to assure her that peaceful days are ahead.


Farewell preschool

After her violin concert

That week she was down, she had 3 important rehearsals to attend, 2 for her graduation and 1 for violin. We made the decision to skip 2 of the 3 rehearsals, which wasn't an easy decision for they were full dressed and photo taking rehearsals. And also, we needed to minimize contact with her friends, in case she was contagious. For that one rehearsal which she brought up her spirits to attend, I got a call from her teacher that her fever spiked. I packed medication and rushed down like a F1 driver to fetch her home for rest.

On days which her fever didn't spike, I asked if she could make it for her enrichment classes. She positively and assuredly told me she could. I always admire her fervent attitude when it comes to learning. At the moment I thought, "Oh, great, we don't have to miss classes." I was overly concern about missing classes, forfeiting fees or having to arrange for replacement classes as next month is a month of vacation and relaxation. Really, I had wanted a schedule free month in December. We needed more play than anything else before a new school term begins.

One of the days, I called my man in the office to update on Jazz's fever chart. He graciously and calmly told me, "forget about the classes. Let her rest." In midst of the sick chaos, I got shaken and got my mind cleared up. What a terrible Mum I've been. How could I have encouraged my daughter this hard on classes while battling a roller-coaster fever?!! Didn't we always talk about resting well, eating well and that health is wealth. Oh man! A sudden guilt poured over me, even though she was one little active girl, who was playing and eating relatively well. I started calling schools and teachers if I could do replacement classes, or miss a lesson without forfeiting fees. Some were understanding and one had to forfeit our fees. Anyway, I realised health is more important than anything else. Moreover, Jazz is usually a tough being who rarely falls ill. It's been 4 years since she last visited a Pediatrician. I knew this wasn't easy for her too.

I got reminded, that I should teach them to rest and rest, especially when they are down. I got reminded, it really didn't matter about the classes they miss, but the priority of knowing that health comes first. In our often hectic life, grown ups tend to work and overwork even when they are extremely sick. Sometimes I just have to blame this on the herd mentality or our work habit. While we value achievements, we should not compromise on rest. It's some bad living example to our kids, isn't it?!! I think it's one habit and knowledge we can cultivate since young, that we should learn to nurse a sick body in order to face the battles and challenges ahead. 

But wait, if your child is down on a very important event of this lifetime, what would you do? Decisions and decisions. I was just glad she fully recovered and did so well for her graduation concert, which she practiced and rehearsed so diligently for.

On another revelation, I've realised that the beauty of being a stay home Mum isn't really about being there for your kids, especially when they are sick. But that, it really is one great help when the man can focus solely on work, without having to worry about home or sacrifice any leaves to send them to the doctor or be home with them. There's this firm assurance that his wife, the kids' Mum and probably the best caregiver for the kids is home with the unwell kids, and that they are in good hands. It's true when we say, there's a woman behind every successful man. Yay, I proclaim that!

It's not often picture perfect

Parenting is often so picture imperfect. When we thought we know what to do, we are actually doing it wrong. Love how new revelation shapes and reminds us of our parenting values.
 
So people, rest well and rejuvenate well for the coming battles ahead. Let's not over-exhaust and always remember to rank health before wealth. 

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Bintan Exploration

The final installment of our Bintan vacation comes on... 

We explored options to head out of the resort and the only way out was by taxi or rental car. There was no free or paid shuttle bus service to bring you out. Pasar Oleh Oleh, a little shopping village which I googled to be nearby has closed down.

Instead, a new 'mall' standing nearby is Plaza Lagoi, about a 15 minutes drive from the resort. But don't expect much if you're visiting anytime soon. It opened its doors early this year with only a few shops up and running. A touristy attraction, so not any much cheap deals in there.

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Plaza Lagoi

We were firmed about getting out of the resort since no other activities appealed to us. We opted to rent a car out for 8 hours. Their rate goes bi-hourly. We were initially skeptical about car rental as none of us knew the roads, no GPS and no idea of how traffic would be like. Worries uncalled, we found that their rental car comes with a driver. 8 hours, a 7-seater car and a driver at $120. We paid and zoomed off. Quite fast and furious with our assigned driver.

After a touch and go at Plaza Lagoi, we requested to roam the heart of Bintan, Tanjung Pinang. About a 90 minutes from the resort. Along the way, our driver did a short stopover at a temple, Vihara Avalokitesvara Graha. I stayed in the car as Js were sleeping, while the rest stepped out for some sightseeing.

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Place of worship

We continued our journey to Tanjung Pinang after a short stop. City where we caught glimpses of the local bustling life. If shopping is on your mind, this place unlikely to please you. Or perhaps, my shopping mode wasn't on. Prices were cheaper and there was quite a large number of Chinese population. So yeap, some shop owners can communicate in Mandarin. 

We did some street walking and whacked food from the street stalls. Went for the hot food just to be sure our tummies could handle them. We tried some peanut pancake which was surprisingly delicious. Seemed to have defined the taste of simplicity and authenticity. $0.40 per piece. Only.

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Fruits, satay and peanut pancake stalls

We stopped by another stall that sells fried finger food. Oh yes, spotted goreng pisang (Fried banana fritter). Hot and cripsy! $0.30 per 3 pieces. It's been such a long time I last ate it in Singapore. Nowhere quite seen now.

So what we had needed to do with our food desire, was to pull off a piece of newspaper they've neatly prepared and pick out our wants on it. They will sum it up and bag it for you. How do you view this? I had never really like laying food on newspaper, so this was quite an interesting 'idea'. We followed along. How did I begin to appreciate NEA for regulating food hygiene in Singapore?!!

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Food galore

Life there may be a little backward, looking like the days of 1950s or 60s. Simple and delightful, with nothing fanciful or luxurious. I tried defining simple joy to Js while walking down the streets. It was an eye opener for us, as travelling has always been modern and beautifully exciting for us. The World for exploration is endlessly huge.

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The street

We strolled for about an hour before meeting up with our driver again. Though the setting up of night food stalls were almost  visible, we decided to move off with our initial plan of kelong seafood dinner. Before moving off, our driver asked if we were keen in batik clothes. Looking at some spare time left to dinner, we agreed. We were brought to the nearby, Tanjung Pinang mall to shop. You might enjoy some shopping in this 2 storey mall. We didn't explore much as the first storey caught most of our time. Js got shoes, while I bought slippers. Bata seems cheaper in there.

There were also fast food, supermarket and some kids entertainment in the mall.

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 Batik section at Tanjung Pinang mall

We were genuinely ready for dinner after some slight shopping. The tummy calls and off to kelong we go! But then, though I had a kelong in mind, we were counter offered another by the driver. Aah, it flashed my mind that he might benefit from bringing some customers there. Oh well, we are always kind and sometimes, obliging. We found he could get his meal free at the kelong he recommended, when we asked him to join us for dinner.

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Fresh seafood

After about 30 minutes drive, we landed at Ciu Yong Seafood. We had much reservation about the restaurant, we doubted much on price and transparency. It was also empty and quiet at our time of arrival. Arriving after the sun set didn't help, its surrounding was near pitch dark. Nonetheless, we were hungry and needed food.

The food tasted pretty average with a few excellent dishes. Seafood is undoubtedly fresh as it came straight from the water. We had some good fresh prawns and a Garoupa fish which was a little over steamed, else it would be perfect. We ordered huge cockles with sambal (their sambal is spicily awesome), but a pity it was overcooked.

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Top left to right: welcome coconut, squid, hot plate tofu. Bottom left to right: Cereal prawns, huge cockles, Garoupa

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Total bill

It was most uncomfortable when we saw no prices on its menu, we had to asked the price before ordering. Glad that they initiated to checked our orders with written prices before sending into the kitchen for preparation. So our 'million' dollar rupiah meal ended up to be about $140. Not exactly a cheap deal for an outskirt kelong.

Perhaps, it might be more comforting to visit when the sun is still beaming. I'm sure it has quite a spectacular view around it. 

The meal filled us and summed up our day. We were brought to one final stop near our resort to get layers cakes, or kueh lapis. Not a regret, because they were so good! We bought the original and coffee layers, which I heart the coffee flavour very much. A unique taste indeed. Other local products like luwak coffee can be found there too.

So yeap, our adventure ended that night. And we were all ready for check out the next day.

Bintan layers cake
Address:
Shop house of kota sebong block 907 No.2 (near Pujasera Lagoi)
Lagoi - Bintan resort
Email: bintanlayercakes@gmail.com


Previous post on Bintan Lagoon: 
Bintan Lagoon Resort -  Villa Stay
Bintan Lagoon Resort - Exploring with kids

Monday, 14 December 2015

We finally got a school bag!

Going onto P1 keeps some parents scrambling on their hands and feet, especially the last minute planners. I am usually in this category, but wait, I think we're almost well prepared. We've got orientation, school books, stationery, shoes and socks checked off the list. It was only recent week that we decided to slim the options of school bags. The varying bag choices in the market got us so torn. 

I wasn't keen in any ergonomic bags for they come naturally heavy. And these kids don't spend much time having their bags on their back. Unlike my days of having to carry books and bag onto public transport with no seats. And nah, they're won't be hiking with their school bags either. So really, I had thoughts that any bag will do.

At Changi City Point

We explored around and came by Dr Kong. A pressure-free bag that is surprisingly lighter than many others in the market. There wasn't any proclamation of its weight, but I did a weigh on our scale. It was about 800g for its small size. Perfect! I thought. Our confirmation doubled up when we saw the various designed it offered. They weren't overly kiddy or mature, just nice for little school goers. Ok, it really didn't matter on my liking for it, but the carrier has to love it. I had Jazz in tow with me to pick her preferred design in store.

S,M and L sizes from top to bottom

There were some cartoon designs which I think are good for preschoolers, but there were also some in between. Neither too cute nor mature. Went through a few and felt that these were some that were aesthetically soothing to my eyes.

Style does matter, but my Motherly concern would be the bag's weight, size (not huge on her) and able to fit A4 sized files without being folded. Dr Kong's bags fitted my desires. Here's why we love its bag:

1. Dr Kong's Small sizes bag are of good fit for children below the height of 1.25m. It's highly possible that Jazz will have to change to a larger bag when she grows beyond that. Some parents may not like the idea of this investment and return, but I really love that the bags are catered and designed to achieve its maximum function. Which means it won't look oversize on petite school goers. But if your child is near 1.25cm, it might be a wiser choice to go for their M sizes (1.25cm to 1.49cm).

2. Their designs are appealing. Not that there's a huge variety to select from, but a few of them were pleasing. It's quite a toil to carry a bag the kids don't like and having to greet it every weekday morning. Even before the sun greets them. So yes, it's important to bring your child along to try on and choose.

3. It has a firm internal frame that helps spread weight evenly from shoulders to pelvis and keep books close to the back. The weight distribution is perfect for avoiding any strains or possibility of hunchbacks. 

4. Adjustable waist strap to help share the weight of the books. There's another strap for the chest, but I didn't think that would be necessary.

5. A firm base that doesn't droop the books when carried and able to stand on it's own on floor. 

6. Not overly priced. $79.90 for S sizes. Discount available for Mum's calling readers (scroll below)!

Jazz was recommended a few designs by the store's friendly staff. It wasn't too long before she got her pick. I'm glad we met eye to eye on her chosen design. And if you are concern about light coloured bags turning dirty over time, psycho your child to go for a darker colour.

She fitted on and I knew was just perfect. She wasn't looking like a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, I could see her neck! The bag wasn't overly high.



And it comes in good layers of compartments. The secret and not so secret compartments. Knowing them well just so I know how to inspect her bag at times. Haha.




So yeap, it's one of the many options for your consideration, if you haven't gotten a bag. More designs have flown in on 08 December. Good to pop in now.


Mention 'Mum's calling' at any one of the stores for a 10% discount off any Dr Kong's bag. Till 04 Jan 2016.

That's now one off the P1 checklist for us!


Dr Kong main shops can be found at:
1. Changi City Point, #01-22
5 Changi Business Park Central 1, Singapore 486038
(Nearest MRT station: Expo)

2. JEM, #04-02
50 Jurong Gateway Road, Singapore 608549
(Nearest MRT station: Jurong East)

3. OneKM Mall, #03-24 
11 Tanjong Katong Road, Singapore 437157
(Nearest MRT station: Paya Lebar)

Facebook link here.

Disclaimer: A bag was given for the purpose of this review. All photos and opinions are solely ours.

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Colourful blocks galore - Citiblocs

We really love toys and entertainment that spark the freedom for play and creativity. Kids are often peg to classroom settings of schedules, rules and regulation, that they sometimes forget to think freely and creatively. We came to know about Citiblocs from My First Games. And its founder, Pamela has given us some for play and review. Pamela is a Mother of 3 and firmly believes in the numerous benefits of playing games. Mums do really know best after all. 

Citiblocs are good for both individual and group play. Some days, Js build alone and some other days, they decided there's more achievement in teamwork. Each box contains 100 pieces (comes in 50, 100, 200, 300 or 500) of precision cut building blocks, in assorted and natural wood colours. All same in shape and size. It's all as simple as it looks, no glue, no magnets, no connectors or clasps. All you would need is just some good imagination to explore gravity and balance. These blocks are made from Grade A Radiata Pine from certified renewable forests in New Zealand. Some great wood they are.

Love the colours
of precision cut building blocks, in assorted colours of greens and browns and natural wood colour, and all in the same in shape and size. Constructing structures with CitiBlocs precision cut building blocks is done without glue. There are no magnets, no connectors, no snaps nor clasps. Together with the ever-present force of gravity, all you need is a good sense of balance, and an active imagination! The award winning (17 Toy Industry Awards!) CitiBlocs blocks are made from Grade A Radiata Pine from certified renewable forests in New Zealand. - See more at: http://www.myfirstgames.sg/citiblocs-100-camo.html?search=citiblocs#sthash.H6RcN0lG.dpuf
of precision cut building blocks, in assorted colours of greens and browns and natural wood colour, and all in the same in shape and size. Constructing structures with CitiBlocs precision cut building blocks is done without glue. There are no magnets, no connectors, no snaps nor clasps. Together with the ever-present force of gravity, all you need is a good sense of balance, and an active imagination! The award winning (17 Toy Industry Awards!) CitiBlocs blocks are made from Grade A Radiata Pine from certified renewable forests in New Zealand. - See more at: http://www.myfirstgames.sg/citiblocs-100-camo.html?search=citiblocs#sthash.H6RcN0lG.dpufFrom left to right, the Cool set consists of blue, turquoise, lime green, dark green and natural colours. Camouflage set comes in shades of green, brown and natural colours. Hot set comes in red, pink, orange, yellow and natural colours. While the natural is only of single shade.

If you are one perfectionist, cleaning up will be strictly categorized into their original state. For Js, as long as they all fit into each box without bulging. It's one toy they often play now, cleaning up must be made easy. So then, we introduced the time table of ten. Stack 10 sets of 10 to get 100. Instead of counting painfully to 100 to fit each box, we broke down the counting. Yay! Maths and cleaning up become partners. Alternatively, it's always easy to get a bigger box to fit all in. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

Citiblocs is an easy play that needs no instructions or explanations. Js opened it, and at that very instant knew what to do. It really is one great toy for self play. For the initial, they didn't think of mixing the blocks, but I hinted them not to be restricted. Use whatever they needed and allowed their imagination to soar. We didn't want to get back to the classroom setting of, "No".

Jazz built a local tourist attraction, which she claimed to be Chinatown. 

She said that was Chinatown

And she went on to mix the colours, built a fitness studio with a kick boxing and dance studio. So those blocks were her imagination of sand bags and mirrors. I thought it could be constructed higher to include more levels.

Fitness studio

And for the boy, he attempted a carpark with ramp for his toy tanks, and did up a secret compartment for storing his tiny toys.

Imagined carpark

So then, I decided to take a closer look into what he has between the blocks. There were his toy stormtroopers and 'weapons'! How did I not realised he had so many troopers around the house?!!

Stormtroopers!

Oh well, however they wanted to build on that imagination. When they ran out of ideas, they would go to the book of ideas, included in each box. There's really more construction that's far and beyond your imagination.

They had much fun out of it, and to train patience and perseverance, we can even get them to build a series of domino effect. When one collapses during build up, they will patiently pick up the fallen pieces into position again. Gravity and balance do require load of patience and trying. I love it, when it comes to testing their perseverance. 

And I will affirm, it's one good play that will last through the growing years. You won't believe even the grown ups attempted to play with it too!

Get your Citiblocs fun, online at My First Games. Citiblocs will go on a 30% discount, whilst stocks last. Check out with discount code: CTBTHIRTY. While shopping, don't forget to check out their wide selection of boardgames too. Free delivery for purchase above $100.

The season of giving is not too far away! Have fun shopping.


Disclaimer: Citiblocs were given for the purpose of this review. All photos and opinions are solely ours.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Holiday Extravaganza at Legoland!

We've met our first Santa of the year! LEGO Santa has arrived at Legoland Malaysia to brighten up this festive season from 20 November 2015 to 03 January 2016 with their very own Holiday Extravaganza. 

And you know the park is very ready for Christmas when you spot the deer, with Santa and his sleigh. Ho ho ho!


Ok, we need to find the real Santa
 
This Christmas, Santa has brought with him not just 24, but 30 windows for the life size advent calendar in Legoland. Just so we have more chances to win amazing gifts. All you had need to do was to enter the draw before night falls.  

Guests would have to get a show guide from the guest services office located in the park, within the show guide, you would find a lucky draw segment to fill up and tear out. Drop it in the lucky draw box located near the festive stage/LEGOLAND express. Winners will be announced and have to be present during the announcement to claim the prize.

For us, looking for LEGO Santa was our mission of the day, but we decided we should play first! 

The Star Wars exhibit is a must see, simply because Jare is a huge fan of it. That being our second stop after Jazz's adventurous roller coaster ride with the man.

Star wars Exhibit

After which the weather got a little more moody, it decided to snow rain. We took shelter before deciding to venture when the rain got lighter. So yeap, for that frequent prediction of rain this monsoon season, do remember your raincoats and brollies.

We did ours this way. Never mind the grown ups.

Cozy in their stroller

Fun continues in the light rain. Jare has an achievement this year, the last round we visited, almost exactly a year ago, he was barely tall for most rides. This time, he met the minimum height requirement to ride the dragon's apprentice, the mini roller coaster. He was sure a happy boy!

OK, pass!

We went on to build cars at the Build and Test Centre, where there's no limit to creating an ideal sports car. Speed does matter in a race after all, never mind the aesthetic part of it. Js realised.

Build and test

We went for a few more rides before the sky turned gradually dark. We needed to find Santa to light up that huge Christmas tree made of duplos. He has the key to lighting up that tree.

We gathered at the LEGO city stage (Festive stage) to meet the casts from their Holiday Special show. And of course, Santa appeared! There's also where you will see the life size Advent Calendar, a winner everyday.

Looking at that snowy decoration on the trees, we had really wished it was snowing. But it was raining. It's Asia, we know. And we were shoving in and out of shelter to catch glimpse of Santa. So do remember your brollies and raincoats. Leave the snow boots home though.

No fret, there are lots of sheltered activities and great shows indoor. There's always a good hideout if weather gets too wet or hot.

Wonderful casts

Lighted Christmas tree

Caught you, Santa!

And yay! We caught Santa in the Market restaurant after the light up. That got our day well summed up and we were all ready to head home and battle the jam at checkpoint after a good Christmasy dinner. Ok, not a very bad jam actually.

It wasn't a full day out, but we were fairly exhausted, even the kids. Age is catching up on everyone!

Head on down to Legoland this Christmas season. There's a special little something for 15 lucky kids every Friday to Sunday for the whole month of December. Write your wish list of LEGO products at the Big Shop, and have 15 of these wishes transform into reality. Dreams do come true!

Also, if you've been eyeing the annual passes, this is a good time to purchase. In this season of giving, you can purchase four passes for the price of three.

Bring theme park joy to the kids this season! 

Holiday Extravaganza at Legoland
20 Nov 2015  to 03 Jan 2016
Daily from 10am to 7pm
Musical fireworks only on 31 Dec 2015


Disclaimer: We were given tickets to the park for play and to witness the Christmas tree light up. All photos and opinions are solely ours.


More on our Legoland Resort review here:
Our time with Legoland - water park (I)
Legoland resort hotel (II)
Legoland Theme park (III) 

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

The Enormous Turnip - Review

We had a wonderful weekend catching The Enormous Turnip play, presented by itheatre. A 50 minutes fast paced show that is bound to keep our kids well entertained in their seats. It's interactive with fun and memorable songs, as well as a clear moral message for everyone. 

Where did the Enormous Turnip come from? Who is strong to pull it out of the ground? And what will they do with it? With much good leaning points, we had our answers all solved in this wonderful play.

Photo credit: i theatre

It was shared through the play that horse's poo is a good fertilizer for plants and that we need to make good efforts to keep our plants away from pests like the caterpillar. There's some hard work involved in success. Little Eek, the mouse was tasked to help care for the plants, but something nasty happened beyond his control. That incident shed him of his roles and duties going forward. What will he do from then on?

Eek's dream is to be noticed, but he is SO small. What good use can he be in the vegetables garden? It was only till the very last scene, the farmer saw his contribution and appreciated him. We saw too, the power of teamwork.

Photo credit: i theatre

Js take away from the play was that no role or character is too small to look down on.

The show cleverly displays its brand of professional actors, unforgettable songs, mask and puppetry with wonderful stage props and magic! Yes, check out how those vegetables and turnip grow. It certainly did amuse Js. The show was all interactive too. Little volunteers were needed to help tug and pull the enormous turnip out.

The young audience was stirred with cheers and was extremely responsive to the show. Just how wonderful these little children are. One thing for sure, everyone enjoyed the play! So did I.

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Wonderful casts of the play

It's definitely one good play to catch this holiday period. Don't forget your meet and greet session after the play!

Get your tickets now!
 
The Enormous Turnip (Most suitable for ages 3 to 12)
17 November to 06 December 2015
Sat and Sun: 11am, 2.30pm
Wed to Fri (25 Nov 2015 till 27 Nov 2015): 10.30am
Tue to Fri (1 Dec 2015 till 4 Dec 2015): 11am
Ticket price: $32 (Excludes booking fee) 


Disclaimer: Tickets were given to us for the purpose of this review. All photos and comments are solely ours. 

Friday, 20 November 2015

Festive dinner this season

Christmas is surely near when we had our first Christmas meal of this season. Last weekend, we were cozily and warmly pampered at Holiday inn Singapore Atrium for a festive treat.

We were introduced to the signature dishes that will be appearing on its Christmas Eve buffet menu. First presented was cream of spring bay black mussel with fennel. Rich creamy and great tasting with the bread biscuit. I'm not a fan of mussels, so I transferred them over to the man. Our way of complementing each other over meals. 


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After which, came the pan-seared lobster with tomato stew and onion espuma (foam), as well as the roast rack of lamb with apricot and thyme jus were neatly paired on a plate for us.

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I knew the portion would be overwhelming for Js when we were presented 4 sets. They appreciated the lobster, but not much of the lamb. I guess it was something they don't savour often. Mum's fault, perhaps. I specially love that cute portion of asparagus and carrots, which Js decided to munch ours down too.

That left us, the parents as carnivore that evening. The meats were of perfect liking to us. Lobster and lamb were cooked to the right texture, so they weren't tough or unkind to my teeth. I seriously dislike over chewing my meat. These were just nice!

The lobster goes very well with the tomato stew beneath it, so you do have to savour them together.


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Looking at the lamb in shades of pink, you know it's some good skill in there. The outer coat, looking like the skin of roasted pork is apricot. You will have to savour it with the lamb to maximise its taste potential. And yes, that mini garden around it is edible too. I asked.

So why lobster and lamb? The creator, Chef Chua thinks that lobsters are a hot favourite among locals, so that explains the festive twist to this dish. And lamb was decided to be something different from the usual Turkey, beef and ham. Some great thoughts in there.

We were extremely stuffed after conquering these, plus the kids' leftover. We were just glad that the lychee and raspberry log cake was for take away.


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Just love how snowy white and classy the log cake looks with those edible pearls. We continued our dessert story the next day, at home. I'm always excited when it comes to slicing a pretty cake, looking forward to its dissection.


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Nice complementing colours, isn't it?!! And anything that goes in with lychee is heavenly to me. Just how fusion this cake is, lychee and raspberry. Perfect for any dessert lover!

These signature dishes will excite your taste bud at Holiday Inn Singapore Atrium restaurant this Christmas Eve. Christmas eve buffet dinner at $78++ per pax. Citibank card members at $98++ for 2 diners. 50% for kids between 6 and 12 years of age. Kids 5 years and under dine free. 

Festive buffet dinner begins on 12 December 2015. More details in here.

Book your seats soon!

Atrium Restaurant
Level 4, Holiday Inn Singapore Atrium

317 Outram Road, Singapore 169075
Tel: 6731 7172
Email: atriumrestaurant.sinhi@ihg.com

Review of our regular buffet experience with Holiday Inn Singapore Atrium here.


Disclaimer: We were invited to food tasting session at Holiday Inn Singapore Atrium. All opinions and photos are solely ours. 


Monday, 16 November 2015

Busy Books and Quiet books

Do your kids love getting their fingers in finger puppets? Js love finger puppets and I see the immense benefits of it while they play. When coordinating their fingers, the brain also coordinates the story and hints them which fingers to put down, up, bend or wiggle. It's some motor skills in there.

There's also language development, expression and sometimes the release of emotions. We learn to take turns in giving those listening ears when someone is narrating his made up story. Whether realistic or fantasy, it's just hilarious listening to Js stories whenever I'm the audience.

I would say finger puppets are some essential play in their category of toys.

We were excited to receive and review a set of Fairy tales finger puppet busy book from Royal Rae. Jazz is a lover of made up stories, and was the first to get her fingers on those puppets. For some days, we had a switch of night schedule. Instead of bedtime stories, we do puppet show and tell for a refreshing change.

This book is amazingly crafted. It's not any hard or soft covered books, but a cloth book with 16 finger puppets within. It can be neatly and conveniently zipped for any travel too. The characters are from 4 popular fairy tales - Red riding hood, Goldilocks, Snow white and The three little pigs. All carefully designed to be durable, safe and simple for little kids.

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Finger puppets book


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16 pockets for 16 characters

It was most wonderful to watch how the kids weave in the various characters of different stories into one big story. The idea, imaginations, flow and language were good learning points for them. You may even compliment these puppets with the storybooks found in your home.


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Bedtime story!

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Time for teamwork!

Royal Rae was founded by Cecilia, who discovered that her daughter often preferred handcrafted toys over her other stash of toys, and how these handcrafted ones better encouraged her daughter's creativity and imagination. This explains Royal Rae's selection of high quality toys to engage kids. A Mum often knows best.

These busy books are especially great for entertaining kids during travel, on flights, in car or waiting for food in restaurants. I love how these busy books keep the kids positively occupied with almost no weight added to the Mum's bag.

Together with our busy book, Cecilia had very kindly and generously included 2 sets of "Design your own snakes and ladders." It was most useful for Jare, who is still trying to master the art of reading.

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Snakes and ladders

The snakes and ladders turned stickers are free for the kids to design where they would like to paste their snakes and ladders. After which, they will fill the spaces with numbers 1 to 50. Some numeracy skill in there too! The reading comes into picture when the pawn lands on the head of the snake and one can 'escape' from moving downwards by reading a card of 10 words from the stack of Dolch sight words.

So yeap, there's no doubt in the range of educational and quality toys you can find in Royal Rae. Js had great fun playing with the busy book and game, very engagingly and meaningfully.

Good things must share. Explore the website and if you would like to shop for any products (Christmas is coming!), you may check out your cart with the following discount code, mumscalling10 for a 10% discount on all purchases. There is also a special 20% discount if you are keen in the 'Lullaby and sweet dreams' busy book with the following discount code lullaby20. Codes available till 28 November.

The best for the last, hop onto our giveaway of a Lullaby and sweet dreams quiet book worth $38! Most suitable for engaging little toddlers anytime! Complete the following steps to participate:

1. Like Mum's calling on Facebook
2. Like Royal Rae on Facebook
3. Join Royal Rae's mailing list by signing up with your email here (Scroll all the way down).
4. Tag 3 or more friends in this Facebook post, whom you think will love this giveaway.

Giveaway closes on 25 November 2015. All the best!

Photo credit: Royal Rae


  • This giveaway ends on 25 Nov 15, 11.59pm 
  • Open to Singapore residents only 
  • Winner will be picked randomly by random.org
  • Winner will be announced on this post and on Facebook
  • Winner 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 winners are announced. 

Disclaimer: We were given the mentioned products for review. All opinions and photos are solely ours.
 

    Friday, 13 November 2015

    Crust Gourmet Pizza!

    Last weekend, Js had a wonderful time making pizzas at Crust Gourmet Pizza Bar! Not for play, but for consumption. It's always nice that they learn to work for food at times. 

    We were very warmly welcome into the cosy little restaurant with little chefs hats and aprons. It was most thoughtful that doodling materials were prepared for the little ones to design their master chef hats. Great 'entertainment' while waiting for their go in the kitchen.

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    Little hat designers
































    Crust pizza was first launched in Australia and widely known for serving delicious pizzas with the freshest ingredients. It started franchising in 2007, and that's how it landed in Singapore with 3 outlets at current - Holland Village, Upper Thomson and Serangoon Garden. 

    Their appeal is that they have a wide selection of premium meats, fresh vegetables and gourmet cheeses. Quality is also maintained during delivery (If you choose to party at home with pizzas). There is the vegetarian and gluten free range for different diet requirements, as well as sides such as chicken wings, wedges and salads to complement your pizza party. 

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    Little chefs at work

    First, they learned to put on their gloves for hygiene. Hats were abandoned because they thought they would look funny in it. Js created a really simple pizza for their tummies. Tomato and cheese for Jare, mushrooms and spinach for Jazz. If your kids are small eaters, a kid's sized pizza (9 inch) is good for two.

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    Yums!

    You might realise Js have got a beautiful rolled out crust, but not one they kneaded and rolled. The dough was made and brought in from Australia. Some recipes are just not capable of being well tasted in our humidity. After baked, the crust stays amazingly crisp and fresh.  

    I have a special love for pizza crust, and this is one that tastes really good to my liking. I had preferred it thinner, so the kids' round pizza appealed more to me. The adults pizza seemed to have a thicker crust (from the same dough) and it ain't traditionally round. It's rectangular, 13 by 8 inch. So who says pizzas are always round? 

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    Looking and tasting good!

    Oh man, it's just torturing to be writing this near lunch. 

    Well, it's great to know that I have now an added option to my home pizza party! Oh wait, I do need to check if they deliver to my venue. Certain locations only, so do call and check.

    Crust Holland Village
    34B Lorong Mambong S(277691)
    Tel: 6467 2224
    Delivery areas: Bukit Timah, Clementi, Orchard, River valley and Queenstown

    Crust Upper Thomson
    215R Upper Thomson Road S(574349)
    Tel: 6456 1555
    Delivery areas: Ang Mo Kio, Bishan, Novena, Upper Thomson and Toa Payoh

    Crust Serangoon Garden
    1 Maju Avenue, my village @ Serangoon Garden, #B1-23/24, S(556679)
    Tel: 6636 7666
    Delivery areas: Macpherson, Punggol, Serangoon, Hougang and Sengkang

    Delivery is for a minimum order of $25 (Charges apply, depending on distance). Free delivery for $200 and above. 

    Click here for the Online menu. Some signature pizzas for recommend are:
    Peri peri chicken ($24)
    Moroccan Lamb ($29)
    Crust Supreme ($26)
    Vegetarian Supreme ($25)
    Wagyu Beef and Prawn ($39)

    And of course, that depends on what you love! I'm am quite a fan of melted cheese on pizzas. The more on my it, the more I love. I would definitely try the Gourmet Cheese pizza ($23) - Feta cheese, Gorgonzola cheese, Bocconcini cheese, garnished with fresh buffalo mozzarella chesse and fresh basil leaves. Yums! Just my kind.a

    Have you tried crust? If not, the best time is now or soon! Here's a special treat our readers. FREE kids 9-inch pizza with every pizza order. Quote "CRUSTFAMILY" when placing order. Available for dine-in, takeaway and delivery. Valid till 31 March 2016. Don't miss this!

    Going to find lunch now....

    Disclaimer: We were invited to a pizza making session with Crust. All opinions and photos are solely ours.