Friday, 23 December 2016

The story of the Candy Cane

Christmas is here, almost! Above and beyond the expressions of love and blessing this season, we always talk about the reason for the season within the family, that is the birth of Christ Jesus on Christmas day.

On our recent trip to the library, I discovered a book about the candy cane and fell so in love with the inspirational story behind it. I've to be so honest that I had never really wondered so much about candy canes and Christmas. It has such a wonderful story that I thought it has to be shared!

Candy Cane

Looking at the candy, what letter does it look like? J. Yes, Jesus! The reason for the season. And when you turn 'J' over, it reminds us of a shepherd's staff. The shepherds in the field were the first to find out about Jesus' birth.

Shepherd's stuff

And what about the stripes? "By His stripes we are healed." Before Jesus died on the cross, he was whipped and bled terribly. The red reminds us of His suffering and blood.

The candy being white makes us white and pure as snow. When we give our lives to Jesus, his blood washes away our sins. 

Legend of the Candy Cane

This, is the story of the candy cane! Candy cane never looked the same anymore. Of the many variations candy canes come in today, the red and white is probably the most meaningful of all, as well as the best tasting.

Have a wonderful and blessed Christmas, everyone!


Book Title: The Legend of the Candy Cane
Author: Lori Walburg
Call Number: English WAL

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Our first wakeboarding experience!

There's always a first try to everything. We had our first cable skiing experience at the Singapore Wake Park. It's very much similar to wakeboarding. So how exactly is wakeboarding different from cable skiing? The stark difference between riding on a cable and behind a boat is the use of motorized towers and system versus a motorboat.

We are no enthusiasts in any water sports, and I was really doubtful about trying something that doesn't define me. A big part of me was really about the opportunity the kids could get on to try a new sport. We decided to go ahead with a decision to get into the water with the kids, rather than just chilling by the cafe. The man didn't escape.

We made arrangements for Juboy, just so we could all play together.

It must be age. Trying something new sends me much into the state of being apprehensive. I had no idea what I would be in for, especially coming from zero background on wakeboarding. It was most natural that we all started off with the easiest board, which is kneeboard. Really easy, no skill required, except to sit and relax.


Knee boarding

The only trait you need is being confident in water. A life float was attached to us and the only swimming, or if not, leg paddling we had need to do was to swim towards our board after each ride. Hang onto it and swim towards the walkway. 

Never too young or old, as long as you think you can do it. A recommended age for kids would be 6 year old and above. Jare is 5 and he wooshed it off well.


Easy up board for me

After trying the kneeboard, it was the next challenge to move onto wakeboarding. This, I've to say requires a couple of tries to discover the right balance between our body and the board. It wasn't too difficult and I'm pleased that I got it on the third attempt. Having no flare in sports, if I can do it, anyone can.

Be assured that the friendly instructors on site will guide and help you along. For the little kids, a crew will await for them at the end point if they are too little to handle.

Js had a tougher time staying balanced on the wakeboard. It may not be easy, but it isn't difficult either. Kids' sized wakeboards are available. Jare clocked the most number of attempts among us and I admired his 'Never give up' attitude and his desire to 'Keep trying.' He really loved it and wanted to get it all up and balanced! Good training on that perseverance.


Wakeboarding

All these being only possible with the Park's beginner-friendly systems called the System 2.0. This cable system is great for anyone, adult or child learning to kneeboard or stand on the wakeboard.
The speed of this cable is adjustable, which makes learning how to stand on a wakeboard easier.

After which if the adult is confident enough to go steadily fast, he may graduate to ski on the full size cable, where there's greater tension and smoother ride. We conservatively stayed on system 2.0, with the kids.

Apart from the sporty experience, I had really love these cute little life float on the kids! Friendly walking sharks they are.
Beware of sharks!

So yeap! It was great fun for everyone of us, and there was much contentment and happiness with the experience and bond we had in venturing this new sport as a family. You do need to give it a try with the kids! Whether or not we mastered the skill, it was a nice day out for us. Or if you prefer to stay away from the shine, you may opt for night water ski! So cool.

Full shower facilities available. Lockers are also available, except that you need to bring a lock along, if not, you may purchase one from their store. After all the exhausted energy, it was most comforting to fill our tummies by their cafe and bar, Coastal Rhythm.

Clock in your visit soon. Friendly warning: It can be extremely addictive!


Singapore Wake Park
Opening hours
Mondays to Fridays: 10am to 10pm;
Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays: 9am to 10pm.

Address:
1206A East Coast Parkway,
Singapore 449891


Located between:
East Coast Park Lagoon
Food Village and
East Coast Seafood Centre.
Carpark E1


Disclaimer: Sponsored wakeboarding experience. All opinions and photos are solely ours. 

Monday, 12 December 2016

Lessons with The Little Executive

Executive function skills consists of working memory, impulse and emotional control, flexibility, planning and prioritizing, self-monitoring, and task initiation. These skills are necessary to ensure tasks are followed through from the beginning to the final stages, enable us to make decisions, see the big picture as well as details. 

If our child is equipped with the essence of these skills, I will say learning in and out of school will be a breeze. Jazz had embarked and now, completed an 11 weeks journey with The Little Executive (TLE). TLE, aims to develop essential brain-based skills and cognitive processes that children need in order to succeed both in and out of the classroom, all the way to the boardroom!

Building on the 3 pillars, Essential skills, Learning habits and Growth mindset, TLE aims to help each child discover his innate ability to be independent and self- aware, equipped with tools to assess and change his performance, growing into an astute, whole, and happy person.

I've to attest that these skills can be lifelong if we choose to intervene and bring in the right learning habits from young. Activities and curriculum developed by TLE are catered to the different age groups from preschoolers to primary school kids.

Here's a peek into Jazz's first lesson with her teacher, Ms M. In 1.5 hour, the following 6 tests were covered.

 

Here are some understanding I have gained as a sit in parent.

Bobo's room
Bobo is a bear. A room was made for him, both in 3D and 2D. The mapping of 3D to 2D and vice versa is a key mental manipulation. It allows the seeing of things on paper in a 3D form, and is a critical skill needed in primary school.


Visualising in 3D definitely helps with solving the problem. It is a crucial skill in seeing how reality and text are a representations of each other.

Stroop Exercise
I thought this was really interesting and challenging as it goes along.

Refer to the chart of pictures below, the kids were tasked to call out the names or colours of the animals on the chart to the metronome beat. They go from rows then to columns. On the first row, it goes bear, pig, cat, monkey, bird and so on. Followed by colours, blue, red, yellow, green, red and so on. The challenge increases as the speed gets faster with the metronome beat.

This is an important skill to develop selective attention and block out distractions. It means they will have to put away the identity of the animals and concentrate on its colours, and then vice versa.


This is one good way to manage multiple instructions, build on concentration and train our brain to persist and stay on task. When one of the picture is for example, replaced by a name, say 'tree', it allows the mind to think flexibly, adjust to the unexpected and accept new information over the old.

It builds on that growth mindset when kids are asked to up their challenges. 

Handwriting exercise
This is Jazz's favourite segment. It allows her great fun with shaving cream!

Using an ice cream stick, the kids draw the horizontal figure '8' repeatedly for about 1 to 2 minutes. The crossing of the mid-line enhances the left and right brain connections.



This fun activity develops concentration span by having to focus on the task of drawing '8' for a long period of time. While drawing, they do need to display active listening skills on when to 'freeze', 'change direction' or 'continue.'


Wrap Up!
The lessons are often summed up with setting goal for the week. Which Ms M will discuss the steps needed to achieve these goals and check back the following week. It makes them think really hard and want to achieve more when we bring goals and thinking out of the usual home settings.

Above are some of the many tests done to measure specific skills. I do not think problems with any of these tests will predict how bad or good a child will do in real life, it simply prompts parents to intervene early and help the child outgrow. Executive functioning skills can be trained and strengthened.

I love the rationale and benefits curated behind these activities, and most importantly, a team of educators who knows how to deliver these activities effectively. It really isn't about saying "good job" or "well done" all the time. I noticed the constant praising of an effort over achievement. This cultivates a growth mindset that prompts a child to go for greater heights!

Instead of a downright reply of "right" and "wrong", the teachers throw the kids thinking questions like, "Is yours like mine?" Which sends them into the state of checking, re-checking and thinking. It trains them to eventually start looking and listening. That's what will help our kids excel better in and out of classrooms, as well as future workplaces.


At the end of the term, a progress report is given to help parents understand the significant progress and areas of improvement. Jazz is dominantly shy in class and resists from speaking up when asked to. I do hope she gets better and is more comfortable about sharing in class.

The most significant progress I saw, was her interpretation of 3D to 2D images. While most of us would commonly term drawing as front view and back view, we were impressed that she was taught front profile, side profile and back profile!

It teaches more than just mapping of the dimensions, but also learning to look at things and matters from a different perspective. It's so often that we jump into various conclusions without even analysing the different aspects.
Just how essential these skills are!

These are some skills, parents could have potentially missed out. Academic isn't all that encompasses a child's growth. There are the learning habits and growth mindset to tackle.

Aside from TLE's regular curriculum, they conduct holiday camps too. Jazz enjoyed her weekly lesson, which we called it the Bobo bear class. It wasn't a single bit dull or boring, so be assured that your kids will enjoy and see it as purely, learning through play.

Check them out soon! 


The Little Executive
144 Bukit Timah Road
Singapore 229844
Contact: 6908 1889
Email:  knockknock@thelittleexecutive.asia


Disclaimer: Jazz was sponsored a term of class with TLE. All opinions and photos are solely ours.


Monday, 5 December 2016

Resisting peer pressure

Some days ago, I questioned Jare on a missing toy. It was usually among his collection of favourite toys till I noticed it's disappearance. I asked where it was and he honestly told me he gave it to his friend. Oh wow! I thought. A treasured friend it must be. I pried further and asked why he gave it to that friend. With a little of regret, he replied, "Because he said, if I don't give it to him... he won't be my friend."

Sounds familiar eh? Kids play, kids stunt and kids language. I understand it's a fair behaviour of how kids play at this age. I know, but but... I have a concern! It is not quite okay, especially as he ages along. It's now that we talk about it or too late when he gets all defensive about his circle of friends.
 
So let's talk about friends, son.

I know we all have that basic need of social belonging. An identity among friends. For that sense of acceptance, we often succumb to acts we are compelled to. Very often, the meek and shy are victims of this. We should however, not wobble to threats and discourage behaviours of such. 

It's commendable that the kids can mediate and sort out disagreements among themselves. So yes, negotiate, trade or strike a deal on what to do with that toy, but not with threats.



And so I told Jare, good friends are not like that. They do not make you do the wrong things or use threats on you. They empathize, encourage and care for you positively. They make you feel sure about yourself. If you don't feel secured or certain in any situation, it's perfectly fine to walk away. Cast our nets wider, we have better friends.

The next time someone comes along with that statement again, we discussed that he can be firm on keeping his toy and tell the person, "I will not give it away" or "That's not a cool friend" or if not, walk away. 

What will you ask your child to say or do?

It's a toy for now. I am sure there will be more complex issues as he grows. Good that we start discussing about peer pressure now. I hope he will remember this teachable moment we had, and along the way finds good friends, hangs out with the right company and stand up at the right moment.

Freedom, just this much we can do.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Pezzo's Christmas Menu

Spread festive joy with Pezzo's new Christmas menu. We tried it, and we know it's love!

Pezzo Pizza has specially created a series of unique mouth-watering dishes worthy of the Yuletide feast - Carbonara and Flamethrower Pizza. These creations by their very own chefs will set you and your guests' hearts aglow.

Flamethrower is topped with a potpourri of tender spiced chicken, roasted onion, fresh chilli and mozzarella all immersed in Pezzo's special curry sauce. A must try if you are a lover of spicy food.

Carbonara is a perfect option for those who can't take spicy. An enticing medley of roasted turkey bacon and ham, oregano chicken chunks, mushroom and mozzarella, all pulled together by creamy carbonara sauce. I love how it is tastefully sprinkled off with dried cranberries. Oh so Christmasy! Definitely a lovely choice for kids.


 photo 877b6897-de9f-45bf-b17f-0afd07241f46_zpsh4wcfmvi.jpg

I've got a low tolerance for spicy food, but I've to say I love the Flamethrower! Looks like we've got a food choice ready for Christmas. And delivery is all made easy with Foodpanda.

Pezzo is located in prominent shopping malls around the Island. The newest outlet is nestled in Compass One, and it shares the space with two other eateries, Stuff'd and CRAVE. This is an interesting 3-in-1 concept that brings us on an around-the-world gourmet experience. Yes, with a sit in option too.

 photo 40c30d4d-f8c0-4ab7-a84b-569e7408e579_zps9skrjunb.jpg

Since pizzas are sold by slices at Pezzo, you will love the option of choosing up to 6 flavours in one pan. Love how you can get a taste of everything without having to buy the single flavour of one whole mega pizza.

This boy of ours loves pairing his carbarona with chicken drumlets. Drumlets are a tad spicy, but he loves the kick of it. They kinda make us crave for more!

 photo e1086f38-6bc4-4273-b471-975806392a8e_zpszljvk7vi.jpg

The Christmas flavours, Flamethrower and Caborona are available from 01 December onwards, at $4.90 per slice. It's a huge decent size and best eaten when warm.

How about an idea on what to lunch this Friday, 25th Nov? A slice of Pezzo! In celebration of their 4th anniversary, all pizzas are going at $4 per slice. So don't forget to jio your lunch buddies for this awesome lunch deal.

Pezzo 
Facebook
Instagram @pezzopizzasg


Disclaimer: We were invited to a tasting and Christmas party with Pezzo. No monetary compensation involved. All opinions are photos are solely ours. 

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Books Bug at NLB

Are you a frequent visitor at the National Library? We are! It is however only this recent that we started hunting and collecting book bugs! This initiative must be Pokemon inspired. Instead of using a device, walking everywhere to catch mons, we collect bugs by borrowing books. Each loaned receipt allows you to tikam for an envelop of 2 bug cards. If you have 5 members, like us, in the family (each has a card), you can get up to 10 cards.

What do you do with these cards? There's a game to it, which we have yet to discover. Collection in process.

Photo credit: NLB

There are a total of 84 cards to collect. 60 basic designs and 24 shiny designs. To collect basic cards, simply present the receipt of 8 loaned books at the redemption booth (Only up on weekends). To redeem shiny cards, we can attend a programme at the library OR submit a completed discoveRead activity sheet at the redemption booth.

Mystery Items come in the months of June and November. We missed June and so we've no idea what this mystery is. We'll be doing it this month! Complete the quiz at the bottom of the discoveRead activity sheet, and bring a matching book bug card to the redemption booth.

So yeap, the same activity sheet for both shiny card and mystery item.


And then, there's the playoff, where you can receive the limited edition book bugs badge. Join the playoff to battle against other Book Bugs collectors and stand to win a prize. Visit the different Book Bugs zones where you can catch a live demo of the Book Bugs game, mingle and trade cards with other Book Bugs collectors. Exchange the original Swap Pass at the Swap Pass booth or participate in the activities in the craft zone to redeem a Shiny Card that you missed. Registration required here.
 
The original Swap Pass will be available at the redemption booth. This playoff is only open to the 7 years old and above. 

I have to applaud NLB's initiative with this buggy programme. It really did get the kids frequenting the library more! Instead of bi-weekly, till the loaned books due date bug us to return, we are going weekly. These book bugs will definitely send your kids bugging you for library trips! 





And remember, redemption  booths are only up on weekends. At all libraries, except Chinatown, Esplanade, Orchard and Sengkang. But, if you happen to be there on a weekday for borrow, keep the receipt and come by to redeem on weekends! 

When do you start? Now! Collection began in June and only till December 2016. Never too late. The ultimate goal is not about completing the bugs collection, but the process of collecting and all parents will love... getting the kids excited about books! Over and over again.

Another good things must share post. We gotta go catch them all now.... not Pokemons, finally.



Monday, 7 November 2016

Charlotte's Web [Review]

Over the weekend, we got ourselves enchanted and entangled in the all-time classic tale of Charlotte's Web presented by SRT, The Little Company.

Charlotte is a barn spider that proved to be a true friend to Wilbur, the pig, by coming to his rescue when he was going to be sent to the butcher.  With no idea how she could help, she gave her word of assurance that she will help Wilbur out of his destiny of death. When I first read of the story, I did doubt her ability to help, as she was just a tiny spider.



Being small often holds the most unbelieving ability. With brilliant web-spinning skills, Charlotte weaved messages that convinced the farmer and villagers that he is no ordinary pig and he should to be saved. It worked!

 


This extremely gentle story sheds kind wisdom about friendship, love, hope and grief. Yeap, kinda sad, but Charlotte had to die after laying her eggs. It is often conditioned in a child's story that everyone lives happily ever after, but maybe that is not how real life works. It is one good opportunity to explain that the life-cycle of a spider is complete after making egg sac. 

Her biological duty is fulfilled, and she dies.

Though a heavy heart towards the end of the play, it was turned onto a happy note when the egg sac Charlotte left behind, hatched into hundreds of spiders - her children and grandchildren! It ended with a death, but also lots of births.


This is yet another lovely production by SRT, where every child and adult will love and celebrate the friendship displayed between the two. Not only did Wilbur find a friend, he too, found hope in the most dire situation. We learnt not only to receive kindness or take a friendship for granted, but that kindness begets kindness. Wilbur guarded Charlotte's egg sac till they hatched.

It's not often that someone comes along as a true friend.

We enjoyed this play very much and I specially loved the role played as Charlotte. It was very impressively portrayed with well choreographed moves that convinced and captivated the audience. Clever stage props, like how the spider hung and crawled on the roof of the barn was definitely some mega effort put into the staging. World class standard, if I can say.



This play is however much different from the usual productions. It is more conversational with little singing and dancing. Best way to bring out the essence of this story, I feel. A recommended age for watch would be 4 and above, when kids have a little more attention span to conversations.

There really isn't much to hesitate about catching this play. The only valid reason to delay is because you had like your child to complete reading the book, if he has not. Other than that, don't miss this! Jazz came back and dug out her book for read again. We do want to re-watch the movie too! How nice to have caught this story in 3 various presentations.




A timeless tale indeed!

Get tickets here


Charlotte's Web
28 October 2016 to 11 December 2016
Weekends and Public Holiday : 11am and 2pm
Weekdays : 10am, 1.30pm, 2pm, 2.30pm, 3pm

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

Ticket Pricing (Excludes Booking Fee)  
Weekdays
Standard: 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
Weekends (Sat & Public Holiday)
Standard: S$48, S$38, S$35

Duration: Approximately 70 minutes


Disclaimer: We were given tickets for the purpose of this review. All photos, unless credited are solely ours.


Wednesday, 2 November 2016

The Magic Paintbrush [Review]

What would you paint if you had a magic paintbrush that brings life to the things you draw? Money! Many would say, but not for a poor boy who uses it to bless only the poor.

In the folk tale of the Magic Paintbrush, a poor boy called Ma Liang, loved to draw. He was however too poor to afford a paintbrush. He drew on ground with stick, but if he had a paintbrush, he would paint pictures for poor people. 

One day, an old man appeared, held out a paint brush and gave it to Ma Liang. With it, he soon realised he could bring life to the things he drew. He began blessing the poor with the food and clothes they needed.  

Photo credit: itheatre

It wasn't too long later that the story the magic paintbrush spread across China to the royal palace, and into the ears of the wicked and greedy emperor who taxes his people on anything and everything. He demanded Ma Liang to paint him gold. Ma Liang refused as he only paints for the poor. He was then locked up. 

What would be the fate of Ma Liang and the wicked, greedy Emperor? With the help of friends, Ma Liang managed to draw a door for escape! But not with much success when he was caught again.

Photo credit: itheatre

The Emperor continued to demand Ma Liang to draw him an Island of gold and sail him on a boat to it. A boat made of gold! And along that journey, he asked for wind, but instead of wind, Ma Liang drew a hurricane. The ship was wrecked and he never came back. 

We love tales that live happily ever after. 

In the close to heart adaption by itheatre, a familiar local scene was introduced at the beginning. Toni Lee, a youngster from present-day Singapore was struggling with the pressures and stress of schoolwork and parental expectations. With an accidental wish while doodling, Toni quite unexpectedly met a Magical Paintbrush, and is transported back in time to a Southern Province of China, where, in a series of magical adventures, Ma Liang's story unfolds.

Meet the wonderful casts along this magical adventures, especially the humourous pair of the Emperor's guards, Sotong and Shrimp who never fail to send the audience to stitches at every scene they appear. 


Through the endless fun and laughter, a clear and strong moral message about the value of creativity, friendship, and the dangers of using, or abusing power is presented in this magical, musical family show. Sometimes, wishing for the things you don't have can bring more trouble.

I have to say, this is one of the best we have seen this far, by itheatre. It was Juboy's first theatre experience too! Though he slept through a part of it. We were very well entertained with desires of anticipation from one scene to another. Props, back drops and costumes were creatively made up. The team of talented cast was bigger than usual and more lovely tunes were weaved into the play too. The clever use of beautiful puppets and fun interaction with the audience sent the kids into squeals of excitement. It was really enjoyable.

Quite sure it will be an awesome theatre experience for every young and old. We say, this play is worth a catch. Definitely!

Get tickets here.


The Magic Paintbrush
Running till 12 Nov 2016
Tue and Thu: 10.30am and 2.30pm
Wed and Fri: 10.30am
Sat: 11am, 2.30pm and 7.30pm
Sun: 11am and 5pm

Venue
Drama Centre Theatre
100 Victoria Street
Level 3, National Library Building
Singapore 188064
Ticket Pricing
Standard: S$32 (Excludes Booking Fee)

The show is about 1.5 hours with a 15 minute interval.

Disclaimer: We were given tickets for the purpose of this review. All opinions and photos (unless credited) are solely ours.  

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Pasir Ris Swimming Complex

There's always some low cost and good fun within our hot sunny Island, and you do get more conscious about budget fun when the number of kids in the family expands. Or FREE fun if you have signed up for the activeSG membership (scroll to bottom).

Public swimming complexes have been around for decades. However, only 5 of these complexes consist of fun water activities for families. Mainly, Sengkang, Choa Chu Kang, Jurong East,  Jurong West and Pasir Ris Swimming complex.

Some weeks ago, we explored the Pasir Ris Swimming complex. It has been around and added with fun water features since 2011. It's a shame that we only stepped in this recently.

What's in there?

Competition pool and Teaching pool


There was the typical scene of resident swim coaches conducting classes, but there's still ample space for individual swimmers. I love that the pools are partially shaded, which is awesome for the Mama who's often avoiding the sun. Pigmentation is a scare you know.

Jacuzzi



 A comfort pool for parents who like a little of relaxing effect. Js had much fun in here too.

Slides



This duo slides looks really fun eh? It's meant for those above 1.2m tall. I do find the height limit very much conservative as many kids below this height are capable and independent with these slides. I guess that's because the dip at the slide end is rather deep. Being tall or able to swim is crucial.

Toddler play


This is definitely the highlight for little swimmers or non-swimmers. It needs to be for children who are almost independent to play. Reason being, grown ups are not allowed to get on there for play or even to chaperon. Lifeguards are really onz and they would whistle you off if spotted. No idea why. And I don't think the structure would give way with a few grown ups on it. Having water fun as a family together would be nice.

Next to this, there's a wading pool for the little ones to water play.


Shower facilities are clean well maintained. I've such terrible memory that I can't recall if there was warm water for shower. I think there was. There's also a children's shower area with ample cubicles to shower down. Lockers are available too, if needed.


There really isn't much to whine or be unhappy about because entrance is only:
Weekdays:
$1.50 (18 to 55 yrs old)
$0.80 (1 to 17 yrs old and above 55 yrs old)
Weekends:
$2 (18 to 55 yrs old)
$1 (1 to 17 yrs old and above 55 yrs old)

Good and budget play isn't it?!! There are a couple of eateries within the Sports and  recreation centre, grabbing a bite after some work out is really convenient.


ActiveSG
Did you sign up for your ActiveSG membership? Register and get FREE $100 (limited period) credited to your account. This amount can be used to pay your entrances at swimming complexes! That's what we did. Other areas you can use, include gym admissions, ActiveSG programmes and activities, as well as facilities booking. You just have to benefit from it!

Good things much share, and this is why we are all so into ActiveSG. Our banners are up in some of the complexes!


'Ambassadors' we are! Ok, unofficial. It was a photography assignment we took on even before Juboy came along. And Auntie and Uncle were our 'mocked' up parents.

Let's try weave in an active lifestyle as a routine. Sign up for the activeSG membership today! FREE $100 credit which you can use to pay off 30% of the fitness programmes like parent-child zumba! 

Operating Hours

Daily 8.00am - 9.30pm
(closed on Wednesdays except public holidays)

Morning Swim:
Competition Pool
opens 6.30am on Fridays 
Slide operating hours: 8.30am to 8.30pm

Address

120 Pasir Ris Central
Singapore 519640

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Marriage with kids

10 years ago, the man and I made a dream wedding became a reality. On the 3rd year into our marriage we had our first born, on the 5th year our second born and this 10th year, our third born. In contrast to many long run marriages out there, we are shy of the many years mark ahead. But we celebrate and are thankful for milestones.


We are thankful how these 10 years of being married have made big differences to our lives and the innate part of us. All for bringing out the better and worse in us. The hard truth about being married with kids is that we don't revert to the same life as, just the two of us. Travels and dates are never easy and convenient the moment you start buying diapers.

Being in a marriage with kids is one ultimate test of a marriage. There is a dynamic change from being lovers to parents, and there are various decisions we make as parents to agree and disagree on the kids' growing journey. The newly added and re-distribution of roles, the constant fatigue, the stretch in finances and the many challenges the kids sprinkle into a marriage. Never ending surprises.

You would have realised too, what was argued in the past is negligent among the arguments of today. You get wiser in sifting out what to rake and what to slide. You know that less arguments means more time for bonding. Some days, the connection becomes just like instructions instead of meaningful communication.

Like many say, a good marriage is the best gift to the kids. Stay cautious not to cultivate a burn out marriage. After all, marriage is a longer journey than parenting the kids. If need to, take a break from the kids to get the flame burning!

  • Don't stop taking pictures as a couple
  • Don't stop taking pictures of each other
  • Don't stop the little acts we do before kids came along
  • Don't keep whatsapp and messages to just kids' conversations
  • Groom a reliable babysitter
  • Meet those eyes when communicating
  • Greet each other when home 
  • Say "Sorry"

Moving from couplehood to parenthood isn't all too daunting. It has however showed me more clearly whom I've really married 10 years ago. I can never be more grateful to God for sending him to me. I remember very vividly, the thoughts that ran through my mind just a day before our wedding. I analysed if this was the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. Not just as a couple, but also as the Dad of my future kids. He wasn't wealthy, romantic, a sweet talker or someone with special talents. And nope, we don't marry someone in hope that he will change for the better, because then, we will disappoint hard if he doesn't change.

I only knew he was reliable, responsible and extremely hardworking. Can't go too wrong from there, and so I said, "I do." You won't believe he keeps spreadsheets of our expenses like diaper and petrol!

There's no sure bet, but I scored it.



With no regrets I married this man and with no regrets we have 3 lovely kids.

I often tell Jazz, love is beyond being superficial. It isn't like how Anna met Prince Hans in Frozen, and decide to get married that soon. No. And I tell Jare, God sends you a wife to love and respect. Dad is a fine example, but you'll probably need to be more romantic than him. Always pray earnestly and keep God in the center of your decisions.

To my bro who's tying the knot end of this month, love and cherish each other. Wedding is just a day, but marriage is a lifetime. That's the focus. Don't take too long to enjoy couplehood because my kids will love to have cousins!

To my man, Happy 10th anniversary. We've aged, but I think we are looking graceful and glorious with the achievements this far. Thankful for you!

Everyone else, keep calm and keep producing! Kids are joyful.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Children Furniture by Liliewoods

Js love to craft. Anything with Arts, they love it. It's been my longest thought ever to organise their craft materials for more accessibility, within their good reach. Not that the materials have been caved up, just that the paint, palette and brushes are more out of reach. Can be quite disastrous to leave them around, you know. Everything else is however, at their convenient call.

I do believe in sparking creativity by leaving pencils, colour pencils, crayons, papers etc. within their reach. Just so when the mood or feel swings in, they can doodle and create anything they like. Moreover, they are way beyond the age of doodling on forbidden objects.

While searching for ideas to sort out their craft materials, we came across Liliewoods. You do need to check them out if you've not seen or heard of them. It's always nice to support local businesses. Yes, home grown. Liliewoods furniture are designed in Singapore and built in an Indonesian factory.

They are designed for children and parents, with much thoughts and love.




We set our eyes on the beautiful Mikelle Self-Help Trolley. A petite trolley that is of perfect height and size for toddlers. Everything they need to organise and reach for can get on there. What's best is that, it comes with movable wheels that can be locked and unlocked. Just so they can smoothly migrate their craft trolley to other parts of the house. Picasso gets inspirations from place to place too.


The trolley comes in 3 colours, Tiffiny Blue, Coral and White. We knew white would suit the already much colourful kids' room. It is a perfect fit in there. Made with very fine wood, it uses responsibly sourced solid hardwood and eco-friendly low VOC finishing. It is very well-built with an excellent sturdiness.

You can arrange anything you want on this utility trolley, even dishing breakfast on it to the kids' room. Children's day is coming!


Since we could fit more, we housed some books on it too. Or if you are looking for a sleek looking bookshelf, do check out their bookshelves that comes with adjustable height and a reversible writing board. They are really beautiful!

It is highly beneficial to keep books within the kids' reaching height. Placing a variety of books within their convenient reach does help get the habit of reading into them.



Owning certain child-sized furniture is quite an essential. By giving the kids a designated space for organising, they will get more spurred up to tidy and clean up after each craft or play session. If your home furniture is of their built, you would have realized the ease of cultivating responsibility and independence. They know where to keep and retrieve their belongings. All on their own.

We realised some of the layout in their room were overly high, even with a stepping stool. The kids would often come bugging for help to reach a particular toy or piece of clothing. I know it gets better as they grow, but only goes to show our initial thought of buying furniture is its mileage. It is however, more important to think of their overall growth and development. Independence begins young, in a secured environment. And that is the way we set up home for good learning habits.

Are you having thoughts about re-arranging the kids room? Well, I am.

Happy shopping!

You may follow Liliewoods on Facebook and Instagram for updates and deals! 

Disclaimer: We were given a nice friendship price to purchase this trolley. All opinions and photos are soley ours.


Monday, 3 October 2016

Charlotte's Web by SRT [GIVEAWAY]




If your kids are fans of E.B White's books, author of Charlotte's Web, you will have to keep your heads up for this upcoming play by SRT, coming 28 October. Get entangled in the enchanting story of a pig named Wilbur and his friendship with a barn spider named Charlotte.

It is a classic of children's literature that is about Some Pig. Humble. Radiant. These are the words in Charlotte's Web, high up in Zuckerman's barn. Charlotte's spiderweb tells of her feelings for a little pig named Wilbur, who simply wants a friend.

To avoid Wilbur being sent to the butcher, Charlotte proves to be a true friend by coming to his rescue. Charlotte uses her web-spinning skills to weave messages that praise Wilbur, making him a celebrated pig treasured by the farmer and his family. This is a is a tender novel of friendship, love, life, and death that will continue to be enjoyed by generations to come.

We own a series of E.B White books and we love it! We know this is definitely a timeless story to be enjoyed with the entire family!

Recommended for 4 year-olds and above. Book your tickets at sistic.



Charlotte's Web
28 Oct (Fri) to 11 Dec (Sun) 2016
Weekends and Public Holiday : 11am and 2pm
Weekdays: 10am
28 Oct 2016 (Fri) : 3pm

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
Here's a wonderful piece of friendship. We have got a family set of 4 tickets to giveaway to the 12 November (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 10 October 2016, 2359hrs. Best of luck!


This giveaway has ended. Congrats Stelia L.! 


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

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Our Pokemon Quiz

What has the local scene been like in the recent weeks? People on the streets are with their noses in their phones. Playing Pokemon Go is ubiquitous. We are in too. Augmented reality game is likely the going forward of many games. Though Pokemon Go was never intended for very young children, we know how it attracts when the parents play.




I welcomed my kids on board to play WITH us, with parental guidance. Good playing habits start early. We warned of safety being the utmost concern, followed by playing with a sensible mind. In our sense, we don't do in-app purchases. Sorry, Niantic.

So yeap, we've been Pokemon-ing (not addictive-ly) and sharing our adventures with like minders. Over food and drinks one day, we came up with Pokemon riddles! Mostly kids invented, so it gotta be really easy. No bounty for getting all correct, but maybe some fun moments with kids.

Try it, without scrolling to answers.

Quiz
1. Which Pokemon always wins?
2. Which Pokemon needs nebulizer? 
3. Which Pokemon is always scared?
4. Which Pokemon likes to eat onions?
5. Which Pokemon is a brave knight?
6. Which Pokemon likes to eat ikan billies?
7. Which Pokemon likes to do the dishes?
8. Which Pokemon can break free?
9. Which Pokemon sneezes alot?
10. Which Pokemon attracts?  




Answers
1. Machamp
2. Koffing
3. Fearow
4. Onix
5. Dragonite
6. Ekan
7. Oddish
8. Butterfree
9. Pikachu
10. Magnemite


How did you fare?
10/10 - Get back to work
7/10 - Moderate player
5/10 - Try hanging out at MBS
1/10 - Where have you been?


All in the good name of Fun. Happy mid-week, everyone! 


Ps: Special Thanks to Uncle Snorlax and kids for contributions.  





Monday, 26 September 2016

Roald Dahl books your child will love!

It would have have been Roald Dahl's 100th birthday this month. A familiar story writer if you grew up reading his books. 

In the eyes of many, Roald Dahl is one great storyteller since history. His stories have been fancifully imagined and ever captivating to the little readers out there. If your kids are between the ages of 6 to 12, his books are likely to work through the heart of theirs. It's a shame that not all his books made it into my childhood reading list. I am however, very much glad that Jazz is taking pleasure in reading almost of all his books.

Jazz may be an avid reader, but she is also one picky reader who selects her books with an interesting synopsis. Once she gets hold of a good read, she is likely to dive into it repeatedly. I find it amusing at how she can read and re-read a book more than once. I guess, good things are meant to be savoured over and over again.

In midst of her huge Roald Dahl collection, I asked her for 4 best titles that will delight any child in devouring from one page to another. Here's what she recommended:




We know right! This has got to top the list. 

Willy Wonka's famous chocolate factory is opening at last! But only five lucky children will be allowed inside. Mr Wonka devises a plan to hide 5 golden tickets beneath the wrappers of his famous chocolate bars. Charlie Bucket can't believe his luck when he finds the very last of Mr Willy Wonka's Golden Tickets inside his chocolate bar. He wins a magical tour around Willy Wonka's famous chocolate factory and sees the most amazing creations. One by one, the other four children on the tour cause some major trouble and are carried  away. Charlie is the only child who doesn't cause trouble, and Willy Wonka tells him he won! What did he win? The whole chocolate factory. Mr Wonka wants someone to take over for him when he gets old. 

It's a very sweet and heart-warming book to devour.

After reading this book, you may want to hunt down its movie. There are two adaptions of it, we caught the 2005 released, directed by Tim Burton. A nice and heart-warming watch. So good, that we caught it more than once.

2. Matilda
 


Matilda Wormwood is only five years old, but she is an exceptional genius. Unfortunately her parents failed to notice that. During her toddlerhood, Matilda asks her Dad for a book and is pressured to watch television instead. She discovers the library and reads the classics, not simple children's books. She is however, chastised by her parents for her intelligence. Worse, her horrible headmistress Miss Trunchbull is a bully who makes life difficult for Matilda's teacher, Miss Honey, and her friends. But what Miss Trunchbull doesn't know is that Matilda has a trick or two up her sleeve, she has supernatural powers that can manipulate objects. Matilda uses this to her full advantage both with her parents and Miss Trunchbull. Just as her parents are caught in a cheating business scheme, and about to move, Matilda moves in with Miss Honey, where the two live happily and smartly together.


You will be very amazed at the wits Matilda possesses, as you read along. Matilda won the Children's Book Award shortly after it was published in 1988, and it has continued to delight audiences ever since.

Again, do hunt down its movie after reading. A lovely watch that our family enjoyed tremendously. Released in 1996 and driected by Danny DeVito. There's a musical on it too! We haven't got an opportunity to catch it.  




The Big Friendly Giant is unlike other giants. For a start, he doesn't like to eat people and it's not long before he becomes orphan Sophie's very best friend. He is one giant who captured dreams and kept them in bottles for children to enjoy while they were asleep. The dream-hunting giant takes orphan Sophie back to his cave in Giant Country, where he lives surrounded by nine other fearsome giants who spend every night guzzling down humans. Sophie learns that the giant is called the Big Friendly Giant (The BFG) because he does not eat humans. Sophie isn't able to go back to the orphanage because the BFG is afraid she'll tell others about the existence of giants and he'll be forced to live in a zoo. 

The two devise a plan to mix up a nightmare for the Queen of England so that they can stop the giants from ever eating another human being Or, as the giants call them, human beans. The BFG speaks in quite a turned-around way, but we always understand him. He tells Sophie, "Words...is oh such a twitch-tickling problem to me all my life. So you must simply try to be patient and stop squibbling. As I am telling you before, I know exactly what words I am wanting to say, but somehow or other they is always getting squiff-squiddled around."


The name, Sophie was inspired by Roald Dahl's granddaughter, Sophie Dahl. And as you can read, speaking in proper language is not BFG's forte. So if you are one fussy parent about reading perfect English, this may be a book you want to delay or avoid. Just in case, he begins speaking and writing like one. But it really is one great story

And yes, the movie adaption is in the cinemas! Oh wait, is it still showing?







The witches is an award-winning story by Roald Dahl about a boy, his grandmother and a hotel full of witches. It's not a fairy tale, but about real witches. 

This is a book about 'real witches', the ones that absolutely loathe children and are always plotting to get rid of them. The Grand High Witch of all the World has gathered together the witches of Inkland for an annual conference at the Hotel Magnificent in Bournemouth. Their agenda is the elimination of all the children in the country and the prospects for their young victims look bleak. But the Grand High Witch and her cronies have reckoned without the spark and ingenuity of a young guest at the hotel and his rather brilliant grandmother.

It does sound a tad creepy, but if my not so brave girl can handle, I'm sure it would delight any child. At least we know, Roald Dahl's stories are always with a beautiful end. "Read how the witches schemed to turn the children into mice, but failed" said Jazz.

Once your child gets onto these books, read on to these other titles by Roald Dahl. Highly recommended by Jazz too

Are any of these your child's favourite too


A good storybook helps encompass reading as part of a lifestyle, and a good book is any book your child likes. Reading is probably the best tutor for any child. 

If your child has not started on chapter books, read a chapter a day to your child nightly. It will send your child sweet into dreams. And of course, use that animated voice when reading the BFG. It will be fun!
 

GIVEAWAY 
Books are gifts that you can open again and again. Here's the dessert - We love that children read, we love that children visit the library and we want to advocate the love for reading. We don't have the riches of the World, but we would like to bless 2 little readers with the titles "Charlie and The Chocolate Factory" and "The BFG" with our pocket money. Not from Jazz's collection, as she really treasures them.


To join the giveaway, we will be happy and appreciative that you:
1. Like Mum's calling on Facebook
2. Leave a comment on this Facebook post to tell us which title your child will like, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory OR The BFG


That's it! And of course, we wouldn't mind that you share this post with your friends, because reading is for everyone, and sharing is caring!

Giveaway ends on 10 October, 2359hrs. 


This giveaway has ended, Congrats Chong Swee S. and Jessie L!