Thursday, 22 October 2020

The third born changed the way I parent

Raising kids may come with experience but that doesn't equate to us having the wits to handle each child that comes along. After all, kids are uniquely different in personalities. The third born has helped me recognised some things that could have been done differently when I was raising his two older siblings.

1. Read More Chinese Books
I've learnt to be more consistent in reading Chinese story books to Juboy. Every night's bedtime is always permanent with at least one English and one Chinese story book. He knows the drill, and he will pick out the books on his own when it comes to bedtime stories. Loving a language begins at a tender age, as early as birth! I saw how the older kids struggled with Chinese in school, and I attribute that to our insufficient speaking and reading of Chinese at home. I do read them Chinese stories when they were younger, but it wasn't consistent enough till the language became an examinable subject. 

2. Less Indulging
Kids of our century often ask for material possession as gifts. It's an easy accedence for busy parents who are usually buried with work guilt. Raising the third born got relatively easier on toys and clothes because he had most stuff hands down. He inherited a heap of toys from his siblings and piles of clothes from big brother. I kept them! Somehow dissatisfied with stopping at two. Of course, being individually different he gets to buy his favourite theme toys that his siblings didn't own. But I'm glad I've not spent much on buying him toys since babyhood. I got smarter in hiding and rotating toys, just so the toys looks fresh to him. At four years old now, he does request to buy toys, but I am careful to not over indulge. I've observed how owning less means more. He treasure his toys more preciously than his siblings. 
Cheeky little one

3. Hold Back On Over Caring
Not that it's less attention, but being a third born Mum gives you greater threshold of risk and mess. I realised I helicopter over him much lesser than his older siblings. I give him space to explore and take risks in a safe environment on his own. I'm much chill with knocks and falls, than being panicky over the slightest scratch or bump the eldest had. Over caring also means I'll do more things for him when he has the ability to do it independently on his own. So yes, the independence came earlier for Juboy. Helping him less means he can help himself more.

4. Old and Wrong Habits Die Hard
It's true that old and wrong habits die hard. It's better that we cultivate the good habits from the beginning than trying to kill a bad habit after that. It takes consistency in this part of training. I've learnt to not allow one or two casual incidents fall through the discipline crack when cultivating a good habit. If laundry clothes need to be in the basket immediately, it needs to be done without hesitation. If school bag needs to be packed before bedtime, it needs to be done so that way.
5. Milestones Chill
I worry less about milestones. I know they will come to past eventually because every child develops at a different pace. With that, it's less comparisons and manageable expectations. It's not about what his siblings and peers can do at that age, but when will he be ready for it. Preschoolers are entitled to be in the phase of lullaby. I only hope Juboy can start reading and writing independently before he enters primary school. Minimal expectation. 

Being the third child commonly equates to less attention and early independence, but I like to bring in my favourite phrase, "Love doesn't divide, it multiplies!" A child's birth order can actually dominate his personality. It looks like Juboy is one with the earliest independent skills, and probably the most resilient among all. And of course, there are worse that the third born has brought out of me. Patience has run thinly in me as I manage having three. Surely something I need to deal with diligently. 


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Wednesday, 21 October 2020

Shepherd Pies [Review + Giveaway]

Is Shepherd Pie associated with shepherds? Shepherd’s Pies do originate from shepherd families. Traditionally, Shepherd’s Pies are made using sheep or lamb meat. Prepared by the wives of a shepherd, it was a way for them to reuse the leftovers from the night before, and thus, born was the art of the Shepherd’s Pie. Other than the use of lamb meat as a protein main, Shepherd’s Pies also usually come topped with creamy mashed potatoes. A good pie is one that has the thick, creamy layer staying well integrated with the meat, on every spoon.

We love shepherd pies as a family. Some days, we would home make one. It makes a great party dish too! And if the pie or lasagna craving kicks in without wanting to whip up, you may gave Shepherd's Pie a try. 

Mac n cheese and lasagna

We gave these a try:

Mac ‘n’ Cheese Ground Beef Shepherd’s Pie
Cooked macaroni tossed in a delicate ground beef sauce that is blanketed under hand-whipped mashed potatoes before being baked till golden and crusty. It is a good option if you are caught choosing between the two most popular comfort food - Mac ‘n’ Cheese and shepherd’s pie. 
Comes in two sizes: medium, $18.90 (2 to 3 pax) and massive, $30.90 (4 to 5 pax). 

Photo credit: Owari Photography

We love how this combination can excite kids specially. Mac and cheese, with meat protein makes a perfect meal. Only that we felt the taste wasn't as impressive as we associated shepherd pie to be. Potato was subtle and of too little amount. Perhaps, layering too much would make the dish high on carbs. 
Sienna’s Traditional Lasagna (Triplo Cheese)
Nothing makes a lasagna better than thin, silky sheets of fresh pasta. Shepherd's Pie have crafted an effective and tasty method to make lasagna sheets and they begin each business day by making a new batch. The pasta sheets absorb the tomato base sauce as the dish bakes, and helps bring the dish together. 
They also pick their ground beef very carefully and use premium ground beef with a higher fat content. The sauce is simmered on low heat to make sure that all of the flavours from the herbs and spices are well absorbed.
Comes in four sizes: Personal tray for 1 ($13.90) up to party of 6 ($71.90) 
Busy devouring
We love the rich taste and freshness in this lasagna topped with a good amount of mixed fine cheese. It was the fast moving dish among the both we ordered, and the kids love it as much as we did. I'm sure it makes a great party dish!

This authentic homegrown bakery aims at bringing you the best shepherd’s pie, from preparation to delivery, all in one hour! $7.50 per delivery, or Free delivery for orders above $70. 
Opens daily: 10am to 11am, including public holiday.

We have a $30 Shepherd Pie credit to giveaway to 1 winner. To win, simply participate on our Instagram account post over here
Best of luck! Giveaway ends 28 Oct 20, 2359hrs.

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Wednesday, 7 October 2020

The Fruit Hut [Review]

It's rather impressive to get same day delivery for fruits. Within 2 hours to be exact. The Fruit Hut provides islandwide delivery to your doorstep in 2 hours with no minimum order. Enjoy FREE delivery when you spend above $60. 

They carry over 80 varieties of finest produce from the best farms worldwide. You name it, they have it! From Ecuador to Spain, they import fruits direct to Singapore and deliver right to your doorstep.

Here's what I checked out from the online store:

My fruit choices

Fruit choices and prices are always seasonal, do avoid use mine as a gauge. Having fruits well stocked in our home is always a delight. Apart from the boost of vitamin C, I love how these international, well-travelled fruits come together to make up a colourful set up.

Apples, Pears and Grapes

Watermelon, rock melon and Spain melon

Turkey peach, Japanese sweet potatoes, lemon and lime

We love the apples, it's Envy apples. No doubt, they are consistently crunchy and sweet! Grapes, peaches and Melons were great too. The sweet potatoes were as sweet as expected though. 

The Fruit Hut guarantees freshness with fruits air-flown daily, in small batches. The fruits are stored in 3-7°C temperatures (the optimal temperature) to retain freshness, natural juices, taste and nutritional value. And best part, The Fruit Hut guarantees only freshest fruits to your door. Spotted bruised or rotten fruits? Contact them with images and order details within 3 days to get your 100% replacement. 

Sometimes, getting fruits from the supermarkets is just too much of a hassle to get replacement or refund when I realised my box of fruits got mouldy or bad on the inside, upon reaching home. It happens. Umpteen times. It's best to find a reliable seller that takes charge of their fruits' quality, especially when these imported fruits are costly. 

Do check them out for fruit gift baskets too! 

Photo credit: Owari Photography

Real fruits for pretend play

Looks like we've stocked enough to open a fruit stall now! For pretend play I meant. 

We've got a discount code for share. Use code 'bestinsingapore10' for a 10% discount upon check out. 
We have a $50 The Fruit Hut credit to giveaway to 1 winner. To win, simply participate on our Instagram account post over here
Best of luck! Giveaway ends 14 Oct 20, 2359hrs.

The Fruit Hut:

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Wednesday, 23 September 2020

Benefits of Acai - The Acai Lab

Acai (ah-sigh-ee), that's the right way to pronounce it. Acai berries are a grape-like fruit native to the rainforests of South America. They are harvested from acai palm trees. Want to know how it looks like? You can actually spot its tree towards the exit of River Safari. We saw it when we were there last week.

Photo credit: Owari photography


The kids and I love Acai. Here are some benefits of it:

Antioxidants in acai berries help neutralize the damaging effects of free radicals throughout the body, preventing diseases and fighting the negative effects of aging. We need regular doses of antioxidants to repair our skin cells. Some said antioxidants can help improve mood disorder associated with anxiety and depression too!

The most important part about the nutrients that acai berries contain is the high amount of anthocyanins, the part of the plant that makes acai berries that deep purple color. It may slow down the aging process, prevent blood clots and improve blood circulation in the body. That deep color is how you know they are packed with nutrients and antioxidants.
Lowers Cholesterol 
The effects of anthocyanins have been shown to lower cholesterol levels. When humans were supplemented with anthocyanins, there were positive effects on their cholesterol levels. Protecting against cardiovascular diseases. 

Acai bowls
Now that you know about the benefits of acai berries, let us introduce our favourite way of eating it. We love acai bowl smoothie from The Acai Lab! With choices of loading your bowl with superfoods such as nuts, fruits and seeds. It has Island wide delivery and no minimum order. Free delivery for order $40 and above. Acai itself has a bitter tastes, its blend with other ingredients makes the taste more accepting. Here's what The Acai Lab uses in its PurpleBlend. 

60% Pure Acai puree

20% Purple Superfoods - Blueberries, Strawberries, Elderberries, Cranberries, Figs

10% Creamy base - Banana

10% Liquid base - Vegan milk

Love that its organic and preservative free! If you've not tried Acai before, start here. The kids and I are fans of it. Makes a really nice dessert too. 


We are running a giveaway of $35 voucher from The Acai Lab on Instagram, @mumscallingblog. Hop over to join. Giveaway from 23 Sep to 30 Sep 2020.

The Acai Lab:

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Wednesday, 16 September 2020

Why Empty Nest Syndrome Exists

My morning became abruptly different with Juboy starting preschool yesterday. Reality set in with little boy waking up unusually early. His first words that morning were, "I'm going to school today!" Just the day before school, I intentionally turned my online groceries shopping to the physical grocery store. I had always enjoyed the bond we foster whenever we get on groceries shopping. Pre-covid.

How could he be all excited about school when his mama is struggling with the empty nest syndrome?!! Days before his first day, I was in denial and reluctant to start him during the neither here nor there month, September. The man was however very much keen to send him to school as quick as possible. Not that he doubted my homeschooling ability, but that this little guy needed some practice and mannerism with social skills. His comfort bubble had only been revolving around the family and himself. He needs to learn that it's not all about giving in to him just because he is the littlest. 

There are givings and takings in the real world.

With a half morning of sitting in with him in school, I saw how he enjoyed his lesson and play time. His enthusiasm and independence for school drowned me into a sea of emotions. I was literally depressed that the baby of the family is off to school, and that my nest has now a morning void. 

Doing seat work

With that, I conclude why empty nest syndromes exists:

1. Encourage your child's independence 
The only drive for your child to explore independence without the presence of you coddling him, is probably school. Where he is very much on his own in a safe environment. It's through school that we realise they can achieve much without our presence. And that they are very fine and happy on their own without parental intervention.

2. Focus on you
Having your child away from you gives time for other thoughts apart from the family. It does help me rejig my preferences and schedule in what I want and have been wanting to do. Time to reconnect with my interests and rekindle some other interests in my life. It is the only moment I can focus on my individual identity.
3. Help your child face the world
Not every skill is taught within home. Set backs and disappointments are rarely created within the home environment. It is through the bigger world, where our child faces distressing moments and learn how to handle them. Mostly on there own. While we may come to their 'rescue' occasionally, we can't do it perpetually. Life can be hard, sad, disappointing and unpleasant at times, but we set our children up to fail if we do not give them the tools and experiences needed to cope.
4. It is a parenting shift. Not the end of parenting.
There's no end to parenting for sure. Even in adulthood, we still want to pry into what they've been doing and eating without us in sight. The shift of parenting to the different stages simply means a change of contribution and commitment level we give as parents. Moving the youngest child into preschool means lesser 1-1 time with him. I will have to look for alternatives in keeping my time sacred with him, as well as the other two. The children's progression is my constant change. 

Free time in school

Homeschool routine is now a thing of the past. In midst, the smell of freedom is actually delicious, though I don't exactly have a schedule of what to fill my mornings with. Writing assignments got irregular and sadly, the fate of my Instagram is still unknown. Yes, I was unfortunately hacked. Still a pain to recount it. That will be another story to tell.

Empty nest syndrome can hit stay home mum the hardest. It feels like I'm more dependent on them than they are on me. To think, I'm only lamenting over the youngest starting preschool. I can't imagine the day teenhood creeps on the kids. I definitely need some mahjong kakis!  

And just as I end this, I received a call from his school. He's crying for mama! Back to mumsy duties now...