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... 

Sunday 6 September 2020

Science Centre this September Holiday!

How about the Science Centre this September holiday?!

Living Worlds: An Animal Planet Experience exhibition is re-opening for a limited period of 10 days. From 4 to 13 September. This exhibition is a showcase of the natural world, exploring the interdependent relationships between animals and the environments they inhabit, and aims to foster environmental consciousness by highlighting how human activity impacts nature. 

We spent some time experiencing the various immersive zones with interesting bite-sized content whilst leveraging the latest technology for interactive play. 

Three distinct Living Worlds 
Tropical Rain Forest: Traverse a special tree-top walk that will culminate in a surprising view to explore the rich biodiversity hidden within the rain forests. Juboy enjoyed his canopy walk here.
Tree top walk

As smart as an orangutan?
Coral Reef: Dive into the mysteries of the deep blue brought to life through an immersive dome experience and learn about the intricate coral ecosystem and how they interplay with deep-sea creatures. We found out how coral reefs grow, and built our own coral reefs here.
Into the Coral Reef

Sea Ice: Explore a starkly beautiful wonderland, feel the intense coldness in the sea ice and learn about polar bears' amazing ability to adapt to the cold and more about the effects of global warming in the Arctic. The kids got on a game of 'clearing the air', where they learn how carbon dioxide trap a great deal of heat around Earth, causing temperature to soar and melt the sea ice. The kids were tasked to sweep aside the clouds of carbon dioxide that are stopping sea ice from forming, so polar bear can hunt!


Stepping the CO2 away!

Into the Artcic


There were quite a number of hands on activities available: digital colouring, origami making, build your own coral reef etc. Sanitisers are available at these high touch surfaces, with additional cleaning between sessions, from 1pm to 2pm daily. This is when the centre is closed out too. 


Digital Colouring

Folding a kola

'Living Worlds' exhibition ticket includes a free entry to Science Centre Singapore (no standalone exhibition ticket available). Due to health and safety measures, all guests are advised to pre-book their tickets online as onsite ticketing counters will remain closed during this period.

With that, we further explored some permanent exhibits within Science Centre, which are already included in your entrance tickets. Interesting exhibits we've done before include:

  • Phobia: The Science of Fear 
  • Professor Crackitt's Light Fantastic Mirror Maze
  • Know your poo
  • New Coronavirus Exhibit 
  • Rice for Life
Purchase Additional Tickets
Omni-Theatre is a now showing 'we are stars,' a 26 minutes educational, full-dome immersive show that explains what we are made of and how the sun was created. It also explains how a star is made. We enjoy how these complex scientific concepts are made accessible to all ages using stylised and fun visualisations. The older kids enjoyed it very much, it was definitely some new knowledge gained.

The omni-theatre is currently operating a a 3-day week. Do pre-book your tickets online. $14 per ticket.
Snow City
Your well-needed treat on a sunny day! Get on some icy slide, snow play and bumper car ride. Bumper cars are for kids above 0.9m. For the above 14, check out the snow battles where you can try out your marksmanship with shooting targets. Additional tickets needed. 
Wear your long pants, and the rest can borrowed within Snow City. I'm impressed this round, with how clean the boots are, and fresh smelling the jackets and gloves are.

Bumper car on ice
There are just so much to explore within the Science Centre. Definitely a great holiday treat for the kids!
Science Centre Singapore
Address: 15 Science Centre Road Singapore 609081
New Opening Hours
Session A: 10 am to 1pm (Last entry 12pm)
Session B: 2pm to 5pm (Last entry 4pm)
Closed for disinfection: 1pm to 2pm
Ticket pricing during peak period (Singaporean/PR)
Adult: $6
Child: $4
Senior Citizens: $4 (above 60)
Tickets are free during off peak period (weekdays during school term)
Living Worlds: An Animal Planet Experience Opening Hours
Session A: 10 am to 1pm (Last entry 12.15pm)
Session B: 2pm to 5pm (Last entry 4.15pm)
Closed for disinfection: 1pm to 2pm
Ticket pricing (includes entry to Science Centre)
Adults: $16
Child: $12

Snow City New Opening Hours  
10 am to 1pm (Last entry 12pm)
2pm to 5pm (Last entry 4pm) 
Till 6pm during PH and school holiday
Closed for disinfection: 1pm to 2pm
Ticket pricing (Singaporean/PR)
1 hour snow play 
Adult: $15
Child: $12
2 hour snow play
Adult: $25
Child: $18
Child's age: 3 to 12 years old 

Disclaimer: Media Invite

Friday 4 September 2020

King Koil Warehouse Sale 2020

Sale during this period of time is very much possible with safe measures in place. With that, we made a trip to King Koil's Annual Warehouse Sale, 2020! 
King Koil Warehouse Sale
3 to 13 September 2020
Fine exclusive deals and discounts of up to 70% off mattresses, pillows, bed linens and more! 
Not that we needed mattresses, but that the kids needed pillows and we needed new comfy bed linens. We travelled from east to west, Sungei Kadut to comb this warehouse sale. Parking is available along the road, outside the building. Upon arrival, we did the safe entry check in, had our temperature measured and went instantly to the first level, where the pillows, bolsters and linens are. It was pleasant to see sanitisers in place at various points too.     
Level 1, outdoor
Level 1 was where all the pillow, bolsters and linens were. We got some mattress protectors, Eucalyptus Mattress Protector, Protect.A.Bed, Super Single at $40, and cutesy cotton sateen sheets (800 thread counts) at $25 each. Mostly for the kids. After which, we proceeded to level 5 for more pillows and linen options. Merchandise will have to be paid before exiting this area to the next. 

Eucalyptus Mattress Protector, Protect.A.Bed
Fitted sheet for kids - $25 each

Due to safe distancing measures, we were asked to wait for a while before being able to proceed to level 5 for more linens. Those with higher thread count. It was here that we found, and decided to get Bamboo fabric (1200 thread count) and Egyptian cotton (1550 thread count) sheets. Two sets at $210 and $260 respectively. 

Bamboo Fabric and Egyptian cotton
We picked the kids' pillows from here too. Gotten micro-gel pillows for the older two kids, and organic eucalyptus fiber junior pillow and bolster set $45, for Juboy. With that, he's all set for nap time in school. Micro-gel emulates the lightness and air trapping abilities of natural down. Giving it that soft silky touch. It is hypo-allergic and treated with Ultrafresh - that prohibits the growth of dust, mite, mould, mildew and bacteria. The micro-gel pillow was at, 1 for $55 or combo deal of 2 for $89.
In another separate room on level 5, was the show room of King Koil's mattresses and furniture, mainly sofa. And I super love this cute Tee-pee Tent. With a single bed within, it's going on a 50% discount, from $1198 to $599! Love too, how they thoughtfully created a little cartoon corner to keep children entertained while parents shop in peace. 
Tee-Pee tent
Good comfort sleep begins at King Koil

Okay, so here's a summary of what we bagged home:
1. Hotel de Grandeur, Prestige, 100% Bamboo Fabric (1200 thread count), King size - $210
2. Hotel Galleria, True Luxury, Egyptian Cotton (1550 thread count), King size - $260
3. Eucalyptus Mattress Protector, Protect.A.Bed, Super Single  - $40
4. Mattress Protector, Protect.A.Bed, Basic, King Size - 2 for $70
4. Fitted sheet, cotton sateen (800 thread count) , Super Single -  $25
5. Micro-gel pillow, Luxury bedding collection - 1 for $55 or combo deal of 2 for $89
6. Eucalyptus junior pillow and bolster set - $45
7. Aloha bed set, Cotton Sateen (750 thread count), King size - 2 for $60

Aren't they quite a deal?! 
Make your way down and shop away soon, from now till 13 Sep 2020. I find their staff extremely warm, helpful and knowledgeable, so don't be shy to ask for assistance at any point of time. Check out too, Ashley furniture sale at 67 Sungei Kadut Drive.

More Deals
Additional 5% off for minimum purchase of $500.
Additional 10% off with minimum purchase of $1000.
The above excludes special buy items
More locations added this year. Four Locations: 
13 Sungei Kadut Way Matsushita House 728792 - HQ 
Opening hours: 
12pm to 8pm (Mon to Thur)
9am to 9pm (Fri to Sun) 
67 Sungei Kadut Drive, L1 & L2, S729567 
Opening hours:  
11am to 8pm (Mon to Thur) 
9am to 9pm (Fri to Sun)
Marina Square 6 Raffles Blvd #03-0346-348 S0395594 
Opening hours: 
10am to 8pm (Mon to Sun)
12 Kallang Way #01-01 North East Bldg S349216 
Opening hours:
11am to 8pm (Mon to Fri)
10am to 8pm (Sat to Sun)

There's free shuttle bus service from Yew Tee MRT (12pm to 8:30pm) to both 13 Sungei Kadut and 67 Sungei Kadut drive locations. But if you can't make it down to any of the locations, sale is applicable online at Sleepwell and Ashley furniture too!

Disclaimer: Sponsored post

Wednesday 2 September 2020

Cyber safety with Norton 360

Norton is a well-known name when it comes to cybersecurity. We have been a paid subscriber of Norton for the past 6 years. Confident to say, we acquired a bountiful experience on how it has been armouring the safety of our digital devices: Laptops, Smartphones and Tablets. As well as monitoring the safety of our kids' online activities.

Working, shopping, learning and banking from home have increased rapidly along the years, and even more so in the recent months. These online activities are not without the threats of malware, spyware, phishing threats, digital surveillance and identity theft. In layman comparative terms, bad worms that can corrupt the proper functions of your devices, and invisible burglars that can steal your personal information. Like crime prevention, we have to exercise due diligence. 


Online activities get breezier


Norton 360 is a comprehensive plan that can protect our personal information with all-in-one protection, including a Secure VPN with bank grade encryption, device security including anti-virus, SafeCam for PC and more. It provides multiple layers of protection for our devices and online privacy for the whole family.  


Norton 360 all-in-one protection protection for your devices.

Norton 360

1. Real-time Threat Protection: Advanced security with antivirus helps protect against existing and emerging online threats to your devices, and helps protect your private and financial information when you go online. 
2. Secure VPN: Browse anonymously and more securely with a no-log Virtual Private Network (VPN). Add bank-grade encryption to help keep your information like passwords and bank account details secure and private.

3. Parental Control: Manage your kids’ activities online. Help them explore, learn, and enjoy their connected world more safely on their PCs or smartphones. This feature is however not supported on Mac. 

4. Password Manager: Tools to easily generate, store, and manage your passwords, credit card information and other credentials online more securely. This features requires your device to have an Internet/data plan and be turned on. It is only available on windows.
5. Up to 100GB Cloud Backup: Automatic, secure cloud backup for PCs – to store and protect important files and documents against hard drive failures, stolen devices and even ransomware. This feature is only available on windows.

6. SafeCam for PC: Alerts you to attempts to access your webcam and helps you block unauthorized access to it. This feature is only available on windows.

Norton 360 comes in 3 different plans - Standard, Deluxe and Premium. Parental Control feature is only available in Deluxe and Premium plans. We are on the premium plan, which includes protection up to 10 devices. It's a single solution for all.

Parenting in The Digital Age 

Avoiding online activities in this digital age is highly impossible, especially as the kids grow older. School was confined to home during the days of circuit breaker, and that was when we had a taste of the sudden intensiveness of Home-Based Learning. Online learning is deemed necessary in time to come. As much as possible, the kids need to be independent and responsible with their online activities without parents' intervention.

I've written previously on 10 reasons why we allow screen time, and even then in point number 4, I shared that we use Norton to keep them safe. 

Staying safe in the digital age

More than just antivirus protection and internet security in today's connected world, we are also raising a set of new breed kids where digital and online intervention are more prominent and paramount than decades ago. The Internet is a big universe that needs us, parents to help our kids manage cyber safety, media literacy and self-regulation before they are mature enough to be given total liberty.

It's not just about knowing what the kids are doing online, but minimising the risk of being exposed to inappropriate online content. Last year, at 10 years old, Jazz was given a phone. The Norton 360 Premium's Parental Control feature made the trust and letting go easier. Which of course, we laid it across her that we are monitoring her online activities for the good sake of her. 

Norton Family Parental Control 
Here are some features that can help you manage protection for your kids' devices with Norton: 

1. Supervision of Web access: Within this supervision function, we are able to monitor, warn or block websites. We can customise the websites to be blocked/allowed and it ranges from topics such alcohol, drugs, mature content etc. There is a total of 37 categories for restrict. We can even specify the exact website we want to restrict/allow. There may be certain websites that are harmless, but required for your child's eLearning. For example, file sharing websites can be restricted, but customised to allow access to certain  file sharing website for homework submissions. The main gist is that it is fully customisable. 

2. Screen time limits: Monitor how much time your child is spending online. We use this function on their laptops. It allows us to set the amount of time the kids can spend on their devices, as well as block out the hours that cannot be used. The laptop will shut down once time limit is up. Any extension will have to be requested by your child, and you will be notified on your smartphone for approval. When there's no Home-Based Learning for that week, our kids do not touch their laptop. No activities will be reported.



3. Access Request: Open the lines of communication by enabling your child to send you a note from within Norton Family if they disagree with a blocked site or a house rule. Youtube is blocked on Jare's laptop, but set as 'warn' on Jazz's laptop. Different levels of self-discipline explain this. But if their eLearning requested them to view some external video links, Jare is able to type a reason for access, and viewing will be granted. 

4. Monitor search items: This helps our child explore the Web more safely by keeping you informed of which sites they are visiting, as well as blocking harmful or inappropriate sites. We will be notified immediately if the kids are searching for inappropriate content based on certain keywords. 


5. Overall activity history: Weekly, we receive a detailed online activity report of their accessed websites for the week. Detailed enough to inform us on the exact websites visited and videos watched. I find this a good way to check if their words match our report when asked about their online activities.

6. Restriction levels: Freedom comes with responsibility, and sometimes age. There are 4 different restriction levels recommended for different ages - Very high, high, moderate and low. If your child is below 8, the recommended restriction level is, very high. If you child is between 15 to 17 years old, the recommended level is, low. This is a useful reminder that we need to gradually let go, and grant our sprouting kids the responsibility of self-regulation.   

7. Instant Lock:  Parents can help kids take a break by locking the device, so they can re-focus priorities. Individual devices can be unlocked with a PIN. Parents and children can still contact each other while the device is in lock mode.

8. Mobile App supervision: See which mobile apps your kids have downloaded on their Android devices and choose which ones they can use. You may also impose curfew, which disables the apps after a certain time. iOS has got its inbuilt function for this purpose.

Norton Family Parental Control is good at keeping your kids from browsing undesirable content on their iOS, but has more functions on an Android. iOS has got its own screen and apps parental control functions built within.

And why are we doing these? Keeping the kids safe online shouldn’t be the end of their freedom, it is the start of open and ongoing conversations about how to build safe and smart online habits. Upon that, these parental control features are also great tools in helping the kids manage an appropriate amount of digital screen time with no struggles.

In my opinion, Internet security, antivirus and parental control software are essential investments. Screen time is addictive. It can mesmerize an adult into spending hours glued to a device while they are mentally detached from their physical surroundings. When compared to an adult, a child has far less chance to break free from this addiction. 

Norton 360 is a powerful all-in-one cybersecurity package. Being named 360, it really has got all aspects well thought of and safely protected.

100% Virus Protection Promise 

The moment you subscribe, a Norton expert is available to help keep your device virus-free or give you a refund (60 Days Money-Back Guarantee). Norton experts are on-call to help remove viruses that might slip in. That's the confidence they give in their antivirus and malware protection. If your device gets a virus their experts can’t remove, you get your money back.

Sweet Deal

A well covered cyber safety protection is an imperative investment. Get one that matches your digital appetite. From $49 per year (Standard plan) to $139 per year (Premium plan). Secure your evergreen deal today!



Disclaimer: Paid collaboration