Busy tables, busy cards

[Review + Giveaway]

Busy tables. Any idea what they are about?

When I first got an email to preview Busy Cards at Busy Tables, I was curious and wondered what this was about. I have apparently not heard of Busy Tables and my first impression was some kind of cafes that could cater to kids and provide them with a set of tasks while dining in.

I was wrong. Just a little.

Busy Tables is located at Rochester Mall and is an indoor educational playground suitable for children under 6 years of age. Educational ? Yes. You will find that the setup is different as compared to the indoor playgrounds that we commonly go to. Here, you will find educational toys and resources that encourage children to use their senses to explore.

As we entered, I was asked to have Faith explore the various spaces and toys at Busy Tables. The girl got busy instantly. There were toys which she had played with before and there were also those that she was really interested in like car tracks and rainbow nesting wooden block stacker.

There was minimal guidance from me but she was totally engrossed in those that she was interested in; she was trying to make sense of the toys.

img_2714

Then there was this dark room that really attracted her attention and she stayed in there for the bulk of our time at Busy Tables. I’m quite certain that was the first time that she has ever seen a light box and with so many toys to play with, who would want to come out?

We must have sat there for quite a while until one of the staff at Busy Tables came over and tell me more about this indoor educational playground and Busy Cards. Essentially, they hope that parents could learn and bond with their children through working with the resources. They believe that children learn best from their parents and thus create such an environment for them to learn and have fun together.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I was then introduced to Busy Cards which is an assortment of curated cards which give children ‘missions’ to complete. As can be seen from the picture, there is a variety of activities that involves literacy, numeracy, fine-motor and problem solving skills. The cards and missions are divided into various stages and tiers to pose as incremental challenges to them. It is hoped that children could acquire the discipline to concentrate on a task as they work together with their parents and to learn to keep and return each set of resources back to their original postion. Good habits, I say! These cards also assist parents to explore the many resources available at BusyTables.😉

If you find the activities on the card given to your child to be on the easier or more difficult side, you can definitely ask for one that suits your child more.

The girl was very motivated to want to complete six activities because upon completion of those tasks, she could get a coin token to play on the slot machine (she loves it!). And, it’s no surprise that she chose to work on the activities that were found in the dark room.

If you look through the resources at Busy Tables and scan the Busy Cards, you would find that you might have some of them at home. For us, we have some of the puzzles and toys that are found there. Obviously, we do not have all and I definitely won’t be able to recreate the dark room in my home ( I don’t want to do it). I would think that this is a good place to hang out if you want to spend some quality time with your child and to have him/her do some “brain work”.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We saw a group of mothers and children having a playdate while we were there and I thought that is a brilliant idea. I mean, all the resources are there and you don’t have to spend time making resources.

According to the staff of Busy Tables, the peak hours are in the morning, early afternoon and evening. There are fewer people between 1 to 4pm and you guess it right! It’s nap time! So if your kids don’t need to nap, that period is the best time to go! If you are curious about the pricing, you can refer to this on their website.

[Giveaway] Busy Tables has kindly agreed to give FIVE passes to readers of Raising Faith (residents of Singapore only)! Hooray!  All you need to do is to comment on this post or on Raising Faith Facebook Page who you would like to bring to Busy Tables and do leave your email address for us to contact you!😉

You can find out more about Busy Tables via their website or facebook page. The giveaway will end on 16 December 2016 and I would announce the winners on my Facebook Page and IG account.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

All the best!

A year older…

I turned one year older this day  and both my kids were not feeling in tip-top condition. It wasn’t anything serious but they have been coughing for weeks and I wanted them to fight it. But Faith had a pair of swollen eyes on Sunday evening, complaint of stomachache and ear ache that night and broke out in rashes all over her body yesterday. It’s time to visit the doc. Both of them.

We had wanted to visit her in the morning but we were too early and decided to go for a hike. So it’s to the tree top walk we went!

img_3490

It’s Faith’s first hike and we had to manage our expectation, that it would be a pretty slow walk.

Don’t think a stroller can do a good job and it’s babywearing for Dan! He looked displeased but actually I think it’s comfy because he fell asleep minutes into the walk.

The city girl was amazed by the nature and stopped every few minutes to exclaim over the slightest thing. Ants, leaves imprinted on the board walk, sounds in the nature, the canopy… There’s so much to explore in nature!

img_3559

This teacher in me will use every opportunity to teach. Signboards on the way are good teaching aids.

img_3564

As expected, the girl grew weary about 2.5km into the walk. But hey, that’s a good start for a 4YO!

img_3566

We had to think of ways to energise her. Singing gospel songs help! Or pretend that you are a superhero!

img_3580

We made it! But this was only the halfway mark!

On the return leg, everyone’s tired. Faith couldn’t walk any longer and needed to be carried. Thankfully, we could always treat her like a backpack.

We took 3 hours to complete the 6km walk. Tired but happy would be my description for that morning. I’ve always loved the outdoors and it’s definitely wonderful to be able to so on my birthday.

img_3628

That evening, we made it to the doctor all right. It’s viral infection, as diagnosed by the doc. The swell and rashes are symptoms of the infection. Dan’s cough was worse than Faith because his immunity was weaker.

Both are on antibiotics now.

This birthday, all I want is for my family to be in good health. Not too much to ask for eh?😉

Oh yes, if you are keen to participate in the Safari Zoo Run 2017, do take note that the early bird rate extension is till 9 Dec 2016 and do remember to use the code SZR2017BGPRFAITH10 for a further 10% discount. This unique code is valid till 15 January 2017.

Sending sweet treats the Sophisca way

If you are looking for Christmas gifts that are practical and cute at the same time, head down to Sophisca! It is Taiwan’s very first specialty candy brand that was started in 1997 and has since established itself as Taiwan’s beloved and top confectionery retailer. Sophisca’s saccharine staples are an array of candied fruits, soft bonbons, chocolates and more!

Last weekend, the family headed down to its media preview of their Christmas collection at Marina Square and yours truly went a little crazy over their very adorable packaging. Thankfully, their prices are really reasonable so I didn’t burn a big hole in the pocket when I left.

These Christmas Reindeer and Santa gift boxes are only $4.90 each.

The daughter had a good time trying out their candies and she had reached her quota of sweet treats that day.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA So cute….at $7.90.


These are at $11.90 each.

img_3359

This is my favourite corner. Just look at the designs on the boxes. And some are really local-flavoured with our beloved Singlish words on them.

img_3402

I purposely chose some of these to give to a Taiwanese family who will be leaving Singapore for good. They have always been fascinated by our colloquial English so I thought these are apt. There are three slices of chocolates in each box ($2.90 per box).

img_3360

Sidetrack. The girl has officially taken over the ownership of my Canon camera. So that day, she was just happily snapping pictures.

 But I got her to concentrate and pick some of the boxes as gifts to our friends.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I prefer chocolates to candies and got this box of different-flavoured chocolates as well. Actually, I honestly think the packaging got me to part with my cash.

img_3408

So that night, we had our farewell dinner for our beloved friends whom we have met in Boston.

img_3406

They were family to us when we were all in a foreign land and naturally we grew close to one another. So that night, we had food, cakes, chocolates and laughter and sent them off with our blessing.

img_3403

So long, farewell! It’s time to say goodbye!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Disclaimer: The family was invited to Sophisca’s media preview and were treated to complimentary goodie bags for the kids. However, items purchased as mentioned were from our own pocket.

Learning about work at Kidzania(SG)

I think we are among the last few people who have not visited Kidzania. It’s not a place that is on my list of places to visit for now because Faith is still so young. What could she learn from the experience? Would she enjoy herself? The entrance fee itself is high and I needed to make sure that we will be spending our $$ wisely. Thankfully, our friend had won passes for the adults and all we needed to spend on was the fee for the girl. So, in the end, we found our way to Kidzania (Sg).

It was the first Saturday of the year-end school holidays and we were expecting great crowd so I had braced myself for such a turnout. Managing expectations is important. Alas, we were taken by surprise that it was not THAT crowded!

It was this empty when we arrived and there was NO queue when we checked in. We were told that there was an event held earlier in the morning and that we should expect the participants to stay on. Okay!

The first thing the kids have to do is to open a bank account so that they could deposit their ‘hard-earned’ money into their account. We have not brought the girl to a bank before and she was clueless as to what to do. (-_Q) I actually found myself shouting to guide her from outside. So unglam.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Her first job? Post woman! This is a relatively easy task and I think she would enjoy it.

All ready for the job yo! It’s good to visit Kidzania with a friend so that both can help and encourage each other. I suppose if Faith was to come alone, she would take a LONG time to warm up and participate.

Trust me, they had fun.

The next job that she went for was the dentist. It wasn’t her choice, really. We were just looking for the next possible job, one that would not require her to queue for too long. The queue for the dentist was one of the shorter ones because they were ending their previous round and would just need the next round of participants to queue for about 10 minutes which was decent.

So, I’ve learnt that one has to learn to play the waiting game at Kidzania. It’s truly training of patience.

The next job that Faith was willing to queue up for was a doctor in the A & E department. She must really wanted to learn about this role because she waited in line for about 20 minutes then and the whole session would take about 55 minutes. While she was learning about being a doctor, that was the best time for the adults to take a breather and have a bite at the eateries in Kidzania.

Before we could finish our meal, we were alerted that there was an ‘accident’ and had to quickly finish so that we could (ahem) rush to take pictures of our child at work. Faith was just playing the observing doctor throughout and I wasn’t sure what she was thinking about. Was she trying to make sense of the whole thing?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This was a scene in which a hotel was on fire. And who came to the rescue? Fire fighters! This was interesting but unfortunately, the girl didn’t manage to be one.

img_2251

This was at Acting School. We asked Faith to go in since her friend was interested in this and also, it didn’t require us to wait. But, halfway through, she asked to come out because she basically wasn’t interested.

 

She would rather go and play soccer, seriously! In fact, she had requested for this for a few times! I was surprised by her interest!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Four hours into role-play and I could totally sense the girl’s exhaustion. She had swimming lesson that morning and didn’t get to nap before going for Kidzania and I know she was going to get cranky soon. In the end, she chose a simple activity which was to shop at a supermarket although she wanted to be a cashier (not old enough).

 

The last activity before she got to spend her hard-earned money – kidZos – at the department store was to go on a tour around Kidzania which she needed to pay for. I guess this was a good ending!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I’m glad we made it for this visit to Kidzania though I wasn’t so keen initially. I feel it is too young for a newly-minted 4YO to understand and fully maximise the time spent in Kidzania. I think it would make more sense for the older kids. Besides, there are other roles that have age and height limits. Nonetheless, it was a good experience. I got to observe how Faith behaved through the various roles and got to know her interests. For her, she learnt dental care from being a dentist (for example) and most importantly, she had fun.

I don’t forsee us going back soon but perhaps once a year? Many of my friends prefer to go to the ones in KL and Bangkok because of the cost. Maybe we could try that option too!

img_2284

To understand Kidzania (SG) a little more, I find this guide a comprehensive one.

It’s time to put up the Christmas decor!

It’s less than a month to Christmas and boy, am I excited!

I love Christmas because it celebrates joy and peace on earth and it’s definitely a good opportunity to share with loved ones the reason for this season. Each year since Faith turned 2YO, we would do Christmas crafts together and displayed them around the house. This year, with the addition of Dan, things get a little more complicated and I think it’s better that we make do with ready-made decorations.

img_2139

The kind folks at Christmas Tree Singapore sent some of their products for us to try out which was absolutely timely. There were window stickers, a room decorating kit, ceiling decoration pack and a Pin the Nose Snowman Pack.

We didn’t lose any time in decorating Faith’s room with these products. Wanting to give some ownership to the girl, I got her to decide how she wanted to decorate the room with the decorating kit that comprises the following:

15181447_10154126184064677_9148862142507048688_n

We had to leave Dan out of this for the moment because it’s not age-appropriate for him?😉

She chose these graphics to be pasted on the wall and we are still thinking of how to incorporate the rest. Perhaps, we could use them for a Christmas party that is coming up in a few weeks’ time!

img_2841

Next, we worked on the snowflakes window stickers. I’ve decided to get both to decorate our common restroom with the stickers. This time round, Dan was involved and it was a simple but fun activity! We pasted some on the car windows as well and they really did give a nice feel during the ride!

img_2177

I love the Pin The Nose Snowman Pack the most because it’s a really fun and exciting game for the kids. Our family hosted CG (Cell Group) on one of the evenings and I set this up, much to the excitement of the kids. This game is simple. The kids will be blindfolded and each one is to find their way to the snowman’s nose (by the direction given by the others) and pin their nose as near to his nose as possible.

That evening, there was so much laughter in the room! I really love this game. Simple yet so fun. Then the picture could be left on the wall, as part of the decoration of the room.

15203327_10154129860884677_6610020005086325396_n

We were left with this set of ceiling decoration which proved to be slightly difficult to put up. We would definitely need more adult help to put this up. I thought this will make a great Christmas decoration piece if we are having a home party. But be warned. Both the kids just want to pull down the cute graphics.

If you are thinking of some Christmas decoration, do browse Christmas Tree Singapore for their available products. They have  Christmas trees as well and you might want to learn about the types of Artificial Trees available, just for info’s sake.

Lastly, hop on over to Floral Garage if you’re in for some flowers!

img_2880

Our family is gifted the above mentioned sets of Christmas decorations for review purposes. All pictures are ours unless otherwise stated. Opinions are our own. 

Christmas feel at the Flower Dome (Gardens by the Bay)

Christmas is approaching and if you want to catch the festive mood in rainy Singapore, there is a place you should go – Flower Dome at Gardens by the Bay. It’s beautiful, I tell you!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It was the beginning of the year end school holiday and while the men were at work, the wives decided to bring the kids out to experience Christmas cheer.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Popo and the grandchildren

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

You will get wowed by the display. Simply awesome and magical!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Cocooned in a giant glass globe, a lovely ballerina beckons visitors to come forward, as a band of toy soldiers and an angelic choir join in the merry medley. (Source: Gardens by the Bay).

I was naturally excited and wanted to take pictures of the kids with the beautiful background. If you have kids, you will know that it is rather impossible to take a picture in which all the kids are smiling and with their eyes open. Oh well…

img_2584

To have a decent pic, one must snap quickly or else you risk getting photobombed!

img_2582

The whole troop. Remember to visit ya?

Little Genie box – School Readiness Program

Faith had very little concept of time. By that, I mean she couldn’t tell the days in order and each day, she would ask me what we would be doing that day. Her ‘last week’ is ‘yesterday’ and sometimes it could be a particular incident that had happened some time back.

I reckon it could be because she was a tad young to understand the concept but to be fair to her, I did not teach that concept explicitly. When her constant questioning did get to me, I resolved to teach her and that’s when Little Genie Box contacted me and asked if I wanted to try out their products. Very timely indeed! Sure, why not? I shared with them my concern and they recommended that I try out one of their topics for the School Readiness Program which aims to prepare preschoolers to develop learning dispositions for classroom and school routines.

img_1275

Our box soon arrived and I was pleased when I saw the contents. It includes a lesson plan, two different types of calendar, a personalised weekly timetable, worksheets and relevant materials to complement the learning. The lesson plan is comprehensive and all I need is to follow the activities laid out in the plan.

img_1282

I wasted no time and started teaching Faith the days. I thought the print and the font size on some of the the materials could be larger since Faith was only 4 years old and went on to create a bigger version for her. Faith was eager to learn and attempt the task that was set out on the lesson plan. I was secretly happy, of course.

img_1281

Within a few weeks, she could name the days in the correct order (sigh, should have taught her earlier) and I went on to teach about the months based on the lesson plan. It was a bit more difficult for her but at least she has some ideas of the months now and could tell me which month her brother’s and her birthday fall on. The calendars provided in the box helped a lot in getting her to visualise the days, months and the weather.

img_1280

What I appreciate about the various activities is the fact that they are pitched at varying levels of difficulties. There are simple and more concrete ones like the one shown above and more difficult tasks which require Faith to spell for instance which she could not do at this current moment.

img_1278

Then, there is the timetable that saved me from Faith’s constant queries about the daily schedule. Having penned down the activities for the various days, she could then refer to the chart and eventually could tell me what she can expect for each day.

We have been working with the contents of this box for a few months now and consistency is key to Faith’s mastery of time. Perhaps, you might find that the activities could be easily created. I don’t disagree with you. However, finding the time to do so is the issue for most of us. I, for instance, have been procrastinating and could finally work on time with the preschooler when the box came along. Of course I did talk to her about the days and months but nothing beats working with the materials and this in turn, helps young children to store the necessary information in their memory.

Little Genie Box’s School Readiness Program features the following components:
:: Personal identity & introducing name
:: Handling emotions & relating to others
:: Understanding dates & use of the calendar
:: Personal safety & well-being
:: Reading time & following timetable
:: Responsibility with money & belongings

These are excellent topics to learn for preschoolers and the knowledge would be extremely useful as they enter Primary Schools. Little Genie Box’s curriculum also includes Literacy program and Everyday Chinese. You might want to read about the review of the Everyday Chinese program here.

I would definitely continue to use the contents in the box to teach Faith about time. And if you are thinking of having some learning activities with your child during this year-end holiday, I would strongly recommend Little Genie Box. Bond and learn together with your child!

SPECIAL PROMOTION FOR READERS OF RAISING FAITH

Take advantage of this promotion! For every 6-month enrolment, you will receive a free award-winning book  that is worth up to $25 .
Simply key in the promo code ‘icanteachmychild’ on the enrollment form on their website. This promotion will last till 31st Dec 2016.

Disclaimer: We received a box of the School Readiness Program for the purpose of this review. All opinions are our own. 

A letter to Faith on her 4th birthday

Dear Faith

You turn four years old today! Blessed birthday! Mama couldn’t help but be thankful for you because you are indeed one precious gift from God.

This past one year has been eventful. You were promoted to be a big sister to Dan and you did a wonderful job caring for him. Your love for him was evident. Each morning, when you awoke, you would look for him and spent the time after breakfast playing with him while Mama tried to get ready. You read to him and taught him skills that he would need. You encouraged and cheered for him when he reached his various milestones. No wonder Dan was so fond of you.

I remember I had a hard time adjusting to life with two kids when Dan was just a few weeks old and I was tough on you. I know you must have felt terrible and perhaps felt a sense of loss since you had to share Mama with Dan now.  And with so many of us giving our attention to him, you must have felt insecure. Thankfully, that period was over and as Mama learnt how to cope, things did get better.

This year, you got real chatty and must have asked a million whys. I must say Mama was exasperated and wish for more quietness at home. However, I also recognise that many of your questions are valid and you truly wanted to know more about yourself and the world you are living in. I only pray for more patience.

In March this year, I had the utmost privilege to lead you to invite Jesus into your life. What joy! Nothing is more important than this! From then on, you have been sensitive and extremely teachable on things above and asked questions pertaining to the Christian faith. I pray that the Holy Spirit will continue to guide you as you grow in your knowledge and love for Him.

Dear Faith, I want you to know that you have brought me much joy and love. Through you, I see how ugly and selfish I am as a person yet you have always extended your grace towards me, just like our heavenly Father. I love it when you say “It’s ok!” to assure me that you are not upset when Mama has done something that could sadden you.

This year, you asked to celebrate your birthday in school and you were not particular about the type of cake or the design. “You decide” is what you told me and when I baked you a Hello Kitty lychee chiffon cake, you were cool about it. I know you are not ecstatic about Hello Kitty, but you would just let me bake that for you because you know Mama would not be free to design a special cake for you. Thank you for being so understanding.

img_1963

I wish you could stay at this age because I really did enjoy your company this past year. You were so teachable and were my little helper. I recall the many times that you wanted to help me juice, vacuum and mop the floor, bathe and feed Dan. When Papa had to come home late after BSF, you would wait patiently in the living room while I put Dan to bed. One of those nights, you fell asleep on the sofa while waiting for me and I couldn’t help but feel bad about leaving you alone. However, I’m assured that you are mature enough to be on your own and that Mama doesn’t always have to be with you.

Perhaps, the greatest compliment that I get from you was when I asked you what you wanted to be when you grow up. Your reply encouraged me so much. “I want to be a mom like you!” I must have done something right to warrant such a response!

Thank you, my little angel for being you. We have had many conversations and I love how you make me laugh. I thank God for the privilege to be able to see you grow and develop from the time you were born. May you continue to show great zest for life and be mindful of the things of God.

“The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.” Numbers 6:24-25

A World Full of Stories @ Playeum

img_1815

A World Full of Stories. How does that sound to you? This is Playeum’s current hands-on exhibition that is designed for children aged 1 to 12 years old. The exhibition provides environments and installations in which children can create their own stories and is certainly a space where they could let their imagination run wild.

Faith and I went down to take a look and I regretted not bringing Dan along.

Spaces within the exhibition

Story Cubes. From far, this space looks like a maze that is made up of cube-shaped structures. The surfaces or panels are magnetic and this provides for opportunities for story-making using the materials that are found in the boxes. The children could pin the pictures onto the panel and create their own story. At the end of the maze is a book corner that is filled with some of the best story books for children. So, grab a book and let your imagination run wild. There’s even a tent where the children can relax in as they read.

Creative use of the Story Cubes by Faith includes playing peek-a-boo, police and thief and …story-telling.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Chalk Wall. I personally was enticed by this chalk wall. I mean, how often do you find such a wall nowadays? I got Faith over to draw a thing or two, to add on to the landscape that is drawn by cartoonist Cleo Ding.

 

Story Caves. One is a multi-sensory cave which appeals to younger children and the other is a Listen and Speak cave which encourages children to experiment with sound tubes, speaking cups, and echo-distortion mechanisms. Makes me think of my Science lessons during Primary School days. Faith had fun with the sound tubes and yes, you do need to get down on your feet to enjoy this space with them.

img_1735

Sandplay. Kinetic sand seems to be a hit with most children. They spent their time building sandcastles and decorating them with shells and pebbles. Faith was going on for about 30 minutes until I had to urge her to move on.

 

The Story Raft. A hit with boys especially, this space encourages children to play ‘being at sea’ on a bamboo and rope raft with a flag-flying mast and rudder for steering. Children could also craft their own sea creatures and enjoy art activities to create their own marine environment.

Using chalk and water to paint on the glass door. Create a marine environment. Under the sea, under the sea.

Story Writing. So I wish Faith could pen a story. Fact is, she couldn’t. However, that did not stop her from attempting to write and post a letter. She was really focused on her task and spent much time writing letters and posting it in the end, hoping that the recipient would get it soon. Play-pretend at its best.

Puppet Making. There is a large space devoted to play making. Here, children are encouraged to create puppets using found and recycled materials. Children could make their own hand-puppets, finger puppets, spoon puppets, whatever, and after completing it, could even use them in a puppet show.

Faith loves craftwork and we really did spend quite a lot of time here, from choosing materials to working on a puppet. While the kid works, take a breather and be amazed by what they can create.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We didn’t manage to play ‘dress up’ even though we have been in Playeum for two hours. I reckoned it would be a tad challenging for a 4YO to make her own costume for a fantasy character and discarded the idea. I could only imagine the fun older kids could have with the sewing machines and the hot glue gun in creating their own unique costumes.

We didn’t manage to listen to stories read by some of Singapore’s finest storytellers at The Dark Space. This space showcases a specially commissioned storytelling film, where each of the five storytellers will be orating a story from a specific culture. Faith was in it for a few minutes and went out, obviously attracted by the other stations.

A World Full of Stories exhibition opens to the public from 15 November 2016 until 30 April 2017. For a list of holiday programmes, please refer to this.

Playeum
Blk 47 Malan Road, Gillman Barracks, Singapore 109444

Safari Zoo Run is back!

2016 is coming to an end soon and I am looking forward to the new year and a whole new adventure with the family. And I am so excited that we will be participating in the Safari Zoo Run for the very first time next year.

logo-1

Safari Zoo Run was conceived to commemorate Singapore Zoo’s famous matriarch and one of Singapore’s most loved animal personalities – Ah Meng the Sumatran orangutan, who died of old age in February 2008. Through this run, the zoo hopes to encourage family bonding and raise awareness on wildlife conservation.

facebook-instagram-artwork

The theme for Safari Zoo Run 2017 is “Run for Wildlife” which focuses on raising awareness for wildlife conservation. Four animal icons will be featured – Ah Meng the Orangutan, Chawang the Asian Elephant, Canola the Manatee and Sunny the Hornbill. Each animal icon team supports an endangered wildlife species for which the zoo would like to raise awareness. We can do our part for wildlife by choosing an animal team to support and help raise awareness for them!

Date: 18 February 2017 (Saturday)
Time: 6am
Venue: Singapore Zoo, 80 Mandai Lake Road S729826

More information can be found on their website or facebook page.

10

9
Credits: Safari Zoo Run 2016

Of the various categories, our family would be signing up for the 2.5km Safari Zoo Family Dash in the hope of encouraging our 4YO girl to take up jogging as a form of exercise. When I told the hubs about this race, he was rather concerned. How could a 4YO run 2.5km? There would be much complaints for sure!

6Credits: Safari Zoo Run 2016

Well, she may not be able to run all the way, might probably whine a little but we will be there to support and run alongside her, with her brother in tow.

5Credits: Safari Zoo Run 2016

So, from now till the race day, 18 February 2017, we will be carving out time to run as a family, and at the same time, educating the little ones on wildlife conservation.Won’t you join us?

Do take advantage of the early bird sign up rates which is from now till 30 November 2016.

As a reader, you can further enjoy a 10% discount off the current rates when you register using the code SZR2017BGPRFAITH10. This unique code is valid from now till 15 January 2017 via www.safarizoo.run.

So, what are you waiting for?😉

Disclaimer: HiVelocity Events has kindly sponsored our family with the Safari Zoo Run Race Slots so that we could experience the race for ourselves and share it with the readers. No monetary compensation is involved and all opinions are my own. 

Appreciating da man in our lives

This post has been waiting to be published and finally I remember to do so.

I am writing this post to show a little appreciation to the man in our family.

If we scout the Internet for parenting-related articles, we will find that there are more articles that share about life as a mom, the changes that go through the mom’s body after giving birth and how much they need time off from the children, just to name a few. I’m not sure about you but at least these are the ones that appear more often on my FB feed and I’m immensely thankful to some of these articles because the writers encourage me in this parenting journey.

At times, I thought about the fathers. The kind of pressure they face at work and at home. How they feel coming back to a frustrated mom and cranky kids after a day at work. I tried asking da man about his thoughts but he would often shrug his shoulders and reply, “Work is work.” And nothing else.

I have to mention this bit of information about da man. Upon reaching home, he would help to shower the kids, spend some time with them before turning in for the day. And he does the night shift, just so that I could catch some sleep.

Surely, he’s tired.

So when Floral Garage approached me if I would want to receive a DIY room/party decor kit that is inclusive of DIY Decor items and faux flowers, I thought we could plan a surprise for da man.

img_1967

If you find the contents to be too feminine for da man, I don’t disagree with you. After all, it was initially meant to be used to decorate Faith’s room but I was thinking that the girl would be distracted by the beautiful decor items and would encounter problem falling asleep. So, we decided that we would work together to decorate the wall at the dining area so that when Papa comes back home, he would have a neat surprise!

The girl was obviously excited to be part of this plan and we decided to choose the word ‘LOVE’ on the wall. Using the washi tape provided in the box, I spelt out the word so that Faith could tape the faux flowers and leaves onto it. It’s a lot of fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination work!

img_4486

I just want to warn you that this might take a full one or two hours, depending on how fast your kids work. Faith was really on the ball and did most of the decoration on her own while I prepared dinner.We did have problems with the pom poms though because we had to separate each piece of paper carefully. This really tested our patience! And we left out the tassels since we did not want to crowd the wall.

img_4470

Kids being kids, she got distracted in the process.

This is the completed wall, a simple one but filled with loads of love and effort, especially from the girl. This is a good craft activity and if you are planning for some birthday celebration and want to DIY, this kit will definitely come in useful!

img_4561

So, da man came back and.. didn’t show any sign of surprise at all! It’s life as usual for him. Grrr…but in the end, we had fun taking wefie against the backdrop. Creating memories, so they say.

After a few days, we took down the decor and I kept the faux flowers and leaves properly since I know I will reuse them.

floralCredit: Floral Garage

This DIY Floral Backdrop kit is part of Floral Garage‘s newly launched floral party decor category. If you are planning a party, you should definitely check out their party supplies page for relevant resources or consider their party packages!

If you would love to walk in, Floral Garage Sg is located at:
756 Upper Serangoon Road,#03-34,
Singapore 534626

Connect with Floral Garage via:
Facebook : Floral Garage Sg
Instagram : floralgaragesg
Email: floralgaragesg@gmail.com

Disclaimer: I received the kit for review purpose only. No monetary compensation is involved and all opinions are of my own.

Thomas the train chiffon cake 🎂 

It’s always a privilege to bake for others and especially so when your good friend asked you to do so. Just last week, an ex-colleague whom I’m really fond of asked if I could bake a cake for her youngest. Why, of course!

I couldn’t bake a fondant cake in my current capacity. I know it will not turn out well. Dan requires a lot of my attention and if I want to do a good job for the cake, I need to devote time to it. And it absolutely saddens me if I can’t do it well.

So, the kind of cake I could do currently is chiffon cake, the creative type. I only have Suzanne Ng of Loving Creations For You to thank because her works inspire me to want to bake beyond a basic chiffon cake. I bought both her books so that I could learn a thing or two and so I thought I should practise baking a few if possible.

img_1204

As usual, a design needs to be thought of and the colours noted. I get forgetful easily these days and penning what I need for the cake really helps.

img_1262

I’ve baked a similar-themed cake before using fondant and decided to recycle the design. This is a 7″ chiffon cake because I have only this pan but it feeds 20 pax all right with no wastage, according to my friend.

It is much easier and faster making such a cake as compared to the fondant-covered ones. However, I encountered one problem with regard to the marshmallow cream . It’s really a pain using it and I wonder if I could stick the various pieces using royal icing?

img_1296

So yea, I made this boy happy and there is nothing more joyful than seeing smiles on children.

img_1295

Kids grow up too fast. They were both just babies a while ago. How did they grow up so fast? Am I missing anything?

img_1297

So, there you go. My first cake for November. Could I bake some more? Am I able to go back to baking for others again?

Anyway, the next cake is going to be for Faith who will turn 4 this month. What would that look like? Hmm..

P.S. Thank you, ZM, for sending the pics over and assuring me that the cake is well-received.😉

[Giveaway] Minus Calories NIR SPEEDS workout

Psst…Did you know that Active Hive has launched its second near infrared NIR elliptical fitness workout – Minus Calories NIR SPEEDS workout?

I am privileged to be among the first few to try out this machine and over the past two months, I have used it to help me train for the runs which I have signed up such as the recent Salomon x-trail run. The weather these days have been erratic but I know I could depend on the cross trainer to help me in my fitness and exercise performance.

Just a little information about the Minus Calories NIR SPEEDS workout. This workout uses a cross trainer that is combined with near infrared NIR technology and Ionised Air to enhance our sports performance, fitness levels, and fats and cellulite burning up to four times faster than traditional aerobic workouts. Depending on our fitness level and needs, training programmes of varying intensities are recommended to optimise our exercise performance.

dsc05945

Another important thing that I need to mention is that the near infrared NIR penetrates deep into the skin tissue which helps to quickly warm up the muscles, target fatty tissues and activate the sweat glands. This improves oxygenation and hydration of skin tissues, enhances blood circulation and encourages the release of toxins. The enhanced perspiration ensures maximum effect of fat burning at optimum effort to attain our fitness goals. Near infrared NIR also specially targets fats molecules in areas with cellulite,such as the thighs and buttocks.

14956530_10154060965844677_6807108579912116226_n

If you think this is too much information, I don’t blame you. This workout is truly that and I can tell you a million things about it but the best way to understand how it works is to try it yourself. Another important thing to bear in mind is to be consistent.

Since weaning Dan off breastfeeding, I find that it is so easy to put on weight. I didn’t consume more than the usual portion but the fats find its way around my thigh area. I really ought to be consistent in my workout! I find that it is ideal if I could do the workout twice a week (based on experience). The holiday season is coming and there will be a lot of celebrations and eating (no doubt) coming up. Time to hit the machine!

If you are still doubtful of the workout, I’m pleased to inform you that Active Hive has kindly sponsored 5 readers to try out TWO sessions of the Minus Calories NIR SPEEDS workout. After the trial, you can then decide for yourself if this works for you.

All you need to do is to comment in this post or on my FB page post that “I would like to go for a trial!” and leave your email address so that we can contact you. I will then randomly pick 5 winners! This giveaway ends on 9 November 2016 and I will announce the winners on 10 November okay?

14721540_10154060958694677_3198219329974357199_n

It’s November already. Let’s get moving! Ganbatte, everyone!

Snacking well with Bebemi organic baby products

Confession. I am one of those parents who is very particular of the kind of food that I give to my children. Homecooked food is the best because I could control what goes into the dish. My kids are not allowed to drink cold water (but once in a blue moon, it’s fine) and if they have to snack, they would have to be fruits and mom-approved tidbits.

Very rigid mom, eh? But at least, the children don’t have to report to the doctor every now and then. In fact, they have quite a good record of not visiting him.

I believe in educating the children on nutrition from young and choosing the right food has to be taught. In terms of snacks, I normally and try to go for organic ones and when I heard about Bebemi, a Korean Organic Snacks that is specially designed for toddlers during their weaning stage, I knew I had to take up the opportunity to try the products and review them.

img_0923

I’m glad I did.

These four types of Bebemi snacks – Bebemi Stick, Petite, Ring and Rice Cake Biscuit – were sent to me and I wasted no time in trying them. Yea, I usually do tasting of any food first before giving to the kids.

So, um, if you are looking for snacks that are crunchy, they are not because they are not baked or fried. The selected non-pesticide grain snacks are prepared using the world’s first patented technology that “rub” the grain bucket using ceramic friction heat (about 150 degrees Celsius) so nutrition is not lost in the process. The texture is on the soft side which melts immediately upon contact with the saliva so it doesn’t cause choking. Another plus point is that it doesn’t really stick to your teeth as compared to the other snacks that we consume. So it’s definitely a win for me in this area (think ‘dental health’).

img_0970

On the first day, Daniel had the Bebemi Petite with milk for breakfast and finished the whole bowl of it. I was happy of course that he didn’t reject a new product since most of the time, he would eye them with suspicion and carefully taste them. Perhaps the milk has helped but in any case, I’m happy.

img_1101

I started packing the other snacks into his container and he was happy with the others as well. The snacks are of the right size for him to grip and he really didn’t drop many this time round (less wastage). It doesn’t create much mess as a result and cleaning up is easier as compared to the other snacks whose crumbs are much smaller and more sticky on his little fingers.

img_1132

I had Faith try the products too and mentally told myself that she wouldn’t like them since she is exposed to more kinds of snacks and desserts (I’m more relaxed with her now) and may find these ones bland. I mean, the Bebemi snacks contain NO sugar, salt, artificial colouring, synthetic additives, preservatives and does not undergo oil treatment. It’s really just the natural taste and aroma of the whole grains and vegetables so I’m not sure how she would take to it. And surprise, surprise, she likes them! I don’t understand but obviously I’m not complaining.

img_0924
The Bebemi snacks are good as a form of breakfast cereal for the adults too. I love the Bebemi ring the most and have been snacking on them. Each packet of the Bebemi product comes with a zip lock to ensure the freshness of the snacks and the number indicated on the top right hand packet shows the required age of the child in order for them to consume.

14666242_10154058713724677_501542381035965122_n

Bebemi is exclusively disrtibuted by Totsworld and each packet retails at $8.90 but they can be purchased at $15 for 2 packets.

However, as a reader of this blog, you can purchase 2 packets for $14 or 4 packets + 1 free packet for $28 when you key in the code LYNNLLY during checkout at Totsworld.

Bebemi products are also available at all OG and BHG departmental stores, 1010 Mother and Child and in the near future, Redmart.

There are indeed many baby snacks that are available in the market and I’m glad that we can have one more good and wholesome product for our kids to try.

Disclaimer: We are gifted with four packets of Bebemi korean organic baby snacks for review purposes. All opinions are solely mine and the children’s. 

Chocolate Yuzu cupcakes

img_0958

It’s been a while. I used to bake for my cell group every single time (a privilege indeed) before the kids came along. I enjoy baking because I find it therapeutic and when I see smiles on folks’ faces, it gives me great delight.

But for a while now, I have not baked…regularly. I know that if I am frustrated, my food will not turn out well and I don’t want to be affected by it. My standmixer has been gathering dust for a good few weeks and calls out to be used. And since I had a ladies’ night gathering yesterday, I thought I should just start baking…something.

img_0661

It so happened that as I did my grocery via open taste this week, edible flowers were available. Excited much! I have wanted to work with flowers all the while but do not know where I can purchase them. So when I stumbled upon them, I knew I had to purchase!

So, with them on hand, I thought of the cakes I could bake in my current capacity and an all-time favourite came to mind. Just simple chocolate cupcakes that are easy to make. Yea, I cannot afford to bake complicated stuff nowadays. In fact, I baked these cupcakes as I carried the sleeping Dan in the carrier. So anything more complicated and I would get frustrated.

To top the cake sponge, I used Italian Meringue Buttercream, a recipe which I have tweaked to reduce the amount of sugar and butter, resulting in a lighter version. I think I could still cut down on the sugar but I would need time to experiment with it. For the flavour, I added about 1 tbsp of Yuzu concentrate and found that it pairs well with chocolate!

img_0949

Using the 1M tip, I piped a rose swirl and ended each rose with the edible flowers. Simple, just like that.

img_0957

Try it and let me know how you think?

Chocolate cupcakes ( yields about 16 cupcakes)

80g unsalted butter, at room temperature
2oog caster sugar
200g plain flour, sifted
40g Cocoa powder, sifted
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
240ml buttermilk (I add 1tbsp of vinegar to 240ml of milk and let it stand for 5 minutes)
2 large eggs ( I used 60g)

1. Preheat the oven to 180C and line the cupcake tin with cases

2. In a mixer bowl, place the butter, sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt and beat on low speed until all are fully mixed and the texture resembles breadcrumbs.

3. In a bowl, pour the buttermilk and add in the eggs. Then whisk the two together until properly mixed.

4. Pour 3/4 of the milk-egg mixture into the dry ingredients and beat on low speed until combined.

5. Raise the speed to medium and continue to beat until the mixture is smooth and thickens. Scrap down the sides of the mixer bowl regularly to ensure proper mixing.

6. Pour the remaining 1/4 milk-egg mixture into the batter and continue to beat on medium, until all the ingredients are fully mixed and the batter is smooth.

7. Spoon the batter into the cases until 2/3 full and bake for about 20 minutes, until the batter is risen and spring back when touched.

8. Leave the cupcakes to cool a little before removing them from the tin.

 

Italian Meringue Buttercream
150g fine sugar
60g water
4 egg whites
220g unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch bits
1 tbsp Yuzu concentrate
Pinch of cream of tartar

1. Pour the sugar into the water in a saucepan and let boil to 120C. Do not stir the sugar when boiling. Go on to step 2.

2. Meanwhile, whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar on high until it reaches the foamy stage.

3. When the temperature of the sugar syrup shows 115C, whisk the egg whites on high until stiff peak. When the sugar syrup reaches 12oC, turn down the speed of the mixer to speed 1 and then pour the syrup into the meringue (beaten egg whites by the side). Do it carefully in a steady stream. Once all the syrup is in, turn the mixer on high and whisk the egg whites until the sides of the mixer bowl no longer feels hot. This will take quite some time.

4. Once the meringue has cooled, turn the speed down to medium and add in the pieces of unsalted butter, one at a time. It will look like it has curdled but fear not, keep whisking and in the end, the buttercream will come together.

5. Lastly, add in the Yuzu concentrate and whisk it one last time so that it is mixed well in the buttercream.

Playdate + Chicken Stew = Comfort

I love playdates.

When Faith was younger, playdates gave me great relief from the mundane of everyday life with a young kid. I remember the first time Faith went for one with planned lesson, I was the more excited person. I could meet up with my friends at last! Apart from meeting up with friends to have a chit-chat session after the ‘lesson’, playdates enable us to observe how our children behave with their peers and track their development.

My SIL and I started to meet once weekly recently so that the children could have fun swimming together and enjoy their evening with some play time. When they were younger, they played alongside each other, not speaking much. Now, they were truly engaging each other in lively conversations and I  find myself amused by it. How they have grown!

Having playdates in the late afternoon means that I have to make sure that dinner is prepared before we set off so that when we return, we could come back to a decent meal. And, you know I love one-pot meal and I particularly like this chicken stew. I know, I know, chicken stew is so easy to make and there is really no need for a recipe. You just throw everything in the pot, cook and viola, you have one great meal!

Just for record’s sake.

Ingredients
400g chicken thighs (cut into smaller pieces)
2 sausages
1 onion (finely chopped)
2 carrots (cut into bit-sized pieces)
250g peas
500ml chicken stock
baby potatoes

  1. Empty the sausages out of the cases into a large pot.
  2. Cook the sausages for 2 to 3 minutes at medium heat until some of the juicy fat comes out of the sausage.
  3. Add the chopped onions and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, or until they have softened.
  4. Add the chicken thighs and cook until the chicken is no longer pink.
  5. Once the chicken is lightly cooked on both sides, add the chicken stock, peas, carrots and potatoes.
  6. Set the stovetop temperature to the lowest setting, put the pot lid on and cook for 30 to 45 minutes.
  7. Serve the chicken stew with rice.

A Day in A Life (of a mom of two)

The last time I participated in the DIAL blog train, I was a mom of one. Then I could plan and carry out a lot of homelearning activities for Faith. Fast forward one and a half years and I became a mom of two. Attention is divided between the kids but I am thankful that I could count on the older girl to take care of her brother when household chores call out to me.

On average, my day begins at 6am. On good days, the boy would wake up later, like 6.30am but more often than not, he wakes up before 6am. The hubs would have gone to work before 6am and thus my duty commences then. When the boy wakes up, so does the sister. Yawn!

img_9789

Breakfast is usually bread and I absolutely need my coffee to stay calm and loving. When I’m more hardworking, I would prepare a more decent meal but most of the time, not. Once the kids have had their fill, they would go off to play on their own while I have my five minutes of coffee break. Most of the time, Faith would play pretend and imagine herself to be a teacher. Occasionally, she would do some work. Dan, meanwhile, would seek to disturb his sister. Thereafter it’s a rush to get everyone ready before we set off for Faith’s kindy at 7.50am.

img_0626

Faith’s in school! It’s time with Dan! Before the boy turned one year old, I spent most of the morning at home because he needed to nap. These days, I try to go out with him more often. I would use one day for grocery shopping, either in the wet market or supermarket. It’s a good way to let him know about this world he’s living in and the things he sees as we shop. Two of the mornings are for exercising. I would put Dan in the stroller and do a slow run or brisk walk. 90% of the time, he would fall asleep in the stroller. If I could get help with childcare, I would go for my Minus Calories session.

img_0683

Once a week, I would also visit the library with him. I would love to bring both my children along but I know I will go mad with them going in different directions and in the end, I wouldn’t be able to pick out good reads for them.

img_0227 img_0584

Faith has her lunch in school and this frees me up from having to prepare her lunch. Normally I would just grab anything to fill my stomach. Dan’s food is easy to prepare – just steam and puree. Yea, he still needs to eat pureed food.

img_0553

We would pick up Faith at around noon time. Dan would have a little playtime at the school compound. Faith would also spend some time playing with her schoolmates before we head for home. While she plays, I chat with fellow moms. Oh! First adult conversation for the day!

img_0183 img_0308

By the time we reach home, it is 1pm. Faith takes a quick shower before spending some time with her brother. Once in a while, I allow screen time but more often than not, I don’t because the boy would find his way to the screen and stare at it. Not good!

Nap time is 2pm. Faith could nap on her own while I need to babywear Dan. It’s a bad habit, I know but he takes a really long time to fall asleep and if I am to get him to nap on his mattress, he would disturb the sister. I’m not sure when I can stop babywearing him; I hope I could see the light at the end of the tunnel soon.

img_0234 img_9709
img_0185 img_0146

Faith normally wakes up earlier than the brother and since I’m still carrying Dan, she would have to work on her own. I wish I have more time to coach Faith but it’s been tough. I have to steal whatever pockets of time that I have to teach her. Thankfully, she is rather independent and would get to complete the task that I have set out for her to do. These days, I tend to focus more on her recognition of English sight words rather than the Chinese characters.

Most of the time, Dan would have gotten up at around 4pm and it’s ‘Big Muscles’ time after some snacks (which mostly consists of fruits). I believe in outdoor play for children and it’s also a good breather for me. If I can find fellow moms to chat, that would be my second adult conversation for the day. Sigh!

img_0685

Once a week, I send the kids to swim at their cousin’s and when I’m in the mood, I would bring them out for waterplay. Other times, it would just be playground time.

img_0591

5pm. It’s time to prepare dinner. It’s always a challenge with Daniel around. More often than not, he would crawl into the kitchen and want my attention. I can’t move that freely too because he is hanging on to my leg for his dear life. That’s when I get the sister to ‘entertain’ him. Most of the time it works. Those times when it doesn’t, I roar!

Dinner is mainly one-pot dish. I wish I could cook more dishes but I have to be practical and settle for easy-to-prepare meals although at times when I have the mood, I would prepare dishes. I’m bored with the same old stuff that I prepare and suspect that my girl is getting sick of the menu too. That day will come when I will try out other dishes…when Dan is a bit older and more independent and you will be sure that I will post pics of them on my instagram account.

The hubs comes back home around 6.30pm and I can finally have some real help. He has dinner while I clear the dishes and after he’s done with the meal, he would help to bathe the boy and sometimes the girl if she requests for it. I would have my time alone without the kids when I’m in the shower but at times, they will still look for me. Grrr…

By the time the hubs is done with shower, it is 8pm and it’s time for Dan to turn in for the day. He would have his last feed and we have our family prayer time. Then the hubs turn in together with Dan while I spend the next 30 minutes with the girl.

img_0467

We usually read storybooks or work on the world map (Geography) before her bedtime. Sometimes when she feels tired, she would inform me that she wants to sleep and she retires for the day. From 8.30pm onwards, I could have peace and no more calling of ‘mama, mama’.

img_0468

What do I do after they have gone to bed? Meal preparation, reading the Bible, reading up on early childhood education, reading and replying emails and more recently, doing up teaching and learning resources for the kids. I love the free resources from these two websites – this Reading mama and the measured mom – and as you can see from the picture, I’m working real hard on the materials.

I normally turn in latest by 11pm. I could have slept earlier but I really do cherish the time alone to do my own stuff.😉

This post was written as part of the Day in a Life (DIAL) blog train that is being hosted by Mum in the Making. Do click on the button above to read more DIAL posts. It’s been so interesting to take a peek into the lives of fellow mums!

blog-profile

Next up on the blog train is Dawn, the voice behind Daprayer.com. She’s a modern mama who seeks to live life beautifully, while #LearningParenting and #LearningGrace along the way. Through her blog posts and hand lettering artworks, she hopes to offer some inspiration and encouragement to mamas out there to create beautiful memories, build beautiful relationships, and be the most beautiful versions of themselves, inside and out.

Read, read, read

I believe we all know that reading is an important skill and many of us read to the child even before he/she was born. As a (ex) language teacher, I know it is vital that the child knows how to decode a word and therefore read before he/she enters formal school (Primary School). It is my goal that my children acquire a love for reading and so I read to Faith diligently even before she was born and continued to do so after that.

BUT… a few months back, I was overwhelmed with work and by that I mean teaching Faith, household chores, looking after a very energetic boy, etc and I was tired out. We still made it a point to visit the library and borrowed many books but those books were placed on the tabletop, some untouched. There were times when Faith asked me to read to her but I was just too tired and told her we could do so the next day…the next day…the next day. Gradually, I realised that she had lost her interest in reading and when I did ask her to get a book to read, she would prefer working on other stuff to reading.

That’s when I ‘woke up’. This has got to stop! And I started to Drop Everything And Read to her. I make it a point to read at least five books a day to her. You might think this is a low target but at times, I can’t even get past two books. Seriously!

So I persisted with my #fiveaday for a few months and am glad to say that Faith’s interest for reading is back! How do I know? She would ask me to read books to her and would stay glued to the story even though it is a long one. Now, when I ask her for predictions, she would respond based on the illustration or her own knowledge. We talk about a certain book over conversations and her eyes will light up, “Remember, the boy who….the one in the book we read yesterday?”

It does good for me too. I rekindled my love for reading and started to find time in between chores to read. When Faith saw me reading, she asked to be read to as well. Ah…we are sharing the pleasure of reading again!

I would like to share a book that helped me (sort of) get back to reading for pleasure, and not just for information.

img_0614Found in the Adult Lending section
Call No. 011.62 HUN

This book talks about using books to help children grow and lists some of the best-loved books for children from 0 to 14 years old. However, there is only one copy available in our library and I’m currently holding on to it (as of 21st October). It’s quite possible that I would fork out $$$ for it.😉

Here’s sharing with you ten ways to raise a reader (adapted based on this book):

  1. Restrict screen time drastically.
  2. Keep the computer, ipad, phones under control and where they can be monitored. Don’t allow too many hours on pointless games or in chat rooms.
  3. Have books and other good reading material within easy reach, an enticement to read.
  4. Let your children see you reading.
  5. Read books aloud together regardless of age.
  6. Talk about books together; play games together.
  7. Have well-lit rooms with comfortable chairs that invite reading.
  8. Balance activity schedules with reading time. Let your kids know the library is as important as the gymnasium (sports).
  9. Encourage reading in bed with good lights to do so.
  10. Visit the library often, and listen to books-on-tape when travelling.

So, I say..

keep_calm_and_read_on_postcard-rca2f8aa53f2344fd9bc5a82a2408732c_vgbaq_8byvr_512
[via]

Linking up with

Growing with the Tans Friday Flips

My maiden Salomon X-trail run

Over the weekend, I went for my first Salmon X-trail run and came back with aching knees.;)  I’ve been running on flat grounds all these while and I thought I could challenge myself with trail running, except that I didn’t give myself enough time to run on such terrains prior to that actual day.

I arrived at Punggol Parade with little expectation; I didn’t even check out the route. I would just run, I thought to myself, and enjoy the journey. It was a hot afternoon and I was thankful that the folks from Salomon were giving out drinks. Hydrate! Hydrate! Many of the runners seemed to know one another and with about 800 participants, this made the run a cozy affair.

img_0055

We were flagged off at 4pm after a zumba session as warm-up. There was a bottleneck at the initial phase which was expected and then a minute into the run, we were greeted with muddy tracks.

The brave and experienced ones ran through it while the rest of us did so gingerly. I think many of us didn’t expect the muddy tracks but it was a good experience. I mean, how often would we run in such a condition? My only concern was whether my shoes would be all right and the cleaning up, of course. ;p

img_0068

After a few more sections of muddy ground, the run was more enjoyable. We had to steer clear of the normal running tracks for the public though so that we could experience the trail that was ‘designed’ by the organiser.

img_0103

But I must be honest. It’s really not easy running on these different grounds. Coupled with the fact that it was a hot day which sapped the energy from me, I find that I needed more effort to run in this race. There were about three waterpoints which served isotonic drinks but I thought plain water could be given as well.😉

We passed through Coney Island and this was my first time there! I know, I know this is terrible so I was thankful to be running through it. After that stretch of trail, there were some parts which were rather dangerous (at the breakwater and forested area) yet fun and we found ourselves slowing down and walked in single file.

img_0201

1 hr 18min later, the finish line was within sight and I was glad that I made it. It wasn’t an excellent timing but I was thankful for the experience of running in various terrains. I think it would have been an easier job for the organiser to hold the race at MacRitchie Reservoir, for example, but they took the effort to plan this route. No thanks to the muddy tracks though but I guess it’s all part of the fun of trail running, no?

I must thank Salomon & World of Sports for giving me a spot for this run and to experience what trail running entails; I have a new-found respect for trail runners now. Thankfully, my Mizuno running shoes supported me throughout the race and I think it will continue to serve me in the days to come. I wasn’t able to train outdoors much prior to the run but relied mostly on the Minus Calories workout at Active Hive and I believe it had helped me in completing this run. All in all, it has been a wonderful experience!

So, which run should I sign up for next?

Foodie Friday | Blend it up

Birthday celebrations with the in-laws are done over a meal and usually, the birthday girl or guy would suggest the restaurant to dine in. It can be stressful (to me) because you want everyone to enjoy the meal and that means choosing a place that offers good food. Besides, my Peranakan aunt-in-law is an excellent cook and I didn’t want to disappoint her with any wrong choice of eatery or food! For Daniel’s birthday, a friend suggested Blend It Up, an Italian Fusion Casual Dining restaurant along Upper Paya Lebar Road. It took me a while to decide on this place because we have never had Italian cuisine all these years and I’m not sure if the older folks like them? In the end, I decided to go for this since I was told that the chef, Chef Peter Neo, has 35 years of culinary experience and the restaurant offers original handcrafted sauces, soups, pizzas and pastas made fresh from scratch and free from preservatives; they are created from the finest ingredients, authentic flavours. I thought about my two children and okay, the food is definitely suitable and good enough for them!

img_9638

Quaint and cosy restaurant, I must say. We went on a Sunday for lunch and if you are driving, you might want to be patient with finding a carpark lot since there are many churches in the vicinity (Sunday service = many cars).

We were greeted by the affable Chef Peter Neo and after settling us, he asked if Faith wanted to have some authentic experience with making a pizza while waiting for two more guests to arrive. Why, of course! Okay, I have to clarify that my friend has helped to arrange for this.😉

img_1253

So yes, this uncle seemed nice enough and Faith warmed up to him rather quickly and before we knew it, she was having fun with making the pizza.

 

I’m not sure if such a one-to-one pizza making session is always available but you can always call up to inquire! What I know is that he is able to provide cooking demonstration if needed and private dining, cooking lessons and pizza classes for groups are available for customers.

img_9678

The girl was obviously very excited about her attempt on pizza making in a professional kitchen under the guidance of a celebrity chef!

img_1284

img_9698

Minutes later, the Blend It Up pizza was ready! Absolutely love it and it served itself well as a delicious appetizer. How not to love this classic pizza with its crispy thin crust that is topped with feta and mozzarella cheese, mushroom, honey baked ham and completed with a sunny side up on top? The fact that Faith had a hand in it just made it delectable. I’m biased, I know but honestly, this is good.

img_1306

Next up were wild mushroom soup and chef’s specialty chicken wings. I love mushroom soup that contains chunks of mushroom in every mouthful. This one had them and it was thick, rich and creamy the way I like it. Faith shares my love for this soup and we could tell which are the good ones because we always, always order mushroom soup when it is available in the restaurant. Pairing the soup are the chicken wings which were all snapped up rather quickly.

img_1295

Chef then presented us with the whole grilled squid which is not found in the menu. But I was glad that I heeded his advice to have this served because everyone at the able raved about this seafood item. Granted that we don’t usually order this when we dine out but this whole squid was cooked well; it’s tender and juicy and I just love the seasoning.

img_1320

Another winner is the roasted pork belly with porcini sauce. This is a request from my father-in-law since he loves roasted pork belly and after he had his first bite, we could hear his praise for this dish. Phew! The slow-roasted pork belly was tender and evenly marbled with fat. Love the top layer of perfect crispy crackling and the homemade Porcini sauce and the side of pineapple sauce make this dish truly delightful for all.

 

img_1324
My auntie-in-law ordered the grilled salmon with butter sauce and loved it. Throughout the meal, I heard her commmenting, “This is good, this is good!” for the various dishes. It’s a high compliment coming from this seasoned cook. She further told me that she saw Chef Neo on TV before and updated me that the restaurant was featured on that day’s papers. I think I have chosen the right place to celebrate Dan’s birthday! *Happy mom*
img_1311
Is every dish so perfect? I wish I could say that but there are a few dishes which we thought could fare better. Since we were in an Italian restaurant, I thought we should order risotto to try. We had the mushroom one and my sister-in-law and I found something missing from the dish. She found it too ‘jelat’ (rich) while I thought it was a tad light. The bountiful amount of mushroom didn’t impress the mushroom lover in me. It’s decent enough as a dish but not stellar.
img_1315
In the end, Daniel helped to finish the remaining portion for this dish.
img_1354
By dessert time, most of us were already full but who could pass with gelato and waffles? So we had two scoops of chocolate and avocado gelato on freshly baked waffle. The gelato was good but I couldn’t say the same for the waffle. I would have preferred the waffle to be more on the crispy side and the dessert would have been awesome. Nonetheless, the girl liked this sweet treat.
img_1358
We had an intimate lunch in this quaint restaurant that seats about 45 people. Chef Neo, though busy in the kitchen, took time off once in a while to mingle with his customers. Many of the patrons seemed like old-time customers by the way they related to each other.
img_1338
After the lunch, I posted the pics on my FB and was told that my friend was a regular customer and recommended this place too. Go for the 1-for-1 promotion that is only available on weekdays from 11.30am to 3pm (excluding public holidays) to get your money’s worth!😉 Expect to fork out about $30/pax without the promotion.
The next time I visit this restaurant, I would be trying out some of the dishes that have a local spin on them. After all, this is an Italian-fusion cuisine!
This is a good place for a casual meal with friends and family. We recommend this place!
14591650_10153982883854677_1256959300710647645_n

A little about the chef:
Chef Peter Neo is no stranger in the culinary and media industry. He has 35 years of culinary experience and was the former Chef di Partie at Raffles Hotel. His passion for the culinary arts brought him to Italy where he learnt to cook authentic Italian cuisine from some of the best Italian chefs. Upon his return to Singapore, he joined an established local Italian restaurant chain.He also began experimenting with fusion Italian food, creating witty and innovative dishes to appeal to local tastes.He is the man behind local Italian restaurant Pietro Ristorante Italiano, formerly from Raffles Hotel and Bruno, and his latest venture into Italian fusion food is represented through Blend It Up.

325 Upper Paya Lebar Road, Quemoy Building S(534946)
Telephone Number: 6281 2688
Facebook : www.facebook.com/blenditupsg
Website: blenditup.sg
Instagram: www.instagram.com/blenditupsg
Operating hours (daily):
Lunch: 11.30am to 3pm
Dinner: 6pm to 10:30pm

img_1296

Thank you, Chef Neo and team for giving us a wonderful experience at Blend It Up. The girl was thrilled with the pizza making session and the folks were really happy with the food that was prepared with much love. Good job! Thanks also for giving us a discount on the meal. Will be back for more.

One year old 

Last year, this day, I held you in my arms. You were so small then but at the same time, I was amazed by the strength in which your fingers grasped mine.

One year on and I’m constantly thankful to God for bringing you into our lives.

Blessed birthday, dear son, and may you grow in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.

Dan’s 1st birthday

Birthday celebration. Purpose? To create memories and hopefully, they are good ones.

Over the weekend, we organised a small celebration for my family at our apartment. It was a simple affair. I prepared dinner for them and it was a privilege to do so since there wasn’t much opportunity to do that often; everyone is busy. Of course, the highlight is the dessert table. I am perhaps the only person who is excited about this. I love the idea of a dessert table but didn’t like the work. Faith didn’t have her first birthday celebration because we were too lazy to organise one. Her subsequent birthdays included a cake which was an improvement. This time round, I thought I should be a bit more diligent and organise a slightly more elaborate one for Dan and Faith in November.

Okay, I would disclose a bit more. It’s because I was a bit bored and wanted to do something more exciting and thus decided to do a dessert table. The fact that I came across some adorable party decor further fuelled my interest. When I told the hubs about my intention, he ROLLED HIS EYES. Oh, whatever! ;p

img_9711

On Saturday morning, I gathered the party decor and baked a pandan chiffon cake and sugar cookies before going through the mundane – doing the laundry, sending the girl to swim class, cleaning the bathroom, etc.

The theme was about polar bear and friends, just because the party decor that I bought contain those pictures. I know this is not very creative of me but I wouldn’t want to spend too much time thinking about themes. Besides, I’m quite sure Daniel doesn’t mind at all.

img_9421

Dinner comprised pan-fried salmon, a stir-fried broccoli dish, baked honey mustard chicken wings, seaweed chicken bites, soy sauce braised pork belly dish and fishball, meatball soup. So happy that they were all wiped out or was it because I didn’t prepare sufficiently? Geez…

img_9605

The dessert table was set up after dinner. Okay, my family was like ‘whatever, we just want dessert’; they didn’t really care about aesthetics. However, they graciously allowed me to do my thing and I promptly did so while trying to avoid their what-are-you-doing look.

img_1225-2

img_1237

img_9624

img_9621

img_9626

img_9434

img_9557

And so, there you have it – Daniel’s first birthday celebration. I have created some memories for the children! Yay! I did have fun designing and coming up with the simple dessert table. Maybe I could do something for Faith’s birthday as well?

Hmm, that will depend on whether I have the time and energy then. ;p

P.S. A special thanks to my sister who helped me capture the memories using the Canon EOS M10.

Back to running

October marched in very swiftly. Within the first two days, we have celebrated Daniel’s birthday with our respective families. This month signals the end of the dreaded (in my opinion) first year and promises fun, and pain, for the years to come. It could be fun because I no longer have to breastfeed and feeding the boy is more convenient now. I’m definitely looking forward to more ‘exercises’ with him since he is more mobile now.

Speaking of exercise, ads, especially running ones, set my heart into flutters. Over the weekend, the hubs and I went to collect our race pack for the Salomon X-trail run and while in the queue, what was screened on the TV drew my attention.

I went back and googled the videos that I have watched.

Inspired.

I need to go back to running regularly. When Dan was younger, I gave the excuse that he needed to be breastfed and thus running outdoors with him could be a chore (how to breastfeed him if he suddenly decided to drink?). I love running. I love the scenery that greets my eyes. I love the wind that brushes against my face. I love the moments that I could think and talk to God.

While I know that things would not be the same as before, I can surely adjust my expectations and pace. I’m all for the family to join me in this journey and hopefully pass the love for running to my preschool-going girl.

It’s time.

Let’s get my running gear out and start moving!

Nudge me, won’t you?

Friday flips | Learn Chinese Books – Shapes

I’ll go straight to the point. I love this set of Learn Chinese Books.

I stumbled upon this series of books during a book fair. The lady who recommended them first introduced Taoshu Learn Chinese Books and then shared with me this set of books that is based on ‘SHAPES’, an animated TV series produced by Peach Blossom Media. Squares, circles and other basic shapes are used to retell famous folktales with humour and wit. I thought the graphics were interesting and might spark off some creativity in Faith and bought volume 1 whose stories centre around friendship and kindness.

img_9248  img_9250

We went home and started reading. The story was so interesting that the girl asked to read another book. Before we knew it, we have read all six titles in one go.

Thankfully, our local libraries carry these titles and the kiasu me borrowed what I could find for volume 2 and 3.

img_9256

What I like about these books:

img_9257

I can try my best to articulate and speak properly in Mandarin but in terms of word recognition, I fail. I could still remember the basic words though but anything more than that, I would have to look up the dictionary for its pronunciation and meaning. I always welcome hanyu pinyin and these books have included hanyu pinyin for the more difficult words and phrases.

img_9260

And if you are one of those who really cannot make it in terms of reading Chinese, they provide hanyu pinyin for the entire story!

img_9259

Don’t understand what you are reading? Fret not, there’s the English translation for you! Faith got me to read the English version after reading the text in Chinese.

img_9258

What I like about these books is that there is a moral to be learnt for each story.

So yea, do look up these books when you are at the library and I’m sure you will enjoy reading them to your kids too!

Linking up with

Growing with the Tans Friday Flips

Wordless Wednesday | Birthday preparation


I will be busy this week. We have decided to celebrate Dan’s birthday this weekend. Since I have some party decor which I have bought in Melbourne, I’ve decided to do up a mini dessert table and to invite my family over for dinner.

The hubs and I are not huge on birthday party. I mean, after all, will the 1YO know anything? However, I am reminded that we should make effort to create memories for them so even if the children might not remember much about the event, at least there will be photos which they could refer to in the future?

All right then. This lazy mom had better buck up and do something about birthdays.

Friday Flips | A is for Australia & Are We There Yet? 

It has always been a practice, that when I travel, I would purchase a (Chinese or English) book from that country and read it when I am on the plane, train, bus or taking a break in the hotel room or cafe. It is no surprise then that I bought books from the recent Melbourne trip but nope, this time round, they weren’t solely for my consumption but for my kids as well.

img_8959

Sharing two awesome Children’s books about Down Under – A is for Australia & Are we there yet?

I’m not sure if we could purchase them from the local bookstores or borrow them from the libraries. Last I check, they weren’t available from the libraries so I made it a point to hunt down these books after I saw an Australian Instagrammer sharing one of them.

img_8954

A is for Australia by Frane Lessac is a factual book about the country and we could explore the A to Z of it – from Bondi to Kakadu all the way to Taronga Zoo. I admit I do not know much about Australia and this book gives a summary of the wonderful places that can be found in this beautiful country.

Did you know that….

img_8956

img_8957

img_8958

Faith and I are exploring the different countries in the world (part of our Geography homelearning curriculum) and I thought these two books will help in giving her more facts and knowledge about the country.

img_8955

This book is  slightly easier to read but also contains facts about the country. Faith loves to play ‘I-spy’ and I thought this is a great book to bring along when we are on the go. I love the illustration too!

img_8951

This page is certainly something she could relate to.

img_8952

img_8953

I bought these two books from the souvenir shop at the Melbourne Museum. There are lots more wonderful books found in there but I could only afford to bring these two back. If you have interesting books on the various countries, please share? I would love to read them to Faith!

Linking up with
Growing with the Tans Friday Flips

A Dorayaki Afternoon

Faith and I share a love for all things red bean. If you are to ask her what bread she would like, she would answer, “Red bean bread.” Yup, we could have such a bread for days and won’t grow tired of it. Then I introduced Dorayaki to her and it was an instant hit with her. I can’t keep purchasing it because it’s a bit on the expensive side. The next best thing I could do is to make it ourselves.

img_8938

I have an ulterior motive too in making the dorayaki. I have recently bought a smaller-sized pan from GREENPAN so that I could teach Faith to cook eggs and pancakes with it. And I wanted Faith to make her own dorayaki. The batter is easy to make and you can make life easier for yourself if you use store-purchased red bean paste.

img_8894

This is the one I used and can be bought from Japanese supermarkets. I dug out a dorayaki recipe that I have posted in 2011 and adjusted based on it.

INGREDIENTS: For 6 pancakes (depending on the size you make)

Pancakes:
Eggs: 2
Sugar: 100 g
Honey: 1+1/2 tablespoons
Extra-virgin oil: 1 tablespoon
Mirin: 1 tablespoon
Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda): 1/3 teaspoon
Flour: 150 g
Water: 40~60 ml

Extra-virgin oil for cooking
sweetened red bean

:: In a bowl, use a hand whisk and beat the eggs and add the sugar. Mix until the mixture whitens or turns pale yellow. Add the honey and mix until it is completely blended. Add the extra-virgin olive oil and mix. Add bicarbonate sodium and mix. Add mirin and mix. Sift in half of the flour and mix well. Sift and add the other half and mix well.

:: Add water and mix. The amount of water might vary with the kind of flour. I used all purpose flour in this case and used about 50ml of water.

:: Cover the bowl with clingflim and allow the batter to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.

img_8897 img_8903

:: Heat a frypan over a medium fire first and then remove from fire. Lower the heat. Once the frypan has cooled down bring over to the heat again. Wipe it with a kitchen paper soaked with olive oil. Make sure you wipe of excess oil to ensure nice golden colour.

:: Pour pancake mixture into the pan. Bear in mind that the size of the panckes must be the same. The amount, whatever it is must be the same. Choose your ladle/spoon well beforehand!

:: When bubbles appear across the surface, turn the pancake over. The cooking time for the other side is shorter than the first side.

:: Transfer the pancake to a plate and cover it with a damp towel to prevent it from drying.

img_8939

:: Sandwich the sweetened red bean between two pancakes. Put more read bean paste in the middle. If you are not eating it straightaway, clingwrap it until ready to serve.

Some of the steps that the young one can help include cracking of the eggs, whisking of the mixture, pouring of ingredients into the bowl, etc. We can certainly talk about the use of the weighing scale and the different measurements needed in this case.

img_8926  14333047_10153944496859677_4347474815991067377_n

I find this version of the pancake to be on the dense side. I would prefer it to be softer. Perhaps I would try a different type of flour the next time and see if it has any effect on the texture. But still, it’s yummy and the girl gave her thumbs up. Good snack to pack in the lunchbox (though I wouldn’t give it too often. Kekekek..).

img_8940

😉

Melbourne | Puffing Billy

Melbourne Day 2 (Part 1)
Puffing Billy | Yarra Valley Chocolaterie | Costco Wholesale

img_8018 img_8020

It was a slow morning. We woke up late and took our own sweet time to have our breakfast. Faith entertained herself with the box of Lego bricks in the living room of the host and subsequently offered to ‘look after’ the baby in the house. She missed her Papa and little brother and counted down to the day when she could meet them again (though we had barely arrived!).

img_8134

By the time we set off for Belgrave Station, it was past 11am and we reached the station at 12 noon. Drizzling, Faith and I bade goodbye to J and P and dashed off to the ticketing office to purchase the 12.30pm tickets to Emerald which is a 50-minutes ride (see timetable here). Since it was a weekday on a non-holiday, that means it’s quite likely that there would still be available tickets.

img_8029 img_8026

We bought a one-way tix to Emerald since we would be meeting the other two ladies at that station. Once you have purchased the tix, do take time to capture some pictures for memories’ sake!

img_8033

As you can see, there are many tourists taking pics with the steam train. Photo bomb everywhere!

img_1127An obliging girl

img_8031

img_8039

I got the very relunctant Faith to sit with her legs dangling on the side of the carriage and this is perhaps the only time that she did so because shortly after this shot was taken, she asked to get down.

img_1120

All getting ready for the ride!

img_1129

Mandatory mother-daughter shot

img_1130

You can read up the history of the train on the carriage. And with the advice of many travel guides and blogs such as this, we took our seats on the right side of the train.

img_1136

Off we went! Always be prepared to get your camera ready to take some awesome shots. Faith saw the smoke from a train for the first time and that look on her face was truly priceless.

img_1138

Fascinated by the temperate rainforest

img_1159

20 minutes into the ride, she was bored (sigh, young kids!) and asked to go to the toilet. I was exasperated no doubt but quickly remembered that I have got snacks in my bag. Seeing the biscuits, the little girl soon forgot about the urge to pee. So, pls remember to pack snacks in your bag at all times when you are on the go. ;p

img_1146

First stop – Menzies Creek – and we got down to take some pics (what else?). You could visit the toilet but the train only stops for 5 minutes and I reckoned we wouldn’t make it in time and abandoned the idea.

img_1148

img_1142

We continued with our journey…

img_1166

We’ve reached! And like most enthusiastic tourists, I wanted to take pics of the train and asked the girl to pose in front of it. She, was NOT interested. Grrrr..

img_8089

Reached and we visited the toilet. We took our own sweet time, only to realise that the train master was waiting for us. How nice of him. When he realised we would not be continuing the journey, he just exclaimed a “Oh!” and moved on.

We met up with the ladies and checked into a cafe for our lunch before moving on to Yarra Valley Chocolaterie.

Salomon X-Trail Run – An invitation

I think it’s time to challenge myself. After having participated in a few 5km runs this year, it’s time to progress to the next level – 10km. Thus far, I have been satisfied with my fitness level but there is always this hope that I could return to my pre-pregnancy state. I even toy with the possibility of running a half-marathon this year end but let’s just take a step at a time.

salomon

This will be my first time participating in the annual Salomon X-Trail Run which incorporates hills, slopes and gravel at Punggol. To be honest, such a terrain is not my cup of tea but I can certainly challenge myself, can’t I? Perhaps, I could find it more fun than merely running on the tracks? This time round, I’ll also be inviting the hubs to participate in this run with me because the timing is perfect for us – 4pm. This means we could get someone to look after the kids while we have couple time.😉 If the run is set in the early morning, it would be highly difficult for both of us to run together so we must grab this chance! Join us?

Just a little background about the brand. Salomon was founded in 1947 in the heart of the French Alps. Since then, the brand has been creating innovative products to enhance the performance of athletes. Salomon supports trail-running worldwide, from elite-level races to grassroots events. The first Salomon Branded Store in Singapore opened at Velocity @ Novena Square and displays an array of high performance attire and footwear, specifically catered for trail running. So if any one of you are into trail running, you might want to check out its products.

 

The details of the Salmon X-Trail Run, a 10km run, is as follows:
Date: 8 October 2016  (Saturday)
Venue: 50 Punggol East, Parade Square, Singapore 828826
Flag off : 4pm

 

Registration can be done via this link and ends on 28 September 2016.

All participants are entitled to a finisher’s medal, an event t-shirt and a Salomon shoe bag. The race fee is priced at $60 per person, $55 for World of Sports members.

VGO X Trail Running Tee 2016_1

Salomon ShoeBag_Special Order

Race pack collection will be on 1 Oct 2016, Saturday, at Salomon (#01-53), Kallang Wave Mall from 11am-9pm.

It’ll be about 3 more weeks before the race. Hopefully we will be able to throw in some good mileage before the run. No stress really. What’s more important is that we enjoy the training process and get our fitness back through this.

Disclaimer: I was sponsored with a complimentary fee for the Salomon X-Trail Run in exchange for social media posts on the event. The hubs has to pay for his own fee for the race. Images and information pertaining to the run are provided by Salomon and VGO Corporation Limited. No monetary compensation was received and all opinions are as usual, my own.

Melbourne | Chesterfield Farm

Melbourne 2016
1st day | Chesterfield Farm

Our flight was at 1.20am. Not a very ideal timing I must say. I was worried that the girl would be cranky with lack of sleep. Thankfully she slept a few hours before we headed to the airport and slept on the plane for a good few hours. As anticipated, she got bored along the way and I had to take out the Usborne sticker book and get her to work on it. The book is on airport and I chose it so that she could connect her experience with the task at hand.

img_7892

We cleared the custom at Melbourne airport rather quickly and by the time we settled some stuff, it was past noon. Chesterfield Farm was on my itinerary and we only realised that it closes at 3pm then. We wasted no time and Pauline, my host, sent me to the farm. This farm was recommended by Jenn and boy, was I glad that I chose to visit it.

img_1099

This is the sight that greeted us when we arrived and to be honest, I wasn’t impressed. However, once you go in through the cafe cum ticketing counter, you will realise that the farm is big!

img_8550Map of the farm

There is a list of things to do on the farm -tractor rides, shearing of sheep, milking of cow, feeding of the animals, etc – and one could devote a few hours visiting it. There are specific timings of course so it would be good to read up a little on its website. Faith and I had only one hour in the farm but we were really thrilled by the farm animals.

img_1019Pigs and piglets

img_1030Sheep

img_1033
Cows

img_1050
Camel!!!

img_1048
Goats

The girl was truly fascinated by the kangaroo. The mom too!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This space is truly big, quite different from Collingwood Children’s Farm and it has a bigger range of farm animals, much to our delight. Because we had only one hour before the farm closed for the day, we had to literally race through the various sections. We didn’t even purchase any feed for the animals; I thought it would be a good experience for the kiddo. I think one could possibly spend a good 2 to 3 hours on the farm.

It was a wonderful experience for both of us and we love the close encounter that we could have with the animals. Worth a visit!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Faith has often read about farm animals and that day, the animals came alive and you should have seen her excitement and fascination with them.

img_7955

We had a wonderful mother-and-daughter bonding time too as we talked about the farm animals and taking turns to take pictures of them. It pays to bring along a good camera to capture all those beautiful memories and I’m glad to be equipped with Canon’s EOS M10 during this trip.

img_8551
Next stop, Puffing Billy & the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie!