August bakes

I didn’t expect to bake, for others, because I was really tied down by the kids. However, one fine day, a friend asked me if I could bake her daughter a birthday cake since the baker she wanted to engage was not available. It was a chiffon creative cake, one of those cakes that I don’t often bake. I like challenges once in a while and I thought why not try?

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Chiffon cakes turn out to be easier to bake and once you have the right tools, decorating it can be fuss-free too. This is my first nicer creation because I have the available tools and cutters.

You do need to plan the colours that you need beforehand and bake them. After that, it’s really just cut and paste.

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This is an Elmo lychee chiffon cake. Again, once you have the cutters, it’s an easy job.

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This is the cake requested by her. It took a while to complete this cake because the decorations are 3D in nature and that means I would have to sculpt them. There was also some problem with the recipe and in the end, I had to rebake the pandan chiffon base. Just look at the different colours that you need for this cake!

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With the first request came other similar requests for Chiffon creative cakes and I had one new order for this Mickey Mouse cake. Again, I have the cutters so it made life a tad easier for me.

Get the idea?

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One of those days, I baked the charcoal chiffon cake to munch.

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The last cake has to be this rainbow buttercream cake with the fondant Care Bears figurines. It’s back to doing what I like (figurines) but I seem to have lost the touch for making buttercream cakes. Anyway, this cake makes the recipient very happy and that’s good enough.

That’s it. That’s the round up for my August cakes!

[Review & Giveaway] Baby Cadet class @Sparkanauts

Daniel completed his four sessions at the Baby Cadet class at Sparkanauts and it’s a joy to know that he has been responding well to the class. Read about his first session here.

Since the second lesson, he didn’t need time to warm up to the teachers and could confidently played with them before the actual lesson began. Perhaps it’s due to the presence of his sister (who was allowed to be in the class as well) but it is heart-warming to know that he’s so comfortable with the teachers.

Over these few sessions, I have observed that Dan really paid attention when words were flashed at him. He could concentrate for that short amount of time and it’s certainly a good start to learning words. At home, I used the parent-child bonding package (which they send via email after each lesson) to further reinforce what he had learnt in class. I may not be seeing instant results now but I know he is constantly learning and I need to keep up! So I’m thankful to be provided with the resources to teach him.

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Besides intellectual stimulation, there is this portion of the body strengthening segment which I like. Daniel could always stay on the trapeze for the required amount of time but when it comes to his stamina, he would have to work at it.

This boy couldn’t crawl long and would often give up halfway through although with each lesson, he crawled a longer distance. He had not gotten the hang of getting up and down the steps and slopes so by observing him in class, it serves as a form of feedback to me. I could then help him in his weak areas. Here, you can see the sister encouraging him to continue crawling.

Besides working on their gross motor skills, the kiddos also got to practise their fine motor skills! In this instance, Dan got to feel the texture of the materials for his Singapore flag.

There is also the music appreciation component in the class! Okay, so I absolutely ‘cannot-make-it’ in terms of music so I’m glad that I could learn together with him!😉

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We have been missing the class for two weeks now but each time when I sing the welcome song (sung at the beginning of the lesson) to him, he would look at me, flash me a smile and automatically raise his hand, a practice that the babies do in class. I know he has benefited from the lessons and I can safely say that for myself too. From the class, I learnt about some of the exercises and tips that I could do with him to help in his overall development. Consistency is key, of course, and I can’t wait for him to continue with the class. It is truly holistic in nature which I like!

This is random but this is Faith with her teacher when she was attending the class as a 1YO. Now they meet again!

[Giveaway] If you are thinking about trying out Sparkanauts classes, here is a wonderful opportunity to do so. Sparkanauts is giving away a trial class pass for THREE readers. You can then go through the lesson for yourself (together with your child, of course) and decide if you want to continue with them. Sounds good?

What you need to do is to share with me the age of the child whom you want to win the trial class for via the comment’s section in this blog post. Remember to leave your email address!

– 3 winners will be chosen at random
– Giveaway is only open to Singapore residents.
– Ends on 3 September 2016
– The winners will be announced on this blog post and on Raising Faith’s facebook page the following day and will be contacted by Sparkanauts directly.

Sparkanauts

www.sparkanauts.com | FB https://www.facebook.com/Sparkanauts
293 Lorong 6 Toa Payoh, SAFRA Toa Payoh, #02-01, Singapore 319387
T: (65) 6259 0307
Operating Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 9am to 5pm

Disclosure: Daniel is given a four sessions package by Sparkanauts for review purposes. No other compensation was received and all opinions are my own.

 

Panda cookies

The other day I was at Isetan Scotts and saw a whole array of Bento tools and cookie cutters and I couldn’t help but purchase some of them. One of the sets that I bought was the panda cookie cutters and I thought I should experiment with using it before I get Faith to work on it.

This set comes with the explanatory notes but they are in nihon-go!! Thankfully, the pictures are easy to follow and understand. So I used my usual butter cookie recipe and did up a batch of these cute cookies.

Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (you may add other extract if you desire)
1 tsp charcoal powder

1. Sift the flour and salt together. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine the butter and icing sugar and beat on medium speed until smooth. Add the  vanilla extract and beat on low speed until well blended. Add the dry ingredients and beat until the dough comes together in large clumps (midway through, I gave up and used hands instead as the dough stuck to my mixer).
3. Press the dough together into a ball and divide it into half. Add the charcoal powder to one of them and knead into a ball.
4.Place each dough between two sheets of parchment paper and with a rolling pin, roll out the dough about 6mm thick. Place them in the refrigerator for about 40 minutes to firm up. I place mine in the freezer.

5. Working with the charcoal dough first, use the black cutter to cut out the base of the panda. Place them on the parchment paper/ silpat in the baking sheet. Return to the refrigerator.

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6. Next, bring out the normal dough and cut out the other details. This part is a bit tricky. I find that when I press the cutters too hard for the eyes and nose, they will crack. So I compress the cutter slightly onto the dough and use toothpick to carve out the eyes.

After that, cut out the head and place it on the body. You have to do it quick since the dough softens fast.

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Meanwhile, preheat oven to 170C.

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They take a long time to do and I think it’s not suitable for Faith to work on; I will get exasperated! So bake for about 12 – 15 minutes depending on your oven.

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Ta-da! There’s definitely room for improvement but I will have to wait till the kids aren’t around when I make these again. I was babywearing Dan while making these so the quality is not that good.

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Dan wants his share too!

Happy Tuesday!

That magical night

Daniel turned 10 months old last week but I was too tired to record anything concerning him then.

For 10 months, I was sleep deprived. As a newborn, he woke up every 3 hours and we thought his sleep pattern would change for the better as he grew older. But we were kidding ourselves. We didn’t sleep train him since we didn’t want the sister to be interrupted in her sleep. Every night, da man would do night duty but I also gave him the comfort suck that he wanted, thereby creating this habit of having me to soothe himself back to sleep. This persisted for months and the past couple of months had been terrible with him waking up every 2 hours, then 1 hour and towards the end of September, every half an hour. Both da man and I were near fatigue and in the end, we decided to do something about it because if nothing was done to improve the situation, our health, both physical and mental,  will deteriorate.

We kept the cot and lay the mattresses on the floor. Co-sleeping? Yes. As suggested by the man in the family, I was to bring Faith to my mom’s and stay overnight. He would be with Daniel to let him learn to soothe himself to sleep.

That was last Saturday. I lay on the bed at my mom’s, wondering how Dan was doing. Would he be hungry? Would he need me? Would da man be too frustrated with him? There was no return message from him that night and I was worried. Faith was fast asleep, thank God for this ability to sleep anywhere.

The next morning, we returned and da man, upon seeing us enter the house, exclaimed,”Yay, we are alive!”

Jokes aside, all was well indeed. Dan just needed to pat himself back to sleep and the next few nights, it was really blissful. Da man turned in with him at night and I could use whatever time that was left to do some reading or work with Faith.

Huh? Just like that? So easy? I should have done so earlier! But I tend to think this is timely because he has had experienced enough discomfort during these few months of teething to overcome any similar-type of pain. He has eight teeth now for the record.

His appetite returned and increased in leaps and bounds. From mere breastmilk, now he needs more solids to fill his stomach. He’s no longer a picky eater and all these changed in just this week!

Honestly, if I could do it all over again, I would adopt what Maria Montessori advocated. Please do read up for yourself if you are interested. I would still be using the Montessori method in bringing Dan and Faith up. I’m not a purist though.


Now that I could sleep 5 hours in one shot which is truly a luxury, I could appreciate what this wonderful Makura Health and Neck Support pillow does to me. I woke up refreshed and ready to meet the demands of the day.

Because both he and I have enough rest for the night, we could do more things in the morning when the sister is in school.

On Wednesday, I was in the mood to hang out with him and after dropping Faith in school, packed the hauck Viper and zipped to Gardens by the Bay for a slow morning run.

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For once, life as a SAHM is so attractive. While others are working, I could have the luxury to enjoy these beautiful sights and the lovely orchids in the Flower Dome.

It was also quite coincidental that my friend had taken leave from work that day and could meet me for good old local-styled breakfast at the gardens.

Ok, I need to mention that this is really rare and that’s why I am recording it. But after 10 months, I could almost see the light at the end of the tunnel! So much joy! I’m waiting for the boy to turn 1YO because that’s when things get better (hopefully). It happened to me when Faith turned 1YO so I hope this time round, things would not be drastically different.

After the visit to the Gardens, I could still pop by Pip’s PLAYbox at the Esplanade for Dan to have some stimulation. What a wonderful morning eh? Taking care of young ones can be fun if they cooperate!

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Would you stay this way please?

Thank you, dear friends, for your prayers over Daniel. We truly appreciate it and it’s exciting to see the Lord at work in our lives.

Dan’s first lesson at Sparkanauts

A few weeks ago, Dan started attending the Baby Cadet classes at Sparkanauts and of course, I was thrilled about it. A couple of reasons really. Faith attended the then Gymnademics when she was slightly more than a year old and I know she had benefited from it. So I have had good impression of the classes. Also, I was less adventurous with Dan and we are mostly at home. Granted that we can definitely learn at home but with more household chores to do and a preschooler to teach as well, I do think I have neglected Dan a wee bit. It’s just more difficult to balance now.

So when Dan was invited to attend a few classes at Sparkanuts, I was more than happy. At last, he could learn more stuff! If you have not already known, Sparkanauts is a centre of excellence built on the belief that learning should start early for each child to achieve their full potential and their lessons reflect that belief. Their curriculum combines play and exploration with learning resulting in holistic brain development that is made fun and engaging.

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For the first lesson, we were told to be present at least 15 minutes before the commencement so that he could play and get used to the environment. I was thankful for this arrangement as I know he could take a while to warm up to strangers. The instructors were really patient and gentle with him and it didn’t take him long to trust them.

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Within ten minutes, Dan had warmed up and was happily interacting with the instructor. How nice!

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The class started with a welcome song and introduction of words based on a theme. Besides these, music, mobility and mathematics are also part of the curriculum as they stimulate the baby’s mind, thus creating the learning foundation for their developmental journey.

First time on the trapeze bar (which helps strengthens the fine muscle tones like hands and fingers) and stayed on it for the required period of time. I was so proud of him!

At the end of the session, the main instructor briefed the parents on what we could look out for to help our kids in terms of their physical mobility so that we could continue to work on it at home. We also received the Child Bonding Package which includes materials that we could go through with Dan for the week to reinforce his learning.

So the first lesson went well!

Stay tuned for the round up of the four sessions next week and I will also be conducting a giveaway for a complimentary trial lesson for 3 readers. Next week, next week!

Sparkanauts @ SAFRA Toa Payoh
293 Lorong 6 Toa Payoh
#02-01
Singapore 319387
T: (65) 62590307
Operating Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 9am to 5pm
Website: www.sparkanauts.com
FB: https://www.facebook.com/Sparkanauts/

 

DNC : SpongeBob run

DNC means Did Not Compete & Complete in this case. I was looking forward to have a good family run at Sentosa but it didn’t turn out the way I envisioned it to be.


I assure you that we set off for the race with much anticipation. We were all smiles especially Faith. Alas….

For those of you who have signed up and completed the race, I could only envy. But the fact is the walk to the starting point from the carpark was a tad long and by the time we reached the carnival, the girl was complaining of tiredness. To add to that, she did not like to walk on sand and was whining the whole time, thus exasperating me.


It was overcast as well and half the time, the hubs and I were contemplating if we should head back lest it poured. We didn’t want the kids to fall sick as a result of being caught in the rain and in the end, decided that we should just head back.


It was really crowded at the actual scene. I think if I was to come with friends, I would have enjoyed it, never mind the sand which is a terrain I’m not keen to run on. There were so many opportunities for good pictures to be captured but we only managed these two.



I think I’m too ambitious. Faith is not ready for a long distance run (what was I thinking???) and the most she could do is perhaps those ‘quick dash’ or 800m run. I must also make sure that it’s concrete road that she will be running the next time I sign her up.


In the end, we went for Bak Kut Teh. Sigh! No output but input. Oh well…

Stamping Ground Coffee

One of the perks of being a SAHM is to be able to have brunch with fellow moms during the weekdays and more often than not, you won’t meet with a crowd. Of course, if you can get someone to help mind the baby for just a short period of time, it would really be an awesome ME time activity.

A few days ago, I checked out the Stamping Ground Coffee along Upper East Coast Road and was totally mesmerized by the interior. What a relaxing place! I just love everything about the decor!

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Since it was a weekday, there were only a few customers and I felt totally at ease with Daniel.

Soon, my mommy friends arrived and we had a heart-to-heart talk about things that matter to us. It was really serene and I would recommend this place!

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I had my usual cafe latte and since we met for brunch, we had a go at their food.

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I must say it’s satisfying!

The other side of the cafe houses a beautiful space where floral arrangement and jamming could be conducted – Dawn Q Floral Design. It’s such an inviting space! I must find time to have a floral jamming session, just for the fun of it!

Definitely going back for more. Grab a book or something. It’s a place for retreat!

Stamping Ground Coffee
87 Upper East Coast Road
Singapore 455223

Run with peace of mind

We are days away from the upcoming Spongebob run in which we would participate as a family. I’m a bit apprehensive because I know that the girl wouldn’t last that distance – 5km – and we are ready to get her to hop onto the Hauck Viper stroller while I carry the boy in the carrier.


I thought I should just take advantage of the Customer Care Program that comes with the purchase of any Hauck product.

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So we went down to the showroom last week to get the stroller checked and serviced. Now, we can certainly run with peace of mind. Hopefully, the weather would be awesome!

😉

An invitation to you

Hello, dear readers, mummies friends, friends,

If you have been following this blog for a while, you will know that I am one of the ambassadors for Active Hive. I would like to invite you to a cozy session in which we could just chat about life as a mom/ woman, our kids and leading a healthy lifestyle. I would be baking some sweet treats ( it’s ok to indulge once in a while!) to serve you!

Besides the desserts, you will be treated to a complimentary body composition analysis and to try out the Minus Calories workout which really helps me in my exercise regime. The timing states from 2pm to 6pm but that is to accommodate the trying out of the Minus Calories workout. I understand many of us are pressed for time so I thought I should make this clear.😉

If you are free, do join me! ME time!!

RSVP here.

 

 

Keeping fit with Mizuno

I’m not a professional runner but I have been running (leisurely) for more than two decades to know that running in a right pair of shoes is important. How does one know which pair of shoes to purchase then? You can certainly ask the salesperson in the sports store for advice and recommendation, assuming they are seasoned runners themselves or you can have a reliable diagnosis using the gait analysis or foot mapping. Through this method, you can understand the level of your pronation and find the right running shoes for yourself.

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I have always been running using Asics because it gives me the best comfort among the shoes that I have tried. Mizuno? Nope. I’m not sure why I have not tried running in one but recently I had the opportunity to try their products (due to a sponsorship) at the store in Velocity Novena Square.

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So many different pairs of running shoes. Which one to choose? As a vain lady, I would want to go for neat designs but being also a practical person, I know full well that choosing the right pair that works for me is still the wiser thing to do.

I did the next best thing – I went to bother the salesperson, for a long period of time. You can’t blame me. I had incurred an injury before because I had run with a wrong pair of shoes and excessive mileage. In the end, I had to fork out more time and $$ to consult a podiatrist and undergo physiotherapy sessions. So, each time I buy a new pair of running shoes, I make sure I do a good job in choosing the right one.

At Mizuno, I went through the 360 degrees foot scan to assist me in finding the right type of shoes for my feet. So even if I like a particular design, I won’t go for it since the pair is not the right one for me.

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I spent one and a half hours (is that long or short for you?) choosing the apparel and shoes and was thankful that the lady who served me was patient and understanding.

 

I have since run two short-distance races with the Mizuno products and am happy with their quality. Am going to sign up for a longer distance next and let’s just see if the shoes will continue to work for me.😉

If you are choosing a new pair of running shoes, try the foot scan at Mizuno at Velocity Novena Square or Running Lab where I used to do the analysis.

Happy exercising!

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Disclaimer: As an ambassador for Active Hive, I was sponsored with Mizuno sports gear. Thank you, World of Sports and Active Hive for the sponsorship. No other forms of monetary compensation was given and all opinions are mine.

Shape Run 2016

I returned to do the Shape Run after a 3-year hiatus. The last one was a stroller run with Faith and it feels good to be back participating in this all-women run. I wasn’t ambitious and thought a 5km run would suit me just fine. I have to be realistic and kind to my knees. Until and unless I have sufficient time to chalk up some mileage, I wouldn’t dare to run a longer distance.

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Race day. The sky was overcast and I thought it would rain. The 5km category was the second last to be flagged off and man, were there a lot of ‘green’! But I love the location – Bayfront – since it’s just right ahead of the MRT station.

Note to self: Park at Dakota/ Mountbatten/ Stadium and take a train ride.

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My buddy and I. I wanted to run with a fellow mom so that we can encourage each other. to be honest, it’s really very tough to meet up to train together. So far, we have only met once! But still, it’s better than nothing!

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Go, go, go!

I love this run because the weather was perfect (not too hot) and the scenery, beautiful. And I absolutely adore women’s run because the runners were so polite and encouraging to one another. No shoving, no show-offs. But if you eavesdropped along the way, you would realise that there were a lot of mothers who were chatting about their kids. haha..

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Being a popular run, there was quite a fair bit of bottleneck in the beginning which slowed down the pace. The lane was narrow to be honest so it took a bit of effort to meander in and out of runners. Because I didn’t ‘chiong’ all the way, I was able to run strong and really sprinted towards the end.

35 min 13s later, I was back. Would love to come in sub 30 but it’s okay.

My running buddy completed her run well too. I’m so proud of her considering the fact that we didn’t train much and only depended on the minus calories for our training. The weather for the past few weeks had been erratic and thankfully, we could throw in a bit of indoor training using the machine.

img_4210That’s me, doing a last-minute training before the race day.

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Along the way, we saw this sole. Running in a good pair of shoes is important, especially if you are running a long distance one. I have incurred an injury before because I have chosen a wrong pair to run in and I have learnt my lesson since then.

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These are our choice – Hoka One One for my friend and Mizuno for yours truly.

I think I’m ready for a longer distance now.😉

Shopping at Agape babies

If you are one who likes to shop online and browses the many items on the web, you will enjoy shopping at Agape Babies. The online store has recently launched their new and redesigned website to give shoppers an even better experience on the mobile phones. Its optimized site looks and feels like an app and you can enjoy one-step checkout and one-click sign in for a faster experience.

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Agape Babies has also expanded their brand and product selection to include popular brands like Jujube! They are now carrying over 250 brands and 6000 products in over 10 categories. This means that you would probably find the items that you want at this online store. Moreover, you can also enjoy exclusive Weekly Deals every Wednesday!

Since Faith was about to start her swimming lessons, I went to shop for a waterproof bag for her and found one that might suit her. Initially, I had wanted to purchase at the physical retail stores but thankfully, I remembered that there are online stores that give good discount and the collaboration with Agape Babies couldn’t be more timely. Besides enjoying the offer, the delivery was fast too so it is really an incentive to shop at Agape Babies in this instance.

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Proud owner of the Trunki PaddlePak

If you are absolutely new to Agape Babies, you will be pleased to know that first time customers can get even more with $10 OFF. They get to choose their free gift – Mustela Trial Kit (worht $10) or Bellamy Milk Tin ($25.95) and a next day delivery on their first purchase of $150 or more. Do look for their current promotion here for more savings!

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Besides the option of having the goods delivered to your place, you can now choose to self collect from three convenient locations – Newton, Sengkang and Old Airport Road.

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So, yea, if you don’t have time to shop onsite, you will find that it’s a better option to shop online with Agape Babies.

I’m happy to share that Agape Babies is offering Raising Faith’s readers a 5% discount! All you need to do is to quote raisingfaith5% upon checkout. This discount is valid for 3 weeks (22 July to 12 August 2016) and the code excludes jujube (sad!), milk, diapers, wipes, medela breastpumps, sale and clearance categories.

Disclaimer: I was gifted shopping credits from Agape Babies to purchase the mentioned products and I topped up for the remaining amount. No additional monetary compensation was given and I do not stand to gain any commission from sales using the discount code given. All opinions are mine.

#DIAL (Observation for HFMD)

It’s a usual Wednesday. My day started the moment da man stepped out of the apartment. The girl woke up and the boy stirred in the bed. It was 6am.

It’s the usual routine of getting the girl ready for school. But today, she was denied entry because there were some red spots on her palms and the school staff members decided that I should bring her home to monitor her development for the rest of the day. The school has three confirmed HFMD cases and it is understandable that vigilance is needed.

Oh well….it’s a homeschooling day for us then (I use this term loosely here). Here’s a record of such a day, a Day In A Life of a SAHM whose kid needs to stay at home. Please be warned that this is also a photo-dumping post.

9am. We reached home. The girl was not going to bum around because the mom had put on her teacher mode and hat on. First up is phonics and I’m using Jolly Phonics to teach her.

M: Why is your donkey so colourful?
F: 因为我喜欢五颜六色。

9.30am Practise writing 1 – 10. It’s a pain to teach when the brother was around because he wanted to be involved in the learning process. I’m sorry dude. I can only handle one of you at a time. 

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On normal days, I would be spending time reading and working on the muscles of the boy but today, he just had to learn together with the sister.

9.45am Faith had completed her numbers and wants to do cutting. Whatever. I have a cranky baby who needs to nap but he is struggling to stay awake.

She continued with pretend play while I put Dan in the cot. He had fallen asleep. I guess he’s just too tired.

10.05am Morning snack – strawberries

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Soon after, we baked madeleines. It’s a very good activity to share with the girl and she would definitely oblige because she liked them.

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The madeleines didn’t turn out to be to be picture perfect. I was rushing because I know the boy would wake up 30 minutes later.

10.45am The boy was up and I started steaming sweet potato because I wanted the girl to relate to the book which we have read earlier. And of course, to have a taste of the root vegetable.

11am I took out my secret weapon – Duplo – which we have acquired very recently at a very decent price. They are second hand but worked absolutely fine for us. While they played, I continued to wash the dishes. How I wish I have a dishwasher in times like this.

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11.30am Lunch was this set. Don’t judge please. It’s the best I could provide at this point in time. I wanted Dan to have a taste of the sweet potato too and he liked to disturb the sister during meal times.

12pm. Chinese.

6 months ago, I started getting her to recognise Chinese characters, first by flashing the cards and then subsequently reading text. Now she can read on her own.

Seven readers today. Her reading in Chinese is definitely much stronger than English. Time to step up on her English language!

12.30pm I wanted to get the girl to watch some TV programme but the boy would plaster himself to it. How???

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Have to keep carrying him away. I’ve my fair share of workout already.

12.50pm We continued with the study of the fruit of the spirit. Today we touched on self control.

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1.30pm Thankful for FIL who came to look after the kids. I wanted to cancel today’s minus calories workout but decided to just go ahead because the kids would be napping during this time anyway and FIL would not be overly taxed.

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I have given up a few things in life for the family/kids but I’m not willing to give up running/exercising which is a pleasure to me. Keeping fit and sane is important to me!

3.15pm Went to the library to borrow books for the children. Reckoned that the kids would still be napping so there is no real need to go back so soon. I wish I could spend more time to select books for the kids but I have to make do with whatever time that I have.

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 Borrowed a lot of books. I think I should bring a trolley along the next time.

4.15pm When I reached home, the kids suddenly awoke from their nap.It always happens this way. I have no idea why. It’s rather magical.

Asked FIL to stay for dinner and so I could cook in peace while he reads to the children.

Best arrangement.

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5.45pm
Dinner… It’s still a long way to go before I could take a break!!! Arghhhh. The boy was getting cranky. Too tired.
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I’m getting tired. I’ve mopped the floor four times already in the day. It’s time that you help out!
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7pm While I showered, the man spent time with the kids.
7.45pm Dan slept. The man left for a meeting in church and it’s the girl and I.

We spent time reading the books I borrowed from the library and after we read this ‘Katie Takes a Plane’, I decided that it was time that we take out the map and learn a little of the world we live in.

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8.30pm  It’s sticker book time! A routine before we turn in for the day.

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Good night.

I realised I truly enjoy teaching Faith and toy with the idea of homeschooling her. There are so many things that we can learn together. If she does not have to stay at home today, we would have gone to the museum, the park where she could skate-scoot or to the seaside to have a mini picnic. Each day, after she comes back from school and has her nap, I’m only left with an hour or two to teach her. Time is not on our side, really.

Kids grow up too fast!

Family Day Out @ City Square Mall 

[Media invite]

Thinking of places to dine? Why not head to City Square Mall, especially during this month (July) as it welcomes back the always popular Food Festival. This year, City Square Mall’s Food Festival 2016 will tantalise foodies with new restaurant openings, exciting F&B promotions and attractive gifts with purchase including mall vouchers and exclusive canvas tote bags. Besides the food, the mall offers a slew of fun activities and facilities for the kids too. Truly a family-friendly mall, I say!

13557816_10156918605900478_8486180769404040063_nWith courtesy of City Square Mall.

I won’t beat about the bush but these $9.90 weekday lunch deals are so attractive. Just look at the eleven lunch sets –  you are spoilt for choices! And if you are driving there, I believe you will be pleased to know that there is complimentary weekday parking worth $3, in addition to free weekday lunchtime parking for the first one and a half hour between 12 and 2pm (exclude public holidays), with minimum $60 spent. More information can be found on their website. #goodthingsmustshare

Food aside, City Square Mall is truly a place where families could hang out the whole day! I’ll tell you why.

Our family was invited to a Family Day Out at City Square Mall last week and it was indeed a fun-filled one, not forgetting the filling of the stomach of course.

 

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The kids had their share of fun at The Petite Park. We usually don’t frequent indoor playgrounds so you could imagine their joy when the Queklings were told to explore this space for a good one hour. Their eyes lit up!

So I thought Dan would not be suitable to play in there but no, he had his playtime too!

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We were famished after that one hour of playtime and we proceeded to Watami Japanese Casual Restaurant. I’m one happy lady because Japanese cuisine will, more often than not, be my first choice when it comes to dining out.

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This Pork Cutlet with Scrambled Egg Sauce Set is one of the $9.90 weekday lunch sets and is truly satisfying.

We were also treated to the Wafu pizza, meat skewers and salad while Faith had her Junior’s Sushi Set. All were so good (okay, I’m just generally biased towards Japanese cuisine ya?)!

We had such a full lunch that it makes sense for us to do a bit of exercise at its revamped outdoor playground which is located just next to the MRT.

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Alas, it was hot at 1.30pm and while we wished to spend more time at this playground, we had to seek a more cooling environment to rest. Perhaps the next time we come, we will have our go at this outdoor playground first.

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You’ve guessed it! We proceeded to another makan (eating) place soon after and it’s The Manhattan Fish MarketThe Manhattan Fish Market we went!

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For your info, the Grilled Glory Dory Set with soup of the day is one of the $9.90 weekday lunch sets. The rice tastes rather garlicky so if you are a fan of garlic, this is absolutely for you! For me, I love the dory!

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The Manhattan Fish Market has a menu for children too so you don’t have to share with the kids. Kekeke..We were recommended to a very refreshing drink – cala cala – a cooling and citrusy combination of Calamansi with lemon fizzle. It’s an absolutely must-drink!

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The friendly server gifted Faith with a pack of card game – Happy Family. Those of you who are born in my era, do you remember that game? He told us that they are doing their part to encourage family members to play together as opposed to having kids glued to their ipads or phones. Thumbs up for this initiative!

By 3pm, we were exhausted but there are still so many stores available at City Square Mall! Bookstores, apparels, salons… If I had the energy, I would have done my grocery at the supermarket. Oh well!

Thank you, City Square Mall, for your invitation. We truly had a great family day out!

Gluten Free Banana Coconut Bread 

What do you do when you have a bunch of bananas on the kitchen countertop and they look like they needed to be consumed that very day?


Use them in baking! I’ve decided to bake an almost gluten free banana coconut bread with them. I say ‘almost’ because I didn’t have the gluten free baking powder and have to use the normal one.

Ingredients (serves 12)
(Recipe adapted from CocoRoselle)

400g ripe banana
6 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
60ml coconut oil
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp (gluten free) baking powder
70g coconut flour
20g chia seed

Depending on your preference, I added pine nuts into the batter. I also love to add pecan nuts or walnuts for that extra bit of crunch.

:: Preheat oven to 170C

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:: Combine banana, oil, cinnamon, vanilla, eggs and baking powder into a blender or food processor and blend until creamy.


:: Add the coconut flour and chia seeds and mix through.
:: Rest for 10 minutes to allow the chia seeds and coconut flour to expand.
:: Lightly oil one loaf tin and then line with baking paper. I used the silicon one and didn’t have to do that.


:: Spoon batter into the tin. At this stage, you can decorate the bread with flaked coconut or sliced banana before baking.
:: Bake for 50 to 55 minutes. Cover the top with foil if it is over browning. I used a bit more time as I find that the centre part remains moist. Timing varies from oven to oven.

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:: Remove from the oven and allow to cool before turning out the loaf.


So I’m not quite used to consuming gluten free products even though I know it’s supposed to be better for our body. I think I need time to appreciate the taste which is a bit different from the usual banana bread that I made. Faith, however, likes it, much to my surprise.

Won’t you try it and let me know if it suits your tastebuds?

Faith’s first swimming lesson

Before the kids came along, I have decided that if I should send them to any enrichment classes, it would have to be Chinese, music and swimming. Faith started her music lessons at 3YO and Chinese enrichment about three months later. We have been sourcing for a swimming class for her for the longest time and we finally found one (via this link) that suits our timing and budget, all thanks to my resourceful sister!

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Morning: All ready for swim class!

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This scene is so familiar it brings back many fond memories. It is the swimming complex where I learnt how to tread water, used the breast stroke and gobbled the bowl of Mee Siam after each lesson. Now my daughter is going through the same thing, minus the food (no more canteen there!).

She started off in the competition pool and my SIL and I were giggling away as our kids got orientated in the water. Faith was uber attentive to the instructor and did everything that she was asked to do. She wore the apprehensive expression on her face and I was afraid that she might give up halfway.

Thankfully, she was all smiles when she got up for a drink and narrated to us what had happened. Asked if she liked the class, she said YES. Phew!

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So yes, she was in the deep waters for her first lesson. I think learning in a group helps a lot at her age since she will be more inclined to want to swim together with the rest. It’s definitely a good source of motivation!

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I think she did well for her first trial session. We went down as a family to support her. Yes, her brother too. We make it a point to have the siblings encourage each other in their achievement, no matter how small that could be.

Psst. Have you been using your FREE ActiveSG $100 for sports-related activities? Don’t forget to use it!

To bake or not to bake?

A few days ago, I received a WA message from a customer-turned-friend for whom I’ve baked a cake last year. “Are you still baking? I need a cake!”

And I asked myself if it is time for me to revive this passion of mine. Could I do a good enough job for others? With two kids now, it can be rather challenging in terms of the workflow and I want to make sure that the cake pleases more than it frustrates.

So, based on what she wanted, I got down to working on a simple chiffon cake, just for me to know if i could still do a decent job out of it.

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It’s an orange marmalade chiffon cake and I thought I could dress it up as a lion using a piping tip to make its mane. I have used a normal cake pan instead of the tube pan that is used for chiffon cakes.

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To make the eyes and nose, I used a portion of the chiffon batter and added charcoal powder to it.

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Tip 898 – nose
Wilton tip no. 2 – eyes

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And I used a chocolate pen to do up the finishing touches.

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Made a batch of swiss meringue buttercream because it’s less work than the Italian method. Now with two kids, I really ought to make things easier for myself.

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Add some orange colouring to the buttercream to create the type of lion that is often illustrated in storybooks.

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There you have it. Can he pass off as the king of the jungle?

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Moist and light! Perhaps I should start baking for others now and revive #twenty12byjann, just for interest’s sake?

 

Dan @ 9 months old


Dan turns 9 months old today.

:: Can crawl on all fours

:: Is starting to cruise and loves to pull out stuff from the shelves

:: Has five teeth. Loves to nibble on apples and rock melon. Prefers carrots and peas to meat. Still can’t chew and needs puréed food. Can drink from a straw cup.

:: Loves to come into the kitchen when Mama is cooking

:: Will always disturb the sister when Mama is teaching her. Likes playing with her flash cards.

:: Calls ‘mama’ when he is hungry

:: Can’t sleep through the night and will wake up 2 to 3 times for feed. Requires 2 naps per day, one at around 9am, another around 2pm.

 

Charcoal Chiffon Cake

The boy is turning 9 months old and is becoming more independent. Of course he’s been rather active with all the crawling around and pulling out of stuff from the shelves. Still, it’s manageable. The girl is back to school and we have our routines rather established. These days, when I’m in the kitchen, I would deploy the help of the girl to look after her brother and more often than not, she would gladly do so.

So the mind began to wander and I started to wonder if I should go back to baking, to do some freelance work or to start a small online business. I’m not saying that I have a lot of pockets of free time. In fact, I have often been stretched. But I do need to do something else apart from the mundane of household chores and teaching the kids. I need to continue to hone my skills, to be current and to continue to use the language in both spoken and written form to communicate with adults. Being a SAHM for the past four years has reduced my vocabulary by quite a fair bit and I can’t let this go on.

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And I started baking. A chocolate cake. But when I was about to dress it up, the chocolate ganache melted terribly in the heat. That day, the boy suddenly developed fever, a low grade one of 38C and then hit 38.8C in the afternoon. Must be the effect of teething. Throughout the night, his temperature soared and we kept sponging him and resorted to giving him paracetamol in the end.

The girl? She developed a cough and did so through the night.

All my wandering thoughts came to a halt that day. Is this a sign? Is Someone telling me to stay focussed on what I’m doing? 

I have no answer.

Nevertheless, I went on to bake a charcoal chiffon cake because I had promised to bring a cake to a gathering. At least, this turned out awesome, all thanks to the wonderful recipe by Chef Yamashita.

So I’m reminded that in life, there are often no easy answers. However, we can always pray and wait for His directions for us.

That being said, this black beauty is truly worth your time baking. I gave some to my mom and she called the following day and asked me if I had bought or baked it. This is coming from a food critic, mind you.

So, if you need some firm answers in life, bake this cake. This recipe is taken from Chef Yamashita’s cookbook – Tanoshii Ke-Ki.

Charcoal Chffon cake (with slight adaptations from original recipe)

(A)
90g cake flour
3g baking powder
10g charcoal powder

(B)
4 egg yolks
30g castor sugar
40g virgin coconut oil
70g Hokkaido milk

(C) Meringue
5 egg whites
50g castor sugar

:: I used eggs that weigh 55g each
:: I placed the chiffon tin on the lower third of the oven.
:: Charcoal powder can be purchased from Alin Bakery House.

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  1. Preheat the oven to 170C. Prepare a 17-cm chiffon cake tin.
  2. Sift together (A) cake flour, baking powder and charcoal powder. Set aside.
  3. Prepare (B) egg yolk batter. In a large bowl ,beat egg yolks and sugar until mixture is thick and creamy. Add coconut oil gradually while mixing util mixture is smooth. Add milk and mix well. Set aside.
  4. Prepare (C) meringue. Using an electric mixer and a clean, grease-free bowl, whisk egg whites gently until foamy. Gradually add sugar and whisk util firm peaks form.img_1982
  5. Spoon one-third of meringue into egg yolk batter and mix gently with a rubber spatula. Add flour mixture and mix until incorporated. Add remaining meringue and mix well.
  6. Pour batter into chiffon cake tin. Tap tin gently on counter top to release any air bubbles.
  7. Bake for 30 – 40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and invert mould on a wire rack. Let cake cool completely before unmoulding.
  8. Tap sides of mould to release cake.Slice to serve.

Masak Masak 2016

Are we among the few who only got to visit the National Museum’s Masak Masak at the last moment, before school reopened? I was browsing my FB feed and it seemed like many of my mommy friends have already visited.

We made our way down on the last Thursday of the June holidays. It seems almost like a yearly ‘must-visit’ during the Children’s Season and this year is no exception. This year is our third year of Masak Masak. I think there were fewer interactive installations but it’s the year I enjoyed the most, mainly because Faith was at an age when she could explore the stations on her own and be engaged by them.

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Mandatory shot

It’s free admission and the museum opens from 10am so as you would have guessed, we were there at 10am. There weren’t a lot of people then which was great = less chance of queuing to play at the different stations.

The first area that attracted Faith was this space where the kids could colour. I don’t think this is part of Masak Masak but the girl and her older friend spent 20 minutes on it. Maybe she’s into colouring, that’s why.

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Remember Snake & Ladder? I bought one set of this board game for Faith to play at home and when she saw this setup at Let’s Play!, she was excited. According to the website, this space is supposed to depict a magical forest but I couldn’t tell. Hah.

I love the slides though. Whee!! There is supposed to be another board game called Ludo but I didn’t recognise it or perhaps it’s because I don’t know what Ludo is. #ihavenochildhood. I do think board games are good forms of entertainment for the kids. They really do “encourage patience and promote the development of social, communication and motor skills, and impart important life lessons such as overcoming challenges as well as victory and loss.” [Source]

Clumsy Dumpty on the Wall is an interactive installation inspired by the familiar shape sorter play toy that has encouraged bonding and teamwork among generations of children in the past and present.Faith was really into this and concentrated so hard on finding the shapes. But I’m not sure if the older kids would find this installation interesting?

I would think that the older ones would find Funcycling fun (for the lack of words). There is an age limit and height restriction so our friend couldn’t join in the activity.

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No worries! Enter Le Bestiaire which is about an imaginary zoo of unexpected, abstract and hyper-realistic animals. For a minimal donation of $2, one could go into the ‘studio’ and design his/her own costume.

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What a simple but lovely space!

Just look at how engrossed she was and I’m still considering if I should send her to art class because every other day she would ask, “Are we going to the art class?”

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So, yea. This year seems to have fewer stuff but it was enjoyable nonetheless. It’s until 31 July so make your way down if you haven’t done so.

masak-masak-may-16-detail-img[Credit]

Musical Exploration at Music Adventurer Workshop 

[Review]

How can you tell which instrument your kid is interested in apart from giving them the exposure to interact with them? At least this is what I believe. Workshops such as the Music Adventurer Workshop seeks to achieve that by getting young kids to explore real music and musical instruments, on top of the basics to introduce and prepare them in this musical journey.

Faith had completed all the sessions of the Music Adventurers Workshop (4-6 years old) by Musichaus during the June holidays (I wrote about the first session here). From those sessions, she was introduced and given the opportunity to play the various instruments such as the ukelele, keyboard, xylophone and wooden percussions. Apart from that, she also learnt musical terms such as Forte (loud) and Piano (soft) and got to play the instruments in 3 and 4 beats during the four sessions.

On my own, I wouldn’t be able to share such knowledge with her because I just am quite handicapped when it comes to music (I can sing all right). I couldn’t even understand the tau gey (musical notes)!

Besides introducing the various instruments, the children were treated to storytelling times in which Teacher Trina would incorporate music and movement based on what they have read. The children were also encouraged to use their vocals to, for example, imitate the sounds of the different animals as read from the story.

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In terms of movement, you bet there were lots of it. We (the parents) sat in for the first and last 10 minutes of each session and I could testify that the kids moved A LOT. So much so that I was a little uncomfortable. I mean, were they learning? It was definitely a different kind of learning environment in which the kids were encouraged to move about, dance to the music and to practise their beats using the instruments.

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After each session, Teacher Trina would give us feedback as to how our kid responded to the lesson. Based on her summary, I asked Faith what she had learnt when we got home and to tell me the musical instruments that she was introduced for that day. And she could! Oh, me of little faith! And I thought she wasn’t paying attention with all those running about. There were also occasions that she could tell me what she had learnt when we read a story that was similar to what Teacher Trina had shared. So, she did learn! It didn’t come immediately of course but she would share her learning with me when her memory was triggered.

I certainly like the idea of incorporating language arts and music in this workshop because I believe they can be intertwined. Teacher Trina termed this as musical story time where percussions and paino were used to enhance the experience of reading. I must also commend Teacher Trina for being patient with the young kids. If you have seen how she dealt with them, you would agree with me that it was truly admirable of her to be able to engage the kids for 90 minutes even though I think that time duration is too long for young children to stay focussed.

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At the end of the day, Faith did acquire some knowledge about the basics of music and the various musical instruments. Most of all, she had fun and looked forward to each session and that’s good enough for me. To me, it’s a good way to spend her school holiday though I’m rather reluctant to crowd her school days with enrichment classes. I’m hoping that Musichaus would continue to hold such workshops in December! Anyway, I have given feedback to Teacher Trina and she said she would consider.😉

However, if you are thinking of sending your little ones to such a class on a regular basis, these sessions will be conducted every Thursday, 3 – 4pm at Trehaus and they will commence on 7th July 2016. The theme for the lesson is Classical Music and you can find out more via their website.

Trehaus Cowork
442 Orchard Road, #03-01
Singapore 238879
Tel: 9843 8077
Email: enquiries@trehauscowork.com

Disclaimer: Our sessions were sponsored in exchange for a review of the workshop. No other forms of monetary compensation was given and all opinions are mine. There are quite a few good coffee joints at Claymore Connect and since this is a drop off class, you could enjoy some time on your own with a cup of caffeine, i.e. if you enjoy it. 

Alternative Breakfast Ideas

This post came about because I just returned from an event at Active Hive and was treated to a wonderful sight of Chia Seed Pudding.

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I know each jar of these Chia Seed pudding contains a lot of goodness in them and I was thinking, “Perhaps I should consider having them as my breakfast? Or make overnight oats so that the hubs could bring it to his office instead of always having sandwich as his meal?”

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You see, I’m a bit concerned for him because his metabolic age was 57 at a recent body composition analysis at Active Hive and his Visceral Fat Percentage is 14 which is alarming. Thankfully, he was willing to start working out together with his wife using the Minus Calories workout. #sorrynotsponsored. And I thought it was a good start as we take baby steps to gain back our stamina and health.

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To take a step further, perhaps we could have alternatives to our breakfast?

There are really a lot of resources available on the internet with regard to overnight oats so I’m going to be lazy and just post the pictures and links to the ones that I would be trying out because they are so easy to prepare!

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This one promises to fight the bloat! Must try!

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This will be made when I need some chai to spice up my life.

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Because I’m a fan of pecan nuts, so this will be in my menu.

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I need my daily caffeine fix, so this is welcome.

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Because blueberries are on offer now, so this makes it to the list as well.

I think I shall do the grocery tomorrow and start my overnight oats adventure! School reopens tomorrow. All the best!

Do follow us on Facebook and Instagram as we start our overnight oats adventure!😉

Jogging with Hauck Viper Pushchair

If you have been following this blog for a while, you would know that I like jogging a fair bit. In fact, it used to be my favourite past time before I had kids. I would jog five days a week, ranging from 5 to 10km per session, depending on how much time I had.

After I had my first kid, exercising was drastically minimised. In order to jog, it’s either I get someone to look after the kid or I could jog with her in the stroller. We didn’t have a jogger stroller but we have a sturdy standard-sized one that could do the job all right. Jogging with that stroller was fine but not great.

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Credits: hauck Singapore

On Mother’s Day, I was gifted a hauck Viper Pushchair which is a three-wheeled buggy for sporting parents. After jogging with it for the first time, I realised the great difference it makes to jogging (the run is so much smoother) and would recommend parents who like running (especially) or want to exercise with the baby to consider buying a jogger stroller.

And you might want to consider the hauck Viper Pushchair.

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Since receiving the hauck Viper Pushchair, I have been using it to jog with Daniel on different terrains like the gravel, sand, track and road. I find that it is easy to steer and the ride is smooth. I can definitely feel the bouncy benefits of the rear-wheel suspension, especially when pushing it across grass or gravel paths. It is definitely a great contrast to the previous stroller and if you look at the wheels of the hauck Viper Pushchair, they are big and that means less effort to push when you are jogging.  The result is a more enjoyable jog for me.  I find myself more motivated to exercise with the cool hauck Viper Pushchair. It definitely looks and feels more right to work out with this jogger stroller! #notmakingthisup

Let’s talk about the specifications.

The hauck Viper Pushchair weighs 9.5kg which is considered lightweight in the category of jogger strollers. But to be honest, it did seem heavy to me when I first handled it because I was used to my 7kg standard stroller all these while. After using the hauck Viper Pushchair for a few times, it does get easier to handle so it’s not a big problem.

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The hauck Viper Pushchair requires a 2-hand flat fold to collapse and comes with a neat folding mechanism that tucks the front wheel underneath. When folded, it stays compact and is easily kept in the car boot. Personally, I find opening of this stroller easier than folding it. I just need to hold the bar handle and use my leg to push the metal bar at the bottom which acts as the lock for the stroller. Oh yes, the front swivel wheel is lockable which is helpful if you are travelling on rough ground.

The hauck Viper Pushchair has a very roomy basket which is truly awesome because I could put a baby carrier and my handbag in it and there’s still room for more stuff. This is a plus point for the auntie in me since I use it to do grocery after the morning exercise. The purchases go in there!

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As with most strollers, the hauck Viper Pushchair comes with the multi-recline function (you adjust it at the rear using a toggle) and the hood is on the generous side which provides a decent amount of shade for the baby. It seeks to offer maximum safety with its 5-point harness and provides a spacious and comfy seating ( lying area is 85 cm with its seat width as 33cm). It is well padded and the foot rest is easily adjustable. However, I do find it a bit fiddly to adjust the 5-point harness so after I have done it properly, I left it as that until it needs to be readjusted again.

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Sadly, the seat of the hauck Viper Puhchair is forward facing only and if you want your child to look at you as you jog, this is not quite possible. However, it doesn’t seem like a real need as Dan was mostly asleep when I jogged with him in the stroller. Maybe he’s too comfortable in the stroller? In fact, there was only once when he cried for me to pick him up and that was the second time that I used the stroller. After that, he was mostly quiet as I pushed him.

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So far, I am really happy with the hauck Viper Pushchair but if there is one thing that really gets to me, it is the possibility that I would get the foam-covered single bar handle dirty when I rest it this way (see pic above). There was once when I placed it on a puddle of water (blur me!) and it got wet. I suppose I could wrap it with a cloth or some wrap.

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Apart from this, I find that the viewing window at the back of the canopy to be a bit on the smaller size and at times I couldn’t tell how the kiddo is doing unless I stoop down to see him. Besides these, I see no major problem with the design of this jogger stroller. More importantly, it has been a smooth ride for us!

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Jogging with the hauck Viper Pushchair has been truly enjoyable and knowing that there are not many pieces of it on the streets (yet) makes it even more special. Hah! You see, hauck strollers have just reached Singapore shores a few months ago even though it has been making quality products for babies and young children since 1927! Originating from Sonnefield, Upper Franconia in Germany, hauck is a family business that started from handcrafted basket bassinets in 1923. Christening robes were added to their collection and strollers and cots were added in the 1970s. Now hauck products have been offered on all continents in over 86 countries. It remains a family business till today and the family has passed its experience and knowledge from generation to generation.

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All of hauck products were tested by renowned national and international testing institutes, such as TÜV, SGS, LNE etc., and comply with international safety standards. Their products are awarded with a TÜV sign from certified testing institutes when the safety of the device has been tested according to the respective standards.

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So, yea, it sure feels good to know that I’m owning a quality and exclusive jogger stroller!

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And it’s really quite a darling, you know?

I’m posting this video of the hauck Viper Pushchair to help you understand the features a tad more. If you are looking into buying a jogging stroller, do consider this as one of your choices? The purchase of every hauck Stroller or car seat comes with the hauck Customer Care Program. It entails:

::  1 year warranty for factory defects
:: 4 complimentary hauck Servicing Sessions
:: Complimentary beverage during your servicing session
:: Exclusive invites to events and promotion
:: Advance preview of new arrivals

So yea, when you purchase a hauck product, you actually buy it with a peace of mind. You will be assured of quality products and excellent customer care. I like!

This particular model comes in caviar grey now and more colours and new models would be coming in. So do get yourselves updated via hauck Singapore’s Facebook Page.

Alternatively, view hauck products (they have really beautiful strollers!) at the following places:

1.Showroom
65 Ubi Road 1 #02-88 Oxley Bizhub Singapore 408729
Tel: 63842758
Mobile: 92364678
Mon to Fri – 10am to 8pm
Sat and Sun – 10am to 6pm
Public Holidays – Close
(BY APPOINTMENT ONLY)

2. Online store: http://activehive.com.sg/product-category/hauck/

3. BHG departmental stores

4.  www.littlebaby.com.sg

Every hauck customer will get to receive an exclusive hauck ‘Gift of Love’  delivered to them when they register their new hauck purchase and this will commence from 7 July 2016.😉

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Where shall we go next?

Do follow us on Facebook and Instagram as I continue to go places with the kids using the hauck Viper Pushchair. I will continue to give honest review of the jogger stroller (because I like to read trustworthy review myself) and you can be updated on the running routes available in this city in the garden.😉

Disclaimer: We are gifted the hauck Viper Pushchair by AT Marketing Consultancy on behalf of hauck Singapore in exchange for a user experience review. No other forms of monetary compensation is given and all opinions are given in true honesty. Should you have any questions about the stroller, do feel free to email me and I would be more than happy to share my experience with you. 

Happy Father’s Day!

!Happy Father’s Day to all the wonderful daddies out here.

However, I would like to mention a particular daddy in this post and he is none other than the father of my children! *clap, clap*

Thank you for making family your priority, that in every meeting or task that you intend to undertake, you would think of us first. We know you are exhausted after a day at work but each time when you step into the house, you never fail to greet us with a smile and thereafter spend time with the kids. Thank you for being a firm and yet fun father to the children. I definitely think that you are much more fun to be with as you go down on all fours to play silly games with her. I know I can’t.

Personally, I want to thank you for standing in to do ‘night duties’ since Dan was born so that I could have a restful night. I don’t know how you manage to do that since you have a day job and need the rest yourself. So, yea, I am immensely grateful that you put our welfare before yours.

The girl made a card for you and she did it by herself; I merely suggested the idea. We hope you like it!

And we even went down to Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) to do some filming.

Watch out for her at 1:36. She was extremely shy that day but because it’s for you…

Happy Father’s Day. We thank God for you!

That day, we had an awesome lunch with the family at Symmetry at the recommendation of SIL and it was truly a wonderful eatery. Thankfully we were a little early because it was already packed when we arrived at 11ish!

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Love the illustration on the menu

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I always order truffle fries when they are on the menu and the ones at Symmetry didn’t disappoint.

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Truly filling and satisfying

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The kids and I

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Next stop. Where are we off to?
It’s off to Dad’s Day Out to spend some time bonding with the man in the family!

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So the girl danced with the dad, got wheeled around, instructed and led the father out of the maze and took a family picture together. The brother? Slept most of the time away in the Boba carrier. Tsk!

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Happy Father’s Day again. Love it!

Friday Flips | Windblown

How many of you will pack some activity materials for your kids to work on as you go out with them?

I do because I find them useful in ‘entertaining’ young kids and this is especially so when they are waiting for their food to be served during mealtimes.

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Normally, I will pack sticker books or some colour pencils and a small notebook for Faith to doodle. Along with that, a book or two are good choices too. Recently, I saw this book on the library’s bookshelf, flipped the pages and knew I had to borrow it.

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Windblown
by Édouard Manceau

“‘Shhh. . .’ said the wind.
‘I blew and blew as hard as I might.
I toppled the tree found by the frog,
shaped by the snail,
that the bird made into paper
that the fish cut into the pieces
that the chicken saw lying around.'”
— from the book

This story tells of seven scraps of paper blown along by the wind. On each page, the scraps create an animal who claims to be the owner of the scraps. The chicken claims they are his, the fish claims them too and so do the bird, snail and frog. Finally, the wind claims the scraps and blows them with one gust to the reader. “They are yours now too. What will you do?”

As you can see, this story screams for us to create something from the seven scraps of paper. So, I cut out the shapes (you can print it off here and laminate) and went through the story with Faith. With each page, the girl recreated the animal using the scraps of paper. You can bring along a piece of blank paper and have the child complete the picture by drawing the lines. In response to the last page in the story, I invited the girl to design a creature based on the scraps but she chose to work on the frog instead.

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I know it’s a safe choice and I respect her decision.

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I think her brother wanted to join in too.

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I decided to stretch the activity further by asking her to paint the picture since she kept asking me when she would be going for another art class. Moreover, we have just read Mix It Up and I thought it would be a good follow-up activity to the story.

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The activity actually became really fun when painting was involved. So I reckon this book is good to bring along to engage the minds of the young ones when you are out and as you go back home, you could continue to work on it like what we have done.

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I’m actually pleased with the outcome and frame the picture up.
This is a good home learning activity and we took about an hour to complete it.😉

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ACM | Finding the Missing Mouse

The plan is this. We would meet up with Faith’s playmates to visit Asian Civilisations Museum since there is a Children’s Season Programme going on – Once Upon a time in Asia: The Missing Mouse. The mummies would read the story to the kids and perhaps attempt to work on some craft with them.

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It didn’t happen that way. Not at all. In fact, when the kids met up, they were so happy to see one another they just played, in their own ways. It’s not the setting that’s important; it’s the company that counts.

Faith was so happy when she saw N and Mummy Ade that she rushed to meet them. From then now, the two kids were inseparable, holding hands as they walked towards ACM. The last picture? Faith was frightened by the millipede and N gor gor reached out to protect her. Awwwww…

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Young tourists

Singaporeans enter the museum free and once they were in this hall, took off their shoes and went running into the maze. It happened really fast and we, the moms, had not much time to react. However, since it is a small space, we thought the kids would be fine on their own playing and exploring and we ended up chatting at the bench.

img_0485Taking a break and a photo!

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The kids really had a jolly good time just running around in the maze. Kids at this age are so easy to please! They had so much energy that we didn’t bother to read them the story. Just let them have fun!

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Although this is a small space, the kids were entertained for 1.5 hours. Apparently, there are story-telling sessions in the afternoon and Fridays seem to be the best day to go! So if you haven’t been there, do drop by! Good for young kids, IMHO.

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We were all famished by noon. Thankfully, there is a cafe within ACM and ‘Kids eat for free’ yo! It didn’t take us long to settle for this place because…

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…there is a play area for kids within the cafe. Awwwwesome!

 Faith had her spaghetti while I had my overpriced laksa. The kids’ meal comes with dessert which was brownie and vanilla ice-cream for Faith and a vanilla milkshake for her drink. Not bad a deal at all. You just need to order a main and the kids could dine for free yo.

Such a playdate is soooo satisfying. The kids had their fun and the mummies got their rest. I need more of such outings.

If you still have the energy to go on, do pop by the National Gallery (Keppel Centre for Art Education) and have some fun in there too!

PS. Thank you Mummy F for the wonderful pictures!

Dan’s 1st BB Spa at Beauty.Mums & Babies

If you are a first-time mother, life can get pretty daunting as you navigate this new phase of your life. I remember surfing for information every other day and got stressed up over the many choices of (pre- and post-natal) services  that are available in the market. So I’m appreciative of one-stop wellness centres which help expecting and new mums ease comfortably into motherhood. One notable one is Beauty.Mums & Babies.

Beauty.Mums & Babies aims to guide mothers-to-be and new mothers from pregnancy to birth and through till infancy and toddler care by providing a range of services to prepare them to have a smooth-sailing motherhood journey as well as regaining health and confidence after birth.

Of their core services, Dan and I tried their BB Spa at Paragon.

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BB spa or more commonly known as a Baby Spa is an hydrotherapy environment where babies are gently put to float in a tailored tub. And it almost feels like a must-do with babies. I remember getting Faith to have her first experience of it when she was just three months old. It was rather easy to get her to enjoy that session; it was with minimal fuss. With Daniel, I waited until he was about 6 months old but by then it was a lot more challenging to get him into the water. Thankfully, he didn’t reject it although there was a slight resistance towards it in the first 5 minutes.

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There are many baby spas in Singapore but the BB Spa at Beauty.Mums & Babies stands out because it is the first to use the purest filtration method called ‘Naturalizer Kirameki Water’ from Japan to provide water as pure as spring water to treat babies’ skin. The extensive filtration method ensures safety for babies, and gets rid of carcinogenic unfiltered water. Bacteria and chemicals that may cause skin irritation are all thoroughly removed. It also contains 25 different beneficial minerals that nourishes and hydrates babies’ skin and helps to balance the pH of their skin such that it reduces its sensitivity.

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Too much information? Hah, so that you are well aware of the goodness of the water! Anyway, this is a fine piece of news to me since Dan’s skin is prone to eczema. Perhaps, with constant contact with such pure water, the eczema could be treated? You’ll never know!

The benefits to a baby spa are aplenty. Some of the key benefits are:

:: Improve skin conditions
:: Supports brain and physical development
:: Increases lung capacity
:: Strengthens cardiovascular system
:: Builds up immunity system
:: Stimulates innate swimming reflexes and co-ordination
:: Teaches babies to understand their environment

Dan and I visited the BB Spa at Paragon and the following are what I like about our experience there:

:: Clean and cozy environment. I am rather particular where cleanliness is concerned with regard to baby spa and I’m pleased with how well and neat the space is kept and maintained.

:: Experienced therapist. By the time Dan tried baby spa, he could well recognise faces and normally take some time to warm up to a stranger. The therapist showed her understanding in this area by not rushing through the process. She got Dan to be comfortable with her and showed him around the space. After some warm up and stretching exercises, Dan was well on his way to having a splashing good time.

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:: Multi-sensory experience. With bubbles, whirlpool jets, soothing light and heaps of little toys to choose from, Dan soon got engrossed in this form of waterplay! It’s such a delight to see him enjoying himself!

:: Relaxing massage. After the session, the therapist used gentle, soothing and loving strokes to massage the boy. The boy calmed down almost immediately and I learnt a stroke or two about baby massage.

BB spa is suitable for babies from 1 month old onwards so if you are interested, do take a trip down and treat your baby to a great workout!

While you are there, do check out the other wonderful services that they provide such as:

:: Infant, pediatric, toddler and children massage
:: Pre- and post-natal massage
:: Mummy & baby yoga
:: Pre- and post-natal yoga, couple yoga
:: Facial and beauty treatments
:: Lactation clinic
:: Baby care workshops and classes
:: Pregnancy and baby wellness workshops

Told you that you will be spoilt for choice, didn’t I?

You brought joy to the world, now it’s time to revel in bliss, like the queen that you are..

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Beauty. Mums & Babies
Outlet @ Paragon 290 Orchard Road, #05-02 & #14-11 (S)238859
Tel: 62350688/62351800
Outlet @ Seletar Mall & Novena Square
More information can be found on their website or their Facebook page.

Disclaimer : Daniel was given a complimentary tub session from Beauty.Mums & Babies. We were also invited by AT Marketing Consultancy to attend its media launch where we heard more from her founder, met up with the team of certified therapists and learnt about the services they provide. No monetary compensation is involved and all opinions are my own.

Yuzu Raspberry Madeleines

Apart from cookies, muffins and cupcakes, I consider madeleines to be one of the easier sweet treats to bake. The ingredients can be commonly found in the supermarket and if you bake often, they form the basic ones that you should have in your pantry. Madeleines happen to be Faith’s favourite treats and she asked for them the other day. My response?

“You have to work for it.” By that, I mean she had to help out in the baking process. 😉


You know I like Yuzu and I thought of pairing Yuzu flavour with raspberries. Faith doesn’t like to eat the fruit but I can certainly hide them in the madeleines, yes? And our little helpers could definitely crack eggs, sift flour, pour the batter into the baking tray and inserting the raspberries into the batter in each mould. Let them help!

Ingredients:
3 eggs
110g raw sugar
50ml organic soy milk
175g all purpose flour/organic unbleached flour
1 1/2tsp baking powder
200g melted butter
1/2 tbsp Yuzu tea syrup

(yields 20 madeleines)

1. Preheat the oven to 230C. If you are using a metal madeleine tray, lightly butter and flour the tray.

2. Sift the flour and baking powder. Beat the eggs in a large bowl and whisk in the sugar and milk until well combined. Whisk in the sifted flour and baking powder until the batter is smooth, but don’t over-work the mixture as this will develop gluten in the flour and toughen the madeleines. Add in the yuzu  tea syrup and whisk in the melted butter.

3. Fill each scallop-shaped mould of the tray to half or at most 2/3 full. Insert a raspberry into each individual mould.

4. Bake for 8 minutes in the oven or until golden brown. You may want to turn the tray 180 degrees halfway through the baking.

The madeleines are good eaten on the day itself though they are good eaten the next day too.

Faith’s first art class

Faith has often expressed an interest in painting and would ask me to do art with her at home. I’m not trained in this area and could only work on some simple forms of artwork with her. So, when growingwiththetans asked me if I would be interested to get Faith to attend some art classes during the school holidays, I agreed readily.


She can be a tad shy when she’s with new friends. Thankfully N gor gor was there. We signed the kids up for Flower Vase (Finger Painting) at Artflock studio.


She was rather apprehensive at first because she has not seen this art teacher before. So, you can expect her to be rather quiet.


Once the lesson started, the kids were all on the ball. See how serious every one was.


While the children were hard at work, the mums were busy catching up with one another over brunch. I like this location a fair bit because there are some good cafes around and that means “caffeine, here I come!”


Came back and they were at the last stage. Such beautiful art pieces! I could never do such a work with her.


She was all smiles and I think she enjoyed herself.


Her artwork is the only one with a pink background.


The artist and her masterpiece.


So this concludes her first art lesson. When I asked her why she didn’t choose purple as the background since that’s her favourite colour, she replied,”I thought pink is your favourite colour?”

I’m not sure what that means. Did she choose pink because I like it? I’ll be honoured if that is the case. 😀

She did enjoy the class and when I asked her if she wanted to go for another lesson, her reply was an enthusiastic “yes”.

At this age, I’m still trying to find out what she is good at. She seems to be interested in a lot of things which is good. But how do you tell where her talent lies so that you can help her develop it? I’m not keen to crowd her childhood with enrichment classes but if she is not exposed to such an opportunity, how will we know?

Oh well, I’ll just use the school holidays to enrich her then. *shrug shoulders*

Staycation with little ones

I don’t know about you but we have had little luck with staycation. Whenever I read blogs about how fun staycation can be for other families with young kids, I couldn’t help but envy. We had our fair share of hotel stays since Faith came along but none came close to being “excellent”. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that the hotels aren’t doing their best to make our stay pleasant; it’s just us. I personally find staycation to be a tad tiring until perhaps, the kids are older?

Are we the only ones having such ‘bad’ experience?

Last Friday, after Faith had her music class, we zipped to Amara Sanctuary Resort for our staycation. The girl knocked out once she was in the car. Too tiring, I suppose, and we had a late check in.


Kachang puteh and their signature drink, something familiar and refreshing.


The boy was surprisingly alert and active at 4pm while the sister continued to zzzzz… her way to the room in the stroller. Had she been awake, we would have gone exploring the hotel premise quite immediately upon checking in.


We waited for her till she awoke from her nap. Refreshed and happy the way I like it. There’s less chance of dealing with a cranky kid and we definitely do not need that on a staycation.


Before we could do anything interesting, it’s dinner time. I made an appointment for a massage at night because it’s such a waste not to have such a luxury in a resort, isn’t it?

We didn’t have any fancy meal but I’m come to a stage where I’ve learnt to be contented – that if I see my loved ones enjoying the company of each other, that’s enough. Good enough.

And we had that.

Evening. I went for my massage session while the hubs tried to put the kids to bed. I returned, and learnt that he has just gotten the baby to sleep (after an hour of attempt) and the girl? Waiting for me to come back and sleep with her.

Life with young kids…

The following day, it rained. It always, 90% of the time, rains when we are on staycation. I couldn’t understand the logic but I have already managed my expectations so I wasn’t too upset by it. Had our breakfast which was nothing to boast about. Once the rain got lighter, I beckoned the girl to go jalan jalan (explore) with me.


Let the boys have their sleep. All of us didn’t sleep well the night before because Dan had been waking up a few times that night.

Life with young kids…


I love the resort. It is tranquil and I thought it is a good place for a short retreat.


It’s a haven for nature lovers. If I was to come alone, I would have gone for a morning jog at the gym, cool down with a walk around the premise and refresh myself with their signature drink at the hotel lobby.


Air is fresh and this architecture lovely.


And we found a peacock feather on the way.


The pool is so inviting and yet we could only gaze…


…or dip our toes in it.


Oh, all right. It’s not too bad after all. We met the resident peacock and its young.


Back to our room and it’s more viewing of the black box and eventually some work on her own. Life with young kids. You really ought to pack stuff for them to do when you go places. When kids are bored, you are doomed.

So we didn’t get to use the pool but thankfully, there’s the bath tub.

She spent half an hour having a splashing good time in it.

Contentment.


With that, we packed our bags and got ready to head home. Faith must have been happy for she kept asking us why we couldn’t go home that evening, how she wanted to go home and that she didn’t like to be away from her humble abode.

Gah… What is wrong with (our) staycation?


Thankfully, we had a very satisfying citron and chocolate mille crepe at Lady M and that made my day.

Another staycation? We will try again.