Orientating Faith to her nursery school

The other day, F and I went down to her nursery school for orientation which basically means information dissemination for the parents. She was happy to see the playground but since it was raining, she couldn’t spend time there.

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I wish the space was bigger but since their enrolment is small, I guess it’s ok? The little one was fascinated by the kids’ sinks and toilets and wanted to wash her hands by herself.

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The briefing took about an hour an the little one was bored. Thankfully, I had quite a fair bit of rubbish in my bag and got her to tear the carpark coupons and to share her stickers with her future classmates. The other children, obviously restless, came swarming to her for stickers which she willingly shared -strategy for making friends. Hah!

20141118_104507I guess the little one felt comfortable in her new environment because she went off by herself to mingle with the other kids while I busied myself with settling the administrative stuff. Perhaps I was around and thus she was at ease. In any case, I’m glad that she’s no longer sticking to me for her dear life and only looking out for me occasionally.

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I hope she’s ready for school. For a while, I’ve been resisting the thought of having her in school since she is still young. But I guess the scouting of schools and subsequently admitting her into one was timely as the hubs has a change in his job scope and would most probably return home later than usual. And that would mean I would be looking after her for a longer period of time! I guess the few hours in school would help me keep sane?

Time to get her to be more ready for school and I thought the following books are good to prepare her for her upcoming adventure!

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Faith’s Christmas Wreath, 2014 edition

I love Christmas because somehow the festive season gives me much cheer. There are also loads of opportunity to expose Faith to craft related to Christmas. I hope to work with her on as many age-appropriate ‘projects’ as possible. First up is the Christmas wreath.

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This is really achievable for the little one. Obviously, I have to provide the round cardboard for her and to tap it with double-sided tape. You can get the kid to tear the paper into pieces and then she could paste them after she has peeled the tape off.

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I’m actually not confident that F would like this activity since she is not a very ‘craft’ person (from what I have observed from her playdates) but surprisingly, she could stay focussed until most of the space was filled up by the green scraps of paper.

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And she completed it and gave me a smile. Awesome! I did up the rest of the work by making a bow at the bottom of the wreath using ribbon and making a hook at the top of it using wire. And that’s it! Easy?

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The Christmas wreath is now hanging on our door. It’s something that she can be proud of since it is her work.

😉

The day Faith turns two

It was just another ordinary day. We had our regular playdate and we had {almost} full attendance that day. Faith was clad in her new dress and she wondered why.

Why?

She turned two years old that day.

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We didn’t have any party. In fact, I didn’t inform the mummies that it was Faith’s birthday that day. I thought it was unnecessary. All I hope was that she could enjoy a brief moment of happiness with her playmates as she had the cake presented before her and of course, the birthday song. It is good enough to have close friends and family members with you as you celebrate important events and that’s what I want for her birthday.

20141120_094655Mummy Ade and C came a tad earlier and the kids had free play. There were sea creatures on the table and then they busied themselves with the blocks. Oh, how I love to see the joy in Faith and the children.

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I_LJmDOOLzA3b6gPBAP7yvQ18GjLwnTh7ghCV_EuLgoD=w604-h524-noMummy C read The Rainbow Fish but somehow the kids were distracted. Perhaps the book was too small?I thought the story was really meaningful but am not sure if the kids could understand.

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For craft, I thought of an activity to complement the book and got the little ones to make fish out of cupcake cases. For the older boy, J, I got him to design his own rainbow fish using scraps of paper. He’s proud of his work. Well done!

IMG-20141120-WA0012-SMILEThe cake cutting session! Actually, I honestly don’t think Faith understands anything about it. For the record, she didn’t even know how to blow the candle and I had to get the hubs to teach her when he got back home. Anyway, the other kids had fun!

IMG-20141120-WA0005I didn’t bake this cake for her since I’m really too tired from baking for others and I do want to taste other cakes! It’s for self-development. Hah! Lovely matcha azuki cake!

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Just look at Faith’s expression as we cut the cake. Oh no! Don’t destroy the cake!

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For practical life, the kids got to work with a pair of scissors and they were thrilled! Just imagine all these while, they were not allowed to touch it and now they could!

20141120_113122I love this scene. J, the older boy, led the others into singing three songs and the kids followed him, complete with actions! This is so heartening

For a more detailed account of the playdate, check Mummy Ade’s blog!

20141120_114727After the playdate, sis came over with the nephews and brought sushi for lunch. Faith was presented with one of her favourite food – fishball! And boy, this is a huge one!

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The hubs came back and we sang the birthday song again and this time round, Faith could blow out the candles after the hubs taught her how.

So, this is how we celebrate her birthday. No fuss, no stress!

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And we really don’t want others to buy presents for her just because it’s her birthday (but thank you to the thoughtful ones for the gifts!). To me anyway, it is a day to remember God’s blessing towards our family and how He has brought us through the past year with her. It has been really wonderful despite some difficult moments. Again, I can’t stress enough the importance of playdates and having friends who have the same mindset and those who can encourage you on this journey. It has been a joyful ride. Thank you all for being there for (and with) us as we bring up this little girl.

Baking madness!

The past week or so, I have been really busy with making cakes, all thanks to friends who support me in my hobby! It is tiring, no doubt. The washing part is most dreaded and that includes the cleaning of the countertop and the floor since I don’t want ants to occupy my kitchen. Nope, they cannot even enter!

The cakes baked thus far:

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This is a simple 7 inch vanilla sponge cake with vanilla buttercream and peach between the layers. The mummy has requested that the design fit the theme of a magic show and thus I came up with this design.

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Christmas came early! A friend browsed my pinterest account, saw this cake and asked me to do it for her. It’s a cranberry infused sponge cake with cranberry sauce in between. I took a long time to source for the cranberries and finally found frozen ones at Marketplace at I12. My friend requested for a 1/2kg cake but you know, I don’t work by weight but by size. So, the cake came up to be about 1.5kg. Hah!

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Frozen cake #1. A hit among my friends when I posted it on FB. The design is simple but the figurines make it look awesome. My friend wants it really simple and she didn’t want blue-coloured layers because she felt the colour look weird on a cake. Agree too so I just did a simple cake for her daughter.

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Rainbow cake. Still a hit and this is for the last day of school party for a preschooler. Her class is called Rainbow 5 and it’s absolutely apt to bake such a cake for her! Naked cake can look really pretty! Love the colourful sprinkles too!

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A last-minute order from a friend. This is for her daughter who turns 22! I used to teach her when she was in primary school and now she’s a young adult! I feel so old! Rainbow cake inside and Nat was surprised as she cut the cake, she told me.

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The wheels on the bus go round and round…. this is an order from the hubs’ friend. Her son wanted the bus on the cake along with some animal figurines. A rainbow cake was requested and I found that when I bake about 200g of the batter in the 6″ pan, the cake came out even and I didn’t need to slice the top of the cake. Will go with this method the next time a rainbow cake is requested. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, it’s ok. It’s just for my reference. ;p

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Frozen cake #2. This is a tad more complicated than #1 in the sense that my friend wanted a blue side and a white top that acts as snow. I prefer this design.

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60 Hello Kitty Chocolate cupcakes. I was more stressed and tired over them than all other cakes. It’s definitely more tedious to come up with these toppers and could get really mundane. But the labour was worth it when the girl received them with joy. I make kids happy. I love my job.

😉

Shopping with Agape Babies

Faith is going to school next year and that means it’s time to shop for stuff! How exciting! {Window} Shopping has been one of my favourite past time but lately, this activity has been reduced drastically because I simply have no time to do so anymore. Thankfully there are always online stores and I appreciate those that are easy to navigate because I don’t really like confusing layout. One of them is Agape Babies.

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Agape Babies specializes in baby essentials such as diapers, milk, skincare, organic food, books and toys and is currently partnered with over 150 premium brands and retail over 3000 products in its store. It has also created a multi-store with The Sunshine Kids which are dedicated to kids apparel, bags and accessories. This means that we can shop between both stores and check out in one shopping cart! Isn’t that good? The folks at Agape Babies are presently looking to add more stores & products with the aim to become a one-stop shop for all of us mummies  so that shopping can be easy & convenient. This is really one online store that I would bookmark and frequent!

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Just look at the many brands that the store carries and I’m so happy that some of my favourite brands are among them!

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So, what did I get for Faith? I’ve been meaning to buy a Skip Hop Zoo Backpack for her since the current one that she has is getting too small. As I browse the store, I found one that I thought would be awesome on her. It’s a limited edition of the Polar Bear backpack. I couldn’t find this design in the usual stores and I’m so delighted to find it at The Sunshine Kids at a discounted price. Yay!

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Currently, Agape Babies is offering free courier delivery with $80 spend and a free gift given with every $120 purchase. So I thought I should purchase a few more items to enjoy the free delivery.  I bought the Bambino Mio training pants because I think Faith is ready to be potty-trained, along with a pair of swim nappies.  This girl just loves waterplay and swimming!

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My experience with Agape Babies was a very pleasant one because I received the purchased goods really quickly. I made my purchase in the evening and got them the next morning. It’s the fastest delivery I have ever encountered! *impressed*

If you are a first time customer, you can enjoy a $10 off your first order when you sign up for an account and newsletter here! I’m also excited to share that Agape Babies is offering Raising Faith’s readers a 5% discount! All you need to do is to quote raisingfaith upon checkout. This discount is valid for 4 weeks (16 Nov to 14 Dec) and the code excludes sale category items, diapers, milk & breast pumps.

Apart from the online store, Agape Babies also has a parenting & lifestyle blog entitled The Agape Lifestyle. There are many good articles for new mummies and are certainly worth reading! Check out their facebook page to get yourself updated! Alternatively, you can always stalk them on Instagram (@agapebabies)!

Christmas is just round the corner, go do some shopping and enjoy the discount! 😉

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.

I <3 Singapore Walk 2014

This morning, our family, together with our CG, participated in the ‘I Love Singapore Walk’. As a community, we raised funds to bless the {financially} poor living amongst us while continuing to remember how blessed we are to live in such an environment. It is also an opportunity to appreciate our family members too!

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The little one woke up at 6ish, bright and cheery, although we all know that she would be really cranky by noon. Breathe…breathe…We were at the Padang at 7am and then realised that the walk would only commence at 8am! Arghhh! Time to have our breakfast and to take pictures (nicer ones taken by the Pang family).

1509813_10205224095785782_5190695884489844652_nFaith, with one of her regular playmates

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Nom..nom..nom..

IMG-20141115-WA0009Love this shot!

IMG_20141115_073255Our family of three

IMG-20141115-WA0002This is our CG and again, I’m thankful to be part of this family.

IMG-20141115-WA0008Isn’t this a beautiful shot?

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We didn’t complete the walk since it was getting hot and the little ones started to be restless but we had our second round of fellowship having brunch together!

IMG-20141115-WA0006I’m tired!

Teaching the little ones

“Perhaps, it is a calling to teach your own kid during this season of your life?”

This is a statement that spoke to me when I decided to resign from teaching after giving birth to Faith. I didn’t know what to expect then because teaching very young children can be so different from the ones that I had been trained in teaching. I guess we (parents) all learn along the way and am so glad that I have a team of mothers to co-teach the little ones during our weekly playdate/co-op.

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It’s definitely a joy to see how the little ones have developed during these few months. They were strangers before but now are friends. They used to be distracted easily by toys in the house but now are captivated by the stories found in the book.

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Once we had to handhold them a lot in their craft work, but now they gradually want to take over (although our girl is still not very enthusiastic about it).

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The mums used to say grace for the food on their behalf. Now, they could utter the prayer themselves.

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It’s always a joy to see how they have progressed during the Practical Life segment. They certainly have improved in their fine motor skills, amongst others.

Though I am no longer working in the school, I’m glad that I’m teaching the little ones, together with the awesome mummies in the group (and the majority of them are teachers too). Yes, I do miss interacting and discussing about lesson plans with fellow educators but now’s not bad too.

IMG_220286143596659-1I still get to introduce books such as My Red Balloon by Kazuaki Yamada to the children.

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I can still practise my storytelling skills…

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…and plan follow-up activities for the little ones. Here, I’m getting the kids to use round shapes to create the penguin which is one of the characters in the book.

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Of course, I get to hone my art….

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…and learn from fellow educators.

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What joy to see them grow!

Will I go back to teaching again? I guess there is still a deep desire in me to teach because I believe in education. However, it has to be in a different capacity for now. Perhaps, I will volunteer my time at Faith’s school? Help out at Sunday School? *Shrug shoulders* There are a lot of unknowns but I’ll just take a step at a time.

Read Mummy Ade’s account of the coop here.

The November Vaby Box

The Vaby subscription box for November refreshes… quite literally! As I opened the box in anticipation, I was greeted with a sweet scent and there before my eyes were bottles of samples that could be used by people of all ages. They certainly come in handy since the holiday season is approaching!

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So what do we have here?

:: Peausque Body Wash
:: Peausque ATO Cream
:: Peausque Diaper Cream
:: Olivella’s Anti-stretch Mark Cream
:: Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Skin Therapy Oil
:: THE010 Heat
:: Eucalyptus Graden Concentrated Floor Cleaner
:: Curash Baby Care 2 in 1 Shampoo & Conditioner
:: Curash Baby Care Anti-Rash Baby Powder
:: Disney Pookalooz Tin Box. Good for storing the little one’s favourite snacks!
:: BabySpa $5 voucher

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You can find out more about the Vaby box here. Have you subscribed to it yet?

Hello, Hello Kitty!

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas and I’m inspired to decorate my cakes according to this season. How about a simple Hello Kitty cake for a start?

I bought the Hello Kitty pan a while back and it has been sitting in the cabinet for too long. I had only used it once and I thought I should give it some life!

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I decided to bake the traditional sponge cake, a recipe by Alex Goh, the one that is rather soft and one whom my mom might approve. All these while, the cakes that I bake are dense since they have to be decorated with fondant. It’s time to bake the softer version!

(A)
4 eggs
120g sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

(B)
110g all-purpose flour

(C)
70g hot melted butter

1. Whip (A) until light and fluffy

2. Stir in (B) and mix until well blended

3. Add (C) and mix well.

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4. Pour the batter into the greased pan (you really need to grease this pan well!). Bake at 180C for about 25-30 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Remove it from the pan immediately when done.

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This cake can be troublesome to slice into two and I find it a bit plain to just eat the cake with buttercream only. So, I injected some strawberry jam using Wilton tip #230 before covering it with with Italian Meringue Buttercream and dessicated coconut to give a more natural feel to Hello Kitty. The more common ones we see in bakeries are covered with fondant but I think it is equally good to cover it with buttercream. To create the Christmas theme, I added cranberries and the fondant holly leaves. Faith saw the cake and kept saying, “I want eat cake.” She had her wish of course since this is not a very sweet cake. My father-in-law who has a very sweet tooth much preferred the sweeter version. Difficult to please!

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There’s no occasion for the cake. We just cut and eat! I think the sponge cake can be softer if I use the cake flour. Fellow bakers, why don’t you try and let me know?

😉

Tuesday thoughts: Loneliness

Someone’s feeling lonely. It’s not me. I’ve gone past that stage, at least for now. It’s Faith.

In recent months, I have observed that the little girl loves company and would jump for joy when I told her that we would be meeting so-and-so. Even when we are going around the neighbourhood, she would greet the people she meets and tries to befriend new ones especially at the playground and library. She has grown out of the solitary play mode and increasingly loves to hang out with people.

Bad news for me, huh?

That means she gets bored at home more often because her mother doesn’t always have time to think of new activities to engage her. Thankfully, there are the weekly playdates and co-ops and the occasional swimming sessions with her cousins. However, these might not continue the following year since her playmates would be in preschool and there would be fewer opportunities to go out with them.

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So I did the unthinkable (in my case). I went to shop for schools for her.

I really didn’t want her to go to school until she turns 4 years old. She is, after all, still so young! She needs to play and enjoy her childhood. Besides, I don’t think we are doing an awful job in our homeschooling effort. However, since she is born in the popular year of the dragon, I thought that I should start looking for schools just in case there are no vacancies left by the time I decide to put her in school. I should at least put her on a waiting list or something, that’s what a lot of mummy friends were telling me to do.

In the end, I visited two schools. The first one was none too impressive although it seems like a well-known preschool. The moment the marketing executive (yes, not the principal!) told me that they emphasize on academic excellence, I lost complete interest. I want a preschool that focuses on building the children’s characters, where each child’s uniqueness is respected and that they can learn at their own pace. The second school fits my criterion to a tee. It’s not a well-known school and in fact, the preschool is rather young but as I spoke with the principal and visited the premise, I was won over.

That is the preschool for Faith. And on the spot, I decided that Faith would go to school the following year.

After leaving the compound, I started to have doubts and was uncertain if I have made the right decision. On one hand, I would want to continue what we have been doing. I can always find a new group of playmates for her and we can always go out and learn stuff together. On the other hand, getting her to go to school might do her good too since she can have more friends and learn from the wonderful teachers and principal in that school.

We shall see.

For now, the decision is for her to go to school.

So, yes, Faith is going to school. *sobs*

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A date @ Privikids

#notasponsoredpost

Faith is turning two in a few weeks’ time and I thought I should just buy a few dresses for her. Nope, there will not be any party because we don’t think she understands much about birthday at this point in time. However, we would definitely spend that day with close friends and relatives. That, to us, is good enough.

I have always wanted to go down to Privikids since the physical store opened but didn’t have the time to do so. I like their stylish designs that are priced affordably and am really happy that I could go down to see and feel the materials for myself.

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Met up with Ade to shop and Faith had N for company! The little ones had a jolly good time playing with the displays and dancing to the background music. Thankfully, the store owner, Cheryl, was cool about it and found them adorable. Nice boss. It makes shopping with kids stress-free.

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Interior of the store

Photo courtesy of Mummy Ade

So these two kids were monkeying around as we got them to try out some clothes. I’m so happy that they were enjoying themselves!

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After trying out the clothes, they went off to have a little fun by themselves.

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Oh, the many other cute stuff available at the store.

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They are good as gifts for children!

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Video and photo above courtesy of Mummy Ade

We went back with her new clothes carefully wrapped. I love the shopping experience at Privikids. Cheryl took the time to recommend some of the clothes that would look good on Faith and I didn’t feel pressured at any one point to make purchases. I appreciate her honest opinion on some of the outfits that might not be suitable for the little one. Overall, the experience is great!

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Privikids
Changi City Point, Unit 02-04, 5
Changi Business Park Central 1
11am to 9pm daily
6443 8802 / ask@privi-kids.com

Alive Museum

One good thing about being a SAHM and one whose kid is not in school is the fact that we could plan impromptu outings and that is exactly what I did for today. SIL gave me some complimentary tickets to Alive Museum and I got Mummy T and Belle to go with us. Since the kiddos are not yet three years of age, they could go in free (which otherwise, they would have to pay $20 per entry). Yay to #funforfreesg. Hah!

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We were there early because we wanted to avoid the crowd. Besides, the kids are most alert in the morning and have the tendency to respond well to our requests.

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The crowd came in half an hour later and it was getting difficult to get decent photos of the kids. They must be wondering what was wrong with their mummies that morning since they were whisked from one small area to another and all they were asked to do was to look at the camera. I could tell that Faith was frustrated and disturbed by some of the pictures and soon became a little fussy.

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There is obviously a need to wait since we needed to take turns to take the pictures. I could only imagine the great crowd and frustration one would feel if he was to go during the weekends. To be perfectly honest, I don’t think this is a great place for toddlers to hang out. Maybe it would be better if they are older and could understand instructions better since they have to pose in a certain manner to have maximum effect. Even if you are so interested to go, I would strongly recommend extra pairs of hands. Mummy T and I had to make sure the toddlers don’t run off while one of us helped to take pictures.

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Pictures in this set courtesy of Mummy Trisa!

I think Alive Museum would be a great place to visit if you are going without young kids (haha). At the very least, you could spend more time going through each art piece and posing in/with it, that is if you are game for it.

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 Our children had more fun and laughter after being issued a balloon each during lunch.

[Review & Giveaway] JJ’s Science Adventure: Magnets

When I was a kid, I enjoyed reading comics because the content is light and the graphics entertaining. I still do, as a matter of fact, and am happy to help review a comic book – JJ’s Science Adventure: Magnets – that is educational in nature.

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JJ’s Science Adventure is a series of educational comic books designed to help readers master key learning objectives stated in the Singapore Ministry of Education’s Primary School Science syllabus. The author, Aurelia, an educator herself, has observed that students were often reluctant to read their science textbook but would ask their parents to buy storybooks for them to read. She concluded that children’s motivation to learn is directly linked to their interest and observed that an interest shared by most of them is reading comic books. This led her to commit two years of her life developing this first book on Magnets.

This book has won the Readers’ Favourite Illustration Award which recognises books with quality illustrations. The learning objectives are brilliantly introduced in the storyline and it is an absolute delight to read it.

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What I appreciate about this book:

:: The story has a science fiction fantasy setting which has a tendency to capture the attention of readers. I read it in one sitting and I can be one easily distracted mom if you know me. This book gets me reading till the end.

:: The key teaching points are printed in colour which help readers identify them easily.

:: Besides the key teaching points, there is additional interesting information that is relevant to the topic, thus catering to the needs of different students. I find myself understanding more about MRI and MagLev after the read. Feels good gaining knowledge! 😉

:: The language used is wholesome.

:: The graphics are colourful and attractive and will certainly be appreciated by visual learners.

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This is one book that should be found in the class library where students can have easy access to it! It certainly is a great complement to the textbook and one which helps to reinforce the students’ understanding of the topic. I’m actually looking forward to the next book on Heat and Light which can be pre-ordered here.

JJ’s Science Adventure: Magnets is retailing at S$18.90 and is available at these stores or online. They are wonderful gifts for Christmas! 😉

GIVEAWAY!

The good folks at Harvest Edutainment are giving away 2 copies of JJ’s Science Adventure – Magnets to 2 lucky readers who are residing in Singapore (1 copy per winner). Please state your email address as winners will be notified via email.

Giveaway will end on 13 November 2014.

Enter the giveaway here!

Winners will be announced on this blog post and my facebook page.

All the best!

Disclaimer: I was given a copy of JJ’s Science Adventure: Magnets for the purpose of this review. All opinions are mine.

Update: Thank you for all your participation in the giveaway! The winners are Jolin Poon and Yu Meiyi. You will be contacted shortly via email. Enjoy the comic book! 😉

‘Caking’ my way through November

Oh, you mean it’s November already? So soon?

The beginning of the 11th month saw me working real hard in kitchen. I have started taking cake orders again after a two-month break. And November is a popular month and there are orders every week! Thank God! Faith’s birthday also falls on this month and I’m still thinking if I should bake her a cake. ;p

Rainbow cake continues to be a popular choice and when it comes to young children, you won’t go wrong with animal figurines. Each day, when Faith saw the figurines on the dining table, she would climb up the chair and admire them and at the same time, practising her counting. 😉

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So, I’m thankful that the hubs didn’t complain about the messy dining table. He also gave up a bit of rest to spend more time with Faith while I work in the kitchen. Thank you so much!

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I love animal figurines such as these because they help make a simple cake look adorable (I think!). And I so love the colourful sprinkles!

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Both the cakes happened to be for two-year-olds. 6-inch for both but oh, how tall the cakes are!

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The third cake for the first week is for a good friend of both the hubs and mine. She is our ex-colleague and we had so many wonderful memories working with her. She is also very wise and is a mom to three beautiful children and this cake is for her youngest. I finally have the privilege of baking for her! I’m elated that she told me that her folks love the cake. I was actually afraid that the cake might be too bland since I have reduced the amount of sweetness based on her request. But yay, love the positive review. I’m so encouraged!

Besides the baking adventures, November is off to a good start as our church celebrated her 28th year and I’m thankful that we are placed in this community of believers. I felt belonged and know that there will always be brothers and sisters-in-Christ who will be there to help and encourage us in this journey.

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It’s definitely a bonus that Faith has found herself friends to grow up with in church. I’m praying that they will grow into youth and adults together! 😉

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This is what happens when she stays with us during service – beautifying chairs.

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The week came to a close as we celebrated the birthday of Faith’s uncle. She had such a wonderful time with my in-laws which brings me great joy too. I’m thankful that she feels loved by the people around her. *Blessed*

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Looking forward to a busy but fulfilling November! And definitely more cakes!

*Photos of Faith courtesy of Mummy Trisa and Auntie Eunice!