Children’s Season: Masak Masak 2015 @ National Museum of Singapore

We started our June holiday programme with Masak Masak, the annual Children’s Season at the National Museum of Singapore (NMS) on its opening day. It returns for the second edition from 30 May to 10 August 2015, Last 20150530_211540year, we attended with Faith’s playmates and although she was just 18 months at that time, she had fun going through the various stations. So you can imagine how happy I am that Masak Masak is back!

This year, the exhibition is made up of 10 installations which features playgrounds of the past and offers a host of activities and engaging exhibits by Singapore artists as well as internationally renowned ones.

Allow me to guide you through the various exhibits! And do make sure that you are equipped with this storybook (right) which helps to guide you through Masak Masak as you share some bonding moments with your kids at each installation.

 photo 20150528-MasakMasak-144_zpslmvg0ds8.jpg:: Playgrounds on the Lawn
Photo: National Museum of Singapore Collection

Remember these familiar playgrounds that we used to play when we were younger? Now they are back in the form of bouncy playgrounds on the lawn of NMS and they pay tribute to the familiar mosaic playgrounds designed by the Housing and Development Board for Singapore’s public housing estates in the 1980s. Do note that they are open for play on Saturday and Sunday from 10am-12pm (very hot) & 4pm-6pm.

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:: Spectrum of Paper

As you enter the main entrance of the museum, you will be greeted by a rainbow wonderland at the Rotunda. This colourful origami suspension is an installation by Mademoiselle Maurice who draws inspiration from the ancient Japanese legend that promises to grant the wish of anyone who folds a thousand cranes. As you look up, ask your children if they can spot any boats or planes!

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:: Spectrum of Paper

Mademoiselle Maurice’s Spectrum of Paper continues at The Salon with more intricate origami creations in the form of flowers and animals. It is her response to local artist, Jeanette Aw’s illustration of Sol* holding onto a string tied to a bird in flight.

* Sol is a character in Jeanette Aw’s latest illustrated book, Sol’s World: Somebody to Love. This book is available for sale at $19 at the Museum Label shop at Level 1. 

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I thought this is a good time to pay a minimum sum of $2 for some materials to teach the little ones to appreciate the art of paper folding in this inspiring setting. Erm, of course, I think Faith needs a lot of guidance!

20150530_093000:: Queen of the Forest

As you proceed into the Salon, you will see local artist, Jeremy Hiah’s response to Sol exploring nature with his adaptation of a local children’s folktale, Queen of the Forest. The scheduled performance is presented via specially created puppets. Faith has some fun creating her own puppets too with the materials that she purchased earlier.

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So I think the little girl doesn’t have the concept of how it works but such an exposure should suffice for now. 😉

20150530_093131:: Simple Pleasures in Life

I think kids love this wall mural which is specially created for Masak Masak 2015. Here, they can pick up a crayon and fill the wall with their favourite colours, bringing the drawing to life. Ahh… simple pleasures in life indeed. How often can our kids colour on the wall? ;p

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Our little girl definitely enjoyed this part of the exhibit.

20150530_101134:: Dancing Solar Flowers

At the concourse, the children can be engaged with a few activities. This Dancing Solar Flowers installation is a good platform to question children about our current use of energy and to think about sustainable energy sources for the future since they use solar energy to move. It’s a bit too abstract for Faith, I think .

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::Garden Games: Hello, Hello?; Flag Attack

If you have older kids, this area would be absolutely fun. The giant flower above is inspired by the tin can telephone and challenges us to figure out which cans are connected amid a tangle of coloured strings. And who can forget flag attack? I played this when I was in Primary School and had great fun! So I got Faith to play with me and obviously she didn’t quite get it. Arghh… no fun!

20150530_100743:: Garden Games: Can or Not?
Faith cannot toss a ring around the coloured bottles. No prize!

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:: Garden Games: Tilt
Navigating a ball out of the maze is highly difficult, even for the Mama!

20150530_094201:: Wanderlust

This is Faith’s favourite as she got to enjoy herself in this enchanting forest which is created from simple materials such as crepe paper! Explore this forest with your kids and get down on all fours. This is a good place to play hide-and-seek and imagine the thrill the kids could get as they crawl under overhanging branches and navigate low terrain, burrows and narrow thicket passageways.

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Erm, we definitely could get more adventurous than this. Ahem!

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:: Memory Stations

Another exhibit that Faith enjoyed is this group of 11 stations where one could take a walk down memory lane to learn about life in Singapore in the 1950s and 60s through the prints from woodblock printing. The children could get their hands on creating their own prints with the stamps provided. This is definitely a task that Faith could handle!

Luma-City by Lim Kim and Alfred Lim (National University of Singapore Division of Industrial Design) photo 20150528-MasakMasak-230_zpso4uixltu.jpg:: Luma-City
Photo: National Museum of Singapore Collection

Faith didn’t get to go through this last exhibit because there were too many children inside the Perform @ Play. Also, it was rather dim and the little girl wasn’t too comfortable with it. However, the older kids were having a whale of a time as they got the opportunity to play with the larger-than-life toy vehicles. All they needed to do was to give the toys a little push and they could watch the luminescent trails that appear and gradually fade beneath their feet.

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Besides these exhibits, there are also some special programmes such as the shadow puppetry workshop which is held on every Saturday in June at 10.30am (note that this workshop requires ticket) and puppetry performance by Singaporean artist, Jeremy Hiah (selected Saturdays). Oh, yes, don’t miss the Momolato at the Front Lawn every Saturday and Sunday from 30 May to 28 June (10am to 6pm). We missed that and it’s such a bummer. I’m sure the special gelato flavour will be a hit with most and do try their award-winning SG50 flavour, Good Old days, as well as other exciting ice cream and popsicle flavours!

Oh, wait! I think we are going back again. 😉

National Museum of Singapore
Children’s Season: Masak Masak 2015
Saturday 30 May to Monday 10 August
Daily, 10am to 6pm
Free Admission

Disclaimer: Our family was invited to the media preview of Masak Masak 2015 on its opening Day. No monetary compensation was given. 

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(Gluten-free) Lavender shortbreads

For a while now, I have been reading up on gluten-free recipes and how the different ingredients work together when it comes to baking. This came about when a friend challenged me to bake a gluten-free cake for her since she is gluten intolerant.

I must say it isn’t easy for me to comprehend the endless combination of different flours, some of which are not used in my kitchen. There doesn’t seem to be a clear cut explanation of the types of flour to use when and in what quantities, unlike the more conventional types of baking recipes that I’m used to. Many gluten-free recipes and books put me off until I came across this particular one – The Gluten-free Baker by Hannah Miles. The pictures are attractive enough and the recipes are straight-forward. This is exactly what I need to start my gluten-free baking adventure.

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I decided to try something simple to minimise failure. Cookies, aren’t they simple enough? We all started off with cookies, didn’t we? So I chose the lavender shortbreads since I have a good supply of culinary lavender in my pantry. Don’t waste!

For gluten-free baking flour, I choose to work with Bob’s Red Mill’s all-purpose baking flour. Granted that you can mix certain types of flours (such as tapioca flour, potato and rice flour) to make your own gluten-free flour but they are too complicated for me at the moment so I choose the ready-combined ones. In my recent baking, I have also switched to using organic raw sugar as compared to caster sugar whenever possible. The following is the adapted recipe.

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Ingredients

115g unsalted butter, softened
50g organic raw sugar
85g gluten-free all-purpose baking flour
2 teaspoons culinary lavender, finely ground
85g ground almond
a little milk, if required

1. Preheat the oven to 180C.

2. Put the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and cream together until light and creamy. Sift in the flour and add the lavender and ground almond. Bring together to a dough with your hands. If the mixture is too dry, add a little milk t moisten it ( I didn’t have to do that).

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3. Transfer the dough onto a sheet of parchment paper. Using the parchment paper, roll the dough into a long sausage shape with about 4cm diameter. Chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes. At times, I prefer to use the freezer.

image 4. Once the dough is firmed up, cut into 1-cm thick slices and arranged on the prepared baking sheet, each at a small distance apart (they will enlarge when they are being baked). Press the back of a fork down into each shortbread to make ridges (for a nicer look but I forgot to do that!)

5. Bake in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool on the baking sheet before serving.

:: These shortbreads will keep up to 5 days if stored in an airtight container.

I was pleasantly surprised at how tasteful the shortbreads are. The cookies truly smell delicious as you remove them from the oven. If you are into gluten-free baking, this is one recipe you might want to try!

Linking up with

Growing with the Tans

The Totoro wedding cake

I’m currently in a state of contentment.

Over these few years, I’ve learnt to accept and enjoy my role as a SAHM. Perhaps, it’s because I have only one kid and things are manageable. However, I believe I can attribute such contentment and joy to a few main factors and one of them is my interest in baking and cake decorating.

Being stuck at home can be depressing and I quickly realised that I am not one who can survive such a lifestyle. I love to learn, communicate with others and impart knowledge to others. Picking up from where I have left off, I decided to continue to hone my skills in baking and ventured into cake decorating by going for relevant courses. Gradually, friends asked me if I could bake for them and after much consideration, I decided to give it a try. I was honoured yet fearful because we all know that taste is subjective; I’m not sure if I could do a good job.

Anyway, I went ahead and baked more cakes. I love the process of learning through baking various kinds of sponge cakes and it’s really therapeutic as I work on the figurines. It’s a form of art and I find myself enjoying it.

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In the course of learning, I was privileged enough to get myself a freelance teaching job at a cake decorating school. It’s a dream come through. Flexible working hours works well for SAHMs and it’s definitely a bonus that you can share your passion with others too. At last, I could have a decent adult conversation! Do you realise that your vocabulary deteriorates when you only talk to a child most of the time? I do!

As much as I love making cakes, I am mindful that my interest does not take precedence over my main responsibility – my family. I am first of all, a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. Second, I am wife to my wonderful husband and then a mother to my child(ren). While God has given me gifts and abilities to bless others, I must make sure that I don’t fill my schedule such that I sacrifice the first three priorities.

I have thus learnt NOT to accept every other cake order that comes my way, especially in my current capacity. It’s painful, to be honest, to pass potential orders to my baker friends when I know I can do the job. However, at the end of the day, I have to let go so that I can fulfill my other responsibilities.

Last weekend, I had an opportunity to work on a rustic wedding cake and it was really pure joy working with the bride. She envisioned a cake with lots of fresh berries and a couple of cake toppers. So I just baked the classic Victoria Sponge Cake and sandwiched with cream, {lingoberry} jam and berries. 

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This is a simplified version of how the Victoria Sponge Cake is made via etsy.

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A few days before, the figurines, a Totoro wedding couple were made. They have to closely resemble the pictures that the bride had given me. I used fondant + tylose powder which is my best friend when it comes to sugar modelling.

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A day before the actual day, the three stacks of cakes were baked and frosted. I do believe that the flavours need time to blend and thus making the cake a day before is best. They were all packed and placed in the chiller since fresh fruits are used and I wouldn’t want to risk anything, ya know?

In most cases, I don’t do delivery but since this cake involved three tiers and I had to add in more fruits on site, it makes sense that I deliver the cake. The whole troop went with me because honestly, I couldn’t manage it all by myself now. #pregnancywoes

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Pardon me as the following pictures would have me in it since I got the hubs to snap me in action. Thankfully, the ride was smooth and by right, there shouldn’t be any accident to the cakes since they are heavy! For the bottom and second tier, I inserted dowels or those big, fat straws so that the cake would not sink when I place another layer on top of it. Royal icing is your best helper as you need to ‘glue’ the layers of cakes in place.

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I’m always very nervous when it comes to stacking of the layers of cakes. Because there is simply no back up plan and to add to the stress, you have eyes on you as you work. So there cannot be any mistakes! Delicate hands, please!

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Placing more fresh fruits by the sides and adding real flowers that are supplied by the bride. I should have added more actually!

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To have the snowy effect, I sprinkled dusting powder (not icing sugar) all over lavishly. This powder stays in its normal form and will not be ‘soaked’ by the moisture of the cake.

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There you go. I had fun with this cake and with all the $$ I got from baking the cakes, I could at least contribute a wee bit to the family. Granted that it’s a far cry from what I used to get when I was working, it does help in paying off some expenses. And… it does feel good to have some earning power. ;p

😉

Quekling II @ 20 weeks

Detailed scan day.

And apparently, Quekling II turns out to be …

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… a boy!

So, Faith has been right all along. Upon knowing that I was pregnant, I asked her if the baby was going to be a boy or a girl and she would always reply “弟弟” (younger brother). This goes to show that we can take the words of the little ones seriously. :p

Quekling II seems to be growing well and we could see all limbs. He was really active during the scan and was changing position most of the time.

Personally, I was relieved after knowing all seemed to be well and that the baby might be a boy (shouldn’t really trust wholeheartedly until the baby is out!). I think having both a boy and a girl completes the picture but ultimately, of course, the more important thing is to have a normal and healthy child, regardless of the gender.

These days, I have friends who asked me what the arrangement would be like when the second one comes along. Would I engage a helper? Nope, I wouldn’t. But I know there are challenges ahead.

Firstly, I need to prepare Faith that the baby would not be great fun to be with. Many times, she has asked me if the baby could read with her, skate-scoot, play play-doh with her, etc and I have to tell her that the baby couldn’t until he’s a bit older like her. I must really make her realise that the baby will demand a lot of my attention and that Mama could not always spend time with her like what I’m doing now.

Faith really ought to be potty-trained by the time the younger one comes into the scene. For months, she could tell me that she needed to poo and there hadn’t been any accident. However, she just couldn’t do so for her pees. How frustrating! There are still other skills that she needs to acquire and I already feel there’s not enough time! Oh my!

I fully expect household chores to be burdensome when the second one arrives. I’m learning how to freeze my meals and to think of alternative ways to clean the apartment. Hire a part-time helper? Perhaps. Get an iRobot? Maybe.

Oh my…

Breathe in…. Breathe out…. Take a step at a time.

Weight: 53kg

Baking with a toddler

This is not so much a post about a recipe but thoughts about spending time with Faith on a one-to-one basis. Quality time, so they say. You might be surprised and ask, “But you are a SAHM! Of course, you should be able to spend more time with her!” That is true, of course, except that there are dishes to clear, toilets to clean, floors to mop and meals to prepare, just to name a few. And all these take time.

However, as I take a step back, I realise that Faith desires to work on stuff together with me, remembers those incidents and narrates them in her own way. She actually enjoys those activities! So, I’ve decided household chores can wait a wee bit and start focusing on building wonderful memories for her by getting her involved in the KITCHEN.

If you know me, I love baking and cooking and I think such an interest can be felt by the little one. She observes me daily in the kitchen and then recently, keeps telling me, “I want to see Mama doing.” I believe the hands-on baking workshop at the Colgate event and the recent cookie baking and decorating session I had with her have fueled her interest.

I might as well get her involved then. Which turns out to be really awesome.

So our recent project is to bake some savoury cupcakes together. To be honest, they are not the most delicious but I guess they are nutritious enough for the little one. I packed in salmon and spinach in it but I think adding bacon would really enhance the flavour (but I try not to use processed meat).

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What you would need
:: 1 1/4 cups of organic unbleached plain flour
:: 1 1/2 tsps baking powder
:: 1 cup grated vegetables such as carrots, zucchini, chopped vegetables, etc
:: 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
:: 50g cooked salmon or chicken meat, finely chopped
:: 1 egg
:: 1/4 cup of milk
:: 50g unsalted butter, melted
:: olive oil or butter to grease the pan

** Original recipe from Beanstalk magazine (the magazine for early childhood practitioners and parents)

1. Preheat oven to 180C and grease the cupcake pan with olive oil or butter.

2. Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl. I got Faith to do this step and nearly fainted because her aiming is really bad but I had to put on a calm and joyous front.

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3. Add grated veggies, meat and cheese. Toss well to mix.

4. In another bowl, whisk the egg, milk and butter together.

image5. Add wet ingredients to the dry ones, stir until just combined. Do not overmix as your cupcakes will be tough.

6. Spoon into the cupcake pan. I used a mini cupcake pan as mini ones can be easily handled by the little girl when she’s consuming them.

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7. Spoon into the cupcake pan.

8. Bake for about 15 minutes for mini cupcakes or 25 minutes for the regular-sized cupcakes or until golden brown. insert a toothpick into one of the cupcakes. if baked through, the toothpick will come out clean.

I must say I was nervous the whole time Faith handled the equipment. I don’t really welcome mess but we all know it is inevitable especially when working with young kids since their grip and coordination skills are not there yet. I have to remind myself to have fun with her.

An attitude of fun creates a positive atmosphere.

image{via SunshineInkStudio from etsy}

Apart from that concern, it is really a worthwhile activity to work on. As we baked, we conversed and i told her the names of the various ingredients and methods like whisking, stirring, pouring, etc and she could remember them! What a useful practical lesson!

I believe we would do more of such activities again. Why don’t you do so with your kids too? 😉

Easy and delicious recipes that we could work on together (for now):

:: Mini quiche

:: Broccoli, cheese and mushroom easy pies

:: Pizza

:: Pasta pies

So, stay tuned!

To my soulmate

I realised that I hardly mention my hubs in my posts after Faith was born and today, I’m in the mood to pen down my thoughts about the man in my life.

Before the kid came along, we were really loving and inseparable. Life was sweet and i enjoyed every moment with him. Things change once Faith enters our lives. Communication was reduced drastically. I was too caught up with grappling with my new role as a mother and he, trying to juggle between work and family.  At the end of the day, both of us were just too tired to talk.

In my first year as a mom, I bore a resentful heart. I disliked being a SAHM even though my mind was convicted of the benefits it will bring to the family. Many times, the hubs would hear complaints from me, that his life hadn’t changed much; he just needed to spend that extra 2 to 3 hours with Faith upon reaching home. Naturally, I became critical of him and expected him to spend every minute with Faith in the evening with quality (whatever that means).

The hubs was patient with me. All he wanted was that I would be happy. He encouraged me to pursue my interests and constantly told me to have my ME time. He has never refused my needs and wants and each time when I ask for help, he would gladly do it.

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Three years into motherhood and I must say things get easier. Perhaps, da man has been praying for me all along that my heart would be settled. Today, as I look back, I am thankful.

:: Thankful that he initiated that I be a SAHM. Being a working mom is tough and I think he knows that all along. Without any work deadlines and pressure, I am no longer a ‘rushian’ and could spend time playing and teaching Faith wholeheartedly The little one also gets to grow up in an environment where it is safe and knows that she is loved and cherished.

:: Thankful that he allows me to pursue my interests and dreams even though it might cost him financially. For that, I’m immensely grateful.

:: Thankful that he doesn’t bring work home. Once he’s back, his focus is on the family, helping me out in whatever ways he could. Many times, I feel guilty because I know he needs a rest himself too but he devotes the time on Faith and me. I love it especially when he does all the fun things with the little girl and because of that, Faith always looks forward to her papa’s return.

:: Thankful that he would always be there for the little one whenever there is any school outing and that he would take leave to accompany me for my gynae appointment.

:: Thankful that he is always desiring to do the will of God and that’s his prayer all along. This year, he became more involved in his service to the Lord but in so doing, he has also become more sensitive to the needs of the family and could guide us better.

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Oh, there are still a lot that I can be thankful for but I’d just stop here. We had a very private birthday celebration for him just a week ago. His style, really. He just wants to spend time with his family and oh, what a lovely picture of him and Faith!

Blessed birthday, dear hubs. I’m thankful to the Lord for you!

Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother’s Day to all wonderful moms out here! This year’s has been especially meaningful because Faith could articulate that greeting to me as she handed me a card she made from school ( with the teachers’ help, of course) and the lollipop flower that she received from Kids’ Church. It really warmed my heart as she ran towards me with the gift and said a Happy Mother’s Day to me. *heart melted* imageBeing a parent is tough. I mean, no one prepares us for that. In a way, we are thrown into that role but thankfully, we can always draw reference from our own parents and fellow moms and dads who are good role models. This year, for Mother’s Day, I got Faith to bake some sugar cookies and involved her in decorating them, just for the fun of it. It does promise a messy kitchen and table but the most important thing is she had fun. image To make the cookies, you need:
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar ( I used a little less than that)
1/2 egg 1 tsp vanilla extract
1.5 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt

1. Preheat the oven at 175C before baking.

2. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.

3. Add the egg and vanilla and continue to cream until they are mixed well.

4. Mix the flour, baking powder and salt together and add to the wet mixture a little at a time until it is completely mixed in.

5. Place the cookie dough between two sheets of parchment paper and roll to a thickness of 0.5cm (or your desired thickness).

6. Chill for about 2 hours so that it will be easier to cut out the cookies using the cutters.

7. Cut out the dough using cookie cutters.

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8. Bake at 175C for about 10 minutes or until the edge starts to turn brown. Do place the cookies of the same size together on the sheet pan when you bake. This is to ensure consistency in baking of the cookies. imageAfter the cookies are baked and cooled, I got Faith to spread the surface with a little of the strawberry jam.

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Thereafter, I used edible flowers and got Faith to smell them. She would have to sprinkle the flowers onto the cookies and then you would have decorated cookies! Simple?

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Happy Mother’s Day!

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A fun afternoon on oral care with Colgate

Let’s talk about oral care today, for both children and adults.
:: Be warned. It’s a long post.

imageIsn’t it wonderful when we have a healthy set of teeth to flash when our pictures are taken? Not only that, having strong, healthy teeth can help us chew the right foods so that we can grow. They also help us speak clearly and look our best. So, it’s important that we take care of our teeth.

It’s not always easy, at least in my case. I do not have a healthy set of teeth like my husband. I have to battle cavities and to have root canal done for one of my teeth. I must admit that I am not diligent in taking care of my teeth when I was younger and now I must make sure that my daughter does not suffer the same fate as me. So education on the importance of good oral care habits must start young.

Our family was invited by Colgate Singapore to a parent forum in which we were informed by a dentist, Dr JJ, on the dangers of dental cavities and the importance of maintaining good oral hygiene. Not only that, we had the opportunity to participate in a fun, hands-on baking workshop where Faith and I whipped up yummy healthy dishes under the guidance of a professional chef.

When do baby teeth appear?

The first teeth to appear at around six months of age are usually the two lower central incisors – or ‘cutting teeth’. These are followed by the two upper central incisors. By the 16th month, four more incisors would have appeared. Between 13 to 19 months, four canines (pointed teeth) would appear. The molars would have all appeared by the time the child reaches 33 months old.

The order of the appearance is an average only. Babies do vary and it is important to note that teeth appear when they are ready.

Dr JJ reminded us that baby teeth are the foundations of developing permanent teeth and they must be well taken care of. Early loss of baby teeth, for example, can result in space problem for permanent teeth.

What causes tooth decay

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It is important that we take care of our teeth because it helps prevent plaque which is a clear film of bacteria that sticks to our teeth. After we eat, bacteria in our mouth react with the food we eat and sugar acids develop. These sugar acids cause the tooth enamel to weaken, causing holes called cavities.

What we can do

The following are some pointers that Dr JJ mentioned and I thought it’s good to note:

:: Babies who latch on or have a bottle of milk before they sleep tend to have their teeth decay earlier. It is very important that they brush their teeth before they fall asleep!

:: It’s not advisable that the child takes a long time to complete his meal. Dr JJ mentioned that she knew of children who took an hour to do so and by that time, food that is consumed has turned into sugar acids in the mouth.

:: Formula milk contains a lot of sugar. Before you choose one for your child, it is best to read the label and look out for these added sugar which might harm the teeth if they are not well taken care of.

:: Water and milk are the best drinks for your toddler between meals. Try not to give your toddler acidic, sugary or fizzy drinks between meals, or juice or squash in a bottle.

:: Of course, much depends on what one eats. There is a consistent message to keep sweets and other sugary snacks between meals to a minimum. This includes dried fruits such as raisins which are high in sugar and can stick to teeth, as well as chocolate and cakes. Dr JJ maintained that the point is not to refrain from eating them but to practise oral care after consuming them. She shared that her own children are given sugary snacks too but she makes sure that they clean their teeth well. In any case, apart from water, everything else {including good old vegetables and fruits) that we consume has sugar in it.

:: Have regular dental visits. It is recommended that the children start visiting the dentist when they are young before problems arise.

The fun part: Making your own mini pasta pie

Part of this forum was the opportunity to have a fun time making healthy dishes with the little ones. The chef told us that it is always good to read the labels on the bottles or cans of food that we purchase. More often than not, they contain a high level of sugar and she advocated that we make our own sauce, dips, etc.

So that day, we were taught how to make our own pasta sauce.

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It is pretty easy and I like it that they use natural ingredients (apart from the canned chopped tomatoes and tomato paste). Make a big amount and you can store the rest for future use. No need to buy those bottled pasta sauce in future ( I was told there is about 1/4 cup of sugar in each bottle. That’s a lot of sugar!)

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Next, the children got to assemble their own pasta pies! Just combine the penna pasta, mixed vegetables or broccoli, pasta sauce and cheese before baking. It’s that easy! Faith had a fun time doing it and I realised that we can do simple cooking such as this at home. I’m going to try this recipe again. So stay tuned!

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To complete the meal, the children had to make their own dessert – fruits kebab.

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I must say this activity made me nervous. The kids had to cut the fruits into smaller pieces and our little girl was super enthusiastic about cutting. The knife was really sharp and I had to stop her from doing it herself. Other than that, it was pure joy to see her enjoying herself.

imageLunch is ready!

Toothbrushing tips

:: Brush at least 2 times a day, once in the morning and once a night before sleeping

:: Toothbrushing must be supervised. This is because a young child would not know how to brush their teeth well until the age of 7.

:: Be systematic when you brush. Divide the upper and lower jaws into 3 segment each and brush all surfaces of a tooth

:: A good brush will take about 2 – 3 minutes

:: Brush the teeth and gums and angle the bristles at 45 degrees to the gumline

:: A toothbrush with small head and soft rounded bristles is good for kids. Replace once every 3 months.

:: For children who can spit effectively, they can use 1000ppm fluoride or a pea-sized amount to brush their teeth. When asked about the use of fluoride-free toothpaste for young kids, Dr JJ warned that the children tend to swallow the toothpaste as well since they can be swallowed. This might hinder them from learning to use the fluoride toothpaste as they grow older. Her own thought would be to use water to brush their teeth before they learn how to spit.

More info on oral health for children can be found here.

Colgate Maximum Cavity Protection plus Sugar Acid Neutralizer

We were lastly introduced to the Colgate Maximum Cavity Protection with Sugar Acid Neutralizer which claims to be a new standard of oral care that makes a cavity-free future possible. It is clinically proven to fight tooth decay in two ways. Firstly, its patented Sugar Acid Neutralizer helps deactivate sugar acids before they can harm teeth. Secondly, with fluoride an calcium, it also strengthens and restores the enamel to help prevent cavity formation.

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We were all given a pack to try the new product at home and so far, it has been good. It feels as if your teeth are cleaned just like when you are at the dentist. If the product delivers what it claims to do, then it will be worthwhile to have Faith use it when she have learnt how to spit. For now, the Mama is still trying out! 😉

This is a short video to illustrate how the new breakthrough technology Sugar Acid Neutralizer works. Do visit www.facebook.com/ColgateSG or www.colgate.com.sg for more information on the product.

Thank you, Colgate, for this invitation. We truly had fun during the baking session with the chefs at Expat Kitchen and benefited much from the informative session on oral care with Dr JJ. Even Faith gave a thumbs up!

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Disclaimer: The family was invited to attend the baking workshop organised by Colgate. No monetary compensation was given. Information on dental care was written based on what I have gathered from the session and from limited research via the internet.