[Thankful Thursday] The past few weeks

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These few weeks have been quite a ride. Dad was hospitalised and needed to go through an emergency operation. It came as a shock to us but thankfully the operation went well and through this experience, he realised life is not within his control and all he could do was to pray to God for mercy. Lying on the bed in ICU, he prayed and received Christ into his life. All glory to God.

It’s been more than two decades of praying for him and sharing about the faith with him. I have to be honest, that I became faithless and stopped praying regularly for both my parents. At times, there would be reminders and I started bringing both to events. Through it all, I know that even if I am faithless, Christ is the faithful one.

Each day passed by really quickly and I seem to have endless things to do. Yea, SAHMs are busy people! I survive on two cups of coffee daily and dare not consume more for fear of insomnia. I need caffeine to start my engine in the morning and when I get sluggish in the afternoon, another cup will suffice. Oh yes, this Tekika Coffee which my friend blessed me with, lifted my spirits once I tore open the packet. Truly aromatic.

And then Dan felt sick. He developed a slight cough which worsened each day. A couple of days later, he turned feverish. We took no chance and brought him to a GP and the next day, to a PD. Blood test was taken and in the end, he needed to be nebulised.

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I know this is rather common but seeing the little one go through this can be heart-breaking for the parents. Yet from this, I can be thankful because treatment was available and the hubs was all very hands-on. The sister has shown herself to be understanding and helped the mom whenever the latter needed assistance.

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A good and caring sister she is and I thank God for her. Of course, she could be cheeky and at times, challenged us but on the whole, she’s a wonderful girl!

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I’m greatly indebted to fellow mommies for their concern and encouragement. One of them, Jenn of Mylilbookworm even ordered food for me and got them to be delivered to my doorstep because she figured that it would be tiring having to take care of an unwell child so sending food to me would be practical. Am really grateful for that kind gesture.

I guess that’s much to be thankful about even though the circumstances might not look positive. God knows it all and will enable and provide.

[Friday Flips] The Green Sea Turtle

I first got hold of this book ‘The Green Sea Turtle’ by Isabel Muller three weeks ago and knew that I have to do a simple study on Turtles. The story tells of the journey of one green sea turtle and the many intriguing events that happen during the course of her life’s journey. I was captivated by the story and no doubt, the beautiful illustration as well.

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The many creatures that she meets in the ocean…

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What does this remind you of? Life cycle of a turtle. I can teach the girl!

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The reader is introduced to the seven kinds of sea turtle. Okay, I must admit that I know very little about this creature so you can understand why I really like this book. It’s an information book written in a simple manner. I told myself that I need to share this story with the girl and went about gathering resources for this study.

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If you have followed me for a while, you would know that I like to do art with my girl because personally I like it. And I love to integrate art, science and other discipline into language arts. I thought I could get the girl to learn about the different parts of the turtle and of course the life cycle.

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Both the children love the story and the boy kept calling out,” Turtle, turtle!”

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I printed out these 3-part cards from thehelpfulgarden. The website has a wonderful amount of resources for us to use so please look through it!

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Going through the life cycle of the turtle with both kids. I find it difficult to design learning for both kids at the same time. Time is often not on my side. So I hope that the younger one will be able to learn something together with the sister. I hope.

We went on to the artwork and got Faith to continue to learn how to blend three colours for the carapace. The boy worked on a simple craft.

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The boy and his turtle.

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There you have it. This morning’s lesson based on this marvellous book. I think I learn more as I prepare the lesson and I like it that I’m constantly gaining new knowledge together with the kids.

#montessoriathome

There hasn’t been much update on this space because life is really busy and fun with two kids. I have not baked in ages even though I’ve been itching to make some baked goods. Fact is, whatever time I have with the kids is spent teaching and learning together with them. When they are asleep or napping, that’s the time for me to cook or create learning resources for them. Moreover, I am now going through an online Montessori course which makes life even busier for this mom.

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I’m not sure why I didn’t take up this course earlier. I had known about its existence two years ago from a friend who had graduated from it and she found it useful and so recommended me. Alas, procrastination took over and it was only until I found difficulty in teaching the girl the blue and green series in the language component that I decided to register for the one-year course. Moreover, I’m toying with NOT sending Dan to school next year.

I love the Montessori preschool that Faith is in now. But the timing for Dan’s and Faith’s level differs and that would mean I have to be on the road a lot if I was to send both to the same school. Time that could otherwise be spent teaching at home would reduce and perhaps frustration would set in?

With these thoughts, I decided to take the plunge and took up the course in late January. I might as well test out how ‘homeschooling’ Dan would be like and spend the morning effectively with both of them.

Before I took up the course, ideas for teaching Dan were gathered from Pinterest. They are good, no doubt, but since taking up the course, lessons have been more focussed and less sporadic.

There is so much to share with the two children that I feel time is running out. So, whatever time I have is dedicated to teaching them. It’s really fun!

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Dan is very into animals now, especially since we came back from the WA trip in which we visited a farm.

LivingMontessoriNow.com is now hosting an awesome giveaway of the KHT 12- month Montessori Online Certificate Course. I am currently going through this course and find it really useful for my personal homelearning use. If you are interested, why don’t you give it a try?

Fatimah and her Magic Socks

[PLAYtime Series : Fatimah and her Magic Socks]

This is a performance that I would be bringing the kids to and am looking forward!

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Meet Fatimah, the little girl with a bright smile on her face and feet that cannot stop dancing!

One rainy afternoon, Fatimah meets a mysterious and magical lion that takes her on a thrilling adventure. In this newly discovered world of fun, Fatimah learns about friendship, laughter and the power of… magical socks!

Dance, laugh, sing and imagine with Fatimah in this colourful theatrical delight especially created for children aged 2 to 4. Fatimah will be showing from 28 April to 14 May and I was told children do not need to sit through the performance, but rather, participate through it!

More details about Fatimah and her Magic Socks can be found here.

PLAYtime series are adapted from books written and illustrated by local authors/illustrators. More information can be found via  www.esplanade.com/playtime

flo cafe – by food lovers for food lovers

[Food review]

The next time you step foot into IMM, why not try the food at flo (food lovers only)? This new, unpretentious, clean-looking halal cafe offers a wide array of dishes and yet just enough not to thrust you into an overwhelming state. In a nutshell, the selection is …just right.

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flo is an extension of Cafe Manuka in Paragon. The idea to establish flo came about when the Manuka Group wanted a café with more versatile options besides New Zealander cuisine, and one that also caters to the Muslim/halal demographic. A cafe that serves a variety of cuisines was thus born.

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This is one of their all-day breakfast’s hot favourites – flo’s Rosti Special ($15). The potato-lover in me appreciated that the rosti is made from freshly grated potatoes. With two eggs (scrambled or sunny side-up), fresh rocket salad, marinated pulled chicken slices and sour cream with chives dip on the side, this makes for a filling and satisfying meal.

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If you want a lighter starter, their soup-of-the day is delish and there is also this Tomato Mozzarella Salad ($12). I’m not a fan of tomatoes but I love the freshness of the greens. Salad lovers, you might want to try this or their Wild Rocket Mushroom Salad ($10).

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This main, the Korean Inspired Marinated Chicken served with Korean-style fried anchovies and Kimchi Fried Brown Rice ($16) is my personal favourite. It’s a no wonder as I love kimchi and anchovies and since it’s brown rice, I feel this is a healthier meal option? ;p Also, I love the char-grilled chicken so this dish is a thumbs-up for me.

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For those who like their bread, there is the Korean Beef Bulgogi Sandwich ($15). The beef is tender and yummy and I wish there are more of it in the sandwich!

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Pasta and spice lovers, may I challenge you to taste this Korean Beef Pasta ($17)? This unique dish is made with flo’s in-house blended base and it allows the rich flavours of kimchi to complement the spaghetti and beef. I would have chosen this to be my favourite except that I find it too spicy for me. ;(

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flo also offers desserts such as the Bountiful Choco-Brownie ($14.50) and a good selection of cakes.

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Spoilt for choice, no? We had matcha red bean cake, rainbow cake that will cheer you up just by looking at it, ondeh-ondeh cake which we unanimously agreed that it’s the best among the four and tiramisu.

These are just some of the dishes we have tried and there are more on the menu to choose from. The cafe is kids’ friendly and they provide toys as entertainment for the young ones as they wait for their food.

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On the whole, the dining experience at flo is a positive one. There is enough but not overwhelming choice of food on the menu and I’m sure there would definitely be some that would cater to your taste buds. The service is prompt and professional, with a smile always and I truly like the casual setting of the cafe. A good cafe to to dine in and catch up with friends!

flo (food lovers only)
IMM
2 Jurong East Street 21 #02-15A
Singapore 609601
11am to 10pm daily
Contact number: 68961396
facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FLO.foodloversonly/

[Review + Giveaway] EZPZ Happy Mat

Meal times should be relaxed, fun and with joy as the family comes together to have conversations about the food on the table and of the activities that they have had for that day. Perhaps, for many of you, such is the case. However, that does not happen to us, at least for now. Because we have a toddler who is Mr Tamchiak (one who likes to eat) and insists on feeding himself.

Self-feeding is good, isn’t it? Not until you see the mess that is created!

Daniel decided that he needed to have ownership of the spoon when he turned 15 months old; he snatched the spoon from me when I tried to feed him. From then on, the mother would watch him like a hawk and try to prevent any accidents – tipping of the bowl, flying food items, etc – from occurring.

Meal times are stressful times…for me. And I always have my equipment – newspaper at the bottom of the highchair, tissue paper and wet wipes – ready.

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But meal times can be made a little less stressful with EZPZ Happy Mat. It is an all-in-one placemat with a plate that captures the mess created by the little one. This mat (15″ x 10″ x 1″) suctions directly to the table and it is near impossible for the plate to be tipped over.

Of course, I’m not suggesting that meal times will instantly turn pleasurable with the use of EZPZ Happy Mat because there is still mess but the mess is contained within the mat…

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…in this manner. So you will find me scooping the food back onto the plate instead of wasting it. Obviously eating rice on the plate will require more skill and effort on the part of the toddler and I thought the Happy Bowl (below) will make a better choice if you are having rice or soup (duh).

Images taken from MumsPick

As you can imagine, it’s much easier to clear the mess once the boy is done with his meal. I just need to remove the mat and head straight to the sink . Some of the food still drops to the floor but the amount of wastage has reduced.

I personally thought the EZPZ Happy Mat is a good investment especially if you are starting the kid through Baby-Led Weaning (BLW). Daniel was fed puree because the mom couldn’t stand the mess BLW would create. Moreover, she wasn’t informed of the existence of the EZPZ Happy Mat so…

A few things you might want to know about the product:

:: Made from 100% food-grade silicone that is BPA, BPS, PVC, latex and phthalate free

:: Dishwasher, microwave and oven safe (up to 175C)

:: Promotes self-feeding and develops fine motor skills

:: Easy to store

:: Built to last (silicon is bendable and flexible and doesn’t fade, corrode or deteriorate)

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EZPZ Happy Mat is available at MumsPick who is the exclusive distributor of EZPZ in Indonesia, Singapore, Philippines and Malaysia. Do make sure your Happy Mat has the ezpz brand name on it when you purchase one. Without the brand name, the product is sourced from another manufacturer who may not be compliant with regulatory requirements.

GIVEAWAY!

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I’m excited to share that MumsPick is offering one reader a Limited Edition Happy Mat in Berry worth S$52. Yay!

All you need to do is to

  1. Follow MumsPick on their FB Page to get updated information on their products. They have good stuff for the kids!
  2. Tag a friend, like and comment on RaisingFaith FB post on why you wanted to win this Happy Mat. I’m just curious, you see?
  3. Do follow RaisingFaith as I will announce the winner on that platform.

The giveaway is open to all residing in Singapore and will end on 6 April 2017. I will announce the winner on RaisingFaith FB page on 7 April. All the best!

Please note: Winner will have to pick item up from the Eastern side of Singapore, or top up for mail/courier.

Discount Code

MumsPick is also offering readers a 10% discount on their products. Use the code “RFEZPZ” during checkout! This code expires on 13 April 2017.

Family trip to WA (March 2017)

Our family came back from a week long trip to Western Australia (WA) during the one week school holidays and boy, was it fun and memorable. Okay, I have to be honest. Initially, I didn’t think the trip would work well. We have travellers spanning from 17 months old to 70 + years old and with such a diverse age group comes differing travellng styles and preferences. Thankfully, the family members are very accommodating which made the trip a pleasurable one.

We chose Western Australia because we thought it would be a nice place for families to rest and relax. It’s not too far from tropical Singapore and that means a shorter flight so if the toddler fusses, it would still be tolerable for all. WA has definitely much to offer, from the scenic view to farm stay to wonderful fresh crops for us to savour to wonderful shopping experience. How not to love it?

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This is our itinerary and this post is a summary of the trip, lest I procrastinate (again) and fail to record.

11 March | Day 0 | Flight to Perth

We boarded an afternoon flight and reached Perth around 6pm. The boy was fussy during the flight and he tired us out. Upon reaching the airport, we were told that the 12-seater van that we booked was damaged from the previous rental but they could offer us an 8-seater and we need not pay for the car seat, extra driver and we need not return the vehicle with a full tank of petrol. We took up the offer.

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By the time we reached our accommodation, the cousin and auntie-in-law who had arrived a few hours earlier, prepared dinner for us. Friends came back to pass us some food stuff to tide us for the evening and morning the next day. We just need to eat and sleep. 😉

12 March | Day 1 | Perth -> Bunbury -> Margaret River / Prevelly

We drove south to Margaret River and stopped by Lake Clifton Winery (none too interesting) and eventually had lunch at Bunbury Farmers Market. Goodness, I feel so happy just by looking at the fresh produce! After the lunch break, we continued our way to Prevelly where our accommodation was situated.

13 March | Day 2 | Margaret River Region

We started our day at Surfers Point, took some family pictures and headed towards Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse. The girl didn’t really understand what a lighthouse is until that day. And oh, what a wonderful feeling that was as you stood at the site where the two oceans meet.

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We proceeded to Jewel Cave and was mesmerised by it. I would love to visit the Mammoth cave but I think it would be too much for the older folks to handle. Had Fish and Chips at Augusta before heading back to our accommodation. Since the weather turned for the better, we took the opportunity to take a walk at the Prevelly Beach.

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14 March | Day 3 | Margaret River Region > Farmstay

The family headed out to amaze’n maze for some fun and run. We purposely chose this place for the kids. There were many activities (both indoors and outdoors) for the family to enjoy! However, the weather was rather gloomy and it started to rain, thwarting our plan to have a morning of family fun. Thankfully, there were indoor games in the cafeteria which could occupy both adults and kids.

We proceeded to Berry Farm because we thought we could pick some fruits. Alas, I got the information wrong but I heard the tea (scones and jam) was good and we settled for lunch at the cafe. The kids had a bit of outdoor fun at this space too.

There are many wineries in the Margaret River region but our family was not too keen to visit any (we are not wine connoisseur). We ended up at Leeuwin Estate Winery because it’s on the way to our next destination – Sunflowers Animal Farm & Farmstay!

What can I say about this farm? Fun for all!

15 March | Day 4 | Morning at the farm > Busselton > Perth city

We spent the morning feeding the farm animals, having a pony ride and riding on the tractor. Will write more on this.

We had to check out of the farmstay at 10am and head back to Perth city today. On our way, we stopped by Busselton Jetty to take a break before heading back.

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Back to the city and it’s time to do the grocery and shopping at Chemist Warehouse. During this trip, we cooked quite a fair bit to save cost and why wouldn’t we, really? The produce is so fresh!

16 March | Day 5 | Swan Valley

It’s a packed day today as we headed towards Swan Valley. First stop was Caversham Wildlife Park which is a must-go if you have kids. We spent the whole morning interacting with kangaroos, wombat, koalas, etc and watched an hour-long farm animal show. Got to milk the cow too!

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After lunch, it was driving from place to place – Margaret River Chocolate Company, Providore for jam tasting, Yahava to have our caffeine fix, The Grape Place to bring back some to munch and then it’s basically back to grocery shopping. We were dead beat!

17 March | Day 6 | Fremantle | Crawley Edge Boatshed | Kings Park Botanical Gardens

Fremantle to take a tour at the market and to dine at the famous Fish & Chip restaurants at the Fishing Boat Harbour. We chose Cicerello’s because a friend recommended it.

We didn’t really make any plans for today. Free and easy, that’s the way we like it. Someone suggested Kings Park and on our way, we stopped by Crawley Edge Boatshed to take a picture with it. Tourists, that’s what we are!

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And oh, Kings Park & Botanical Garden! We should have scheduled a morning for it. It’s sooooo beautiful and because it was mid-afternoon by the time we reached there and with the folks being tired, we didn’t get to do the Tree Top Walk in the end. What a pity! We did spend some time relaxing at the lawn and I contributed to the economy by spending on picture books available at Aspects of Kings Park.

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18 March | Day 7 | Hiding at the malls, departure day

We had wanted to return to Kings Park in the morning. Alas, it rained and the next best thing to do is to seek shelter at the malls – Watertown Brand Outlet Centre and Belmont Forum Shopping Centre since it is near the airport.

It was a good trip although it could get tiring especially for the little boy and the older folks. Many times, the boy was extremely clingy and cranky but thankfully, we had the family members to help out. We are blessed to have good cooks (my aunt and cousin-in-law) in our midst so we could still enjoy homecooked food even though we were on vacation. 😉

So where’s next?

Cherry Blossoms @ Gardens by the Bay 2017

I told myself during the one-week school holidays that come this new term, I would seek to explore places with the kids more. You see, much of our daily schedule revolves around Faith. Daniel, just tags along. He would be accompanying the sister to her school and enrichment classes and then head back home with me.

And then, guilt sets in. For the mom, that is.

If I could recall correctly, Faith had playdates and ventured out more, much more than Dan at the same age. We would go out to  farms, parks and water playgrounds with her playmates.

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So I want to keep my promise and start to explore more places with him/them and today I brought them to view the cherry blossoms at Gardens by the Bay.

Okay, granted that it’s actually me who is more interested in the flowers but there is no harm in getting them to start appreciating nature, yea?

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The two got bored but thankfully they had each other as company. The cherry blossoms are really beautiful. Do visit before it’s too late ok?

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😉

Been quiet these days…

We’ve been rather quiet on this space. That’s because we have been travelling during the one-week school hols. So many things have happened and life has been pretty busy and interesting.

We just came back from a week-long vacation in Perth, Western Australia and there are so many things to update. First, let me catch some winks. 😉

Highlight of February

February has come to an end and we are marching on to March! How has your second month been?

My days have been long and filled with joy though there are still many times when frustration sets in. I have finally come to a state in which I could safely say I have settled, in being a SAHM. Yes, after four long years! All along, I have been questioning God why He has to call me out of my work to be a SAHM.

I wanted to teach! I love teaching and I thought this is what You have called me to do in the first place. Then why call me out?

I realised I do enjoy teaching both kids. Those days, when I was a teacher, my mind was filled with ideas to engage my students. Now, it’s happening too and my kids are my students now.

I got the boy to work with his fine motor skills a lot and to learn to concentrate when he’s on a task.

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I also attended a workshop conducted by an ex-colleague who is passionate about Math. The workshop on Early Childhood Numeracy has been helpful in getting me to start working with Faith on her number sense and to go deep into the concept. I hope to do up a blog post on that workshop soon!

After that workshop, I started to get her to work on her number sense more intentionally. You see, Faith got to do a lot of activities pertaining to language, geography and art which are my strength. I have not really touched on Math and Science though we include them in our daily lives. I guess from now on, I have to get her to work on them more intentionally.

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BSF commenced three weeks ago and both kids are in class as well. Dan adapted well. Praise God for that! Faith? She has been looking forward to BSF since last December so she’s happy to be back!

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Glad to be back on the machine after missing in action for a few months, all thanks to the busy school holidays. The hubs join me during the weekends (we try to make it into a routine) and I try to squeeze in a workout on one of the weekdays. The above is a rare occasion when I could meet up with a fellow mommy to work out together! Oh yes, and how could I forget to mention the Safari Zoo Run that the family participated? We had great fun!

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Family time is still very important and we try to create (hopefully fond) memories together. We have started to play more board games recently and thankfully, the girl likes it lots. Bible and prayer time is a routine now and when we skip bible reading, the girl will question so we’d better not forget!

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Recently, Faith started to pick up books and browse the pages. She has started to read simple readers on her own now and you can imagine my joy! Effort paid off! When she realised that she could read on her own, she wanted to continue to learn and read. Yay!

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This little man? He has evolved from a fussy eater to Mr Tamchiak and even refused to let me feed him. Okay, you go ahead and feed yourself. But oh, the mess! Thankfully, we have this EZPZ Happy mat. A post and giveaway is coming up soon!

So, that pretty much sums up our February. Hope yours is good!

Completion of our first Safari Zoo Run 2017

Over the weekend, our family participated in our very first Safari Zoo Run and it was indeed an enjoyable morning spent! We chose the 2.5km family dash because the girl was just 4 years old and we wouldn’t want to drag an exhausted girl all the way to the finish line. Moreover, we brought Daniel along. 5km run can wait.

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Our run was the last category to commence at 9.30am which is a comfortable time for young kids! However, that would mean that parking could be an issue. We made our way and reached an hour before the starting time but had a slight problem looking for a carpark lot. Thankfully, there was valet available.

img_7251Reached finally and all eager to start!

We were among the last few families to assemble at the start pen and were at the last wave to be flagged off. We had to wait for another 15 more minutes but it was all necessary due to safety reasons. This being the ninth year for the Safari Zoo Run, we could definitely count on the expertise of the organisers in making the run a smooth and safe one. Just imagine the bottlenecks if all of us started off at the same time.

Thankfully, the weather was superb that day.

Flag off! It was a pleasant start to the run because the participants were all gracious and friendly and looked out for one another. It was really a joy to see so many parents participating with their kids. Faith was all excited and started running in the beginning but slowed down soon after. We were expecting complaints and whines but thankfully, the animals distracted her!

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She got all excited along the way as she could view the various creatures. “Mama, come and see! Look!” So our family dash was interrupted by the need to gaze at the animals and you could just sense the kids’ wonder and amazement. Daniel who was in the running stroller truly enjoyed the sights.There’s wasn’t much fuss from him. It is, after all, his first time to the zoo! 

Doesn’t look like a run at all! Families were stopping along the way to snap pictures!

Waterpoints that weren’t crowded

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I must remember to pack in snacks when we participate in a similar type of run the next time round because the kids cried for food after just 1km of activity.

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The family dash was truly an enjoyable experience for us. We met the lions, white tiger, kangaroos, monkeys, polar bear and many more which made our run a tad longer than expected. After we reached the finish line, the girl still wanted to see more of the animals which was totally possible since participants were entitled to free admission to the zoo and River Safari on that day. The Safari Zoo Run provided us with not just great family bonding opportunities but the chance to share with the girl about wildlife conservation.

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Did you know….

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And with that, we completed our first run for the year as a family! We had an awesome experience throughout. The collection of the race entry pack at Marina Square was smooth and fast and the race itself was fun and totally enjoyable. Well-organised. Thumbs up!

Oh yes, we even got to visit the Zoo-Rassic Park where the girl had been asking to visit. We certainly are looking forward to participate again! 

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

 

CNY 2017

And so Chinese New Year 2017 ended in a jiffy.

It came rather abruptly too. Before we could get a hang of the new year with its new schedule, we were ushered into the year of the Rooster. This year, I didn’t manage to purchase new clothes for the kids but thankfully they received new sets of hand-me-downs which served us fine. No time to bake CNY goodies but were given tubs of them from friends and aunt-in-law. No mandarin oranges too because my mom would not be celebrating CNY since my grandma passed on a few months back so my supply of the ‘kam’ was cut.

Still, we had our reunion dinner and the steamboat dinner by my mom was a meal I always look forward to since we only have this once a year.

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House visitation is something I DO NOT look forward to because it can be so tiring but surprisingly, I find myself enjoying a wee bit this year. Perhaps it’s because the kids enjoyed mingling with the relatives (even though they only meet once a year) or maybe because they were behaving all right. I couldn’t decide.

We did have fun. And our tummy kept exercising from all the CNY goodies that we consumed. Goodness!

But the highlight of this year’s CNY has to be the meetup with the folks of the youth fellowship whom I grew up with. Though I have moved on to another church, my friendship with them stays intact.

We had our worship session just like how we used to have when we were youths, we played the same old silly games and laughed our hearts out and we still share the same love for God and with one another. They are family indeed.

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These are the two brothers whom I look up to. Both are funny to the core but when it comes to the Word of God, it’s all seriousness.

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So much fun and laughter that night.

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Because it’s the year of the Rooster, I got Faith to paint a picture of a rooster figurine and since she’s into everything rainbow, she chose to paint it with multiple colours, just like the middle rooster figurine. She still couldn’t draw well but I invited her to draw some small parts of this picture, such as the beak and the crown. The objective of that ‘lesson’ is really to get her to blend the colours, something which I want her to continue to work on. I had wanted the little brother to join in the fun by getting them to do finger printing for the bottom part of the painting aka the ground but the brother was distracted by other stuff so in the end, Faith did everything. Mighty pleased with it. 😉 With guidance, of course.

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We ended CNY with a scrumptious dinner by the aunt-in-law. It’s a yearly affair for this beloved lady who would always present us with delicious homecooked food twice for CNY. Blessed, aren’t we?

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That basically sums up our CNY 2017. Hope you guys have had fun too!

[Friday Flips] #BabyLove: My Toddler Life

[Review + Giveaway]

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#BabyLove: My Toddler Life is an attractive picture book that depicts the life of a toddler in a technological age in which his life is recorded on social media.

Told from the viewpoint of the child, this story talks about his daily life with his mommy and the fun and learning both of them share. Seeing his mommy constantly using the mobile phone to take pictures of their daily account and posting them on social media, the toddler gets curious about the device and picks it up when mommy is not looking. He then fiddles with it and takes his own selfie, intending for mommy to share on social media. When his mommy finds him using her phone without permission, it’s the perfect teaching moment and she reminds the child that what matters most in life is time together filled with love and attention.

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[Source]

When I read this book for the first time, I thought this is actually targeted at parents as well and I can totally relate to the mommy because I do those activities all the time – recording what we do together and uploading the pictures for memories’ sake. Yet, there is a clear message to us all- to put down our phones when we are with our children and enjoy the moments with them.

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I love this book for its simple, rhyming narrative. The story isn’t long which is helpful for young children but the meaning is clear. Moreover, its bright and colourful illustration will certainly entice readers. Faith and I had a great time as we read and discuss this book together. Sorry, there are no pictures of us because we just want to enjoy that moment.

Good for children age 2 to 5 years old.

[GIVEAWAY]

Book Publicity Services has kindly agreed to gift one reader with #BabyLove: My Toddler Life. What you need to do:

  1. Like the post on my facebook page.
  2. Tag a friend whom you think would be interested in this book.

Simple? This giveaway is for local residents (Singapore) only and will end on 16 February 2017. A random participant will be picked and we will then be sending him/her a copy of the book. All the best and remember to put down the phone and enjoy your time with the kids! 😉

Disclaimer: I was given a complimentary copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine unless otherwise stated.

 

Paul Klee and his artwork

Our ‘Art education’ at home continued with Paul Klee. I have yet to find an art class suitable for Faith so meanwhile, we will have to learn what we can through books and the Internet. Normally, I will scout the local libraries for children’s books on the particular artist, read to the girl and then explore the artist’s work with her. I’m not an Art teacher by training but I can always learn!

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The book that I used for this lesson is The Cat and the Bird and the illustration is based on Paul Klee’s work. My objective for this lesson is simple. I wanted Faith to observe how colours are being used in harmony and to apply it in the colouring of the cat which I drew the night before.

Faith is in this phase in which everything is colourful to her. If you are to ask her to complete a piece of colouring work, chances are it will resemble the colours of rainbow. For this lesson, I wanted her to observe how the colours blend and we used crayons for this task. Initially, she was doing well.

While the sister was doing work, the brother couldn’t be ignored, of course! It’s doodling time for him!

“Hey! Pay attention to what you are doing!”

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Before you know it, the girl continued the colouring, this time in multi-colours. She gave me all sorts of reasons why the cat should be full of colours. I wasn’t going to fight this battle. Besides, it’s her work. I’m just going to let her enjoy the process.

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There you have it. A colourful cat. Her version of Paul Klee’s The Cat and the Bird.

We continued with the next artwork called ‘Castle and Sun’. Here, I got Faith to observe how the artist used shapes and lines to create this piece. I could have asked her to cut out different shapes using coloured paper but decided that she could spend some time working on the designs that are to be cut into various shapes as buildings. We even took out the blocks to create a ‘castle’.

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By this time, the brother was tired out and needed to take a short nap. While I carried him to nap, the girl continued to her work. We couldn’t quite finish the second piece since she had to get ready for school and had to continue the following day .

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Each of our ‘art lessons’ takes about two hours and while it can get really messy with the toddler around, I must say it is also satisfying to see how the girl has progressed. My only hope is that I will remain calm and not think about the mess that could be created. Learning should be fun!

Blending of CVC words

Faith spent the whole of last year (in school) working on the blending of CVC words and I thought I should just record the resources that I used to help her with that for Dan’s sake.

We started off using Jolly Phonics for the individual sounds and then slowly worked on blending. Obviously, consistency works. In the earlier part of last year, I wasn’t that diligent and because she couldn’t blend well, I was rather discouraged and got her to do so only when I remembered it. Gradually, she got better, thanks to the effort of the school and that’s when I started to be more consistent.

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I’m sure many of us are familiar with the wonderful website of The Measured Mom. I found myself hardworking on a particular day and decided to print these booklets for Faith. The sentences in these booklets are simple and highly achievable for Faith which is good because we want to build confidence in her (when she could read the books by herself).

One fine day, as I was shopping at Robinsons, I came across this set of cards from Leapfrog and knew that I had to purchase it. Faith has a leapreader and I thought it would complement her learning (independently). The cards were a great help because each day I worked on a specific set with her and it didn’t really take long to complete the exercise. Because we did that everyday, it became a routine.

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After she got better with the blending, we moved on to Bob books. I have a slight preference towards them because there is a little more storyline as compared to the ones which I downloaded from the internet. Each story is short and manageable and when the child finds that she is able to read the whole book by herself, she got motivated and wanted to read more. That happens to Faith. Before we start on each book, I went through the related set of words with her. This set of cards was gifted to me by a friend (hand-me-down) and some of my friends have asked me how they could get hold of it. I’m afraid I don’t have the answer but I have made a soft-copy of the set and they are available here – cvcwords-2.

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I have arranged the sets based on their sounds and it would be good to print each set on a different coloured sheet of paper, laminate and then cut them accordingly. In this way, they can last longer. 😉

Oh yes, still on the topic of Bob Books, do you know there are free printables that are available online? This Reading Mama, another great site, has a good range of Bob Books printables that we can use and they can be found here.

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Another set of readers that I used is the Fitzroy readers which I would use after Faith got more confident in blending the various sounds. For these readers, each story is longer and IMHO, the beginning reader might find it more ‘tedious’ to complete the story as compared to the Bob Books.

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Faith attends a Montessori preschool and I try to use the method in my homelearning effort as much as possible. I stumbled upon a great website which provides us with the necessary online materials for teaching using the Montessori approach. The question lies in whether I would have the time to create the materials and in using them faithfully. *shrugs shoulders*

Now that the girl is going on to consonant blends, I find myself playing catch-up and trying to relearn as much as possible so that I could teach her at home. *pant*

There are many phonics resources in the market and from the internet and many are good. I have learnt to use those that I’m comfortable with and be consistent with them. Consistency does pay off in the end. 

[Friday Flips] F’s rendition of Van Gogh’s Starry Night

After almost three weeks into 2017, we are more or less settled with the new schedule. The family is still coughing our way into the nights but at least we are on the road to recovery. Mornings are precious because those are the times when the kids are fresh and eager to learn. So far, we had fun doing grocery together, exercised and enjoyed our playground time, busied ourselves in the kitchen and had an artistic morning.

Faith has always indicated an interest in art and I have wanted to enrol her in some art classes. Alas, our last school holidays were so packed (with activities and rest and getting sick) that she didn’t get to attend any in the end. Despite that, we attempted to learn about artists and their works last month and I thought we should continue what we have started.

The next artist that we learnt about is Vincent Van Gogh.

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This book talks about how a boy followed the attitudes of the adults around him and bullied an eccentric painter (Van Gogh) before realising that there is more than one way to see the world when he met the painter face-to-face. I thought this book is one that helps to address bullying and how one ought to treat others. Our girl ‘catch no ball’ (couldn’t comprehend) although she got acquainted with Mr Van Gogh and his artwork through this book.

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The next book that we read was Katie and the Starry Night which is definitely more interesting and enjoyable. We went through some of the paintings of Van Gogh such as Vincent’s Chair, Noon, The Olive Grove and Fishing Boats on the Beach before starting to work on her rendition of The Starry Night. The main materials that we used were square sponges, cotton buds and the heads of Bok Choy (because I was cooking them the night before).

Using the square sponges, she dabbed them in blue to paint the sky.

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The next stage is to use the cotton bud to create the swirls in white and yellow. This was when Dan came in. He could well have fun with it too!

After the paint had dried up a little, it’s time to put in the stars using the head of the Choy. The design is lovely, isn’t it?

Lastly, I got Faith to cut out the houses from the corrugated paper and pasted them on the artwork.

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This took us the whole morning (plus playground time while waiting for the paint to dry up a little) but we were all satisfied at the end of it.

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We love the Katie’s adventure series a lot and thankfully our libraries stock them. You can read more about Monet’s works through Katie and the Waterlily Pond!

Which artist shall we touch on next?

Linking up with

Growing with the Tans Friday Flips

Delectable Chinese New Year set dishes at Gu Ma Jia

[Media invite]

Chinese New Year is approaching! Have you make plans for this year’s reunion dinner? If you don’t want the hassle of cooking (and washing up of dishes) at home and wanted to just enjoy a scrumptious meal with your loved ones, do consider the Chinese New Year sets available at Gu Ma Jia, won’t you?

I had my first food tasting at Gu Ma Jia a few years back and I remember the food fondly because the dishes were fresh and of quality  and cooked just like the way my mom does. By that I mean the food was not too salty, too oily or laden with MSG. They were just authentic homecooked food.

For this coming Chinese New Year, Gu Ma Jia has come up with two sets namely ‘Peace’ and ‘Prosperity’ as if to remind us to spread peace and love between one and another while sharing our prosperity. 😉

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We had the opportunity to taste some of the dishes last month and again, Gu Ma Jia has won our hearts.

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The Ginseng Fortune Chicken is made up of  double boiled chicken, roasted pork, scallops, sea cucumber and fish maw with ginseng in a claypot. The overall result is a bowl of rich soup that will definitely bring a smile to everyone’s faces. You feel good just by knowing the premium ingredients that go into this dish. This is really good!

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I love broccoli that is cooked right. At Gu Ma Jia, this vegetable is cooked perfectly and brillantly paired with macadamia nuts and fresh scallop. The crunchiness of the nuts adds a fresh perspective to the usual broccoli, carrots and scallop combination that we so often tasted in restaurants. This dish is light (not heavy on sauce) and I could taste the goodness of the individual ingredient in its authentic form.

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One of the ways to test  if the ingredients served at a restaurant are fresh, order the seafood. These Stir Fry Prawns with Superior Sauce are so succulent that the usual I-don’t-like-to-peel-prawns me went ahead to undress them, just by using the power of the teeth and chopsticks. Fresh prawns are easy to shell, so they say.

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I don’t think I need to mention about the freshness of this Steamed Red Grouper. This will be a dish which will be a hit with my mom who LOVES fish and is done just the way she likes it. It is truly fresh and it’s not a surprise since the ingredients are handpicked and quality checked by Gu Ma herself. I even packed the reminder of this dish so that I could make fish porridge with it. Don’t waste the meat and the sauce!

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Normally I try to avoid Fried Noodles because they made me feel so stuffed. But this plate of noodles didn’t. I was told that this is a special type of noodles and it’s light on the stomach and I find myself going for second helping. Delectable!

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Dessert is  this yummy Longan Wolfberries Sea Bird Nest which I like and appreciate. After having eaten all the delicious food, it’s always good to have something light and refreshing and this is not too sweet, which is good! Just the natural goodness will do!

Besides these two CNY sets, Gu Ma Jia also offers a special ala-carte menu during this festive season and they feature Gu Ma’s signature dishes and exclusive Chinese New Year delicacies.

 

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For the complete list of the ala-carte menu, they can be found here.

Do note that there will be session timings for the set menu on the actual day of the Reunion Dinner on 27th Jan 2017:
:: 1st session 12pm – 2pm
:: 2nd session 2.15pm – 4.15pm
:: 3rd session 6pm – 7.45pm &
:: Last session 8pm – 9.45pm

In case you are uninformed, you can also have Gu Ma Jia’s delicacies delivered to your doorstep okay? Do check their website if you are interested!

Gu Ma Jia
45 Tai Thong Crescent
Sennett Estate Singapore 347866

Phone: +6285 2023

 

Dan @ 15 months old

Dear Dan

You turned 15 months old today and in this past month, we saw you really walking independently. You gained confidence daily as you practised your walking and now you don’t need us to hold your hand that often.

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For a while, I was wondering what took you so long to begin walking and now…

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It gets easier to feed you now because you are more open to eating other types of food, and that include ours! You heavily relied on pureed food for the past few months and now you are eating porridge and even rice. You still don’t like meat but I guess I would have to slowly introduce them to you. You love bread and could have them for your three meals but of course, that won’t do! Now, it seems you want to self-feed and mama has to close both eyes for you to do that. Just imagine the mess! But it’s all part of learning, isn’t it?

We stay home most of the time and that are so many things to do such as painting, doodling, scooping of pom pom balls and threading. You love to explore every nook and corner of the house and then you will pull out the drawers and take out whatever containers you can find in there. Basically, messing up the place is your past time. Arghh…

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You love to explore, just like your sister and you are not afraid to try new things! May you continue to possess such a spirit!

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Bubbles! Who doesn’t love them? Mama loves to see you enjoy yourself and you don’t seem to be afraid of strangers, especially when your sister is around.

You love the playground a lot and enjoy these rides! When we are at your sister’s school, you will find your way to these rides, sometimes wandering off without me!

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You share your sister’s love for Sandra Boynton’s book – Moo, Baa, La La La – and got equally amused, like your sister. We could enjoy many of her books because a fellow mommy so generously loaned them to us. Thank God for her.

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You love to play with water. Maybe we should get you to go to the pool more regularly eh?

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I wish you could nap and sleep more. It’s really difficult to get you to rest and I’m not sure why. Aren’t you tired? I have to say that we are all tired out by you. Could you please cooperate a wee bit?

Having said that, we still thank God for you, a precious gift from God.

Sweet and sticky chicken

How’s first day of school for you?

For us, we have to adhere to a new routine since the girl is in afternoon session and that means she would have to do without a nap. Naturally, she came back tired and a little cranky. The boy was disrupted in his naps and that means…a fussy toddler.

4pm. I could sense their restlessness and I got a bit nervous. I know that I have to rush out dinner fast so that they could go to bed early.

Then I remember this dish which I have made and which I have forgotten to record after testing the recipe out. I made this sweet and sticky chicken years ago using honey but this time round, I decided to use Ribena and see if I could create a ‘new’ recipe with it. Thankfully, it really works well and the sweet and sticky chicken is a hit with the family.

In times when you have to churn out dinner fast, remember this recipe. You would need to marinate the chicken for at least 2 hours (which you can do so the night before). After that, it’s just putting the chicken into the oven and bake. Top it up with rice or quinoa and some greens on the side and you have a great meal. I’ve used the recipe on pork ribs too and they are equally delicious (at least, that’s what my guests told me).

Share Food Singapore made a video on this for chicken wings. Do take a look if you are interested (embedded in this post). Chicken wings are good on the menu for a party!

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Ingredients (feed 3 hungry pax)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar/ chiang kiang vinegar
1/4 cup ribena cordial
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/8 cup soy sauce
3 garlic cloves, halved
3 chicken legs
1/2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
corainder leaves for garnishing

1. Combine the balsamic vinegar, ribena cordial, brown sugar, soy sauce and garlic cloves in a large ziplock bag. Shake and squeeze the contents of the bag to dissolve the ribena and the brown sugar. Add the chicken legss to the bag and seal. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

2. Preheat the oven to 230C. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminium foil.

3. Remove the chicken legs from the bag, reserving the marinade and arrange them on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until the skin is caramelised and very dark in spots, 30 to 35 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, place the marinade in a small saucepan. Bring the marinade to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook over low heat until thick, about 15 minutes.

5. Use a pastry brush to brush some of the cooked marinade on the cooked chicken. Place the chicken on a serving platter. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds and the chopped parsley.

6. Serve with quinoa or rice.

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With quinoa for the more health conscious me.

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And… rice for the rest of the family

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😉

Hello 2017!


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Good morning to a brand new year! We are off to somewhere! Guess where?

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To the Botanic Gardens we go! This year, I hope that we will be in the outdoors more as a family, to learn and explore!

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Learning takes place everywhere and every moment. So don’t waste the opportunity! There’s so much in nature that we can learn. I only hope that we have the patience and knowledge to share with the kids.

This year, I want to continue to focus on relationship – God, husband, children, immediate family members, friends (new and old). So, yes, I want to make time for them. My family is important to me and I want to invest my time, effort and resources on them. I have chosen to be a SAHM and I want to stay focused on my calling and STOP thinking about venturing into other areas. It’s not fair to anyone if I don’t do a good job in the various areas that I am involved in.

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I want to give more attention to Dan this year. I hadnt’t been able to give a lot of my time to him last year and his development hasn’t been as good as the sister. There shouldn’t be any comparison but to be honest, he is spoken less to, read less to, taught less and less stimulated. There is always the guilt in me but it hadn’t been a smooth ride last year. So I hope I could concentrate on him more this year.

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Needless to say, I will still continue to work on the girl but at the same time I’ll get the girl to teach the boy. It’s time for her to impart some of her knowledge to her brother and one learns more when she teaches. Since the girl would be in the afternoon session this year, I hope to utilise weekdays’ mornings well.

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I’ll be more diligent and work on teaching and learning resources. I mean, as a teacher, I have to come up with lesson plans and related resources. Now that I’m a teacher to my kids, I should be equally diligent, if not more!

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As a family, we will still be attending BSF and this year, I hope to have small scale family devotion on the materials given by BSF rather than to be doing it on an ad-hoc basis. Faith could sit through longer stories and I want to read more biblical stories to her this year. For family worship, we could sing worship songs together. The hubs will play the piano and the rest will sing. It’s time to be intentional about teaching her gospel songs and not merely leave it to her to learn by listening.

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I want to save more for the family and that means we intentionally don’t eat out that often and even if we have to, we will go to the hawker centres and coffeeshops more often.

The other day, the hubs and I were discussing about some financial issues after a recent talk which I have attended. He mentioned that if we want to model thrift, we should eat out at restaurants LESS often. I agree.

I need to start teaching Faith about the value of money and shall start this year. Will write more on this (if I have the time).

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Direct application: So we stopped by Food for Thought for playground time and knowing me, I would normally order a drink or small bite. But today I decided not to. We will just (shamelessly) use the playground and not spend unnecessarily.

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I’m still trying to figure out Faith’s interests. I don’t think I will get Faith to have music lesson unless she specifically asks for it or that I could find a good teacher. I’m not even sure what I want F to learn. I can expose her but till now I don’t know what instrument she wants to learn although she is still keen on ukelele.

I will concentrate on sports because that is the area the adults are interested in too and thus could motivate them a wee bit. Swimming for both, hiking, frisbee, cycling, in-line skating, rock wall climbing, ⚽️…

Oh yes, they do need to play and pray more.

Personally, I want to read more and enrich myself. I do think that my language ability has deteriorated over the years. I could no longer write fluently and at times, I need more confidence to speak. Of course I’m all right when it comes to casual talks with my peers but it’s a different story if you ask me to present before a crowd. Maybe I should really sign up for a course eh?

So yea, these are my quick thoughts for 2017.

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Some food-for-thought.
[Source]Teaching Montessori in the Home: The Pre-school years

Goodbye 2016

I was telling my hubs that 2016 seemed like a blur to me. Each day, I was so busy that there wasn’t much time to pause and reflect, let alone read. I wasn’t updated on news or what’s happening to my friends because every moment when the kids were awake, I had to be with them or be in the kitchen churning out food.

Yet, I know 2016 was jam-packed with activities and memories both good and bad. I had a wonderful time teaching Faith and loathe the fact that she would be in K1 next year and before I know it, she would enter Primary School and my time with her would be minimised…by a lot. I felt sad just by thinking of that. Many times, I toy with homeschooling my kids but I also know my patience would be greatly tested and perhaps in the end, I would morph into a witch. So, for now, the answer is ‘NO’.

2016 is a year of making new friends and deepening the friendship of old ones. I would never have imagined that I could make friends at my age and that we could get along so well. But yet, God knows what I need and granted me some good company and for that, I’m immensely thankful.

I managed to get a few sponsorships and media invites this year which made my life more interesting. I’m truly thankful for these collaborations but come 2017, I would love to focus more on homelearning and reading to upgrade myself. I thought of enrolling myself in some online Montessori or early childhood courses but again, the fear of the lack of time prevents me from moving ahead.

This year, however, the hubs and I dedicated our time to learning more about raising kids when we attended the 15-week-long course (GKGW) and also a family seminar by the Tripp which helped me view parenting from God’s perspective. Parenting is tough and we desperately need God’s grace to bring up the children in His ways.

I wonder how 2017 would be like…

[Friday Flips] Beyond the Tiger Mom: East-West Parenting for the Global Age

[Review + Giveaway]

I’ve been reading this book for over a month now and have been reflecting as much. It got me thinking about my own parenting style and how my views on education have changed since becoming a parent.

Beyond the Tiger Mom: East West Parenting for the Global Age reads like a research paper that is backed by the author’s own experience as a teacher in the US and Singapore, her own Asian heritage which shapes her parenting beliefs, interviews with Asian parents and educational research.

This is such a good read and one that causes parents to reflect on their parenting, education and family beliefs.

The author accurately described the mentality of the Asian moms and I couldn’t help but agree with what she wrote. Being an Asian mom myself, I find myself feeling anxious about getting my children to start reading at an early age and therefore find ways to create a math-rich home so that they could understand concepts early and find math in their daily lives. She also provided an honest glimpse into the lives of students in Singapore, those whose schedules are filled with tuition and enrichment classes. Is tuition necessary? The author managed to give a balanced view on that and causes readers to reflect on its purpose and if there is a need for their own children to go through that kind of ‘lifestyle’.

As a person who has grown up and taught in the US, the author was able to provide readers with the western perspective to parenting and education and marrying both eastern and western beliefs, she could give a balance view on them. My reflection as a mom is to question what is good for my children and how to parent them in this global age based on what she has shared in her book.

Questions which I find myself asking:
:: Is early math important and what can I do to build a math-rich home?
:: How to create a reading culture in my home such that my children would love reading
:: Phonics vs whole language – there could be a balance
:: There is value in individualised instruction, especially for those who need coaching at a pace that’s best for them but would I be found sending my kids for tuition just so that they would not lose out to their peers?
:: Our generation of children is brought up in a digital age. How can we benefit from the use of technology without getting addicted to it?

Of particular help are the tips that she gave at the end of each chapter, on how we we could build a math-rich, language-rich home, how to help our children memorise information and encourage critical thinking skills, how to supplement our children’s education, among others.

It’s truly a book to grab and read and then be thrust into a state of reflection.

About the author

PrintA global citizen, Maya Thiagarajan has lived and worked in India, Singapore, and the US. She earned a BA in English from Middlebury College and a Masters in Education Policy from Harvard University.

Maya began her teaching career with Teach For America, where she taught at a public school in Baltimore City for two years. She went on to teach high school English at some of America’s most prestigious independent schools. After a decade of teaching in the US, Maya moved to Singapore and began teaching at The United World College of South East Asia (UWC).

Struck by the different approaches to education and parenting that she encountered in Singapore, Maya began to interview Chinese and Indian parents living in Singapore. Using her own experiences as well as the stories of parents whom she interviewed, Maya wrote a book titled Beyond the Tiger Mom: East-West Parenting for the Global Age. [Source]

[GIVEAWAY]

Book Publicity Services has kindly agreed to gift one reader with Beyond the Tiger Mom: East West Parenting for the Global Age. What you need to do:

  1. Like the facebook post
  2. Comment on why you would like a copy of the book

Simple? This giveaway is for local residents (Singapore) only and will end on 6 January 2017. A random participant will be picked and we will then be sending him/her a copy of the book. All the best and have a great year ahead!

Disclaimer: I was given a complimentary copy of this book and I chose to give a review of it because it really is a good read and I hope many could benefit from it. All opinions are mine unless otherwise stated.

Memories are made of these…

How do you preserve memories? Through photos, no?

I like to take pictures and the number of them increases by leaps and bounds when the kids came along. Is it the same for you? And it most definitely warms my heart as I browse the photos taken in the past. Awww…memories!

Recently, Canon threw a cozy Christmas gathering to a group of families and gifted us with some precious presents – wonderful time with families and sweet memories in the form of pictures, the printed way.

Canon Singapore

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When we first arrived, we spent some time with the young ones over duplo and painting of cardboard boxes. Faith has always loved Lego and Duplo so it’s no wonder that she found her way to the blocks.

We were then introduced to the new Canon PIXMA TS8070 printer and were invited to have some family fun with it! Before that, each family was gifted with a picture frame that is made of of photographs of our loved ones. Oh, dear Canon, you have done it again! What a thoughtful and meaningful gift!

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We were definitely excited as we unwrapped the gift.

Canon Singapore

How lovely! Pictures of our daily life from our Instagram account! The kids and I were thrilled and I was personally captivated by the quality of the print. We were later told that we could try our hands on the printer and to experience its ease of use. Yay!

Canon Singapore

These are the printers that made those pictures possible! If you observe, they are not really bulky because they are designed to fit small offices and homes in form and function so they are in a sleeker form to blend seamlessly into our study or home office.

We wasted no time in printing our photos! Since many of my photos are in squares for Instagram and Dayre purposes, I’m thankful that these printers could print them without the need for resizing. Very convenient! And because the Canon PIXMA TS8070 printers are designed for easy set-up in a wireless environment, we can readily print the pictures from our mobile phones and tablet PCs in out-of-home environments such as weddings and parties. Think photo booths!

Other ideas (for own reference):

  • craft for playdates
  • homelearning materials
  • souvenirs for home parties or celebration
  • wedding
  • travel scrapbook

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Faith and I used the photos that we have printed to do some craftwork and made a photo album from the materials that were supplied to us. It was a good bonding session!

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Ta-da! Is this nice? I’m really impressed by the quality of the print! We can definitely do lots more craftwork with these prints and  could even design and print our own customised cards. Best is they are reasonably priced at $299!

The family had a wonderful and meaningful time with Canon Singapore that day. Thank you for inviting us and giving us the opportunity to ‘play’ with the printers. The following are some precious moments captured that day by the good folks at Canon. I thought I should park them here for my own keepsake. 😉

Canon Singapore

Canon Singapore

Canon Singapore

Canon Singapore

Canon Singapore

Canon Singapore

Canon Singapore

Canon Singapore

Canon Singapore

Here’s wishing you a blessed Christmas, from the Queks!

Our family was invited by Canon Singapore and Claudia of The Loving Mom to this Christmas party. Photographs used in this post belong to Canon Singapore. The ones in squares are squarely mine. 😉

Christmas with the Queks – 2016 edition

It has become a tradition, that we dress up a real Christmas tree during that time of the year. For the past few years, we have involved Faith in the activity but she wasn’t that keen. This year, her enthusiasm showed.

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Somehow, I find that she has matured a lot over the past one year. Is it because she has an added responsibility as a sister? Or is it just an age thing? In the above, she was trying to sharpen her colour pencils and the brother meddled with them because he wanted to be involved, just like his sister.

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Busy bee…

This year, she was the main person doing up the tree. The adults were resting by the side, watching her dress the tree up. So focused but the tree was heavily decorated on one side only!

Dan wanted to help too and managed to put up some of the decorations. He was mighty pleased with himself!

Are you ready for Christmas?

Label with Stickerkid

[Review + discount code]

About two more weeks to go before school reopens. Have you bought the school supplies and label them?

By labelling, I mean with your child’s name. And I consider quality as the main thing I would look for in choosing a label.

Thus far, I have used two brands and love both because of their quality and design. Unfortunately, the first brand has been discontinued but thankfully, the second one is still around.

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Stickerkid has been around since 2004 and all their products are made in Switzerland. They only use the highest quality materials for their labels and each of them is protected with a thin plastic layer to ensure that their products withstand any challenge that come their way.

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Prior to their invitation to review their labels (was given a test package), I have already been using them for a year and can attest that their labels last. The thin plastic layer that I mentioned earlier does protect the label and it doesn’t come off, unlike some of the labels which I have come across.

Another thing which I like about Stickerkid’s labels is our ability to customise the design, like many other labels out there. We can choose the colour of the sticker, the font size, type and colour and the cute logo that goes onto the label. Oh yes, you can also add in the chinese characters, if you want.

Source: Stickerkid

I thought these labels are good and practical as Christmas gifts to the kids. I mean, they will certainly come in useful when school reopens eh? These labels are dispatched in 24 hours once purchased.They will be in time for Christmas as gifts!

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Besides stickers, they also have removable and permanent iron-on labels for clothes. They really have a good range of labels. Do check it out!

Stickerkid discount code
[Valid until 24 December 2016]

Stickerkid is offering a 10% discount on their products for Raising Faith’s readers. Enter the coupon code “Sticker7z” when you check out. However, do note that the discount code is only valid till 24 December 2016 and does not include shipping and handling charges.

img_4079“Don’t miss the opportunity to save! Happy shopping!”

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Website : http://www.stickerkid.sg/
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/stickerkid.english/

Patience needed


It was a fine evening. The weather was great and the children yearned to go outdoors.

We did that and got the girl to bring her bicycle along so that she could practise riding it.

The hubs and I took turns but I ended up getting frustrated.

Frustrated that her feet kept slipping off from the pedals. Frustrated that she kept looking down while trying to balance instead of looking straight ahead.

Less-than-encouraging words departed from my tongue and attacked her. In exasperation, she stopped in her tracks and screamed.

I have hurt her.

Oh, what an impatient mom I am. That was only her second time learning to ride the bicycle. What was I expecting? That she could get it in two attempts?

It’s time to do a bit of self-reflection.

Fun with scissors: Cutouts with Henri Matisse

I had wanted to sign Faith up for some art classes during this hols but because of her cough, I had to stop the plan; I don’t want her to spread germs to the other children. So, I would have to scout for ideas for art and I thought reading about the lives of artists and learning about their art forms would be a good way to start. It’s pinterest to the rescue once more and I found some interesting resources that I could use.

After listing down some artists, I searched the catalogue of the local libraries and I’m so happy that there are good children’s books on artists.

The first artist that Faith and I learnt about is Henri Matisse who was famous for his cutouts later in his life. We read these three books to get to know the artist more and all three can be found in the Junior Lending Picture Books’ section in the (selected) libraries.

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After reading, I selected some key words to go through with Faith. She could sound out CVC words but I thought there’s no harm in getting her to learn some new words.

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Prior to the ‘lesson’, I drew some squares and rectangles on a drawing paper so that she could paint on them.

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It’s interesting to observe the colours she chose and how she painted the shapes. I tried not to interfere but to allow her to enjoy the process but…

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While waiting for the paint to dry, I got her to imagine and cut out any shapes she could think of. The girl loves to cut but she often cuts the paper into small pieces. This time round, I requested that she be bold and cut big curvy shapes and guided her into cutting them. She wasn’t comfortable and wasn’t too keen to do so but at least she tried, for some.

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After that it’s pasting time! I wanted her to pair contrasting colours together just as Mr Matisse did.

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Almost done! Since she was the artist behind this piece of art, she must sign off!

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Our first lesson on the study of Henri Matisse and cutouts!

Related and useful resources:
:: Painting with scissors: Kids study Matisse
:: In the style of – Henri Matisse

 

Busy tables, busy cards

[Review + Giveaway]

Busy tables. Any idea what they are about?

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

I was wrong. Just a little.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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All the best!

A year older…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Both are on antibiotics now.

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

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

Sending sweet treats the Sophisca way

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

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

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

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

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These are at $11.90 each.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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