Changes…

19 August 2017.

We finally went on a date, after so long a period. I can’t remember when was the last time we went out together sans kids. We have the kids with us most of the time because we would need to look for someone to mind the children if we decide to have couple time. The in-laws have been really awesome and they have been doing that all these while. But we do feel bad, that we have to impose. After all, FIL was quite advanced in age and the two active children would definitely tire him out.

But that day, we had to have our much needed date and we enjoyed ourselves, watching a musical, an activity we both love.

That weekend, I felt a tad lighter in spirit.

Both the hubs and I regain our sleep after 21 months. Dan could finally sleep through the night and we couldn’t be more relieved. He could communicate better with us now, even with his limited vocabulary. That helps because there was less misunderstanding and as a result, less frustration on both sides.

I feel less burdened, a lot happier and am willing to open my heart again to others. By that, I mean serving beyond my family. For a few years now, my focus has been on the kids and the husband even though for the first few years in my motherhood journey, I had been venturing into baking. Now that Dan is more independent, I feel I could give, give to others and to pursue new interests.

These are good changes and I believe I will embrace them. I thank God for sustaining me throughout all these years and I wonder what He has in store for me…

Homelearning | Bugs & butterflies

This is a long overdue post.

During the June hols, we worked on the themes on Human body and Bugs. I must say that the girl was less interested in the parts of the internal organs and was more attracted to bugs! I guess I would have to revisit the Human Body again but here’s what we did for the theme on Bugs and Butterflies!

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I’m thankful that our local libraries house good books these are some of the titles that we used for this theme.

The thing about teaching is that you learn much more when you prepare the lesson. Oh my, the world of creepy crawlies! There are so many different categories too! So, I presented some of the more common insects to the children and got Faith to choose the ones that would most probably be found in the garden. That poppy flowers artwork was hers; she did it a few months back. It’s a very doable piece. Try it!

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The boy did matching of the insects figurines. I must say he could observe and match well at this age.

I wanted to get him to learn about numbers and one-to-one correspondence and so presented this lesson to him.

Dan also worked on the knobbed puzzles of some of the insects. The girl was introduced to the parts of the insects and these puzzles helped her in identifying the parts.

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We then moved on to study a little more about butterflies. The primary text used is Monarch Butterfly by Gail Gibbons. I absolutely adore her books because they are written in a clear and concise manner that is suitable for young children. If I have the finances, I would have collected all her books. Any sponsors? ;p

Thankfully, we can find her titles at our local libraries but we definitely need more copies!

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It’s really interesting to learn about the migration of these butterflies from one continent to the next to avoid the cold winter. We also learnt about the life cycle of the butterfly using the Safari Ltd Life Cycle of a Monarch Butterfly.

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The life cycle that is presented so visually using all these materials. The figurines can be bought from Taobao, Amazon, Mothercare, Isetan…

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To cater to Dan, we have these cards for him to match the butterflies. Source: http://www.preschoolmom.com

When I need to take a breather, I gave them ‘work’. Faith was designing her butterfly while Dan worked on some pre-writing skills. Source: 3Dinosaurs.com

We also learnt about the parts of the butterfly and Faith tried to pick out the colours of each individual butterfly (visual discrimination).

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Since we were on this topic, the best way to learn about a certain creature is to visit the Butterfly Park and Insect Kingdom at Sentosa! Faith had wanted to visit the butterfly park again since her last visit to one at the Science Centre. She was scared stiff the first time and I wonder what her reaction would be this time round.

Still a tad frightened.

Seeing the real thing in action!
Read more on our outing here.

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This book is a good one to read to the little ones if they are afraid of butterflies because they would surely identify with the character in this story.

So this pretty much sums up what we did for this theme!

Shape Run 2017

I’m penning this down because it means a fair bit to me.

I completed a 10km with Shape Run this morning and I felt so good after that. The legs and heart were strong at the finishing line and I was choked with emotions. It’s been so long since I ran a 10km. Before the kids came along, running a 10km happened almost every Saturday. In a week, I would at least clock in 25km. Since having kids, it has been tough getting out to work those muscles. So when I was able to do that today, together with so many awesome ladies, I was filled with pure joy.

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It has been a struggle to exercise, to run, when the kids were young. We do not have a helper and if I really need to take time off for a ME time or exercise, I would need to make arrangement. Running is thus possible only during the weekends, when the hubs is around to watch over the kids. We are blessed with a jogging stroller and it has been really helpful but it just feels different running on your own as compared to running with children. ;p

I am thankful for the folks at Active Hive who keep encouraging me to work on the machines whenever I can. It has really prepared me for the 10km run today because the longest distance that I have run on normal days was 7km. I believe my body and heart would complain a lot if I haven’t been doing resistance training at Active Hive.

I’m thankful for the opportunity to run this race and I’m reminded to continue to lead a healthy lifestyle so that I am well enough to take care of the family. And this extends to the food I take in too. I’m not getting any younger and I do find that my metabolism drops recently. Quality food is needed and I am in the midst of changing my diet to a more wholesome one. Less sugar, more greens and superfoods is the way to go!

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Incorporating quinoa into my diet. Oh yes, Active Hive is having a 30% off (till 31 August) for their chia seeds and quinoa. If you are interested, hop over to their online shop!

10km is a good distance to run and I’m already thinking of participating in the next 10km race! I’m really hoping that I could have more opportunity to run outdoors, to clock in the mileage, just like pre-kids’ days.

Would it be possible?

National Day 2017 & updates

Hi there!

I can’t believe I have not been blogging on this space for more than a month. I have, however, been more active on another platform where I record what I did with the kids for homelearning. Each day is full and at the end of the day, after squeezing in QT, preparation of food and lessons for the next day, I am exhausted. How does one still blog? I guess I’m just inefficient. ;p

Anyway, a lot have happened in this one month. Let me perhaps note two major ones down.

I have decided to stop F’s piano lessons after she has been with the new school for three months. The teacher is good and patient but I guess the girl couldn’t understand and read the notes. It makes me frustrated too that I have to keep getting her to practise. I don’t want to kill her interest. She can always go back to it when she’s older and has a bit more interest. For now, it’s a definite no.

I have also decided not to put Dan in school the following year. Initially, it was due to logistical issue since I have to travel to the school three times a day (both would be in different sessions). However, in recent months, it was Dan’s poor health that made me decide to keep him at home. No big problem. I can homeschool him. Anyway, he’s still so young, he doesn’t have to attend school. So now, the main thing that I’m busy working on is a ‘curriculum’ for homelearning for both of them.

Anyway…

Yesterday, it was National Day celebration cum Sports Day for F’s school and we had great fun. We were blessed with good weather too!

img_1801-1The shy boy was a bit overwhelmed by the crowd and sea of red.

Faith’s attempt at the hula hoop, wonderfully captured by the Pangs.

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How the girl has grown. She was that super shy girl two years ago. Now, she is definitely more courageous and a super chatty girl when she’s around folks whom she’s comfortable with.

I’m thankful that she has found some close friends in school and she often speaks fondly of them.

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Today, we celebrate our nation’s 52nd birthday. It is definitely a blessing to call Singapore home, a place where we belong.

Gaston Luga Backpack (with discount code)

What kind of a bag do you bring along when you go out with the kids?

A diaper bag? A backpack? A slingbag? A reusable bag?

I prefer a backpack especially when I’m out on my own with the two kiddos. More often than not, both my hands will be full, one carrying the boy, the other holding the hand of the girl.

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Gaston Luga backpacks. I first learnt about this Swedish backpack retailer through some blogs on Dayre and really love the clean-cut, classic look of the backpacks. So when I was contacted by them, it was a definite yes for this sponsorship.

I was recommended a Classic because it is roomy and has an external pocket, great as a diaper bag for mommies! But, I have one that is serving me well so I thought I shall just give it a pass for this model.

My next choice is the Praper. I love bags in this design because I had a similar type of schoolbag when I was in Primary One. I mean, of course the quality of that schoolbag (in PVC) was nothing compared to the Gaston Luga but this design has given me fond memories.

However, after checking the size of this model, I decided to go for the smaller one which is the Classy.

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I thought the height of the Classy suits me just well at 37cm. You see, I’m rather short at 1.56m so I thought this bag would look the best on me. I wanted a bag that is great for everyday use but yet roomy enough to put the essentials. Love this specific model but they were out of stock for this then. 😭

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In the end, I chose the Classy in Pink & Black. These, are my essentials. Yes, even when I go out with the kids. I’ve learnt not to pack so many things into the bag because more often than not, I’ve overpacked and I really don’t need extra weight when I’m out with the kids alone.

Of course, I’m able to pack less because my kids are a tad older now.

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If you take a closer look at the workmanship, you will observe that the bag is well-stitched throughout the leather parts as well as on the thick quality cotton which makes up the body of the bag.

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The logo for the brand in leather for this model.

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Love the metallic feet because judging by how I normally use my bag, the bottom will get dirty very easily without them. Oh yes, this bag comes with a magnetic closure which really helps in the ease of opening and closing of the bag.

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At the back of the bag is this pocket good for storing your passport when you are travelling. Sigh, I’m not doing that currently so I just stuff small packets of wet tissues. Very important for folks with young kids!

Oh yes, I personally like the slim leather straps. I know it may not be all comfortable especially if you are carrying heavy stuff but they certainly look better as compared to those big fluffy ones. #vainpot

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I’ve been using the Gaston Luga Classy backpack for the last few weeks and love it. I think it looks good and stylish on this plain-jane mama.

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Travelling with the kids is made easy and stylish with Gaston Luga backpack.

Discount code
” lynnlly15″

If you are considering owning a Gaston Luga backpack, do use my discount code 👆🏼

It’s a lot of savings! I’ll explain.

:: There is free shipping.

:: You also get 20% off as tax rebate (from non- EU country)

:: You will get 15% discount with my code on the remaining price after tax rebate!

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Say, for example, the backpack costs $319. After the rebate and discount, you only pay $216.92!

It’s a huge discount right???!! Do check their website for the pricing for each model.

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This lovely backpack will be going places with me.

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Good things must share. 😊

Official Website: http://gastonluga.com/sg/

Homelearning | Botany 

Since the beginning of the year, I’ve been using the time in the morning to teach the girl before she goes to school. We spent some time learning about a few famous artists, a little about the animal kingdom and ‘visited’ some countries. More recently, I have started to teach based on themes. And since it was Spring in May, I thought it would be good to get the kids to learn a little about botany.

The following is a record of what I did with the kids and the related resources.

 

The idea to start on Botany started quite innocently. I had extra stalks of celery and I was teaching the boy colours and then I thought why not show them how plants take in water through the stems? So, this was how we started.

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So I quickly gathered the resources that exist at home and took a trip to the library to borrow the books that I need to teach. By the way, I love this website – The Helpful Garden. It has lots of resources that I printed off for the children’s learning.

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Love this book from Gail Gibbons. It really is a gem. From this, I taught the parts of the plants and got the girl to make out the words.

 

From seeds (and the girl planted bok choy)…

 

… to flowers. The children learnt about the parts of the flowers and the reproduction of course. It might be a tad too abstract, I feel. But there’s certainly no harm in introducing!

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We took a trip down to the florist, bought a few stalks of flowers…

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…after introducing her to some flowers via the 3-part cards.

 

Lessons turned out to be very beautiful indeed.

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The girl learnt to paint poppy flowers, a very doable art piece for a preschooler.

 

With this book, we learnt the different parts of the plants which we consume. Dan showed his ability to match the concrete to the pictures.

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We then zoomed in into the life of a Dandelion.

 

And we dabbled in more artwork. This time round, it was finger-printing.

It was a very interesting and wide topic. So much to learn but I guess we shall take a few steps at a time. Learning can never cease.

Feeling at home at Playeum

June hols. A period in which parents get all busy because there are simply too many places to visit and things to do. We are just entering into June and had visited the Singapore Art Museum, Gallery Children’s Biennale at the National Gallery, Faber-Castell’s Art Festival, Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall, Dino Robot Factory at the Science Centre, Singapore Book Fair and then Playeum.

Playeum launched its fourth interactive exhibition ‘Making It Home: Dreaming Rooms, Making Spaces, Creating Places’ and it will be held from 16 May to 29 October.

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‘Making It Home’ is designed for children ages 1-12 and celebrates the home as a source of creativity, artistry and thinking. The spaces are transformed into different ‘rooms’, each with a different purpose and opportunities to explore and experiment. And these were exactly what our children did.

This is Dan who went straight to The Central Space to create connections using the pipes that we so commonly see in our homes. I just stood there and marvelled at how simple things like this could captivate a young boy.

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Then there is The Bedroom where dreams and drama co-exist. There were textiles that the children could use to transform themselves and engage in make-believe play. Faith dressed herself up as a superhero and roped me in. As if this wasn’t enough, there were two mini slides which my two kids had much fun with.

It’s funny how the kids could spend a good amount of time in this space alone. Oh, the wonders of creativity!

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The Store-y Room, a dark, slightly scary space that stores odd and sometimes discarded items.

The Future Living Room.

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This is the Laundry Room where our kids were trying to figure out how it works. There were different types of textiles and I thought this made for a good sensory lesson for Dan. There was this spinning fan that Dan could explore since the ones at home were out of bounds for him!

Here, the children can explore the world of laundry and cloth through weaving and peg-play.

The Kitchen, a space which I like and at Playeum, it’s the kids’ favourite too. They could use a variety of materials such as sand, magnets and kitchen instruments to engage and focus on sensory play.

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This is the girl’s favourite spot.

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Exploration extends to the real herbs growing just outside.

Have I convinced you enough that this year’s exhibition is mighty good? This has got to be my favourite. Perhaps, it’s because I like the homey feel? Perhaps, I could relate to the materials and segments of the rooms? Or perhaps, it’s because my kids were truly engaged, even for our toddler who normally could not stay focussed for more than a few minutes. I really love to see him so engrossed with the materials!

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The exhibition ends on 29 October. There’s ample time for you to consider making a trip down!

Trial class at British Council Open House

[Open House Preview Session]

Mention British Council and I’m sure we will think of quality English enrichment courses from preschool all the way to secondary school level by highly qualified English Language teachers. These courses deliver the same learning outcomes as the local MOE curriculum through the British Council’s teaching methodology. Since its inception, it has built a strong reputation as the go-to English experts in Singapore.

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To give you a heads-up, British Council will hold its Open House in a few weeks’ time and a key highlight of the event will be the free trial classes that parents can register their children for. Parents and their children will be able to experience the teaching methodology that the British Council adopts in their courses as well as have the opportunity to speak to academic heads. There will also be fun activities catered for families and children such as balloon sculpting and face-painting. Parents will also enjoy exclusive discounts when they sign up for an enrichment course on these dates.

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Over the weekend, Faith attended the preview session of the Open House and enjoyed the lesson tremendously. During the session, the children were treated to a storytelling session with a lesson on the digraph ‘sh’ and ‘ch’.

I had high expectations of the lesson and Mr Scott, the head of Preschool courses delivered. The kids were all ears as he read out the story and every one of them participated actively. If you were a teacher, you would like this group of children. It makes teaching so enjoyable.

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Smart board was used during the lesson and I guess the children were fascinated with it and wanted to have a try at using it. I like it that Mr Scott was a skillful storyteller and could ask good questions to get the children thinking.

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The preschool at British Council employs the practices from both the United Kingdom and Singapore to provide holistic, hands-on and concrete learning, with a strong emphasis on language and literacy. The play-based, exploratory approach is influenced by Montessori, high-scope and inquiry based learning.

Language learning is made fun with games!

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Of course, there would be serious work to check one’s understanding of the lesson!

British Council’s preschool courses focus on improving early literacy and oral communication skills for learners between the ages of 3 to 6. The courses start at Nursery 2 in which children are introduced to the alphabet and single letter phonics through the Jolly Phonics approach. Class size is kept small and there are English and Mandarin language teachers in each classroom to provide for a bilingual setting.

I am only touching on the tip of the iceberg in this post but if you are interested to find out more about the courses available or would like to get your child to experience the lesson through their trial classes during the Open House, do visit their website https://www.britishcouncil.sg/openhouse to find out more. There are different dates for the different centres. The cost of the trial class is free so do take advantage of this great opportunity!

For your reading pleasure:

:: Articles and tips that are useful for parents

:: Activities for kids

Happy Mother’s Day

There was no breakfast prepared by the husband or the children. No flowers were in sight. No present. No lunch.

It’s just, another Sunday.

But today, my phone kept vibrating, to inform me of new messages from WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook and they were all beautiful pictures and quotes about Mother’s Day.

How do you spend today, fellow mothers?

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I could have indulged in some self-pity. could have yearned for some fancy dress or lunch but as of now my heart is full.

Full because of Christ’s love for me and I’m overwhelmed by it. Full because He has blessed me with two beautiful children who keep asking for me. Full because I have a great companion in my soulmate, my husband. Full because….

Just yesterday night, I was in tears as the rest of the family members turned in. Because of a conversation I had with Faith, I felt the mother guilt creeping in. I felt I didn’t spend enough time with her and she was asking more of my presence, my time.

Such is motherhood, at least for me. It is full of (emotional) ups and downs. On some days, I have victories but on other days, I fail. On a few occasions, the house is spick and span but more often than not, it resembles a battlefield. But it’s all right. I’m still learning to be a parent and I don’t think I would ever graduate from this course. There’s too much to learn. What I need to do is to stay humble and work under the grace of God.

Today, on Mother’s Day, Dad went back to church for the first time in many years. There was a few adjustments to be made because we wanted to accompany dad to the Chinese service. But the kids enjoyed themselves in the Chinese Sunday School. And Mom? She thought of me as she went to the market to do some grocery and sent over stalks of big, juicy asparagus for me.

That is enough for me.

I call that simple joy.  Or contentment.

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Of all the quotes that I received, this one caught my attention.

Happy Mother’s Day!

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Oh yes, perhaps I have a Mother’s Day gift after all. Remember I went to try out some of the clothing from iROO? In the end, I selected this set, a blue off-shoulder top with a pair of white pants. It’s refreshing to try something new once in a while and I must say this set of clothing gave me confidence; I thought I look good in it.

Anyway, have a great day with the family and remember (and note to myself), our children will grow up in a flash so cherish them, their noises, their pestering, their nonsense while they are still young and when they are still willing to come to you. 😉

Safra Yishun’s refurbished pools

Folks in the northern part of Singapore, you are in for a treat because Safra Yishun has reopened and you can look forward to its brand new Pirate Adventure Wet Play Pool. It promises fun and excitement!

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We went for its Aloha Pool Party in late April and everyone was well entertained. There were all sorts of water activities, pool games and performances by ukulele players and dances by hula girls. Some of the kids even went for a trial swimming lesson by FINS Swim School.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASee the giant floats that filled the pool water!

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This is Faith’s favourite spot which has a small slide. She went up and down umpteen times and not grew tired at all.

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My family members had so much fun that I felt sorry for myself who was standing outside the pool taking pictures of them. In the end, I joined them.

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Yay! This mama needed to play too!

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It was crowded that day and we wished we could have participated in all the pool games but I guess we were contented with just staying at this pool.

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This girl came with stomachache and as soon as she saw the excitement at the pool, all aches disappeared. See what fun can do to the body? ;p

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Do head down to Safra Yishun if you want some family fun today!

Freycoo toddler shoes

[Product Review]

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Dan turned 19 months today and we are thankful that he is growing into an active child with his own unique personality. He is all shy with strangers and in new places but once he warms up, you will find him flashing his bright smile and he will be found all over the place. Told you that he’s an active boy!

Because young people like him grow in size really quickly, this also means we have to change his wardrobe every few months. We are thankful that we received a lot of hand-me-downs from relatives and friends and so far, Dan has been comfortable with what he is given to wear except for…shoes.

I find it difficult to find a pair of shoes that he is willing to wear besides the one that he was wearing. However, that pair was really getting old and he kept tripping every now and then. It was only until a fellow mommy who told me that his pair of shoes was getting too small for him that I decided to scout for one.

It was a challenge.

Dan’s feet were rather small and many shoes out there do not carry his size. Then a kind mom passed me some shoes for him since they were of the right sizes but tough luck, Dan rejected ALL of them. What was wrong with him?

Then I was introduced to Freycoo leather shoes for infants and toddlers and was asked if I wanted to let Dan try out a pair. Why not?

We went down to DearBaby™ at JEM to get Dan to try out the shoes. I could definitely get it online but I much prefer to let the boy try out to see if he’s comfortable with the shoes and if they are of the right fit. After all, he’s the one who is going to wear them!

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Upon selecting the particular pair and getting the right size for him, I got Dan to wear them and hope that he would not kick up a fuss and protest. Lo and behold, he didn’t complain at all and went around the store to look at the many children’s products in his new pair of shoes! I thought this tells a lot about that pair of shoes. In summary, it spells COMFORT to me.

Dan has been wearing this pair of shoes for almost a month now and here’s what we learnt and loved about Freycoo shoes:

:: Made with full genuine leather, Freycoo shoes are soft and durable and comfortable to wear from day one. We can certainly attest to that. On the day we tried out the pair of shoes, we threw the old one away and Dan walked away from the store wearing the new pair. ^5

:: Freycoo uses high quality genuine calf leather for shoe uppers. The inner insole and lining are made with premium pigskin for maximum comfort and ventilation. Based on past experience (his first pair), Dan’s feet will smell a little if he wears leather shoes for too long. However, this pair provides the ventilation that he needs which is really awesome! No more stinky feet!

:: Freycoo shoes have flexible non-skid rubber soles for traction and stability. The shoes have a wide opening and spacious toe box which accommodate Dan’s feet and give room for proper growth and development. The wide opening makes them quick and easy to put on.

:: Love the hook and loop closures because it can ensure perfect adjustable fit and I could get Dan to learn how to put on and take off the shoes himself.

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Apart from the above points, I think this pair is rather stylish and is suitable for every occasion. Dan has been wearing the shoes to beaches, parks, restaurants, malls…EVERYWHERE! The price is rather reasonable at a UP of $49.90.

Oh yes, this pair of shoes has a mechanism in the heel which rewards and encourages every step with a squeaky noise. So I’m not a big fan of the sound and thankfully, a set of non-squeak values is supplied and it just takes seconds to change them.

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So yes, this pair of Freycoo toddler shoes won me over. Dan is still happily wearing them and if he grows out of this pair, I would definitely consider getting another one from Freycoo. Or perhaps I can consider buying another pair since now since all Freycoo shoes are currently on promotion at 15% off both via online and in store. Hooray! #buybuybuy

Freycoo is available at DearBaby™
50 Jurong Gateway Road,
JEM #04-45, Singapore 608549
Website: http://dearbaby.com.sg

Disclaimer: Dan was provided with this pair of Freycoo toddler shoes for review purposes. No other forms of monetary compensation were given. 

Pamper yourself with iROO this Mother’s Day

I am not a fashion blogger. I’m just a mom, the stay-at-home kind, who likes to record my children’s developments and I love to share teaching ideas or useful children’s stuff with fellow parents.

However, one fine day, I was invited to try out iROO apparel and since Mother’s Day is approaching, I thought ‘why not?’. Yea, it’s time for a good ME time and to indulge in some retail therapy! It’s time to reward myself with a new set of clothes since I’m always clad in the usual. Browsed iROO’s website and facebook page, like what I saw and accepted the invitation.

iROO is a Taiwanese fast fashion clothing label and each of its collection is infused with creativity to cater to the modern woman’s needs and offers exclusivity with limited stock per design. Each piece has a unique design, which adds value to the clothing and the wearer. The founder of iROO is committed to using quality materials for the clothing and stresses on providing exquisite customer service and the most comfortable shopping experience for the customers. Oh yes, this is a bit of information that you might want to know. iROO’s retail prices remain the same throughout so customers can put their utmost trust in the label. There will not be any sale or discount dished out, not even to the staff so if you own a piece or two of iROO apparel or fashion accessory, you can certainly take pride in them.

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There are five boutiques in Singapore and I went down to the one at Takashimaya Shopping Centre. I was then introduced to two style consultants, Felicia and Melody, and after getting to know a bit about me, they went through the boutique and selected pieces for me to try on. Okay, so I’m going to go out of my comfort level and try on clothes that I won’t usually pick and see how they would look on me.

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I like the dressing area. It’s so spacious and brightly lit.

Okay, so here goes, the different pieces that I tried on.

The first outfit is this red dress that looks rather refreshing on me. I’m usually in black or white so this is a good change to my wardrobe. It’s super comfortable, simple yet elegant.

I specifically told Felicia that I would like to try on some off-shoulders top and see if I could pull it off. Love the bold contrast of the top. Felicia then got me to try on this skirt. Not too bad!

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This fun-loving top was chosen by Felicia and I thought it’s adorable! The hat of the girl was knitted, mind you! I had wanted this top so that I could so some matchy-matchy with my daughter but then again, am I too old for this? Hmmm…. but I love the pair of jeans! It fits me to a tee and I really like the embroidery and the design on one of the back pockets.

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This is likened to a cheongsam which fits me really well. I would have worn this to a dinner. On a side note, I’m so happy that Felicia obliged me and took pictures of me in the different outfits so that I could choose one at the end of the session. She’s very patient, fun-loving and professional all at the same time!

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Not my usual kind of dress but it looks not bad!

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This is an outfit which I like. Love the off-shoulder bit and the design is very ME! But the style consultants felt that I should select something that I don’t normally go for yet one which I would be happy to wear it. I like their honest feedback.

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Another set of clothes which shouts out to me. Love the blue off-shoulder stripey shirt paired with a very comfortable pair of white slim-fit pants. Good for a relaxed afternoon with the girlfriends.

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Felicia got me to try on this denim skirt because it would be a change to my usual choice of clothes. Looks decent!

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Such a bright sunny-side off-shoulder top that brightens me up instantly! I don’t usually go for yellow but through this experience, I think I could pull it off!

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If you are still reading, thank you for indulging me and bearing with my poses for the different outfits. I promise that this is the last piece. I like the casual look of this set; it makes me feel young!

I wish I have money to spare because every piece is unique and I was tempted to get a few pieces. I like the workmanship and the (good) quality could be felt as you put on the various pieces. But I could only choose one. Which one do you think I would select for myself as Mother’s Day gift?

I had a fun two hours at iROO, thanks to the wonderful style consultants who tended to me. They were very helpful, sincere and honest with their comments which I truly appreciated. The crowd came in after noon time and I saw the same level of professionalism being displayed. It seemed to me that many of the customers were regulars; they were so friendly and personal with them.

This Mother’s Day, treat yourself to a new piece of clothing perhaps? iROO is a good choice.

For more information on iROO, do check out the following:
Facebook | https://www.facebook.com/iroosingapore
Website | http://www.iroo.sg/
Instagram |https://www.instagram.com/iroo_official/

Disclaimer: I was invited to shop at iROO (via AT Marketing Consultancy) for a set of clothing for Mother’s Day in exchange for an honest review of its apparel and shopping experience. No other forms of monetary compensation were involved. 

 

Labour day… at the Beach

So May has entered our lives. How did your Labour Day go? I was filled with thankfulness as I wrote this post. Today was great. The hubs was around and there wasn’t any schedule to adhere to. No enrichment classes, no other obligations to attend to. It’s a day of rest and fun.

I have always wanted to have a picnic by the beach and was only too glad that the hubs suggested it and invited our CG and friends along.

If it’s just us, we would normally play the frisbee and kicked a ball or two. But because we had friends joining us, our version of a Beach day expanded to…

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involve sand play. So the girl…and the boy were elated to be allowed to play because the mom had closed both eyes. You can imagine their joy.

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Girl party!

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The boy who, on several occasions, displayed fear of sand, now enjoyed it tremendously. Such a wonderful sight to behold.

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Whenever there are moms, you will not lack food. Okay, I must qualify that I brought nothing to the picnic except for a few cans of cold drinks. These two moms especially the one in the middle, prepared so much homecooked food that it doesn’t make sense for me to bring more. This is an awful excuse, of course. But anyway, one thing’s for sure – we are immensely blessed.

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See how my kids have benefitted from the kind gestures of the other moms?

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The girl had her first real encounter with kite-flying. She was thrilled, especially when she saw her kite soaring in the sky.

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See those smiles on the girls’ faces? Priceless.

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🙂

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It’s a wonderful first day of May and it has started well. May we be rid of sickness and tantrums (haha) and be filled with the presence of God and joy each day.

Gu Ma Jia (姑妈家)

[Media invite]

It’s back to Gu Ma Jia to satisfy those cravings of mine. This Chinese restaurant has always scored for their delectable home-cooked dishes. Their ingredients and seafood used for cooking are handpicked by Gu Ma (the founder) and her team from the wholesale market daily, ensuring that only the best ingredients are picked to guarantee freshness and taste.

I just want to state upfront that I LOVE THEIR FOOD. Period.

This time round, they have added two items on their menu – Lemongrass Ginger Chicken Soup and Ginger Lemongrass Tea.

S_GMJ-Lemongrass-Ginger-Chicken-Soup-2Credits: Gu Ma Jia

This kampong-style traditional chicken soup recipe is from Gu Ma’s home town of Pulau Ubin and is packed with many health benefits lemongrass provides and essential vitamins such as vitamin A, B1, B2, B5 B6. I personally like lemongrass and find the aroma therapeutic. The Lemongrass Ginger Chicken soup ($20, 2-3 pax) is really nutritious so it’s not surprising that I went for multiple servings. Don’t waste!

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This is the Ginger Lemongrass tea ($2.50), another new item on the menu. It reminds me of the refreshment that I am given each time after a spa treatment, only that this one is milder in taste. This tea is packed with rich anti-oxidants, which helps to expel toxins and improve metabolism.  Like the chicken soup, this power combination in a cup is filled with all the anti-inflammatory properties and health benefits of lemongrass and the common spice, ginger. Have this after your meal!

Apart from these two additions, our family was treated to the other signature dishes which you shouldn’t miss at all if you do have the opportunity to dine at Gu Ma Jia.

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The Homemade Yam Ring with Pork Ribs (S$30) is no doubt our favorite. The yam ring was cooked to perfection! It was crispy on the outside yet soft and creamy on the inside. As if this was not enough, it was cleverly paired with the scrumptious Kyoto Pork Ribs. This dish is truly heavenly!

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This picture was taken before the children had a taste of this dish. Minutes later, the dish, especially the ribs, were gone. The kids, especially the girl, kept asking for it!

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This is the dish – Assam Bee Hoon Crab (seasonal price) – that I could have to my heart’s content since the hubs and kids couldn’t take spicy food. Okay, so I’m not a fan of crabs because I am lazy and dislike dirtying my fingers but I changed my mind with this succulent Sri Lankan crab because there was much meat and it’s worth my time and effort in shelling the crab. Moreover, I love spicy food and the assam bee hoon was really delicious so it’s not surprising that I went for more servings. It’s truly a satisfying dish!

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This Sliced Ginger Fried Chicken was a hit with us too. I mean, fried chicken, who doesn’t like? The meat was tender and as you put that portion of fried meat into your mouth, it doesn’t feel that you are eating an oily piece of chicken. And those sliced fried ginger? Felt like potato chips with a gingerly taste. You probably won’t stop at one.

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We were further served greens which is my love. I can just consume veggies anytime and they served the Kai Lan that was cooked in two styles – blanched and fried (S$12, S$18, S$24). Ingenious! The crispy leaves tasted like seaweed and the little girl loved this part. The stems were cooked just right and were crunchy. This is a must-order if you are into greens.

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We were then introduced to this new dish (new to me) and the server told me that I would not have guessed that the crispy fried slices were brinjal. Indeed, I couldn’t! I don’t dislike eggplant but I have not tasted this vegetable that is prepared in this way – lightly tossed in sweet marmite sauce and then fried with French beans – and it was delicious! The girl who has an issue with brinjal welcomed the Crispy Bean-Jal (S$12, S$18, S$24) at the table.

Dessert was Vinegar Enzyme Jelly ($4.50) and I only got to savour a few spoonfuls because the boy kept wanting it. I didn’t mind giving it to him since the fruit enzyme extracts can provide health benefits to the those who consume it.

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Another dessert that was NOT eaten by me is the Black Glutinous Rice with Ice Cream ($4.80). I did have a first taste of it, just to make sure that it was not too sweet for the girl before giving up my right to share this with her. Okay, the Papa and girl finished this up. Everyone was happy.

Again, Gu Ma Jia didn’t disappoint. If you desire scrumptious food prepared in a home-cooked manner (reminds me of mom’s cooking), come on down. I’ve tasted their food for the past few years and their standard hasn’t dropped at all.

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

[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.