Much March News Amid Covid-19

Mad March is over. Or is it?

Countries in the west got locked down and each day we monitored the news as if we were following the stock market closely (I don’t dabble in that, btw).

One week before the March school holidays, we decided to postpone our overseas trip because there was just too much uncertainty. What if the country got locked down while we were holidaying? We would definitely be better off in our own homes. With that, we decided to stay put and the weekend of the March holidays, the government strongly advised against unnecessary travels.

Phew!

We did a staycay in the end, at the ulu Changi Beach. I was never fond of crowded places and in the current situation, it would all the more be ideal that we retreated to somewhere idyllic. It was peaceful all right.

We met up with friends for playdates. To Jurong Lakeside Garden, the zoo, art lesson and a very simple picnic. Little did we realise that those few times would be the last few times that we could enjoy going out as a group because a few days later, stricter measures were enforced. Stay At Home. The call was made.

“I lift up my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1-2

Do I fear? You bet. I belong to the sandwich generation – I’ve young ones to look after and the older folks to care for, especially my father who has to go for his weekly dialysis. What if their immunity is not strong enough to combat the virus?

I turned to the Lord. Surely, His blood, the blood of the Lamb will protect us. And even if gradually, we won’t be able to meet as a congregation, our hearts were united.

Each day passed, with more dire news, of deaths and more infections. When would this end? Will life go back to normal?

We are living in a period of inconvenience. But what is that compared to the many who do not have a roof over their heads, those who have lost their jobs, who worry about having food to feed the mouths in the family, who fear for their health.

Lord, have mercy!

Sushi Delivery

I cook almost every day, during the weekdays and it can get tiring. Thankfully we have good alternatives like eating out, buying food back from the nearby coffeeshop or call for delivery. I hardly exercise the last option because it can get disappointing when the food that is sent to you is not up to expectation. So the best thing to counteract this is to ask for recommendation from friends.

Sushi Delivery

One needs faith in having sushi delivered. I mean, we do want to have fresh ones delivered right? So when Sushi Delivery kept popping up in my IG feed, I was tempted to try. Then one day, I received an email from them and they asked if I would like to review their food?!

The spread

I wanted to try a variety and ordered sushi, bento and their sides. For sushi, we had the California Maki, Salmon Aburi Maki, Samurai Unagi Aburi Maki and the son’s fav Tamago Maki.

Salmon Aburi Maki

I must say the sushi that I ordered came fresh and they weren’t soggy like the ones I ordered before from other eateries. I like that the sushi came in 8 pieces which are value-for-money and satisfied us.

We like the sushi that we ordered!

Chicken Katsu Set Bento

I wanted to try their Chicken Katsu Set but as with many fried food, by the time it reaches the home, the food is no longer crispy. I expected that so it’s not a big deal to me. I just pan fried the Chicken Katsu for a while and it’s as good as we have it on site. The salad was fresh.

The spread (broccoli is not part of the order)

Overall, we enjoyed Sushi delivery and will order again from them because the sushi was good enough. I just hope that they will maintain the standard. 🙂

Sushi delivery is offering you a 10% off your order and is valid for a month from now. Just quote “Lynn10” upon checkout. This coupon code is valid until 6 April 2020. So now, you have another option for food delivery! 🚚

 Disclaimer: I was offered food in exchange for an honest opinion of the food we consumed. No other monetary exchanges were made.

Website: sushidelivery.sg
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sushideliverysg/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sushideliverysg/

January 2020

Decided to do a monthly update to record memories. This is for the month of January.

January saw some changes in Dan’s attitude towards helping out in the kitchen. I do not know what came over him but he suddenly expressed interest in helping me with cooking and baking. Of course, I obliged. However, I must be honest, that at times, when I was trying to rush out a meal, I would tell him to read books so that I could complete the cooking but I’ve to remind myself to involve him when he showed interest. 😀

In preparation for Chinese New Year (CNY), we baked some cookies and invited some of the girls from CG to bake together. The CNY mood was dampened with the daily news of COVID-19 and we were constantly reminded to pray.

CNY. It’s less busy this year. We managed to visit seven families on the first day but it didn’t feel tiring.

This year, there was really no mood in celebrating CNY. Families in China couldn’t meet as many were battling the virus. In Singapore, we kept our eyes peeled to the screen as we updated ourselves with the news. It feels strange to celebrate this year.

School life

We are almost done with the first month of school and I believe the kids have settled themselves well in their respective classes. The boy has made a few more friends in the new kindy and these days, he came out happy with an occasional mention of his friends’ names. It is assuring to me that he is all right and that the pace of school is just right for him. Recently, he came back informing me that he needed to find out why things float or sink since the school is exploring this area. I like it that he is learning!

The principal sent me pictures to show snippets of what he did in school and again, I’m comforted that he is going to be okay and that the change to another kindy is the right move for the family.

First Day of School 2020o

6am. The girl woke up. Reckon she’s excited on the first day of school. The boy slowly peeled his body off the bed at 6.30am. Stretched his lazy bones and started his day.

There weren’t much changes to their waking up time. It’s been like this since the beginning of time but today instead of getting out of the house at 8ish, we had to leave slightly past 7.

The boy scooted as we walked the girl to school. As she entered the school compound, the boy turned towards me and complained, “Why can’t I go to Jie Jie’s school?”

Soon, my dear boy, soon. Yet, in my heart, I hope that day won’t come so soon. I realised I miss being with my kids. Six hours away from them seems terrible. We know initially they would be six hours away from us and then gradually the hours will only keep increasing.

Irony. For years, I’ve been yearning for ME time but today when I had that two hours of no-kids moment, I actually felt sad. There’s a certain sense of loss which I can’t explain.

The kids and I had a very full and fulfilling school hols during the past six weeks. We were kept busy with playdates, exploring of places, sports activities, workshops and various kinds of meetups. Though at times, they drove me nuts, 90% of the time, I actually enjoyed being with them and listening to their conversations (which can be hilarious).

Okay, I need to stop being so emotional and get on with life. 2019, you’ve been awesome. 2020, will you be equally great?

P.S. I ought to do a summary post on 2019. Tsk

Teaching cupcake baking & decorating

Itchy hands, so they say. With the Christmas cheer in the air, one can’t help baking, can you? The desire to teach a class on baking and decorating got me asking a mom friend if the kids would be interested in such a class.

It’s a ‘yes’.

I taught a similar class in this exact clubhouse 4 years back when the girl was 3YO and the boy, 2 months old. We had a bigger crowd and frankly, teaching younger kids is more challenging since they require more assistance. So, this time round, teaching the 7YOs was a breeze.

I like it when kids asked questions. I mean, it’s definitely much better than a monologue, yes? We had a few inquisitive kids in our midst in this class and it was interesting.

I got them to go through the steps in the recipe, hoping that this would help spark some interest in helping out in the kitchen. My handheld mixer failed me and in the end, we had to mix the batter by hand. No biggie. The kids were all so ready to help so it’s really a joy.

Taught the kids to pipe the IMBC with 1A tip and decorate with ready-made decor. Alas, my buttercream split and it wasn’t terrific looking. The good thing is the kids didn’t mind and were happily munching their cupcakes after they have decorated them. Growing kids…

We went on to fondant and they were briefed a little about sugar art and I showed them some designs they could make. This was a tad more challenging but still, it’s doable with children this age.

Everyone was on task. This made the teacher very happy indeed.

The weather wasn’t too kind for sugarart, I must say. The fondant started ‘sweating’ once we were out of the air-con room.

The kids were really on task and we even had time to make gingerbread cookies as supplied by mommy Kate.

From 10am to 3pm with lunch in between, we fully maximised this period. This group of kids is too easy to teach.

Thankful to be given the chance to do what I love. I should really start to bake more.

Bintan Family Trip

When it comes to vacation, I’m one who prefers exploring places, hiking in the forests, visiting places of interest to check off the ‘to-go’ places on my list. A result of years of back-packing, I guess? I remember in those days when the internet was not so accessible, we had to rely on maps and recommendations from Lonely Planet guidebooks. It was exciting and challenging.

As much as possible, I tend to avoid a beach holiday. Not a beach bum most definitely though I wish I could. 😂

This time round, the family (in-laws inclusive) decided to go to Bintan for a short getaway. It was ten years ago that I was at Bintan for the triathlon which I DNF 🤣 due to a punctured tyre during the race and I didn’t bring a spare. This time round, I came with the family with two very active young kids.

Even though we live on an island (Singapore is an island, no?), the kids have never really enjoyed the sea. In fact, they fear being in the sea water. This time round, the water was inviting and the sand so smooth that the kids found themselves gravitating to it. We didn’t have much equipment for sand play but the two could entertain themselves with their own imaginative play.

They had a feel of the waves and were both thrilled and terrified of them. Can’t blame them, my city kids.

Forced the man to take a pic of me and the boy. Memories … and I want to be reminded that I was in it.

I would very much love to have some quiet moments to myself and to reflect on this past year. It has been a fruitful and full year, with much thanksgiving and lessons to be learnt. It’s truly a discipline to be quiet before the Lord and to listen to His small still voice. Most of the time, I find it difficult with the kids around me. This practice is something I very much wanted yet I haven’t gotten good at it.

Still couldn’t have a good half an hour to read and reflect. It’s a season and I’ve to recognise that and not allow bitterness to take root. At the very least, I’ve the privilege to witness their development throughout their childhood and that is a true blessing.

We hired a driver to bring us to Tanjung Pinang and off we went to the local market. Brought back memories to the time when I was a girl, following my mom to the wet market and she would explain to me how to look out for fresh fish and vegetables and the like. Nowadays, our kids are only exposed to supermarkets and naturally they found this local market none too exciting.

Sunset at Lagoi Bay and took the opportunity to take a family pic in these colourful changing rooms. We went to the shore since it was low tide and saw hermit crabs and other sea creatures. It was fascinating to me!

Such a beautiful sunset and it kind of marked the end of this short getaway.

The day she turned 7

What an eventful day. I didn’t mean to plan a full day of activities for the kids; it just so happened.

In the end, the girl got to celebrate her seventh birthday with activities that she loved to do and with friends she often played with.

We were especially thankful that the weather was cooling. It must have rained earlier in the day but when we went out for our scooting sessions and meetup, the skies cleared.

After much discussion with a group of moms, we agreed to meet at the reservoir park. Ample green space, playground and cafes available, why not?

Met N, her childhood friend. They got to meet every school hols now since the moms were the ones who wanted to meet up. They warmed up to each other rather quickly and Faith joined N in hunting for… grasshoppers.

They caught a bag of baby grasshoppers and were overjoyed. Ah… it’s so good to be back in the outdoors.

The catch, in pics.

These two, they like to have loads of fun. I mean, which kid doesn’t want? But the mom was feeling rather exhausted by then. We came back to prepare for the next round of fun.

Board games cum birthday celebration!

The kids, facilitated by one of the moms, played a few rounds of board games. There were tears, quarrels, shouts and laughter no doubt, and I couldn’t help but find it amusing. Oh, dear kids who play and fight together.

The only time when it was really peaceful, well, just a tad more peaceful was when their stomach needed to be filled.

 

And then the cake cutting session. More tears. Lol. 🤷🏻‍♀️

One with the older girls.

The girl, being blessed by her friends.

And, one with the family. 🙂

It’s a simple celebration, just with her family and friends. Hopefully, she will grow up to value the ones who are close to her and to celebrate milestones with them.

Blessed birthday, my dear girl. I love you, very much.

Great Eastern Run 2019

I love running, not because I could run fast. But because I love how this sport trains my mind to overcome tiredness and the temptation to give up. Initially, I ran to shed some fats and to keep myself healthy. Eventually, it becomes a sports that is close to my heart. I would run when I feel stressed, or when I need to cry out to the Lord and be silent before Him. I would run because I want to be in the open space. I would run…just because I am able to do so.

Naturally, I would want to share this love with my kids. I started to participate in races with Faith in the stroller when she was about a year old. Subsequently, there was the Safari Zoo Run with the family in 2017 and a kids’ dash later that year.

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The Great Eastern Run that has just passed was most memorable. I signed Faith and I up for a mother-and-daughter 2km run, just to get the girl to start running longer distances. We didn’t manage to train for this but was very encouraged by her perseverance during the run. She pushed herself to run even when she’s tired and there wasn’t any sign of giving up or whining throughout. I was impressed!

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I think it’s time for me to go back to running regularly and to get the girl to come along too. I believe she and I have something in common. ;p

 

Six weeks in…

Six weeks into term 4. How is everyone doing? For us, with a change of school for the boy means a huge change in schedule for the three of us. Suddenly, we have a lot of time in the morning and more importantly, we don’t have to rush.

Life seems to be at an ideal state for the first time in many (ok, just these few) years. I’ve sufficient time with the kids and that means I could coach them in their work and we could have time pursuing what we like to do and the siblings could have ample time playing and interacting with each other. While both of them are in school which means I’ve two hours of break, I could concentrate on my freelance work or meet up with some folks for ministry work.

Sadly, the boy still didn’t like the new school. In his prayer, “God, I don’t like to go to school but…. it’s ok.”

My heart sank. His Art teacher told me the same story too. Apparently, he has been sharing his heart out to his favourite teacher.

Otherwise, things are going pretty well. I’ve less problems with the girl possibly because her emotional needs are met and I don’t have to rush her anymore. I could also parent from a state of rest which is what I’ve intended to do since the beginning of the year. Once a week, we try to have a field trip day and the kids would be super happy to get out and explore. Things are slowly falling into place and we are enjoying one another’s presence more.

A few more weeks before the academic year comes to a close. Can’t wait!

Term 4 Week 1

First week of school for this little man and both of us (yes, this mama included), have gone through an emotional rollercoastal. The first day saw him going into the school in a happy mode but the second day, he was apprehensive. On the third day, he showed reluctance and cried pitifully, clinging on to me as I passed him to the teachers.

“Mama! Mama!” His hands were reaching out to me with his longing gaze fixed on me.

My heart broke.

This boy has never once mentioned that he didn’t want to go to school so it was a shock to hear him say that now. I recognised that it’s due to the change of environment and the lack of friends (and he missed his CV friends a lot) and that he needed time to adapt.

Week 1 of Term 4 went like this. He was generally a happy boy except for the two occasions that he clung on to me and cried,”I don’t want to go to school!”

I’m thankful that the principal was very reassuring and sent me pictures to show me how he has settled soon after I dropped him off.

Maybe week 2 would be better?

The Short September Break

The one week break in September seemed so short! Our days were fully occupied and though it can be tiring, we had fun!

Allow me to list down the activities that we had, so that we could have some form of reference for future school break. 😊

:: Tennis Camp

F went for a three-day tennis camp and she enjoyed it. We should be going for another camp for the next school hols and this time round, I must remember to sign up for those that are under ActiveSG. Too bad, Dan is too small for the camp otherwise, I would have signed both of them up!

:: Mooncake Theme Playdate

One of the Dayre moms kindly invited us to her cosy home and even planned a mooncake making session for the kids. They had a first-hand experience in making those goodies and then shortly after, they sent the snowskin mooncake to their Grandma. 👵🏼

I also hosted a mooncake playdough making session but all I did was to open up my place and maybe prepare the ingredients for Takoyaki party. The other moms were hard at work entertaining the kids. 🤣

:: Clip and Climb

F had a play date with her classmates and they went to Clip and Climb at OTH for 90 minutes of climbing. The kids seemed to know what to do and kept trying the different walls. It’s my first time at Clip and Climb and being one who is afraid of heights, I had my reservation. In the end, I decided to try one wall and love it. Just don’t look down. 😅

:: Playground hunting

The kids woke up at 5.30am one day and as I walked into the dining room and questioned why they were up so early, “We are going playground hunting!”

So it was. We went to the far end of Singapore and explored a few playgrounds within that vicinity. It was exciting, to try out various themed playgrounds, hoping on and off the car to discover more.

We could do just that for every morning. Vitamin D is much needed, you see.

:: Siew Mai Making at Nanjing Impressions

I didn’t know anything about this until a mom friend asked if there’s any interested parties who might want to go for this. So, I just put the kids’ names down and turned up! Although the session was short and the kids were just required to make two Siew Mai, it was just fun having them put on the traditional costumes and getting them to wrap the filling.

:: Exercising with friends

By now, you would have realised that we would definitely factor in outdoor activities to get the body moving when we have the time. So when some moms asked to go to the East Coast Park, we were more than happy to oblige.

We probably had more activities that I couldn’t jot down for now. All I can say is that it’s a very busy September school hols indeed!

Last day…

Today marks the last day of school in CV for the boy. We have decided to pull him out of this school because of logistical issues.

Distance does matter when it comes to school. When the girl enters formal school this year, she has to ride with us when I send the boy to and from kindy in the morning. When we go back home, we try to complete her school homework and do some reading. Before I know it, I have to stop what I am doing with her and rush to prepare for lunch before we set off for kindy again to pick up the boy.

There isn’t much quantity in terms of time with her, let alone quality. Every day is a rush and quite easily, temper flares.

It’s with much heaviness in the heart that we have to stop sending Dan in this kindy. We found a school near home and it only took us ten minutes to send him to and from home. The curriculum seems to be slower but to me, that is secondary; I can always teach him.

Certainly hope that the boy could fit in the new school and blossom.

Only time will tell.

A day in the life of …

Eight and a half months with a Primary School kid and a preschooler and life is still as busy as before. I have friends who asked me why I’m still caught up with so many things and I’ve to remind them that my children are in different sessions and hence there won’t be any rest except when they go to bed in the evening. That’s when I could take a real break.

In recent times too, I find myself unable to reply a text message ( especially in group chat) that requires me to think deeper in terms of my comments. My train of thoughts would often be disrupted by an inquisitive kid or a request to help them. In the end, I give up. I just need to be updated of what’s going on and hope that my friends would pardon me for my lack of sharing or reply.

Let me do a post of what’s going on in the life of this Mom.

6.30am | The kids used to wake up much earlier in their younger days but thankfully, they get up later these days. By this time, the husband would have gone to work and my day starts.

Breakfast scene these days. Most of the time, they would go off to play after having their bread. I try not to interfere because I know they need time for each other but I find that reading is much neglected by the older kid especially and I have to intentionally place a book on the dining table to entice the reader in them.

7.45am | By this time, both kids would have done the necessary and the boy is ready to go to school. The girl is in the afternoon session but has to tag along to send the boy since there isn’t anyone at home to look after her.

Audiobooks are a great help when we are on the road.

8.30am | I have about 1.5 hours of quality time with the girl before I have to busy myself in the kitchen (lunch). Normally, she would do her school homework or tasks given by yours truly. Thankfully, her teachers don’t normally give much homework and I have time to revise and read with her. 1.5 hours fly back very quickly and before we know it, I have to rush out lunch.

Lunch for the girl is in the kindy. Obviously she’s very much distracted and all she cares about is to spend time with her brother. A few mouthfuls and she’s done. The brother? He’s so absorbed when it comes to playing with his classmates. At times, I find myself having to feed him until I realised that I’m inculcating a bad habit in him. Arghhh…

12.30pm | The girl is in school and the boy and I are back home. Between now and 6pm, the boy and I have plenty of time to interact. He’s doesn’t nap and this means he needs to be sufficiently engaged. There are pockets of time when he could find something to engage himself (most play pretend) but mostly, he would want my company.

Most of the time, we stay indoors until about evening when we would go to the nearby park for some forms of exercise like cycling, scooting or simply having fun at the playground.

When I’m up to it, I’ll choose one afternoon to head out to some museums, zoo, bird park and the like. It’s field trip day and he absolutely likes it.

On normal days, I would have prepared dinner before Dan and I set off to pick the girl up from school in the evening. She would have her 10 minutes of playground time with her classmates before we head home.

6.45pm | Dinner is usually at this time and it’s normally one-dish meal (that’s all I can manage for now). We would all be ready for family devotion by 7.45pm. Lights off, ideally is at 8pm but sometimes we drag for 10 to 15 minutes.

And then….

It’s ME time for me!

I don’t particularly like such a schedule. It’s such a rush in the morning and I’m left with very little quality time with the girl. Time spent on the road and while waiting for the boy to end school and having lunch in the kindy is almost comparable to the amount of time spent with F. On the other hand, I’ve much more time with the boy and we could explore places at times.

Something has to change.

A proper family workout, at last!

Finally. After seven long years, we could finally say that we could get a decent workout as a family now.

I know, when the kids were younger, we could still jog with the kid in the jogging stroller but somehow, jogging is just different when you need to push something. It isn’t that liberating? Then when the kids learn to handle their own scooters and bicycles, their speed tend to be slow. Now, we could safely say that they can overtake us!

And, it won’t be long before we could no longer catch up with them. 😅

Penang for families

Penang is a popular choice for a short getaway for families with young kids (that’s us!) because of the variety of activities available. A quick research led us to decide on the combination of nature walk, water activities, mural art appreciation and places that might interest the kids. We were mindful not to pack many activities within a day because we wanted to allow for more space when travelling with kids since tantrums and meltdowns could happen. 😅

So our 4D3N trip to Penang with two other families started on a mid-week morning. The flight lasted slightly more than an hour and by the time we cleared the custom and reached our hotel, it was already 2 o’clock. We wasted no time and walked to the building next to our hotel and started our first day of activities!

It was this Jurassic Research Center that caught my attention initially. But The Top Penang offers much more than this and we decided on The Top Fun Pass in the end since it allows multiple entries on a same-day visit to all attractions in the Avenue of Adventures and Rainbow Skywalk at The Top Penang except Augmented Reality Virtual, Formula One, The Gravityz & TOP Capsule.

I think the kids were fascinated by the various kinds of dinosaurs but Dan was petrified. He clung on to me for the entire time we were in there so we had to move on quickly. There was no opportunity for me to read the relevant information or to relate it to the girl. I, just had to move on.

Once we were out of the Jurassic Research Center, the kids were treated to an hour of fun at the indoor playground (so pls bring along socks) while some of the adults went for a 30-minute 7D show which was rather uninteresting, I regret to say. We spent the rest of the time having fun dancing, riding on bumper cars, having hands-on Science experiments at Tech Drome (so good!) and ended our time at The Top with a breathtaking view of Penang at the Rainbow skywalk.

Surely we won’t miss the local food when we were here. You won’t too, will you?

Day 1 | Flight –> The Top Penang –> Dinner

Day 2 | Penang Hill –> Street Art Murals –> Ferry to and fro Butterworth –> Dinner

Rise and shine! We were all ready to take the tram up to Penang Hill and hike to the canopy walk. Fresh air greeted us as the tram reached its destination up the hill and we were all ready to go. Mid-way through the walk, the kids cried hungry and tired and we figured it would still be a while before we could reach the canopy walk. Aborted that idea, headed back to the tram station and had our lunch at A&W. ✌🏼

Travelling with a bunch of preschoolers means that our itinerary has to be flexible and allows for changes to be made. There are some who still take naps and as parents, we understand the importance of rest for these young ones. So after a walk around Penang Hill, we checked back to the hotel for a swim and the kids went to nap rather quickly, giving the moms some time to sneak out to the mall. ✌🏼

Once the kids were refreshed, we headed out to explore the mural art. It was fun, and would be more interesting if the kids could join in with much enthusiasm. Alas, they were complaining of hunger, thirst and tiredness as we looked for the various artwork and had to settle for a much needed tea break.

Since the mural art street is near to the jetty, we walked across to take the ferry to and fro Butterworth. We had fun running to catch the next ferry and the kids enjoyed the ride. They were fascinated that vehicles and humans could be on the same ferry. ⛴

Day 3 | Breakfast –> transfer to Bayview resort –> Entopia –> Dinner

Breakfast or all kinds of meals should be enjoyed with folks with the same palate. The whole gang agreed on Dim Sum breakfast and we found our way to Tai Tung Restaurant.

We soon checked out of the hotel and headed to Bayview Resort for a different kind of adventure.

At Entopia, we were filled with amazement as we interacted face-to-face with many beautiful butterflies in the garden as well as bugs and some reptiles. We signed up for a one-hour workshop (RM 16) which enabled us to have a close encounter with rhinoceros beetle (and its larva), hissing cockroaches and …a gentle snake!

Took so many photos but I think it’s best to refer to my IG (I store photos there). Make it a one-day trip! The kids were entralled by the creatures and the adults, too.

The day slowed down as we returned to the hotel and enjoyed a bit of the beach before we headed to a Tze Tchar stall for dinner.

Day 4 | Beach life + departure

We spent the bulk of the morning relaxing in the premise of the hotel. The kids were excited about the waterplay area and had a good workout through swimming.

I wish I could spend more time just bumming at the beach, with a book in one hand and a glass of juice in another. Alas, such a life would not happen as long as our kids are still young. Give us a few more years?

This trip has been a rather relaxing and at the same time, a fulfilling one. We were treated to good food and the kids had one another for company. We weren’t rushing from places to places and thus could slow down our pace to be present for one another.

It was a wonderful trip.

June starts with a bloom

June is here and the school holiday starts! Someone must have felt that this mama here needed some encouragement for the past semester and decided to send a box of…

 

… roses to me! How lovely is that? Nope, there are not from le husband but from the good folks of Roses Only.

It was a nice gesture really to receive this box of gorgeous flowers. My immediate thought was to share them with another hardworking mom rather than having them all to myself.

Surprise your loved ones or friends with this box of roses! Use lynnlly12 to get 12% off your entire purchase. This code will expire on June 30, 2019.

Have fun this hols! Sending you lots of 💗.

The first term (2019)

I’ve been away from this space for so long that I find myself not knowing how to start a post.

Where shall I begin?

In the twinkling of an eye, term one has departed and we are now journeying into the second term. I survived the first three months with a new schedule and the girl seemed to enjoy formal school life. I could tell, by how she skips to school each day.

My worries were unfounded, up till this point in time. I fear that she would be bullied, that she would not be able to overcome her shyness to make new friends, that she would be alone. I’ve come to realise children, my kids, are resilient and they adapt to their environment easily. Before I knew it, she would come out of the school gate and bidding her friends farewell with a cheerful note in her tone.

All is well.

That’s us on Chinese New Year, taking the opportunity to capture a family portrait since we were dressed rather, erm, well. This was perhaps the first year I enjoyed CNY as a parent. The kids were older and didn’t really require naps or being breastfed or whatever. It’s so much easier to 拜年 with them now.

Dan has always been looking forward to school and he was all ready to meet his teachers and friends. This year, we have the whole afternoon to ourselves and it is indeed a great opportunity to bond with the little man. We spend the afternoon reading away and venture out for some outdoor activities when it doesn’t get too hot. The school started him on blending of the letter sounds and this teachermom also helped him along the way. His attention span is depressingly low – five to ten minutes each time – and that’s basically the amount of time I could spend to coach him. Thankfully, he could stay glued to stories when I read aloud to him.

Since the afternoon was so long, we could have big blocks of time to do art. Dan loves painting and he showed pride in his artwork. If you know me well, I don’t particularly love to keep their art pieces which could create a mountain at a corner of our apartment. So it’s a common practice of mine to dispose of their work after, say, a week or two. So our little man’s memory of his work was sharp and he would ask where his work was. Oops… this mama has thrown his work away! (Recording this down to remind myself not to throw his stuff away).

From the light Cruzee balance bike, Dan has progressed to the kinderbike after he could maintain a good balance. He soon managed to cycle and we made 4 April as the official date that he could ride a bicycle. 😄

Faith was promoted to an 18″ bicycle… finally. We would love to have her own a 20″ one so that we could stretch the mileage of the bicycle but we have to recognise that she is petite by nature so….

The girl adopted a new sports – rollerblading – much to my delight! She had initially wanted to learn skateboarding but thankfully on one occasion, her cousins went to try on the rollerblades and all four of them were on the wheels and left Decathlon with a pair of rollerblades each. That was the start of the new sport.

During the March hols, I plucked up the courage to drive the family up to Malacca with two other families. I’ve met the two moms online through Dayre and we soon become good friends, supporting one another in this motherhood journey. I find myself entering another season of being a mom with the girl entering Primary School and the moms whom I spent time with during her kindy years have moved on. I’m thankful that I still have these two moms with me and that we could share our joy and struggles together. 感恩。

Up till this point, I’m just sharing snippets of what went on in the early part of this year. There is so much more to record and be thankful for – CG, serving in Chinese Sunday School, my dad, how the Lord has guided us, etc.

I’ve also intentionally taken a small step back with regards to my time spent on social media. I question my purpose for sharing on the various platforms and if what I’ve been doing is necessary. I do still want to record for memories’ sake but it may not take the usual form.

In any case, I do really hope to write more on this little space that I’ve owned for more than 10 years. With Dayre turning into a subscription-based app in late April, this might be a good motivation to return to WordPress?

Hello Week 0, Goodbye!

So week 0 has passed and while the girl seemed to enjoy herself, I’ve my worries.

I can feel that the hours spent with her are much shorter now and it could only get shorter as the years go by. By the time she goes to Secondary school, I probably will only see her in the evening.

Spending quality time and maintaining close relationship with her suddenly becomes a priority. I’m aware that I’m fighting against the world’s influence on her because in a way, many things are not within my control.

Her choice of friends in school, the behaviour she observes and chooses to adopt, the food she chooses to buy from the canteen….

Before long, she would choose not to speak to us about her deepest thoughts.

It will happen very soon.

So again, the early years are important and hopefully what we have imparted to her, values and what not, will take root.

Of course we will have to continue to walk with her. The challenges we are going to face will be different.

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God is in control. I must remember that.

These siblings have not much time to interact with each other too, with them being in different sessions… again. Oh well.

And then… it’s Christmas

This year was the first year that we hosted the family Christmas Eve dinner. We didn’t need to do much; we just needed to provide the place and heat up the food that the SIL has bought. In addition, the auntie-in-law supplemented the dinner with more home cooked food and we had surplus. This is how food is multiplied in this family, always.

Sausages and ham and chicken and herbed beef. Cold Storage has us covered.

Salad, pies and another dish provided by our awesome Peranakan auntie. She just couldn’t relax and had to busy herself in the kitchen. Bless her. 😍

This year, we had an addition in the family. We always welcome addition. Subtraction is frowned upon.

So this is us, at dinner.

This is us, on Christmas Day.

This is us, with a special family, as we watched a production by our church.

It’s always a privilege to lead someone to Christ, especially so when it’s family members, because they mean so much to us.

For a while now, whenever that’s opportunity, I would ask Dan if he wanted to ask Jesus into his heart. Each time, he rejected the invitation.

But on 27 Dec 2018, something magical happened. (The following account is recorded on that day)

In the morning, while in the bathroom, he told me that he couldn’t see Jesus. He’s apparently scared of something but I told him Jesus is always there to protect him. This time round, when I asked him if he wanted to ask Jesus into his heart, he said Yes!

Alas, we were rushing out and I didn’t want to do a rushed job of explaining what it means.

So our conversation went something like..

👩🏻 Don’t be afraid, Jesus is always with you, to protect you.

👦🏻 But I can’t see Jesus.

👩🏻 You just need to believe. This is called faith.

So I’m the afternoon, while preparing him for nap, he told me again that he was scared (as usual). I assured him, that Jesus is with him and I felt prompted to ask him if he wanted to ask Jesus into his heart.

He said yes again.

That moment was so tender. I asked him to say the sinner’s prayer, to repeat after me and he did so … word by word.

With that, he felt asleep… without much struggle.

We probably would doubt if he understood the whole gospel, if he understood what sin is and how sin separates us from God. But I remember when I made a decision for Christ, I didn’t really understand the full story yet by faith, I said the prayer. It’s after that, when I read the bible and understood more, that the concept of sin and His love for us overwhelmed me and hence the journey of discipleship began.

I’ll allow the HS to work in him. What I’m certain is that it’s a choice that the boy made, not one that he’s forced into.

The girl asked Jesus into her life at about the same period, between 3 to 4YO.

Thank you, God, for a wonderful 2019 Christmas.

Family Tradition and a Truffled Mash Cottage Pie Recipe

Family tradition.

If you ask me what fond memories I have of my family as a child, it would be the homecooked food my mom prepared for us and the trips that we took when we were young. Now as a mom, it’s quite inevitable that I would like to pass down this tradition of providing homecooked food for my own little family. Well, of course, I can’t guarantee that my food is palatable like my mom’s but I’ll try. :p

Since Faith was born, my SIL has started a tradition of getting a real tree each Christmas. Now, this is something foreign to me. I came from a non-Christian and traditional Chinese family. Growing up, we have never had a Christmas tree. We didn’t decorate our apartment nor were there turkeys, hams or presents. Christmas, just wasn’t celebrated in the way I’ve imagined it, until I have a family of my own. Even then, I have to have the SIL to somehow kickstart for us.

This year, we had a slightly smaller tree because the SIL wanted the (small) children to participate more actively. How thoughtful! I do think it’s a better option too.

While the folks were decorating the tree, I was actually in my own kitchen preparing a dish to bring over. The hubs had kindly brought the kids to the in-laws’ earlier so that I could cook in peace. Oh, the joy of cooking, is back! I certainly enjoy baking and cooking, in the absence of the children because when they are around, they would keep calling me which frustrates me to the core. I mean, won’t you be irritated when you have to stop every five minutes to tend to the kids? I would!

I haven’t cooked anything, out of the usual menu that I have stored in my mind, for a long while and I fumbled a little for this dish. My timing was off, things were all over the place even though I had put everything in place, you know, mise en place?

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In the end, I was half an hour late for the gathering. By the time I reached the in-laws’, the Christmas tree was all decorated and the folks were just relaxing, waiting for my arrival. Oops.

Truffled Mash Cottage Pie

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1 tbsp olive oil
1 bay leaf
1 onion, finely chopped or diced (up to you)
1 carrot, finely chopped or diced (up to you)
500g ground beef
150g portobello/ white mushroons, chopped
A splash of dry white wine
3 tbsp tomato paste
1kg potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
2 tsp butter
2 tbsp heavy cream
1/2 tsp truffle oil (or more if you like!)
Quail eggs (cooked and shelled)
Cheeses ( I used cheddar, mozzarella & parmesan)
salt and ground black pepper

:: Preheat oven to 200C.

:: Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add in the bay leaf, onion and carrot and fry, stirring, until the onion is softened. Add the ground beef and fry until browned, stirring often.

:: Add the mushrooms and fry for 3 minutes. Pour in the white wine and fry briefly until cooked off. Mix in the tomato paste. Season with salt and ground black pepper. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring often.

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:: Meanwhile, cook the potatoes in a large pan of salted, boiling water until tender; drain. Mash with butter, cream and truffle oil and season with salt and ground black pepper.

:: Place the beef mixture in an ovenproof dish. Add in the quail eggs and top with the mashed potato, spreading in an even layer.

:: Sprinkle over the cheeses.

:: Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden-brown.

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Family tradition.

I’m curious. What’s yours?

This November

November 2018 is a memorable month. Unlike the other Novembers, this particular one is so special it made me tear and reflect much.

You see, the girl graduated from kindy and celebrated her sixth birthday, all in the same month. It was a milestone, no doubt, because she would be entering into another phase of her life…and so would I.

Where have all those years gone, I wonder? I could still remember the day I held her in my arms for the very first time, the wonderful playdates we had when she was a toddler, her first day in school, her first (Chinese) church camp at 3YO, her first time meeting her brother, our mother-daughter bonding trip

With that, I have also been a Stay-At-Home-Mom (SAHM) for six years. Unbelievable. It’s possible, all by the grace of God.

I remember the great struggle I had when I had to decide between being a working mom and a SAHM. I couldn’t imagine myself to be a SAHM. I mean, I enjoy the outdoors, love my job (teaching) and the meaning it brings to my life. After all, teaching is a calling. Why pluck me out from it?

Then I was asked, “What is God asking you to do in this season of your life?”

I obeyed the call, albeit unwillingly, and began my SAHM journey.

It was lonely, extremely lonely, in the beginning. I was facing the four walls daily and being a new mom, I was afraid to head out because I wasn’t confident of managing that little human being on my own. I turned to moms’ blogs a lot for encouragement and survival and that was when I started to open my blog to the public, to track my own motherhood journey, to share insights and perhaps to encourage other moms.

Looking back, these past six years have been nothing but adventurous and life-changing, if I may add. I have taken up cake decorating courses and baked cakes for a small profit. I did a short teaching stint on baking and cake decorating until I realised I was pregnant with #2. Things started looking grim when I had to deal with two kids and I started withdrawing into my own world. It wasn’t until I started teaching Faith that my life started to look up.

I love teaching. I really do. I remember the hubs assuring me, “You can teach our kids even though you may not be teaching in schools anymore.”

I did just that. I enrolled myself in an online Montessori course and started teaching the girl. Teaching made me alive and my mind was filled with tons of ideas every single day. There were good days and there were bad ones but overall, it was fun and fulfilling.

There were challenges of course, tons of them. Dealing with the kids’ tantrums, instructing their hearts, chauffeuring the kids from point A to B to C, household chores, loneliness and solo-parenting days when the hubs has to be away for meetings at night and weekend, just to name a few.

However it was through those circumstances that I grew and learnt more about my own selfishness as a wife and mom. The Lord revealed the ugliness in me and yet showed me His grace and love towards me each time I repented.

I wasn’t really alone in this journey; He has always been there with me! He caused me to see things from another perspective through my husband. He sent me wonderful ladies to encourage and speak into my life. He lifted me up when I was spiritually down. He led me into a ministry that I enjoyed serving. He gave me purpose in what I was doing.

And I should be thankful, that He sent Faith into my life. A sensible and mature girl for her age, she has helped me with taking care of her brother, for instance. God has used her to make me a better person and for that, I’m immensely grateful.

The first six years are tiring and demanding because these children need you for many aspects of their lives but they are also very short years. Before you know it, those little hands which longed to be held by you would want to break free.

Treasure those early years.

Dan turns 3

So this boy turns 3 today!

His third year had been a joy to me because we understood each other more and he has the language to tell us how he feels and what he wants. He’s really quite adorable and made me laugh a lot. It’s a far cry from his first and second year in which I found myself wanting to be away from him; he drove me mad. 😫 #beingreal

He’s a simple boy. Give him Duplo and books and they could occupy him for a good number of hours. He’s not into puzzles, unlike his sister. Loves animals, all sorts, but only those that are found on print. If he meets any creatures, he would be the first to hide behind a closed one and cry murder. 🤷🏻‍♀️

Of all the slices of cakes I bought, he chose this piece. It’s hardly a surprise since he adores chocolate, just like the mom.

We didn’t have anything special for his celebration, just a gathering of family members over a meal, for this is how we celebrate birthdays. It’s our family tradition.

I’m thankful for this family (in-laws). Each one of them has helped in their own capacity and they have made parenting a tad easier for the hubs and me.

Thank you, God, for his growth. Our prayer is that the boy would grow up to know and love You, to be a man after Your heart.

Hearty Pancakes with Quaker

What’s for breakfast?

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day because it provides the body and brain with fuel after an overnight fast. But how many of us actually take pride in preparing a hearty breakfast with the necessary nutrients so that our body can perform in its maximum capacity?

I admit I often resort to the easy way out by having store-bought bread and at times, when I’m a bit more hardworking, would bake my own bread for the family and provide soy milk for the kids. It’s simple but perhaps, lacking in something.

I realised breakfast doesn’t have to be boring, having to eat the same kind of food every other day (my kids have started complaining). It can be fun, colourful, nutritious and allows for a great time of bonding. The following is a recipe for Oatmeal Pancakes and they are not just good for breakfast, they are awesome for every meal! It’s the Favourite Oatmeal Pancakes from Quaker! Let me show you how easy these pancakes are made.

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Some preparation work. I thought it helps that the table is set up for the next day and that the ingredients are all prepared. Once the kids are at the table, it’s BUSY TIME! Invite the kids to help out to make the pancakes. They will love it!

Oatmeal Pancakes | Ingredients

:: 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
:: 1/2 cup Quaker® Oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)
:: 2 teaspoons baking powder
:: 1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
:: 1-1/4 cups full cream milk
:: 1 egg, lightly beaten
:: 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Cooking Instructions

:: In large bowl, combine flour, oats, baking powder and salt. Mix well.

:: In a separate medium bowl, combine milk, egg and oil. Blend well.

:: Add liquid ingredients to dry ingredients all at once. Stir just until dry ingredients are moistened and do not overmix. So you can cook the pancake as it is. Lightly grease a skillet or a hot plate. For each pancake, pour 1/4 cup of the batter into the hot skillet or hotplate. Turn when the top is covered with bubbles and the edge looks cooked. Turn only once.

We like our pancakes more when we topped up with honey and fruits. Alternatively, we could add in fruits or chocolate chips to stir into the batter before cooking. The taste is richer with the add-ins. It can be quite a substantial meal and definitely a more balanced one with the addition of the fruits. I like it that these pancakes turned out a little fluffier than our usual flat pancakes. ;P

So yup, the pancakes are a good alternative to the usual bread that we have for our breakfast. These pancakes are good for tea-time too or any meal, for that matter. The kids love to help out with the preparation of the food and you could get them to work their motor skills for sure. The little boy helped to mash up the banana that is to be stirred into the batter and the girl helped with most of the steps in making the batter. I…just need to instruct and demo.

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Do try the healthier and more substantial version of the pancakes with Quaker Oatmeal!

As you have already known, the Eat, Drink, Shop Healthy challenge is back! This year, it guarantees sure-win prizes for everyone. Choose healthier options and scan the QR code on the products to earn Healthpoints and unlock sure-win rewards like F&B and shopping vouchers.

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By purchasing Quaker’s range of Healthier Choice Symbol (HCS) certified products, it will earn you sure-win rewards in Health Promotion Board’s Eat, Drink, Shop Healthy Challenge from now till 26 October 2018.

Quaker Healthier Choice Symbol certified products include:
1. Quaker Instant Oatmeal
2. Quaker Quick Cook Oatmeal
3. Quaker Whole Rolled Oats
4. Quaker 3-in-1 Oat Cereal Drink (all 6 flavours – Original, Vanilla, Berry, Chocolate, Matcha and Mocha)

What you need to do: Download the Healthy 365 app, purchase any Quaker HCS certified products from any participating outlets to receive a QR code on the receipt or ticket. Scan this QR code using the Healthy 365 app to earn Healthpoints and redeem rewards.

Find out more at http://gethealthy.sg/eatdrinkshop

Have fun!

This post is brought to you in collaboration with Quaker Singapore. All opinions are my own.

Bee Choo Ladies Hair Treatment

[Review]

Scalp problems. Anyone?

I have. All along. I have oily scalp since a long time back and at one stage, was troubled by dandruff. The condition wasn’t grave but it did make me uncomfortable. After childbirth, another problem arose – loss of hair – and then as one ages, you can expect strands of gray hair appearing. ;(

The common solution is to make a trip to the salon and have our hair chemically treated and then build the scalp back to health through the various scalp treatments recommended by the salon. So, I’ve been doing that all along until I couldn’t find time to do that consistently. Because, kids.

In more recent months, the main problems that I faced were the loss of hair and the frequency of the appearance of the gray hair. It can get rather depressing and thankfully, Bee Choo Ladies contacted me to try their services. The timing couldn’t be more apt. The one-week September holiday was approaching and I could find time to try their treatment.

Bee Choo Ladies is located at 5 Pahang Street and this outlet is exclusively for women only. It is a recognised household brand name and has been established since 2000. I have to confess that I didn’t know about Bee Choo Ladies prior to being contacted because treating my scalp problem isn’t a BIG issue until recently. So I made my way down to the hair treatment salon, with great anticipation, no less. I was told I could have my hair scan done to access the condition of my scalp. *gulp*

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My appointment was at 10am on a weekday and it wasn’t crowded. I was told to avoid peak hours (weekdays after 5pm and weekends) so that I don’t have to wait. As promised, I was given a scan of my scalp to assess my condition.

Analysis: Oil clog, oily scalp, dandruff, dry ends with some gray hair. In certain areas, there were patches of redness, which is a result of a sensitive scalp. It’s not surprising but the pictures were pretty scary.

To clear the oil clog, ginger wine/ hair tonic was massaged into my scalp (to treat my sensitive scalp too) before the application of the herbal paste. The hair was given a 45-minute of steaming before the rinsing off of the herbal paste, scalp massage and the conditioning of the hair. So, in all, it would take about slightly more than 1 and a half hour in this intimate and cozy salon.

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This is the scan after the second treatment. Definitely much cleaner (it has to be!) and if you could see the brown coating, it’s the effect of the herbal paste treatment. The herbal paste contains a natural copper dye which dyes white hair to the roots without damaging the scalp. It’s a more natural option than the chemical ones that we go through at the salon. That being said, I have no intention of colouring my hair (chemically) any time soon so this option is fine with me. I was told by some of my friends (who frequent Bee Choo Origins) that going through this would affect the colour of their hair dye so you might want to check with them if there is a colourless herbal treatment before you go ahead with this process.

Let me share my honest thoughts. I like this treatment and enjoyed the 1.5 hours I spent in Bee Choo Ladies. I’m saying this not because I was there to do a sponsored review but I’m convinced that the treatment is beneficial to my scalp and therefore my hair and I will return as a paying customer. The therapist who tended to me patiently explained the causes of my scalp problem and educated me on how I should treat my scalp at home. There was no pressure to get me to return but she had the confidence that customers who find this treatment to be helpful would use the service again. True that. Okay, the massage won me over too and I had a very relaxing time at Bee Choo Ladies.

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Reasonable price. I’m doing a comparison here since I have done hair treatment at other hair salons. I pay a fraction of the price at Bee Choo Ladies and naturally, I’m a happy customer since it’s reasonably priced and effective. The price for the treatment varies according to the length of the hair and the price list is available on the website.

Hair products and and tonics are also available at Bee Choo Ladies. I was recommended the Purity Removed Hair Shampoo and the Japan Scalp Tonic based on the condition of my scalp and have been faithfully using them. 🙂 I love the tonic a lot! See below for what it does!

A mild, gentle scalp lotion formulated with herbal nutrients essential for hair vitality and hair texture improvement. It provides nutrients to the scalp which helps strengthen, relieves itching, control sebaceous excretion and improves follicular health, soothing and prevent dandruff.

It would be three or four weeks later (after the last session) that I would visit them again.  Thus far, my hair condition has been well, not dry. Scalp is less itchy too! And hopefully, with consistent treatment, the issue of hair loss can be addressed. I’m sure it will!

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You can find out more about Bee Choo Ladies via their website and outlets are available in Thailand too! Check out their website!

Disclosure: I was invited for two sessions of the scalp treatment and I brought home the shampoo and hair tonic mentioned in the post for the purpose of this review. No other monetary compensations are involved. All opinions are mine.

First swim lesson (Dan)

Dan’s first swim lesson.

The boy’s been waiting and I’ve been procrastinating. It wasn’t until a mommy friend asked around that I got him in.

So much confidence in the water, all thanks to the experienced coach and oh well, the hubs who has been bringing the boy to the pool to play while the girl is having her swim class.

More to come, I suppose?

SINGAPOPERA, a truly spectacular performance

Oh, what a night. What a spectacular performance!

The much anticipated Singapopera, a celebration of the musicals of the very talented Dick Lee, was staged last weekend, to the delight of the audience. The two-hour performance by Dick Lee and his cast was received with much positive feedback (at least from the comments of the audience as they left the concert hall) and why not?

The audience was first treated to the songs choreographed from Beauty World and I thought it set our expectations with that. We were certainly mesmerised by the powerful singing by the cast. The atmosphere was light and personal as Dick and the other cast members introduced the subsequent songs and gave us a little background to them.

Some of my most memorable songs would be the ones from Forbidden City, Beauty World, Snow Wolf Lake and Fried Rice Paradise since those were the musicals that I have watched and songs which I’ve heard growing up.

Benjamin Chow and Cheryl Tan did a marvellous job with Now China Has A Son and Starting With The Eye/ My Only Chance respectively. Sitting among the audience, I felt as if I was transported back to watching the musical. Just that this time round, the set and costumes weren’t there but the singing and the facial expression remained the same, if not more powerful.

Dick Lee himself performed the Cantonese version of Snow Wolf Lake’s Love is Forever (爱是永恒’) because it was a difficult piece to sing. I could understand what he meant but Dick did a wonderful job with it. Truly commendable!

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Other songs that I personally enjoyed would be the ones performed by Denise Tan and Frances Lee. Their theatrical persona came on strongly the moment they performed and both provided so much laughter in No Class (Beauty World). Those facial expressions were hilarious and provided much entertainment. When Fun (Hotpants) was performed, I thought I shed a tear or two because I could so relate to what was sung but that emotion was quickly replaced by a sense of happiness because I was really having fun through the concert.

Sebastian Tan, as usual, charmed his way into the hearts of the audience as he candidly shared about his friendship with Dick Lee and presented Another World (Beauty World) wonderfully, amongst others. And then there was Dwayne Lau whom I got to know more through this concert and he performed Look A Little Closer (Twist of Fate) beautifully. Awesome job!

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Then there was the stellar performance by Alemay Fernandez whose powerful voice wowed the audience in the concert hall. I believe we can all agree that we were all blown away by the number, When All The Tears Have Dried (Sing to the Dawn). Is she Celine Dion of Asia?

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Apart from the awesome performance made by every member of the cast, I have come to know them a little more through their personal sharing of how they began their journey in the local musical scene. It was truly an intimate session with the cast. We are thankful that we can have our wonder boy, Dick Lee, to pave the way for the many talents in this musical industry. His perseverance has paid off and as a result, we could enjoy our very own local production of the musicals and songs, in the very uniquely Singaporean style.

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To me, that evening of performance was not only delightful and wonderful, it was one whom I feel really proud of because of our very own talented songwriter who has produced 18 musicals and many songs which we love dearly. That night, we ended with all of us singing to ‘Home’, another beloved song whom Dick Lee has composed.

Thank you for a spectacular performance. Each and every one of you, including the team of musicians led by Music Director, Indra Ismail, has made the evening truly special and memorable.

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Official Concert Photos above are provided by Dick Lee Asia.

Thank you, dear Agnes of ATMC for inviting me to this fabulous concert. Am thankful!

Getting close to nature

Nature beckons. On a day when the hubs doesn’t have to work, I would much prefer that we would head to some parks and explore that environment. Being in the nature calms my soul and today, the weather was perfect. It wasn’t burning hot like the past few days. In fact, it was cloudy with a high chance of a thunderstorm. Still, we pressed on.

We were joined by the Pangs as we entered the Pasir Ris Mangrove Boardwalk. Interesting sights greeted us as we strolled along the path, stopping by ever so often as we spotted the mangrove swamp inhabitants. I only wish my mind still retains the information about this habitat which I had read during the many hours of Geography lessons. Alas, not much was saved in this memory bank. Thankfully, there’s always Mr Goo(gle).

These two stripey kids were busy collecting fallen sticks as branches and trying with all their might to stuff them through the holes between the planks. What’s with that? I do not know. It’s a mystery.

It’s a haven for photography enthusiasts. There’s much to view and capture, if only we stay observant. Mr Pang kept stopping in his tracks to snap beautiful shots of what nature has to offer. What beautiful creation!

Midway, it rained and thankfully, we could seek shelter at the tower. The kids wanted to be in the rain so much because in the evening, when we had our family devotion and prayer, the girl thanked God that she could have a chance to be out in the rain. 🙄

Taking every moment to play so there’s hardly any dull moments.

We headed back to Gallop Stable, another highlight of the trip. The kids scooted past hens and roosters and arrived eagerly, waiting in anticipation to feed the ponies.

The girls were thrilled, the boy was terrified. 🤷🏻‍♀️

She scored a $10 ride round the field on the pony and was mighty pleased with it. She’s truly an animal lover and went off after that to feed the bunnies.

There’s a cafe at Gallop Stable but we reckoned it would be better that we head to the hawker centre which is about 5 minutes’ drive from the park. Love such a trip and really, we should do that more often.

There’s a huge playground on the other side of the park. We love the it but decided that we could save that for another day. Again, as long as the kids have one another for company, it really doesn’t matter where they are. That’s the beauty of playmates. 😀

SINGAPOPERA

[In case you do not know]

In this month of celebration, allow me to present to you a must-watch concert ‘Singapopera’ by our very talented composer and songwriter, Dick Lee. He will be bringing to the audience an all-star alumni cast and ensemble from the past batches of his various musicals. It promises to be a nostalgic celebration of our favorite local musical numbers which  feature songs that Singaporeans will resonate with from musicals such as Fried Rice Paradise, Beauty World, Forbidden City, Sing to The Dawn, Nagraland and Snow Wolf Lake.

This concert also celebrates the 30th anniversary of Beauty World, as well as the 20th anniversary of the most successful Chinese musical, Snow.Wolf.Lake. 

Performing together with Dick Lee are our well-loved personalities in the theatrical scene, namely, Alemay Fernandez, Sebastian Tan, Denise Tan, Dwayne Lau, Frances Lee, Benjamin Chow and Cheryl Tan.  The Musical Director for this concert is Indra Ismail.

There will be two shows – 25 August 2018, Saturday (7.30pm) and 26 August 2018, Sunday (5pm) – at the Singapore Esplanade Concert Hall.

Tickets are priced at $138, $118, $98, $78 and $58 and will be available for sale from 21 July 2018 at all SISTIC outlets or via this link.

I can’t wait to go on a date with my friends for this concert!

More about Dick Lee

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The Dick Lee phenomenon started in 1971 when, at the age of fifteen, Dick participated in various talent contests with the group, Harmony, and Dick Lee and the Gang (teaming with his siblings). His first album, LIFESTORY, featuring his own compositions, was released in 1974.

He has to date, written countless songs for the top singing talents in Asia including Jackie Cheung, Andy Lau, Sammi Cheng, Anita Mui, Miyazawa of The Boom and Stephanie Sun amongst others.

Dick started his musical directorship since 2014 with HOTPANTS in 2014, and the fifth production of BEAUTY WORLD in 2015, and the list goes on.

 

The Cast

Alemay Fernandez |Hailed by TimeOut magazine as one of Singapore’s “best-loved entertainers”.  Known for her sultry tone, powerhouse vocals and an onstage presence, Alemay Fernandez is a rising star on the Asian jazz scene. In her illustrious 18 year career, she has performed with the likes of The Count Basie Orchestra, David Foster, Ernie Watts, Incognito, Ray Parker Jr, The Platters’ Bobby Soul, William Close & The Earth Harp Collective, to name a a few. She has sung for A-listers like Kevin Spacey, Ethan Hawke, Joss Stone, Kurt Elling, Lea Salonga, Paloma Picasso, Serena Williams as well as Presidents & Prime Ministers.

Sebastian Tan | With a series of sold-out concerts at Capitol Theatre, a Dream Artist, Sebastian Tan is one of Singapore’s most well-known multi-faceted performers, and whose directing debut was the critically acclaimed Monkey Goes West.  He toured the UK with Miss Saigon, and appeared in its 25th anniversary show in London’s West End. In 2016, Sebastian’s well-loved onstage persona Broadway Beng® celebrated his 10th anniversary.

Denise Tan | A familiar radio personality, Denise is also a regular on the local theatre scene, having acted in productions like Hansel & Gretel, The Full Monty and Dim Sum Dollies. She also does voice-overs for commercials and animated shows like Nickelodean’s Tomato Twins and 20th Century Fox’s Book of Virtues.

Dwayne Lau | Actor-writer Dwayne Lau, he is not a stranger in the world of theatre.  From “love shack” in A Date With Dwayne – Let’s Go Stead, series of love-themed comic sketches to one of the duel jesting “Record Keepers” in the recent Forbidden City, sparklingly played by Dwayne Lau and Sebastian Tan. 

Frances Lee | The LASALLE graduate made her professional theatre debut in Pangdemonium’s Fat Pig as a stout girl dating a skinny boy.  Fast forward two years and she is back to join the cast of Rent, along with Tabitha Nauser, Mina Kaye, Aaron Khaled and Linden Furnell.     Wrapping up Pangdemonium’s Season of Love, Rent is a 1996 Pulitzer Prize winning Broadway classic by Jonathan Larson that traces the lives of a ragtag group of young artists as they deal with issues.

Benjamin Chow | Newcomers to the theatre scene, actor Benjamin Chow, 26, has been stirring a storm in the local theatre scene.  He has performed in the ‘live’ show on Channel 5, Home Team Show and Festival.   A first- time nominee, in M1 – THE STRAITS TIMES life Theatre Awards 2016, he also won Best Supporting Actor in his professional debut as the left-wing political leader Lim Chin Siong in The LKY Musical.   He also played Prince Tun, in the recent Forbidden City.

Cheryl Tan | Theatre actress Cheryl Tan’s portfolio is dominated by wholesome roles – from playing Juliet in Romeo And Juliet to the innocent Ivy Chan in Beauty World.  That is about to change with the 28-year-old’s latest role in Channel 5’s new drama, Faculty.  Departing from her nice-girl image on stage, she plays Dr. Sylvia Soo.   She also played the role of Yehenara in Forbidden City, Mimi in Mama White Snake and Swee Choo in 7 Letters.

See you there!

The dreaded July

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July is over! And sickness be gone! The whole month, we were overwhelmed by kids falling sick one after another – food poisoning, fungal infection, viral fever and the persistent cough.

Life still went on. Registered the girl in the father’s alma mater and realised that this whole process was truly stressful. I’ve not monitored numbers so closely like this time round. Thankfully, we were involved in the earlier phase. I couldn’t imagine the pressure for those who had to register in the subsequent phases.

Racial Harmony Day celebration 2018 edition. Sullen faces. Tired souls.

Art piece with Teacher Heidi. During her preschool years, I’ve tried to expose her to different forms of sports and the arts, and this within my ability. I’ve come to the conclusion that she’s not into music for now but she likes art. Most probably, we will continue the art lessons for her once she enters formal school.

This is a castle that she did from another art class. She went out of the studio feeling so proud!

As part of homelearning, I had wanted to bring them out to explore the museums, parks and what not. Since they were down almost the whole month, we couldn’t. Towards the end of July, we could finally step out, to the National Gallery for some fun. It was crowded during the weekends so weekdays are still the best.

A BSF friend knew about the son’s health condition and recommended Nutritional Immunology to me. You could tell I am desperate. The boy has been taking medication every SINGLE day and this shouldn’t be the case. His appetite wasn’t good and he’s super picky about food. Hopefully, his immunity would be strengthen in time to come. It really made July a bit depressing with unwell kids.

Despite what we had to go through in a very packed July (sick kids, meetings and trainings for both the hubs and I), God remained faithful and restored my soul. It must have been the prayers of fellow believers as well and I found myself getting better towards the end of the month. In teaching the kids in Sunday school, the Lord also gave me joy through service.

We ended July with a trip to Jacob Ballas, with both of them almost completely well. I was relieved, thankful and immensely happy that we could head to the outdoors. We really can’t take our health for granted and I resolved to continue to prepare healthy meals for the family. Can’t relax in this aspect!

Welcoming August with open arms. It’s a month of celebration and it’s gonna be good!