My Little Climbing Room

:: Review | Media invite

Over the weekend, the family was invited to My Little Climbing Room for 90 minutes of fun and exercise. It’s the first indoor climbing playground in Singapore that is catered for children and we accepted the invitation readily because we know the girl would love to give it a shot at climbing.

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My Little Climbing Room is a rather small space and upon reaching, I was rather skeptical as to whether we could really enjoy climbing given the limited space. For this reason, it is highly encouraged that you make bookings for the slots as there is a capacity limit of 15 persons per session to avoid overcrowding. This is for safety reasons too.

You know what? My skepticism was really unnecessary because the girl was so busy climbing that even after the 90-minute session was over, she still wanted to continue climbing.

I’m not exaggerating.

We have gotten the girl to try rock wall climbing before (those really high walls) and though she really wanted to climb, she whined within 30 minutes of her attempt. It’s too tough for her! So I was pleasantly surprised that she could continue climbing and climbing at My Little Climbing Room and I think I know why.

:: Shorter walls, closer holds. 

You would notice that the walls in My Little Climbing Room are shorter (4 metres) and thus this makes reaching the top more achievable for children like Faith. So, our girl took some time to warm up and for the first few attempts, she couldn’t reach the top and asked to come down halfway through. Once she got the hang of it, she asked to go back to the same wall to try and when she could reach the top, you could just imagine her joy and it’s really a boost to her confidence. She has overcome her fear too! No more whining!

That’s when she continued with the other more challenging walls. I really appreciate that every part of My Little Climbing Room is designed with the kids in mind, including all the safety aspects.

:: Fun & Challenges 

Apart from the 4m high walls, there are other walls that are incorporated with technology to make climbing a little more fun and challenging.

This is the Number Wall, a favourite among the younger kids. The general concept is that the kid spin for a random number and climb up to tap on the corresponding number that is on the wall. Fun, no?

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This is the AR Wall which is like an exhilarating and addictive game. It’s acts like a video game that forces you to move. See the white dots on the photo, those are projected images (Augmented Reality). When the kids climb up the wall to touch them, it will be highlighted and he total time taken to tap all the dots will be recorded. I admit I was addicted to this!

To encourage kids to climb more, there is a mission card for every child with their name written on it. And when they complete all the mission (climb the wall), they will get a mystery prize. I know kids like such challenges!

Each slot is a 90-minute session and each session starts with 30 minutes of free play, then 30 minutes of group games, followed by another 30 minutes of free play. Here, the children took part in the group game which was really exciting for the adults to watch. Oh yes, the adults get to rest during this 30 minutes. 😉

You might be wondering what the younger brother did while the sister was climbing. Wouldn’t he be too young to climb? No worries, he was adequately engaged!

To be honest, I just let him explore while thinking he couldn’t really climb. But the instructor brought him aside and guided him and before I knew it, he was climbing with the instructor’s assistance. So yup, feel free to approach the instructors if you need help in encouraging the the kids to climb. Don’t be shy!

There are Wheelie and Hangout Zones for the children if they want to take a break from climbing the walls.

I think I have only shared a little of our experience at My Little Climbing Room but I’ll leave you to find out more. Faith didn’t want to depart from that place at the end of the session and she made me promise that we would go back again.

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JUST SO YOU KNOW…

My Little Climbing Room is having its Grand Opening on 30 September 2017. During their grand opening weekend (30/9 & 1/10), their admission pass is discounted from their usual rate of $22 to $15. On top of that, they also have (1) Free Popcorn, Candy Floss for everyone and (2) Speed competition for kids to win special prizes.

Do make full use of this opportunity to visit them this weekend!

And.. although the space is built for kids, the whole facility is rated safe even for adults that are much heavier. Yay! That means we can climb too instead of just watching the kids do so. It’s truly a time for the family to come together and exercise!

GIVEAWAY ALERT

Here’s a chance for you, dear readers, to win 2 passes (worth $44) each which admits 2 children and 2 adults. We have TWO sets to give away!

Here’s what you need to do:
1. Show a little support and LIKE My Little Climbing Room FB page.

2. LIKE and SHARE this post on RaisingFaith FB page.

3. Tag as many friends as you like whom you think would love this place (one comment per friend please!)

Giveaway will end on 2 October 2017, 2400 hours.

Terms and conditions:

:: Passes must be used on the same time slot.
:: Passes are valid till 31 December 2017.

This giveaway is a collaboration between My Little Climbing Room and Raising Faith and is not sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook or Instagram.

Thank you, My Little Climbing Room, for inviting us to try out this place before your Grand Opening and giving us 5 complimentary passes for the purpose of this review.

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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!

Christmas with the Queks – 2016 edition

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

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

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Busy bee…

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

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

Are you ready for Christmas?

A World Full of Stories @ Playeum

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A World Full of Stories. How does that sound to you? This is Playeum’s current hands-on exhibition that is designed for children aged 1 to 12 years old. The exhibition provides environments and installations in which children can create their own stories and is certainly a space where they could let their imagination run wild.

Faith and I went down to take a look and I regretted not bringing Dan along.

Spaces within the exhibition

Story Cubes. From far, this space looks like a maze that is made up of cube-shaped structures. The surfaces or panels are magnetic and this provides for opportunities for story-making using the materials that are found in the boxes. The children could pin the pictures onto the panel and create their own story. At the end of the maze is a book corner that is filled with some of the best story books for children. So, grab a book and let your imagination run wild. There’s even a tent where the children can relax in as they read.

Creative use of the Story Cubes by Faith includes playing peek-a-boo, police and thief and …story-telling.

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Chalk Wall. I personally was enticed by this chalk wall. I mean, how often do you find such a wall nowadays? I got Faith over to draw a thing or two, to add on to the landscape that is drawn by cartoonist Cleo Ding.

 

Story Caves. One is a multi-sensory cave which appeals to younger children and the other is a Listen and Speak cave which encourages children to experiment with sound tubes, speaking cups, and echo-distortion mechanisms. Makes me think of my Science lessons during Primary School days. Faith had fun with the sound tubes and yes, you do need to get down on your feet to enjoy this space with them.

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Sandplay. Kinetic sand seems to be a hit with most children. They spent their time building sandcastles and decorating them with shells and pebbles. Faith was going on for about 30 minutes until I had to urge her to move on.

 

The Story Raft. A hit with boys especially, this space encourages children to play ‘being at sea’ on a bamboo and rope raft with a flag-flying mast and rudder for steering. Children could also craft their own sea creatures and enjoy art activities to create their own marine environment.

Using chalk and water to paint on the glass door. Create a marine environment. Under the sea, under the sea.

Story Writing. So I wish Faith could pen a story. Fact is, she couldn’t. However, that did not stop her from attempting to write and post a letter. She was really focused on her task and spent much time writing letters and posting it in the end, hoping that the recipient would get it soon. Play-pretend at its best.

Puppet Making. There is a large space devoted to play making. Here, children are encouraged to create puppets using found and recycled materials. Children could make their own hand-puppets, finger puppets, spoon puppets, whatever, and after completing it, could even use them in a puppet show.

Faith loves craftwork and we really did spend quite a lot of time here, from choosing materials to working on a puppet. While the kid works, take a breather and be amazed by what they can create.

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We didn’t manage to play ‘dress up’ even though we have been in Playeum for two hours. I reckoned it would be a tad challenging for a 4YO to make her own costume for a fantasy character and discarded the idea. I could only imagine the fun older kids could have with the sewing machines and the hot glue gun in creating their own unique costumes.

We didn’t manage to listen to stories read by some of Singapore’s finest storytellers at The Dark Space. This space showcases a specially commissioned storytelling film, where each of the five storytellers will be orating a story from a specific culture. Faith was in it for a few minutes and went out, obviously attracted by the other stations.

A World Full of Stories exhibition opens to the public from 15 November 2016 until 30 April 2017. For a list of holiday programmes, please refer to this.

Playeum
Blk 47 Malan Road, Gillman Barracks, Singapore 109444

Shopping at Agape babies

If you are one who likes to shop online and browses the many items on the web, you will enjoy shopping at Agape Babies. The online store has recently launched their new and redesigned website to give shoppers an even better experience on the mobile phones. Its optimized site looks and feels like an app and you can enjoy one-step checkout and one-click sign in for a faster experience.

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Agape Babies has also expanded their brand and product selection to include popular brands like Jujube! They are now carrying over 250 brands and 6000 products in over 10 categories. This means that you would probably find the items that you want at this online store. Moreover, you can also enjoy exclusive Weekly Deals every Wednesday!

Since Faith was about to start her swimming lessons, I went to shop for a waterproof bag for her and found one that might suit her. Initially, I had wanted to purchase at the physical retail stores but thankfully, I remembered that there are online stores that give good discount and the collaboration with Agape Babies couldn’t be more timely. Besides enjoying the offer, the delivery was fast too so it is really an incentive to shop at Agape Babies in this instance.

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Proud owner of the Trunki PaddlePak

If you are absolutely new to Agape Babies, you will be pleased to know that first time customers can get even more with $10 OFF. They get to choose their free gift – Mustela Trial Kit (worht $10) or Bellamy Milk Tin ($25.95) and a next day delivery on their first purchase of $150 or more. Do look for their current promotion here for more savings!

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Besides the option of having the goods delivered to your place, you can now choose to self collect from three convenient locations – Newton, Sengkang and Old Airport Road.

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So, yea, if you don’t have time to shop onsite, you will find that it’s a better option to shop online with Agape Babies.

I’m happy to share that Agape Babies is offering Raising Faith’s readers a 5% discount! All you need to do is to quote raisingfaith5% upon checkout. This discount is valid for 3 weeks (22 July to 12 August 2016) and the code excludes jujube (sad!), milk, diapers, wipes, medela breastpumps, sale and clearance categories.

Disclaimer: I was gifted shopping credits from Agape Babies to purchase the mentioned products and I topped up for the remaining amount. No additional monetary compensation was given and I do not stand to gain any commission from sales using the discount code given. All opinions are mine.

ACM | Finding the Missing Mouse

The plan is this. We would meet up with Faith’s playmates to visit Asian Civilisations Museum since there is a Children’s Season Programme going on – Once Upon a time in Asia: The Missing Mouse. The mummies would read the story to the kids and perhaps attempt to work on some craft with them.

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It didn’t happen that way. Not at all. In fact, when the kids met up, they were so happy to see one another they just played, in their own ways. It’s not the setting that’s important; it’s the company that counts.

Faith was so happy when she saw N and Mummy Ade that she rushed to meet them. From then now, the two kids were inseparable, holding hands as they walked towards ACM. The last picture? Faith was frightened by the millipede and N gor gor reached out to protect her. Awwwww…

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Young tourists

Singaporeans enter the museum free and once they were in this hall, took off their shoes and went running into the maze. It happened really fast and we, the moms, had not much time to react. However, since it is a small space, we thought the kids would be fine on their own playing and exploring and we ended up chatting at the bench.

img_0485Taking a break and a photo!

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The kids really had a jolly good time just running around in the maze. Kids at this age are so easy to please! They had so much energy that we didn’t bother to read them the story. Just let them have fun!

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Although this is a small space, the kids were entertained for 1.5 hours. Apparently, there are story-telling sessions in the afternoon and Fridays seem to be the best day to go! So if you haven’t been there, do drop by! Good for young kids, IMHO.

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We were all famished by noon. Thankfully, there is a cafe within ACM and ‘Kids eat for free’ yo! It didn’t take us long to settle for this place because…

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…there is a play area for kids within the cafe. Awwwwesome!

 Faith had her spaghetti while I had my overpriced laksa. The kids’ meal comes with dessert which was brownie and vanilla ice-cream for Faith and a vanilla milkshake for her drink. Not bad a deal at all. You just need to order a main and the kids could dine for free yo.

Such a playdate is soooo satisfying. The kids had their fun and the mummies got their rest. I need more of such outings.

If you still have the energy to go on, do pop by the National Gallery (Keppel Centre for Art Education) and have some fun in there too!

PS. Thank you Mummy F for the wonderful pictures!

Hideaways – Creating With Nature @ Playeum

[Media invite]

Playeum, Singapore’s first Children’s Centre for Creativity opens its second hands-on exhibition for children on 16 April until 30 October. Entitled Hideaways – Creating With Nature, the exhibition and accompanying programmes offer an immersive environment for children to explore, observe, construct, reflect, innovate and engage with nature and natural materials through hands-on exhibits and interactive artists’ installations.

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Hideaways – Creating With Nature features six installations which provide an interdisciplinary and engaging experience for the children and adults alike.

Creature Cave

This cave structure features animal sound pads and a range of textures and lights.Infants and toddlers will revel in exploring this multi-sensory cave through using their whole bodies, eyes and ears.

Make-believe Hideaway

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This installation invites children to experience playing with clay and building imaginary habitats inspired by nature, resulting in a collaborative installation.

At this juncture, I would like to comment about the facilitators who help to guide the children through the various installations. Faith was really shy when she first stepped into the exhibition area. She was befriended by one of these kind and caring facilitators who walked her through the various stations. In the end, she warmed up and could really enjoy the whole experience.

Welcome to my World

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At this station, children can imagine a world where they are as small as an insect in an immersive installation that presents the insect environment on a giant scale. Kids are encouraged to construct shelters, which will grow throughout the exhibition’s duration, while exploring sights and sounds through the eyes and ears of insects.

Faith skipped this installation after being inducted to it for a mere few minutes. Perhaps, she couldn’t imagine herself to be a small insect or maybe she doesn’t know how to construct using the materials involved? She lost interest quite quickly.

Knock, Knock! Who lives there?

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This has got to be our favourite station. We were introduced to the artist – Isabelle Desjeux – who created this installation and she shared with us her concept. Here, children can view insects and other creatures in their natural habitats through special surveillance screens.

They could also examine the creepy crawlies using a microscope and perhaps unleash their talents in drawing by sketching the creatures on the materials provided.

Science lesson in progress. It’s such a delight to see Faith observing the animals and plants in their natural habitats and because we were not limited by time constraint, she could have the time and space to learn about and understand the fascinating lives of ants, worms and other creatures. This station certainly appeals to me as well and I thought the older kids would benefit much from this as well.

Sounds of Earth – Nature’s Ensemble

This is an interactive sound installation where children can create and build musical instruments with natural materials. These will be attached to a skeletal structure that will grow throughout the exhibition’s duration, culminating in an immersive musical extravaganza.

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This baby boy was engaged by these natural materials too. Sensory play in action.

The last station is The Dark Space which is a sound web installation. Children can enjoy kinetic artwork and exciting hands-on activities int his changing space. However, this space is really dark and Faith was a tad frightened as she entered it.

The recommended duration for Hideaways- Creating with Nature is about 2 hours but we went beyond that and left after 2 1/2 hours. We could have stayed longer but dark clouds were looming and it was threatening to rain. I was surprised that the kids could be engaged throughout and went about exploring on their own (together with the facilitator). Granted that Faith wasn’t interested in every of the stations but she was totally captivated by three of them and that was sufficient.

Hideaways-Creating with Nature has done well in inviting children to play with nature, based on our experience, and hopefully it has helped the little ones to appreciate the natural world.

The best time to visit Playeum, IMHO, is during noon time or in the afternoon. We were told that the peak period is in the morning since there could be school visits. So, do drop by if you want to spend more time at Playeum.

Playeum is suitable for children ages between 1 and 12 years old. The admission prices is $20 per child/parent pair but additional adult will have to pay $10 per person. Playeum charges for entry to ensure the sustainability of the centre’s operations. It does not receive any core funding and is reliant on a funding mix from admissions, grants, sponsorship and donations. This collective income enables the organisation to continue to engage artists, involve quality facilitators and provide innovative programmes to all families and children.

IMG_6473[Credits]

Playeum | Children’s Centre for Creativity
Blk 47, Gillman Barracks
Singapore 109444

Opening Times
Tuesday – Sunday
10am-6pm

For full line-up of programmes, do visit http://www.playeum.com/#!programmes/ckx1

[Foodie Fridays] Mini Hamburgers

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Sensory play gets real when you involve the kids in the kitchen. It’s no longer wooden fruits that they are playing with, for example, but real ones which they could smell and feel. I love to have children in the kitchen. Obviously, I roar if they play in it but I will always welcome them to help in the food preparation.

One fine day, I was in the mood for sliders and asked her to help out in mixing the raw ingredients with her hands. She thought it fun initially until she laid her hands on them. Eek! Gross! And quickly withdrew her hands from the bowl. Too late, the act must go on. It did get better as she continued and in the end, managed a smile and danced a little as she shaped the mixture into patties. I’m not asking for perfection; I’m asking for effort and effort she gave.

This following recipe is just a simple recipe to make the burger. It’s nothing spectacular and you can definitely use different meat or even toufu as part of the ingredients. Marinade is up to you. Normally I use oyster sauce and that will be enough.

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This is another version of my slider – chicken cutlet burger.
Do encourage your kids to help out in the kitchen. They will be glad to do so. A little mess is expected though. Keep calm and carry on cooking.

Ingredients (good for 8 burgers)
300g minced organic beef
200g minced pork
1/2 chopped onion
3 tbsps breadcrumbs ( I used panko)
1 egg (whisked briefly)
1 tbsp chopped parsley
A dash of ground black pepper
8 mini buns
Slices of cheese

:: Put minced meat, chopped onion, breadcrumbs, egg, parsley and ground black pepper into a large bowl. Mix well with hand. So I had a red pepper in the refrigerator and I tried to sneak them into the mixture. Bad move because Faith noticed them quite immediately and subsequently asked to remove them as she ate the burger. And…I insisted that she ate some.

During the mixing part, there was resistance from the girl. I mean, it’s no longer pretend play but the real thing. You should just see her facial expression – disgust! This is real sensory play!

:: Divide the meat mixture into 8 portions and make mini burgers (of about 5-6cm wide). Put them into a plate and cover with aluminium foil. Steam over high heat for 5 minutes. Wipe dry.

It is important to keep encouraging the girl as she continued in her effort to combine the mixture together. Working alongside her helps greatly and before you know it, she was already at ease with it. She wouldn’t be able to make a consistent round shape in the same size. It’s okay! Praise is allowed for effort shown!

:: Heat a little oil in a pan. Fry the burgers over medium-low hear until both sides are golden.

:: Sandwich the bun with a slice of cheese, some greens and burger. You obviously can add other ingredients like tomato, mustard and the like. I think it’s up to individual’s creativity.

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The first six months as a mother of 2

[Reflections]

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Dan recently had his 6-month’s checkup and that means that I have been a mother of two for half a year! Hooray! You may think that it’s no big deal but to me, it is. Life has changed so much. With just one kid, life is a breeze. Two?

Before the boy popped out, I had many friends who asked me if I would be getting a helper to cope with household chores and looking after the kids. It’s a definite NO for me because I treasure my personal space and since we don’t live in a big place, I reckoned I could manage, somehow. Also, I think managing one more being causes too much of a stress to me so hiring a helper is out of the question.

This time round, getting the folks to help out has been reduced drastically as compared to the time when I had Faith only. Dad couldn’t help because he was just too weak; he couldn’t even carry Dan for more than five minutes. My FIL is getting old too so just two hours with an active preschooler wears him out. That leaves me with two kids, on my own.

The first two months

It WAS terrible. You may have seen wonderful pictures of us having fun and our faces beaming with delight but behind the scene, it was a lot of pain and tears – for Faith and me. I thought I had prepared Faith for the reality of a brother through talking to her about him constantly and reading her related books. I thought she was mature enough to handle the new arrival because she had told me that she was looking forward to the baby and she had been a good girl all along. The reality is, she wasn’t ready and she needed my attention at the same time when the baby needed it. I was without any help and I snapped, ALL THE TIME (ok, maybe MOST OF THE TIME).

But the beautiful thing is ‘THINGS WILL GET BETTER’. This message is consistently related to me by many mothers who have gone before me and I held on tightly to that promise like gospel truth and things did get better. Perhaps, Faith finally realised that the baby brother was here to stay or perhaps, I was more chilled about things and learnt that being present with the kids is more important that getting things/chores done.

But I still need to warn you, especially for those who are expecting the second one, that life will be rough, for the initial months and I kid you not. So, brace yourselves for the challenges to come.

On homecooked food

I am an advocate for homecooked food because I want the best for my family in terms of their health. But I know managing two kids and household chores can be demanding and I thought of the following options in terms of food:

  1. Order Tingkat (good ones)
  2. Buy a thermomix in the hope that cooking can be easier
  3. Humbly ask auntie-in-law to prepare dinner for us and pray that she would agree
  4. Eat out every other day

In the end, none materialised.

Ordering tingkat from good caterers is a very feasible option but no matter how good they can be, they will not give you the best that you want, IMHO. Will they give you a good cut of the meat? Will they use good oil? I may be wrong about them but they are, after all, running a business and until I can find one who is really interested in the welfare of their customers and are reasonably priced (remember we are surviving on one income?), I have to stick to cooking.

Thermomix? According to my friend who owns one, she finds it a real time-saver. I was almost tempted to buy except that I want my children to know that cooking is not about pressing some function keys and viola, you have food*! These days, there are indeed many efficient machines that makes life more convenient for us but I belong to the old-school group of people (please don’t judge me). I want my children to know their food source, how food can be prepared and understand the effort in churning out meals. This is how I was brought up and I’m thankful to my mom that she had insisted that my siblings and I go to the market with her to do grocery and that we help out in the kitchen. There are a lot to be learnt from these activities and I’m still learning.

*Comment is given based on my very limited knowledge of the product

Options #3 and #4 are actually not good options so they are discarded almost immediately.

So, I cook every meal except during the weekends. I may not be able to prepare many dishes and we mostly survive on one-pot meal but that is good enough. These days, I buy enough ingredients for a week on one trip, prepare them in small portions and freeze them until I need to use them. Specific ingredients for the next day are prepared and marinated the night before. And I find that thermal cookers are the best invention because the food can be prepared in advance and still is piping hot when we want to consume it. I absolutely love mine. BTW, a 1.5l is good enough for daily use.

#notsponsored

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I consider homecooked food to be the best for my family. I cook so that my children can see me in action and learn the skills as they grow older. Obviously, they have to be involved at one point or another and they are often more than happy to help, at least for now.

Household chores

No helper? It’s okay! Just lower your expectation about cleanliness and change your mindset about household chores. Attempting these chores is a form of exercise, no? In fact, it’s the ONLY exercise I do these days though I hope to carve out time for some proper workout. My stamina has dropped! Boo hoo!

Be humble and accept help

There are many who, upon knowing that I do not have a helper, asked me how I cope. Somehow, I just have to cope? I mean, there are MANY parents out there who do not have a helper like us and they do just fine. Having said that, I am immensely thankful to friends who lend a helping hand to me whenever I need it. I have dear friends who cook extra food for me to bring home after Faith’s playdate, give me wonderful snacks for me to munch on, and more recently, a parent of Faith’s schoolmate who will always invite us over to have lunch so that I don’t have to cook.

And my FIL? He comes every weekend to iron our clothes and mop the floor. It’s his way of showing love to us so we don’t bother to protest.

Be humble and keep learning

I don’t want to kid you, that there are many times that I want to quit being a SAHM, or a mother because it’s so tough. My ‘before-the-children-came-along’ life was so much more exciting and when the going gets tough, I find myself yearning to go back to that life. Yet, and it’s true that “Children are a heritage from the Lordoffspring a reward from him” (Psalm 127: 3-5) and when I sit down to ponder the Word of God and the many fond memories that He has blessed our family with, truly I can say, “I’m contented.”

Many times, I feel that God gives us children so that we can better ourselves. I realised I am so ugly and imperfect but my children will always extend their grace to me. They (specifically Faith) will bounce back after each scolding session and flash me their innocent smiles. When I’m down and out, I hear a concerned, “Are you okay, mom?” There’s much to learn from the children themselves in certain aspects, if only we maintain a humble heart.

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Motherhood/Parenthood has to be a calling, at least to me. Little lives are in our hands and I’d better make sure that I do a good job in it. There are obviously things that we (the hubs and I) have to give up and we find ourselves having to die to ourselves daily. The last question above, “Are you willing to postpone your dreams to cultivate your children’s hearts now?” poked at my heart recently and I find myself having to reply…

Yes, I’m willing, Lord.

7f18fb92f0da51cb0164c120ea817335.jpgOh, so true!

I have survived the first 6 months (yipee!) but how will the next half a year be?

 

Keppel Centre for Art Education

How do you spend your March holidays?

For us, there would be no overseas travel or staycation. Instead, we would just be tourists in our country and try to explore as many places as we could. These days, we opt for places that the kids could enjoy and our first stop is the Keppel Centre for Art Education at the National Gallery Singapore.

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Since we are citizens, we do not have to pay for the admission fees. Hooray! #FunforFreeSG

We went straight to the Keppel Centre but before we went in, we got to explore some of the art pieces by our local students.

Maybe our little one will be inspired after admiring these artwork? I can always hope.

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We proceeded to the Art Playscape which houses the magical forest and it provides great fun for the kids. Faith took some time to warm up to the environment and after 5 minutes or so, she could be seen running up and down the stairs and exploring the space. Oh, fellow parents, you do have to be with the kids lest they got too excited and hurt themselves in the process. This forest somewhat resembles the Trick Eye Museum and personally I had fun taking pictures.

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There is great avenue for pretend play here. Let’s imagine us crossing the river. Oh, look, there’s Mr Crocodile! Be careful!

Our next stop is the Project Gallery where we explore future homes and cities. Here, children think about how different our homes and the way we live will be and they translate their thinking into drawing and writing .

Spend $4 and you could work on this artwork with your child.

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A random child’s thoughts

After about 20 minutes in the Project Gallery, we proceeded to the Children’s Museum Workshop where the kids could write a postcard to the artist. Obviously, the girl couldn’t write it but she did doddle something on it before posting it.

So we spent slightly more than an hour in the three art spaces and when we popped by the Children’s Museum where kids could create some craftwork, the girl was visibly tired and asked to skip this.

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Children’s Museum

We didn’t stay long at the National Gallery. I would love to but the kids were exhausted and da man had to carry the older one around. We did enjoy the architecture of the supreme court though.

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Perhaps, next time?

To avoid the crowd during the school holidays, consider going there early?
😉

Pip’s PLAYbox

We don’t usually do this.

Nap time is important and I make sure that the kids have sufficient rest before going for outdoor play in the evening. Today was an exception because our dear neighbour was doing some drilling work and the noise was so deafening that it terrified the kids.

I had two wailing kids and to maintain my sanity, I had to leave the house.

Thankfully, the hubs took the afternoon off to relieve me and off we went to Pip’s* Playbox.

*Pip is Esplanade’s colourful mascot for its children’s programmes.

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We reached Pip’s PLAYbox around 2.30pm and we were the only ones present. The area has just been cleaned and all was quiet. Perfect for a peaceful afternoon!

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There are parking lots for prams and I’m thankful for a clean nursing room and two children’s toilets that are so children-friendly. Faith was telling me not to help her in anything because she could manage it all by herself (she is not that tall).

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Meet Pip!

This is the activity zone where children can busy themselves with craft work. The themes and materials vary throughout the year.

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Do you remember the Overhead Projector??? I was so thrilled to see this because it reminded me of my school days and early teaching years. However, the girl was none too impressed and after playing with it for a moment, she was distracted by…

these magnetic blocks and train tracks (from Ikea). She was working on them for a good amount of time and even invited the Papa to join her.

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I personally love it that they stock books written by local writers and illustrators and this place is really an inviting space for parents to read to their children. How about a storytelling session?

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There are little nook crannies within the PLAYbox for children to grab a book to read and in this case, having some cosy moment with the baby.

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An hour later and the crowd streamed in slowly. This is indeed a good meeting place for mothers and children alike. It’s a safe place for young kids to have fun together. I thought Pip’s PLAYbox might appeal to toddlers and preschoolers more.

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PIP’s PLAYbox
Esplanade Theatres on the Bay
Level 4
Opening Hours: 11 am to 6pm
Free Admission
Join Pip’s Club!

Christmas cheer for the kids

It started off with a simple plan of getting a few kids to learn baking since a friend’s daughter wanted to learn how to bake a cupcake. I didn’t want to mess up my own kitchen and asked her to book a function room in her condo. Then we thought we should just extend the invitation to the rest of the kids in our CG and in the end, from three girls, we had 12 children and 2 babies.

It’s highly ambitious to get the children to do hands-on baking and in the end, I decided that I should just do the demonstration and get them to decorate the cupcakes themselves, with the help of their mothers. The cupcakes were baked and the Italian Meringue Buttercream made the night before. I probably could use the cupcakes baked on the spot but since I have not tested the oven, I decided not to risk and bring along the cupcakes as a form of a back-up plan.

For this post, I will list some of the things to look out for when planning such a programme for the children.

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:: If possible, check that the oven is in working condition and get familiarised with it before the actual day.

:: Choose a recipe that is straight-forward and easy to follow, for the sake of the kids.

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:: Randomly pick the kids to help in the various stages, especially the ones who look bored. Since they can’t do the hands-on themselves, just getting them to help a bit here and there would sustain their interest.

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Before the kids decorated their cupcakes, I did a demo with one cupcake so that they would know exactly what was expected of them.

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:: If it helps in classroom management, rearrange the kids in their seating positions. Familiarity with each other (for the kids) may not be good for the facilitator. Get the older kid to sit with the younger one so that the former could render assistance.

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So pleased with their work!

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I had wanted to go on with decorating the gingerbread cookies which I had baked the day before but in the end, I abandoned that idea. I was getting tired! In the end, I just hand out the cookies to them so that they could bring home and eat. And yes, they devoured the cupcakes on the spot.

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We went on to get the children to work on craft using styrofoam cones and pipe cleaners and pom pom balls, all sponsored by a fellow mom.

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You would have thought that the children were tired after the cupcake decorating session but nope, they were more energetic than ever. Thankfully, this backup plan worked! Look at how motivated they were in completing their Christmas trees.

:: Always plan backup activities apart from the main one.

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What an expression! This girl doesn’t like to be posing in front of the camera anymore!

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After the craft, our lunch had not arrived yet. The kids were getting restless and thankfully, I had a book with me and fished it out and read to the kids. It’s the nativity story.

:: Always bring along a book for it will always come to be of good use. Reading is fun!

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Lunch came just as I finished reading the book. Thank God! The kids went for a short waterplay session at the kids’ pool outside after lunch and then headed home after that.

I felt so refreshed after hosting this gathering with my CG-mate. In a way, I want to return the favour to all the mothers present because they have blessed me in one form or another.

It is really more blessed to give than to receive.

 

Playdate #3

After a few weeks of break, we finally resume our playdate! And I learn about exposure, age-appropriateness of any activities and readiness of the child.

Our plan is as follows:

– Circle time: Welcome song and introduction of the colour ‘Green’
– Storytelling and Craft
– Teabreak
– Quiet time
– Practical life
– Sandplay
– Goodbye song

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This time round, I hosted the playdate and after the Good Morning song, we shared about Green and brought green items to show the kids. Hopefully, they can register that colour in their minds.

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C read the story ‘Brown bear, brown bear, what do you see?‘ by Eric Carle and I thought that is really a wonderful book. Since there is repetition in the story, children can expect what’s next. I like the big illustration too and our little children could even name some of the animals.

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The follow-up activities require the kids to match the animals using the cards provided by C. Of course, this activity has to be guided by the adults. Faith wasn’t able to do the matching; she’s not ready for it. But the older ones, like R could do so and I heard him make the sound of the animals too. Maybe I’m just not patient enough with Faith. In any case, I’m going to continue doing this activity with her!

IMG_2979Homemade matching cards by C.

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Teatime and I nearly fainted. Faith was dropping bread crumbs and cherries everywhere! I know she’s still working on her motor skills but I’m not good with the mess she’s creating! Arghh!

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The individual station for the Practical Life segment remains more or less the same but C introduced the clothes pegs today as she wanted the kids to work on their ‘pincers’ skills. This proved to be challenging for the kids but they did well for the other stations. I did see an improvement in Faith for the matching of the bottle caps to their respective containers.

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Originally, we wanted to bring the kids to the playground at the reservoir so that they could play with the sand. However, there was light rain before the playdate and we had to change the plan. So, we decided on art and got the kids to create their own artwork using paint and sponge. Faith didn’t want to work on it. I guess this is the first time that she’s introduced to this and would need some time for her to participate. Ok, time to get those Crayola’s washable paint!

noqLooking forward to the next playdate already!


Reminder: Don’t forget your entitlement to an exclusive 15% discount on all purchases at NoQ Store when you use code LYNNLLY at the checkout. This discount is valid until 31 July 2014.

Playdate #2
– Playdate #1

Fisher-Price® Play IQ Workshop

Carrie Lupoli is back! Yay!

If you don’t have a clue of who I’m referring to, she’s one of the more engaging presenters I’ve come across in the many workshops and conferences that I’ve attended. Last year, I had the privilege of attending the Joy of Learning workshop by her and this year she is touching on the topic on PLAY and how it is important in developing healthy brain. It’s definitely a topic that I’m interested in because I believe in the power of play and am looking forward to what she will be sharing.

Four areas of content will be covered at this Fisher-Price® Play IQ Workshop:

1. Introduction and Goal of Parenting
2. Play IQ – The Theory
3. Play IQ – The Benefits and the Basics
4. Play IQ Learning Tournament

The workshop is open to parents with children up to 5 years old and expectant mothers only. It will be held on  31st May 2014, Saturday, from 9.00am to 2.00pm. Registration starts at 8.45am.

Venue: Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital. 38 Irrawaddy Road, Singapore 329563

Cost: $50 per person (inclusive of light refreshments). Each participant will receive a goody bag worth more than $100 and a chance to win Lucky Draw prizes.

To register or if you need more information, you can email tofisherprice@asiaprwerkz.com

I’ll be attending and hope to meet some of you there!

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Playdate and a banana muffin recipe

We just completed our second (homeschooling) session! Oh what fun! The three mothers were tasked to conduct the various segments and I must say I learnt quite a fair bit from my fellow mummies!

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We learnt about the colour blue the previous session and this time round, it was red. After the welcome song, C got the kids to learn about RED by showing them items with that colour. It was a quick segment since we realised that our young kids get bored and couldn’t sit still for long.

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Next, Sab read a story entitled ‘Are you my Mummy’ and got the children’s attention. The illustration was colourful and the kids got to feel the furry material too. I guess our kids have been educated on animals and the older ones could call out the names of some animals. Faith? She was just distracted by the many toys in the house.

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We did some craftwork as a follow up to the reading. Using toilet paper roll and some scraps of paper, we made a duck! I thought it is quite a good idea since we could teach the kiddos the different parts of the body as we pieced them together.

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Right after that, the kids played with homemade dough as free play. This was the first time that Faith interacted with dough and she didn’t dare to touch it, let alone do some cut outs with it. I think I have to expose her to more materials from now on! *think sensory play*

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 I am in charge of refreshment this week and I made a bento (kind of) with cranberry buns, banana muffins and fruits. I seriously love how the Japanese present their food and want to do the same. So, you can expect more bentos from me too!

I like this session a lot because it is also a time for the mummies to rest and catch up with one another. As expected, the boy could finish whatever was presented to him while the girls had some slight problem. But no worries!

I love the idea of placing the food items on the tray because this teaches the kids personal space. This time round, Faith couldn’t finish her food. How rare!

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After the makan session, it’s Quiet Time. We wanted to instill this in the kids so that they will know how to be quiet before the Lord as they grow up. For now, it’s really just for them to get down and rest while we pray for them. You may think it is easy but the kids were trying to get up every now and then! 5 minutes….just for 5 minutes!

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The last session is on Practical Life which was somewhat the same as the previous session. The kids got to scoop cotton balls from one container to the other, match caps with the respective bottles and to match shapes using theMelissa N Doug puzzles. With a goodbye song, the children bade farewell to one another and so our 2-hour session ended! So fast!

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Banana Muffin Recipe
(Makes about 10 – 12 medium size muffins)

Ingredients:

4-5 ripe bananas, mashed
250 g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon ground
80 g caster sugar
2 eggs, slightly beaten with fork
60 g milk
60 g butter, melted
2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt

1 or 2 banana, sliced into 1/2cm chunks

1. Sieve flour, baking powder and cinnamon ground together. Set aside.

2. In a big bowl. Stir and mix butter, milk, eggs and vanilla together. Add in sugar and salt. Mix till well combined and add in the mashed bananas. Mix well.

3. Fold in the sieve flour at one time and mix slowly till well combined. Remember not to over stir the batter.

4. Scoop the batter into the paper cup, add the sliced banana chunks and cover it with some batter. Fill about 8/10 of the batter, leave some space for the muffin to raise when we bake them. I have some caramel and walnuts left from previous bakes and added the caramel in between the batter and sprinkle some chopped toasted walnuts on top.

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5. Bake at preheated oven at 175c for 20mins or till it’s cooked, when the toothpick inserted at the center of the cakes came out clean. Every oven is different so you have to trial and test!

* Note to self: The next time I bake these, I will try brown sugar and see the difference it makes.

 

Waterplay at Changi City Point

Call me a mountain tortoise and I won’t be angry with you when it comes to places to hang out in Singapore. Fact is, I really do not know a lot of attraction spots or places for the kiddos to play and have fun.

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Yesterday, I followed my sis and her family to Changi City Point so that the kids can have fun at the water playground. She stumbled upon this when they had dinner the night before at the food court and the playground is just located outside! So, the nephews wanted to have some waterplay and we followed suit.

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I’ve not been to a lot of water playgrounds but I thought this one is quite spacious and fun. It has water jets and cannons for kids who want to get wet and wild. There is also a dry play area that has fun climbing structures. We were there at 5pm and there weren’t a lot of people at that point in time. My eldest nephew, Dallen, became excited all at once and set off to play while Faith and my younger nephew, Dayen, needed some time to reach that excitement level.

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Faith didn’t seem to enjoy water now which I thought was weird. Months ago, when we were at the waterplay area near the Siloso Beach, she was having real fun but now, it seems that she is scared of water. I have better do something about this!

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Both Dayen and Faith needed to be carried. Why don’t they like waterplay? Maybe they didn’t have the mood to play then?

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There is a changing area near the playground which helps a lot since the area can get rather windy and you wouldn’t want your kiddos to catch a cold. Once you step into the food court, it’s even worse. So please do bring along a sweater for the young ones.

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I like it that we can just proceed to any one of the many eateries in Changi City Point after the waterplay. We chose the Koufu Food Court which is spacious and serves a good variety of food. Oh yes, parking lots are aplenty which is another plus point!

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The 3 House
Level 2
Changi City Point
5 Changi Business Park Central 1
Changi East
S486038

Jadelyn’s 1st birthday

Our family was invited by Diana to her daughter, Jadelyn’s first birthday! How exciting! I may not have known the domestic goddess  for long but her friendly disposition won me over. By the way, she cooks and bakes great stuff. You should really explore her blog. A truly unassuming lady!

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Diana and her lovely family.

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Faith is too young to play with the older kids but she had fun with the balloons and treated herself to one!

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Diana prepared all these goodies for the little ones!

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Delish rainbow cake! How inspiring!

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Poor Faith can’t enjoy again. Next time, babe!

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A personalised gift for Faith. How thoughtful of the host! Thank you so much for inviting us!

Fisher-Price® Joy of Learning Workshop

Time passed so quickly. Faith is already six months old and ready for another stage of her development!

As the little munchkin grows, I find myself not knowing what to do to engage her at times. Being a new mother and a SAHM, I have to keep up with reading on relevant books and materials so that I could be well equipped in handling her. Thankfully there are workshops and online resources that reach out to people like me. Here’s one by Fisher-Price® that is coming up and I would be going for it. The following is a little information on it.

Fisher-Price Joy of Learning

The Fisher-Price® Joy of Learning Workshop is an interactive, informative, and practical workshop to arm you with a clearer understanding of your role as principal caregivers in this scheme of play and offer tools to better engage and nurture your little ones through joyful play activities. Recognising the irreplaceable role of play-based learning, when our little ones are provided with settings where they can readily interact with us whilst actively investigating, exploring and manipulating toys and items in their surroundings, they are not only ‘playing’ but developing critical skills for daily living and relationship-building.

Conducting the workshop is Ms Carrie E. Lupoli, educational and parenting expert, spokesperson for Mattel Fisher-Price® “Joy of Learning” in S.E.A and founder of Singapore’s premier private education agency – Live & Learn Consulting.

Four topics of interest will be covered at the Fisher-Price® Joy of Learning Workshop:

1. The Roles and Responsibilities of Parenting
2. Understanding Developmental Milestones
3. How Children Learn Best
4. Age Appropriate Play-based Ideas for Optimal Growth and Development

Date: Sunday, 9 June 2013
Time: 9am – 2pm
Venue: Raffles City Convention Centre
Fairmont Singapore & Swissotel The Stamford, Atrium Ballroom, Level 4
80 Bras Basah, Singapore 189560
Cost: $50 (inclusive of a goody bag worth more than $100)

This workshop is open to parents with children up to 5 years old and expectant mothers only. However, children are not allowed as it is a hands-on workshop for parents.

If you are interested, please email your name and mobile number to fisherprice@asiaprwerkz.com