Christmas feel at the Flower Dome (Gardens by the Bay)

Christmas is approaching and if you want to catch the festive mood in rainy Singapore, there is a place you should go – Flower Dome at Gardens by the Bay. It’s beautiful, I tell you!

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It was the beginning of the year end school holiday and while the men were at work, the wives decided to bring the kids out to experience Christmas cheer.

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Popo and the grandchildren

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You will get wowed by the display. Simply awesome and magical!

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Cocooned in a giant glass globe, a lovely ballerina beckons visitors to come forward, as a band of toy soldiers and an angelic choir join in the merry medley. (Source: Gardens by the Bay).

I was naturally excited and wanted to take pictures of the kids with the beautiful background. If you have kids, you will know that it is rather impossible to take a picture in which all the kids are smiling and with their eyes open. Oh well…

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To have a decent pic, one must snap quickly or else you risk getting photobombed!

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The whole troop. Remember to visit ya?

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Sakura in Singapore

My mother has always wanted to visit Japan to witness the bloom of cherry blossoms. So when Papa told her that there are currently cherry blossoms at Gardens by the Bay, she told him that we had to go! Please pardon my mama for she is not always updated with current affairs since she’s too busy looking after us.

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Guess where we went earlier today? Mama said we must avoid the crowd and made sure that we reached the site at 9am.

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It’s very cold in the flower dome but my folks were well prepared and brought along cardigans.

My mama likes to admire flowers though she doesn’t like to receive flowers as gifts.

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She was all enthusiastic about today’s outing only to realise that none of us were interested in flowers. See, my sister didn’t even want to pose in front of the camera.

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She’s quite a poor thing eh? So I think I shall oblige and pose properly. Then I fell asleep because the environment was so shiok (awesome) to sleep in. All was quiet and there weren’t a lot of people. We found out later that the crowd came in at around 10am. So, if you want good photos, go and visit at 9am.

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Actually, the cherry blossoms are really pretty, eh? Sugoi desu!

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I think the cherry blossoms won’t last long so you should really go down and take a look for yourself.

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We had a decent family photo and I think Mama was secretly pleased with that. She reckoned that she wouldn’t need to visit Japan during that period anymore. One thing off her bucket list.

Flowery Fun Times at Gardens by the Bay

The weekends’ here!

If you haven’t visited the Flowery Fun Times at Gardens by the Bay, perhaps you might want to visit it before it ends on 19th July. Our family went down during the June holidays and I must say the floral display was beautiful. I bore an ulterior motive, of course, and that was to get the little one to learn more about the nursery rhymes that she has been learning both at home and in school.

Pardon me for the many photos posted in this post. They are for memory. 😉

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Be sure to bring along a jacket because it is cold in the flower dome. I found myself shivering!

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Please don’t ask me what nursery rhymes these refer to. I have forgotten!

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Gigantic bees! Flee!

IMG_3139The old lady in her shoes?

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Which is the picture that belongs to Mary and her little lamb?

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Tis I know! It’s Humpty Dumpty! Even Faith could identify…

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If you are not into floral display, erm… like da man, maybe you won’t enjoy that much. But there are 
 other things to do in Gardens by the Bay. The water play area will be an exciting play area for the children! Have a good weekend!

Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden (#junehols2015)

By now, you would have known that I am a great supporter for the outdoors. If our country is blessed with the woods, jungles and mountains, you bet we would have gone for some trekking or camping by now. Thankfully, we have nature reserves, reservoirs and gardens for the children to roam and the next stop for us is Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden.

Again, this was not the first time that we visited this garden. It was our third visit and this time round, the hubs was around to explore the garden with Faith. Hopefully, he would enjoy it!

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The garden is really not very big but each time we visited this garden, we couldn’t fully cover it because the weather was basically too hot and in the end, we would end up at the fountains. So, if you intend to visit Jacob Ballas, always bring along your waterplay equipment!

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Experiential learning at the garden!

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When Faith was younger, she was scared stiff with this swinging suspension bridge but now I saw an improvement! She wasn’t rooted to the bridge anymore but gamely walked across it with her Papa.

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Who can forget this treehouse that is fully equipped with slides and ladders. For the previous two occasions, I wouldn’t even think of getting her to go on the slide. She was too young anyway but this time round, she agreed to go on the slide. Could you sense my excitement and pride?

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I know it is really no big deal for many of you but to me, it is. It shows how she has grown and developed over the months and how she is willing to attempt things that are out of her comfort zone. She went on the slide, not just once, but four times and we had to ask her to stop because the adults were bored. Hah!

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Doing the balancing act with Papa

20150606_085512There were really a lot more to explore in this garden but we were just sapped by the heat. We went through the Fantastic Forest, Photosynthesis Exhibit, Sandpit and Sensory Garden with much speed and finally ended up with the water play area which Faith looked forward to.

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With the hubs around, I could rest more and took on the role of the photographer. It’s so wonderful watching both of them spend time and have fun together. We should do more of such activities!

20150606_164824Back home, we worked on some playdough fun. The little girl has been hooked on playdough for the past month and I thought it would be good to have her work on stuff related to the garden. I found the gardening and growing playdough mat via this website and Faith had fun working on them. There are many free printables available so if your child is into playdough, you might want to take a look, print and laminate those mats!

20150531_170417To get her to continue to work on her beginning sounds, I got Faith to use playdough to create the letters (on the mat) and at the same time, practise the sounds together with her. Such activities can take up to one hour when she has the interest. No kidding!

Obviously, you can make your own playdough too but I’m just too lazy.

Some useful resources:

:: For playdough mat for counting to 10, click here.

:: Playdough mats of all sorts, from letters to shapes to numbers. Click here.

Chinese and Japanese Garden

This June holiday, I hope to bring Faith out to enjoy as many outdoor activities as possible. I would love to get her to explore the environment that she is in so that she could stay inquisitive and learn along the way; I just hope I have the patience to share with her! Building sweet memories, that’s part of the plan too. Initially, the family had wanted to go on a trip to Taiwan but that did not materialise in the end. No worries, we will tour our city-state instead!

This morning, we decided to visit the Chinese and Japanese Garden located at Jurong East. I had been there when I was a kid myself and another time when I was participating in a run while the hubs has not visited these gardens. It would be a good change from the usual gardens that we have visited.

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We reached the Chinese Garden at around 8am as we knew that it would be really killing to stroll in the heat if we had arrived later. We are also early risers so this timing is actually good for us. We had wanted to get Faith to skate-scoot in the garden but were told that that is not allowed. ;(

20150601_082309I’m rather impressed by the interior. It is well-kept and scenic and Faith was really engaged by the things that she saw along the way.

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My only complaint? The heat. But there is nothing we can do about it but to bear with it. Thankfully, the little girl didn’t complain at all.

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Bringing the little one to be in the outdoor as much as possible is something that I would do intentionally. Personally, I’m not one who loves to stay indoors because I believe she could learn more and be stimulated about the environment when she is in the outdoors. Getting her to appreciate nature is something I’m very mindful of and we could talk about God’s creations as we explore. Also, I don’t like her to be sheltered in air-conditioned areas for too long. It’s just not healthy.

20150601_083841The dragon girl with her Papa

20150601_083633And she willingly posed for us.
“Ouch! i’m bitten by the snake!”

IMG-20150601-WA0025We reached the Japanese Garden as we crossed the connecting bridge. There was this area where we saw a girl feed the fish and at that moment, I regretted not bringing some stale bread! Faith was really interested in feeding them but well, we didn’t have any food for them!

20150601_085132Beautifully sculpted plants. So zen…

20150601_085433She spotted squirrels and stayed in this spot for quite a while.
“Squirrels, where are you? Come down…NOW!”

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After walking for an hour, the little one was visibly tired and as she descended from a flight of stairs, she lost her balance and fell down, sustaining bruises and scratches on her right hand and face. Oh, poor girl. My heart ached for her but I have been trained to remain calm because if I had responded in panic, she would too. It must have hurt and she cried out. But thankfully, she was all calm after a minute. I really do think she has a high threshold of pain after all those episodes of falling. 😉

20150601_090740All is well again. No big deal right?

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We departed from the gardens in 2 hours’ time. It was a nice walk, really but I wish that the weather can be cooler. Of course, one shouldn’t compare these gardens with the actual ones in China and Japan. It’s a far cry to be honest but still, these gardens are a refreshing change as compared to the ones in our neighbourhood.

It would be good to pack some snacks along the way and definitely refreshing drinks are essential!

Chinese and Japanese Garden
Main Garden : 6am – 11pm (daily)
Bonsai Garden & Garden of Abundance: 9am – 6pm (daily)
Admission: Admission to main garden free.
Location: 1 Chinese Garden Singapore 619795

Melbourne : Royal Botanic Gardens

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Life has been so busy lately with playdates, baking and family outings that I couldn’t catch up with reminiscing the days in Melbourne through blog posts. I resolve to do that today!

The Royal Botanic Gardens is founded in 1846 and comprises 38 hectares of garden beds, lakes and lawns. A relaxing walk through the gardens can be rather uplifting to the soul especially with the cool weather in Melbourne. If you are into botany, you would be excited to know that the gardens is home to 52000 individual plants representing more than 10000 species from around the world.

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The hubs and I had a good time chatting as we strolled with Faith. The little one was running all over the place and her excitement was evident as she spotted some unique birds and their chirping. The Terrace, a cafe overlooking the Ornamental Lake to Government House, was our pit stop for the much needed caffeine fix.

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To be honest, the main reason for visiting the gardens is for Faith to explore the Ian Potter Foundation Children’s Garden. When you travel with kid(s), it’s not all about the adults anymore, is it? ;p

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The Children’s Garden is good for kids of all ages and they get to discover the various plants at the kitchen garden and explore the vegetation of the rainforest ruin.

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I must say I find it delightful to explore the Children’s Garden but that’s just me. I know that as compared to the farm, Faith was more interested in animals than the plants but we did have a good walk around it.

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And you bet we made use of those moments to teach Faith about the fruits and vegetables found in this small garden. We don’t have the luxury of space to grow our own fruits or vegetables, so this is an opportunity not to be missed.

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We spent about an hour in this Children’s Garden, taking the time to explore and having Faith play at the water features. Generally it was fun and educational though I think older kids would enjoy it more. I didn’t dare to have Faith play with the soil; I don’t think she liked to do that too. We stopped by The Gardens Shop and purchased a book and some toys for the little one.

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Besides The Ian Potter Foundation Children’s Garden, there are also the Dinosaur gardens, educational programmes that are offered throughout the year from kindergarten to tertiary level and a checklist of 50 things to do at the Royal Botanic Gardens that one can get from the Visitor Centre. I have a copy of it and let’s just see if we can adapt some of them at our own Botanic Gardens! 😉

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Aww…writing this post makes me miss Melbourne and the lovely weather in June.

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😉