Freycoo toddler shoes

[Product Review]

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

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

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

It was a challenge.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Review + Giveaway] EZPZ Happy Mat

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Images taken from MumsPick

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

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

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

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

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

:: Promotes self-feeding and develops fine motor skills

:: Easy to store

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

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

GIVEAWAY!

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

All you need to do is to

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

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

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

Discount Code

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

[Friday Flips] #BabyLove: My Toddler Life

[Review + Giveaway]

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

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

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[Source]

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

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

Good for children age 2 to 5 years old.

[GIVEAWAY]

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

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

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

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

 

Friday flips | Little Miss, Big Sis

It must be tough being my daughter.

Maybe because I’ve no help at home, I expect Faith to be able to take care of herself, dress herself, feed herself, etc and I find myself unable to tolerate any ‘accident’ from her.

I forgot that she’s just a 39MO girl and that her motor skills, be it fine or gross, are still developing.

The other day, she peed out of her potty, thereby dirtying the floor and she got screamed at. I had cleaned the toilet twice that morning and thinking of having to clean it again irritated me.

I rushed out dinner that evening, thinking that I could finally relax since the hubs would be back soon and the girl had to knock the bowl of soup over. Oh, the table and the floor! Oh, oily stuff! Oh my! 

I lashed out at her, “How old are you already? Are you still a baby? Can’t you eat properly?”

I lost it. Awful mom!

She had to endure my madness that day and I felt like a terrible mom. Oh Lord, I can’t do it anymore. 

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Little Miss, Big Sis by Amy Krouse Rosenthal & Peter H. Reynolds

When I regained my sanity after a much-needed jog, I realised that this girl that God has blessed me with is indeed a wonderful gift. This book ‘Little Miss, Big Sis’ tells why.

She’s my great supporter when I was pregnant with the boy and together, we received her brother with joy.

She adores her brother from day 1.

Her love for him never wavers, no matter how much scolding she got because of him.

She sings to him, knowing that he will appreciate her songs.

And yes, this is true.

Not only does she supports her brother, she supports me by helping out whenever I need it. It could be simple things like getting a handkerchief to clean the drool off her brother’s mouth or clearing up the bathtub after cleaning the boy.

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When I saw this book in the library, I knew I had to borrow and read it to Faith. The words are simple and the illustrations clear. Young children would be able to understand the story easily. Faith could identify with the experiences in the story. The above picture was taken rather spontaneously when I was reading to them. The girl was giggling all the way.

I think it’s only right to commend her for a job well done. She is truly a Little Miss, Big Sis.

I thought this book is good for girls who have been promoted to be big sisters to their siblings. We could also help them to anticipate what is to come as the baby grows. Manage their expectations, I say.

Linking up with

Growing with the Tans Friday Flips

Faith turns 3

Dear Faith
You turn 3 years old today and Mama is blessed to have you as my daughter. You are truly a gift from God.

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You have grown to be more independent as the days passed, preferring to do things yourself instead of having us help you. You have an inquisitive mind and love exploring and asking questions to the point of irritating me. I remember I was once fearful that you were the quiet sort or that you had speech delay and before I knew it, you were chatting non-stop. During the recent Parent Teacher Meeting, all your teachers sang praises of you, commenting that you are independent, sociable, learns fast and are well-liked by all and I’m comforted that you truly love learning.

However, you do know that I had a difficult time with you recently, eh? You have always been my little companion and I like doing things with you. But nowadays, I would have to spend some time with your brother since he’s still quite helpless in a lot of ways and would need me. I thought you knew that before he came out of my womb. For the first two weeks since he was born, you were really sweet and I thought you would have no problem in adjusting to your new role but apparently, I was wrong. You began to throw tantrums, big ones, and cry for no good reasons. Mama was completely caught off-guard. “What on earth is happening to you?”

You didn’t listen to us and went ahead to do what you wanted which really upset both Papa and me. When you couldn’t get your way, you cried out really loudly and hysterically, kicking your legs to show your frustration. You really tested my patience. I am human after all and there is only so much I can handle. Taking care of both you and Dan is a challenge when there is no help. The last thing I want from you is your tantrums. I find myself scolding you so much to the point that I just want to stay away from you. And when I did that, I could see the sense of abandonment in your eyes and my heart broke when you cried out helplessly to me, “Mama!”

To be honest with you, I feel resentment slowly welling up in my heart. I was exhausted and it didn’t help that you were not cooperative. I felt like a total failure at times because I didn’t know how to handle you all of a sudden. Where is the Faith that I knew all along? The sweet and caring girl, the one who came rushing up to me when I puked and asked,”Are you ok, Mama?” when I was carrying Dan during the first trimester. Where, oh, where has she been?

Faith, I love you. You should know that. You don’t have to act up to get my attention. You definitely don’t have to take the cue from Dan and cry so that I would tend to you. In fact, the more you throw your tantrums, the more I want to get away from you. I know you feel insecure right now but your fear is unfounded.

I’m sorry that I hit you out of anger that day. I know it’s wrong and that’s why I want to stay away from you lest I respond in anger again.

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Despite all these, I’m immensely thankful that you have been treating Dan with great care and I can totally sense that you are proud to be a big sister to him. Whenever we go out, you would proudly announce to my friends or even strangers that he is your baby (anyway, you should say’brother’ instead). You help me take care of him when I’m busy in the kitchen and even read him stories. That’s so sweet of you!

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Dear Faith, as you turn 3 years old, my prayer for you is that you will grow in wisdom and maturity and continue to be a good sister to your brother. I’m praying constantly that this difficult phase be over and that we could have fun like before.

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I love you. Do not doubt me.

Lovingly,
Your mama.

img1448026637057We celebrated her birthday with our cell group as requested by her and of course, a ‘Let it go’ chocolate cake specially made for her.

The weekly playdate 170714

Our weekly co-op/playdate brought us to C’s place. Her place is so cozy and she has this painted black wall where the kids could draw using chalk. So cool!

Our first activity was at the sensory bin where the kids got to play with the salt, blocks, plastic cups and toy animals. It was brilliant because all we need to do to clean up was to wash it with water. I say it’s a better choice as compared to sand! Some of the kids needed encouragement to play with salt. Our dear Faith only played with the toy animals. Think she is into animals now.

We have very engrossed kids!

We have very engrossed kids!

We went on to start the programme with a welcome song and circle time in which we revised the colour and shape taught the previous week and introduced a new colour and shape for this week. Following that was Storytelling and then craftwork!

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The tired Faith clung on to me! Arghh!

We decided that we should continue with paint even though it may not be the kids’ favourite. Coincidentally, the kids who do not really enjoy this segment are the ones with no siblings (yet). Little exposure, I guess?

Using shapes to create some artwork.

Using shapes to create some artwork.

Our star student!

Our star student!

Teatime!

Teatime!

We had our practical life as usual before we moved on to big muscle movement time and the kids got to do ‘shuttle run’ to retrieve round shapes from the bin. I love wide corridors like this. Fun! Fun! Fun!

Run, children, run!

Run, children, run!

We taught the kids some songs before the end of the playdate and then it’s on to lunch for all of us! What a lovely morning spent with the mums and kids.

All except one who's with the mom to fetch the older brother from school.

All except one who’s with the mom to fetch the older brother from school.

🙂

Playdate @10 July

Our group playdate resumes! I don’t know if I’m using the right term. Playgroup? Co-op? Playdate? Oh, whatever. Until I find a proper term for such a day as this, it will be called playdate for now. 😉

Today, we had one more boy joining us and that makes four kids! Yahoo!

Our schedule goes like this:
-Welcome & circle time
– Big muscle movement
– Story time and craftwork
– Tea break
– Quiet time
– Sensory bin
– Action songs
– Practical life
– Closing time and goodbye song

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This is rather different from the previous sessions that we had and to be honest, it felt like we were rushing through. But fear not, the mummies came together and discussed what needs to be improved. I like it that I’m learning from the other ladies in the group. Lifelong learning, eh?

What I have learnt:
– The children can’t sit through the entire story-telling time. They were restless towards the end. Perhaps find one with a short story?IMG-20140710-WA0012
– Faith needs more exposure to craftwork. More art sessions!
– Faith doesn’t like to get her hands dirty (except when it comes to food). She doesn’t like the idea of touching the playdough during the ‘sensory bin’ section. Need to work on that.
– Faith seems to like threading and the blocks that C used for this station (2) is of the right size and material for her!

 

Practical LIfe materials

Practical LIfe materials

I didn’t have enough time to bake something for the kids and just cut mickey mouse shapes from slices of chocolate bread using a cutter. They have fruits, bananas and the colourful goldfish crackers for teatime. We had wanted to teach the kids to peel the bananas but the mummies got distracted by their own tea break and went off to rest. All except for Jenna. Hah!

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I baked a Yuzu sponge cake and carrot cake for the ladies. We had proper tea break today but oops, we lost track of time as a result. Hah! Teaching kids is a lot of hard work, I assure you, especially young kids. A salute to all preschool teachers!

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 The day was long and it was a tad more tiring than before. I’m sure the kids were too. But I’m just glad that we have this regular playdate/co-op going on.

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J getting encouragement from his mummy at the Big Muscle Movement segment.

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Faith and her new-found friend, J. They hit it off the moment that met. I’m so surprised! They even didn’t mind holding hands together! Whoah! But I have to say that J is really a very pleasant and happy boy. Faith has much to learn from this gor gor!

What will happen next week?
I got excited just by thinking of it! Lots to learn!

Bringing up Faith: The 2nd year

Raising children in a society like ours can be really stressful. I remember when Faith was in the womb, I was advised to register her in schools so that she could be on the waiting list. It’s the year of the dragon, mind you! Lots of babies! I soon forgot about this issue and did … nothing of that sort.

Now that she is at an age when she can be admitted into playgroups, the stress-level is on high again for me. Mothers whom I know, both acquaintances and friends, were placing their kids in schools and my FB page was filled with how happy or tearful the first day of school was. I look at Faith, “No playgroup for you okay?”

I’m penning my thoughts on this page because I need to remind myself of why we (both the hubs’ and I) decided against school for Faith at this current point in time. She’s still young. She’s supposed to play, to be curious about things around her and be given the time and opportunity to explore. And because I am a SAHM, I can do more with her both at home and in the outdoors.

At the Fisher-price workshops that I had attended, I was reminded of my own parenting goals (for these early years) – that Faith will grow up to be an independent child, know God and respect others. These are important to me. I’m not very concerned that she has to know her numerals or alphabets now. For goodness’ sake, she is barely two years old! These will come later, for sure, and I’m not really interested in flashing cards at her. I want her to be out in the open, to appreciate nature, to have a sense of wonder of the environment she is placed in and eventually know Jesus as her Lord and Saviour. I don’t like the idea of her being in school so soon, to be honest. Abhor the idea that she has to learn within the four walls. She has many years of that in time to come. For now, she is good learning at her own pace with me at home or during our regular playdates. More importantly, I want her to learn the values that our family believes in because once she is grounded in them, she can make sound decisions (hopefully) while she is growing up.

20140605_150001But I’m not always this resolute. During the June holidays, I signed up for a week of language enrichment for Faith. The one week of lessons centred around Dr Seuss’ stories and each lesson comprises storytelling, art and craft and singing. I had to attend each 2-hour lesson with Faith and I am thankful for that because I realised how Faith is not ready for such a structured lesson.

She listened to the stories all right but many times, she wanted to explore the new classroom she was in, to interact with her new friends. She got restless easily too but thankfully, the teacher understood that young kids have very short attention span and introduced many short physical activities in-between.

At the end of each lesson, I was tired. Tired from having to get her to sit down to listen and to perform the tasks that she was asked to. My throat ran dry from words of encouragement to her. In the end, I decided that such a class may not be suitable for her, for now.

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I have to be fair. She did enjoy her time playing with bubbles and surprised us with the word one fine day (we don’t use the word at all). Perhaps I have high expectations for the school and perhaps, this school does not have the right kind of curriculum for her. It’s after all, a one-size-fits-all programme for children ages 18 to 36 months. What do I expect?

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I have to remind myself to chill, that sometimes not doing much for her can be good. By that, I mean not crowding her daily life with activities. Boredom can be good for her because creativity can bloom in such situations. I also need to remind myself that it is not ‘how much more earlier’ that is the solution but it is ‘how different earlier’ that is the answer.

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I like what I’m doing with her now. We had moments when we learn at home but many times, we go out and have fun.We have our regular playdates and I remember vividly the enthusiasm that she displayed when we went on a excursion to the National Museum with her playmates, the sparkle in her eyes when she was playing with water at Jacob Ballas, the concentration she had when she was observing people in the park and the emotions she shared when she saw a crying child, just to name a few examples. Through all these, I got to understand Faith more and hopefully will realise what her talents are and help her thrive in them.

There are many moms who are homeschooling their kids and I particularly love those who advocate play as learning opportunities for young children. And the more I read about early childhood, the more excited I become.

These are three Internet resources that I like: 

1. http://lessonslearntjournal.com/

2. http://www.1plus1plus1equals1.net/

3. http://playfullearning.net/

And I love this excellent yet simple read about the Waldorf approach to early childhood education.

Here is an example of a day in the Waldorf kindergarten. For my  own reference in planning my own homeschooling activities for Faith.

The following are some notes that I have taken from the recent PlayIQ workshop organised by FisherPrice.
Some food-for-thought for me:

– “Play is not trivial. When children play, they’re doing important work.” ~ Fred Rogers

– “Children learn best when they have opportunities to have hands on experiences” ~Dr Jerlan Daniel

– Between the ages of 0 to 4, unstructured play is better than adult-led structured play. During the process, they would need to learn about boundaries and rules would need to be in place.

How toddlers play:

– Natural born explorers –> driven by intense curiosity
– Need safe, toddler proof environment
– Free time to investigate and experiment with toys and play items
– Get down on the floor!
– With others, solitary to parallel play
– Be enthusiastic and positive about your toddler’s curiosity and accomplishments (and minimise defeats)
– Play alongside you as you do chores –> provide life-like items for play
– Have conversations and encourage communication
– Learning through repetition (e.g. same story read over and over!)
– Read daily!

Foodie Friday: Chocolate Cookies

Got an idea to get Faith to be more involved in the kitchen by getting her to do some real work instead of rummaging through the drawers.

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Faith loves biscuits and she can just have them for her meals. Of course, the mother says NO to that idea but she can always have some as treats. I always have sheets of rolled sugar cookies in the freezer because you never know when you have guests or when your stomach calls for them! Besides, these sugar cookies can keep long in the freezer and yet can be ready to be munched in a short time.

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All you need are sheets of rolled sugar cookies dough, 2 round cutters of different sizes, a sheet pan and parchment paper/ silpat. After cutting the dough into circles, make a round mark using the smaller cutter.

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And then show the little one how to make holes using a sugarart tool. I thought this tool is just the right size for her. Note her concentration level and joy! Of course, you wont get nice buttons but it doesn’t matter!

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You can use toothpick too but it’s a tad too thin for Faith to use. Besides, you can’t make big holes with that.

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Faith gets to eat ONE cookie for her hard work!

There are so many recipes for sugar cookies on the Internet but this is the one I use.

230g unsalted butter
120g caster sugar
50g dark brown sugar, packed
1 egg
336g all-purpose flour
35g cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

1. Preheat oven to 180 degree Celsius.
2. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.
3. Cream the butter and sugars together for 2 minutes. Stop, scrape and cream for another ½ – 1 minute.
4. Beat in the egg until well combined.
5. Add the sifted flour mixture to the creamed mixture 1 cup at a time, beating after each addition.
6. When the last cup of flour is added, mix by hand. The dough will be stiff by now.
7. Divide dough in 2 balls and wrap in cling film until ready to use. (This dough will last 2 weeks in the refrigerator and up to 2 months in the freezer)
8. Bake at 180 degree Celsius for 10 – 12 minutes (depending on thickness of dough) or until the edge starts to turn brown.

Playdate resumes!

Our playdate resumed yesterday as the school term starts. It was only C and I but it was still fun!

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Our theme for this whole term is on colours so we got the kids to do leaf printing using Crayola’s washable paint. But before that, we got the kids to pick the leaves themselves and put them into a bowl. The little children needed some coaxing and much guidance to just pick up the leaves!

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 We settled at a sheltered area and set up our stuff – picnic mat, crayola paints, paper plates and wet wipes!

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Obviously, the kids needed much help from us. Little Faith didn’t like the idea of mess and I had to coax her to get her hands dirty for this task. And then, I saw the great difference between Ray and Faith. The boy painted his legs and hands as well while Faith looked on with disgust. Hah!

This is the next thing she did. Went to get a piece of wet wipes and cleaned her hands. No help required!

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3rd pic: Guess which piece belongs to Faith and Ray respectively?

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After the art session and cleaning up, we went on to Practical Life where we got the kids to scoop some jelly-like balls called water beads into their bowls.

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Gotta get hold of more of these water beads! Good to teach about colours and texture and use them for other teaching purposes.

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Getting ready to move to another site for our tea-break!
Reminder to self: teach Faith to wear her own shoes.

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We love the view of the reservoir. So we had a mini picnic here but had to move on since it was getting real hot!
Reminder to self: bring a hat along!

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Our last stop is at the nearby playground where the children made noise with the branches and the metal parts of the playground and expressed their artistic ability by drawing pictures on the sand.

Looking forward to the next playdate!

Home-made toy of the moment

As you dine out, don’t you wish that your toddler kids could sit in their chairs without making too much fuss? Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mean that we expect them to behave like adults who could occupy themselves with food and conversations. I know kids being kids, they would need to move (and fidget a lot they do!) since their attention span is only that long. So what do you do to occupy them?

I always bring along a small bag of goodies with me when I go out with Faith. When she gets bored, that’s when I dish out that bag, otherwise known as busy bag.

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If you can recall a previous post on toddler busy bag exchange, I actually went home with fourteen sets of homemade toys after that meetup. I must say that some toys are not that attractive to Faith while others captivated her more. I guess it all boils down to age-appropriateness.

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Of the 14 home-made toys, two stood out. They are the pom pom stuff in it and pipe cleaner. Faith takes a special interest in them and could spend at least half an hour on them. How awesome is that?

I don’t know what is the fascination about them. It could be the colours. It could be the excitement she gets when she can stuff the pom pom in. The pipe cleaner is a tad difficult for her. Instead of stuffing each wire into the small holes on the cap of the bottle, she just stuff all of them in without the cover. Easy and rather boring eh? But she likes doing it over and over and over again.

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Faith has been playing with these for a few weeks now and she hasn’t gotten bored of them. Just yesterday, I dished out these toys during Sunday service and she was playing with them quietly on her own until another younger girl joined in. Today, during an outing with her playmates, I took these out again while waiting for our lunch to be served and the older kids were enticed by these simple toys. Of course, they devised their own game using the same materials but hey, these home-made toys can be so versatile!

There are still others for Faith to explore and I’m taking my own sweet time to introduce them to her.

Try these toys on your child and see what happens!

Foodie Friday | On Fussy Eaters and Chocolate Almond Cupcakes

[This post contains a discount code on all book purchases at NoQ Store].

I haven’t been blogging about Faith’s 16th and 17th month’s progress. She is growing well. However, if there is one thing that really bothers me, it would be the fact that she has developed pickiness in foods.

Naturally, I’m concerned because she used to be a voracious eater and was willing to try ALL sorts of food. She loved to eat but all of a sudden, she decided that her favorite salmon isn’t going to be part of her diet and that she currently goes for bread more. She can articulate 面 包 (bread) really clearly by the way and she keeps repeating it until it irks you. She quite dislikes most forms of meat which is a cause of concern for me. Feeding her can sometimes be a chore and frustrates me to the core because she will spit out the food that is offered to her. I can almost hear my innermost being scream “NO!!!!”.

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She loves fishballs, Char Siew Pau (BBQ bun), bread, biscuits and fruits and doesn’t mind vegetables. But I can’t always feed these to her all the time. Issues of picky eating are related to how the child’s taste buds function. The five different taste buds have different levels of sensitivity, with one of those taste buds typically extra sensitive to a particular flavour. That is often the major factor in the emergence of pickiness and why some kids don’t like certain strong flavours in some vegetables or meats. The important thing is to keep trying the food with the little one, perhaps by varying the temperature or texture of the food, or by combining it with other foods that she likes.

And I did that.

I subscribe to how the French bring up the kids with reference to food, that we have to keep getting the kiddo to try the food because a child can’t be determined to dislike a particular food until they have tried it at least a dozen times. I am also aware that between the age of 12 to 24 months, it is actually the time to introduce the widest range of foods, colours, textures and flavours to a kid and is said to be the decisive year when what a kid eats will shape her eating habits for the rest of her life.

*Alarmed*

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Thankfully I stumbled upon this book which contains 300 easy-to-make meals. There aren’t a lot of beautiful photos of meals but when you really read the contents and look through the varied meals found in there, you realised that you are in for a treat. A lot of the recipes contain salmon, sardines, walnuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds, soybeans, seaweed and eggs, among others, *think high DHA Omega-3 fatty acids*, and I love how the author creates meals using ingredients found all over the world. It’s education for me too!

I went on to try and adapt some of the recipes. I find myself being inspired to create those dishes which are easy to prepare.

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My stir-fried macaroni with salmon and seaweed is inspired by her buckwheat noodle soup with seaweed and salmon while the steamed tofu meatballs are inspired by her sesame chicken with tofu and seaweed. There are so many other recipes that I want to try like Norwegian fish cakes, quinoa soup with cod and coconut mango millet bake, just to name a few.

The following is a Chocolate almond cupcakes recipe. The original recipe uses sesame seeds. Since I cannot be entirely sure if Faith is allergic to sesame seeds, I have switched it to ground almond. Thankfully, Faith likes them! They are not really sweet and for a while, I thought the little one would reject! Phew!

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Ingredients:20140428_141748
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 cup wholemeal flour
1/2 cup ground almond
2 tbsp ground flaxseeds
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
3/4 cup warm water
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 tbsp canola oil
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Slivered almond for decoration

1. Preheat oven to 190 C.

2. Prepare muffin tray with cupcake liners or use cupcake cases.

3. Sift together the cocoa powder, flour, flaxseeds, sesame, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

4. In another bowl, mix together the eggs, warm water, buttermilk, oil, brown sugar and vanilla until well-blended and smooth.

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5. Slowly add the flour mixture into the egg mixture and mix well.

6. Fill each cup 2/3 full with the batter and then sprinkle each with a few slivered slmond.

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7. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, and let cool.

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Just for you, dear readers: noq
If you are interested in this book or any other books, you can get them from NoQ Store. You will be entitled 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.
Nope, I’m not paid to advertise for this book. I just find it useful and want to share it with you! But we did get a few books for Faith via NoQ Store since they are more reasonably priced than the ones at the bookstores. Go on, get yourselves some books! 😉

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Reference: 
Shino, M. (2012). Smart bites for Baby: 300 easy-to-make, easy-to-love meals that boost your baby and toddler’s brain. Da Capo Press, Boston, MA.
Loh, C.G. (2013). Parenting without borders. Surprising lessons parents around the world can teach us. Avery.

Hong Kong Trip Day #4 + personal reflections

What do you guys normally do on the last day of your trip? So you have a few more hours before boarding the flight home, do you still do a lot of exploring or like us, shop till you drop?

I find that it has always been the case that the last day of the trip is to do some last-minute shopping. After all, we are to pack our luggage and by the last day, we know how much space we have left!

JH and I went to buy Wife Biscuits because our family members requested for them and we only go for this brand – HENG XIANG (HANG HEUNG). They are freshly baked and you would have to carry them on board. Yours truly did the unthinkable and packed the boxes of biscuits in the suitcase (my hands were full!) and well, you could imagine the crumbs.

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We checked in our luggage via the airport express before having lunch at Festive Walk shopping mall (Kowloon Tong MTR). JH highly recommended this restaurant – King’s Palace Congee & Noodle Bar that serves the best (according to her) Barbecued Pork with rice and we absolutely had to try it. I tell you, it is indeed delicious! The BBQ pork is tender and flavourful! We ordered some other stuff and they were all found in our stomach rather quickly. 

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We still had a few more hours to burn before we had to check in at the airport in the evening. We had wanted to have our tea at agnès b. but it was far too early for that @ 1pm. So we went over to PageOne cafe to have our caffeine fix. In the end, we didn’t have the chance to dine at agnès b. but I bought two cakes to share with my travelling companions. And what do you expect? I bake so I need to taste other cakes for research purposes. ;p Lovely cakes, I must say!

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I’m going back to HK again soon and I definitely will check into more restaurants and cafes at Festive Walk. I think I have better do some workout first before I put on weight!

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Our return flight is a bigger airbus and I must say it was comfortable travelling in it. As usual, we go the first row seat so that Faith could have some space to move about. She even had a kid’s meal which I find could be a tad healthier. ;p But that’s just me.

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Oh! By the way, the gate for SQ at the HK airport has an indoor play area for young kids. Awesome, isn’t it?

Till we meet again, HK!
Very soon!

What I’ve learnt from the trip (for reference):

1. There is no need to pack so many pieces of clothes for Faith (for fear that she would poo or get dirty often) because majority of the shopping is for her.

2. Will consider NOT bringing stroller the next time if we are not doing any trail or hiking. A carrier will do better. There are no escalators at some MTRs and it would be horrid to squeeze with the crowd along with a young kid and stroller. Get a good carrier instead!

3. If travelling in a group, can consider taking a cab and splitting the cost (it’s quite affordable). But travel during off-peak hours.

4. Late night flight is not good for Faith.

5. Bring sachets of instant coffee powder along as their local coffee is not to my liking.

6. Only introduce Faith’s favourite biscuits when the plane is about to take off, NOT while the plane is taxiing.

7. Watch the time and note when the plane is going to do the first descent (usually a few minutes after the pilot announced) as Faith could not deal with the air pressure well. Have to wake her up if she is napping and give her some food or water.

8. Wet wipes. Wet wipes. Wet wipes are very useful!

9. Don’t speak in Mandarin if possible. English is better if you don’t want to be mistaken as the mainland Chinese. The treatment is different, so I’ve heard (No offense to the Chinese; I love you).

10. Some eateries do not have (many) high chairs to go around so train the kiddo to sit on the adult chair.

Reflections:20140418_071214

Throughout the trip, Faith had been very cooperative and is a joy to travel with. I wonder whether that’s due to a new environment and she was constantly being engaged and thus less cranky. It could also be because I wasn’t on any schedule and was more at ease and thus could enjoy her more. It’s time to reflect. Have I been too busy for her that I could not enjoy her (at times) back home?

Related post(s):
– Travelling with a toddler: The packing list
– Hong Kong Trip Day #1
– Hong Kong Trip Day #2
– Hong Kong Trip Day #3

Hong Kong Trip Day #3

After a tired day yesterday, we took it easy and started the day a wee late and proceeded for breakfast at the local’s coffeeshop called 茶餐厅. The one that JH wanted to bring us was not open so we decided any other one would do. I have to point out to you that throughout the trip, it is JH who decided on the places to eat and she ordered for us because her Cantonese is the most fluent; she sounded like a local.
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The above are some of the common ones found at the 茶餐厅. Simple food though I feel they can be healthier. Hah. The coffee and tea aren’t like those back home. It feels almost like drinking carnation milk. :p No offence but really…

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 Our itinerary for today was to take a ferry to 长洲 (Chang Zhou island), one of the islands in HK. We were expecting sunny beaches, delicious seafood and some cafes for us to bum around. We could use the octopus card to take the ferry which is really awesome. No hassle in purchasing extra tickets. No queuing!

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On the way, we came across this joint. I so wanted to purchase a cup of coffee since I didn’t feel that I had my caffeine fix in the morning but well, we did have to run for the ferry, in a way, so I had to give it a miss. The ferry ride took us about slightly more than hour, in total. Thankfully the waters wasn’t too choppy.

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When we disembarked, we had a shock. The place was full of people! Who would have thought? It was a workday, after all. Hello!!! The sun was really harsh that day but explore, we did!

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Apart from the crowd, it’s quite fun exploring 长洲. You won’t get to see swanky buildings or upmarket shopping malls. It’s a village life here. Slow, simple and relaxing. Since I didn’t bring the stroller along (thankfully, I didn’t due to the crowd), I put Faith in the carrier which she was okay with it (she didn’t need to walk!).

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 We stopped by a B&B to have our caffeine fix. This is one place that had the coffee machine so we thought the coffee shouldn’t be anything bad. I had the latte but there’s not latte art on my cup. 😦 长洲 is one place that does not provide changing area for young children in their toilets and I realised that bringing along diaper pants would work better in this case. So the next time, it’s diaper pants I’m using on Faith!
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One of the many reasons why people visit 长洲 is to enjoy the beach. Sadly, we forgot to get dressed for this and in the end, just sat around to enjoy the sea breeze.

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It wasn’t long before we turn back to where the seafood restaurants were located. When you visit 长洲, this is one thing you have to do. The seafood is fresh and affordable! As we were on our way to the restaurant, we saw troupes of lion dance and we later realised from the locals that they were celebrating some Chinese festival (something to the effect of warding off evil). One group was doing their dance in front of our eyes as we consumed our seafood. Faith was apparently not affected but was entertained by the whole thing, the noise and all.

For the past few days, Faith had the opportunity to use various modes of public transportation and some being her first attempt – bus and MTR. #firstworldproblem. She was obviously intrigued by them so I guess this trip did her some good in terms of such exposure.

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On our way back, we decided to pack roast goose (my first time) home for dinner. But oh, what a lot of oil! I don’t think my stomach would allow more of them though!

Zzzzzzz…..

Related post(s):
– Travelling with a toddler: The packing list
– Hong Kong Trip Day #1
Hong Kong Trip Day #2

Hong Kong Day #2

This trip must have been the most stress-free one that I have ever had. Gone were the days when I woke up early to hit the streets. Now, I wake up early too but that’s because Faith decides to start the day early. My friends were still sound asleep when we woke up and we had our breakfast albeit quietly in the living room as JH roamed in lala land. To pass the time, Faith and I read or played with stickers until my friends woke up. I realised I actually enjoyed doing these things with her. Bliss!

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We set off, eventually, at around 10am to Shanghai Street (just a street down to where we were staying) where you can purchase baking stuff! Oh my goodness! I was so tempted to buy but knowing that we would be out the whole day, decided to control my excitement and noted mentally to go back.

It’s time for Dim Sum and JH suggested that we took a cab to Grand Century Place for our brunch. According to her, Jade Garden serves good food at affordable prices. When we reached the restaurant, there was already a queue but thankfully we didn’t have to wait too long before we get a table. 

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Shop 603, 6/F, Grand Century Place, 193 Prince Edward Road, Mong Kok 
旺角太子道西193號新世紀廣場6樓603號舖

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According to my two friends who are both Cantonese, the quality of a few Dim Sum items will determine if the restaurant serves good food. They are (to name a few): Steamed Chicken Feet, Barbequed Pork Bun, Shrimp 20140416_105402-1Dumplings, Pork and Shrimp Dumplings, Pork Spareribs in Black Bean Sauce, Rice Noodle Rolls, etc. They ordered those dishes and I must say we enjoyed the food tremendously. Faith was sound asleep throughout and I could have some peace, savouring these yummy food. It’s not uncommon to see folks spending a lot time having Dim Sum. For example, this couple next to our table had already been there for an hour and they were still there, reading newspaper and subsequently order two bowls of rice with one dish. They must have been spending both breakfast and lunch at the same place! For us, thanks to Faith, we spent about one and a half hours at the Dim Sum place to savour just a few items. Not bad!

After filling our stomach, the next best thing to do in HK is to SHOP! It’s to Uniqlo we went. This outlet at Grand Century Place is the biggest and you can imagine my joy! The greatest beneficiary is Faith since the collection was so much more than the ones back home. 80% of the stuff that I put in the shopping basket were hers.

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Faith was all excited too and wanted to come out of the stroller and roamed. It could get tiring since she couldn’t walk for a long period and needed to be carried. In the end, I had to strap her. Hiking in urban jungle! I must say I spend the most at Uniqlo. Ahem…

We had wanted to do some heritage trail for this trip and we decided on the Lung Yeuk Tau Heritage Trail, one of the six trails that HK offers. It is a good breather from the hustle and bustle of city life and grant us the opportunity to explore Hong Kong’s rural cultural heritage through monuments and buildings including walled villages, ancestral halls, study halls, shrines and temples.

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Thank God we brought along the stroller. I cannot imagine taking the trail with Faith in the carrier. And more importantly, the stroller survived the uneven terrain.

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Faith had some time at the playground! Who would have expected this place to have a play area for kids. Why, of course, there are still people residing here.

We spent a good few hours doing the trail. It wasn’t anything spectacular, to be honest. But it is a good getaway if you just don’t want to meet with crowded streets. We were tired after the trail. We have, after all, been out for a long time and by the time we reached our apartment, it was time for dinner. We ate at the small eatery next to our building, selling claypot porridge and cooked food. And I was introduced to the affluent prawns for the first time (not sure if this is actually the name). I realised too that some eateries in HK do not provide high chair or if they have, they have limited sets. So what they do is to stack chairs up and then Faith will sit on the improvised high chair. Thankfully, she sat through without much fidgeting. I think she knows the impending danger should she do that. ;p

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I’m not sure where we got the energy but we proceeded to shop along Temple Street after dinner. I brought along the stroller which was a HUGE mistake. It was really crowded and Faith was getting cranky since it was near to her bedtime and insisted to be carried. I had no carrier with me and had to carry her. Oh my poor back! Lesson learnt: bring carrier when going out in the evening.

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Australia Dairy Company 澳洲牛奶公司
47-49 Parkes Street, Jordan, Hong Kong
Tel: 2730-1356

We stopped by the Australia Dairy Company for our supper. According to JH, this place serves better steamed egg pudding than 义顺牛奶 and she recommended this place. We had the egg pudding but I’m not a fan of such a dessert. Perhaps, the next time I visit HK again, I’ll try the many other stuff on the menu. Heard that their scrambled eggs are good!

We finally reached home around 10 + pm with loads of shopping bags. We contributed to the economy by purchasing beauty products from Sasa. Hah! If only we could have a spa treatment then.

Related post(s):
– Travelling with a toddler: The packing list
– Hong Kong Trip Day #1

Hong Kong Day #1

We had an early flight to catch and had to be at the airport at 5.30am for our check-in. Getting the little one up wasn’t too difficult a task and we soon saw ourselves at the airport. To be honest, I was a little anxious. Will Faith cry throughout the flight? Will I be able to handle her? What if… 

I guess it would not help much if I was to continue to allow fear to grip me and decided that I should just trust that all would be well. JH had helped to book front row seats for us on the plane and that translated to more leg room and space for the little one to roam. I mean, how do you expect a toddler to stay in a seat throughout a flight?

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We brought the stroller along just in case we would be walking distance. It’s not those super lightweight ones but still light enough to travel with.

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We took Singapore Airlines because it was a rather last-minute purchase and it would amount to almost the same pricing if we went for the budget airlines. For comfort’s sake, we decided to pay a little more.

2014-04-15 12.11.56-MOTIONFaith was all right during the flight except for the fact that she cried for a good few minutes during the take off. I made the mistake of giving her favourite biscuits while the plane was still taxiing. She almost finished the whole packet and I had to stop her from consuming during the take off. She must have experienced air pressure and cried in her discomfort. Unfortunately, she rejected both water and milk and only wanted her biscuits which in the end I relented and gave her. That appeased her. 😉

After an uneventful flight, we reached HK! The girl was visibly tired and I had to strap her in the carrier. she fell asleep almost immediately which was good for us as we gathered our luggage and proceeded to Kowloon Station via the Airport Express Train which took a mere 25 minutes or so. From there, we took a cab to our apartment along Temple Street. Surprisingly, it was not expensive to travel around in a cab!

Our apartment is 5 minutes away from the MTR and there were many eateries and shops that we could frequent. Sha and I were too tired to roam around and JH kindly offered to buy lunch for us. They were delicious and seemed like comfort food to us – Wanton noodles, Char Siew buns, beef brisket noodles, etc.

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Supreme Beef Brisket Soup
Shop C, Wing Shing Bldg, 30-40 Temple St,
Yau Ma Tei, 
2771 2681.

We took to the streets after a rest. It was to Ladies Market and it was a near walk from our apartment. I used the stroller and within minutes, Faith slept like a log. I guess she was too tired. It wasn’t all that easy to use the stroller in crowded Hong Kong. In fact, there were only fewer than ten strollers that I saw along the way. Most of the time, carriers were used by parents with young kids.

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My last trip to HK was almost ten years ago and the streets don’t seem to have changed much. How is that possible?

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One of the things that I aimed to do is to taste these local food especially the smelly toufu! It’s extremely tasty in cold weather, me thinks! With the chilli sauce, they are just heavenly. Of course, we only had the toufu since we would be meeting a friend for dinner. Better save some space for that!

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Cravings satisfied! And Faith stayed soundly asleep in the sea of crowd. Bliss for us all!

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So we had hot pot for dinner. Absolutely delightful and I forgot to take down the name and address of the restaurant.

Related post(s):
Travelling with a toddler: The packing list

Travelling with a toddler : The packing list

I must have been out of my mind when I agreed to my friend’s suggestion of going for a holiday with the kid in tow. It’s crazy 20140405_145004because the hubs will not be going with me though I’m travelling with two close friends who are experienced with kids. The best arrangement is to have someone look after her while I have my break but we can’t find suitable and reliable childcare so she has to tag along! So technically, it’s a work trip for me!

I have been backpacking through all my leisure travels but this time round, I think I had better not be so ‘gungho’ (adventurous). The hubs bought me a suitcase so that it will be a tad easier for me to travel. Travelling with a little one can be challenging especially when she still cannot articulate her thoughts but I intend to give it a try!

We decided to go to somewhere near and which we are familiar with. So it’s Hong Kong for our dim sum, shopping and hiking!

Here’s my packing list for a 4D3N trip to this Asian country. It’s really more for Faith than me since I can easily buy should I lack anything.

Diapers. Bringing extra won’t hurt!

Wet wipes. At least one big pack and the rest can be bought.

– Blanket(s). I use Aden Anais’ muslin swaddle as blanket, changing pad and Faith’s comfort item.

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– Plastic bags. Carry a variety of sizes for storing soiled diapers, clothes, and shoes.

– Small bottles of disinfecting hand gel and toiletries

– Toys and books. I definitely won’t be bringing a lot since my only main concern is to get Faith entertained during the flight journey. This jigsaw book is one I would definitely bring on board!

– Clothes, socks, and shoes. Thankfully, the weather is rather similar to ours and what’s good is that it is cooler. I would just need to bring along some cardigans or we can layer as we go along!

Handkerchiefs as bibs. Faith is drooling lots at times so these will help a lot.

– Portable ‘chair‘. I use the sack and seat especially when the eatery does not provide high chair.

First aid kit. This is ultra important when travelling with a young kid – Baby paracetamol / ibuprofen, digital thermometer, vicks, etc.

Stroller. I know HK isn’t the best place to travel with a stroller but I’m not sure if I can carry her all the way. A light-weight one such as the Combi’s QuicKids is ideal. It’s only 4kg. I can manage that!

Carrier. What can I do without it? I travel everywhere with the carrier and I just adore Boba’s fuss-free carrier! We will be doing some hiking and this will definitely come in useful!

Here’s a peek at the interior of the suitcase.

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And here’s what I bring on board the plane (I’m a kiasu mama):

– 3 diapers (I know Faith will poo)
– wet wipes (saviour)
– Storybook20140414_223158
– 1 jigsaw puzzle
– stickers
– Faith’s favourite bars and biscuits
– water bottle
– milk powder
– camera
– passports
– Faith’s Care Bear
– wallet
– plastic bags

Let’s just see if I have overpacked in the end. Stay tuned!

Toddler Busy Bag Exchange (under 3YO)

I was introduced to this term – Busy Bag Exchange – via a meetup and thought the idea is brilliant.

Basically, a busy bag is a simple, fun and age appropriate activity that will keep your child engaged for a while. You can throw one in your bag to take out at a restaurant, on an airplane, use it at home or somewhere else when you need some time to get something done! This, this and this are cool examples.

In an exchange, each parent chooses a busy bag to work on and give to all the other parents at the exchange. During the exchange they swap bags and each gets to leave with a variety of activities for his/her toddler!

toddlerbags[via]

I’m listing the various activity ideas and hopefully I’ll be able to work on some in preparation for Faith’s homeschooling activities.

Oh what busy and fun days ahead!

My kid is going to school!

2 January, a day when my FB was swarmed with posting of friends whose kid is placed in Primary 1 or Nursery or Kindergarten. Pictures of the kids in well-ironed uniforms, white pairs of shoes and new bags were all over the page. “My baby is going to school!”

Normally on this day, I would be busy receiving these students. Many were excited while some cried, refusing to let go of their caregivers. It would be a challenging and undoubtedly exhausting day for the teachers. But today, I no longer do that. Instead, I hung out with Faith. And from this day forth, there would be less of staying at home but more of outdoor activities.

I have decided to make it a routine to bring Faith out for morning walk on alternate days. This is a good way to tell her about the park – from what she sees, hears, smells and touches. Thankfully, the reservoir is within walking distance from our apartment. And boy, was she happy to be out.

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She was mesmerized by the aunties who were doing some stretching exercises and sat there watching there for a good 10 minutes. Then we proceeded to the boardwalk where she took the opportunity to climb up and down the stairs. Then there is the playground near our block of flats and she had a great workout there! All these took us 1.5 hours. Amazing!

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The little one was so tired that after a shower, she felt asleep quite immediately which was really awesome! Finally, I had some time to myself!

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 A few minutes into Faith’s sleep, sis called me out for lunch. Dayen, the younger son had just completed his first day of school and he didn’t cry! Brave one!

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We dined at the coffeeshop where my uncle and auntie had a stall each. Wanton mee! Mom was there too and I could eat in peace for a while.

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It’s so wonderful that the cousins are finally back because Faith has got company! More cars, planes and trains! After lunch, I brought Faith to the library which she loves. Not necessarily reading though. But I guess that’s a good start. Reading begins at home!

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 So, there you have it. Faith’s first day of moi’s homeschooling effort. Hah!

Will be recording daily activities via Dayre from now on.

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Yogurt bread

All thanks to the little one, I have found another bread recipe that is both suitable and easy to bake. It’s also a bonus that they are really, really very soft!!!

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The other day, I was mentioning how Faith does not want to drink milk anymore to my Church’s cell group members and one of them, an early childhood educator, shared a recipe with me. It’s from her coursemate who always feeds them with bread and other goodies. So I popped over to the link and love the ingredients used – yogurt and milk! They are what Faith needs now!

To make the bread more substantial in terms of taste and nutrients, I have added 1/2 tablespoon of Chia seeds and 1/4 cup of raisins.

This is my version:

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250g bread flour
15g castor sugar
3g salt
3g yeast

(B)
100g flavoured yogurt ( I used Yoplait’s yogurt @ room temperature)
60g fresh milk (at room temperature)
25g egg (about half an egg)

(C)
30g butter at room temperature

(D)
1/2 tbsp Chia seeds
1/4 cup raisins

1. Place ingredients in (A) into the standmixer and using a dough hook, mix them for about 10 seconds.

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2. Add in ingredients in (B) and mix, on medium speed, until a dough is formed.

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3. While continuing to mix, add in (C) and mix on high for about 5 minutes. Towards the end of the mixing, add (D). When the dough does not stick to the sides of the bowl anymore and has passed the window pane test, it is ready.

4. Turn out the dough and give it a final few kneads, shape it into a ball and place it into a lightly greased bowl. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth or cling-wrap and leave it to proof in a warm place till double its size (about 1 hour).

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5. When proofing is completed, punch down the bread dough to release the air.

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6. Divide the dough into small portions of about 70g. Shape each portion into a smooth ball and placed them into a loaf pan.

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7. Cover the loaf pan with a cling wrap and allow the dough to go for second proofing until double its size again.

8. Egg wash the top of the buns.

9. Bake in preheated oven at 170-180C for 20 minutes until the top turns golden brown.
10. Remove bread from loaf pan to cool completely.

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I suspect I will be using this basic dough for other flavours! Yay!

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And this is Faith, enjoying {shredding} the yogurt bread.