Friday, 29 September 2017

Introduction to POSB Smart Buddy Programme - Should You Fear It?

In this day and age, technology is something we have to embrace.  Trying to work against it might bring fears and resistance.  But if I were to work around it, look at it positively, life will be much better right?

Frankly speaking, I went to the introduction of the POSB Smart Buddy Programme with a hint of skepticism.  When I first heard of this programme, my initial fears were about the inability to learn counting money due to the lack of contact with it, understanding the concepts of paying and getting back the change.  And of course, the touch and feel of real money and what it meant.


As the world's first in-school savings and payments wearable programme for primary school kids, it is essentially a watch with features.  For the child to pay his food at the school canteen or bookshop, track his steps and in-school location.  Now, this is only available at selected schools who have embarked on the journey.  

Hearing from other parents whose children are using this in their primary schools, it was not that all negative.  To me, the features such as tracking a child's steps, knowing his location is a yes for me.


A chargeable by USB wearable, this watch is easy to set up.  Simply download the app from the different smartphones' app store, activate the payment chip that goes into the watch and viola, the rest is a breeze.




We were unable to test the payment out in the school as D's school is not in the programme but I understand that parents set a daily allowance and when the child uses it at the school canteen, the amount used will be automatically deducted.  Parents can track what the child spends on and what he / she bought.  This definitely eliminates the "trust" issue because it's all known.  

If I am the parent on this programme, I will tell the child to just let me know what he wants to buy.  I mean, we all grow up and went through this phrase whereby we secretly bought that country eraser or pretty clip and hide it from our parents. However, there is no need to with this as we will all be able to know what is bought.  From there, we can explain to the child on how he should be spending his allowance and hopefully, he understands the logic of saving. 


Now, this feature is what D exclaims is the coolest.  The steps tracker.  I have never tracked his steps and am amazed that each day, he takes about 6000 steps,  From this number, I can actually tell a few things - whether he was active in school or was unwell and not moving much.  Not that it is real-time but I guess, it gives that little insight of what he does in school, apart from just him saying, "I went to the field to play! or "I was not feeling very well so I sat at the canteen during recess time.".

I wish that the watch is introduced on a larger scale basis.  I would like to see how it can include the locator feature island-wide - not to the extent of the exact position real-time, but at least for primary school children, the ability to track when they reach and exit school, board and alight the public transport and from there, we will be able to know how long it takes to reach home or if they are home.


Beyond the fears of children not being able to count money, we should look at the prospects of this watch, and I think, "when you can't fight them, why not join them?" (in terms of technology) and make it a better wearable for the better of our children.


Disclosure: We were given a POSB Smart Buddy for the purpose of this review.  All photos and opinions are true to my own unless otherwise stated.

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Wednesday, 27 September 2017

My Little Climbing Room - A Place to Climb All You Want

A new indoor playground just sprouted in the North East of Singapore!


With colourful walls, it was a pleasant sight.  Initially, my first thoughts was the small area.  However, it was enough to keep the children occupied.  Space is never an issue to children indeed!

My Little Climbing Room is a perfect place to expend those energy of the little ones.  Catered to children from 0 to 12 years old, I thought it was perfect for ages 5-7.  The older ones may be able to complete everything in a very short while and that is why, there are challenges for them.


Looking at these walls, it is really not easy.  But with encouragement from the parents, it is not impossible to ring the bell for the 5/6 years old.  Because E managed to do it.

Some parents may think that the instructors should be assisting with the rock climbing but in fact, the folks at My Climbing Room encourage parents to be part of the fun as the children definitely will feel safe with us and it is also a good opportunity to bond with the kids.


I really like these slightly shorter walls as it was through these that E found the confidence to attempt the taller ones.  We were all initially very enthusiastic to try the tall 4-meter walls but halfway up, boys felt initimidated, and felt they could not do it.  After rounds of 'games' at the number wall, interactive wall and obstacle wall, they felt braver.



Limited to only 15 children and 15 adults per 90-minute session, one probably think that there are not enough walls or things to do.  Don't worry as there are other 'ground' toys at their Wheelie Zone, where children learn balance and coordination while playing.

During the 90-minute session, the first 30 minutes will be free play.  The next 30 will be group games (read:parents rest) and the last 30 minutes will be another round of free play.

A total of 1 hour to complete this challenge card to redeem a mystery gift!  Don't all kids love a challenge? 



More details as follows:

- Weekday sessions are unlimited play time.  Woohoo!  Group games will be conducted every 2 hours.
- Each admission pass admits one child and one adult.  Additional adult is at $5 each.
- Multi passes are available and are transferrable.  So if your children loves climbing or moves non-stop, good deal!
- Parties can be hosted there so check it out with the staff at My Little Climbing Room.

My Little Climbing Room is having their Grand Opening on 30 September 2017!  This for that weekend (30 Sep and 1 Oct), admission passes are discounted!  At just $15 each (usual: $22), there will be free popcorn, candy floss and special prizes for the children speed competitions.

Book online now here and online booking is highly recommended due to the limited capacity.  You would want a fuss-free play time right?

Do not forget grip socks!!!



Disclosure: We were invited by My Little Climbing Room for the purpose of this review.  No monetary compensation was received.  All photos and opinions are true to my own unless otherwise stated.

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Monday, 25 September 2017

5th Brick-Versary @ LEGOLAND Malaysia!

Happy 5th Birthday, LEGOLAND Malaysia!


It has been 5 years.  I remembered the first time we stepped foot in September 2012, with E in stroller and the many rides that the 2 of them couldn't take.  5 years later, we are back here again, with many rides done and dusted.  But pending their opening of a new exhibit!

This 5th Brick-Versary, there are many many activities going on.  Before the celebrations end on 30 September 2017, make a trip down!  If not, I am sure October will bring the Halloween events and activities.

First up, let's take a photo with the giant birthday cake and at the same time, contribute to the "making" of it.


You get a memorabilia once you completed a part of the "cake".  :)


You know how sometimes we have certain Lego Minifigures that we do not really fancy?  Well, have it traded here at selected timings!  There are many different kinds!



Apart from the existing rides, mascots appearances, one must try ride is the pretty new Ninjago Ride.  The first ever cutting edge 4D indoor ride in Asia, the children love it!  We adults thought it was very cool too.

That's not all!  Every visitor gets a goodie coupon and guess what?!  Scratch it and you could be the lucky guest to win an all-expense paid trip to LEGOLAND Japan for your family.  There are also others like discounts or free merchandise with a certain amount of purchase.  A good time and place to get your Lego collections!


Disclosure: We were invited to the event at LEGOLAND Malaysia.  No monetary compensation was received.  All photos and opinions are true to my own unless otherwise stated.

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Thursday, 7 September 2017

For the Love of Ngor Hiang


As I grow older, I tend to reminisce about my younger days, days when my late grandma was still around and cooked much.

My paternal grandma was a good cook, cooking most of our meals while Mum works.  During festivities, she, my mum and aunts will cook up a storm.  Curry chicken, pork stomach soup, ketchup prawns, fried beehoon, ngor hiang, Hokkien popiah and so much more...  Sometimes I wonder if such "traditional" food aren't learnt by our generation, will we or our children ever get to eat them next time...

Just that day, I was missing Ngor Hiang.  I have never made them.  Ate a lot of them though.  So I ringed Mum for help!  


These cannot be compared to those bought outside.  Because homemade are always the best.  Initially thinking it is going to be difficult, but it was not!  In fact, I made a batch and kept some to be air fried another day.


I do not know if you ever have such a problem, but recipes passed down to me are 80% about estimation.  My Mum will say, "agak-agak" a.k.a estimate.  :D


Ngor Hiang

Ingredients:
8 prawns, de-shelled and chopped
500-600g minced pork
6 water chestnuts, peeled and chopped (I liked mine with the crunchy bite so I do not chop them too finely)
1.5 tsp five spice powder
1/4 tsp white pepper powder
1.5 tbsp corn flour
1 piece of dried bean curd sheet, cut into rectangles of desired size
1 egg

Method:


1. Combine everything except dried bean curd sheet and mix.  Leave aside.
2. Wipe the dried bean curd sheets with a damp cloth to remove some of its saltiness.  Do not use a wet cloth or the bean curd sheet may tear.
3. Fill the middle of each bean curd sheet with about 2 tbsp mixture.  For a Ngor Hiang the size as shown.
4. Fold the sides in.  Lift the side nearest to you and roll tightly inwards into a roll.


5.  Steam the rolls for about 15 minutes, or till the meat is cooked.

I love to eat steam Ngor Hiang actually.  Much more than fried ones.  It isn't that difficult to make them, just more work than stir frying and steaming.  



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Tuesday, 5 September 2017

{Media Invite} Changi Loves Kids - I Kid You Not!

Changi Loves Kids - I Kid You Not!

I am sure you know how much we love to hang out at Changi Airport.  Many times, I hear my boys saying, Mummy, so and so said they went to the airport on Saturday.  So I guess, many love our award winning airport.

This September school holidays, Changi Airport is set to wow children with their Changi Loves Kids Carnival.  From now until the Children's Day weekend, get ready to have fun at our own airport with games and rides.  There are dining specials too!
  

Carnival operating hours:

31 Aug - 10, 16, 17, 23, 24, 30 Sep & 1, 6 - 8 Oct : 12noon to 11pm daily
15, 22, 29 Sep : 6pm to 11pm

Apart from the Carousel, Heli Jet Ride and Western Train, there are these carnival games.  Looks easy but not!  The boys love these and tried hard to win a prize.



Each capsule in the claw machine contains a note and if you are lucky enough, you may win something!  I heard that there are Sea Aquarium tickets and Nanoblock!


Purchase of carnival passes is available at the ticket counters at the carnival area located at Terminal 3, near Departure Hall check-in row 11.  Each pass is S$10 and allows the holder access to any four rides or games.  Alternatively, one may redeem by presenting a maximum of two same-day receipts with a minimum spend of S$60 (S$80 for supermarkets) from any Changi Airport Public Area retail or F&B outlet to redeem three carnival passes.  Other terms and conditions apply and more information can be found here.

I thought the easiest way to redeem the carnival passes is by eating at one of their F&B outlet.  And to sweeten the deal, at some of the F&B outlets, kids dine for free - on weekends between 11am and 2pm during the carnival period.

There are lots of food outlets that offer kids menus.  From japanese to western.  From rice to burgers.  And one of the food outlets that is participating in "kids dine for free" programme is the famous Hello Kitty Orchid Garden.  With every adult main ordered, the child gets a complimentary kid's meal.

With a newly launched Kids Menu, no better time to visit them but now, right?!


One of the favourites among children, the Holy Macaroni is a hit with E.  Thumbs up!  And the portion is good for him.


There is always room for waffles, I do not know why.  And children love waffles.



The adults' main courses which we thought were pretty good.  For a theme cafe, this is pretty decent.



Rain or shine, the Airport is always a great place to go.  Bias I know, but that's because we really love going to the airport.  :)


Disclosure: We were invited to the event at Changi Airport.  No monetary compensation was received.  All photos and opinions are true to my own unless otherwise stated.

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Friday, 18 August 2017

{Media Invite} Fun Shooting with My Adventure Buddy

One fine Saturday, we stepped foot on South Beach Avenue.  Our first time there, we wondered what's in store for us.

It is always good fun attending events by Canon Singapore.  And this time, together with our new Adventure Buddy, Charmander (whom we affectionately call Cha), we ventured on what we initially thought was uncharted waters but were proved otherwise in that 1.5 hours.


Hello, Cha!
All photos watermarked "ilovedefamily" were taken using the Canon EOS M10.  Before we look at the photos taken, well, this is a camera that even my littlest can handle.  Compact and light at only approximately 300g, no doubt it fits little hands.




Come on, let's go on adventure with Cha!

A picture paints a thousand words.  Let's sit back, relax and let Cha brings us his story of how he became part of the B.C.D.E family.


Are we gathering here?  Or am I lost?

Who is that?  Alone?

Using the creative filters on EOS M10, we used the fish-net and miniature effects on the above first and second photos respectively.  #NoEdit except probably for some cropping, I really like how the photos turn out with the effects - totally on point on what we wanted to portray.

Let's continue on the story of the lost Charmander...


Maybe, we should go this way...


You asking me to go that way, little guy?
And we found our family.


Welcome Cha!
South Beach Avenue is a place for OOTD shots - beautiful backgrounds, abundant sunlight (when there's no rain of course).  Armed with just the correct compact camera, one can achieve much.  Do you know that our family photo taken above is done so using the remote function of the EOS M10?

Thank you Canon for inviting us to this event.  If not for this, I am unsure if we will take such memorable photos.  


Pretty impressed by this little imp who sits right there, among a crowd.

User-friendly, this camera has great potential of more beautiful photos and this photo of us simply shows how much we enjoyed the photo-taking, and the camera.




Disclosure: We were invited to the event by Canon Singapore.  No monetary compensation was received.  All photos and opinions are true to my own unless otherwise stated.



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Sunday, 6 August 2017

Cold Storage Kids Run 2017

The family loves going for family runs.  Since a baby in the stroller, B and I brought them out for family runs often.  Then, the number of family runs were not as many as what we have today.

One of the runs that have been around since we started our family runs is the Cold Storage Kids Run. At it's 10th edition this year, the crowd was massive!  It is heartening to see both the young and the old coming together for a great morning workout.  Be it a walk or a run, it is definitely both a healthy lifestyle and a great bonding time together.  What can be better than this?!



Who doesn't like rewards?  A medal to encourage the next run, to prove an achievement and a reminder that we reap what we sow.




The Kids Run is a very family oriented run.  With children in mind, there are lots of activities for the children.  Even milk is free for the keen little ones.



The run was carried out in different waves - one for each age group.  The good of it being that similar ages, similar capability and thus, probably easier to run.  The bad?  B had to run with E and D with me as we fall under 2 different categories.  So it was not exactly a family run.  


This run, D was tripped over by another kid and fell.  Instead of whining, he picked himself up and ran again.  Sometimes, kids show us the resilience we thought they do not have.  And I am guilty of that.


End of the day, though we were all sweaty and smelly, we thought we had much fun.  A good workout too.  We definitely welcome more family runs.  Of course, I am sure if the runs are priced reasonably, many will be interested too.


Disclosure: We were invited to the event.  No monetary compensation was received.  All photos and opinions are true to my own unless otherwise stated.

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