Thursday, 30 July 2015

Feeling Thankful and Onwards to a Healthier Lifestyle

When people see me with 2 boys, they ask me:  Are you going to try for another girl?

I smile and say no.  Even if we do decide to have No. 3 and it's a boy, so be it!  Disappointed?  Maybe a tiny bit but it's fine as long as the boys are healthy and happy.  That's what is important to us.  

Well, then people say… girls will be closer to Mummy and will have Mummy's heart (filial, doting and the list goes on).  Yes, maybe.  I am already resigned to the fact that I shall go shopping with my sister and friends in future!  Hahahahahaha  but who knows right?  The future's unknown.

For the record, I am not saying yay to boys and nay to girls.  What I would like to state is that regardless of the gender, each kid is different.  Thus, it is important to look beyond the behavior / personality associated with the different genders and this is why I am thankful for my two boys:

After discovering the emoji on our iPhones, the boys like sending them to Daddy if they lay their hands on my phone and vice versa.  It is particularly heartwarming when D ended it with something lovely, all typed on his own.  Boys can be really sweet too.  :)



They remind me that soft drinks are on the top of the food pyramid and I should stop drinking them.  They nag at me when they see me drinking a certain brand so I stop buying and drinking at home.  I think it's fair - just like I do not want them to go against me for something that is wrong, I should respect them as well (when they are not wrong).

I started jogging.  In a bid to living healthier and also to fight off the lethargy I have been feeling, I thought it is time to move more.  And guess what?  The boys decided to do so too!  They are now the ones who tell me that we should exercise (although maybe they wanted the playground fun after each long walk / jog.. haha).

"Sometimes being a brother is even better than being a Superhero" - Marc Brown
Helping the brother with his shoes even though he irritates him no end, fights and squabbles with him every other day.

I could go on about the things they have done.  E is especially affectionate.  He has no qualms about showing his affection in the public, but only to us and he is a boy.  

So if you ask me, No, I would not want it any other way.  Because:

Today you are YOU
That is TRUER than true
There is NO ONE alive
who is YOUER than YOU!
- Dr Seuss



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Sunday, 26 July 2015

What to Do During this SG50 Golden Jubilee Long Weekend~~

Everyone's looking forward to the long weekend in August.  4 off days for many.  :)  And I think many are so looking forward to the National Day Parade and all the activities.  Surprisingly, I do not know of many that are flying out of the country during this period.  Thus, if you are going to be in Singapore during this long weekend, I am sure there will be no lack of places to go and things to do.




United Square, the only niche mall for kids, will be having activities over the long weekend and all the way till 17 August 2015.  

Plunge into the depths of the blue and set foot in one of the most fascinating and unique worlds as United Square brings you an exclusive 'live' performance on an underwater adventure with The Little Mermaid.  You get to Meet and Greet The Little Mermaid and many others after the performance!

6 Aug to 17 Aug 15

The Little Mermaid's Tale 'Live' Show
Monday to Friday - 1pm & 7pm
Saturday and Sunday - 1pm, 5pm & 7pm

Workshop sessions
Monday to Friday - 3pm & 5pm
Saturday and Sunday - 3pm

There will be no shows, Meet & Greet and workshops on Wednesdays.

Spend $50* in a single receipt which entitles you to one workshop session and a Meet & Greet pass on the same day.  Limited passes will be issued 30 minutes before each workshop and an hour before each show.  Workshop is recommended for kids aged 4 and above.  Remember to bring your own camera!!!


*T&Cs apply


Source : Families for Life Facebook

Families for Life has been organizing monthly picnics in the parks around Singapore for the past 1 year.  On 7 August 2015, the SG50 Picnic will be held at 4 different parks - West Coast Park, Pasir Ris Park, Sembawang Park and Marina Barrage and there will be lots of activities such as bouncy castles, roving buskers and many more. 

You may wish to register to receive an exclusive Families for Life funpack.  Terms & conditions apply.  Whilst stock last so check out their Facebook for registration details.




At Sentosa, the Golden Jubilee is a celebration everyday.  Take the opportunity to visit Sentosa as it is free entry via the Sentosa Broadway everyday till 31 December 2015.  Or if you drive, it's free drive-in after 5pm for car and taxis on weekdays (excluding Public Holidays) till 31 December 2015.

For the Golden Jubilee weekend, entrance to the Sentosa Merlion attraction is Free on 8 August 2015 (opening hours: 10am to 8pm) and on 10 August 2015, there is Free Cable Car Joyrides (operating hours: 8.45am to 10pm - last boarding at 9.30pm).

Source : NParks Website
At the Singapore Botanic Gardens, the Singapore Jubilee will be celebrated in a 3 day carnival with performances from 7 August to 9 August 2015.  Carnival with activities such as face painting, henna, caricature, free concerts and outdoor movie screenings will take take in the UNESCO World Heritage Site.  And there will be local delights!  Chicken Rice, Laksa, Satay, Tandoori Chicken and the list goes on...

Admission is Free and please check here on the performance timings as well as the Shuttle Bus services available.

I am sure there are lots more activities that will be going on during the long weekend and even after that.  Do drop me an email if you know of any and I will be updating this space too.  


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Sunday, 19 July 2015

Singapore in the 60s - An Illustrated Book


All thanks to The Influencer Network, I manage to get my hands on the limited edition illustrated book "Singapore in the 60s" by James Suresh, a best-selling and co-creator of Mr. Kiasu.


"Singapore in the 60s" is a personal recollection of life in the sixties, illustrated wonderfully by the author's friend Syed.  

It is an easy read.  But it brought back lots of memories.  Though I am not born in the 60s, I could relate to some of them - the recreation activities such as spider fights, five stones, skipping rope and many more which were definitely introduced to us by our parents and peers.  

Written and illustrated in 217 pages, each illustration is accompanied by a paragraph or two of vivid descriptions.  It kind of transports me back to the 1960s, trying to imagine how life was it then.  Definitely not as advanced as today, but probably a kind of experience and some kind of joy that only those born then understand.


When I mention about the night soil collectors to my Mom, she told me of her story.  It probably brought back the pleasant yet unpleasant memory of hers.  :)  I am sure many of those who grew up in that era will be smiling while going through this book.  Having gone through the times then, this book is akin to taking a walk down memory lane.  




I could relate to this!!!  Kachang puteh!  And where are these sellers now?  Mr. Suresh got it all right that how I wish my boys get to experience it now.  Time to read a few pages each time as the boys' bedtime stories, to let them imagine how life was then and to let them know that life then was not just like it is today.

Totally adore this illustration - our very own Singapore Botanic Gardens, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  If the younger generation could not relate to anything else in this book, this, they will definitely will.  And I am hoping that they will come to realize that some things in life are simple and remain unchanged - no matter whether they are in the 60s or now.  


Easy to read, vivid descriptions, brilliant illustrations.  B and I took about an hour each to read.  Highly recommending it to the young for it tells of an era where life, though simple and innocent, can be of much fun too.  

I am glad to know that 4500 out of the 5000 printed books will make their way to school libraries.  Mr. Suresh intends to donate the remaining books to his former primary school, secondary school as well as other institutions where he pursued his studies.  So, yup, they will not be available for sale in bookstores.  


Though it is not available for sale, you may still be able to obtain one if you are really keen to read more about life in the sixties.  

Because The Influencer Media is having a contest on their Facebook page.  Find out more about it here and good luck!  


Disclosure: We were given a copy of "Singapore in the 60s" for review purposes.  No monetary compensation was received.  Unless otherwise stated, all opinions and photos are true to my own.

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Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Tee-Saurus - Family Matching Tees!

[Sponsored]



The people behind Tee-Saurus are inspired by ideas.  They bring about designs that are distinct and they are set to bring on a smile on their wearers, just like their signature Rawr, the cheeky and mischievous T-Rex.

Being very "into" dinosaurs and after the much fanfare of Jurassic World, the boys were the happiest to receive these tees.  And if you know me well enough, you will realize that I adore family matching tees!  Especially for the boys.

We wore it to Legoland Malaysia on a very hot day (it's hot these days, isn't it?).  Made with 100% cotton, I was so glad the boys did not complain of any discomfort wearing them.

Apart from Rawr the T-Rex design, there are also other dinosaur designs for the kids, as well as many quirky and unique SG50 tees.  I can so relate to the ones with the dragon playground, PCK, ice kachang designs.

Source : Tee-Saurus

Source : Tee-Saurus

Source : Tee-Saurus
Check out their designs HERE and if you are interested, simply add to cart and it's all done within a few clicks!




Disclosure: We were given a set of family tees by Tee-Saurus for review purposes.  No monetary compensation was received.  Unless otherwise stated, all opinions and photos are true to my own.

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Friday, 10 July 2015

{Giveaway} Jewels in the Tale by I Theatre

Credit: I Theatre
[Sponsored Post]

If you have read about my post regarding The Gingerbread Man or even attended the play yourself, you would probably know that I Theatre will be presenting Jewels in the Tale from 17 to 30 August 2015 at the newly renovated Alliance Française Theatre, Singapore.

Jewels in the Tale - tales of Emperors, Dragons, Frogs, Prawns and Thieves and many more… tales from all around the region, each told in a different style.  

Be blown away by the performers' energetic performance and the showcase of masks and puppetry.  

Be mesmerized by the beautifully crafted stories for the young ones while the older ones gets engaged with the interesting morals.  

Bringing you The Crane's Gratitude from Japan, Tenali Raman and the Three Thieves from India and The Four Dragons from China amongst others, Jewels in the Tale is set to educate, enchant, engage and entertain! 

Recommended for all ages 4 and above, remember to book your tickets now at Sistic!

For all my readers, I have TWO sets of TWO tickets each to Jewels in the Tale on 22 August 2015, 2.30pm to give away.



To enter:

1.
Leave a comment on the corresponding Facebook post and share why you want to bring your child(ren) to the show.

2. Bonus!!!  Follow me on Instagram and regram the corresponding image for an extra chance!  :)


Giveaway ends 24 July 2015, 8pm.


Please note:

- Winner will be chosen at random

- Tickets are not exchangeable for cash or for other showtimes, unless otherwise notified by the sponsor.

- As the play takes place in Singapore, the giveaway is open to Singapore residents only.

- Winner will be announced on blog, Facebook and notified by email.  Please respond within 48 hours, failing which, a new winner will be chosen.  

- Tickets are to be self-collected.  Location of collection will be stated in the email.

Good Luck! 

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Tuesday, 7 July 2015

10 + 2 Tips on How to Enjoy Hong Kong Disneyland

Hong Kong Disneyland - the Happiest Place on Earth should be enjoyed, right?  




1.  Buy a 2-day pass, especially if you and / or the children are Disney fans.  It makes the discovery less rush and I enjoyed every bit of the 2-day pass.

2.  Weather is ever changing now.  Dress according to the weather.  We were there in November last year which was supposed to be turning slightly chilly.  However, it was still pretty hot during the day.  

3.  There are 2 shows that are must-watch - Festival of the Lion King and The Golden Mickeys Presented in Disney's Storybook Theatre.  Please make time for both of them.



4.  We were there for the whole day on the first day.  Knowing the boys will whine and complain, we rented strollers.  We did not want to spoil our day at Disneyland knowing that they will complain of being tired and neither do we want to carry them.  



5.  If you like taking photos with the Disney characters, I am sure buying the Disney PhotoPass card will be a great investment.  We bought the PhotoPass Plus with all digital downloads in a day for HKD398.  Note that if you are there for 2 days, remember to buy one each day as photos stored in the PhotoPass card is only valid on the day the photo is taken.


We had lots of fun photo-taking with Mickey Mouse and gang!  




6.  Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Pluto, Donald Duck and some others will appear at the Fantasy Gardens all at one time at certain timings.  Thus, if you are a real fan, remember to check the timings and  be there to catch them!



7.  The Disney Characters are a very friendly bunch!  They interact with almost everyone who queued to capture a photo or 2 with them.  So, please be nice.  Do not rush, do not try to jump the queue, do not complain.  You will get your chance too and it will be a pleasant experience for everyone.  

For the kids, this is just so real and just so awesome.  To be able to see their favourite characters come alive and interact with them.  Be it just a couple of minutes.


8.  Spend time in the shops.  Sometimes it's in these places you see one of the happiest faces, whether an item is bought or not.




9.  Did you spot something on E's tee?



If you or your child(ren) like stickers, you will be delighted to know that the cast members in Hong Kong Disneyland hands out stickers when approached.  Everyone holds different characters, some are common, some aren't.  Thus, for outspoken kids out there, go ask for one but be courteous, okay?!  

10.  There are many attractions in the Park.  One of the rides which is all ages friendly and definitely my to go in every Disneyland I have been to is "It's a Small World".  Children will enjoy the ride and everyone will come out humming the song happily.  Try it and tell me if you feel so too.


11.  Food is not cheap in Disneyland.  It is all the same with any theme parks around the world.  The consolation - they are cute.  If you have a Magic Access card, remember to use it as you get discounts!





12.  Parades and fireworks!  There are two parades everyday, I think.  Be there to watch for the atmosphere is really good.  I told B when we were watching that no doubt it's the Happiest Place on Earth.  The songs, the performers' smiles, the dances and the floats - it makes everything all so exciting and simply put, happy.

Personally, I like the Night Parade at 7.45pm.  It is just so magical.  Don't miss it if you can!





This is It!  Just relax, enjoy the time at Hong Kong Disneyland and be like a kid once more.




Read here about our fabulous stay at Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel.
 
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Monday, 6 July 2015

5 Hacks on Making HomeCook Dinners Possible - Especially for the FTWM

A new week has begun.  

I decided to come up with this "5 hacks" about making homecook dinners possible for the full time working Moms with no domestic helper.  Of course it can be modified to one's needs and lifestyle, no matter what position one is in.

1.  Before the weekend marketing, I ask the children to list down what they are looking forward to in the week.  Although I am an advocate, to a certain extend, of "you eat what I cook", I thought I should let them take some responsibility in meal plannings.  It also take away a portion of my headache in trying to think what to cook everyday.   I listed down food items that are easy like soup, rice, pasta, noodles - words that my preschoolers are learning.  The way of cooking still lies with me - so they have to eat what I cook.  :)  The older boy will sometimes write down something not in my list of words, like sandwiches, burgers.



2.  When I buy raw chickens at the wet market, I will ask the seller to debone the chicken thighs and freeze the meat and bones separately.  Why?  Accumulate those bones and I will use it to make my chicken stock (recipe here) or on some occasions, I will boil the bones to make macaroni soup (recipe below).  However, for such cases, as the cooking time is generally shorter, more bones need to be added so that the flavor will be stronger.  I like cooking with thigh meat as I find it not as tough compared to breast meat.  Thus, deboned chicken thighs shorten the time needed to do all the cuttings before cooking.



3.  Do you know that the tips of the chicken wings can be used to make soup too?  Although it is not as concentrated, it can be used as the base of certain dishes.  Like the spinach with eggs aka 三蛋菠菜汤.  Thus, when cooking chicken wing (like steaming chicken wings - one such recipe here), make use of the tips for another dish.



4.  Forgotten to thaw the fish beforehand?  No worries!  Do you know that you can cook fish frozen?  Yup.  Here is one such recipe.
 
 

5.  If you have a slow cooker or a thermal cooker, you may wish to start the process before you leave the house, and come home to a piping hot bowl of soup.  Some people may think a slow cooker is a no-no when no one's at home - that is up to each individual so do it at your comfort level.  Alternatively, a thermal cooker does the job too.  I have a Philips rice cooker, that keeps warm for 10 hours.  Some people think it is crazy and if anyone ever uses that function.  Yes, I did.  There were times when I knew I will be home late - after dinner time.  Thus, I will cook the "cheater" claypot rice with chicken in the morning and leave it in the rice cooker to be kept warm for that 10 hours.  When the hubby is home, he added a little water and heated it up.  Good or bad?  I do not know but I do not see anything wrong except that my electricity bills might be higher.

So Ta-Dah!  There you go.  Not impossible definitely.  Another reason why we started to cook more - we bought dinner from a zhi char store yesterday.  The $8 tang hoon noodles was not even enough for 3 of us, and it is supposed to be the "medium" portion.  :(
 

Macaroni Soup
Ingredients:
250g macaroni, cooked as per manufacturer's directions

Chicken bones
1 carrot, chop into pieces
1 broccoli, chop into florets
1 chicken thigh, sliced
1 piece of fish - used batang fillet, sliced
Water

Directions:
1. Boil bones with carrots and water for 20-30 minutes.  Skim when necessary.
2. Remove chicken bones.
3. Add in vegetables and meat and cook till boiling.
4. Scoop cooked macaroni into a bowl and pour soup with ingredients in.
 
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Thursday, 2 July 2015

How to Make an Easy Chicken Stock - Freeze it Too!

People often ask me how I manage to cook after work and within an hour or so.

After reading from most of the relatively easy recipes listed here, you probably can tell that I cook stuff that do not require a lot of stewing and braising (I leave that to weekends).  I do a lot of dishes that require very little time (30 minutes cooking time probably).

I do freeze stuff too!  Like the chicken stock.  Chicken stock can be used in a whole lot of dishes.  On days when I feel slightly lazy, I will use them as the base stock for macaroni soup.  Sometimes I use them in stir-frying dishes.  

Chicken stocks is usually cooked on weekends in two pots.  One can be consumed that same day as chicken soup after seasoning,  the other kept in containers and frozen.  



Chicken Stock
Ingredients:
1 chicken, without skin (or about 1 kg of a mixture of bones and some meat)
2 onions
2 carrots
3 or 4 sticks of celery
Parsley
Water

Directions:
1. Roughly chop all ingredients.
2. Place all ingredients in a deep-bottomed pan (stock pot) and add water.
3. Bring to a boil, skim, then turn the heat down to a simmer.
4. Continue to simmer over low heat for 3-4 hours.
5. Pass the stock through a fine sieve and allow to cool.
6. Divide into containers and freeze.

I am no big, great cook (just an anyhow-experiement mom who has limited time on hand and yet wants to feed the family homecooked food).  Thus, if you realize, the chicken stock I do is pretty simple too.  Of course, other herbs like rosemary, thyme etc. can be added but I use what I have in my pantry else, those that can be found easily from the nearby convenience store.

Do not season / add salt to the stock that is to be kept.  Only season accordingly when used as we never know how much seasoning is required in the recipe where the chicken stock will be used.

I freeze them in ice cube containers.  These cubes help when you need a little chicken stock in stir-frying dishes.  I use them a lot when I stir fry vegetables.



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