The BRAND NEW Piggy Family

The BRAND NEW Piggy Family
The cartoon is by Piggy Daddy who is a full time educator and freelance illustrator. Anyone who needs freelance illustrations, please contact us! :)

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Kiddy Sushi Bento workshop

Went for parent-child Kiddy sushi bento workshop by Umisushi at Changi City Point. It was a 2 hr workshop from 3-5pm and we were making ladybird sushi bento. I was hoping to learn how to make sushi rice but white and orange coloured sushi rice was already prepared for us. I guess the difficulty level was not high since the kids have to do most of the work while parents help out. At least they did give us a recipe for cooking Jap sushi rice.

RL was too young to join the workshop as a participant as the minimum age was 5. But the organisers were very sweet and allowed her to look on by the side and help out. Spreading and shaping the sushi rice was tough for RA cos there were no kiddy gloves provided (size s glove for adults is still too big for kids) so the rice were stuck to her fingers.

After the sushi is rolled and cut, the gals, it was time to decorate the bento box. RA had no problem cutting out the cheese, carrots etc. Same for RL. But most of the time, RA n RL were busy eating the tori karaage and cut sausages cos it was 4pm by then and they were hungry. Lol.

Reg was $60 but I was pleasantly surprised that their goody bags had a tissue box cover, a bento box, 1 pack of kiddy soy milk, 1 pack of ribena, 1 adult bento, 1 kiddy bento, 1 cup of ice lemon tea and even soft serve ice cream.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Smoke gets in the eyes

Eye mo is now my best friend. The haze hits Singapore suddenly when we were still at Sentosa on Tues. It wasn't that bad then. But things quickly got worse on Wed early morning until it hit a hazardous 401 on Friday. My eyes sting and my throat is scratchy when psi was 200+.

Inside an air conditioned room, the air was quite ok but I did not want to switch on air con for the kids every night especially because RL already started a runny nose after just 1 night of air con. So I had no choice but to be a bit kiasu. Although I did not join the mad rush to stockpile N95 masks, I did grab 2 air purifiers. I say grab cos it was chaotic with air purifiers oos since Wed. Everyone at Best Denki was looking for air purifiers but all were oos. Even display units were gone for the popular Sharp plasmacluster models followed by Novita then Honeywell.

I grabbed 1 display unit of Sharp plasmacluster from the friendly Uncle William on Thurs. It was a basic model without hepa filter and only good for a small room upt to 15 sq metres. The next day, I grabbed another one after I spotted a salesman who was carrying the box with the same model number and there was no hovering customer by this elblow yet. One for the kids room and one for my mum's house. The model I bought were only good enough for small rooms but I really didn't want a big model that will take up floor space after the haze situation is gone.

I was hoping that with an air purifier, I can use it in the gals' bedroom with the windows closed but without air con. The verdict is that I still need to switch on the air con cos it is too stuffy plus the smoky smell still permeates the room. So in the end, I used the purifier, my novita aroma diffuser and switched on the air con. I am definitely expecting an very high electricity bill this month. haha.

Let's hope the haze clears up soon for everyone's sake.

Holiday Canvas Painting workshop

I signed RaeAnne up for a 4 session Canvas Painting workshop at Brillionaire Kids, Serangoon Nex. It was the same place where she has a baking class package but they have special holiday programmes and camps during school holidays. Although she is having art lessons at globalart but they only use crayons for foundation classes so I thought it will be fun to expose RaeAnne to painting since it is a medium that she is not used to. Each session is 1.5 hrs and 4 sessions costs $180. Not really cheap considering it is $45 for 1.5 hrs.

Due to the haze, quite a few kids who signed up did not turn up. So, RA and another gal had most of the teacher's attention. There were 4 themes in total: Mushroom House, Bird Nest, Lotus Flower and her last session is tomorrow. So far, she enjoyed it. And I liked her paintings too especially today's Lotus Flower. :)

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

10 years on...

18 June 2003, we first held hands after watching 'Finding Nemo' together. On that night, I didn't even know how long our relationship will last, let alone get married. 10 years have passed. So glad to have my soulmate. Happy 10th anniversary!

Staycation at Hard Rock Hotel & Adventure Cove

I wanted to surprise hubby with a staycation on Father's day but RaeAnne let the cat out of the bag. Since hubby had tuition on sunday morning, I took both gals with me planning to go to SEA Aquarium first before he joins us. When we reached at 11am, I was shocked. There was a super duper long queue snaking from the entrance for at least 30 metres. The queue post said the queue was 30-45 mins long. I seriously doubted it. So I told RA we should come back on Monday since we are staying at the hotel tonight. But she whined and refused. She wanted to queue. I asked about the priority queue but the bouncers said I need to buy separate priority tickets.

It was a super frustrating long queue. 2.5 hrs later, after queuing upstairs and downstairs, we finally entered to see the fishes. Our main aim were the dolphins which we missed on the last visit and RL's favourite sharks. 2.5 hrs wait for 45 mins visit cos hubby has already arrived and waited for us. What a waste of time. Worse! I found that that RWS invites card members had priority entrance but the bouncers did not know. Super poor communication on the ground. Duh...

We checked into Hard Rock Hotel only at 430pm after our high tea buffet at Starz restaurant. I reviewed the hotel at Tripadvisor. First day, we went to the hotel pool during evening time. Hard rock pool as usual is good with sand play and water play. RL doesn't enjoy the sand though. haha.

On the second day, we went to Adventure cove around 12noon after a late brunch at Toast box. We didn't have much time so the gals ony tried the meandering river and the wave pool. No time for Ray bay and Coral reef. Actually I find that Adventure Cove is more for older kids. For RL, there are only 3 rides that she can do - meandering river, wave pool and treehouse water play area. For RA, she gets 2 more rides Ray Bay and Coral Reef but she must be accompanied by an adult. All other rides needs a height limit of 122cm which both my gals don't meet.

All in all, it was a good stay minus the long queue. But next time, I will choose Festive hotel cos of the bath tub and for its family friendly touches. :)

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Father's Day to Daddy!

Happy Father's Day to a dedicated Daddy who always put the family's best interest above his own. Thanks for being so supportive when I decided to be SAHM again. Thanks for bringing them out and giving me some me time and showering the gals when I am feeling tired, lazy or sleepy.

Thanks for goofing around with the gals and making all of us smile when my patience is at the thinnest. Thanks for bearing 4 days of diarrhoea on our recent Cameron Highland trip but still putting on a brave smile and accompanying us on all the day tours though you were feeling really uncomfortable.

Thanks for everything! :)

Cameron Highlands 11-14 June 2013

I have been wanting to take a family trip with my mum and bro. Ever since my dad passed away last year, I am more keenly aware that we should 珍惜眼前人. My mum is getting old, we should travel with her more often while she can still walk.

Cameron highlands has been a place my mum always wanted to visit. She has never been there but she loves to visit vegetable farms, fruit farms and market places where fresh veg and fruits are sold. I was wary of cranky kids throwing up in the long 10 hr coach ride especially the steep windy climb to Cameron highlands but decided to take the risk for mum's sake. I booked the night coach even though most people say night coaches are dangerous. But I felt that if the kids are asleep most of the coach ride, it will be easier for the hours to go by.

So, I booked with 5 stars and took the F&E package with Equatorial Hotel. My friend recommended Century Pines Resort because it is near to Tanah Rata town and is near to the playground. But 5 Stars doesn't have any packages with this hotel and I am too lazy to have to make my own way from bus terminus to Century Pines Resort. Equatorial hotel is located at Brinchang, near to the Cameron Highlands peak and it is popular with Singaporeans. Currently, it is going through renovation to the hotel rooms. I reviewed the hotel at Tripadvisor.

11 June 13
RL was having tiny bits of explosive diarrhea and kept soiling her panties so we had to resort to taking leftover old diapers from my mum's place. We finally reached Golden mile complex at 1015pm but were already among the last families to arrive. Reporting time was supposed to be 1030pm. Looks like we are not kiasu enough. It was a Super Deluxe double decker coach with individual tv screens. It was a steep climb to the upper deck for the kids and my mum. But luckily, they did give us the middle row seats which were the seats most accessible by the staircase. The coach bus left promptly at 1030pm once all the passengers arrived. We went via Tuas checkpoint and there were no queues at both sides' custom checkpoints at all. So glad I chose to travel on a weekday.

12 June 13
RA knocked out at 1130pm shortly after we cleared JB customs while RL KO past midnight. At 1am, we reached Yong Peng and I wolfed down yong tau foo noodles soup cos we only had half an hr there. Bad move cos by 210am, maybe I ate too fast, I had such a bad stomachache that I had to ask the coach drive to make a pit stop. Thankfully, we were near a rest station but he slowly reversed the coach to go to the rest station. After that, I ko and woke up again close to 5+am. By 6.05am, the coach was starting on the climb to Cameron highlands. The gals were still asleep then so they did not feel any of the swaying movements. By 730am, we reached Brinchang town, the gals were awake and we had a leisurely breakfast of wonton noodles at one of the coffee shops.

When we went up to the coach bus, a tour guide from Titiwangsa tour agency was recommending their day tour packages, probably affiliated to 5 stars tours. The prices for their full day tour is slightly more than Eco Cameron and Kang Tours but for the sake of the convenience, we signed up for their half day pm Agro farm tour including steamboat buffet dinner(RM65) and their half day am Nature discovery tour to tea plantation and Mossy forest (RM60) for the next day. By the time, the bus took us to Equatorial Hotel, it was 930am.

We were really lucky that we could check in right away. Maybe because we booked Deluxe rooms cos I overheard other passengers who booked superior rooms could only check in at 2pm. After settling into our newly renovated connecting rooms, we R&R and the gals enjoyed running from room to room, watching preloaded movies on Daddy's new Note8.

Went for lunch at the Coffee shop at Equatorial hotel cos we didn't know where to go yet. The main courses were RM23 onwards so not really cheap but at least their servings were big. At 245pm, the tour guide picked us up. We went to terrace vegetable farms, strawberry farms, hydroponics farm, watercress, cactus and chrysanthenum plantations. The gals took turns to ko on the the mini bus when tired. It was a pity that there were no tour guides who spoke Mandarin (mainly Indians in fact) so my mum didn't understand most of the tour. We ended up a steamboat buffet dinner at Hotel Titiwangsa. Vegetables were free flow but other ingredients were not. But it was delicious and we finished the table of food.

After that, we were sent back to the hotel but after the gals had their bubble baths, we called it a night.

13 June 13
I woke up at 7am and had the privilege of breathing in the fresh morning mountain air and see the low morning sun. But went back to bed. We were almost late for our tour so had to rush through our BF. Buffet BF was ok in variety but the gals only ate some morning cereals. Poor hubby who has been having stomach flu even b4 we left Singapore only had a small bowl of plain porridge.

The first stop of our tour was to the Boh tea plantations. We saw the tea shrubs and the guide showed us the difference between grade A, B and C tea leaves. Surprisingly, the tea shrubs there were already 84 years old. They can actually last up to 120 years cos the workers just keep pruning the shrubs and harvesting the top leaves.

After that we did the Mossy forest board walk, the hike through Mossy forest was supposed to be better in terms of the sighting of pitcher plants in the forest but considering that we had toddlers and elderly, the tour guide said the trek will be difficult cos air is thin and the ground is slippery. Still we had a close view of moss overgrowing on the branches. But RA was disappointed not to see any forest animals or snakes. :P

After a visit to Boh tea centre where we had some tea and snacks, we asked the guide to drop us at Brinchang town again so that we can have our lunch. The tze char stall at one of the coffee shops was not fantastic. Mum complained that everything was salty. Even then 4 dishes with rice costs RM96.

The bus picked us up again at 230pm and we went back to Hotel. 3 Malay teachers on the same tour as us recommended the free shuttle bus service to Tanah Rata town so we booked with the conceige counter for the 645pm bus. Hubby ko as he was weak with the constant runs. I spent the afternoon at my mum's room while the gals enjoyed themselves blowing bubbles, eating tidbits and watching movies. At 5pm, when hb woke up, my bro and I went for foot reflexology at the Fucon massage centre near the hotel. The masseurs were ok during the foot reflexology session but when it came to the 30mins massage, they were pushy and tried to get us to upgrade to a better oil (add RM10), gusha (add RM20), baguan (add RM30). They massage our back very hard repetitively on the same area until it was red and bruising then even took photos of our backs. All in all, my bro paid RM88 and I paid RM68 and that was after some arguing. Will not go back to this place again.

When we were Tanah Rata, we ended eating at Rosette Cafe cos they served both steamboat and western dishes. Great cos the adults can have chinese while I ordered sandwiches for the gals so that they can feed themselves. RL threw a really long tantrum cos she didn't want to finish her bread which had mayo but she insisted on peeling the hard boiled egg and not eating it. She really tested my bro who told us not to give in to her everytime so I made hubby carry her away after 10 mins of melt down. After she came back, I forced her finish 1 piece of bread. She literally took ant bites to show her reluctance. Note to self: save all of us the trouble, next time just order butter bread which she loves. She can lick the butter and finish it all by herself.

We reached hotel at 10pm. After their bubble bathes and milk, RL ko on my mum's bed watching Planet of the Apes. RA ko past midnight. haha.

14 June 13

We woke up at 7+am and went for early bf cos we were supposed to assemble at 930am for the 10am coach bus. But 930am came and left, by 1015am, most of the 5 stars passengers panicked. We called the 5 stars office many times but there was no answer. Finally, one of the tour guide who had a hp contact managed to contact Titiwangsa guide and was told that the bus was still at brinchang town. It was 1030am by then.

When the coach bus came at 1045am, I realised that it was not the Super deluxe coach I paid for. It had no tv, it was just super vip. Also, we had a surly indian driver who did not talk and make announcements. Even at customs, he just stops the coach and does not bother to brief the passengers on what to bring down etc.

There was a long queue of coach buses at tuas checkpoint so we had to wait for almost 1 hr. I don't understand where there are no Singaporeans only queue at Tuas checkpoint. I asked the officers but he said for Singaporeans, it is only the self automated counters. But those counters are for people who are not travelling with young kids. Shouldn't kids be given priority? At least there should be a manual counter for Singaporeans with young kids right? Instead we have to queue with the foreigners who take a longer processing time at the counters. Makes no sense at all when you are encouraging Singaporeans to have kids but you do not have kids friendly policies across the government agencies.

Anyway, we finally reached home at 1130pm.

Overall, it was a good trip. I had quite low expectations of this trip cos it was our first extended family trip for many years. But there was no puking on coach bus, no tempers flared and the gals especially RL had a good time entertaining themselves and socialising with my brother's JC classmate's son (Zander) and the 3 malay teachers. Since we survived the Cameron trip, a trip to Australia with my mum and bro is possible after all. ;)

Friday, June 7, 2013


When I brought RaeAnne to school today, I chanced upon the Peter and Jane ladybird book on Teacher Samantha's table. Wa... they are using Peter and Jane, I told hubby. The reason why I was so excited to see the book is because we bought the P&J key words books last year during Popular sale cos it was recommended by my forum mummy friends who were more diligent in getting their kids to learn to read. So we bought the beginner's P&J set of 6 books but never got beyond book 1A.

So today, I decided to fish out the book 1A again. Surprisingly, RA can recognise most of the words already. She does stumble on the words like here, their, but at least there is 70% hit rate. It is not that she could not read before. But all along, her reading was by memory especially her favourite books, she can remember the lines by heart and read it aloud without recognising the words. Kudos to the Elfa teachers for teaching phonics and sight words.

Although hubby and I do read to them, we can't claim credit cos most of the time, we just read. We even bought 2 sets of scholastic beginners' readers books but only read 4-5 of their favourites out of 20 books. We don't even point out each and every word in the story books cos we can't wait to send them to bed. After lights out at 930pm, it usually takes 1 - 1.5 hrs for them to knock out so that's why we are impatient to get the bedtime routine over and done with. I know of friends' 5 yr olds who read very well. And even a 6 year old who can read a full Roald Dahl book. So RaeAnne's progress in reading is considered slow.

The lack of effort is not only due to time constraint because I don't want to give her any pressure so young. Having taught lower primary school for some months, I feel that once they enter P1, they have so much homework to do. Their carefree childhood days are taken away from them so quickly. Easily 2-4 pages of HW or revision for English, Chinese and Maths everyday. I want RaeAnne to enjoy her homework-free days while she can so I have never given her homework to do especially since she is already at full day childcare.

But now that she is starting to read, I should play a more supportive role. I can't help her with phonics cos I never learnt them in school. But I can help her with sight words. Reading is a hobby that I hope both gals will pick up not only because it will help improve their language skills but also because it opens them up to a borderless world of knowledge. Ok, time to dig out that P&J book 1B. ;)

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

UK Agro Farm 3-4 June 13

School holidays finally started and I can breathe a sigh of relief cos hubby is around. Have been busy last few weeks with housechores cos my PT cleaner went back for 1 month home leave since early May.

Yesterday, on 3 June, the very first weekday of the school hols, we went on a family trip to UK Agro Farm in Johor Bahru, Malaysia. It was a last minute road trip with my family plus my mum, mil, 大舅,大舅妈. 小姨 was supposed to come too but her high blood pressure was out of control these few days so she cannot make it. The idea of UK Agro farm came in March when I saw the brochure in our previous Malaysian driver, Mr Lee's car. Asked my cousin, Shirley previously but she could not confirm her travel plans in June. Since my uncle and aunt were back from NZ for visit, my mum asked me to quickly organise a trip before they go back in July so I took the chance and suggested UK Agro Farm. Cos I wanted my city gals to experience country side farm life instead of Singapore's urban life. Naturally, we engaged Mr Lee again.

He picked us up at 8am cos check in time was 2pm and I didn't want to be too early. Traffic was good and by 9am, we were having breakfast, thai seafood fried rice recommended by Mr Lee. The fried rice at RM5 had lots of sotong and prawns, perfect for my seafood loving RL.

There were still time to kill so he brought us to Jusco after BF. I look around for waterproof sandals for RA and RL cos their existing ones were too tight. I stopped buying crocs for some time since Nai Nai could get cheap, fake crocs with angry birds or other cartoon designs for $10. I bought 2 sandals, 2 night dresses and a blousy cotton top for myself.

After shopping, he picked us up at 1130am and we proceeded for lunch. Enroute, we tried fried durian and fried chempedek which we bought from a famous roadside stall. It costs RM2.50 each but it was very sinful, crispy to the max and super oily plus heaty. Hubby bought 8 each but we could only eat half of them. RL had knocked out in the car by then cos she was having a cough and we fed her cough syrup in the morning.

Our driver recommended pipa duck (which looks like roast duck with a sauce) at the coffee shop eatery. Food was good but we were too stuffed from the fried durians so could not eat much. After lunch, we finally proceeded for UK Agro Farm. RA and RL had asked me at least 5 times when they were going to see the goats by then.

When we were close to the farm, RL had woken up. She did not have lunch so I could only give her some baby bites and sweets first. We reached UK agro farm after a bumpy 6km dirt road in from the main road but along the way, we saw beautiful orchid farms and even cows.

The lobby at UK farm wasn't impressive, maybe cos we are not used to resort farm lobbies. But the check in was quite quick and they got the bus to bring us into the chalet blks, saving us a 10-15 mins walk from the lobby.

Accomodation at the wooden chalets was quite basic, air con, fan, shower, kettle, and a mini fridge. Toiletries only include bath towels and wall dispensed body soap n shampoo so you got to bring everything else yourself. We had quad share and 5 pax in a room. But the rooms were triple share so for each additional person, there was an extra mattress for sleeping on the floor. There were houseflies in the room too but then they do give us fly glue traps and electric repellents to ward off mosquitoes.

After putting down our stuff, we took the bus out again for our afternoon tea. They served cupcakes, choc cakes, green bean soup and milk tea. But my relatives including MIL were all afraid of goat milk so they only ate the green bean soup. haha.

Then we took the 3 hr farm tour which included goat feed processing, goat feeding, lamb feeding and visits to the ostrich farm, vegetables farm and mushroom farm.

After a sumptuous Chinese buffet dinner, at 9+pm, we got to release sky lanterns but being our first time doing it, our first lanterm was stuck in a tree. haha. We all slept early at 10+pm But around midnight, I was awaken by Raelynn's whining and talking. Woke up to check on her and realise that she was having a fever. I didn't have children panadol with me so I could only put on fever cooling patch for her and sponge her back and stomach and neck. Thankfully, she slept again and next morning, fever was gone.

In the morning after BF, we brought the gals to the goat challenge where we have to try to catch 1 goat/kid out of 6-7 goats in a fenced up circle. Even though the challenge was just 5 mins, we ran like mad and our shirts were all wet. We didn't even managed to touch the fur on the goat, let alone catch it cos they were too fast for us, even the limping one. haha.

After that, we used up half of our archery coupons. I got nowhere near the bull eyes but hubby got a few into the yellow dot. We went to the mini zoo too. By then it was 11am, so we quickly went back to shower so that we can check out and have our lunch, provided by the the hotel. Took a quick horse cart ride that costs RM60 for 4 pax cos RA wanted to try it. Then we said goodbye to UK agro farm. Went to KSL for dinner before going home. RA and RL enjoyed the motorised rides for 15 mins.

Post trip review: RA and RL were thankfully blissfully unaware of the stench from the goat poo. And they were thrilled to carry the kids in their arms. They loved feeding the birds at the mini zoo too. They did not hesitate at all to climb the steep ladders up to the tree house and loved the adult sized rope swings at the farm. There is hope for bringing them to Australia farm stay next time. ;)