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! :)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Ballet : RAD or CSTD

Blur mummy never realised that there are two different ballet syllabus. I only realised when the Crestar counter staff told me RA will be having open house last Fri so that parents can decide whether to register them for ballet exam next April.

Apparently, there is RAD (annual exam every April) and CSTD (exam every April and Oct). All the mummies friends and my cousin, Shirley, whom I asked, have daughters taking the RAD ballet UK syllabus. None were taking CSTD, the Australian syllabus.

But RA and RL's teacher, Ms Qiu Li Tong at Crestar Tampines is teaching CSTD syllabus. Basically, RAD is more widely recognised and is more technical while CSTD emphasises more on performance. I did some research on my own too. There is more discussion at ksparents for those who are interested to know the difference.

So now, I got to decide if I want to switch from CSTD to RAD. I got both gals to do a trial at Sunday morning 1145am with Ms Joy Foo the RAD teacher as recommended by Valerie's mum (RA's cc classmate). RA was quite reluctant initially cos she wanted to stick to Ms Litong's class and she doesn't want to do exams. But I asked her to just try out once first. If she doesn't like it. I will just let her learn ballet for another year and forget about exams for now.

Ms Joy has a very big class of at least 20 kids, first with older gals (p3 or p4) as well as those 4-6 yrs old. But she will spilt up the groups and let the younger gals sit and watch the older gals. Then about a short while later, the older gals will exit and she will focus on the younger ones. When I peeped in, I saw my gals playing with big shiny pom pom balls and thought to myself, hey, that looks fun. How come I never saw RA doing that before. Valerie's mummy, told me that's because the pom pom balls are part of RAD syllabus. Valerie has been learning from Ms Joy Foo since she was 3 yrs old.

Ahh.... No wonder. We never knew what we were missing. haha.

Anyway, the magic of pom pom balls for just one 45 minutes lesson cannot be underestimated. After the class, I asked them if they enjoyed. And both did. I asked RA if she wants to go to Ms Joy Foo class. She said yes. I asked her if she wants to try the ballet exam and have 1 extra ballet practice per week and she also said yes.

I asked Ms Joy Foo and she is happy with both their performance. She said if I don't mind RL waiting one more year before she can take exams in 2015, both gals can be in the same class. Of course I didn't mind. I am glad that I can drop off both gals cos logistically it is easier than having back to back ballet lessons on Friday nights from 730 to 9pm. But I will be on my own to bring both gals on the bus since hb is not free on Sun mornings.

Since RA wants to do the pre primary ballet exam, we still need to send her on Fri evening 645pm for coaching class from Oct to March. But at least it will not finish as late at 9pm. So logistically it is better.

Since RA enjoys ballet for now, I will expose her to extra coaching ($600 for 6 mths, not cheap) and try the exam and see if she can take it. I really don't want to overload her after she starts primary 1 so I feel K2 is a better time to test water about taking ballet exams. If she loves ballet even more, will consider letting her continue with the yearly exam syllabus. But if she hates it, we can either drop ballet or just let her learn for leisure. Either way, it will give me a better idea how to maximise our limited enrichment budget.

Legoland again...

We finally drove to LEGOLAND in our own car last Sat. Must really thank our neighbours Lijia's parents for patiently showing us the way. Previously, we took the coach bus and hired our own van driver. Although the drive to Tuas is quite long, both gals napped in the car as we left Tampines around 2pm after their music classes. But we cleared both sides customs quite quickly, RA woke up at Tuas checkpoint and RL woke up at Malaysia checkpoint.

When we reached LEGOLAND, it was around 3+pm. There was hardly any queues so we went for the rides that we did not try previously. When we went in Dec last yr, we only tried the boat ride, the train and mini land cos the queues were too long.

This time, the first ride we tried was Technic twister ride (like those teacups). Only RA got to try it though. RL is only 96cm tall so she couldn't meet the height limit for quite a few rides. She did not meet the height limit of 110cm so she could not play the Technic twister so I accompanied her. Both gals wanted to play the Aqua zone waveracer ride but RL did not meet the 100cm height limit. By then, I bought them a single scoop of rainbow ice cream to cool off. So they were quite happy with their ice cream and did not feel disappointed.

Lijia and his Daddy went for the dragon roller coaster. No amount of persuasion could convince RA to try the junior roller coaster ride. So both of them ran to Forestman hideout, and enjoyed themselves at the multilevel playground. RL had a bit of abrasion on her thighs sliding down the metallic enclosed slide though. Next time, must remember to wear pants for her. We managed to watch one 4d movie on car racing though we missed Cheema cos there was a technical fault for the 515pm show. The air con was a welcome respite from the heat. We tried the Observation Tower ride this time too.

RL couldn't do the Kids Power station rope pulley ride either but RA enjoyed it doing it with Mummy, the slow n steady way and with Daddy, the fast and furious climb up. Both gals tried the Royal Joust ride, the beetle bounce, Lost kingdom laser gun game. Hubby and I even went for the Dinosaur island water slide ride. RA wanted to try the water slide ride too but failed the min 120cm, 6 yr old limit. She was very disappointed and sulked but I think it is too thrilling a ride for her. The height drop from 2-3 storeys was scary for me. RA even panicked on the gentle beetle bouncer so I think she could not have handled it.

We decided to upgrade to an Annual pass since we had already paid full price for our tickets RM140 for adults and RM110 for kids. Just needed to come twice and it will be worth it for the RM275 adult annual pass and RM210 kids pass. As long as Lijia's family is coming again, we can tag along. Haha.

We went for dinner with the other 3 families (Lijia, Benjamin and Shi Heng Kai, all from Elfa CC) at Absolute Thai at 8pm. Left LEGOLAND at 915pm and we were the last few cars there. Went to top up petrol at Shell station near checkpoint and reached home sweet home around 10+pm.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Couple trip to Bangkok

Went for a short 3d2n trip to BKK with hubby last Thurs. Actually it was more like 2 days cos we reached BKK on Thurs evening and flew back on Sat 4+pm. We almost didn't get to go cos RL started a low grade fever 37.7 on Sun night. I couldn't take leave due to a work event so hubby brought her to see the doctor. The GP for some reason suspected HFMD but there were no ulcers, just that her throat was red. We separated the gals on Mon and Tues and brought RL back on Wed night. But she still had fever on Wed early morning so we brought her to see the doctor again on Thurs morning after sending RA to school. Temp was still 37.7 but dr confirmed it was not HFMD so we decided to go on with our trip. If we cancel, we cannot claim anyway. Since it was a slight fever and not even HFMD.

We stayed at Novotel Platinum hotel, right next to Platinum Mall and with a linkway from the 6th floor hotel lobby to the mall. It was a very convenient location because we can upload our shopping loot at our hotel before heading out for dinner or elsewhere. But changing lifts at 6th floor to reach our hotel room was a bit inconvenient. The hotel toilet has not bathtub so the kids won't like it. I didn't like the shower stall had no door and there was an air con ventilation duct just above so there was cold air blowing at me as I was showering. Brr... Not suitable for kids.

We had a 4 hr couple massage at So Thai Spa, Bangkok. Had to take a taxi there. Taxi ride was about 20-30 mins. The spa was at a shophouse, it was a quiet set up. I could occasionally hear dogs barking but otherwise it was silent when I had my massage. The foot scrub, herbal ball and aromatherapy massage was relaxing, hb and I fell asleep at some parts. But I will not recommend to someone who really has bodyaches cos my masseur did not ease the knots on my shoulder even though I pointed the painful area. My masseur who was an older lady was also a bit rough and abrupt. Instead of lowering my limbs slowly after massaging it, she literally dropped it while holding on. Overall, the spa is ok if your hotel is nearby. But I will not especially take a cab to go to the spa again. :P Maybe, next time I will try Coran Spa or even the budget range Healthland.

We were out from morning for the two days and only came back at 11pm after the shops close (10pm BKK time). Really cheong for 2 days cos there were lots to buy and I was helping MIL and a friend find some stuff. I grabbed 2 pairs of slippers, 2 dresses, 1 pair of jeans and 1 pair of shorts for myself. And hb got 2 tees and 1 pair of jeans. The biggest winners were the gals cos we bought lots for them, from party favours to dresses, PJs to shoes, hair accessories and socks. We bought so much that I had to get a box from the party favours shop and ship the partyware back. We bought so much cos it was cheap. Playdough party packs were only $0.80 while the bigger pack with a rolling pin was just $1. Was a bit worried that we will exceed baggage allowance but luckily everything weighed about 20kg.

We will definitely go to bkk again one day. But maybe when the gals are bigger cos Platinum mall is very crowded and not suitable for young kids.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Teachers' Day Pressies

Mummy did not order Teachers' Day pressies early this year. I used to order from SMH Bulk purchase threads at least 1 month ahead. But with work and pv duties taking up my free time, it was a last minute scramble to get little gifts for RA and RL's teachers.

I can't bake so can't make home made cookies and cakes. But even if I could, I don't think I will make food. Because if just every kid give the teacher 1 cookie or cupcake, the teacher will be stuffed with more than 30 cookies depending on how many students she has and how many classes she teaches. From experience, there is always lots of food on Teacher's day because the school will give appreciation parties to the teachers as well. Some teachers don't dare to eat home made stuff by students or their parents either due to religion reasons (non halal kitchen) or they are worried about hygiene standards. Freshly made food have no preservatives. So they usually taste good but they can't keep well. Teachers may end up binning them if they can't finish all the food.

In the end, I grabbed everything from Daiso (travel toiletries kit, gift tags and stickers) because all the childcare teachers were going on a retreat to Bangkok this Friday to celebrate Teacher's Day. All the 3 Elfa centres are involved so more than 30 ladies. Must be quite a sight at the airport. Haha. The teachers are really excited. I heard them discussing about what tidbits to bring to Bkk. So I want to get something useful that they can use for the trip. A toiletries pack may be an auntie style gift but at least it is practical and does not take up much space.

Hubby once got a gigantic penguin from his students. Really cute but we just have nowhere to store it... :P I much prefer the simple ikea cushion that one of his students decorated with a fabric marker. If I remember correctly, the message said: "This is from one of your most awake students ever. Jolene Goh." That student has long graduated but the gift remained in our house for many years. ;)

When I was teaching, I prefer students give me a card than food. A simple hand written card is good enough. No need to be fancy. Unfortunately, my gals can't write very well yet especially Raelynn. So I still need to help Raelynn write the greetings. But I did ask RA draw and copy Happy Teachers' Day and her teachers' names on the cards and envelopes. Stickers are easy to handle so I let them decorate the cards and envelopes themselves. Hope her teachers will like it.

Happy Teachers' Day to all the teachers out there!