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! :)

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Yet another staycation

We did another staycation with the gals over Xmas weekend. This time at Changi Village Hotel. We were supposed to join the CC's KL Kidzania tour but that got cancelled due to poor response. Since it was the Xmas boxing day weekend, it is difficult to make alternative travel plans without paying super inflated rates so we decided on another staycation again. Our 3rd one in this last quarter. But the last time we stayed at Changi village hotel was in 2010 during our photoshoot with the gals with Bambini. Our maid was still around back then. A lot of changes at the hotel now. The Retreat spa has moved so they are taken over by Stella Wellness Centre. Really not as good. Rooms are refurbished but I can't really tell the difference.

It rained the whole of Day 1. So we ended up taking the free hourly shuttle to the airport for some respite. The gals did the Mickey Clubhouse Bouncy castle so they were happy. Day 2, the weather was good so hb brought the gals to the roof top pool while I got to enjoy a 45mins massage. We went cycling after that since we were given free 1 hr bike rental. But it started raining after just half a hour. zzz.

Day 3 we brought the gals to the pool again. Then showered and had lunch before checking out at 3pm. This time we tried a lot of eateries that I have been wanting to try. Jacobs café, our old favourite, Chock full of beans and The Coastal Settlement. :)

Saturday, December 6, 2014

K2 Graduation Camp and Growing Independent

RA had her K2 camp at cc yesterday. She was excited to go, happily packing her luggage and looking forward to seeing her best friend Caleigh again. I think I had more separation anxieties than her. I wondered if she will be ok. When I heard that she and her classmates were at Swensons Tampines after they watched Penguins of Madagascar the movie, I went to the restaurant and see if I could get a glimpse of her. But the waiter told me that they just went 15 mins ago.

When hb updated me that he saw the whole group outside Starbucks waiting for their transport, I rushed there again. I saw the big coach bus but all the kid were already onboard the bus. Luckily their teacher saw me so I did get to wave bye bye to RA. Hb and I were bringing RL to watch the same movie (since she whined and cried that RA was going on a school camp but she can't), my HP's battery was dead. I especially bought a power bank to charge it on the go so that I won't miss any calls, knowing that the cc teachers will call to inform that the kids have safely reached the school.

This morning when we went to pick her around 830am, she still wanted to play with her friends. I checked with the teacher and she slept quite well from 10pm to 7am. We decided to go for bf and run some errands so that she has more time to catch up with her friends, some who have withdrawn from cc but especially came back for this camp.

Got to admit that RA has grown up. She is quite independent now. Able to go for camps without Mummy being around. She sleeps in her own room now too. Cos RL has finally agreed to give up her baby cot and slept on her own in a big bed on 17 Nov. So, I just need to tuck both gals in bed, close the doors and leave them. So my me time starts much earlier. We have been waiting in the room for them to fall asleep for the longest time. Didn't think there will truly be a day where they can sleep on their own but it has finally happened. Not a myth anymore. Haha.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Raelynn is 5 years old!!!

My little baby has grown so much n today she turned 5. She finally agreed to stop sleeping in her baby cot on 7 November. It has been her security blanket for so many years. Managed to convince her by promising her her own big study table like RaeAnne's.

Since we already celebrated in school last week, we had the whole day to spend with her. More like 2 days cos i planned a staycation n took 2 days leave. It is also dec hols n we are not bringing the gals overseas this hols.

First stop pf our 1 day tour, Daddy's school. Hb has been promising to bring them to vjc for the longest time. But he is too busy during term time n the sch is closed on weekends. The gals are intrigued by the treehouses in the campus but too bad that's under renovation.

Then we went to ECP for some cycling. Was trying to find the V skate board for RL. but the inline skating shop was closed so we cpuld only rent ordinary bikes. Hb n i tried teaching the gals to cycle with little success. Luckily a helpful daddy gave us some v useful tips. Another daddy was not as nice when RL nearly bumped into his son's stationary bike in the middle of the pathway towards the bicycle track. He said we have no right to be there. Grr....

Hot n sweaty, we went to Grand Mercure Roxy hotel to check in n showered the gals. More like a soak in the bath tub. Their all time fav staycation activity. The hotel was nice to upgrade us to deluxe room n give us an extra bed foc.

We were lucky to win some shopping vouchers during our last staycation at Katong Village hot. So we went to Katong V shopping mall for lunch n ice cream. The gals eent to ho2t indoor playground since we had the last 2 play sessions left.

Then we went to PP for dinner n came back for an early night for the gals. The next morning, we went for a swim at the hotel pool. Then we had lunch again at Katong V mall to use up our shopping vouchers before checking out of the hotel. :)

Friday, November 28, 2014

Double Birthday Celebration

Decided to do a combined early birthday celebration for RA and RL at Elfa today. RL's bd is next Tues, 2 Dec while RA's 22 Jan next year. But since it's RA's last year at Elfa and a lot of her K2 friends are withdrawing from cc today, it's a birthday cum mini farewell party.

Raelynn has been having a runny nose and slight cough since Monday. Last night the poor gal woke up to cry cos her nose was blocked despite us giving fedac. So in the end, we brought her to see the doctor in the morning so that she can get better since we don't want to cancel the school party.

Luckily the meds and the nap after helped her so after she woke up, we rushed to get the cake from Bengawan Solo, get the candles and inflate the helium balloons. I bought the helium balloons and goodie bags cheap from taobao. But never expect the helium air per balloon to cost as much as $9 each. But we were rushing to the cc, no time to shop and compare. So lesson learnt. :P

What is the theme for the party this year? What else can it be? Frozen of course. I think the gals probably ate more than 5 frozen cakes from their friends' parties this year already, Lol.
But luckily their classmates didn't mind. The cake was 3kg but the kids nearly finished it. Maybe because it was chocolate cake or maybe because it was tea break time. Anyway, I am glad we don't need to lug the cake back. Just a small portion for Ils to try. :)

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Another Milestone for RA - P1 Orientation

Today is RA's P1 Orientation. She reported to the hall at 145pm. When the teacher brought her and her classmates to the classroom and the school tour, mummies and daddies stayed behind to listen to the Principal's speech and watch the various video clips and presentations. RA said she watched a video story, did some colouring in class, and went on the tour of the school.

Today, we found out that recess time for P1 kids is 9am. Lessons end at 130pm. Add another 15 mins for flag lowering, dismissal and walking home, the earliest she can eat lunch is 145pm. Some of the single session schools give a 15mins snack break at 12 o clock for the students to eat something light in the classroom. But Poi Ching does not have this practice. All along they were operating on double sessions.

So myself and another parent gave our feedback but the P said it's fine. They can pack some biscuits in their bags. But if the teacher does not give them an official snack time, the kid will not dare to take the biscuits out of their bags to eat. I think more than 4 hours is too long for 6/7 years old to go without food. Duh.

After the P1 Orientation 2 hr programme ended, the few of us whose kids are in the same class formed a whatsapp chat group. There were 4 gals and 1 boy. Coincidentally, all the gals went to Crestar Ballet before.

Our conclusion is that we cannot give the kids a full bf since they need to eat again at 9am and they need to eat a lot. If not, they cannot last till 2pm for those who stay further away from school. No wonder kids grow skinny after starting primary school. :(

Friday, November 14, 2014

RA's Graduation Ceremony

Today is RA's K2 Graduation Ceremony. She took a long time to memorise the thank you speech in both English and Mandarin but she finally did it. And she delivered the speech beautifully with the rest of her classmates at ITE East College hall today. She walked down the stairs to the stage waving to everyone with the other graduands but it was the furthest from my seat and I was trying to figure out the zoom function of my new camera so I missed it. Shucks!

After she walked to receive her certificate, she threw her mortar board up in the air but made sure it was close enough so that she can retrieve it back easily. She memorised her Speech and Drama item - I love colours and could even tell me that some of her classmates missed our parts. No wonder it sounded messy to me. She practised her dance moves and did everything beautifully not missing any steps. In short, she was great today and I am proud of her as always.

I imagined myself crying at her graduation since I did that for previous years' cc concerts even when she was not the one graduating. Lol. I did cry. But only a little when they played the graduation montage. The rest of the time, I was busy trying to capture the moments, record or take photos of her graduation ceremony so that she can see it without having to wait 1 month for the official dvd.

But seeing all the cute little toddlers turn into K2 graduating children make me feel sad somehow. Where did all the time go? How did my little baby grow up so fast?

Even though I quit my job to be a full time SAHM to spend more time with her when she was 13 months. I was only really a SAHM for 2 years because after that I tried out property, then teaching and now finally back at my ex company for a part time position.

She went to childcare when she was almost 3 years old. I picked Elfa because it has good Chinese foundation and I need her to have a good foundation since we intend to send to the nearest primary school which is a SAP school. Elfa has a half day programme for PN1, PN2. But from Nursery, there were only full day programmes. So she spent 8 hrs daily for N, K1 and K2 except weekends and public holidays. Add all that up, she really spent most of her formative years at Elfa.

Although I feel guilty because I feel I didn't spend enough time with her. What consoles me is that she made good friends at Elfa and she has two best friends who practically grow up with her at CC - Caleigh Au and Calyesta Tan.

Yesterday, the teacher got the kids to do appreciation cards for their best friends. And yes, my quiet gal received only 2 cards but they were from these two friends so they do treat RA as their best friend too. There were petty squabbles before and these are the same two gals who hurt her last year when they say "Don't want to be your friend", "Need to know the secret password for you to be my friend". She forgives and forgets and still treats them as her best friends.

RA is sad that her two best friends are withdrawing from CC after today's concert and they are not going to the same school as her. I hope she will always remember her friends and the fun times she had though I know that she will make new friends in primary school.

Tomorrow is another milestone for her. Her P1 orientation. She is lucky that one of her CC classmates (Jan08 baby) will be in the same class as her at Poi Ching. Her ballet classmate is also in the same class as she is also a Jan08 baby. Primary school will be another 6 years of her life. She will grow from a child to a teenager by the end of that 6 years. We are not withdrawing from cc yet since hb still has to work. School hols for him doesn't start until 2nd week of Dec. That's 3 weeks from now. And we've got a short couple trip in mid Dec. When we return, maybe we will try and let her skip school to give her a break. Unless she wants to go back to Elfa cc to play with her friends. :)

Thanks to all her teachers and friends at Elfa that made the past 4 years of her life so fun and memorable!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

P1 Orientation Letter

Really excited. Finally received the P1 Orientation package from Poi Ching School today by post. RA will be in the first class and her house colour is yellow. Quite expected since I know the school allocates classes by the kids' birthday months.

Turns out I actually know of 3 other kids who will be her classmates next year. One is her current cc classmate, another is a neighbour. Both of them are my SMH mummy friends. So lucky that I am already friends with the mummies so we can update and tip one another off about class matters in future. Maybe even set up a whatsapp or line chat group. The third one is RA's ballet classmate. I am not very close to her mummy. Yet.... Lol.

Orientation is from 2-4pm on 14 Nov. There is a booklist included and a School Dental Services form that parents are supposed to fill up. We can start buying books and uniforms 1 week earlier on 8 Nov (Sat). Since Sat is our 'free' day, think we will probably drop by and get the stuff first, in case sizes and stock run out. Yes, the behaviour of a typical KS Singaporean. Haha.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Staycation at Katong Village Hotel

Since hb and I could not take leave for Children's Day, decided to make it up to the kids by bringing them on a staycation. Thanks to Agoda's credit rebates, we only paid $60+ for this staycation. According to my friends, this is the refurbished hotel. Used to Paramount Hotel and there used to be a Chinese restaurant run by Tung Lok.

Didn't bother us since we were there to check out Katong, i12 and maybe visit East Coast Park. When we checked in on Sunday, it was too hot to swim though Raelynn kept asking for it. We walked over to i12 and had lunch. Decided to skip watching a movie since that will take up precious staycation time. Lol.

Then we walked back and checked out the shops at the attached Katong V mall. There was an indoor playground recommended by my friends so we dropped the kids off for 1 hr of play. After that, we passed by a art and craft centre so decided to let the gals do some art and craft and create their own treasure boxes. When we finally hit the pool, it was almost 6pm. Definitely not sunny, but we didn't realise that there was no children's pool. And the only circular pool was 1.2m deep at one end and 1.8m deep at the other end. Definitely too deep for my gals so they were a bit freaked out. Luckily we brought along floats and even made use of the life buoys by the side of the pool.

After a swim, we walked over to the Katong stretch of eateries and ended up at Le Petite café. They serve French food. It was not bad but the gals were too tired to really enjoy their food. So we left immediately after dinner to let them have an early night.

Sleeping was a bit of a problem since I only booked a superior room. So there was only 1 King bed. With RL being a shadow kicker, RA did not get much sleep so I didn't get much sleep either. Luckily it was only for 1 night.

Buffet bf was included and it was not bad. The otah was recommended. They have an eggs and noodles station too. We decided not to take the shuttle bus to the beach since it was hazy. So the gals just had another shot at the indoor playground, it was time to check out. After check out, we walked over to Parkway parade for lunch leaving our car at the hotel. So it was really convenient.

All in all, we like the hotel especially the location. The only complaint was that there was no bathtub in the superior and deluxe rooms and bathtub is a highlight for my kids. Only for the expensive Peranakan room, the guest can get a huge round bathtub in the middle of the room. But that is at double the price of a superior room. Since the gals love staycations, if there are any offers in future, we will come back. :)

Saturday, October 4, 2014


Raelynn started having spelling in July and it was tough for her. She did not even recognise all the alphabets from A-Z and definitely did not know her phonics. Spelling is frankly 2 levels above her, cos firstly, she needs to recognise the alphabets, know her phonics, recognise the words before she can spell.

The weekly spelling and the painful coaching by us made me realise that she needs help to catch up to speed for English. Maybe because she is a Dec baby or because she has not been paying attention in class.

I asked around. 'I can read' and 'Learning Point' were recommended but there were no centres in Tampines. A mummy friend recommended 'Lcentral' at CPF building, Tampines. I like it that they were ability based so there will be free assessment for each kid before they are put into a suitable class.

After the assessment which parents get to sit in, RL was assessed to be suitable for the most basic class - Foundation whereas RaeAnne was good for 'Preparing for Success'. In the end, we signed Raelynn immediately. RaeAnne only started last Sunday for Term 4 as there was a new PFS class on Sunday mornings with the same timing as Raelynn. Logistically, it is easier to drop off both kids and we thought it is good to give RA some exposure as well.

Lcentral fees unfortunately are not cheap, $560 per term for each kid so it works out to be almost $200 every month. But we have never given the gals academic enrichment so far. It is more out of necessity because RL cannot catch up with her peers and we don't want the gap to further widen. Hope we can see improvement after 1 or 2 terms then we can cut down on lessons. ;)

Ballet enrichment - Part 2

Ballet coaching started today but RA did not go. Simply because I did not sign her up. Have been asking her for the last month, but she has been saying no to Ballet exam (Primary). She said it's too difficult and her teacher cannot accompany them for the exam. I told her she will have a partner but she does not want to do exams. She just wants the usual Sunday morning ballet class.

Last year she was the one who requested to stop globalart and she was also the one who asked for ballet in May 2013. I tried to persuade her because I felt I should not encourage her to keep changing her mind and giving up when things get tough. After all, she already did the Pre primary ballet exam in April this year and all 4 of her classmates who went for the exam this year have also signed up for next year's Primary ballet exam. In fact, this time, 8 of them signed up. It seemed a waste to stop halfway.

She said she wants to go back to globalart because her cc classmate is there. But GA's Friday lessons clashes with Ballet coaching. So I brought her to globalart yesterday but her friend's class on Friday is full. Even if I sign her up, she won't be in the same class as her friend. So she was not keen.

I don't know if I am making the right decision by letting her skip the ballet exam. So hard to strike the right balance between allowing a child to quit due to lack of interest or just registering her for exams because she needs to learn hard work and commitment. I asked her ballet teacher that RA may not want to do the exam but all her teacher said was "She's still young".

Ok, maybe 6 years old is probably still young for me to force her to commit. I have given her a chance to learn ballet and to take ballet exams. If she forfeits her chance, so be it. Since she is entering primary 1 next year, she will have less time for enrichment. Plus, Her first piano exam will be in March/April 2015 (same timing as ballet exams) so guess we will just concentrate on piano for now.

Friday, September 12, 2014

First time to POLW, Sentosa - Review

We have a playdate with the Jan08 mummies today at POLW, Sentosa. Been quite long since I joined them since starting to work part time 1 yr ago. The weather forecast said rain and thunder in the late morning but it turns out to be a bright and very sunny day. Since we have never been to POLW before, I was so glad we didn't have to change plans. :)

The nearest carpark to get to POLW is Beach station carpark. We parked nearer to Palawan beach side so it was about 5 mins walk. Though it is a school holiday today, the place was not very crowded. But too bad the usual Passion 10% discount did not apply. So we paid for 2 kids, $15 each but adults' admission was free. Each kid was given a passport and paper curio coins so that the kids can join in the activities eg. bubble fun, rainbow loom, sandart, Paint splash etc.

After changing, the gals zoomed straight to the water play area. The slides were good, max was about 2 storeys high so the gals could play on their own. Hubby and I did not need to get into the water at all. But for kids 3 yrs or below, the occasional downpour of water from the oversized big bucket above can be quite scary because there is no alarm or bell ringing unlike the water play at the zoo and wild wild wet. One 3-yr-old gal in our group fell down due to the force of water n cried due to the shock.

The kids played from 1030am to 2pm when it got too hot. We would have left earlier but POLW has fringe activities so it was good at keeping the kids occupied. The gals tried the bubble foam pool and RA tried rainbow loom in between.

Will we go back again? Definitely!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

RaeAnne's first tooth fell out

RaeAnne dropped her bottom left incisor last Thursday, it has been shaky for 1-2 weeks. It finally fell off when she was tossing and turning for bed. There was a bit of blood but I stopped the bleeding with a cotton pad. She was quite excited cos she thinks the tooth fairy will give her a present. But the tooth fairies were undecided on what to give her and fell asleep in the end. So the next day, tooth fairy no. 1 gave her a dollar coin while tooth fairy no. 2 got her a little soft toy bear which she wanted. Lol.

Her bottom right incisor is shaky too. Hope her top incisors won't fall out too soon because she has a graduation photo taking session next week. Not very nice to have a boh gay graduation photo. Haha.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


Yeah! We are one of the 31 who got in without any balloting. Was so kancheong until results came out at 830pm. Can sleep easy tonight le. Haha.

Monday, July 21, 2014

P1 Registration...

I have never studied harder than I had these few weeks. Checking up on MOE website at night to see the no. of vacancies by phases. Visiting kiasuparents to compare odds against last year.

Yup, it is P1 registration for RaeAnne. Finally... Still remember the day when my waterbag broke and I gave birth to her after a long 16 hrs labour. Then in a blink of an eye, fast forward almost 7 years le and she will need to start her 6 years of formal primary school education in just 4 months.

We did PV duty last year for 60 hours last year so finally got the coveted PV letter which allows us to register in Phase 2B. Took leave today and registered with my friend and RA's cc classmate. Brought RA along too. Hubby as usual had to work. Today is the first day of Phase 2b registration, went on the very first day because I was too kancheong. The school admin said Phase 2b should be safe from balloting.

According to MOE website, 25 have registered and there are 53 vacancies. Looking good so far. Keeping fingers crossed for good news tomorrow. :)

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Perth 17 - 24 June 2014

We took a 8D7N self drive holiday to Perth with my mum, aunt and bro again. My brother has been to Perth and drove there before whereas for us we have never taken a self-drive holiday. Lol.

Being winter, it rained 5 of the 7 days we were there but it was still fun. We just donned raincoats and let the kids play at the playground or feed the farm animals. Better than going all the way there and doing nothing. The highlight of the trip for the kids was Sunflower Farmstay at Margaret River. RA cried when we had to leave.

For the elderly, they definitely love the supermarket visits (Coles and Woolworth) where the fruits and vegetables are so fresh and cheap. I have never eaten so many brussel sprouts, roast chicken and cooked prawns in my life.

Will just let the photos do the talking since I need to work tomorrow. Lol.

Our rental car - 8 seater Hyundai Imax

North cottage - Sunflowers Farmstay

The gals' favourite guinea pigs pen

RL did not wake up early enough for the pony ride but at least she got to feed it.

Apple picking!

Caversham Wildlife Park

Sunny days at Perth City (Perth Mint)

Friday, June 13, 2014

Kidland Penang

Took a trip to Penang again, my favourite Malaysian city thus far. As we went with the extended family this time, there was not much sightseeing. June is the warmest and most humid month for Singapore and Malaysia so my mum and aunt were most comfortable in air con. So Batu Ferringhi beach and lots of walking was out. Lol.

We stayed at Evergreen Laurel Hotel this time, to accommodate the budget of the extended family. The rooms were big and comfortable and the staff were friendly. But as there is no longer a free shuttle, we had to take a lot of cab rides to Gurney Plaza. Min is RM10 to go to Gurney Plaza, a Capital Mall run shopping centre. For the sake of convenience esp with young kids where you may need to go back to the hotel often to drop off shopping or let them rest/shower etc, I will still pick G Hotel.

On the first day, we had a late dim sum lunch at Xuan xin restaurant. I let the gals enjoy a mini manicure at Charmaine Nail Salon at Gurney Plaza for RM14. No such luxury in Sg cos it's too expensive. For dinner, we went to the open air Gurney drive Hawker centre but it was too warm for my mum and aunt. Queues were very long as we only went there at 8pm.

The next day, we went to Prangin Mall. There are two Atriums. Atrium A is more happening whereas Atrium B is quiet with quite a lot of shuttered shops. The main reason of going of Prangin mall is because of Kidland. It is Penang's version of the popular KL's Kidzania. Because it is school holidays, it is RM30 for 5 hrs of play, either 10-3pm or 4-9pm. If it is a non school holiday, you can play the whole day there. The place is big and occupies 2 floors. The entrance is at Level 4 while exit is at Level 5. There is a small café at level 5 near the washrooms and exit.

Kids can choose their favourite professions at Kidland, go into different rooms, don different uniforms and 'work' for $. The learning experience is guided by their staff once the kids are inside the rooms. But since it is the gals' first time, and we are not sure if they can navigate the rooms on their own, hb accompanied them for an additional RM5.

Kids can earn kidmonics $ then they can choose how they want to spend their money. They can either use their money on experiences (eg. indoor pg, face makeup, clayart, cookie making etc) or they can use the $ at the souvenir shop at Level 5. The gals tried out Bomb Disposal, IT, Police, Photo Studio. After earning hard and getting $70+, the gals chose to spend their hard earned $ at the indoor playground and dramatic face makeup. Not enough $ to buy souvenirs but hb got them a small toy each for RM10.

Went for a day tour (more like a shopping tour for my mum and aunt) on our last day in Penang. In the morning, we went to Pulau Tikus to buy our favourite 'dou miao'. I love this crunchy dou miao from Penang. Can't seem to find it anywhere else. It tastes wonderful just stir fried with some garlic and soy sauce. As yummy as I remember it. We visited the 3d museum to take 3d effect photos, Penang Botanical Gardens to see free roaming monkeys and also to Kek Lok Si. So, I managed to eat my Air Itam Penang Laksa this time.

When I asked the gals what they enjoyed most about Penang. Both said Kidland. I have been to Penang 5 times so far. People always ask me why I keep going back. I can't really describe why.
To me, the biggest draw to Penang besides the food has always been its people.

When we were walking around in Prangin Mall, not knowing the way to Parkson. A young chap on the automated massage chair overheard us and directed us to the right way. When we did our foot reflex massage at Prangin Mall, the massage therapist shared tips with us when we asked what was nice to eat around here. With his help, we tasted one of the best Char kuay teow and yummy chicken rice for just RM3. Even the hotel concierge lady was attentive and helpful towards my mum who couldn't walk very steadily. Guiding her to board the mini bus transport though she had a stern looking face (whom my brother said looked like a teacher or a principal). My brother commented that even the drivers sound their horns in a friendly manner. Just a short, light honk instead of the long dragged out horning that Singaporeans do to vent their frustration and impatience.

I feel welcome at Penang, not like a tourist, but like one of them. Their service attitudes is one of the best I encountered too. While it is nice to discover something new every time I go back to Penang. I hope there is something that doesn't change ie. the warm and humble Penangites.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Ocean Animals - Part 2

RaeAnne brought this home on Monday. So... that's what the school version of the "Ocean animals" drawing looks like. Much nicer with the colours. Haha.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Meeting a famous author!

We went to Parkway Parade MPH today to meet a famous author. I met him about 20 years ago when he came to my school to promote his book "Being Happy!" and "Making Friends".

Yes, we met Andrew Matthews, who was in Singapore to promote his new book "How Life Works". Andrew Matthews is the guy who inspired hubby to write his own cartoon self improvement book "Why Procrastinate" more than 6 years ago.

So besides getting his new book and bringing along all the old books to be autographed, hubby also presented Andrew Matthews with one of his books. ;)

Sunday, June 1, 2014

About blogging

In case, you are wondering why there are so many posts in 1 night? Sometimes I don't even write 1 post in 1 month. Lol.

The trigger in a way is because I found out I have ex colleagues still reading my blog. I have lost touch with most of them since I stopped full time work for 4 years plus. So I am surprised some of them are still reading my blog. The fact that her colleague can tell me about the school bag I bought for RA means that she is quite current at reading my blog. (That particular post has 101 hits by the way. Shows that many people do care a hoot for ergonomics school bags. Recently, the ear piercing and the Ballet post broke the record with more than 150 hits. Most of my posts have only about 30 hits. Lol.)

So, while I know nothing about what happened to my ex colleague for the last 4 years, she probably knows every little thing about me, my hb and my kids. But maybe it means that my blog is still worth reading even though we have lost touch with one another. Haha. The problem of a blog is that you really don't know who is reading. Unlike FB, there is not easy for them to leave comments as well. I tried adding a notice board widget but people abuse it. Even with an additional email address filter, people can write rubbish on it. And I have not been able to erase that off. Zzz...

Hb has been asking me to be a full time blog writer. Learn how to make $ from my blog, get sponsorship etc. Learn from Xiaxue, Grace Tan etc. And I know there are a few successful family blogs out there. Cheekiemonkies, the daddy blogger, even went to LEGOLAND and even Australia for free cos they were sponsored. It is tempting, I admit. Having someone else pay for my holidays sounds wonderful esp since I really love to travel.

But now I know for sure that I will not go down that route. No. 1 is because I value the privacy of my family too much. I need to protect my kids as well. Imagine a stranger can walk up to RA and call out their name, and say "I know your name is RA. You study at this school. And your mummy bought a school bag for you last week right? " Even when it happened to me, I felt a bit uneasy. Let alone my gals. Having extra money is good but just not worth it for me. Worse, what if the reader is not my friend, family or ex colleague. What if it is a stranger with ill intents? With details from my blog, he can stalk RA. RA may trust him since he seems to know everything about her and our family.

Yes, I can omit all personal details about my family but it is too tiring to write like that. My gal xxx studies at school xxx and we stay at xxx estate. I probably need to blank off details even from photos I posted. I know I will lose the zeal to write. As it is, I am getting lazy to blog when I get bogged down by work or family commitments. So, I am not going to make it even harder for myself.

Second important reason why I do not want my blog to 发扬光大, is about freedom of expression. Why did that guy got sued by PM for writing libellous things on his blog? I mean your blog should be about your personal thoughts and views right?

If he had said the same things at the coffee shop, he would have been safe unless someone recorded it and put it up at Stomp. But because he wrote about it in his blog, think he even publicised his blog, he got into deep trouble. Not sure if he was looking for fame or notoriety. But he is now offering to compensate PM $5k and that has already been rejected. I really don't know how he is going to get out of this mess.

My take on this is that the more popular your blog is, the more you have to be careful not to write the wrong things, step on other people's toes especially important people or companies with a reputation.

Mine is only a simple family blog. I never intended to make $ from it. That's why I don't even look for sponsorship. I know so stupid.... If I have to think long and hard to filter off all the negative stuff, write like a PR professional (reminds me too much of work, haha), it defeats the purpose of even having a blog. My blog is just an outlet for me to express my thoughts and views be it positive or negative ones. A place to log my kids' growing milestones. Should they be interested to read it one day. Maybe even a resource library for them to refer to when they become parents themselves and need help with parenting in case I am not around to offer advice in person anymore.

My blog is one with simple intentions and so it shall remain as that.

Couple time

The gals have been asking to go Yeye and Nai nai house quite often this year. Maybe because ILs help bring them to school every morning (since I started work 1 hr earlier this year) so their bond is stronger. Anyway, today, they were at ILs house from 2pm till 9+pm so hb and I can have some couple time together.

Went back to Vivo city since I had a $50 Timberland e voucher to use. Bought a pair of boots last weekend for our Perth holiday in 2 weeks time.

Didn't know that it was the Navy open house this weekend. No wonder the carpark was so packed and hb spent a lot of time circling before we got a parking lot.

We tried Poulet for the first time, had our late lunch at 3pm. Then we went shopping separately, lol. We were too full at 6+pm but didn't want to have dinner too late since we still have to go fetch the gals from ILs house. So we went to Serenity Spanish Bar and we had just 2 tapas and 1 dessert. My favourite Grilled calamari in olive oil and we tried the grilled beef with foie gras for the first time. And ordered a white wine strawberry sangria (cocktail).

Food at Serenity is not cheap but the quality is good. We spent $80+ even though we did not have any mains. If they were cheaper, I will love to eat there more often and try the other tapas. But since they are not, it'll just be an occasional treat. My long-awaited Mother's day treat from hubby. Lol.

Parent Volunteer letter from school!

Almost forgot to blog about this though I did post in FB. On friday, we finally received the PV letter that we have fulfilled 60 hours of PV duty. So we can now register RA in phase 2B on 21 July. Last year, the school did not have to ballot for phase 2B so we have a good chance. Phase 2C on the other hand had about 91 applicants so there was a ballot for the 71 seats available.

I took quite a lot of no pay leave in the beginning as I was working a temp job at ex company last year. But all in all, we finished the PV hours quite fast considering that we only started in August and we hit the 60 hrs in just 3 months. All thanks to hubby who burned his Saturdays as PV to organise birthday parties for the students. One of my friends started earlier than us but only reached 60 hrs this year because both she and her hb had problems taking leave from work or volunteering on weekends. The things parents do for our kids...

Peppa Pig

The gals are big fans of Peppa Pig, an UK cartoon. RA stumbled upon it on youtube last year and never grew tired of it. RL became a fan this yr under Cheh Cheh's influence. RL has been bugging us to buy Peppa Pig's toys but they were not available in Singapore. Shipping from costs way too much.

I was almost going to plan a Toy r us stop in our Perth itinerary next month because they do sell Peppa Pig's toys in Australia. Then lo and behold when we walked into Toy R Us at Vivo city, we saw Peppa pig toys. The girls were so thrilled and I was so relieved. Cos no need to especially plan at detour at Toy R Us anymore, and risk boring my mum and aunt and no need to hear my dear brother who is the driver nag too. Yeah!!!

So the doting Daddy bought almost everything on the racks for them. I don't want to come all the way back to Vivo city just to get one of Peppa's friends, he reasoned. Oh well, they really love it and play with the playsets almost everyday so I guess it's worth it.

My only complaint is that they package Peppa into every pack instead of selling a set of all her friends. Guess how many extra Peppa pigs we got. haha.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Ocean animals

RaeAnne showed me this picture she drew. Asked where did she copy from? And she said it was from the white board. Teacher drew and she copied. Looks cute to me. Not sure why there were 2 unnamed animals though. Lol.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

17 May

We bought our first property, our current HDB 5 rm flat in Dec 2004. It was the second unit I viewed and I fell in love because it had 2 balconies. I have always been a balcony person. We fulfilled the MOP in 2009 and I have been on a lookout for a second property when I was a real estate agent in 2011.

2 years ago, we almost bought a unit at Citylife EC. Our ballot number then was 100+, really good for a HDB second timer. I was only eyeing only 1 choice unit and it was still available when it was our turn. It was a 4 bedroom and we could give each kid their own room plus a study for hb to store his books/toys. The space was so tempting.

But the deal breaker was being an EC, we MUST sell our HDB unit within 6 months after we collect the keys for the EC in 2016. By 2016, RA is only in P2 and RL is only in P1. Citylife EC is 2-3 bus stops away. If I sell away our HDB flat, the gals will have to take the school bus or I have to take the bus with them early in the morning everyday to get to and from school. They will be only in P2 and P1 so I rather they get more sleep everyday. Also, at my current HDB, I am within walking distance to my mum and my ILs. It was so convenient, how could I bear to sell my HDB? So, I hesitated at the booking counter, and within 10 mins, that choice unit was sold. Pity the property agent who served me then.

RA has been asking us why we don't have a swimming pool at our house downstairs because some of her classmates stay in condos. I always told her must save up if want to buy a condo because it's a lot of money. Ironically, it was only after I left the property business, that we finally saved up to buy a small condo unit without having to selling our HDB.

Not a mean feat considering that I was not working full time for 4 years in the last 10 years. Kudos to hubby who has always been the more thrifty one between the two of us and for clearing off our HDB loan 2 years ago single-handedly so that we qualify for the 80% property loan despite the government's cooling measures.

It is a small unit, only 84 sqm, 3 br on the 8th floor. But the quantum was right for us, less than $1million, it was an area I had been eyeing, and it was a short 5 mins walk to MRT.

The biggest sacrifice I would say is space as my current unit is 119sqm. But by the time it TOP, it will be 2019, the gals will be in P5 and P4 so I am not sure if we will stay there in the end as PSLE is a critical year. But if we do stay there, I know the gals will love the swimming pool and other facilities. So despite having a housing debt all over again, hope this is the right move to grow our assets for our gals.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Eye checks and Weight

School Health Services came to the gals' school last week. They did eye checks, took height and weight.

Both gals do not have 6/6 eyesight, only 6/9.5 ie. Acceptable eye sight. Think it's only a matter of time before they got to wear glasses. Though I am restricting their ipad/youtube time by setting passwords to the devices. They seldom watch tv except DVDs with us during dinner if I cook. :P

Height: 117.6kg
Weight: 18.7kg
BMI: 10-<25 percentile

Height: 101.40
BMI: 50-<75 percentile

The weight difference between RA and RL is only 3kg. No wonder RA is at a low 10 percentile for weight and RL is of median percentile. I think it has got to do with RA dropping milk feeds. Nowadays she only eats a snack for BF usually bread or cup cake and same for before nap. She hates the smell of FM so she doesn't want to drink by cup and too big for the bottle. Fresh milk is too cold straight from fridge while uht packs are convenient and costly in the long run. Looks like we got to find ways to up her milk intake somehow and increase her food portion (she is still taking the same as RL) if we want her to gain some weight.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Doctor for a Day!

Heard of this children's event from my smh mummy friends. It is organised by Parkway hospitals for children aged 5-10 years old and they rotate the venues.

I signed up for RA when I found out about that the next one will be held at Parkway East hospital (old Eastshore hospital) cos it is the only Parkway Hospital nearest to home. I should have signed RL up too but I wasn't sure as she is not quite 5 years old yet. She only turns 5 yrs old in Dec. But I changed my mind and was glad that I did not sign RL up. When I saw kids as young as RL crying when the programme started or running in and out of the room. They are probably too young to focus for 1.5 hrs.

Anyway, RL was quite upset at the beginning of RA's 1250pm session as she can't join in and she won't have her toy stethoscope. She cried loudly at the registration counter and one of the organising ladies was really nice to give her a stethoscope to stop her tears.

RA was having fun wearing a yellow scrub suit and moving from room to room learning about hand hygiene, how to tie a bandage, change a baby's diapers, doing a procedure at operating theatre, etc. The event was very well organised with a photo session as well as a graduation session at the end when each kid was given a goody bag.

What I appreciated most was that there were activities for the kids at Level 1 too: balloon sculpture, beads art activity and photo taking sessions. RL was having fun and that helped with the waiting as RA only finished past 2pm.

Next year, if they have another event at Parkway east, I will definitely sign RL up.

Monday, April 14, 2014

First Ballet Exam for RaeAnne

Today is RaeAnne's first ballet exam. I only took a few hours off work so was really rushing to fetch her by bus from cc to school. I didn't learn ballet when I was young so I did not know that they were quite strict about attire during ballet exams.

No nail polish, earrings or panties are allowed during the exam. Yes, the gals only wear their leotards. I found the 3rd rule a bit weird frankly. But maybe it is unsightly if their panties peeked out of their leotards? Beats me.

Then,the hair must be neatly tied in a bun even for girls with short hair. RA has very short and layered hair so I really don't know how to bun up her hair. Luckily, the teacher said she will help to bun RA's hair and asked us to arrive early at 1230pm.

But when I reached the cc at 1210pm, she was still in the shower because the P forgot to inform RA's teacher that I am picking up early today. By the time, we reached her ballet school, it was already 1250pm. And all her classmates were ready and starting to practise. While RA had not eaten nor bunned her hair yet. Luckily Ms Joy offered her an OCK spring roll immediately so she could eat while Ms Joy bunned her hair.

Ms Joy bunned her hair beautifully, I don't think I would have been able to do it so nicely. Suddenly, RA looked so grown up and graceful. Haha. Then she managed to have 1 last round of practice with her classmates and waited for their turns to go into the exam dance hall.

There were 5 gals going for pre primary exam and it was only group dancing at this level, no individual performances yet. There were only two grades, Good or Excellent for Pre primary. A lot of ballet gals skipped this stage and start straight from Primary level exam. But since RA is still in K2, without the stresses of P1, I wanted to expose her to the ballet exam system and see whether she is really committed to learning ballet.

She did whined about having to practise her dance moves a few months ago during her additional weekly coaching class so I told her I will stop her ballet lessons after this exam if she does not want to continue. After all, she can always learn Chinese dance or other forms of dance in primary school without the need for exams.

But today after her exams, I asked her if she still wants to learn ballet and take ballet exams. She said yes. RA is very shy so I hope performing arts will help to boost her confidence and perform on stage. We will support her as long as she is really interested. So, looks like this won't be her first and last ballet exam yet. Lol.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Getting Ready for Primary One - An Ergonomic School Bag

It is Isetan Private Sale (IPS) today - my favourite department sale that happens every few months. So i took time off from work to go. One of the first thing on my shopping list is an ergonomic school bag for RA since she is entering Pri 1 next year.

I must admit just 1 month ago, i was not even thinking of buying an ergo bag. Any bag will do right as long as it is a backpack and not a trolley bag. In fact, there is an extra Barbie bag bought during sale for less than $30.

But i was having a chit chat with a mummy friend n she was looking out for an ergo school bag. She said if the school bag is heavy n there is no good back support, the kid may end up with poor posture and hunching. Ok, it does make sense cos the gals' childcare bags are quite big but it is usually quite light since there is only 1 water bottle, bedding n a thin communication book.

But at Pri school, there are much more books and there is a lot of walking around as the campus is much bigger. Most primary schools will site Pri 1 classrooms at level 1, but even then the school hall, computer lab, music room, library etc are usually at level 2 or even level 3.

I have seen kids with big heavy bags slung so low going up n down the staircases n i worry they will topple n fall over. Some kids use trolley bags which are worse cos they got to lift n carry it up n down the stairs. Teachers do try to lighten p1 kids load by keeping workbooks or exercise books in school but at least 2-3 times a week, the workbooks will still be in the kids bags for homework or parents' signature.

Ok so which ergonomic bags are good? There are a quite few brands SPI, Impact, Deuter, Buddy, Ergo, Crosscom etc. A very hardworking parent has done a comparison chart of all the different ergonomic bags in the market. You will have to email him or her for the chart but if you zoom to 200%, you can still make out roughly what was written on the chart.

Personally, I only have contact with the first 3 brands since they are easily found in the heartlands or dept stores. In terms of pricing, Impact is cheapest ($79.90 onwards, available in Kiddy palace), followed by Deuter ($109 onwards) and then SPI ($139 onwards).

When I was teaching, I saw quite a few SPI bags so I bought SPI Smart Active bag since it is a well known brand PLUS it was on 30% off. I choose a pink bag with a cute design since there aren't any princess designs. Thought the plain ones are too common and I don't want her to confuse her bag with one of her classmate's.

The sales assistant said this bag can fit an A4 folder. That's good because at the primary school that I taught, part of the standard booklist is A4 clear holders. Students use 1 clear holder to keep important notices eg. spelling lists etc and they have a separate folder for Holistic assessment etc.

For a comfortable fit, the top of the backpack should sit just below a child’s shoulders; the base should not be lower than his hip. I let RA try out just now and it was still ok, the bag ended at her hip.

The American Chiropractic Association recommends that a fully loaded bag should be less than 10 per cent of a child’s weight. Hmm... RA is about 18kg meaning she should carry a school bag that is only 1.8kg. Think all the primary schools fail in this aspect cos there is just too many books for their lessons. Zzz...

Deuter will be my next choice, cos it is a German brand. I got a Deuter backpack myself. But the S size bag is too small in my opinion though it is light and compact. Impact is the cheapest ergo bag around so it is also popular but I do not like the plain designs and some of its models topple over easily. Hazardous as it blocks the walkways as kids are expected to put their school bag on the floor beside their chair.

Buying an ergonomic bag is expensive but it is still too early to say if this is the best bag for her. Got to really test it out next year. Fingers crossed that I made the right decision. Haha.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

RA's Lion

We brought the gals to their usual Tues RC art class today but did not see RA's previous week's artwork. Only found RL's in the pile. Hb said maybe it was pinned up? True enough, we found it in the RC noticeboard outside the classroom. Good job, RA!