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! :)

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!

Renting toys are just as fun!

We eyed a few toys at Toy R Us for a few years. First, it was the Sunshine playhouse. At its cheapest, it was less than $200, then the Step 2 Swing and slide playground. Without fail, the gals will ask to swing on the display set when we are at Toy R us. Finally those impressive kitchen playsets with swing door fridge, microwave etc. All these toys are very bulky, so if we buy them, there will not be much space left in our little 5 room flat.

Also, they may get bored with these toys and it will be troublesome for me to sell it off after that. I think renting these expensive toys is a better way cos it will help them appreciate the toys more. Since they know it is only on loan, they can't spoil it and they have to return it. So they will tend to play more with it and not take it for granted.

Since RA is starting P1 next Jan and I doubt she will have as much playtime since there will be homework so I decided to rent these big toys for them now. Got them from toyrentalworld cos rates were reasonable. Free delivery as long as your order is minimum $40. Only catch is that you must start rent on a weekday and min of 7 days rent.

Let the gals choose the toys and the first time they chose was Sweetheart Playhouse. I am not surprised cos it is pink and looks so girly. Haha. When it finally arrived today, the gals were so excited. RA even wanted to sleep inside the playhouse but in the end she decided it was too warm inside and her bed is more comfortable. RL was sulking a bit cos she wanted the waterplay table and swing set too. Yes, one at a time since I only rented the playhouse for 1 week. Lol.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Hong Kong Trip - 18 - 21 Mar 2014

Raelynn has been asking me to bring her to Disneyland the whole of last year. It started after her classmate came back from Hong Kong Disneyland. Actually RL went in 2011 when she was 1.5 years old but she only remembers the cotton candy and Flying Dumbo from that trip. So I decided to bring them there again making use of the Tiger air promotion for NTUC members last year. Air tics costs just $818 for family of 4.

Day 1
It was an early morning flight at 820am so we reached airport at 7am. I was worried about whining kids cos I got to wake them so early. But they were very cooperative. Maybe because this has been the trip they were waiting for. The flight from Tiger was smooth especially during take off and landing. I was impressed. Maybe I have been flying Airasia too often. The gals were bored after 1 hr so I had to keep them entertained with the Note 8 where I had already dl cartoons in advance. haha.

When we reached Disneyland hotel, it was too early to check in. The weather was hot & sunny though March was supposed to be quite cold so the first thing we did was to get the kids to change out of their fleece pullovers and into their T shirts. We went to Fantasyland straight since the gals were not interested in taking any photos with the characters at all. First, the carousel, then Flying Dumbo then the teacups. Then we had lunch and went for the Mickey 3d show, and Winnie the Pooh adventure ride.

Then RL got v sleepy and insisted on going back to Hotel room. So we went back, let the gals soak in the bathtub. Wanted to have dinner at Disneyland Hotel before returning to Disneyland for the fireworks. But the wantan mee at the Chinese restaurant costs almost SGD20. I was shocked so we just ate our leftover pizza from lunch and went back to Disneyland for dinner instead. At the corner café, RL fell asleep. Managed to wake her so she was just in time to see the fireworks. It was the first time we saw fireworks though we have been to Hong Kong Disneyland 3 times because the kids were younger and we were always back to hotel by nightfall. It was truly a magical experience. Highly recommended! When we returned to the hotel, the gals got to listen to the bedtime story at the Storytelling room.

Day 2
After a quick breakfast of bread that we bought from Disneyland bakery the night before, we checked out of the hotel. Left our luggage with the concierge and went to Disneyland again. This time, we went straight for the outdoor boat ride to Tarzan Treehouse. Cos RA remembered it from our last trip. Then back to Fantasyland where we went to It's a small world indoor boat ride. It was our first time and RA loves it. Then we went for the Golden Mickeys Musical. Our first time too but probably our last one cos the host spoke in Cantonese so the kids didn't really understand. There were 'subtitles' in English and Chinese but they can't read yet.

We met our cousin for lunch as she is also in Disneyland with her gal. Then the gals insisted on carousel ride again, then RL went for Flying Dumbo while RA went for It's a Small World with Daddy twice! Then we went to Toystory land as I wanted to ride on the slinky dog ride. We finally left Disneyland at 6pm so I had no chance to shop at Citigate factory outlet recommended by my friends.

Collected our luggage and took a cab straight to Royal Plaza Hotel near Mongkok East MTR. The gals napped in the cab. The hotel had 2 queen beds and was newly renovated so that's why I chose it. There was a shopping mall attached so we went for dinner at a Shanghainese restaurant "Shanghai - Xiao Nan Guo" cos RA wanted xiaolongbao. But weekday dinner at 730pm was impossible. We queued until 830pm before we finally got a table. Food was good though so at least we were appeased. No chance to shop again as the shops have closed by the time we left the restaurant. The gals had another nice long soak at their bubble bath before we called it a night.

Day 3
We woke up late and brought the gals to Pet street near the hotel. The gals wanted to bring every cute fish, puppy, cat, terrapin etc home but too bad we can't bring live animals on board the flight. Then we had brunch at a nearby chachanteng. Finally, my truly authentic Hk brekkie. We ordered youtiao, che zai mian, polo bun, wantan mee and deep fried pork intestines. Yes, we ordered too much. Lol.

After lunch, since we were already near to Mongkok MTR, decided to take the train to TST and bring the gals to Harbour city where the big toy r us is. We went to Harbour city in 2008 when RA was just 11 months old. Bought them a princess dress at SGD45 each since it was half price compared to Disneyland prices. Then we had a nice afternoon view overlooking the harbour at a nearby café. Left the place at 5pm as the kids were tired. We had a long trek from Mongkok MTR to our hotel so halfway we stopped for dinner at MacD for the sake of the air con and convenience. Too lazy and tired to think. While the gals rested in the room with Daddy, I popped down to the shopping mall next door and grabbed stuff from Sasa and Uniqlo. Last min shopping.

Day 4
We had BF at macdonalds cos we truly wanted to taste the pork sausage mcmuffin. Can only get the halal version in Sg. And was pleasantly surprised to see that McD serve macaroni soup in the mornings. After BF, we quickly checked out of our hotel and rushed to the airport for our 1pm flight. Grabbed some mandatory lao po bing from Kee Wah at Terminal 2 before checking in and transferring to Terminal 1 for our flight. The flight was delayed and we finally flew off at 2pm. Not so impressed this time. But at least the pilot made up for lost time so we landed only half an hour late. The gals were sad to leave Hong Kong but luckily they had lots of toys and souvenirs to play with.