Monday, December 22, 2008
I found this bookstore by chance some time ago. It's located at Bras Basah Complex. They had a whole collection of Blue's Clues books. My daughter was crazy about Blue at that time so I bought all of them. It was SO cheap. Only about $4 a book. Now, every book which is already so cheap is on sale for 30-50 percent off. I also managed to pick up some Caillou books recently for $2 a book. When I went back again a week later, they were all gone. Either way, you can't go wrong. The prices are too good to be true most of the time and you'll probably find a book your kid will like. So sad to see they are closing down.
Are you one of those parents who rushes their kids to free Christmas shows in malls during the festive season? I am! But I have to say, some are really not too good. And having a second baby now, I'm more picky too. The best we've seen so far is the Sesame Street show at Marina Square. It was entertaining and well organised. The Sesame Street show we saw at Ngee Ann City last year was also very well done. Hello Kitty at Junction 8 was quite lousy, you could hardly hear the character's speaking. Barney at Plaza Singapura was so so. The seating area was way too tiny since the space was shared with vendor road shows. Winx (in photo) was so-so. Probably because both my daughter and I have never watched an episode of the cartoon.
My friend clued me in on a programme her kids are attending so I also checked out the Singapore Sports Council programme at Bishan Sports Hall. It has a long waiting list and only accepts kids from age 4. The classes sizes are larger but fees are about $190 for twice a week, two hours each time. Very affordable but a much bigger time commitment is needed, compared to other gym programmes elsewhere.
I've been looking for a place to take my 3-year old so some time now. My criteria? Must be close to home and definitely not anywhere I need to pay ERP to access. I found Prime Gymnastics located at Lorong 7 Toa Payoh. The programme is organised in terms. They offered a free trial and it was basically letting my girl join in an ongoing class. The teachers were very friendly and fun-loving so my daughter warmed up to them quickly. Within 5 minutes, she was running, tumbling, climbing with the other kids. There were two instructors present for only five kids. Was told it would be one instructor for 6 kids max. The three-month course fee is $305 (early bird fee) plus $50 registration and $20 family membership (mandatory due to the club's constitution). We start class in January! I think my daughter will love it!
Monday, November 24, 2008
I've been looking for a company to clean and sanitise my rugs. I bought my wool rugs from IKEA so that they provide a cushion for any falls by my 10-mth old. One of the rugs, I actually shipped back from the USA since it was a gift from my husband and I absolutely love the design. Anyway, I finally found a company called De'Hygienic. They claim they use organic materials. Got a quote for both rugs, it will be $200 to clean them. WAH!!! Anyway, looks like a necessary expense since my vacuum doesn't have the carpet roller brush to do the job. The photo is a sampling of what will be sucked up from my mattress if I hired them to clean it too. Apparently, the white stuff consists of dust mites and some fibres from my mattress. I'm still not sure if I need to do that. Will see.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
I was intrigued to see a post on the SingaporeMotherhood forum about the recent Crocs Expo Warehouse sale. Apparently, people took about 20-30 mins to shop but had to get in line to pay for 2 hours or more. Siao! Well, I'm a huge fan of comfy shoes so I wish I could get a Croc to fit me. But alas! Every model I've tried is either too wide or too flat toed. You see, I've got a longer second toe so sometimes, closed-toe shoes get in the way. Anyway, my sister introduced me to the most comfy flipflops I've ever worn. They are called FitFlops and they give you a workout when you walk! Sure or not you ask? I don't know but it's comfy, that's all I care about.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
I didn't expect to feel nostalgic when I visit the Land Transport Gallery but I did when I saw these bus tickets. Remember them? You probably would if you're 70's baby. The gallery was surprisingly interesting and impressive. I think families should visit for sure! It's interactive (great to keep kids entertained), fun and best of all, FREE! Tours are guided so best to call ahead to reserve a timeslot. Like the NEWater Visitor's Centre, there's lots of info to steer you towards understanding government policy but hey, what do you expect lah? Details at http://www.lta.gov.sg/corp_info/lt_gallery.htm
My foreign domestic helper painted these two paintings. I discovered her talent in art and her creativity by observing how she played with my children. So I offered to help her nurture her interest. We borrowed lots of "How to Paint" DVDs from the library for her to watch in the evenings and sometimes books too. I then bought acrylic paints and some canvases and asked her to paint the black and white portrait for my living room. (See top painting) I thought she did a really nice job, considering she's had no official training. Anyway, a friend came to visit me at home and said she liked the painting so I offered her the opportunity to buy a custom-piece too from my maid to help her out too. She had unexpectedly lost her father, who was her family's only other breadwinner. Since my friend wanted a colour painting, she had to get her new paints and the canvases too. The bottom creation is for my friend. I hope she likes it.
Haw Par Villa is an interesting place to visit but with children, it might be a tad scary for them and you'll find yourself explaining a lot of things to them, stuff you probably don't really want to explain. However, the park offers a rather unique activity for the family. For $6 a person, you can choose a costume, wear it, and take photos with your own camera! It's unlimited... the number of shots you want to take so if you're planning a cute Chinese-themed Christmas card photo, this might be a fun family outing.
I visited HortPark recently for the Baby on Board project and discovered these playgrounds located within! Imagine how much play time your kids will have when you take them to visit. Parents will also enjoy the leisurely stroll through the various gardens at HortPark. They inspire and impress. If you're not a fan of the sun, bring an umbrella and make sure you slap on sunscreen on the kids too coz there's limited shade, as you can see from the photos.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
I got this Jive Stroller from Mothercare and it's great! Very lightweight, easy to open/close and best of all, baby loves it! We have a larger stroller that we leave in our car so it's nice having a smaller one that we can leave in the house for our impromptu walks to the market that happen on pretty much a daily basis. Baby gets bored at home... She squeals in delight just seeing us set the stroller up. The basket underneath is also substantial so we can actually put stuff we purchase inside. I like this more than a very old Combi stroller I got from a friend because we can drag this stroller on it's wheels even when it's collapsed. The Combi, although a tad lighter, has to be carried when collapsed.
How clean is your air-con? All this black dirt and weird floaters came from my bedroom aircon after we had it chemically cleaned. Yup, shocking isn't it? We've been breathing air that has been so filthy and we didn't even know it. Well, according to Kevin, the aircon expert from Aircon Astiquer, he said that such dirt would usually take about 3-5 years to accummulate but since we're undergoing construction in our block (lift upgrading), this could have contributed to the horrific dirt build-up in less than 2 years. Anyway, what's interesting about this whole thing is I learned a lot about aircons from Kevin. It's rare to have an aircon specialist provide so much advice and know-how. Most I've worked with can't even speak English so half the time, I'm trying to figure out exactly what they are saying. Most of the time, it's vague and general anyway. Kevin is quite unique too, having invented his cleaning machine himself through trial and error over many years, he's confident that using a high pressure water jet to clean aircons is a very effective way. He said that most aircons in Singapore are not cleaned well enough or just cleaned on the surface, that's why he decided he had to take on the challenge of finding a solution to make a difference in the industry. I also found what he said about aircons that are not designed for our kind of humid climate 365 days a year quite true too. Think about it, all the big aircon brands are Japanese or Korean and these countries have seasons. So the aircons R&D are not for Singapore's all-year humid weather too. When Kevin left his card before leaving, I noticed he's an Honor's degree holder mind you, so this is truly his passion. Honestly, his machine made me think of Ghostbusters when I first saw him at the door. It's pretty large, almost as tall as he is. If you want to learn more, go to www.astiquer.com.
Monday, October 6, 2008
Did you know that Cathay cinemas offered a free ticket for your kids (younger than 7 years) for movies before 2pm? The programme is called Mum and Tots days. I saw the ad at the cinema on Saturday night when my husband and I finally managed to catch a movie. We saw Eagle Eye. It's not bad... lots of action. We were sitting a tad close to fully enjoy the crazy action scenes. Didn't know prices were now $10 per ticket! The last movie we saw at the theatre was Iron Man. I was so unfamiliar with the movie ticket buying process, it took me a few seconds to figure out what I was looking at when the sales staff showed me the seating chart. Pathetic eh?
I just lost my voice today. Have you ever thought of when moms can take a break without feeling guilty? It's when they are sick! Well, since I lost my voice, I couldn't do much with the kids and actually had to stay away since I didn't want to get them sick too. So I slept all afternoon... zzz. It was really amazing. Hadn't slept 4 hours straight with no disturbance since my second daughter was born. My helper was so considerate too. Instead of disturbing my sleep, she let my baby sleep in the living room under her watch. I did go see the doc since my husband was convinced it was bacterial and needed anti-biotic treatment. Doctor thinks it's viral so he just gave me some meds to treat and minimise the symptoms. He said that most times, when the symptoms are really severe, like high fever or extremely sore throat etc, then it could be bacterial. In 90% of cases, it's viral. Wow, I learned something today! Glad I asked. I realise in Singapore too, if you don't ask the doctor questions, they don't invest the time to tell you much or educate you. Hopefully the meds the knock this cough right out of system soon.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Saw this cool stroller when I visited the Red Dot Design Museum for Mothercare Baby on Board. The design is a Red Dot winner. I saw the ad for this stroller. A baby was sitting in the stroller and it was elevated high enough for her to play ping pong! Of course, it's ridiculous that a baby can play ping pong but it sure left a lasting impression. Made by Stokke, they design products that allow the child to rise to the adults' level. I actually own the Stokke chair for my daughter so she can sit comfortably with us at the dining table during meals. It's fully adjustable up to adult size so although it's got quite a killer price tag (S$400+), I think it's worth it.
If you are interested to look at great product design, visit the Red Dot Design Museum. You'll see award winners and be inspired. There are only two Red Dot Museums in the world. The other is in Germany. Pretty cool that we have one here in Singapore.
Did I mention before how much I love the National Library? Their selection is just incredible. I am happy to pay the $21 a year! Next time you visit, see if you can borrow the Parents magazine. It's really quite a great read and you'll learn a lot about children and parenting. I also like to borrow Oprah, Real Simple and sometimes, Family Circle. But Parents is my all time favourite, now that I am a mom.
Wow... I was really impressed with the Songs of the Sea show at Sentosa. I think it's way better than I expected. And for $8 a person, it's really quite affordable for the whole family. If you need an activity for the family, this is a good one to consider. Even my 8-month old baby enjoyed it.
Saw the latest Honda Freed at Downtown East. I drive a tiny Honda Jazz now and we're outgrowing the car. Well, the car seats are forcing us to look at a larger car since it's taking up all the seating space! Our poor helper has no room to sit once we upgrade our second infant car seat to a toddler size one. Anyway, the Honda Freed is attractive since it's got a small 1.5 engine. And it seats 7. So is the Toyota Sienta. But I don't know if I like the second row seats where it's separated. We were taught in the USA that it's safest to place baby in the middle seat. With this design, it would be at the third row. I actually like how the Honda Stream looks but it's even less flexible and practical since the seats cannot be moved. Other cars we're thinking of... Toyota ISIS and Toyota Wish.
When I had my first daughter, we showed her the first edition Signing Time DVDs in the USA. She learned how to sign before she could talk and we had very few tantrums and screaming fits. It was really cute. I think her first sign was bird (not that useful) but she eventually learned how to sign milk, sleep and books. I found the latest edition of the Signing Time series recently at the library and learned they now have "Baby Signing Time." It's catered to babies 3 months and up. I think it's an improvement. Try it out with your baby and see if he/she likes it!
The Mothercare Baby on Board project brought me to Fish Reflexology located next to Underwater World at Sentosa recently. The experience was pretty interesting. I highly recommend you try the fish spa with your loved one--don't go alone. It's more fun to squeal with someone when you do your virgin dip. When you dip your feet in, you're literally savagely attacked by all the fish! It's quite a horrific feeling initially. You know it's going to happen but you don't quite know how it feels like till you experience it. So did my feet come out silky smooth? It was better than before the fish nibble. Staff said it will would take at least a few more dips to complete get all the dead skin off. There are lots of fish spas in Singapore now. This one offers two kinds of fish (from Turkey and Africa). I chose the Turkey fish coz I was told the African fish are more aggressive, making it a more ticklish experience. Having smaller fish nibble at your feet also feels a tad less scary...
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Moms out there, do you find it hard to even get away for two hours to get a facial done? I do! I finally got my facial done after more than 5 months. My absolute favourite facial place is a hole in the wall place located Toa Payoh Lorong 6 called Suitall. I've been going to Susan for years. I love her facials coz they include a really long relaxing face massage. Ahhhh...