Thursday, June 28, 2012

Mommy, is that for me?

Nathan saw this when I was packing my customers' orders for delivery, and went, "Mommy, look, a train! Is this for me? Is this for me?" I couldn't bear to turn down such an earnest request, so I said "yes". Thankfully a new shipment of Melissa & Doug toys had just arrived, and I had more than enough to fulfill the orders I had on hand.


So for the next 20 minutes or so... he went about painting his train. Although it says ages 4+, Nathan was able to manage pretty well. Maybe the paint work wasn't even, and I had to help him wash the brush when he wanted to change colours, other than that, he didn't really have much difficulty. When the paint was dry, he needed help with pasting some of the stickers on, since that required more precision. Otherwise, it is a simple and fun craft. Everything that is needed is included in the pack, and after he was done with painting the train, we still had lots of paint left over.


He was very pleased that he has painted his own train, and went about showing off his very own creation. I like that this is a fuss free project. It is simple enough to be completed in half an hour for younger kids, and for older kids, they can probably spend more time painting it nicely if they like. At just $6.90 a pack, I think these make wonderful party favours, and could even be a birthday party activity (if you can't think up enough activities to entertain the kids)! Beats having candies and chocolates that aren't good for the kids.



There are many other designs - race car, vehicle magnets, princess magnets, spinning tops, mini treasure chest etc. Check out There are also DIY door plaques which make pretty deco on the kids' bedroom door. 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Gone Fishing!

We went to the National Museum last weekend for Island Adventures. It was a rather small scale exhibition as compared to the other Children's Season exhibits. Nonetheless, the kids had fun.

First, we boarded a pretend boat where they got to see and touch various items that travellers brought with them as they travelled across the oceans, in search of a better life. Next, we arrived  in Singapura, where we got a glimpse of the kinds of jobs that people undertook in those days. A cobbler, a street hawker and a letter writer.

The highlight of the visit for Nathan was actually getting a chance catch fishes. I think we spent more than half the time we were there stuck at this station.


Look at how pleased he is with his big catch.


I promised to make him his very own fishing rod and fishes when we got home... and look what I came up with. :) It is such a simple game and yet he enjoyed it so much.


Want to go fishing too? Free admission to Island Adventures on 23 & 24 June and 21 & 22 July 2012. Otherwise, admission is $5 per adult/child.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Job Opportunity for Fellow Moms


Are you a stay at home mom wanting to supplement the family income? Do you have limited time & energy, but still like to use what’s left of it to do something you can call your own? Do you like being able to stay home with your kids so you can be a greater part of their childhood? At the same time, you feel like it is nice to earn a little money for weekend treats or a special trip somewhere. Have you ever come across products that you or your kids love? Do you enjoy handcrafting your own products, or coming up with home-schooling kits / activities for your young ones? Mama Shoppe is run by a mama like you. I know what it is like to have kids who love to have your attention. I know what it is like to want to quit your full time job so you have more time for the kids, but yet you struggle with calling it quits (at work) because giving up that source of income is difficult. I know what it is like to want to set up your own little biz which you can run from home, but not have enough time/energy to do something full-fledged. As such, I present to you an opportunity that will allow you to work flexible hours. You decide how many hours you like to work. You decide how much energy you like to put into running your little business. You add to the family income without having to take away too much time from the family.


Mama Shoppe is an online retail store that carries a wide array of quality products for mums and babes. Our webstore has an integrated shopping cart system that allows customers to shop with ease. We offer a gift registry service which allows customers to choose gifts they’d like to receive for their baby’s 满月 celebrations or birthdays, and share the list with their loved ones and friends with ease. We accept payment by credit cards and bank transfer. Customers shop with ease from the comforts of their homes.


You get to sell your products on an e-commerce platform without the need to incur high start-up costs to create and maintain a webstore (think - savings in web design costs/time, savings in web hosting charges, savings in tearing out your hair from having to figure out what the site isn’t appearing as it should). You get to list your products with many others, offering customers the possibility of getting everything that they need / want from one merchant (think - how troublesome it is having to order different items from different merchants). You do not need to track / verify payments. You do not have to spend large amounts of money advertising and yet your products get extended reach through consolidated marking efforts. Other than Mama Shoppe’s own marketing efforts, our partners are encouraged to advertise through their own channels (facebook, twitter, word-of-mouth). So more people will get to hear about Mama Shoppe, more people will drop by Mama Shoppe, more people will shop at Mama Shoppe. ☺ You get to enjoy Partner Discounts on (non-nett price or already discounted) items sold in Mama Shoppe. So you’ll enjoy savings on products you do not carry, but still need / want for your precious little ones (think – in addition to making some money from selling your products, you save by spending less on products you usually buy from other retail stores).


You drop us an email telling us what product/s you’d like to sell. Also, tell us more about yourself, your family, your current employment status… tell us how you intend to help market Mama Shoppe (Facebook, Twitter, Blog – share with us your URL if you have one)… tell us anything you think will help us decide if our partnership will be mutually beneficial. Mama Shoppe assesses the possibility of our partnership and sends you an offer to partner with us, if we find you suitable. Together with the offer, you’ll find some terms of partnership and the costs that’ll be incurred by you. Depending on what product/s you have on offer, it’ll usually involve a registration fee, a listing fee and profit sharing. Basically, the fees will be minimal, and you do not need to pay more until your product sells.


Whether you have access to popular well-established products, or you have handcrafted products to sell, we are interested to partner with you as long as your products fit well in our stores line-up. Drop us an email at and let us see how we can work together.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

To Daddy With Love

I am thankful that my boys have a daddy who loves us so much, and is so involved in fathering - he changes diapers, makes milk, takes a shower for/with them, reads bedtime stories, arbitrates fights, feeds them, plays with them, tucks them in bed, reads the bible and prays with them... Know that we appreciate all that you do for the family, and we love you lots. - Mommy, Nathan & Noah

I came across this mosaic craft shop at Bukit Timah Plaza and liked quite a few items they had on display. Thought it'd be nice to let Nathan make something for daddy. I was deciding between a photo frame and a lamp. The shop owner suggested that we started with the frame since Nathan is only 2 years old, and will not be able to finish the lamp in one sitting. I took her advice and we got to work.

First, Nathan got to pick out all the tiles he wanted to use from a wide array of tiles at the shop. He was asked to scoop the tiles he liked into small white cups, making sure not to mix the different tiles. Nathan chose about 20 different tiles in all and wanted to go back for more. I pretty much let him pick anything he wanted. I made no attempt to colour coordinate.

Next, he pasted the tiles on the frame, which already had double sided tape pasted on it. I let him paste them anywhere he liked. No need for regular patterns or straight lines. I did try to disuade him from using the big circle tiles cos I thought they looked rather out of place (u see 3 of them in the final product). He liked the circular tiles and wanted to include them in the frame, so I did not insist. The nice thing about mosaic is... even though we did not coordinate colours or line up the tiles nicely, it still turns out nice!

After all the pasting was done, we had to leave the semi finished art work at the shop, so that they can complete the grouting. All in all, a fun activity for the little ones. Perhaps I'd bring him back next year, and we can attempt a more complex piece for Father's Day 2013.


mosaic proud

Now that the frame was done, the challenge for mommy was to find a nice photo of Nathan & Noah. I looked thru the photos we took in recent times and couldn't find a nice one with both of them in the same picture. So I actually had to take a photo myself. It was no mean feat. They don't obey 'look in the camera & smile'. Noah hates it when Nathan tries to put his arm around him, and will start fussing or trying to run away. Nathan will be upset that Noah doesn't want to sit beside him, and he'll give up trying to get his brother to cooperate after awhile... see the shots I took just to find one for the frame.




I finally chose one from the series of them in their car seats. All straped up, neither of them could run about. The photo captured them in their true essence, Nathan with his sweet but cheeky smile and Noah looking bossy as usual. The final product... 

mosaic frame

I thought it was a pity that I couldn't get a nice shot of both of them for the frame, but daddy actually thought that this was a nice shot. :)

Other than being one of the two subjects in the photo, Noah also made something for daddy at school. A windmill. Really cute!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

I Like to Move It, Move It!

Eversince we took Nathan to the zoo about 3 weeks ago, he has been asking to watch 'the animal show' on TV. He's referring to the first Madagascar movie which he watched bits and pieces of. So when I found out the Marina Square was having a Madagascar 3 Meet & Greet, I took the opportunity to bring him down to catch them 'live'. Nathan takes a nap from 12+ to 3+ everyday, and we have to pick Noah up from daycare in the evening, so the only timeslot that was good for us was the 4pm show. I wasn't confident of getting a Meet & Greet pass since we couldn't get there early, but we just prayed and went anyway. At the very least, we'd just watch them sing and dance on stage. Thing was, we got there 10 minutes before they started distributing passes, and we were one of the last families in the queue to get a pass. He was trilled to be able to take a photo with Alex. :)

Photo with Alex

To complete the experience, I decided to take him to watch Madagascar 3 at the cinema as well. It was his first time in the cinema, and the last movie I watched at the theatres before this one was more than 3 years ago. So it was a real treat for both of us. :) Best part was, the day that we were both free and able to make it for the movies was a Tuesday. Did you know that tickets are $2 cheaper on Tuesdays? I didn't. So I was pleasantly surprised. Nathan hardly gets to watch TV at home, but he's very capable of sitting through a 60+ minute show if we allow him. He sat through his entire movie, enjoyed it so much, he said he wanted to do it again... and to bring daddy and Noah next time round. :)

I got the tickets!


Taller than 90cm... No more free movies


Watching intently...

Seeing his face light up when I told him that we were going to see Alex on a big screen, and subsequently seeing his wide smile really made my day... It would be hard for us to have such mommy & son outings if I had not quit my full time job. I am thankful that I can be a greater part of his growing up years, and I hope that memories of him watching movies with mommy still sticks somewhere in the recesses of his memory even when he's become a grown man.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Visit to the Central Fire Station

I took Nathan and Noah to the Central Fire Station last weekend and we had a great time. The SCDF allows the public to visit their fire stations to learn more about the various fire fighting equipment and the capabilities of the firemen. The boys got to see (and try) some of the equipment that the firemen use, how the firemen suit up in their fireproof gear, how they slid down the poles and even got to ride on the fire engine and Red Rhino!
Trying out the presurized water jet
Nathan was rather apprehensive about trying out the water jets initially. But after he saw how the other kids did it, he decided that he wanted to have a go as well. We learnt that the water jets can go up to a pressure of 10 bars and that beyond 7 bars, 2 firemen are needed to hold the hose. Nathan got to feel how a 3 bar water jet felt like (well... not quite, since he needed gong gong's help to hold the hose).
Next, we got to see how the firemen slid down the poles. They demonstrated 2 styles - the American syle (bear hug) and the Singapore style (more 'stylish' and faster I believe). After watching the men, Nathan actually said he wanted to try! But of course, this was not something that the public was allowed to try.
The highlight of the visit for both boys is getting to see the fire engine and red rhino up-close and also getting to ride in them.
Fire Engine
Fire engine - the ones we commonly see on the roads
Red rhino
On the Red Rhino
too short
Noah's legs are too short to reach the pedals
Back rhino
At the back of the Red Rhino
Radio-ing for reinforcements
After the live demonstrations, we proceeded to the gallery where there were more vehicles on display. They also had a kid-sized fireman costume which the kids can put on and take photos in. Nathan refused to try it on though. So no photos of that to show. There were also stations where kids can create pencil rubbings of fire engines, fire stations etc.
An olden day fire engine
All in all, a worthwhile visit. The SCDF allows the public to visit on Saturdays, 9 to 11am. Almost all stations are open for such community visits. Though I'm not sure if the other stations have a gallery like the one at the Central Fire Station. For groups less than 10, no reservations required. Just show up at the station at 9am. For the Central Fire Station, the best places to park would be Funan Centre, or the open air carpark beside Bible House. Most of the live demonstrations are conducted in the open, so probably not a good idea to visit when it rains. Check out the SCDF's website for more info.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Cloth Diapering

When I was expecting Nathan, I was reading up about cloth diapering, and trying to decide if I should use cloth diapers or disposable diapers. Each baby uses an average of 5 to 8 diapers a day. That works out to over 7,000 diapers by the time he is toilet trained. Disposable diapers are relatively cheap in Singapore, and most people opt for disposables for the convenience. The advantages of cloth are plentiful and if you are still wondering why use cloth, perhaps you can start by reading this article.
Like many parents, I eventually decided to go the disposable way, primarily because I was still working full time, had no domestic help and doing laundry is a pain. But each time I tie up a trash bag filled with Nathan / Noah's soiled diapers, I think about how much waste we are generating as a household. More than half my trash will be soiled diapers!
Recently, I learnt about Charlie Banana's 2-in-1 hybrid eco-friendly diapers and decided to give it a try. With the 2-in-1, you have the option of using a reusable insert, or a disposable insert. So if you are out and about, slip in a disposable insert, and toss when you need to do a diaper change. At home, or on short trips out, opt for the reusable insert. Perfect!
Charlie Banana
Charlie Banana's diapers come in four sizes - Small, Medium, Large, One Size. I tried the One Size and Large. The One Size diaper has an elastic band which you can adjust as your baby grows. It can be used from Newborn till about 24 months. In my opinion, there is no need to get the Small and Medium sized diapers. Just the One Size will do. And when your baby outgrows One Size, move on to Large. Large is bigger than the 'biggest setting' in One Size. And if baby toilet trains before that, great! No need to get the ones in Large. Afterall, I've heard that babies who wear cloth diapers are usually toilet trained earlier.
I tried the cloth diapers on both Nathan and Noah. Fits great. Comfortable. In the day, I used one insert. For night, I slipped in 2 inserts. Both of them sleep through the night now, so I do not change their diapers after 8pm until about 7am the next morning. The best part was although the inserts were soaked, there were no leaks, and the top layer next to their skin felt dry to touch.
I've decided to use Charlie Banana's diapers when we are home, and only use disposables when we absolutely need to. I think using a mix of disposable and cloth diapers is probably a good compromise. I'd need only about half of my disposable diaper supplies, and essentially half my contribution to damaging our mother earth. It really doesn't need to be a disposables only or cloth only solution. I think a hybrid is great solution if fully cloth diapering is not possible. Either get the Charlie Banana's disposable inserts, or use regular disposable diapers when you need to. Otherwise, opt for cloth.
And look... the prints are oh so cute! Lots more lovely prints available. Solid colours available too.
Mama Shoppe will be adding Charlie Banana to our product range. Check with us if you intend to start cloth diapering. Save the earth, one diaper at a time. :)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Visit to the Singapore Philatelic Museum

The Singapore Philatetic Museum was having an open house last weekend, so I thought it'd be a good time for us to visit the museum. I liked the interactive displays, and now that Noah is walking, he also had fun opening and closing the panels, and watching the displays 'come alive'. Other than a good collection of stamps, they also had on display old post boxes and postman scooters. 
Now that emails have somewhat taken over snail mails, we don't get to see much stamps around. I still remember how stamp collecting was a hobby for many when I was in primary school. All of us would have stamp albums, and we'd enjoy swapping stamps with each other. I like the artwork on stamps, especially the commemorative issues. Sometime back, I came across the Annual Collection of Singapore Stamps and decided to buy the 2011 and 2009 collections for Noah and Nathan. The books contain a collection of stamps issued in that year, and there is a short write-up about the design/event. I thought the books will be a nice keepsake for them, and they'll get to read about the events that took place in their birth year.
The highlight of the visit for Nathan was the dragon boat. He enjoyed banging on the drum and rowing the boat, and it was hard getting him to move on to something else. When we were about to leave, Nathan asked to row the boat again!
Stamp Museum