Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Playground at Watten Estate

We have found our favorite playground! It is shady, has lots of seating areas for moms, boasts a sand play area, a web climbing structure, swings, slides, a flying fox, more climbing structures, lots of green grass just for running around... It is big yet small enough for me to watch my boys from a bench. The play areas are kinda separated so I don't have kids trying to run in-front or behind the swings... Even though they were quite a few kids playing at the same time, it didn't feel crowded. And I liked how there was stuff for both the big kids and the little kids. :)

Today, I sat there reading a book while my boys built sand castles for an hour! Bliss!

Pack your sand play toys, a picnic... Bring along a good book, and enjoy! It is near the junction of Hillcrest Road and Watten Estate Road.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A Penguin Named Chocolate

Nathan likes parrots, for reasons unknown to me. When we received an invitation to the Jurong Bird Park, I accepted without hesitation since we haven't been there in a long time.

The bird park is home to thousands of birds across 400 species. Among all the exhibits, I love the open concept Flamingo Lake and Pelican Cove best... It is nice being able to see the birds up-close, and yet not behind a cage. My boys liked watching the penguins best. And the BEST part of our visit was the ongoing Penguin-Razzi event. Nathan had the opportunity to learn more about penguins from a very knowledgeable staff. She told the kids about the different species of penguins we had at the bird park, what they ate, how their bodies are designed, and even got specimens of the penguins flippers and fins to show the kids. At the end of it all, the kids got to meet and greet a real penguin; the Bird Park's celebrity penguin named Chocolate. So named as his feathers were dark brown when he was first born. Noah was thrilled to have a penguin up close and kept wanting to touch it!

Penguin-Razzi Event

A photo with Chocolate

Penguin-Razzi runs on weekends (at 11.45am and 1pm daily) from now till 29 Dec. Pre-registrations are required, and limited to 30 children (aged 5 to 12) per time slot. You can register at the penguin enclosure 20 minutes before the event. Do confirm the time slots on the day of your visit, in case there are any changes.

In addition to the penguin-razzi event, we also managed to catch the King of the Skies Show and the High Flyers Show. These two shows are must sees! Do include them in your itinerary when you visit the Bird Park... after all, how often do you get to hear a parrot singing "客人来" and "Happy Birthday"?

King of the Skies Show

High Flyers Show

From now till 31 Dec, you'll get a free child ticket with every adult ticket purchased. Yes... Kids get to go in free! Plan a visit to the Bird Park before the year ends!

Disclaimer: We were invited to the media preview of Penguin-Razzi. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

This Mama Loves to Read

If you love to read, you'd probably like to know where to find good books, and where to find them cheap. The Groovy Giraffe is a Singapore based website that stocks remainder books. Remainder books are new, overstock, overprint books. Most of them are in excellent condition and cheaper than other bookstores. Use discount code "mamasdesk" to enjoy 5% discount off all books (except 'Bargains'). Free shipping applies for orders above S$60. Books are typically shipped within 3 days. 

I share some of my favourites here with you...

Books for the New Mom

Humphrey Baby Record Book by Sally Hunter
Record your baby's firsts in this beautiful gift book. It will be a treasured keepsake in the years to come.

Top 100 Baby Purees by Annabel Karmel
Is your baby ready for solids? This book gives you a whole lot of yummy ideas.

Books for Babies

Ladybird Touch & Feel by various authors
A series of board books with touch and feel elements that little hands will love.

Elmer's Colours by David McKee
The colourful elephant that many kids love. I bought this book to introduce colours to my toddler. He loves it! Find many more titles in the same series at The Groovy Giraffe. 

Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney
A classic tale that tells of how Little Nutbrown Hare and Big Nutbrown Hare express their love for each other.

Books for Toddlers

The endearing brother and sister pair that we so love to read about. Numerous titles from the same series available from The Groovy Giraffe. 

Charlie Cook's Favourite Book by Julia Donaldson
Charlie Cook is reading a book about pirate, who is reading a book about Goldilocks, who is reading a book about a knight... a delightful book with familiar characters that your child would recognise.

Julia Donaldson is one of our favourite children authors. We love the other books that she's written like The Gruffalo, Gruffalo's Child, The Smartest Giant in Town, and The Snail and the Whale. The Groovy Giraffe might just be stocking more of Julia Donaldson's books in the near future. Check back often!

Find this and more more titles by Dr Seuss at The Groovy Giraffe.

I grew up watching the Berenstain Bears on TV and was glad to be any to introduce them to my boys.


Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
Author of the bestseller 'The Tipping Point', Gladwell brings us another book that examines the road/s that lead to success.

As with all National Geographic publications, this is a coffee table book with many beautiful photographs about the many inventions that we use in our daily lives.

Find these and many more great books at The Groovy Giraffe! Remember to use the discount code "mamasdesk" to get 5% off your order.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Goodbye Sunflower Baby House!

Today is Noah's last day at SBH. We've been walking thru her doors almost every single weekday the past 4 years (since Nathan was an infant), and it saddens me that it is time to leave. Dean & I decided that I'd return to full time work when Nathan was 6 months old. After visiting several infant care centres, we decided to entrust Nathan to the caring team at SBH. I can still remember the very first day I left him at SBH, a few days before I was due to return to work. Having spent every moment of his life with him up until then, it was difficult letting go... I wasn't sure if he'd be able to sleep well, eat well, and whether he'd be well taken care of. My worries were unfounded. He didn't have any problems settling in, and went on to enjoy 2 years with SBH. 

This is Nathan when he started attending SBH  (6 months old)...

Nathan's hair styled by his teachers at SBH

And Nathan when he 'graduated' from SBH when he was 2 1/2 years old...

Noah started attending SBH when he was 5 months old...

And today, he's almost 3 years old...

"Robot cupcakes" that he's sharing with his teachers & friends

The teachers at SBH are ever so chirpy and enthusiastic. They always have a ready smile for the kids, and evidently enjoy their jobs as pre-school teachers. I like how they value each child as an individual and take time to greet each of them by name, and always take time to listen to what the kids have to say. The kids are engaged in a wide variety of activities ranging from languages, to art & music, to gym, sand play, water play and playground time... I know that their time is spent meaningfully in school and it is so heartening to see their smiles when I pick them up in the evenings. It is clear to me that they've enjoyed their day at school.

At SBH, Nathan & Noah learned to feed themselves when they were 18 months old and started speaking in sentences at about that time as well. I think it is triggered by the need to 'survive' more than anything... being able to speak in sentences meant being able to say... "teacher Farah, Peter pushed me"... "teacher Ain, Jane didn't wear her school uniform today"... It meant being able to say "but I already said sorry"... when your friend accuses you of doing something wrong... They generally enjoy playing alongside/with peers, and are able (most of the time) to adhere to social norms like taking turns and queueing up.

I like how SBH takes time to not just organise excursions, but also events like Sports Day and the Annual Concert. My boys enjoy going on the big bus with their teachers and friends, and still remember and talk about the excursions that they've been on even though the trips were so long ago. They won their first trophies at the school sports day, and had the opportunity to work as a team with their teachers and friends to put up a concert, much to the delight of all the parents.

Noah's first excursion

Nathan's first trophy

Annual Concert 2011

Noah took part in his first school concert just last month and we really enjoyed the show put up by all his teachers friends...

To the management, teachers and friends at SBH, we would like to say a big thank you! You are the first teachers and friends that Nathan and Noah have gotten to know. You provided an environment where they were able to grow from tiny sunflower seeds to the flowers that they are today. It has been an enjoyable journey and we are grateful.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Doctor for a Day

Nathan took part in Mount Elizabeth Novena's Doctor for a Day program several months back and had a great time. If you have kids aged 5 to 10 years old, sign them up!

The entire program took about 90 minutes and the children were led through five different stations, where there had a glimpse into the life of a medical professional. They actually got scrubs sized just for the kids, take a look at these mini doctors... 

Mini scrubs

At the General Practitioner station, the kids got to use instruments that they usually saw at the doctor's office, like a thermometer and a stethoscope. I haven't even heard what my heart sounds like thru a stethoscope, and Nathan got a chance to do that...

Hearing his heart-beat thru a stethoscope

At the nursing room, the kids learnt how to care for a newborn baby. The girls were generally quite enthusiastic, and enjoyed 'cleaning' the fake babies. The boys on the other hand, were busy giggling away.

Wiping the baby's bum

At the A&E, they learnt how to perform simple first aid, and had a go at bandaging their fellow doctor trainees.

Getting his arm bandaged by a fellow "doctor"

At the operating theatre, they had to operate on a man who smoked too much.

Removing "cancers" from Mr Smoke-too-much's lungs

All in a day's work!
Dr Nathan
With his fellow 'trainees'