Monday, January 28, 2013

What a mom really wants

The government recently announced enhancements to the Marriage and Parenthood Package. Hop on over to Flexiwerkz to read my opinions on the enhanced package.

Satay by the Bay

We visited Satay by the Bay yesterday and enjoyed munching on local delights by the waterfront. The place opened on Jan 15 but not all the stalls have started operations. 

Familiar hawker fare like rojak, barbeque chicken wings and seafood, and of course satay were available yesterday. The rest of the stalls will probably start operations after Chinese New Year.

There was hardly a crowd when we went there for an early dinner. There was a section with tables / stools at just the right height for toddlers. If you prefer to sit at the regular tables, high chairs are available if your kids need them.

I liked how the whole place was well ventilated and breezy unlike most hawker centres. I did not come out smelling like I've just been to a barbecue. :)

After dinner, we took a stroll along the water's edge, and enjoyed the view of our city skyline.

There was a new playground that was still under construction. I reckon it'll be ready real soon. We'll definitely be coming back. :)

Monday, January 21, 2013

13 things to do in 2013

It is the start of the year, and I have in mind some things that I'd like to do this year. In no particular order...

1) Exercise. I hate running. So it'll either be swim or cycle or doing a group class. 

Swim - Now that we've moved out of our apartment, I'd probably have to swim at the uni pool. Have never done that before, and I don't really know whether I'll like it.

Cycle - Just got my old bike 'tuned up', and the park connector's not too far from our new place, making it pretty convenient. 

Group class - I attended an Extend Barre trial class at Upside Motion with my sister last year. I liked it and was keen on trying their Yoga Fly class before deciding on which one to sign up. But with the school holidays coming up then, I didn't get round to it. I like that they had classes on weekday mornings, which is the most ideal time for me to exercise. But joining a group class means having to spend more money, as opposed to swimming or cycling, which I do not need to spend money on. Oh well... just need to do something to tone up those muscles. Maybe twice a week for a start?

[managed to exercise at most once a week :(]

2) Pack. It's almost a year after we moved to our new place and we still have one messy room with boxes not unpacked. Most of the stuff belongs to Dean, but he has not time to unpack given his work schedule. Think I'll just devote about 1 hour a day to tidy up the room that's supposed to be a family / kids' play room.

[no more unsightly boxes even though the house in always in a state of organised mess]

3) Read. Other than reading stuff on social media, there are some books that I've been meaning to read, but never got down to it. Time to make a list, and probably read one book a month.

[still spending too much time on Facebook; read most of my news off my ipad while putting the kids to sleep]

4) Bible Study. Join a BS group and devote some time each day to the study of God's Word.

[joined a BSF group and it has helped me in the study of God's Word]

5) Photo wall. Do up one or two photo walls... the kids love looking at our own photos and recounting the experiences.

[got our family portraits up in our living room... that's about it]

6) Photo book. Do up a photo book of our HK trip last year and any holidays we will take this year

[still haven't found a good way to organise all the photos that we take]

7) Skill. Pick up a new skill or hone an old one.

[learnt to play the violin with Nathan... still lots to work on]

8) Business. Look at how to extend Mama Shoppe's reach and increase revenue.

[work in progress though I have not been able to devote much time to this]

9) Give. To look at how I can be giving back to the community.

[partnership with a women's shelter to produce a new clothing line]

10) Travel. Bring the kids on holidays that we'll all enjoy. Quality time as a family.
11) Nurture. To continue bringing up Nathan & Noah in the way of the Lord (Proverbs 22:6). More deliberate effort to in planning home learning activities especially for Nathan (who spends more time at home with me), reading to them, listing to them, talking to them.

12) Love. To continue nurturing our marriage. With Dean's long days at work, and me just tired out after another day as a SHM, very often, we just retreat in front of our respective screens (TV, ipad, computer) to unwind. It'll be nice to spend more time talking to each other rather than staring at our respective screens.

13) ?

Friday, January 18, 2013

This Mama Loves Fisher-Price Toys

My kids are surrounded by Fisher-Price toys... a few of them are bought, some of them are gifts, and most of them are hand-me-downs. I suppose they do make good and durable toys, and hence, the popularity. Some of the Fisher-Price toys my kids are playing with / have played with include...

Infant-to-Toddler Rocker
Activity Station 
Ride On
Doll House
The doll house above is more than 10 years old!

Recently, Fisher Price sent us their Brilliant Basics Medical Kit. The kit comes with a stethoscope, blood pressure cuff, otoscope, thermometer, syringe and a bandage play piece. Everything fits nicely in a small red bag.

Dr Nathan
Getting an injection
Showing how a stethoscope is used
Looking into the ear with an otoscope
All's good!
Nathan enjoyed playing doctor with it, and it gave me an opportunity to explain in brief what each instrument does. It makes doctor visits less intimidating for him, since he had a better idea of what to expect. 

Disclaimer: We received the Fisher-Price Medical Kit for this review. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Dinner Time on the Fisher-Price Booster Seat

From the time that my boys could sit up, I would put them at the dinner table with us. It started off with them having a snack while we had our proper meals (because they would have had theirs earlier). Subsequently, we'd all have our lunch/dinner together at the dining table. I like meal time conversations, and we make it a point not to switch on the TV at meal times. It was a time for us to catch up with each other... how our day went, what we did in school / at work, what was something funny that happened in school...

For the boys, having them sit in high chairs at the dining table is most ideal as it allows them to sit at the right height, and also allows them to be safely buckled in. However, it is not always possible to lug a high chair around especially when you we are eating at the grandparents' place or at a friend's place. That's when the fisher-price healthy care deluxe booster seat comes in handy.

The booster seat comes with straps which allows it to be fitted onto any dining chair securely. A three-point harness holds the child securely. It is sturdy enough to stand on its own on the floor if you decide to not have the seat strapped onto a chair. It folds compactly so you can take it anywhere.

You don't have to worry about the child making a mess at his chair; the tray is removable and washable, and the seat cleans easily. There's a snap-on lid for the food tray, so you can keep the tray clean wherever you go. In fact, you can pop both the lid and the tray right into the dishwasher!

Noah's shows how the snap-on lid is easily removed
Feeding tray has a separate compartment for a cup
Remove the food tray for washing after meals
Noah who's 1 year old enjoys meal times in this booster seat. Even Nathan, who is 3 this year is able to fit comfortably. The tray and seat back is removable for older kids, so this would probably be useful right up to the time your child doesn't need a high chair / booster seat anymore. A worthwhile investment!

Disclaimer: We received a Fisher-Price healthy care deluxe booster seat for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

Monday, January 7, 2013

A day in a life of a pre-schooler

Nathan started N2 last Friday. It was a familiar place for him since he attended playgroup in the same school last year. He still fits in the same uniform, so I suppose he didn't grow very much in the last year. 

I got to stay with him the first two days... so here's a peek of what goes on in school...

I'll be in Sunshine 1 this year!
Colouring a picture of himself
Making a flower out of plastic egg cartons
Snack time - biscuits & milo
For Show & Tell, the children were asked to bring a food/fruit. When I asked Nathan what he wanted to bring, he said he wanted to bring a coconut! That's one of the things he likes to drink/eat. Since we had to share the food/fruit with his friends after Show & Tell, and it'll be kinda difficult to share coconuts, I asked him to bring a kiwi fruit instead. :P

Show & Tell
The food/fruit that the children brought was put together, and they all got to choose what they wanted to eat. Note Nathan's choice - different types of biscuits/crackers which I hardly give up at home.

Enjoying the food brought by his friends
In between activities, the kids get some time for free play. Sometimes, they play by themselves... sometimes they play with their friends.

Building something by himself
Playing cashier with a friend
Toilet break...
A boys' toilet sized just for Nathan
Washing his hands
The kids got really excited when the teacher said it was time to go to the playground. They packed up real quick and stood in line, all ready to go!

Getting in line
Down the slide
Swinging like a monkey
Going 'home'
Looking thru a telescope

I am thankful that Nathan enjoys himself in school. :)

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2012 in pictures...

You are forever in my life
You see me thru the seasons
Cover me with Your Hand
And lead me in Your righteousness

Nathan started Nursery 1. Much as I was glad that he's reached yet another milestone, I felt a tinge of sadness when we walked into his new school for the very first time... my little boy was growing up too quickly.

Dean & I bid farewell to our first home... the place where we started out as two, then became three, and then left as a family of four.

In the same month, I left my full time job. It was a decision I held on to for a very long time. I wasn't all that keen on giving up the source of income, although I liked the idea of being able to give more of my time and energy to raising my boys. Still learning to trust that God will supply our needs.

We celebrated Noah's first birthday. Dear Noah, you've brought us so much joy and laughter, we are so thankful for you! You haven't started walking at your first birthday, and seemed pretty content just shuffling on your butt. You took your first steps just after you turned one.

We celebrated Dean's birthday the same month. I am so thankful for all that he does as a loving husband and doting daddy.

Mama Shoppe was ready to go live with a small selection of products.  Am still in the midst of refining the business model, adding to the product line, and extending our reach. It is my hope that this will be profitable enough to fund some of life's little luxuries. :)

Noah took his first steps - 6 May 2012. Started off with 4 steps at home.

School holidays! We got to spend lots of family time together, and visited many museums.

For Father's Day, Nathan made a photo frame for daddy dearest. Daddy, we appreciate all the hard work you do to provide for the family. Love you lots!

We celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary with a family photo shoot and a meal at Triple 3.

Celebrating Singapore's birthday... Since moving to our new place, we get to hear the National Anthem played every school day. Nathan has learnt the words to the anthem, and gets most of it correct. Noah learnt the actions to "One People, One Nation, One Singapore. 

Such joy to see how the two little ones are learning new things everyday. I pray that they'd grow to be strong and healthy men who'd honour God and remember His grace.

Us 'watching' the NDP. L-R: daddy, Noah, mommy, Nathan

Nathan turned 3. He enjoyed himself at his birthday party, and surprised me when he remembered exactly which present came from which friend. We also took at staycation to Sentosa, and visited Universal Studios Singapore and Port of Lost Wonder for the very first time.

Nathan's Mini Concert in school. I was one proud mama when I saw him singing and dancing along to Skinnamarink with his classmates. I LOVE YOU!

The school holidays come around again. As I reflected on the past school year, I am thankful that Nathan has settled well into school and enjoys going to school everyday. Noah enjoys playing with his friends in playgroup, and is all smiles when I pick him up after school. With the school holidays, we got to spend so much time together doing lot of fun stuff. 

We went on our very first family holiday and enjoyed the extended time we got to spend as a family. Looking forward to many more family holidays.

I'm carried in everlasting arms
You'll never let me go
Through it all

Trusting that God will see us through another great year as we step into 2013.