Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Army Museum of Singapore

We visited the Army Museum of Singapore (ARMS) last weekend. The last visit was about a year ago. The boys can appreciate the visit a lot more this year since they've heard and seen much more about soldiers and army camps from movies and daddy himself.

The boys were quite eager to dress up as little soldiers. Nathan's wearing the old army uniform, while Noah is wearing the new pixelated army uniform.

From now till 30 June 2013, a special exhibition titled Army Lingo is happening at the ARMS. Singapore has come a long way since starting National Service some 40 years ago. Back then, the recruits came from different backgrounds, spoke different mother tongues, and had varying levels of education. A common language was needed to bridge the language barrier, and hence, the birth of army lingo.

First things first... the hair cut...

We had a bit of fun pretending to be soldiers and got a glimpse of what army bunks...

After going thru the static displays, we walked over to the Singapore Discovery Centre to board a bus for a tour of SAFTI Military Institute. The tour departs every hour. No photos of this segment as photography is not allowed. 

Some 15 years back, I'd be here almost every single weekend; either dropping Dean off in camp and then driving home alone :( or picking him up after an entire week of not seeing him :). I am thankful that those days are over and thankful that God has brought has so far.

The boys enjoyed the visit and Nathan hasn't stopped singing the few army songs that he has learnt.

Army Museum Opening Hours
Tuesday to Sundays
Public holidays (including Mondays)
10 am to 6pm
Free admission for Singaporeans and Singapore Permanent Residents

Monday, May 27, 2013

Adult Canvas Art Class at HeART Studio

I wasn't good at art as a child and have never attended a single art class in my life (other than the ones conducted in school as part of the school curriculum). As a pre-schooler, I hated colouring. I thought that it was such a mundane activity and would much rather be counting, matching, sorting, writing alphabets or numbers etc... anything but draw or colour. Nathan is the same... when we are doing workbooks and it involves colouring, he'd skip the page! I don't insist that he completes the colouring exercises because I know he is still perfecting his pencil grip. With the amount of strength he is using to write/colour, I can perfectly understand why colouring is tiring. I do hope we can re-visit these pages when he's more comfortable though. Things didn't get any better on the art front when I started primary school. I can still remember that in primary 4 or 5, my art teacher was my chinese teacher, and art lessons were scheduled just before chinese lessons. 老师 would bring in a pile of 听写 exercise books during art class, and insist that unless we finished our 改正, we will not be allowed to proceed with art & craft work. I was really bad at 听写 and would usually have lots of 改正 to do. That meant, no art & craft for the the entire year! In secondary 1 & 2, art was an examinable subject and I really struggled with producing something that looked remotely nice so that I won't fail! 

Anyway, I really admired people who can draw and paint well, and jumped on this opportunity to learn something new. Singapore Mom Bloggers is celebrating our 1st birthday and this is one of the many activities lined up to celebrate our 1st birthday.

The artist whose work we were supposed to 'copy' is Camille Pissarro. When I walked into the room, I saw pictures of two of his paintings.

I chose the second picture just because it LOOKED easier.

After a brief introduction, we were asked to start work... first to sketch in the horizon, and the outline of the main subjects. When I heard the word 'outline', I proceeded to pick out the black pastel, only to be told that we should use a light colour as it is easier to cover up mistakes. Black should be used last, when we are ready to finalise our strokes. Gosh! How 'smart' of me right? *puts back black crayon & picks a yellow one instead*

Next we were taught how to use short strokes to create the water and the sky. I was pretty surprised at how forgiving pastels were. They were pretty easy to manage as compared to paints, and not as messy as I remember them to be. Varying the pressure, we were able to achieve light and dark tones. Layering with shades of blue, I managed to get my water looking rather water-like and sky rather sky-like.

Now that we were more familiar with oil pastels, we started working on the subjects. Colouring in the sails and drawing in the houses in the horizon. I decided that there were too many houses and decided to replace some of them with trees instead. :) Presenting my masterpiece...

Trust me... this is way better than ANY art work I've produced in my entire life. Quality instruction and encouragement from fellow mums made the difference! 

I managed to complete this small art work during my boys' nap time, and when I came home with my masterpiece, I quickly showed it to Noah...

Me: Noah, look! What do you see?

Noah: Boats!

Me: Is it nice?

Noah: Nice!

Thank you. That was all the affirmation I needed. :)

Heart Studio conducts adult canvas classes to teach basic art sketching to canvas art. 2 people to start a class. The school also offers art classes for children 3 - 12 years old, and they have school holiday classes in June too!

Disclaimer: This art lesson was sponsored by HeART studio. All opinions are my own.


Monday, May 13, 2013


Habitat for Humanity Singapore is currently running the hope-bricklet project where you can buy a small brick-making kit for $10, make the bricklet at home, send it back to Habitat for them to embed it in an actual house built by Habitat volunteers. Now and then, I will tell Nathan that we are blessed in so many ways and there are so many people in the world who do not have the basic necessities for life, much less the luxuries that we enjoy. I thought this little hands-on activity was a good way to remind him and a small way that we can help the less fortunate.

I bought the brick-making kits online and they were delivered to my house promptly. The enclosed instructions are easy to follow, and simple enough for a toddler (with some help from mommy).


Cement powder

Cardboard for making the mould

Folding the box

Staple the ends together to make boxes that are used as moulds

Add water & stir

Completed bricklets
Stamped & addressed envelope is enclosed for you to send the completed bricklet to Habitat

You can find out more about the hope-bricklet and purchase your kits here. Everything that is required to make the bricklets (except water) is included in the kit.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Tulip Mania at Gardens by the Bay

We went to check out Tulip Mania last weekend and were treated to a beautiful sight! See for yourself...

Remember to collect your tulipmania activity sheet when you exit and have fun crafting with your young ones.

Tulipmania runs from 29 April to 20 May 2013.
Time: 9am to 9pm
Location: Flower Dome
Regular ticket prices apply. Buy your tickets online from 10 to 12 May and get 15% off.

While you are there, perhaps you can pop by Satay by the Bay for dinner. 

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Hokkaido Chiffon Cakes

A slew of activities have been planned to celebrate Singapore Mom Bloggers' 1st birthday. One of these is a Hokkaido Chiffon Cake class by Munch Ministry. The last time I attended a cooking class was some 20 years ago, when Home Economics was part of the school curriculum. Walking into the newly renovated Civil Service Club, vague memories of my not too distant past came back to mind. Then, I was baking with a bunch of 13 or 14 year old school girls. Now, I am baking with a different bunch of girls, all of whom are now mothers. Then, we didn't have the luxury of using high tech gadgets like the Kitchen Aid. Now, we have such nifty kitchen gadgets.

But somethings hadn't changed... we still have to wash the utensils before/after use, we still squeal at delight when the cakes are taken out of the oven, we are still secretly proud of ourselves when we sink our teeth into our yummilcious goodies, and we guard our lunch box filled with the day's hard work with our life, just so our loved ones can savour cakes baked by mommy dearest.

The recipe for the Hokkaido Chiffon Cakes can be found at the Munch Ministry website.

The recipe is really easy to follow... Here, I provide some pointers which will benefit you if you're not a seasoned baker like me.

1) All ingredients for chiffon cakes need to be at ROOM TEMPERATURE before you proceed with combining them. Yes - this includes the eggs & the milk. If your chiffon cakes aren't rising as they should, try taking the ingredients out of the fridge and leaving them at room temperature before you begin.

2) Separating the egg yolk and the egg white: I don't have any tips for this except to try and be careful when cracking the egg. With the yolk intact, it is much easier to separate yolk from white. In any case, if you do get some yolk mixed with the white, just try to scoop out as much as you can with a spoon. There was still some yolk left in my white, and the cakes still turned out fine. :)

3) When folding in the flour, it is easier to get a good mix if you separate the flour into two or three batches. Fold in one batch before adding the next.

As with everything else, practice makes perfect. :)

I had good time meeting up with fellow mom bloggers. It is my first time meeting and baking with Tzer Jing who blogs at www.thekamfamily.com although we've been virtual friends for more than 3 years. Her daughter is born in the same year as Nathan and we 'met' thru an online motherhood forum more than 3 years ago. I thought this baking party was a pretty good team building activity. Do contact Munch Ministry if you're interested to organise a 'BAKE OUT' or a 'COOK OUT'.

Pauline Wong, founder of Munch Minstry
Pauline demostrates while I pay close attention
Whipping yolks manually
Tzer Jing filling the paper cups with our cake mix
In the oven

Have a go at baking these mini chiffon cakes. I'm sure you'll have as much fun as I did. 

Photo credits: Pauline Wong, Munch Ministry