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'

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Biggest Bouncy Castle in Town

Bring your kids down to Changi Airport for a fun time at the biggest bouncy castle in town! At terminal 3, row 11, you'll find Spongebob's underwater town bouncy playground. Standing at approx 10 metres tall, it is truly the biggest bouncy castle we've ever seen. It features a ball pit, a maze and a super tall slide! Open daily from 12 noon to 10 pm. Simply present any single-day receipt with a minimum spend of $20 ($15 for Changi Rewards members) for 10 minutes of play time at the bouncy castle.  

Ball pit


Super tall slide!


In the same terminal, located just before the departure immigration, you'll find Spongebob's Pineapple House and Santa's cosy room. During show times (daily at 1pm, 3pm, 5pm, 6pm, 7pm, 8pm, 9pm), visitors can help power Spongebob's Pineapple House to life by peddling on Santa's sleigh. Pick up ping pong balls, and exchange them for goodies at the redemption booth. No minimum spending required.

Spongebob's Pineapple House

Powering Santa's Sleigh

Exchange ping pong balls for goodies here

Spongebob's potty

Spongebob's bedroom

Santa's Village

Helping Santa with some work

So if your little one is a Spongebob Squarepants fan, or if you are looking for activities to occupy them during the school holidays, make a trip to Changi Airport today! You can also purchase Spongebob Square Pants and friends plush toys at the airport. Made exclusively for this event, each plush toy can be purchased for $3 with a minimum spend of $60 in Changi Airport public areas ($120 for grocery purchases) and S$120 in transit areas. 

Disclaimer: We were invited to the preview of Changi Airport's Christmas festivities. All opinions are my own.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Odyssey Submarine, Bali

Some 20 years ago, I went to Hawaii with my family and we booked a submarine tour to admire the depths of the ocean from within a submarine. On the day that we were supposed to sail, the trip was cancelled due to bad weather. I was sorely disappointed. When I found out that there is a tourist submarine that sails from Bali, I jumped on the opportunity to bring the boys on their first submarine journey. It was a first for Dean and myself as well.

Odyssey Submarine sails from Amuk Bay on the eastern coast of Bali. It is a short drive from the Bali Safari and Marine Park. Ticket prices include hotel transfers and a buffet lunch in addition to the 45 minutes dive trip. Kids under 5 sail for FREE!

Amuk Bay
Welcome drinks

The submarine takes 36 passengers, and goes to a depth of approximately 35 metres below sea level. All of us passengers were weighed prior to boarding, so the pilot/crew can work out the counter buoyancy required to surface. The length overall of the submarine is approx 17 metres, and width approx 4m; basically that is enough room for 36 passengers to sit comfortably in front of a clear panel, to enjoy the beauty underwater (kids under 5 do not have their own seats).

The Submarine
I have a life-jacket!

On the submarine deck

View from submarine aft

Waiting to go further underwater

View forward

Hello scuba diver!

Photo op with a scuba diver

What a view!

All smiles

Do secure your bookings with payment at least 1 day in advance. Most sailings are full and we saw two families being turned away while we were waiting for our dive.

For more of our Bali adventures, click here!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Book Review: Emily Lim's Picture Books

I first picked up Emily Lim's picture books before I even had kids. I was drawn to the beautiful illustrations and I liked how Emily has cleverly woven life lessons into the stories so simply and beautifully. I have since introduced four of her most popular books to my boys, and we've read them countless times. These 4 books have been recently been reprinted and made Penpal Whizz compatible. The narrations made the words come alive and the boys get to play simple games with their Penpal Whizz.

Bunny Finds the Right Stuff
Bunny Finds the Right Stuff tells the story of an unhappy bunny who did not like the way he looked. He found himself flat footed, floppy and short of stuffing. He went about searching for ways to fill himself up but ends up in a big mess, causing him to feel even more blue.

His friends learnt of his predicament and went about helping to make him feel better. Children read about how bunny's friends rallied around him and went about giving a little bit of themselves to cheer him up. A heart warming story about friendship that many young ones can relate to.

Prince Bear & Pauper Bear
Pauper bear lived in a toy shop. He was poorly stitched, his eyes did not match, he was forgotten and unloved. He longed to be picked up by a child who would love him and play with him. Prince bear on the other hand was well stitched and wore a crown. He thought highly of himself and was also looking forward to the day that someone would buy him and bring him home. A couple of days before Christmas, a little girl came to the toy shop and brought Prince bear to her lovely big house. Pauper bear looked on sadly. Soon after, a little boy who did not have much money came by and asked to buy a teddy bear. The shop keeper gave him Pauper bear for free.

We read about how the lives of Prince bear and Pauper bear changed as they entered the house of the girl and boy. A story about love, friendship and a boy with a big heart.

Just Teddy
Just teddy was made by a master toy maker in a toy factory. He often thought he was different from the other toys in the factory and tried hard to fit in with everyone else. His journey of finding himself brought him into the arms of a little girl who loved him just the way he was. 

In this story, children learn that each of us are fearfully and wonderfully made, and special in our very own way. There is no need to change the way we look to fit in, because we are all "one-of-a-kind".

The Tale of Rusty Horse
Rusty horse was an old rocking horse that was forgotten by everyone. He used to be a favourite with the children but now that he is old and rusty, no one really wanted to ride on him anymore. That made him really sad. He longed to be a real horse so he can take children on horse-back rides. One day he met a fairy who granted his wish... he became a real horse! Read about Rusty's adventure in this delightful book.

Emily Lim will be giving away 4 of her books to 2 of my blog readers (2 books for each reader). To enter, simply follow the Rafflecopter instructions below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

In addition, the distributors of Pen Pal Whizz is also giving away an $80 voucher which you can use to buy either the Pen Pal Whizz, or many more Pen Pal Whizz books to add to your collection. Send in your entries for the draw here.

Emily Lim's books are available at: 

Kinokuniya Bookstores
Popular Bookstores
MPH Bookstore (Raffles City) 
Tango Mango (Tanglin Mall) 
Big Bookshop (Harbourfront) 
OG Albert Rainbow Shop (Robinson Road) 
Attic Pals (Tanglin Mall) 
Smart Alley (Centrepoint & Changi Point)