Friday, January 24, 2014

Canvas Painting with Kids

Still thinking about what to get your loved ones for Valentine's Day, how about a canvas painting that spells LOVE?

My boys and I painted these and gave them away as Christmas presents last month.

You can get the canvas from Art Friend. A 24" x 24" stretched canvas costs about $15. They are available in many different sizes and they offered canvases on a circular / oval frames.

We used non toxic acrylic paints from Nurture Craft (Forum Galleria B1-10). It washes off really easily and doesn't have the strong smell that some paints have.

Acrylic paints from Nurture Crafts

For the first painting, I pasted the areas that I didn't want the boys to paint over with masking tape. Then with a dish washing sponge, they dabbed paint over all the uncovered parts. First with yellow paint, then with red paint. We let the yellow paint dry out before applying the red paint. When everything was dry, I peeled off the masking tape, and they went "wow"!

Masking tape covers areas not to be painted

I varied the 'technique' for the second painting, getting them to spread the paint out using the kitchen sponge instead. They had fun with this... Cos it is so much messier! Thankfully, the paints that ended up all over their hands/arms and even legs washed off easily.

The third is a set of three paintings. This is 奶奶's baptism present. For these three paintings, the boys got to use paint brushes. They were delighted... finally, we get to paint with brushes! The flower proved to be rather challenging for the boys as the petals were 'quite' small. They had difficulties keeping within the boundaries... and we ended up with the rather distorted bloom.

The boys had fun painting these gifts, and I'm pretty sure the recipients were delighted to receive them.

Have fun painting yours!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Lapbook: Celebrating Chinese New Year

Nathan and I are working on a lapbook about Chinese New Year. Since we'll be celebrating it next week, I thought it'll be a good idea for him to have a better idea of the legends and traditions associated with this Chinese festival. 

It begins with the story of Nian, which explains certain traditions we follow - like wearing red, beating drums and playing with fire crackers.

Next, I introduced the concept of ordinal numbers through the zodiac story. The story included in the lap book is an abridge version of the 'actual' story. Check out The Great Race by Dawn Casey for the full version of the story. It's a great read!

I've also included some chinese greetings that I am getting him to learn and use when Chinese New Year comes around.

The concept of odd and even numbers was introduced when we touched on red packets. Children grasp the odd/even concept quite easily when we get them to think of it in terms of pairs.

The Chinese New Year lapbook is available as a printable file. Feel free to print  and use it. We printed ours on A4, and I trimmed the borders slightly to paste them on A3 cardstock. I folded the A3 in half, put staples in the middle, and ta dah... a book! Have fun and 新年快乐!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Noah starts Nursey 1

Noah turns 3 in two months, and he started school 'proper' last week. It is his fourth day in his new school today, and he went into class all by himself, no fussing, no tears. :) I am so glad that he's settling in so easily.

I sat in with him the first three days... He moved from table to table, playing with the various toys that the teachers have laid out, and waited patiently for his turn if something he wanted is not available. 

And since he loves to eat, he loves snack time. Scooping the coco krunch with his spoon, one coco krunch at a time. When he finished everything in his plate, he asked for a second helping. Then he got himself a cup of milo. Gulped down the whole cup (without spilling). :) He even knew that he had to return his cup and plate to the pail when he is done.

As with most kids, he loves going to the playground. Especially the one that his big brother has been talking about all the time.

He looks forward to going to school each  day...
Noah: Mommy, where are we going today?
Me: To school.
Noah: Yay! School is so fun!

I hope he'll continue to have this attitude towards going to school even when he grows older.

I am thankful that Noah settled into school so easily, and hope that he'll enjoy learning and playing with his teachers and friends.

Read about Nathan's school day here.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

2013 in pictures...

When I took a peek at what I wrote a year ago, I was amazed at how far we've come, and how quickly the boys have grown... particularly Noah. As I reflect on the year that has gone by, I am filled with much thanks. It is my first full year as a stay-home mom. I am glad that I am able to devote most of my time and energy to raising the boys... but I do miss the working world somewhat. So this is what we've been up to in 2013...

Nathan started nursery 2 this year. Everything was pretty much familiar (as he had been going to the same school last year), so he settled in quickly.

Noah continued attending play group at Sunflower Baby House. He looked forward to going to school everyday... right till his last day at SBH. :)

Ticking off one item on my list of things to do in 2013, I joined BSF. I even managed to get a spot for Noah in the children's program. Even though he resisted being dropped off initially, he soon settled in and it became something we looked forward to each week. I am encouraged by the faithfulness of many in the group and am thankful for the opportunity that we had in studying God's Word together.

Noah turns 2! I made him a Buzz Lightyear birthday t-shirt and we celebrated with his friends in school. When asked, "how old are you"? He replies enthusiastically, "TWO!" Dean and I often talk about how Noah makes us laugh with all the funny things he says and does... and it's funny cos we see a bit of ourselves in him.

Mama Shoppe launched our very own clothing line. Made by ladies at Emmaus Women's Centre, our clothing line features matching outfits for the entire family. Emmaus Women's Centre is a shelter that provides livelihood training to women who would otherwise not have a skill to earn a living. Many of the ladies did not have the opportunity to receive formal education, and earning enough to support themselves and their families is a struggle. We are glad that we are able to partner them in this project, and hope to be able to support them in the long run.


As with all mothers around the world, we celebrated mother's day. Ever since Nathan and Noah came into my life, I keep thanking God for blessing me with the joy that motherhood brings. It has taught me so much about myself, I have given much and I have received so much more in return.

Noah brought this flower home from school for me...

look what he did to the petals...

In the same month, the Business Times ran a feature on mothers who run their own businesses (from home). I was honoured to be picked. Mama Shoppe was started as I wanted to be able to spend more time with my family, and yet still be able to earn my keep. At this point, I still haven't quite fulfilled the objectives I set out to achieve, and hope to look at ways to tweak/improve in the coming year.

Noah & I appeared in the Biz Times on May 11, 2013

It was the school holidays and we decided to go on a cruise vacation!

In the same month, Singapore experienced her worst haze in history. Visibility was poor and we had stale air for over a week. We made a last minute trip to Bangkok, and enjoyed our impromptu holiday.

We were really excited about Nathan's first violin concert. Looking forward to many more concerts in the future.

Dean and I celebrated our 6th Wedding Anniversary. It has been a joy journeying with the man God has brought into my life.

Our family took part in the filming of a TVC to promote parenthood amongst Singaporeans. We had a fun morning at a playground and this was the final product... Try spotting Nathan in the video clip.

We took time off for a staycation over the National Day weekend. Nathan & Noah really loved this hotel... being able to see the planes up close, swiming in the icy cold swimming pool, and visiting Pulau Ubin for the very first time.

Nathan turns 4. My first attempt at baking a birthday cake for him and he was so happy. It looks nothing like the store bought ones, but it is made with lots of love. We talked about the type of cake he wanted (a soldier cake for his celebrations at home and a mickey mouse cake for his celebrations in school), and he had a hand in baking it.

Since it is the school holidays, we decided to go on a holiday to Bali. I am so glad that my boys are easy travellers... such trips give us the opportunity to take time out of our busy schedules, and enjoy each other's company.

After waiting for about 5 months, Nathan finally started piano classes. He's loving it so far. Me too!

It is Noah's last month in SBH. He took part in his school's year end concert and we really enjoyed watching him dance. I was surprised that he was so enthusiastic and confident, executing all the fancy moves that the teachers choreographed. It has been great growing up with SBH, and we were really sad when it was time to say our goodbyes.

We went for our first church camp as a family. The boys were old enough to join the children's program, so Dean and I could participate in the adults' program without constantly having to run after them / keep them quiet. :)

And so... it has been a good year. I thank God for seeing us through, walking with us and blessing us in so many ways.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

HSBC Treetop Walk

Daddy decided to bring the boys for a hike on the very first day of 2014. We parked at the Venus Drive carpark, and started walking towards the TreeTop Walk at 10am. The distance from Venus Drive to the entrance of the TreeTop Walk is 2.5km (about 1 hour walk) as opposed to 4.5km if you started from MacRitchie Reservoir Park. Thankfully, we had good weather thru out the 3 hour hike... Yes, with two toddlers in tow, it took us 3 hours, to and fro. The boys walked on their own most of the way, and were really tired by the end of it. 

It was dirt tracks most of the way, but a pretty easy climb even for kids. Noah was rather disturbed by the mud tracks initially... "this place is so messy"! But he enjoyed the bits where he got to step on tree stumps and jump from the last plank of every flight of steps.

Daddy leading the way

Stepping on tree stumps

Trial was clearly marked with signs at appropriate intervals


A much needed water break

Almost there... just 400metres...

After walking for about 1 hour, we finally arrived at the TreeTop Walk. :)


Fascinated with the suspended bridge

The view from the top

The trek back to the starting point took another 1+ hours. Although the walk back was slightly easier as there were steps made of wooden planks, I think we took longer as we were all pretty tired by then. 

It was my second time going to the TreeTop walk (first went there with Dean when it first opened some 10 years ago) and I am not sure when we'll be doing it again. When we finally got to the car, I asked the boys if they'd like to come again, both of them said "no"! We had fun, enjoyed the fresh air, but were so so tired!

Opening Hours: 
Tue to Fri: 9am-5pm 
Sat, Sun and Public Holidays: 8.30am-5pm 
The TreeTop Walk gate will be closed at 5pm. Visitors are advised to start hiking towards the bridge by 4.45pm from Ranger Station to avoid disappointment. 
Closed on Mondays except public holidays for maintenance and research.