Thursday, June 28, 2012

Yummy afternoon tea at Hyatt

All about food, food and more food that EV feasts her teeth in, or eyes on. Whether it is home cooked, or delectable dishes we come across during our adventures, this space will chronicle all our foodie feasts.

To kick off this awesomely tasty space. Two days ago, we had a yummy and posh afternoon tea at Grand Hyatt, at this really cosy space called 10 Scotts, to celebrate my mum's birthday, courtesy of my aunt. The afternoon tea lasts for five hours, from 12 noon to 5pm, so we were comfortably sitted on the plush sofa by 1230pm. The food items served were more like finger food, but we could order as many seconds as we could eat. There was also a buffet spread of cheese, cold cuts, light mains such as soup and bryani, and desserts. It was the same with the coffee, tea, orange juice and carrot juice. I always love places with a wide selection of tea, and 10 Scotts had at least 15 to choose from. They didn't have Mountain Berry (saskatoon berries, which is native to Canada, currants, raisins and blueberries with the flavor of a berry melange), so I ordered Passion de Fleurs (white tea with rose petals). But that was a little too bitter for my taste, so I ordered Camomile with honey... absolutely my favourite, besides good old Earl Grey.

With my two babies kicking a fuss when we arrived, I took some time to settle them. By the time I was ready to eat, the rest of the table had already started feasting, as usual. Everyone agreed that the yummiest items were the crab cake with remoulade sauce, popiah, prawn cocktail and homemade warm scones with raspberry, kaya or cream. For desserts, I loved the strawberry cake, which is also EV's favourite. She also loved the ham and sausage, her once-in-a-while indulgence.

Just outside where we sat, there was a waterfall with a pond of koi fish. EV kept wanting to go out to see the fish. I think she just enjoyed seeing the water fall. AA later joined his older sister in the fun too.

Very tempted to head back there again with the hubs... just the two of us. But he'll probably say... wah.... such a long afternoon tea? Then we can skip dinner. :) 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Monday, June 25, 2012

Appreciating my confidante, soulmate, husband and Daddy to our kids

Here's a letter to C, my confidante, soulmate, husband and Daddy to our kids.

Dear C,

June is an especially special month for us. Rather, a particular date in June, but it's been so very long ago, I can't quite remember exactly which date it is.

Twenty three years ago this month, we met at a campfire held at a girls' school. You were a scout at a boys' school, and I a guide at a girls' school. I'm sure you remember the scene. You with your floppy hair and your mates signing autographs on our song books (which were a must at all campfires). I can still visualise vividly what you signed: 'My name is C. I love all of you'. You even drew a big heart around it. I think I have the song book hidden somewhere in my cupboard at my mum's place.

I'm not sure whether it was your floppy hair that did it (you still have floppy hair, though it is much shorter now, despite your numerous attempts to try a new hairstyle.) or your 'loving' signature. Both are locked in my memory. Yes dear, you left me that much of an impression. Perhaps it was already a sign? ;)

Later, I found out why you and your friends came over. P was keen on my senior A and wanted to give her his number. Instead, he wrote his number on my song book, thinking it was hers. Daring me called P after a few days, and eventually got to know you too. Remember our first meeting? How can I forget? It was at the old National Library, at the stairs. Remember?

Those were the good old days of secondary school life. You and I became fast friends and have been for the longest time. You never expected anything, except for me to be me. You were my 'big brother', always looking out for me. You made hot tea for me when I drank too much at your friend's bbq. You consoled me when I didn't do well for my exams. You hated writing but wrote letters to me when I first went to Perth to study. (Oh yes, the roses that you and the guys gave me at the airport? Well, those were cut short in Perth because no plants with buds are allowed into the country. The rose survived for a few days in a glass cup at the hotel) That's right, those were the days before the Internet and letters were the only way to stay connected to family. I remember you had me smiling and laughing all the way to the boarding house once after collecting your letter from the mail room. You were my confidante, someone I could tell everything to and hide nothing. You still are.

As I spent five years in Perth, we met up less and less, and eventually drifted apart with our own lives and relationships. Then a few years after the millennium, we reconnected again and we were back to where we were before. Perhaps our failed relationships enabled us to be more appreciative of each other, I don't know. We got together, like it was the most natural thing to do, simply because we were so natural with each other and didn't have to pretend, act or be someone else. We got married in February 2009 and are blessed with two adorable kids who are zapping most of our energy these days. Not to mention, our patience and tolerance too. These are tiring and stressful times, and in the near future, perhaps even trying too. Whatever happens, we are in this together, and together, we will find our way.

Thank you dear, for letting me be me for twenty three years, and many more to come.

You are the rock in my life
A pillar of support that never wavers
By my side you stand always
My hand you hold firmly and lovingly
Guiding me whenever my steps seem uncertain
And most of all, my best friend, my lover, my spouse
You let me be me

With love from your dear W

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Two Weeks of Creative Fun! Recycled train craft

I'm so very excited to be part of this blog hop party hosted by Alicia from An Accidental Homeschooling Mum, where 15 mummy bloggers from the Singapore Mom Bloggers group each create a craft project over 15 days. 

I was never great at art. Nah... I'm best at drawing stick figures. But I think anything can be art, even stick figures. So onward I went to get my creative juices going. I was inspired by my 2 year old daughter's love for train. Yes, my girl loves trains. Not princesses, but trains. She gets super excited at seeing the MRT trains, and you guessed it, Thomas the Train is her fav too! That's not all. Nothing can take my little super gung-ho girl away from painting. I can't even say the word 'painting' at home, otherwise all 'hell' will break loose and she will pester me non-stop to do 'painting, painting, I want to do painting!'. Every time I bring any painting materials out, I have to first calm her down: 'Wait, let mummy prepare everything first ok?'. This second, she'll say 'ok', the next second she's got her slippers on and out she goes to the painting corner at the front porch.

So for this post, EV and I will be combining the two and creating a train using recycled materials. The materials needed - toilet rolls, egg cartons, yarn, thick straw, blue construction paper

First, we painted the toilet rolls and the egg cartons. Her colour of choice? Blue, as usual.

Next, we dipped the yarn into red paint. While we were at it, we did some art work with the yarn too - something new for EV.

Poke two holes on one end of two of the toilet rolls and four holes on opposite ends of the remaining toilet roll. Choose one toilet roll to be the front of the train and make a larger hole the size of the straw on the top of it. Cut the red coloured yarn into short strips. Create a face for the train by cutting a circle out of the blue construction paper. Make sure there are tabs around the circle.

To assemble:
1. Tie the three toilet rolls together with the yarn.
2. Cut the thick straw into a suitable length and insert into the hole to make the smoke stack.
3. Glue the egg cartons to the toilet rolls for the wheels, four wheels to a roll.
4. Finally, glue the face to the front of the train, by gluing the tabs to the inside of the toilet roll.

And viola! A friendly train craft using recycled materials.

Check out what creative crafts these mummy bloggers have done

Coming up next! 
As a working mom, there are never enough hours in a day, so Susan is always doing a juggling act with her family, work, being a nurturing mom, loving wife and career woman which explains why she named her blog A Juggling Mom. Her blog documents her journey and adventures as a mother to a 3-year-old toddler and hopes to share resources on how moms can lead a balanced life and be a happy, healthy and fulfilled mom.

She will be sharing the next craft post on making farm-themed finger puppets with her little daughter who has got ambitions of being a farmer.

Love the craft ideas so far? 
Blog hop to these mummy bloggers to see what they will be creating on these dates!

June 25 - Susan @
June 26 - Ann @
June 27 - Justina @
June 28 - Adora @
June 29 - Regina @
June 30 - Sarah @
July 1 - Jennifer @
July 2 - Pamela @
July 3 - Ming Yuan @
July 4 - Dominique @
July 5 - Karen @


Monday, June 18, 2012

Adventures: Playing at Art Garden 2012

Last Friday, EV and I went for a little adventure at Art Garden at the Singapore Art Museum, together with some SMB mummies and their kids. It was EV's first visit to a museum and art experience, so it was something we both were looking forward to. (Well, the simple fact that she can go 'gai gai' is enough to excite EV.) We tucked into an early dinner at the nearby Food For Thought. I must say, I have heard lots about FFT's pancakes, and really, it is super yummy! Will definitely be returning for more. :)

EV was a sport the whole time, walking through all the exhibits on all four levels. Her favourite were the Let's Dance by Emilie Fouilloux and Reactive Wall by Mojoko & Shang Liang exhibits on the third level (kept wanting to return for more) and the 5QU1D by Ryf display on the fourth level. She thoroughly enjoyed Justin Lee's Dress Me Up display. Of course, my dear colour-crazy girl could not resist the activity room on level two either, where she coloured and stamped to her heart's content. It was a pity that the Echoes-Infinity-The Forest exhibit on the first floor was closed for the night. 

Here's a photo diary of our adventures that night.

Mushrooms & eggs for EV, salad for mummy.

Mixed berries pancakes... yummy!

EV checking out the TV beside the closed Echoes display.

Poking, squashing, squeezing marks on to a clay magnet.

'Please do not touch'? Hey, I'm a toddler. How can I resist touching, pulling.... destroying?

EV in her colouring world, with stamping added to it.

More colouring. This time, on boxes. Hmmm.. this exhibition really likes making toddlers colour.

Dressing up a cake....

... and which shoe fits? EV pursing her lips in deep concentration.

EV was extremely delighted with this colourful light display.

But was not too keen on this, or the paper folding activity.

This is the first time that EV and I went for the Art Garden, so everything is quite new to us. My main gripe is the 'Please do not touch' labels at some of the exhibits. I wonder what the organisers were thinking when they put this up. Kids are naturally curious, and when they are curious, they touch. It helps them learn and experience, and that is the purpose of the Art Garden, isn't it, to let kids experience art at their level.

Still, because it was our first ever visit, we had loads of fun and returned home happily tired. 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Guest Post: Starting on the Baby Signing Journey


Ever wondered what baby is trying to communicate to you? Wanting something but not being able to express it can be extremely frustrating for the baby, and can lead to loud crying, and even tantrums. 

One of the key benefits of signing with baby is it gives the baby the ability to express important needs and thoughts. As babies develop hand-eye coordination sooner than verbal skills, they can learn simple signs for common words such as 'eat', 'sleep', 'milk' and so on before they can even produce understandable speech. This ability to communicate boosts the baby's self confidence and stimulates intellectual development. It also strengthens a parent's bond with the baby, and minimizes the frustrations that come with trying to understand what baby is saying or needing.

So, all the benefits of baby signing aside, what can parents do to begin on this journey?

Recently, I met Alicia, a mum blogger and certified Baby Signing Instructor. I'm delighted to have her share with us her expert tips and experience on how parents can learn and introduce signing to their little ones. 

TM: What are the common difficulties that parents face when learning signing? How can they overcome these?
Alicia: Some of the most common questions I get are ‘when can I start’ and ‘how soon can my baby sign back/why is my baby not signing back yet’? I guess these are parents’ usual concern when they first start to consider baby signing. 

Technically one can start signing to a newborn though I only started when my baby was around five months. This is because at a young age, the infant lacks the motor dexterity to sign back so even if a parent were to start really early, it would take some months before the child can respond. 
Consistency is the key here. The more you sign to your child, the faster your child is able to make the association between the spoken word (sound), the meaning of the word and the sign for it. 

TM: Why is it that babies can understand signing at such a young age? Are there babies who don't?
Alicia: Imagine a baby waving goodbye to you. That itself is a type of sign. Hence, it is very natural for children to communicate with the body language before her speech is developed and baby signing takes advantage of this. Generally most children are able to communicate to some level with signs and I have not met any babies who are unable to so far unless it is due to medical reason(s). One of the key advantages of signing is it increases the confidence of babies in communicating with her caregiver as she now knows that you understand her and is able to meet or respond to her needs be it a staple like asking for milk or a ball for play. So, that in itself is a positive motivation for the baby. 

TM: How long does it usually take for a parent to learn signing? How often must they practice?
Alicia: In my classes and sharing, I always encourage parents to start with something that is relevant for the child and to start small. So, even if it is just three to five signs, the parent can pick up immediately and focus on these ‘core’ signs first. The child will pick up these signs faster as opposed to twenty different signs within a short period. 

TM: How should a parent introduce signing to a baby?
Alicia: For example, for really young children, I strongly encourage parents to pick up staple signs such as ‘milk’ or ‘eat’ as these are the most important signs for the child at this age. Whenever you give milk or food to the child, you should sign accordingly. Consistency and repetition are the key success factors here. So, sign, sign, sign away whenever there is a chance. 

TM: Should signing be introduced alongside the parent's own learning journey? Or after the parent has learnt it?
Alicia: Most signs are very natural or have some logic to it. For example, the sign for ‘drink’ is holding up a cup and tipping it backwards to the lips. So it is very easy to pick up. Parents can start immediately once they learn those three to five core signs. This is what makes baby signing really fun too – you learn along with your child and the bonding is truly amazing. 

TM: There are books on signing, even apps on signing. Are these sufficient for a parent? Should a parent actually take lessons?
Alicia: I first started by borrowing relevant titles and reading up on my own before taking up a certification course.  What I do encourage is for parents to pick up the proper signs (whether it is American sign language or British sign language) as opposed to creating your own. This is because with a formal system, there is progression and a signing parent will find it very much easier to add on to the signing vocabulary. If you use made up signs interchangeably with some of the proper ASL signs, there could be confusion if you should accidentally end up with similar signs.

Taking up classes to learn baby signing has many advantages. You have a chance to ask an instructor the questions you may have, you learn about sign approximates and you also get to know and interact with like-minded parents who wish to embark on the same journey as you and learn from each other’s experiences. In my Baby Signing classes, I also share ideas and simple activities (including crafts!) for parents to do with their children at the home front. 

TM: Thank you Alicia for giving us these baby signing tips.

About Alicia Tan
Alicia Tan is the first certified Baby Signing Instructor in Singapore by Baby Signing Time in the US. She started signing to her child when her baby was less than 6 months and is a strong believer in the benefits signing to children brings. Her child, nicknamed Dumpling, is now 3.5 years old and is an early reader who counts Elmer and Curious George as some of her favourite titles. Alicia is currently homeschooling her child and believes strongly in outdoor investigative fun learning through field trips and excursions where she sometimes has more fun than Dumpling. She blogs her about her parenting and home learning journey at

Note: This is not a paid or sponsored post. I invited Alicia to share about baby signing because I myself am trying to start on this journey. I hope you have found this post useful!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Five reasons why all mums are supermums


Are you a mum? Then you are a supermum. Here are five reasons why.

1. Mums are energizer bunnies. Even if mum has to wake up every other hour to feed a baby, she can still bounce through the demands of the day without a nap at all.

2. Mums are rocks of steel. Even when everyone has fallen ill, mums stay strong to hold the fort. Mums are the last to fall.

3. Mums have amazing bionic hearing ability and incredible sixth sense. They can hone in on their crying babies, even when families and friends ask 'was that the baby crying?'.

4. Mums have an everlasting sense of humour and great tolerance. They are always funny, always patient, always calm. Great storytellers too, as they act out each and every character in every single story book. One minute mums are roaring, prowling lions, another minute they are sounding the rap-a-tap-tap like a drum. Mums are great actresses.

5. Mums are the perfect models for devotion and dedication. Whether mums are stay-at-home-mums (SAHMs) who have made sacrifices to stay at home with the kids, work-at-home-mums (WAHMs) who juggle both kids and work/business from home, or full time working mums (FTWMs) who rush back home once the clock strikes six, kids are always on mums' minds.

This is dedicated to all SAHMs, WAHMs and FTWMs.

Friday, June 08, 2012

Adventures: Green Circle Eco Farm visit

Last Saturday, hubby, EV and I went on a outdoor adventure at the Green Circle Eco Farm, an organic farm near Sungei Buloh, together with some other families from the Homelearning Fun group I'm part of. This is EV's first trip to a farm, and we were all excited. Dark clouds were looming though, and on the way, it rained. Fortunately, the rain stopped just before we arrived, perhaps because EV sang 'Rain rain go away', making it a rather cool morning to be exploring a farm.

The tour started with the farm representative explaining what is an eco farm. She also talked about the importance of plants and what they needed to live. EV was too young to understand what the lady was saying, though previously, I had briefly explained to her about roots and how it brought water and minerals up to the branches and leaves. I'm not sure whether she remembered. During the talk, she looked like she was listening very attentively; perhaps it's her look of 'I don't understand?' ;)

While mummy and EV were at the talk, daddy took the camera and went off on his own adventure. He came back proudly showing these photos.

He has a talent of knowing when these 'talks' end; he came back just in time for the tour to start. We went round the farm, seeing papaya, banana, cucumber and lady finger plants. We also saw spring onion and kai lan. She touched a snail for the first time too!

EV knows her pineapples, naming them as we walked past them.

Our guide explaining to us about compost.

EV later touched this toad, not before squealing with resistance at first.

Cheeky EV smiling with glee, as she knew she didn't have to walk through the muddy ground.

EV seeing a well for the first time. She had to be made to touch the water. After that, we had to pull her away from the pail.

We chanced upon a calamansi, yam and fig tree too. Hubby plucked a calamansi leaf for EV to smell its scent.

After a short break, it was planting time!!! Armed with recycled Vitagen bottles, mummy and EV filled them with soil and the staff later helped us put in the plant.

These are the plants we took back that day. On the way home, we stopped by Lim Chu Kang beach and saw people uploading diesel for nearby kelongs.

It was a great outing, a great opportunity for EV to be in touch with nature. It was also great to meet up with the mummies of the group. Thanks to Alicia Tan of An Accidental Homeschooling Mum for organizing it.