Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Review: Gerry Rhymes

I'm always very amazed at the capability of fellow mums who have to juggle their families, but yet can follow their hearts in doing something that they love. Geraldine Png is one such mum. Her love for music, children's music to be exact, has driven her to produce her very own CD album of children's rhymes. To top that off, it's a collaboration with her partner-in-music, none other than her husband Bert Lindsey, who is an accomplished music producer himself in the United States. I just find that really sweet, the fact that you and your spouse love the same thing, and then work in partnership together to create something extra special out of it.

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Gerry Rhymes: For Kids One to Ninety-Two is not only the result of a sweet husband-wife collaboration, the music in it is equally sweet too. Familiar nursery rhymes are remixed into catchy tunes that bring an irresistible, jingling spring to your feet. There is a certain appeal to the tunes that make them reach out to adults too, not just kids, and inadvertently brings out the child in the adults, and perhaps even fond memories of childhood, kindergarten and play.

And it indeed did so for me. As I was surfing around and listening to Geraldine’s creation, I found my old school song that she had sung. Curious, I emailed her about it and found out that Geraldine attended the same kindergarten, primary and secondary school as me!!! She was my senior, but we had the same principal & maths teacher in primary, and the same history teacher in secondary. Isn’t that something?

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Now Twinkle Twinkle Little Star is currently the most played and sung nursery rhyme in our home. EV sings it in sorfege during her music class, I play it in the most basic way on the piano to help her practise, and little AA loves 'singing' it out loud to display his lung power. So it was really a refreshing relief when I heard the Geraldine's version. It was bright and cheerful, and while different in the way it was remixed, the flavour of the original is not lost.

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This can be said for the rest of the music, which are pop, jazz, classical and fusion all rolled into one package. Every time Itsy Bitsy Spider or Old Macdonald Had A Farm comes on, the kids just can’t resist not grooving to the tunes, and that is the true testament of how delightful this musical collection is.
The most inspirational song in Gerry Rhymes has to be the original ‘Child In Your Eyes’, with music written by Bert and lyrics by Geraldine. It is a soulful song and I couldn’t help but get into a reflective mood as I listened to it. I couldn’t help but think of my dear grandmother, who passed away suddenly in 2006. How I wished EV and AA could have had the chance to meet her. That would have made her so extremely happy. Unfortunately, that was not to be. But I know somewhere up there, she’s looking out for them, for me, for I will always be a child in her eyes.

A simple song, with simple lyrics, yet so touching. That is the power of ‘Child In Your Eyes’. And like the rest of the songs in this collection, it has the power to engage both kids and adults, adding to Gerry Rhymes’ appeal and charm.  

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Gerry Rhymes is priced at $16.90 and is available at Popular Bookstores and HMV Singapore. Also included in the collection is an eight-party narrated story that is accompanied by music. Alternatively, the tracks can also be purchased online at CDBaby.

We have three copies of Gerry Rhymes to give away! Just follow the Rafflecopter instructions below to enter. They are all optional, but do give you more chances. Good luck!

Terms and conditions:
- Entries that do not fulfill the requirements stated will be disqualified without notice.
- Winners will be notified by email, through the email address provided in the Rafflecopter widgets.
- Winners must confirm by reply email, within three days. Otherwise, a new winner will be picked.
- This giveaway is open to Singapore residents only.
- Giveaway starts on 29 April and ends on 13 May (inclusive) at midnight.
- Winners will be announced on this post and my Facebook page by 20 May.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclaimer: We received a Gerry Rhymes CD for review purposes. No monetary compensation was received. All opinions and images are my own.


Thank you for reading. If you like this post, please do connect with me on FacebookInstagram and Twitter, so I can share our fun adventures, thoughts and exploits with you. 

Monday, April 28, 2014

Motivational Monday: Fever, our greatest enemy

I don't remember when I last had an undisturbed sleep throughout the night. And the past two weeks has been even worse with both kids sick. Besides the usual cough, phlegm and running nose, the little one also had the forbidden fever. In general terms, his fever wasn't very high, hitting about 37.5 degrees at most. But that is enough to get us pumping him with panadol to bring the fever down.

I can almost hear cries of protests, that I should let the fever run its course, that little AA's immunity system will right itself, that I shouldn't give him panadol, or nurofen for that matter.

Fever is our most dreaded enemy, ever since last year. Ever since AA was diagnosed as being epileptic. That is, having seizures for no rhyme or reason, when not having fever. That was when his condition first surfaced. We've done all the tests there is to be done: ECG, MRI, lumber puncture. No conclusive causes have been found. We don't know what caused his seizures, and little AA has to be on daily medication to manage his condition.

It all seemed to be going well until AA came done with high fever late last year and then had seizures six times in 24 hours. My heart aches when I think about that, how his body stiffened up, how listless his beautiful face looked, how he went into another cluster of attacks when he was in the hospital for the third time in nine months, being poked and jabbed and checked by the doctors and nurses. He was in ICU for a few hours, then spent a night in the high dependency ward before heading down to the normal ward for another. He didn't like being there, neither did we. We wanted him out, we wanted him to be well. No kid of 20 months should undergo such an experience. But he had to stay for at least 24 hours without any attacks before he could be discharged. Fortunately, we went home to welcome the new year.

A s hospitalisation
AA's 'bandaged' hand to prevent him from pulling the tubes, during his second hospitalization.

The doctors said his was a breakout seizure, his body was trying to deal with the high fever. Whatever it was, one thing is clear. Given AA's condition, he is more vulnerable to relapses when he has fever. That's why whenever the slightest fever comes, I rather give him panadol than wait. I do not want a second horrible episode to occur again. I don't want to see my baby go through that again. It’s painful for him, it’s painful to see him go through it.

It took me a while before I decided to write this. It's really not a nice thought knowing your baby has a condition that requires him to be on regular medication, with regular visits to the neurologist who always says we can only observe and hope it doesn’t get worse. Something that might stay with him for his whole life, and I pray to God it doesn’t. Holidays are a worrying thought: what if he gets an attack while we’re overseas? DaddySay asked if it’s our intention to overprotect him. No. We both want AA to lead a normal life like everyone, but it’s hard not to get worried, not to be scared.

It’s very true what they say: fear of the unknown is really fearful. Fear of what might not happen can zap one’s energy away utterly. As parents, all one wants to do is to protect one’s child. If the child is unwell, as long as there is a cause, there is a solution. Not knowing the cause, not having a solution and not knowing how long it will last is a terrible, terrible feeling.

It’s tiring and draining, but we push these thoughts to the back of our minds. We move ahead day by day, inspired by the chirpy welcome AA gives us each day when we get home from work, amused by his innocent cheekiness, blessed by his endearing hugs. We are motivated to continue for as long as it takes. All for our beloved AA. May God bless us and keep us strong on this journey.

Linking up with:



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Thursday, April 03, 2014

Book Box Thursday: Wild Alphabet Pop-Up Book

Recently, I found this really good book that I am extremely eager to share, because it is just so fun!

It's Wild Alphabet Pop-Up book which I bought from The Groovy Giraffe, an online bookstore where overprint and overstock books are priced at up to 85% off. It's not expensive, just $18.90 after discount (usual price $25.14). When I saw it on the site and viewed the preview pictures, I thought: interesting, a pop-up book of animals from A to Z, with an accompanying description for each too. Must check it out.

So I ordered it, and had it delivered. I didn't expect it to arrive so early, since the order was made on a Friday. But viola, I got the book on Saturday after a tired day at the grandparents'. Big pleasant surprise. Bigger surprise when I opened it. I had thought the book might be bigger, since it had all the pop-up stuff. I had no idea how I got that idea. However, the book is about the size of a CD case, though much thicker. Nice size to fit into the kids' day bag when we are on our adventures.

Wild Alphabet 1

As you can see, our animal figurines couldn't resist checking it out either.

And it's no wonder. The animals inside this book gives a good overview of wild animals, both small and large. Think of wild animals the likes of a chinchilla, a jaguar, a koala and even a dinosaur. Wild animals both gentle and fierce are included, so little minds have an A to Z idea of what wild animals live in our world.

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Wild Alphabet 5

The good thing about this book is the description that accompanies each animal. It gives information such as the appearance, behaviours and other characteristics. And for some, it even give little tidbits about the animals's living habitats. These little nuggets of information are wonderful in triggering the curiosity of little kids, and opens the doors for further discussion and exploration of the animals. The fonts are also creatively used to add variety to the description.

What really rocks is the pop-ups. Like this one of a mosquito. See how it pops out of the page.

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Check out this pop-up of a tiger too. It doesn't pop out of the page like the mosquito, but I like how the cut-outs and the colours of black and orange work together to reveal a fearsome picture of a tiger's head. 

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How about this pop-up of a xantus bird? Cool, isn't it?

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There are more examples of such innovative pop-ups. Therein comes another worry. The pop-ups can be a little fragile, so little hands will have to handle the book with care. Good opportunity for adults to educate them about caring for a book, though. Wild Alphabet engaged and amused EV and AA, myself included. We talked about the animals, we talked about the words. They even asked how the pop-ups work. It definitely made for a great conversation starter. Highly recommended for its entertaining and educational factor.

Special Discount Code!!
Here's a special discount for all ToddlyMummy readers. Just click on The Groovy Giraffe button on the right sidebar, and you will be taken directly to The Groovy Giraffe website. Shop for your books, and when checking out, just key in the unique code 'TODDLYMUM' for a 5% discount on all books (except bargains).

In the meantime, do share with us other pop-up books you've read. Why do you like them?

Disclaimer: We received a $20 voucher for the purchase of Wild Alphabet Pop-Up Book for review purposes. No monetary compensation was received. All opinions and images are my own.


Thank you for reading. If you like this post, please do connect with me on FacebookInstagram and Twitter, so I can share our fun adventures, thoughts and exploits with you. 

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Review: Lollibox Happy Family theme

Since Lollibox pioneered the concept of fun in a box, delivered right to one's doorstep, many similar concepts have emerged. Some have gone quiet, but I'm glad to note that Lollibox still remains strong in the game, and keeps coming up with awesome new ideas, such as craft parties and craft party boxes.

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In addition, they don't seem to be sitting in their laurels when it comes to their signature craft boxes. In fact, they do constantly look at ways to improve it, as can be seen with the Happy Family theme box, where they've updated the cover design of the instruction sheets and also redesigned the 'Enrich' activity sheet. With a more vibrant cover design, the instruction sheets retain their detailed feature. There are accompanying pictures for every step, and I like the inclusion of extension activities, like the possible questions to ask to prompt the kids' thinking and response.

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The revamped 'Enrich' component is now an activity sheet with three sections of various activities relevant to the theme. For the Happy Family theme, the activities include a maze, drawing a family portrait, and an investigation into whether the family members are right or left-handed. These activities are very different from the previous version, which involved a card of three suggested activities ranging from art, science, fine motor and dramatic play. While the current version is more focused, it would be good that future activities also include science, fine motor and dramatic play suggestions. I believe this will provide more variety to a young mind's learning and discovery.

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Now for the activities itself. There are usually two in the box, and depending on the child, these activities can take up to 1.5 to 2 hours to complete. We did the cardboard house first, and EV and AA both assisted with the painting - EV painted the house while AA took responsibility of the roof. It was a rather serious affair for the both of them, as well as for this mummy too, as I tried hard to prevent them from painting themselves, and each other.

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They both helped with the paper puppets too, which represented a family of four. AA chopped on them, while EV decided to number them. AA lost interest then, and toddled off to do his own thing. EV persevered, and here she is playing with the cardboard house and paper puppets. She keeps wanting to stuff all the puppets into the 'warmth' of the house.

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The next activity was rather interesting too. We drew outlines of our hands, which looked so fun to AA that he returned to get his drawn too. While this mummy was cutting out the hands, EV entertained AA by drawing more outlines of his hand. AA tried to help and ended up outlining on his own hand.

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After sticking the hands to the wooden tree stand, we stuck the apples, each representing a family member. I'd ask EV which family member she remembers, she'd identify him or her, I'd write their salutations down, mostly in Chinese, like 妈妈, 爷爷, or 舅舅, then she would stick them on the hands. And the end of it, what we got is a very pretty family tree, literally!

I must say that the activities are quite well-thought out, and fits the theme well. On one hand, I wish the box that the activities came in was smaller, it seems such a waste to use the big box to house two activities, a badge, an instruction sheet and an activity sheet. However, I can understand the rational of having such a box, just in case some themes' activities are bulkier; it makes sense to have a one-size fits all box to fit the different sized activities of different themes. Though I'm not sure about the purpose of the coloured paper strips. If it is just for embellishment purposes, then I personally don't think it's necessary to include it. For one, kids will end up throwing the strips all over the place in the name of fun, plus they will most probably end up in the waste basket, in my opinion, because that's exactly what happened!

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Did I mention the badge? Yes I did. I think the badge is awesome as an encouraging 'pat-on-the-back' kind of reward. EV was so proud of herself for completing the activities, that she insisted that I pin on the badge for her immediately after she finished, and wore it throughout that whole day. She was still asking for it for the few days that follow. Just imagine: wouldn't it be awesome to have a series of badges that show achievement and tenacity through such creative activities! I think the kid would be so motivated with high self esteem and confidence!

Special Discount Code!!
Here's a special deal for all ToddlyMummy readers - 10% off storewide! Just enter the discount code TODDLY when you check out (valid till 30 April 2014).

Hope your kid has as much fun as EV and AA had.

Disclaimer: We received a Lollibox Happy Family for review purposes. No monetary compensation was received. All opinions and images are my own.


Thank you for reading. If you like this post, please do connect with me on FacebookInstagram and Twitter, so I can share our fun adventures, thoughts and exploits with you.