Monday, June 30, 2014

Interview: Sarah Toh, Principal of Kidz Literacy Cove

In March this year, we did a review of a phonics lesson at Kidz Literacy Cove.

Today, I'm very happy to introduce Sarah Toh, principal of Kidz Literacy Cove. She will share with us the story behind Kidz Literacy Cove, and give tips on how parents can reinforce literacy learning with their kids at home. 


Please tell us more about Kidz Literacy Cove. What is its focus?
Kidz Literacy Cove (KLC) is an educational centre specialised in carrying an Australian-based English literacy program that teaches phonics, writing, word recognition and early spelling skills in a fun and interactive way. Our programmes are specially written by Victoria Carlton, director of the International Centre for Excellence (Australia) and crafted to meet the needs of children in Singapore. At KLC, every child is respected as a unique individual and parents are valued as our teaching partners. We provide a cosy and conducive environment for children as we believe they learn best when they feel comfortable.

Why did you set up Kidz Literacy Cove? What inspired you?
I used to be working in the preschool sector and see the need for children to have an allocated time for learning literacy with a structured curriculum. I see the importance of having passionate and committed teachers too.

What is your view of preschool education and the correct literacy standard? Should more be done?
I strongly believe that all teachers must be well trained in phonics and have an understanding of how children learn language and literacy. Preschool sector should also have a more structured literacy curriculum as a guideline for all teachers to make use of.

There are so many enrichment centres that focus on developing a child's literacy, what is Kidz Literacy Cove's strength? How do you differentiate yourself from others?
Kidz Literacy Cove engages local and well trained professionals who have experiences working in the Early Childhood sector. We only engage teachers who are passionate and have a strong interest in working with children. Our group sizes are kept very small to a maximum of four children for the younger age groups and a maximum of six children per group for children five years old and above. We cater one-to-one sessions for children who require special attention and lesson plans are customized for them. We are running Victoria Carlton's Literacy Programme and it is a researched and well proven programme that helps children perform at least one year ahead of their academic level.

Literacy is more than just learning to read. Do you agree? Why or why not.
Literacy is more than just learning to read. Young children start learning literacy through listening to what adults are saying. They look at our facial expressions to make meanings of what we are trying to say. Then they start making sounds to communicate with us and subsequently learning to speak with words and sentences. Environment plays an important role in teaching young children literacy (e.g children look at letter 'M' and they go Macdonalds. Children observe symbols and prints on the roads and they learn what these are used for.)

Do parents really need to send their children for literacy classes? Can't they reinforce what their children learn at home?
Definitely home teaching is important and learning languages takes place anywhere, anytime and with anyone. While shopping at the supermarket, parents can communicate effectively by having discussions with what they see around. Parents can teach at home, but it is more of a reinforcement of what children have learnt in school. Parents send their children to us as they would want to make use of our proven and structured curriculum and at the same time having well trained professionals to guide their children in learning. Children learn differently in a home environment and in a school environment with peers. I see the need for parents to engage their children with literacy classes while parents can do follow up activities to extend their children's learning. Fun activities can be initiated by parents or children during this family bonding time.

How should parents reinforce and extend their children’s learning at home? Can you give 5 tips?
1. Reading a book together before bedtime
2. Doing an art and craft activity together to reinforce what child has learn (e.g. learning how to write letter 'a', parents can do finger painting together with child, writing letter 'a' with different colours of paint)
3. Watching a youtube video on a topic that was taught in school
4. Having an outdoor trip (e.g. going to the zoo to learn more about a particular animal according to the theme of the curriculum in school)
5. Playing hands on games (not electronic ones)

As a mother, what would you say is your parenting style? What is your belief when it comes to helping a child learn?
As a mother to my infant daughter, I believe I will adopt the authoritative parenting style as I believe in 2 way communication. I would set clear and reasonable limits and at the same time allow my child to develop autonomy, Spending quality time and communicating effectively with children, even if is to just sit down and play with them, would consider quality time spent. I belief in giving adequate time for a child to learn. Avoid rushing to teach or to get things done - a little difficult to achieve but I will try.

What three things do you think is most important for kids to learn in today's world?
Respect, morals and filial piety.

What is the one thing that parents should know, but don't?
Parents these days spend a lot of money buying toys/materials/electronics for children but what they need is to have parents spending time "playing" and discovering with them.

Please tell us more about yourself. What were you doing before Kidz Literacy Cove?
I began my career in the field of early childhood education at an early age and pursued my Diploma in Early Childhood Education with Ngee Ann Polytechnic. Knowing where my strength and passion lies, I quickly attained my specialisation in the field where I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (with honours) in Early Childhood Education. Upon graduation, I was engaged by a preschool that admired me for my outstanding performance during my service at the school as an assistant teacher. With strong determination and a natural flair for teaching, I quickly rose to the position of a senior teacher within 2 years and undertook leadership roles where I was tasked to mentor new teachers as well as student-teachers. I then moved on to an international preschool where I maintained my position and continued to teach for several years. I was again promoted to be a vice principal of the preschool.
I set high standards for myself when it comes to the planning and implementing of curriculum as I believe that education is about providing meaningful learning experiences for children to learn and develop at their own pace, and should never be forced on an unwilling child. “All children have the ability to learn, we should figure that out and teach the way they learn.”. Most importantly I also believe that a happy child is one who learns the most and will continue to yearn for more knowledge. This love and passion for teaching subsequently led me to establish Kidz Literacy Cove (KLC) where I aim to further reach out and touch the hearts of the younger generation.

Promoting fun, joy and excellence, I ensure that KLC will be a haven where parents are more than welcome to be part of their children’s education and where children’s torch for learning burns bright and strong.
I am currently the principal of KLC. Together with my team of teachers, I also conduct classes at KLC and constantly monitor the progress of the children.


Thank you, Sarah.


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. 

Friday, June 27, 2014

Giveaway: iNbox

Earlier, we did a review of iNbox. Read about how much fun EV and AA had, here.

Inbox 1
Now here's a chance to win for yourself an iNbox.

We have two iNboxes to give away, kindly sponsored by the folks at Smart Alley. Just follow the Rafflecopter instructions below to enter. The only mandatory task is to leave a blog comment, but doing the other optional tasks 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 blog comments.
- 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 27 June and ends on 11 July (inclusive) at midnight.
- Winners will be announced on this post and my Facebook page by 15 July.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Book Box Thursday: Purple Paw Prints & Paw Prints on the Magic Sofa by Sarah Mounsey

After a short hiatus, Book Box Thursday is back. This time, we look at two books by Australian Sarah Mounsey who now resides in Singapore. These two books are part of the Paw Prints series, which has won a bronze medal in the Moonbeam Children's Book Awards for best picture book series.

The books we reviewed - Purple Paw Prints and Paw Prints on the Magic Sofa - are the first two books of this series. It tells the funny adventures of a little boy Eddie and his dog Oscar, and the chaos they leave behind wherever they go.

Sarah 1

Both books are illustrated by Jade Fang, who lives in Singapore and is an Illustration graduate from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. Jade started doodling at a young age, and since 2010, has illustrated several children's books. Her illustrations in Purple Paw Prints and Paws Prints on the Magic Sofa are both colourful and whimsical, and brings out the essence of the stories, from mere words to visuals. Even little ones who can't read can easily see the visuals, that is full of life, and understand immediately what is happening in the story. That is the beauty, and strength, of picture books.

Purple Paw Prints
This story is really hilarious and got EV laughing away as we read it. But to me as a parent, I hope so much that this will not happen, especially when the main character Eddie, reminds me of my mischievous AA. Well, I don't think AA will be painting a dog purple. (No no, I hope he doesn't paint anything in the house purple or any colour for that matter.) That's right, Eddie painted his dog Oscar purple, then regretted it, because he realises that his parents will get oh so mad. Too late, he couldn't get the paint off Oscar in any way. So starts an adventure by Eddie and Oscar, together with older sister Mia, to find a solution. From bringing Oscar to the car wash, to enlisting the fire men's powerful water hose, to the hairdresser, nothing seemed to work. But Eddie didn't want to give up and kept thinking of solutions. The story kept EV engaged and wondering whether Eddie will get Oscar back to his original colour white.

Sarah 2

Sarah 3

A funny twist comes at the end, an ending that even readers didn't expect. Just when all seemed lost and Eddie resigned himself to his fate of facing his parents' wrath, Oscar himself comes up with a solution - to paint himself white. So, the dog saves the day.

Sarah 4

This is just such a cute and funny ending. A dog who's the victim of Eddie's mischievous antics saves Eddie, his 'tormentor', from his parents. I like to think that perhaps, Oscar had thought about painting himself white from the beginning, but decided not to reveal his solution until he absolutely had to. Imagine what he could have been thinking: 'Silly human!'. In fact, this story can be used to explain empathy, as I asked EV to imagine how she would feel if she was in Oscar's shoes; would she like to have someone 'torment' her like that, even if it was just for fun? Would it be nice to treat an animal, a pet like that? Very simply, a hilarious tale of a boy’s search for an answer to his mischief turns into a story that can be used to teach about the importance of thinking about others.

Sarah 5

Paw Prints on the Magic Sofa
The second book in the Paw Prints series, this tale brought EV and AA on a magical adventure all around the world, on a magic sofa. It’s quite fun, actually, as we could turn our usual bedtime reading spot - our bed, into a magic bed, and go travelling with Eddie, Oscar, their friend William and several animals, including a lion, a turtle, a camel and a monkey. It exercises our imagination, as like Eddie, Oscar and William, we visited the plains to meet the lion, the desert to find the camel, and over the jungles to search for the monkey. There was even a dip in the river to pick up the turtle.

Sarah 6

Sarah 7

I personally like the way the illustrations depicted the various scenes in the story. From how the magic sofa bobbed on the water, to how it sand boarded down the sand dunes in the desert, to how it flew over the clouds and jungle, the story is very vividly depicted. Even the expressions on the animals are rather cheeky, friendly and endearing.

Sarah 8

Sarah 9

Sarah 10

After the whole adventure, Eddie, Oscar and William return back to reality. As it turns out, the lion, turtle, camel and monkey are soft toys.

Sarah 11

Our verdict
Both books seemed to have different fans in our home. EV preferred Purple Paw Prints, while AA preferred Paw Prints on the Magic Sofa. Different stories, different appeal. Being older, EV could understand the deeper meaning behind Purple Paw Prints, and put herself in the position of Oscar. The imaginary journey that Paw Prints on the Magic Sofa brought us on appealed more to AA, but was well received by EV as well, since we could also go on an adventure of imagination ourselves.

Both books are simple, endearing tales that one can read over and over again.

We have two copies each of Purple Paw Prints and Paw Prints on the Magic Sofa to give away, kindly sponsored by the folks at Closetful of Books. Just follow the Rafflecopter instructions below to enter. Most are 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 blog comments.
- 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 26 June and ends on 11 July (inclusive) at midnight.
- Winners will be announced on this post and my Facebook page by 14 July.

a Rafflecopter giveaway a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclaimer: We received a copy of Purple Paw Prints and Paw Prints on the Magic Sofa from Closetful of Books 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, June 23, 2014

Review: iNbox

There's a new kid in town, I mean, a new craft-in-a-box. Called iNbox, the latest is by the educational toy store Smart Alley. I think it makes logical sense for them to jump on the bandwagon. They are already selling educational craft items at their store, so iNbox is an extension and reinvention of what they offer, delivered right to the doorstep. So how does iNbox's creativity, functionality and educational value fare?

The folks at iNbox ensured that the box was addressed to EV - a nice, personal touch that can be extremely meaningful and exciting for young kids. Upon opening the box, much to the delight of EV and AA on a bright morning, I was pleasantly surprised to find the box seemingly packed with materials for the activities. There didn't seem to be much empty space left in the compact box. And then as I proceeded to take some photos of the whole box, as all mum bloggers do, I gave the activities a preliminary assessment.

Inbox 1

Inbox 1a

In the Colour Scientist theme box, there are about five activities, which includes an additional bonus activity and an illustrated story book. Now this story book element is promising. So far so good. The true test is when EV gets down to it.

What I do like is the notice 'Parental Involvement Required' in the top right hand corner, which plays an integral role in reminding parents to do the activities together with their kids, even if the kids are old enough to independently do the activities on their own. What matters is bonding time that parents and kids will have together.

So on to getting dirty.

Inbox 2

Inbox 3

I like the fact that this iNbox is extremely thoughtful in providing an art apron to protect the kid's clothes and a plastic sheet to protect the working surface. These aren't the best quality, but it's the thought that counts. There is only one apron, so AA got to wear it. I think in the first My Colour Lab activity, these items are very important, because it can get dirty. The activity requires the kid to be a scientist of colours. The idea is great: put two paint colours into a plastic 'test tube', use a pipette to squeeze drops of water into the tube, screw on the top and then shake. AA joined in the fun too, so the siblings took turns to put in and shake the colours, as they discovered how to mix different colours to make new ones. 

Inbox 4

Inbox 7

There's even a nice little tray to line all the tubes of colours, just like a scientist would.

Inbox 10

EV got a little carried away at the end; she started mixing all the colours together into a dull blue. Important thing is, my little colour scientist had fun creating colours, making a mess and cleaning up after. So looks like a big stamp of approval from her.

Inbox 5

Inbox 6

The second Magical Kaleidoscope activity needed a little more help from mummy, as EV still wanted to experiment with her paint colours. What got her, and AA, interested were the stickers that they get to stick on to the circular disc. That was the simple part. The actual folding of the cardboard and the putting together of the kaleidoscope had to be done by mummy. And then it was as easy as turning the disc around to see the patterns through the eye hole. This teaches kids how things can look different, if one looks at it from another perspective. Here, stickers on a circular disc become beautiful patterns.

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Inbox 9

Excitement grew again during the Spray Painting activity. EV clearly loves painting, so it was nice for her to discover another way to paint - using a toothbrush. After that, she created her own activity by pasting the cut outs onto another paper to create her own picture. 

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The last two components of this theme box is rather rare: a board game & a story book. The board game uses the recognition of colours making it easy for kids to understand and play. The story is about a new animal who bullies other animals into doing things for him. It teaches kids about bullying and that if you really need something, all you have to do is ask nicely.

Inbox 13

Inbox 13

The iNbox we got is indeed an activity-filled box that kept EV occupied for about three hours. That's rather good, considering the fact that there are ways to extend the activities even further.

The activities do not just stretch kids' creativity and imagination, they are also educational with specific areas of learning such as sensory, gross motor and cognitive. These areas are clearly indicated at the front page of the instruction manual in pictorial format.

Inbox 14

On the last page, there is a more detailed explanation on the skills that the activity develops, the conversation topics that parents can engage their children in and how they can extend the activity in other ways. This is helpful for parents.

At $28.90 per box (plus $3.35 regular shipping) or $84 for a three-month subscription (free shipping), iNbox, with its activities, is economically priced and value for money.

Now the key is for future iNbox boxes to be as good as this one. If so, the iNbox concept could be here to stay for a long time.


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. 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Vaby Box of monthly surprises

Imagine this: 

A nicely-sized, beautifully designed box that's created just for mummies, babies and toddlers filled with sample-sized products and discount vouchers to services for you or your children to try.  

Vaby 1

Imagine receiving this Box of surprise every month, delivered right to your door step.

That's what the new Vaby Box is all about. It is the first of its kind in Singapore to target mummies, babies and toddlers, with contents customized to members' profiles, and is affordably priced at just $18.90 per month.

Vaby 2

The good thing about this Box is that it allows you and your children to try out the various products first, before deciding if you want to commit to a full-sized product or a company's services. If so, you can purchase from the Vaby Shop

Excited? So were we! We were invited to the Vaby Box pre-launch at The Playhouse, which is a kids' indoor and outdoor playground at Rochester. EV and AA had so much fun. 

Vaby 3

Vaby 4
You and your kids could too!

Vaby is holding its official launch at The Playhouse on 28 June (Saturday) and you could be invited to join in the festivities! Just sign up (for free) as Vaby's member, and you could be on your way to the official launch.

Members who are invited and like Vaby's Facebook page will also receive a Vaby Box during the launch, limited to one box per member. Of course, invited members can bring their kids to play for free at The Playhouse!

So what are you waiting for? See you there!

Vaby official launch banner
Credit: Vaby

Disclaimer: We were invited to the Vaby Box pre-launch event, and received an apparel for EV and AA each. All images, unless otherwise stated, 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. 

Friday, June 20, 2014

No World Cup fever in this home

Worldcup 1

World Cup fever exists not in the Say family home.

No, I'm serious. Other than being aware of the World Cup, and possibly some snippets of who's leading the charts (think it's Germany?) that we gather from social media updates by friends and news channels, we really have no idea of what's happening. Who's playing tonight? Or tomorrow? Or who's playing at all, for that fact. We are absolutely clueless.

You see. Both DaddySay and I have absolutely no interest in football (or do you call you soccer?). Never have, never will.

For me, I'm just perplexed by a group of grown men running after a ball, and the craze that people have about it. Yup, I don't understand it, and I won't try. But having said that, I'm perplexed by my own interest and support for ball games like tennis or volleyball too. Aren't they sports where people run after balls? Whether they are kicking it or hitting it? So I sound like I'm contradicting myself. Silly mummy.

However, though I do enjoy watching tennis, I am not crazily in love with it. The first and last time I stayed up to watch a tennis game late into the wee hours of the night was during my university days. I can't even remember who was playing against who. Never did something like that again. And I never would fly to Melbourne or London to watch the Australian Open or Wimbleton. So when I look at people who fly to Brazil, or watch late into the night or chat endlessly about the previous night's game, I can sort of understand. I think.

So perplexed me goes through this period hoping beyond hope that no one will try and ask me 'so which team do you support?' Or 'did you watch last night's game?' Seriously, if someone does ask, I'll be one blur duck, looking confusingly back at them. And when they find out I don't follow what must currently be the biggest game in the world, they will wonder which planet I'm from. Yup, so I'm a rare species. So?

This rare species is mighty happy that her better half is as rare as her too. Really, how many guys out there don't like football? Rarely, and DaddySay is one of them. No watching of football late into the night, no endless conversations with the kids about the various teams. Phew! I'm one lucky wife, in my opinion.

Though, I have to put up with wrestling and hours of WWE. Well, at least that's entertaining. Eh... I think. (Read: What? WWE Again??!!??)


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. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

My life after work as a FTWM

Ever since I first found out I had EV, the idea of being a stay-at-home-mum hardly crossed my mind. Not that I never wanted to be one. My mum is a SAHM, and she sacrificed everything for us three siblings, and I do have lots to learn from her. However, due to our uncertain financial situation then, it was a given that I would continue working after she was born.

Despite being a FTWM, I'm not career minded. I'm not eager to rise through the ranks or try my utmost best to outdo others. It was, and still is, clear to me that my priority is being a mummy to my kids, whether I'm at home or at work, and that working is to help bring moolah home for the family.

My typical day starts at 6am. I'm always the first to wake up, so I get maybe about ten minutes of private time in the shower. Soon after getting dressed, it's on to waking DaddySay and EV up. I dress EV in her nursery uniform, tie her hair, while DaddySay gets prepared. And we are out of the house at around 7am, as we bring EV downstairs to wait for her school bus. If AA should wake up, my trusty helper will look after him.

In the day, my helper, and father-in-law, look after the two monkeys from the moment they return from their kindergarten and play group. I'm really grateful for their presence, which allows me to go to work with a peace of mind. Especially my helper, who adores the two kids and also cooks dinner. It's an awful lot to do while I'm at work, that's why I also try to get back as soon as I can in order to relieve her and my father-in-law.


One way I've tried to make it easier is to create a fixed menu for weekdays, based on what the kids like to eat. For example, pan fried egg tofu and prawns on Mondays, oven-baked chicken wings on Tuesdays and braised pork with eggs on Wednesdays. This saves the hassle of having to think about what to cook each day amidst the babysitting. Of course, my helper has the freedom to change the dishes if she wants, but other than that, she doesn't have to think about it. We just make sure the ingredients are well stocked up. On weekends, I take over the cooking and we get a little more experimental then.

Bring no work home policy
Every day, I am motivated to end work on time, because I want to go home to my two little darlings. Sometimes, it doesn't quite work out that way because of too much work, but I try as much as I can. I also have a personal policy that I don't bring work home to do, unless really necessary. My time after work, my second shift, is dedicated to the kids, except for piano practice, but more on that later.

Disconnect to connect, be there with my whole heart and soul
Because I only have a few hours with the kids before they go to bed, I make it a point to be there with them with my whole heart and soul, no matter what we are doing. I remove myself from the wired world, resist the temptation of checking emails and social media, so I can be there, physically, mentally and emotionally with them.

Do things together, have fun even when I'm tired
There are a few activities that I do every night to make my time with them as meaningful as possible. Generally, it's categorized into the following activities:

- dinner together. With dinner as early as 6pm, I try to make it a point it have dinner with EV and AA, and to spend quality time with them. Usually, I will chat with them about their day. While AA is still learning and perfecting his speech, EV is ever eager to share with me what happened to her in school.

- piano practice. This is for both EV and me. EV is currently taking the Yamaha Junior Course, so she enjoys performing what she's learnt. Also, I myself am taking piano lessons, so it's crucial that I practice every day, though sometimes, it doesn't happen as I plan.

- home learning activities. We spend about an hour each night doing home learning activities, or craft activities. It can get messy in the room especially when both kids have such different interests, but that also is where all the fun is. Sometimes, we just ditch our home learning and play a game or two.

EV drawing DaddySay and AA
- do chores together. I encourage my kids to clear up their toys and other mess that they have created. Or bring their bowls back to the kitchen after meals or help to hang the laundry. I believe it's important for them to do so, instead of relying on the helper. Having a helper doesn't mean that one can do nothing and leave everything to her. On the contrary, because there is a helper, it is even more crucial to let EV and AA do things for themselves.

- story time. This has been a daily routine ever since EV was born, and I'm glad to say that AA has also picked up this habit. They love to read books after books after books. And I must admit, it can get tiring for me. I have ever dozed in the middle of reading a story, only to have EV or AA say' mummy, read!'

AA having a blast singing and reading.
- just be silly. At times, when I'm really tired, I will just be silly with the kids. Anything from making funny sounds that never fails to make them laugh, to just tumbling around in bed. Recently, EV is very into singing. She will use a shaker as her 'mic' and starts singing her favourite songs. She's even insisting that AA and I join her. So we've been having some impromptu karaoke sessions before bed.

But you know, as much as I want to do everything I've listed above, it doesn't always happen. It all depends on my energy level when I reach home. The higher the energy level, the more I will do with the kids. I try, every night. Because no matter how tired I am, I feel happy just looking at EV and AA enjoying themselves, or discovering the beautiful world of books.

Where is DaddySay, you ask? Well, he often has to work late, so he usually doesn't get home till after the kids are asleep. But when he does get home early, and doesn't go to dreamland, I try to take a little 'breather', and give myself some me-time earlier than usual.

Well, that's provided I don't visit dreamland myself while putting the kids to bed. When I'm not in la-la land, I will revel in my own personal time, when I blog or do my finances and budgeting.

It's extremely exhausting and back breaking to be working full time, and have two young monkeys just two years apart, who can get into fights any time. Especially with one requiring extra care and attention. I'm lucky to have DaddySay who is ever willing to take the kids out of my hands, strong family support, and a trustful helper whom the kids love. Being a FTWM makes me treasure my kids more, and the time that I spend with them. Every second with them is precious.


A Peek into the After Work Hours of a FTWM

This is part of a blog train hosted by Kids 'R' Simple on "A Peek into the After Work Hours of a FTWM". Read about how the other 20 FTWMs from Singapore Mom Bloggers handle their kids and household everyday from 1 June to 21 June. The aim is to give other working mums motivation, ideas and support to deal with the everyday demands of juggling work and family while keeping sane. We will be happy to hear your story, tips and even an encouraging word will make our day! Share your thoughts in the comments!

Next up is Jiahui.

Jiahui from Mum’s the word can't stop working either as a mummy of 3 or working adult. She journals down her balancing act so that she can remember what it was like!


Also linking up with:


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, June 11, 2014

Our happy toddler with Drypers Drypantz

{User experience}

One of the best moments I look forward each day is to go home after work, to be welcomed by EV and AA with open arms and smiles, with loud cries of ‘Mummy!!!’. Even more endearing is when AA runs straight to the door to give me a huge hug. That really takes away the blues of the working day.

What’s even more rewarding is to see how happy, joyful and comfortable EV and AA are. Especially AA, since he has such a quick, hot temper. We like to call him our ‘sleeping dragon’. One second he can be peacefully doing his own thing, and the next, his temper can flare into a screaming rage because of something he doesn’t like, a toy he doesn’t get.

So I do anger management with him. As he struggles and does his squirming on the floor, I will carry him, bring him to a quiet place, away from the source of his agitation, and hold him tight, heart to heart. I will softly tell him ‘darling, it’s ok. Mummy talk to you, let mummy help you.’ I let him know that it is ok to get angry, to feel that way, as I slowly rub his back. He will calm down, and listen to reason. Just as quickly, his fiery temper is put out and he returns to normal.

He goes back to his happy, cheeky self. A boy who has a great sense of imagination and loves tumbling with pillows and boasters. His daringness gives us ‘heart attacks’ at times.

Drypers 2

I also like to see him when he’s contentedly playing his toy or doodling. Such a wonderful peaceful moment.

Drypers 3

That is really the ultimate reward of parenthood - to see one’s child grow up joyful, happy and comfortable. Comfortable in every aspect, down to the bums. Because a toddler with uncomfortable bums can get agitated, really agitated.

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Like his older sis, AA recently found comfort for his bums in Drypers Drypantz. In fact, the first time he wore it, he said ‘I like this’. A good start, definitely, and isn’t he a discerning little diaper user. Lucky too, in my opinion, for he is using a much improved version that has improved fit, dryness and absorption.

He noticed how extremely soft the new Drypers is, since it used 100% breathable cloth-like material. This made wearing it so much more comfortable. Together with the soft waist and tummy elastic band that does not pinch AA’s waist or thighs, he moves around more freely. I could just see that he enjoys wearing it.

He also noticed how kind the new diapers is to his skin, whch is slightly more sensitive than EV’s. Especially on hot days, he can get extremely irritated, scratching away at his bum area. Since he started the new Drypers, I’ve noticed that he is a lot more at ease, probably because it is formulated with gentle plant extracts known for calming skin - Vitamin E, Chamomile, Olive Extract and Aloe Vera. With his skin calmed, AA is noticably less irritable. In addition, I’m happy to note that the new Drypers features a Activ-Core™ ultra absorbent core that quickly absorbs urine and prevents flow-back to enhance the dryness. This is especially helpful on days when AA refuses to change diapers for a long time and just wants to play.

Since AA started on the new Drypers Drypantz, he looks forward to his diaper change every time, and never fails to say ‘My new pants!’. So comfortable, so joyful.

A comfortable toddler is a happy toddler, (except when he gets into fights with his sister), and that means, happy parents!

That’s why we chose Drypers Drypantz for AA, like we did for EV.

Let your little ones feel the Ultimate Comfort and receive a $10 voucher!
With every purchase of 2 packs of Drypers Wee Wee Dry or Drypers Drypantz in June 2014, you can receive a $10 FairPrice voucher!

Just email an image of your proof of purchase, personal details (name, contact number, address) and quote ‘toddlymummy’ to SCA Hygiene (

Note: I’m also glad to note that Drypers Wee Wee Dry, which AA used previously, has also been improved, with better softness, fit, skin calming effects and dryness.

Disclaimer: We received Drypers Drypantz products and monetary compensation for this review. All opinions and images are my own, based on AA's and my personal user experience.


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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Night night, don’t let the toilet monsters bite – Philips and Disney night light range

{User experience}

I admit. As a kid, I had always had a night light. I still remember my dad coming in to my room in the middle of the night to switch my night light off, which was of a floral design and was attached to a floor to ceiling pole. Then as I grew up, I became less afraid of the dark, and eventually forgot what it is like to be so.

Fast forward to today. The kids sleep with us in our bedroom, and we’ve always been using this lamp that gives off yellow light as our night light. The kids don’t like to sleep with that light off, even though we have tried to ease them into getting used to sleeping in the dark. We’ve opened the curtains to let the exterior light in, we’ve used glow in the dark stars and moons, but nothing seemed to work. So in the end, we decided to just leave the night on for them. If you can’t beat them, join them.

Recently though, EV has developed a fear of the toilet monster. Yup. Even though the main room light is switched on, and we are still doing our bedtime reading, EV will insist that we close the toilet door tight, with an audible ‘click’. She doesn’t dare to close the door herself, but insist one of us do it for her. This extended to any room with no lights on. She may be in a brightly lit room, but if she sees a dark room, she will insist that the door to that room is closed. She wouldn’t even get close to it. I realised then that she was really afraid of the dark, something that we as adults take for granted.

So when I found out that Philips had tied up with Disney to create a range of night lights, I thought: about time! I mean, Philips is a leader in LED (light emitting diode) lighting for the home, so it makes perfect sense for them to extend it to the children’s room. The partnership is just magical!

But how would the lights look like? I was so excited to find out. And find out I did at the pyjamas themed launch. I wanted to bring EV, but couldn’t since I had to work that day. Actually, I’m kind of glad I didn’t bring her. She’ll probably ask me to buy the whole range!

So I stepped into the homely studio, complete with warm lights, a child’s bed and a play area. And Disney characters everywhere!

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I felt almost like a kid myself! Being a Winnie the Pooh fan, I couldn’t help but go instinctively in search of my favourite character, and finally found it in the form of a torch. I had to stop myself from claiming it as mine, and slowly found myself gravitate towards the other products. These include

- illuminated soft toys or SoftPals in classic Mickey and Minnie Mouse, as well as Sully and Mike from Monsters Inc
- Night Light and Projectors in Cars and Princess designs, that can also be used as projectors for storytelling
- Motion sensing night lights in Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Winnie the Pooh, Cars and Princess designs
- Torch Lights in Winnie the Pooh and Jake the Pirate designs

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After a short introduction to the products, the mum bloggers listened to an interesting sharing about kids’ sleeping habits and their fears, which can affect bedtime routines and cause them to take more than 30 minutes to fall asleep. Other issues include the fear of being alone, of monsters and of the dark.

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I can personally identify with the sleep issue, as EV can take extremely long to go to bed. She asks for story book after story book and refuses to sleep. It can be extremely challenging and frustrating.

So I’m glad that the new range of night lights is especially catered for helping to chase away the children’s fears and soothe them to sleep, and make it less stressful for parents and caregivers.

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I was given the opportunity to try out the effectiveness of the night light. Because I had no idea of which one I would be receiving, I was hoping that if I was to receive the Night Light and Projector, I would not receive the Princess design. EV is not exactly into any princesses at the moment; my little tom boy is rather interested in cars or anything vehicular at the moment. So I was really glad to receive the Night Light and Projector in Cars design. Now what I had to be worried about is how to prevent the siblings from fighting over it.

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Strangely, the first time they laid their eyes on it, they seemed to know they shouldn’t fight over it. Maybe they had a sixth sense that their mum was keeping a hawk’s eye over them. Whatever it was, they were both sharing the Projector with each other. I’m not sure how long this will last, but you can be sure I’m revelling in it.

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The Projector in night light mode (left) and image projector mode (right).

EV’s and AA’s new best friend is extremely child friendly, with few jutting edges. The power switch and film wheels are rather flushed against the Projector body, so there is little chance of the kids being scratched.

The first time I turned on the night light, and both kids gave a unanimous ‘wah!’. We still had the main room light on. Then after they seemed more comfortable, I switched off the room light and the room became cosy and magical. As they continued to ‘ooo’ and ‘ahhh’ at the night light, I inserted one of the three film wheels (each consisting of eight different images), turned on the image Projector and shone the images on to our room’s white wall. I could almost see their eyes pop out with amazement! They’ve never seen something like that before, and I think they really did believe it was magic. Then they started asking what was happening in each of the images, and a session of ‘story time in the dark’ began.

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The siblings peacefully sharing the Projector, for now.

I personally like the image projector. It reminded me of an old toy I used to have. It was something like a camera, with film inserts, and I had to press a button to make the film insert rotate, in order to see the different images. The Light and Image Projector also allowed me to relive some of my younger memories.

That first night, bedtime took longer than usual, as both kids were too excited to fall asleep. They kept asking me to turn the film wheels over and over again. We shone the images on to the wall, on the ceiling and even in the toilet. I suppose that helped to ‘chase’ the toilet monsters away and ease EV’s mind. It is a good thing that this battery operated (3 x AA batteries) Projector uses Philips LED – it is long lasting and definitely safe for little hands.

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AA checking out the Projector, and having fun trying to catch the image.

The second night, after the usual bedtime reading routine, I switched off the main room light, and there was absolutely no objection from the kids. I knew they were looking forward to the having fun with the Projector. My imagination was tested again as I told them stories based on the film images, but with the initial excitement over, it was easier to stress on the kids that it is bedtime.

It’s been about two weeks since we first used the Cars Night Light and Projector, and I must say, bedtime has become a smoother process. I can’t say that I’ve chased away all the toilet monsters, or any monsters for that matter, but bedtime is now more fun, something that the kids look forward to. In the dark, under the soft glow of the Projector, we would go on magical adventures, destroy monsters, and then return to the room, ready for a peaceful night of sleep, as the Projector keeps the toilet monsters out.

Now, if only the SoftPal is available in Winnie the Pooh design. That’s definitely mine!!!!

The new Philips and Disney night light range is available online. From June 2014, it will be available at selected departmental and mother & childcare stores. The recommended retail prices are:

Philips and Disney SoftPals - $72.90
Philips and Disney Night Light and Projectors - $38.90
Philips and Disney Night Lights - $24.90
Philips and Disney Torch Lights - $19.90

Disclaimer: I received monetary compensation and a Cars Night Light and Projector for this review. All opinions and images are my own, based on EV's, AA's and my personal user experience.


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.