What to do in KL for a whole 9 days?

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We just came back from a long break, to break away from work and to routine. For many reasons, convenience being one, families and friends being another, and other a few other reasons, made us wanting to spend a long nice holiday break in KL rather than holidaying in other countries.

It's one of the best choices that we made - we have had a wonderful break. Not a tight schedule but we managed to cover many different activities and places and to do a lot of things!

I would just note down what we have done in the past 9 days briefly in this post, with details and photos coming up in the next few posts (well, hopefully).

Day 1 (23.08.14, Saturday) 
> Travelling from SG to KL. Arrived just before lunch. Rest. Have a nice dinner gathering with families. Most of our families live in KL. They are always the main reason why we love to go to KL :-)

Kuala Lumpur skyline at the different timing / weather - taken with my Xperia Z1 from my cousin's balcony! 


Day 2 (24.08.14, Sunday)
> Met up with KM and Xuan and we headed to Bird Park Kuala Lumpur! It's the very first visit for all of us. It's quite a nice place, definitely better than we we have expected. This deserves a blog post on its own. The day ended with Thai food at one of the newest shopping in town, the One City.

Day 3 (25.08.14, Monday)
> Stayed home at my cousin's half of the day to play with his newborn, my dear baby nephew. I do really, really, really love babies, couldn't get enough of him, but nope, it's true that nice to play with other's baby, it didn't make me want to have another of my own, LOL! Then brought the kids to my brother's so the cousins can play together while me and hub went out for a few hours of couple time, bliss!

Day 4 (26.08.14, Tuesday)
> The day that the kids, especially Xi Yu, had been waiting for - Kidzania KL! This is the 3rd consecutive years that Hao Re, Xi Yu and Xuan visited Kidzania. It's their yearly affair. And yup, they enjoyed the visit as much as they did for the previous years. A post of coming up right after this! My dearest friend, KM, not only that she put away her work to bring us to various places, she also planned for nice yummy dinner for us. Too blessed to have a friend like this!

Day 5 (27.08.14, Wednesday)
> The fun continued with KM and Xuan at the i-City at Klang. The day started with a very nice lunch at one of the famous restaurants in Klang, one that only the locals and the foodies know of. I like the food a lot, though it really is quite pricey (yes, I know, food and stuff are generally expensive in KL, but this restaurant is really quite expensive), but I would want to go back for a second time! The rest of the day was spent at i-City, a themed-park alike that houses many different activities at one place - waterplay (we skipped this as Xuan was coughing), Snow House, Space Adventure, House of Terror, Red Carpet (Madame Tussauds-alike), Trick-Eyes Museum, big ferry wheels, light display (most famous for), kiddy rides and some other things. One could really spend a whole day here, though it's very quiet when we were there, not many visitors. Heard that it could get quite crowded on weekends. The kids enjoyed the visit very much, especially for Hao Re, as much as that he asked us to go back the following day!

Day 6 (28.08.14, Thursday)
> Moved from my cousin's to the hotel near KLCC. We checked in to the Somerset Ampang, which is a apartment hotel. We decided to stay in a hotel for 2 nights, so the kids could have a more holiday feel, LOL! But I could conclude that this is pretty redundant as my cousin's place is pretty near to KLCC already. We visited the Aquarium at KLCC, then we did a short book shopping at Kinokuniya, and then headed back to the hotel for their roof top infinity pool (main reason why I chose this hotel but the pool doesn't live up to my expectation, though it's good enough). Met a couple of my friends and their families, whom we haven't met for years, for we were treated with sumptuous Japanese buffet!

Day 7 (29.08.14, Friday)
> Took the hotel shuttle to the Pavilion. I know it's unbelievable, but this is our very first time to this popular shopping centre. Really not bad, we like the space and the varieties of shops that it offers. Lunch was again arranged by KM, who fetched us from the Pavilion. We went to the Petaling Street for one of the nicest wanton noodle in town. I really like it a lot! Gosh, it has been almost 10 years since I last stepped on Petaling Street! We had to leave the place quick as some random checking by authority was on-going which made the place a bit chaotic. The rest of the day was spent at the pool and just relax in the room, with the kids happily watching unlimited TV. Wonder why they love holidays, huh!

Day 8 (30.08.14, Saturday)
> Checked out and went back to my cousin's. Had lunch and then sent the kids to my brother's. Lucky that my cousin and my brother live near to each other. We left them with my brother and my parents, as we had to attend a wedding dinner, and we decided not to bring the kids along. It's a very dear friend of mine, who was my housemate during university time at KL (University of Malaya), and I have not seen her for like, erm, 15 years or so! The kids were very excited to stay a night at my brother's without us! They have tons of fun playing board games together, according to my brother. We didn't make any call to check as we knew they would be well taken care of, though my brother sent me some photos via Whatsapp. They were very well behave except they slept very late, which was fine for us since this only happens when we are on holiday. And except that Xi Yu was not able to fall asleep till past 1am, poor girl. After my brother remembered that she loves to have bed time reading, so he read 3 books for her, then only she fell asleep, finally. She told me she missed Mama too much hence couldn't sleep :-)

Day 9 (31.08.14, Sunday)
> Really couldn't believe time passed so fast! Though I felt that we have had enough of great time in KL, and shouldn't be too greedy of, but still, couldn't resist to wish that we could stay longer. Had breakfast and let the kids bid farewell to their cousins, to their Jiujius and Yiyis, and we did our last round of chatting up with our families. We finally started our journey down south at about 12,noon. The kids were too tired so they slept almost all the way to JB, including me, ops, poor hub has to stay wide awake and drive safely. Hence we didn't make any stop. Straight away from KL to JB only took us 3 hours, with a bit of traffic jam near Nilai and Seremban. Had very late lunch at JB then headed back to SG, and arrived home at around 530pm.

This post is probably not an informative post for our readers, but more of keeping a record for our family. Hope it's not too bored for you to read :-)

We should surely definitely visit KL again, and again, and again....... It's simply too good to be back at our homeland, and to be with families and friends :-)

Stay tune for the upcoming related post!
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Happy 5th birthday, Princess Tiger!

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My little girl is 5 years old already, my second, and last, born.

What?!! F.I.V.E Y.E.A.R.S O.L.D A.L.R.E.A.D.Y, OMG!

I have been quite emotional these few days, when Xi Yu 5th birthday is approaching. I just simply cannot accept the fact that she has so totally grown up, and no longer my baby!

Honestly, I really, really, really, really, really miss their baby and toddler time, missing so much that I have to grab them out of a sudden and hug them so tight till they shout "Mama, don't squeeze me so tight!", and plant many wet kisses on their face and lips till their shouting "enough", LOL! And I do that a whole lot more these few days.

I know. I cannot stop the time. The kids are growing up regardless. And I would eventually get over this (just don't know when) and move on to enjoy the next phase of the parenthood challenge. 

This little girl, Xi Yu, but well she actually is no longer a little girl, as in physically, by her size. She is 22.6kg and 115cm on her 5th birthday! I plotted her height and weight on the "growth and developmental assessment" on the Health Promotion Board website, and she is at >97 percentile, which is the same group since she was about 1 year old, though she was born small at about 3kg. She really is growing very beautifully, all healthy and happy!

She has matured a whole lot more, which I was hoping for, and which is something I do NOT wish for. True, the almost non-existence crying/whining is a good thing for me, for everyone. But the fact that she is now so mature, so independent, it sometimes hurts me when I think of how I had pushed her to grow up way faster than she should, just because she is a second child. Of course, there is no complain for her or anybody-lah. It's me, the mummy, who would feel it most! I have to learn to understand her, to know her better and more, the matured 5 years old.

Being an active blogger for the past 6 years, it sure helps that I made the effort to write a blog post on each of her birthday:


A lot of the things I had written in the past 4 years still remain the same. Many traits of her are still valid. Like she is still a big bookworm. Though she doesn't like to be called bookworm but The King of Book, LOL! We hope she would continue to be a book lover till she is a teenager, a mum, a grandmum :-)

Her eating habit has further improved. And improves a lot! She is now a vegetable lover. Can you believe it? She has changed from someone who barely ate any green leafy to someone who keeps asking for more! We are so grateful for this change. Eating more vegetables can only mean healthier!

Our Princess Tiger - couldn't stop smiling looking at her photo! Such a sweet girl!

The one person that she couldn't live without is her big brother, not us parents. The big brother is going to be there for her to depend on, the play with, to talk to, to grow up with :-) 

I don't know what else I want to note down. I don't want to go down all the details of her daily routine and subtle changes.

Oh, for me, as her mum. I have changed a lot too! I so genuinely love her. I love love love her so much. So is a very sweet girl in her own way. Though I have to admit, I still don't treat the two of them the same, but I am a lot more unbiased nowadays than I used to be, say, a year ago. Yes, she still gets scolding and shouting from me, but hardly a serious one, usually it's just raise voice to get her attention (though hub said I am still too harsh to her). And Hao Re gets equal amount, or more, of scolding/shouting too. Though he is also sweet in his own way, which is totally different from Xi Yu. I can only say I am trying and I will try even harder.

Her Baba and big brother? They never changed and they don't have to change. Because the boys have always loved her since Day 1. They love her unconditionally. And they pamper her to the max. Am sure they continue to be so, and is always the best Baba or Big Brother. Such a lucky girl!

So, with this, I am ending this post.

Happy birthday, my dear dearest darling, love you as always! You are you, and so please be you! Enjoy your F.I.V.E.!
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妈妈,我想有个快乐的童年

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孩子呱呱落地的那一刻
妈妈温柔的看孩子一眼
听听孩子的哭 啊~ ~ 怎么那么悦耳呀
轻轻的把孩子抱在手上
那脸上的幸福是无可取代的

日子在喂奶 换尿布 洗白白 过去了
没有一句怨言 就算再累 也默默的付出
那样的耐心 用心看护着孩子
妈妈对孩子的爱 对孩子的百般疼爱
是那么的美 那么的真

一岁咯
孩子屁股摇摇摆摆 一步一步用心走
妈妈呢 就跟着后面
慢慢的走 紧紧的守着
孩子你慢慢来呗 有妈妈在 什么都不用怕

孩子开始牙牙学语
与孩子第一次用语言来交流
孩子第一次用那甜甜的声音叫了声 “妈妈”
那一刻的感动是不能言语的
爱 真的就是那么的简单

转眼就二岁了 日子可精彩呢
吃的 喝的 玩的 用的 学的 都无一不缺
孩子还是那么的单纯的孩子
开心就笑 不开心就哭
吃了好吃的 爱吃的 就专注的去享受
拿到了一个玩具 一本书 就开心得又叫又跳

而妈妈
妈妈跟不上孩子了 妈妈不再爱的单纯了
妈妈想给孩子最好的 什么也不能缺
别的孩子有的 妈妈的孩子也得有
别的孩子学习的 妈妈的孩子也得学
是孩子真正需要的是什么
先别管 别想那么多
反正就别输在起跑点 只能多 不能少
孩子的欢笑声 是多了 还是少了

三岁生日到了
当然妈妈对孩子的爱不曾减少 而可能更多
但少了的是耐心 少了的是单纯的爱
渐渐的 妈妈对孩子有要求了 有期望了
爱 变的有条件了

挂在嘴边的是不停的催促
吃快点 走快点 快点看 快点选 快点做
孩子一脸的迷惑 为什么都得快 天还没黑呀
孩子爱妈妈是无条件的 孩子会听妈妈的话 不会生气妈妈
孩子要的是什么 最流行最贵的玩具
孩子该学的是什么 还是岛上最有名的学习班
更迷惑的是妈妈吧 给孩子的爱 难道能得跟上潮流吗
就不能给孩子简单的快乐 无条件的爱 就像小时候一样吗

四岁
妈妈担的心更多了
ABC 123 都还不会 怎么办
邻家的孩子已能自己在读书了呢
那就给孩子去个课吧
上个英文课 加个中文 也顺便上个心算
听说王太太的孩子弹了一手好琴
那就再来个钢琴 也加上芭蕾 画画 手工艺 还有其他什么的
全都来 反正就得给孩子最好的 不能输在起跑点嘛
玩乐的时间 被缩短了 被牺牲了 那不要紧
上课也有上课的乐趣呀 对不

五岁转六岁
瞬眼就要上小一咯
上学习班的时间有增无减
玩乐的时间有减无增
妈妈的陪伴也不经意的减少了
玩具倒不少 物质是不缺
啊 还有 送一个平板电脑或智能手机也更好 不是孩子最喜欢的呗
是吗 孩子是应该这样长大的吗
廿一世纪的孩子嘛 怎能和妈妈这在乡下长大的孩子相比较

妈妈
放下心吧 放心给孩子慢慢成长吧
让孩子有个纯真快乐的童年吧
让孩子在妈妈的陪伴 在大自然下成长吧

妈妈能不去在意那起跑点吗
因为 最终 你会发现 那起跑点是虚无的 是没意义的
但孩子的童年则一去不返了

放慢脚步 放开心里的枷锁
放掉比较心 放掉虚荣心 放下执着
与孩子一起去玩乐 一起去欣赏路边的小花小草小虫吧
然孩子快乐成长 没压力 没条件 就那么开开心心的成长

妈妈,放心吧!
孩子,去飞吧!


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The BEST mooncake in town

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My dear son told me he just has the best mooncake ever! Oh yes, he loves mooncakes, he got his first bite of mooncake as early as 3 years old, and since then, he got very excited whenever he saw mooncakes selling at the supermarket. He doesn't want a mooncake to be cut into quarter or 8th, but to eat it whole, not joking! 

Where? Where to get the BEST mooncakes? You are eager to find out, aren't you?

Well, if you know me enough, I am sure you can figure out where. 

That's right - from my kitchen, my very limited version baked traditional mooncake, all made from scratch, started with the lotus paste! Oh yes, I must start from scratch, if I were to buy the pre-packed paste from Poon Huat or anywhere else, I would rather buy the ready made mooncakes. It's the whole process that makes the different, to me, at least. And also because I have a food processor :-)

And mind you, this is my very first attempt, and may I say that it's a success, yeah!! I am just so glad that my mum is here staying with us this month, though she hasn't made mooncake before, but she has a very delicate pair of hands that works well with anything in the house. And so with her help, I have a lot more confident and we had a great bonding time!

So to me, it's another milestone completed - another traditional/festive food, CHECKED!

I am a Google cook/baker. I ask Google whenever I want to try out a new recipes. That's the easiest, fastest and most convenient way, I reckon. I usually will read up at least 2-3 recipes from different sources (and usually those on the first page on Google search), and then I would compare the recipes to have an idea of what's the critical ingredients and what's add-ons or optional aka good-to-have, and also the methods. And then I would stick to one recipe, I try not to mix and match on my first attempt. I usually would choose one that uses the simplest recipe. 

How to prepare lotus seed paste (莲蓉)
Adapted from Christine's recipe

Lotus seed - 500g
Brown sugar - 250g
Vegetable oil - 250ml

(Note: Sugar and oil is half the amount of the lotus seed, that's very easy to adjust to the amount you want to make. And I find the sweetness is just about right, maybe can cut down 10-20%
  • Get dried lotus seed from medical halls (and probably can get from any grocery stalls?) 
  • I got mine without the skin - so it's the white lotus seed paste that I would get. Those darker color lotus seed paste is made from those with skin, and blended skin together
  • Soak the lotus seed for a few hours (or overnight) - make sure you cover it with a lot of water and the dried seed would soak up a lot of water
  • When the lotus seed turns soft, divide into halved and remove the germ/core in the middle - this is a must do, as the core tastes really bitter! Am lucky that I bought this type of lotus seed, not only that it's de-skinned, but also de-cored. But I still peel the seeds into halves to make sure no core left (I found about 10 cores remained)
  • Transfer to a pot. Add water to about one inch above the seeds
  • Bring to boil and then simmer at medium to low fire and let it boil till soften (use your finger to mash one to test that it's ready, that it should be mashed easily when you press your finger lightly)
  • Transfer everything, including the fluid, into a food processor (or a powerful blender should work too, I think)
  • Blend till it's very smooth (which takes a 5-10 min) like you are making baby puree!
  • Transfer the puree to a wok and add in all sugar
  • Use low to medium fire and start to cook the paste
  • Cook till all water has been evaporated and the paste becomes lumpy (one big lump)
  • Add in 1/3 of the vegetable and stir
  • Continue to add another 2/3 slowly to the paste
  • Cook until the paste is thickened (but not dried up). The paste should remains a smooth paste
  • Cool down and ready to use (if not, keep in fridge for later)
Easy to make yummylicious white lotus seed paste

That's it! The paste is ready in about 2 hours of cooking. And with this 500g, I can make a lot of mini mooncakes and some big ones too (I have made about 10 mini and 4 big ones and I still have about 1/3 paste left.

I made one mistake, i.e., I overcooked it, so it was a bit dry at first. I had to add in a bit more oil to make it sticky and smooth again. So important to note - do not cook too long.

Oh, and also. You may use this paste for other things - steamed bao, e.g., and it should taste great!

How to cook sweet potatoes paste
With the success of cooking the lotus seed paste, I went on to make some sweet potato paste, which is exactly the same as above, except I didn't add any sugar, all depending on the natural sweetness from the sweet potato. So it's 500g of sweet potatoes and 250ml of vegetable oil. Steamed the sweet potatoes till soft. Transfer to the food processor. Add in some water so that it's not too thick. Blend till smooth. Transfer to wok. Cook till just started to dry up then add in oil. Cook till the desired smoothness achieved. When I make the sweet potatoes mooncake, I add a teaspoon full of gula melaka in the middle of the paste, so it resembles the ondeh-ondeh. Yes, I know, am being creative, for once, huh, LOL! And this is my son's favoritest of his favorite!

How to make traditional baked mooncake (传统月饼)
Adapted from Happy Home Baking

I am for all things traditional. When I was at Poon Huat the other day, it took me a long time to decide between a plastic push-out kind of mold, which I heard is easier to use. But ended up I decided to get this wooden one, which need one to push in the rolled up mooncake and knock it out once the shape has formed and mould printed.

The traditional soul in me always prefer old traditional method than a modern convenient one (food processor excluded, haha!)

For the "skin" or wrapping or the dough:

(makes 12~13 mini mooncakes) 
100g plain flour
70g golden syrup
2ml alkaline water
25ml peanut oil (or other vegetable oil)

  • Mix alkaline water into the golden syrup
  • Add in the oil and combine the 3 ingredients well
  • Add the wet mixture into the flour
  • Mix with hand gently to form a dough
  • Wrap in a cling wrap and leave it in the fridge for about 1-2 hours to set
  • Ready to use


For making the mooncakes (some proportion for both lotus seed paste and sweet potato paste)

Mini mooncake - 35g filling in 15g dough
Big mooncake - 105 g filling in 45g dough

  • Dust your hands, table/working surface, the 15 or 45g dough, and the mould generously with plain flour (the dough gets stickier when warmed up)
  • Roll the dough into a thin sheet (you may use a rolling pin, but we use our fingers instead)
  • Wrap the filling in the middle and close up the ball
  • Place the ball into the mould and press it down with some force (but not too hard)
  • Knock the mooncake up with just enough force
  • Place on a baking tray dusted with plain flour
  • Bake at preheated over at 180degC for 10 min
  • Take it out from oven and let it cool down for about 15 min
  • Brush egg wash (1 egg yolk + 1 table spoon water) on the top and the side if prefer
  • Return to the over and bake at 180degC for another 10 min
  • After 10 min, check the mooncake every 1-2 min, to make sure that it's browned but not overcooked
  • Leave mooncakes to cool completely before storing it "face" down in a tight container. Leave it for 2-3 days for the skin to soften (this process is known as 回油). The second last round photos are those just came out from oven, while the last row is those that have been kept for 2 days. Can you see the different?
  • Get your teeth set in!

The process of making / baking mooncakes

That's it! Not too difficult, right?

The most rewarding thing for me is how much Hao Re appreciates these little square thing that he can eat 2 mini ones at one sitting! And my dad likes it too (but he mustn't eat more than 1/4 per day as he is diabetic)!

To me, it's okay, with the paste needs to be improved on. Till next year then.

Happy Mid-autumn Festival to everyone! 祝大家 中秋节愉快!
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Two hours of illusions fun at the Alive Museum Singapore

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As part of the Singapore Blog Award's fringe activities (we are one of the finalists for the Best Family Blog, in case you don't know, hehe, and the result will be out this coming Saturday!), we have been invited to visit the Alive Museum Singapore (ASM). It's one of the latest addition to the city, and certainly offer more choices for oversea visitors as well as locals.

Have you not heard about ASM? How about this - the 3D kinda thing at Suntec - have you heard of this before? Or at least you have seen people posting funny-ish photos on social media lately?

ASM is originated from Korea. Alive Museum in Korea is the biggest chain of illusionary entertainment. Inside the museum, there are many trick eyes art exhibits, which mean you do not expect to see those usual flat classic or normal paintings, but to be wowed by the 3-dimensional artworks completed by those amazing 3D artists using the curve and reflection of light perspective and shadows.

We brought our parents and the kids (obviously) along for this visit. We do not know how to explain to the 4 of them, and we do not want to show them photos from the web to spoil the curiosity or to lead to even more questions. So we just told them we would be going to a "special" museum, a museum that they haven't been to before, and a museum that has a lot of very interesting and unusual paintings. That kinda works for the young and old, who were very excited for the visit :-)

Thanks to the tips off from some friends about visiting the museum at the early possible. So we made sure we arrived there very early, i.e., at 10am sharp when they just opened the counter to receive visitors. Why? To avoid the crowd! It is indeed the best advice we have for this visit, or we wouldn't have enjoyed the visit as much otherwise. The museum is not big, it is quite a small place in fact. When the crowd builds up, I could already imagine how easily people bumping and knocking into each other, or to be captured in others' camera, or to get a lot of "tsk tsk tsk", "excuse me, excuse me" for blocking people's way. Go as early as you can, that's a MUST-DO if you are planning a visit on weekend, and I think it works for weekdays too. How about if you can't make it that early? Then I think you need to be thick skinned, to be brave enough to "tsk tsk" and "excuse me" people away, LOL!

Once we stepped in to the museum, there are already artworks everywhere around us. It took us quite a while to get accustomed to the idea of the 3-D arts, especially my parents, they didn't know what they were looking at. While for the kids, they got the hang of it almost as fast as us. Another good thing to go in the morning - kids are not hungry and not tired, they are full of energy and in very good mood (as compared to the afternoon/evening when there would be higher risk to face cranky kids). We showed them some photos that we took, and they got all excited. You need very cooperative kids for this kind of activities, or else, it's a very high chance that the kids would get very cranky in enclosed small space with lots of exciting people.

(Note: we didn't bring our DSLR along. Most photos are taken with Sony Xperia Z1 and some with Samsung Galaxy Note 2. Though the photos came out pretty nice, but I think it might be better if taken with a proper camera).

This picture makes me think of their baby time. Gosh, I really wish they can be baby again...... But the kids won't agree to, Hao Re even refused to take a photo with this 3D drawing, LOL!

Once they got the idea, all of us started to pose for the photos! It's really fun when everyone is so spotting! And it helps that there is an example shown on how the photo should look like - where a person should stand where the photographer should take the photo - for the best effect. Otherwise, it could be really challenging as it's not an easy task for everyone to work out how the 3-D effect should work. Issue is with the crowd, you don't have much time and much space to work it out. They are people queuing to take photos and there is limited space to fit in everyone. But of course, you are most welcomed to be creative, and think out of the box!

I like this photo. I like how the kids automatically know how to post :-)


Thanks to the very cooperative kids and grandparents, we have taken photos at every single exhibit, yes, every single one, none was missed :-) Though we did not spend much time repeating the photo taking process to get a perfect looking one. We just take the photos, and then moved on to the next exhibit without checking how the photo turned out, just not our style. Because there was no crowd, we almost didn't have to wait to take a photo, hence we could finish looking at and taking photos with every exhibit within 2 hours. Two hours is just nice for the visit - not too rush and enough to cover everything.

It's a new experience for all of us, and everyone has enjoyed it!

Now, more photos!

Who is more pro in posing?


These 2 persons do everything together, including taking a photo, LOL!


This is one good example where you need no crowd to get a nice effect. Imagine if there are people in the background, the effect would have been quite different


Even the hub is so spotting! Nice effect, right? The kid one is not as nice as the adult one, as they are too small, barely noticeable, haha!


Okay. So I have to pose for some photos also, haven't I? Hub said am no good in posing


This one is pretty cool, looks so real! 


Oh, and my parents! See how good sports they are! My mum loves this photo, hahahaha!


Should have asked them stand closer or I should have taken the photo from a different angle, but oh well......


The little girl is very happy to fly on a pretty bird


The kids love this most! Why? For the swing, lah! So fun to play with :-)


Trying out different pose, different location, different effect


This one is with best effect, probably


A kiss with the spidey is a must, don't you think?


The must-take photos at the love boat! My little girl replaces me already, sob sob..... My parents one is nice, my brothers and sister asked me to print out large print and frame up, LOL!

Like I said, there are many more photos that we have taken as we didn't miss any exhibit. We couldn't be possibly showing all the photos here. These are the ones that we kinda like more. All these photos sure will bring back good memory :-)

If you are planning for a visit, I hope that you would enjoy your visit as much as us! Have fun!

There is an on-going promotion - FREE Burger King Meal, from now till 30 September 2014. 

To redeem, simply “Like” "their Facebook and purchase a full-priced ticket. Visit their website for more detail information and the T&C.

Disclaimer: We received 2 free adult tickets and we purchased the rest of the tickets at a discount. All honest opinion and photos belong to The Kam Family. 
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Family picnic at the Lower Pierce Reservoir Park

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(p/s: when I was about to publish this blog post, something went wrong and the whole article vanished, gone, just like that :-( I have to rewrite the whole post in a short time frame. So pardon me if there is not enough information given, you are almost welcome to write to me, ya)

We wanted to go for a picnic since many months ago. Not that we haven't done it before. But my dear son requested that it should be a "proper" picnic, and not just a buy-something-from-the-supermarket kind of picnic, which we often do :-) His idea of picnic is one that we should prepare all the food/fruit at home and then bring to a picnic spot, complete with picnic mats and a tent.

Since my parents are here with us now, we thought this is the best opportunity for us to do a "proper" picnic, the more people the merrier it is! So we decided  to go for a picnic on a gorgeous Saturday. We stayed home for the first half of the day, when we made sure that the weather's gonna stay fine that day, we announced the plan to the kids. Then after lunch we started to prepare for the stuff. My mum helped me prepared the fried rice, so I only need to prepare the fruits, drinks, etc.

Now. Where to? We wanted to go for a park that is 1) not too crowded; 2) do not have a playground (so that the kids won't be distracted); 3) have basic facilities; 4) nice view; 5) have some shades and breezy.

Are we too demanding? Of course not! We are living at the north part of the island. Look at the map below. Can you see that we live at the area that has the most green patches! We have so many parks to choose from within short driving distance from our place!

We decided on the Lower Pierce Reservoir Park, which is 1 of the 5 reservoir parks around this area. Lower Pierce Reservoir Park probably is not as popular as the McRitchie. But it's a wonderful park all the same! It meets the 5 criteria we set, except that it actually has a small playground! We didn't see the playground the last few times we went until today as it's located up on a hill, kinda hidden, as the kids didn't see it :-)

Question - is there any park in Singapore that doesn't equip with a playground? Curious to find out. 

Can you spot where the Lower Pierce Reservoir Park is?


And this is what welcome you when you arrive at the park! Gorgeous view, isn't it? It's so serene! This photo is taken using my Sony Xperia Z1 phone, with panorama view, with no filter, no editing)

Lower Pierce Reservoir Park is 1 of the reservoir park located at the central to north area. It belongs to part of the Ang Mo Kio heritage trail. It's right besides the Upper Thomson Road, so it's accessible via public transport. For those who drives, there is a free car park provided, with limited parking space (but because it's not a popular park, the car park seems to be enough for its visitors). Basic facilities like toilet and drinking water are provided. There is no vending machine or whatsoever. So please come prepared with water and food.


I can see there are two types of visitors to this park. First type is usually adults that comes in group, or family with older children. They usually come with a proper trekking shoes and a back pack filled with the necessities, e.g., water. They go straight for the jungle trekking. I heard from a friend of mine that it's pretty fun and it's a great experience for her family. We shall definitely do the trekking bit one day, since the kids are older now and required no carrying no more. The second type of visitors are like us. Usually families with younger children. This type of visitors usually just hanging around the park - jogging, picnic, fishing, walk-and-talk, playground. So it is a very special park that offers different types of activities for the different groups of people.

Today, we don't do trekking. We are only here for picnic.

So, once we arrived, we set up the tent requested by Hao Re. It's just a small IKEA children play tent, but it makes the kids happy and excited all the same. Laid out the picnic mat and we all sat down. We all ate A LOT of fruits! We have half a watermelon, oranges, pear, apple and grapes!

We are having a "proper" picnic, finally, LOL!

After having enough share of fruits, the kids went off to explore the park on their own. No playground for them. So they picked up some sticks, picked up some stones, walked on the stones, spotted some fishes, water spiders, and even some snail eggs (those thing in pink in photo below). It's really simple fun, but they were very interested to explore and that kept that happy for a good 4 hours! They asked my parents to walk with them to go near to where the trekking path started, and they picked up some seeds dropped from the rubber trees! That brings back a lot of memory, as me and my hub grew up playing with it. We collected some and brought home, and they have so much fun playing with it (sorry for side-track).

Our child-initiate learning approach works - we don't have tell them what to do or find things for them to do, they just know what to do, and how to have fun in whatever given situations :-) 

What did we parents do? We just sat on the picnic mat, had some good chat, while watching them play from a distance. That's our "free" time, that we enjoyed having for just the two of us. They came to talk to us, and sometimes brought us to see what they found, and we followed and played with them whenever they requested. We asked them to come back to have their dinner, which is the fried brown rice that my mum prepared, and of course, they happily ate their dinner.

It's really a nice relaxing afternoon/evening. And the 4 hours just went passed like that, without us knowing.

Catching the sunset......... (again, taken with my phone, no filter, no editing)

Doesn't it give you the holiday feel? Couldn't really believe it's somewhere very near to where we stay on this tiny red dot


And with this last collage of photos, that concludes our wonderful "proper" picnic at the Lower Pierce Reservoir Park!

We should definitely do more picnics, be it "proper" or not, LOL! The family bonding time is just so precious.

Fun for free in Singapore? Of course it is possible. Having great fun doesn't have to cost you a hand and a leg. Lots of places waiting for you to explore, some are more popular ones, and some are hidden gem waiting for you! Head out, people, head out to explore!

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This blog post is one of the 31 blog posts bring to you by a group of mummy bloggers from the Singapore Mom Blogger community, to help you find out more great places to explore, and best of all, it's all FREE!

Tomorrow, Meiling from Universal Scribbles will share with you about the wet playground at I12 Katong that she frequents with her children. A mother to two active primary-school aged kids, she tries to pack as much fun and happiness as she can into their childhood. Check out where she and her kids hang out for free in the sunny land of Singapore when they are not busy studying or in enrichment classes!


Can't get enough of FUN FOR FREE SG venues? Here's the whole list - 31 days of free fun in Singapore! This list will be updated regularly; you will be able to click on the location to be brought directly to the blog post when it goes "live":

1 Aug: Tiong Bahru Park by Gingerbreadmum
2 Aug: Queenstown Heritage Trail by Princess Dana Diaries
3 Aug: Jurong Regional Library by Finally Mama
4 Aug: Maritime Gallery by Peipei Haohao
5 Aug: Singapore Philatelic Museum by Kids R Simple
6 Aug: Sculptures of Singapore by Gingerbreadmum
7 Aug: Fire Station by The Js Arena
8 Aug: Esplanade + Merlion by Prayerfull Mum
9 Aug: Bukit Batok Nature Park by Meeningfully
10 Aug: Lower Pierce Reservoir Park by The Kam Family
11 Aug: I12 Katong - water playground by Universal Scribbles
12 Aug: IMM by Mad Psych Mum
13 Aug: Tampines 1 Water Playground by Amazingly Still
14 Aug: Sengkang Riverside Park by Itchy Finger Snap
15 Aug: East Coast Park by Toddly Mummy
16 Aug: Sembawang Shopping Centre Playground by Joey Craftworkz
17 Aug: Animal resort by Raising Faith
18 Aug: Botanic Gardens by Mum's The Word
19 Aug: A surprise! by Mummy Ed
20 Aug: A city trail by Scrap Mum Loft
21 Aug: Road Safety Park by Miracule
22 Aug: Marina Barrage by J Babies 
23 Aug: Gardens By The Bay, Children's Garden by Finally Mama
24 Aug: Changi Airport T3 by Mother Kao
25 Aug: Pockets of Nature by Mum in the Making
26 Aug: Nex Growing with the Tans
27 Aug: Pasir Ris Park Ingspirations
28 Aug: Gardens by the Bay Supertree Grove by My Lil Bookworm
29 Aug: Vivocity Play Area by Amazingly Still
30 Aug: Punggol Promenade + Punggol Waterway by Chubby Anecdotes
31 Aug: Westgate Wonderland by Xavvylicious
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What do you expect of a childcare centre?

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Being a pair of working parents with 2 young children, a good and reliable childcare centre (cc) is so important for us (and the children), so that we know our children are in the hands of some kind people, don't have to worry about them when we are at work.

What are your expectations from a cc? What makes you choose that particular cc and not others?

This post is to share with you our recent experience changing our children to a new childcare centre.

Many of my friends couldn't understand why we wanted to change their cc, especially that Hao Re is already in Kindergarden 2 (K2) and there were only 7 months left before he started Primary one, when we withdrew them from the previous cc back in May.

It's not an easy decision for us, for the fact that they have a very good and close bunch of friends at the previous cc, which they grew up and played with for the past 2.5 years! We certainly wanted them to keep the friendship, which is so very precious, and we were also worried that it might be hard for them emotionally to lose so many friends. 

We thought of changing the cc when we knew that there would be a new cc start to operate sometime in May this year. It is a brand new cc that is run by a Buddhist organisation, which is so hard to come by, and it's only a few minutes drive from our house! We are really lucky, being a Buddhist  family, we certainly would love our children to attend this cc. But we hesitated. Though we registered them since late last year, but we knew that most likely we won't change them so that Hao Re can finish his K2 at the cc without disturbance. 

But. But we couldn't really predict what's going to happen, could we? Nothing is predictable. Nothing is permanent.  

Since early this year, we noticed a very drastic change of behavior and temperament of Hao Re. He was not like that. He was always the happy, patient and loving child that everyone loves. But something was not right this year. I blamed it to myself as I had been shouting more than usual due to stress and tiredness. Once I noticed it, I had made myself changed, I had put in more effort to be a calm Mama. But Hao Re still remained hot tempered. While Xi Yu was not affected.

Then one day, when I fetched the kids from their ex cc, I heard very loud shouting from the K2 teacher to the kids (didn't know who got scolded as I heard the shouting a shop lot away). I was shocked that the kids got to be shouted at like this. When we reached home, I talked to Hao Re, trying to understanding what's happening. He told me that it's "okay", it's "normal", because teacher talked very loud everyday. He even told me his teacher usually used volume 5 (to them, library voice is volume 1, and the loudest is volume 5) whenever she was not happy with one of the kids, or something. He didn't seem to be bother with the shouting, not at all. I know, it is not fair for us to conclude that what Hao Re experienced and learnt (the bad) in school is directly linked to his hot temper. It is unfair to make such conclusion. But we couldn't ignore the fact that it might be one of contributing factors. 

And that bothered us. I talked to many of my friends. Some shared my thoughts. Some thought that this is acceptable, it's okay for teacher to discipline the children in school, and that when a teacher teaches in a large group like this, it's common that shouting is needed. And some said that we are over-protective our children, as they felt this is not a concern at all. I appreciate all the comments and sharing from our friends, which we took no offence of, for we are very open minded parents :-) Besides, each person has his/her own views/opinions, more so for parents. There is no right or wrong, is there? 

We did what we thought we should do. We did what we thought would be beneficial to our children. We withdrew the kids from their previous cc right away. One month later, they started another new journey in this new cc.

Two months had passed. We are really glad that we had made the right decision! 

Day one going to their new cc :-)

They simply love it! There was not a single day that they refused to go to the school. Every day they come home with lots of things to tell us. For Hao Re, the main reason why he loves this school is because there is NO HOMEWORK!!! Such a practical and real reason, doesn't it? For Xi Yu, she loves her new teachers in this current cc. She also likes it that there is no homework though she didn't feel the impact as much as Hao Re.

This is what we observed:

Friends
It's really amazing that how quickly the children adapt to changes. And it's true that they can make new friends almost immediately. They don't forget about their old friends, they still remember their names etc, and talked about their old friends from time to time, but they don't really miss them that much. It helps that some of their classmates are the children of my friends, so we arranged to meet up a few times. In this new cc, there are not many K1 and K2 children, as not many parents would want to change their kids to a new environment mid year. Hence more often than not, the two classes are combined into one. Hence Hao Re and Xi Yu have become even closer, they are each other best friend and best play mate! And I can tell they are making new friends and comfortable being part of the class. The small class size does help them to get closer. 

Teachers
Oh, the teachers. The kids have nothing but praises about their new teachers. They came home telling me how much they like the teachers. Xi Yu even "warned" me that I cannot change her to another cc anymore, as she really, really likes her teachers :-) Both me and hub are happy with what we observed about the teachers (we attended an event at the cc last month), and honestly have no complains or whatsoever. They are teaching them good values, from what I heard from the kids, so it's two thumbs up!

Academic vs or non-academic?
Another reason that made us thinking of changing the cc is the homework, as the ex cc puts a lot of focus on academics. Again, no right or wrong, and not necessarily a bad thing. I must give credit to the ex cc that they had done a pretty good job in teaching the kids. Hao Re is very advance in his Chinese, and English, and Maths (they learnt Abacus, FOC!). Some of my friends said they were so jealous of this especially on the Chinese, as most struggle with Chinese. But to us, it's a little too much for pre-schoolers. We rather them play more and study less, much less. They had spelling (both English and Chinese), Chinese writing practice (one page per week) and Abacus homework (1-2 page per day) in the ex cc. It really stressed ME out! We already ignored the spelling tests totally, and only did Chinese writing and Abacus, but it still took up a lot of the very limited time we have. 

With this current cc, there was no homework at all for the past 2 months (YEAH!!!). I couldn't tell you how much this changed our evening on weekdays. We can really just play, and play, and play! No shouting from me (to make them to do their homework stressed me out the most!) hence everyone is happier and more relax. Do things a little slowly, talk and chat more about anything and everything, and really just enjoy the evenings! At school, teachers talk to them a lot, and they are more concern about building up the good characters than the academic achievement, and we absolutely like this. Some friends said should let them continue at the ex cc so they would be better prepared from Primary One. We think differently. We don't want to worry about what we do not know, what we cannot control. We live at the present, the very present, we care what matters most now, and not the future.

Behavioral change 
After just 2 weeks stopping from the ex cc and started attending this new cc, we can already see very drastic change in Hao Re! His temper, his behavior, his mood, he has changed a lot! He has learnt a lot about loving kindness, about showing good example, be responsible, be a leader, etc. Okay, maybe we are biased. But when my parents came to visit us a few weeks ago, my mum told me she can see the different (the last time she saw the kids was back in Chinese New Year time)! I can see he is so kind to the grandparents. Absolutely loving the change! Still a little bit bad temper, but he has improved a lot! 

Simpler and healthier food
This current cc serves vegetarian food throughout the day. Though we are not strict vegetarians, but we are definitely not a carnivore. So we have no issues with their vegetarians diet, which means no meat, less processed food and more wholesome goodness. It took Xi Yu almost a month to get used to the food. I am very happy that she eventually accepted the food and now she is very willing to try all types of food! While for Hao Re, he has no problem at all, as he eats a lot of vegetables. He actually would like to be a vegetarian! So he actually eats more at this new cc.

So, what do you expect of a childcare centre? 
What would you do if you were in our shoes? 
Do you prefer an academic or non-academic based cc?
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Draw from the bottom of the heart

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We strongly believe that art is a form of expression, is something that a child uses to express himself or herself and it shouldn't be taught, at least not when he/she is young (before 7-9 years old).

There shouldn't be any "rules", shouldn't be any limits, shouldn't be any restrictions on what he/she wants to draw or make or create. As long as he/she is provided with appropriate tools and media, he/she is free to draw, to express. Be it draw on the go or in a conducive environment.

With this believe, we do not want to send our kids to any form of art classes up till now. And we would not send to them to any until when they are much older and if they demand to learn a certain technique or something. If that happens, we would let them to pursue it with full support.

For now, it's all randomly and freely drawn pictures and art pieces created, all by their own, with either no or minimal help from an adult. We did help out more when they were younger. As they grow older, we slowly let them go, so they can be fully independent of the parents, be free from the parents' influence.

We are really happy that even though they attend full day childcare since young, all the schools that they have attended respect the children on the free form of expression. Children had never been told or corrected to draw something in a certain way or color something in the "correct" colour scheme. We are so utterly thankful for that!

Like today, their Chinese teacher told them a story on the race between the tortoise and the hare 《龟兔赛跑》. After the story telling, their teacher gave them a piece of recycle paper (it's a used big envelope cut into halves) and asked them to express the story through a drawing. No rules and no instructions were given.

And these are the outcome:

Xi Yu, 4  years 11 months old, who is trying to tell the story from the beginning, at the start of the race. It is interesting to see how she adds those cute "accessories"  to the cloud (in the top middle), and the way she draws all the animals 


Hao Re, 6 years 7 months old, who is trying to tell the story at the peak moment of the story whereby the tortoise ran passed the hare who was taking a nap

I can see from these two drawings that they might be some copying from a book to some extend, as I can see some similarities between the two drawings. Anyway, I really love these drawings very much, as it makes me understanding and relate to my children better :-) We do not ask them to explain everything they drew on these pictures, and do not question them why they drew this and that.

Yes, it is not the perfect art piece as many parents and grandparents love to hang up in the living room, it could be a much nicer piece if they were to bring back a similar art work from a art school. But to me, these are just perfect and we wouldn't expect anything more, for it is their purest and most original creation!

Thanks for gifting these pictures to me, my dear darlings!
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Skyline luge at Sentosa

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We are regulars to the Sentosa Island for years, oh wait, errmmm, to be exact, since we had become a pair of very committed parents, LOL!

We have always been curious about the Skyline luge. It looks fun but we haven't got a clue what it is and if the children would enjoy it. So glad that we have received an invitation from the kind people at Sentosa to try it the newly revamp Skyline luge! The luge track has been upgraded, and it's made to be more family friendly.

First time experience sitting on a chair lift at Sentosa!

What this chair lift does is to carry us to go to the other end of the island, where all the fun begins! We went on a weekend, and it's very crowded, as it is very popular among tourists and the locals. We gonna wait for nearly an hour before our turn, yes, no joke. Luckily the curiosity wins. So despite the long wait (and standing), the kids didn't have much complains, phew! Luckily we were there in the late afternoon, I couldn't imagine queuing under the hot sun at noon for an hour!

Of course everyone's favorite past time nowadays, especially if you are in a queue, is photo-taking, selfies, wefies, whatever

So as a first timer, we were told how to operate the luge and they made sure that we were able to apply brake correctly before they let us go off. Hao Re is old enough to drive a luge on his own, and this little guy is super duper exciting! Xi Yu meets the height requirement but not the age requirement, so she had to share a luge with Baba. Not as excited as the boy is, but still, it's a new experience.

Ready to go! 

Hao Re absolutely loves this, as he loves anything that moves fast. Oh yes, he loves thrilling rides! He has no problem with all the roller coaster rides in all the themed park we had visited, let alone this one.

One round is definitely not enough. And the best thing is, when we went back for the second time (and third, and fourth......), we didn't have to queue! There is a special lane for "experienced" riders. So the experience was even better without having to stand and queue for so long. And after the second time, it's no surprise the kids requested for the third and fourth.....

So, if you are planning to try it out, choose those multi rides packages ya, you would definitely need it and it's more worth for money! Head to the Skyline luge Facebook page for more information!

Disclaimer: We were invited to try out the Skyline luge. No monetary compensation was given. All opinions and photos are genuinely mine. 
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"Cooking with Love" competition

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(Disclaimer: This is NOT a sponsor post nor an invited event. Just sharing one my first time experience joining a cooking contest)

A friend of mine tagged me in one of her FB's photo, which was an advertising poster on a cooking contest held by the Hougang Mall. I didn't read the whole thing very carefully (as of who's the sponsor and all the important dates, etc). But because it touched on "Cooking with love" and "wholesome recipes", and I was sold, totally. Do you know why? Because it is very close to my heart - see what I am trying to document in one of my on-going effort in my blog in sharing of "1001 healthy cooking kids within 30 minutes".

I managed to send in my entry, which is "三杯鸡" or "3 cups chicken", but I don't like the translated name, so the name I submitted for the contest was "Sweet basil chicken on rice". I submitted on the due date itself, a few hours before it closed for registration. I received a call to inform me that my recipe was selected to be 1 of the 14 recipes to be competing for the lunch, just a few days before the contest. Then a confirmation e-mail after, which was like 3 days before the contest. So everything was in a rush, which was a good thing, so I didn't need to spend time to think about it, let alone practicing for it, LOL!

I only started to be a bit panicky on Friday night. Because the recipe I submitted called for the Thai basil or sweet basil (九层塔). What if I couldn't get that in the NTUC FairPrice at the Hougang Mall? One of the challenges of this contest was that no ingredient can be brought from home, not even sugar or oil. Everything that needed to be used in the cooking must be purchased at the NTUC FairPrice at Hougang Mall only in that dedicated one hour before the cook-off, and within the $100 budget limit. It's not a common herb that many people would use, but a friend of mine had bought it in one of the NTUC FairPrice. 

I haven't been to the Hougang Mall so I didn't know what to expect. To prepare myself, I did some Googling on late Friday night, to see if there is anything I can use as substitute if I really couldn't get the sweet basil, and I got an answer that I want (Google is always so awesome, that's why I love love love Google!)! And the answer is a simple spring onion!

I cooked this dish 2-3 times over the last 1-2 years, and I really like how flavorful this dish is! But the outcome hadn't been nice. I decided to submit this recipe anyway since I know I can comfortably prepare and cook it within 1 hour (that's another challenge of this contest - one hour cooking time was allowed, no a single minute extra). 

So on Saturday morning, I brought along my whole village with me, haha. The four of us, my parents and my brother. They were really poor thing. They got to wait for me for a few hours. They had done window shopping, lunch, library, ice-cream, window shopping again and I still was not done, LOL!

Back to the contest.

It's my first time to participate in cooking contest in my entire life! Yes, true, there is always the first time for everything we do since the first day we were born, right? This is one of the first I so need to record. I somehow felt that my "auntie-ness" is suddenly up many levels once I registered and got my number, lucky number "7". Really felt very auntie at the beginning. Then I saw some young contestants and there were even 3 males (3 out of 14, that's 21%, really not bad, huh!), and that kinda make me feel better, haha!

Getting ready to kick start!

I only realised that Maggi is the main sponsor at the briefing. As expected, extra points will be given if Maggi product is used. I don't use any, and I don't intent to use any just because of the extra points. Have to stay true to myself, haven't I? If product with the "healthier choice" logo is picked, extra points will be given too. Basic cooking utensils are provided, including an induction cooker, and also the basic cooking ingredients like oil and salt. Any special kitchenware had to be brought from home, after getting prior approval. I didn't bring any extra. We were then given about half an hour to shop for our ingredients after the briefing.

It's real fun to shop when you don't have to pay for it. I got all I wanted just below $40 

The most ingredient that I bought was the Chinese Shao Xing wine. When I was looking through the bottles, one kind auntie came to tell me to just buy the most expensive one as only that one tastes decent. So I listened to her. Also I bought a small bottle of good quality black sesame oil. I was very tempted to get a premium quality soy sauce, but since it's provided, I didn't want to waste it. I got a bottle of Himalayan pink salt instead. Since I don't use any seasoning or MSG or soup stock/cubes, etc, these basic condiments of good quality are thus very important for the dish.

At 1pm sharp, all 14 of us started food preparation and cooking. I was very relax as my dish was a very simple, and am very sure one hour was enough for me. I washed up the vegetable and cut the chicken drumsticks into pieces, sliced the ginger, peeled to skin of the garlic and I was ready to cook. Throughout the 60 min, my table was kept very clean and neat, and I think this had helped me in getting quite some points (one of the judging criteria - taste, presentation, creativity, hygiene and I don't remember exactly what else). By the time I finished cooking, everything had been washed and dried, and kept nicely, and table and floor and the cooker are near sparking clean :-P. That's how I would do at home also, so it's more like a habit. Good habit is sure to be kept!

The cheering from the kids sure got me a few more points :-) They really cheered loudly "Mama, jia you, Mama, jia you!" LOL!

Some of the judges came talking to me and I explained to them how I had to substitute sweet basil with the spring onion. They were pretty impressed with that (though I didn't tell them I got the help from Google!) and a few more points were given for this last minute change for my "creativity", I think. And they all said it smell really nice, all thanks to the good quality of the wine and sesame oil, and the chicken are very nicely colored. Another thing that amazed people is that I don't taste my food while cooking. I don't measure how much I put in, I just anyhow pour in based on my gut feeling and the dishes usually turned out just nice (that explains why I am very bad in coming out with a recipe, because I simply don't measure!).

Finally, 1 hour was gone. Dishes were lined up for the 5 judges to sample the food! Can you guess which one was the winning dish from the photos below?

I was talking to my colleague when the results was announced. We kept on talking and suddenly my name was called! We both jumped, literally! And yes, I was the 1st runner up for this contest!!! I really, seriously, honestly didn't expect it at all.

When I received the prize ($500 shopping voucher!) from one the judges, Mr Png Eng Huat, who is the MP for Hougang, he congratulated me, and said to me "your children are really blessed to have home cook meals that is cooked with love!" It really touched me when I heard that, a stranger can understand/feel my 用心良苦!

(Note: I didn't know he is the MP for Hougang! I kinda felt that he looks familiar, and I suspected he must be a politician, but I didn't know it's him, sorry for my ignorance. But I must say, he is really a very friendly and down to earth kinda person, thumbs up!)

And, present to you, the 1st runner up dish - "Sweet basil spring onion chicken on rice"!

I have totally no talent in food presentation. I don't "beautify" the dishes almost all the time, I don't even garnish my dishes. Could have been presented nicer, but this was the best that I could come out with :-) And you may want to ask, how did the dish taste like without the sweet basil? The chicken tasted about the same since the main ingredients are the wine, sesame oil and the soy sauce, which made up the "3 cups". But it's lacking the unique fragrance from the sweet basil. If given a choice, I would always prefer to add in some sweet basil. Those thing besides the brown rice was mushroom cooked in the same sauce, and kinda garnished with the red pepper (I know, looking so ugly, try harder next time, haha!).

It's a good experience which I enjoyed! And the shopping vouchers are surely a big bonus :-) Thank you, Hougang Mall!
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Enthusiastic little cyclist

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Last Sunday morning, we were discussing with the kids where should we head to after their violin class. I suggested cycling, and the kids responded keenly. So off we went to the East Coast Park.

After we have rented the bicycles, I suddenly realised that this is the very first time for Xi Yu to ride a bicycle, at 4 years 10 months old! Such a life of a second child, whose needs and wants are always neglected more often than the first child, comparatively when they were at the same age. Well. Life is never fair, isn't it? I didn't really feel guilty about it, don't have to, really.

The kids are happily cycling while we followed behind on foot (bicycle rental is at $6 per hour, or $10 per 2 hours plus 1 hour free)

After cycling for quite a long distance, they stopped and went for some sand/beach play. You see the slope that Hao Re is trying to climb up, it's quite steep and not easy to. Xi Yu didn't manage to do it, but she never has to worry, because her big brother is always there to help! Up to the top she went with her Gorgor pushed her up all the way, and gave her encouragement that she can do it! There are a few older girls, much older, like higher primary, who wanted to climb up and they gave up without much trying, kept saying it's very scary, very scary. Hao Re was puzzled on how come those Jiejies think so, because he climbed up just like that, pretty effortlessly. That's the different between girls and boys, I suppose.

It's a nice weather on Sunday! Always nice to catch some sun when it's not too hot!

The good thing about practicing child-led approach is - we don't need to tell them what to do! They decide what to do based on the environment (and their mood, probably) they are in. We, parents, we just sit and watch :-) There is no need to worry that we don't bring the beach tool (they can play with their bare hands, or pick shells instead of sand play, etc), we didn't bring extra clothes for changing if they get wet (just have to tell them once, no clothes to change, and they decide if they would get wet or not, though secretly I was praying hard they won't get wet), etc. We don't worry unnecessarily (though I still do, sometimes, but my hub is a totally cool man!), and we deal with the situations as the day moves along.

Monkeying around and an ice cream treat!

What makes me wanting to write this post is, something unexpected happened.

After the beach play, we turned back and planned to return the bicycle to the shop and then headed for dinner. Both of them were still within our sights initially. When we were approaching to the shop, we assumed they could recognise the bicycle shop and would stop there and wait for us. Quite a silly thought we have, for that they are only 5 years (1.5 months short) and 6.5 years old! Hao Re stayed quite close to us so we managed to stop him. While for Xi Yu, the poor little girl, she continued on, she cycled pass the shop and continued on and on. We thought she would turn back when she realised we were not behind her. But she didn't turn back. She went straight ahead. By the time we decided that we needed to get her, she was very far away from us. My hub ran (at jogging speed) to catch up with her, it took him 10-15 min!!!

When my hub finally saw her, she was still cycling ahead. My hub called to her, and there was panic in her eyes. But she didn't cry at first. When my hub offered her a hug and to carry her, she burst our crying :-( When she saw me later, she has already calmed down and as if nothing had happened. I gave her an ultra big hug and many kisses to make her feel better. Hao Re was the one who learned the lesson. He kept asking me what would happen if Baba cannot find Meimei.

Lesson learnt for us also. Never apply adult's perspective on children. And as the kids grow older and want to be more independent, we need to think of practical ways, to tell them what to do, and who to call, etc, should similar incident happens again.
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