The Very Hungry Caterpillar & Other Eric Carle Favourites by ACT 3 International

Who’s a fan of the Hungry Caterpillar? (Me!)

We are delighted to hear that ACT 3 International will be presenting The Very Hungry Caterpillar & Other Eric Carle Favourites by Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia, Canada.

This magical work of black light theatre brings together the beloved tales of award-winning
children’s book illustrator and writer Eric Carle – The Very Hungry Caterpillar; Little Cloud
and The Mixed Up Chameleon – and is suitable for 3 to 6 year olds. It will be staged at
Victoria Theatre from 6 to 15 October 2017.

Three meaningful stories will be presented:

  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar follows the adventures of a tiny and hungry caterpillar and its eventual metamorphosis into a beautiful butterfly – what does it chomp along the way?
  • Little Cloud is a charming little tale of how it decides to stray away from his fellow mates to go on an adventure that finds him morphing into various objects such as a sheep, clown and even a shark!
  • And finally, in The Mixed Up Chameleon, toddlers will be able to associate colours and meanings to objects through the reptile who eventually embraces his uniqueness after an identity crisis happens. Mermaid Theatre’s version mirrors the book’s stunning illustrations drawn in thick, brilliant brushstrokes of blues, greens and reds.

This timeless production is the perfect platform to introduce drama to children as it is a
captivating showcase of stunning visual effects, innovative shadow puppetry, and vibrant
music. Within a short span of one hour, little ones will be also be enriched by knowledge of
science, the arts and even morality – all inspired by the themes highlighted in the storybook.
This triple bill will enthral the young with its magical transformation of well-loved tales into a
larger-than-life piece of theatre.

Elaborates Ms Ruby-Lim Yang, Artistic Director of ACT 3 International: “Eric Carle’s art and narrative are so pure and elegant. Nothing should hold us back from making this the first theatre experience for very young children!”

Show information
Dates and times:
6 October (Friday, Children’s Day) 10.30am*, 2.30pm*
7 October (Saturday) 10.30am*, 2.30pm
8 October (Sunday) 10.30am*, 2.30pm
9 October (Monday) 10am
10 October (Tuesday) 10am
11 October (Wednesday) 10am
13 October (Friday) 10am
14 October (Saturday) 10.30am*, 2.30pm
15 October (Sunday) 10.30am*, 2.30pm
*Available for Backstage Tour, 40 minutes after show, for a maximum of 30 persons

Duration: 1 hour, no interval

Venue: Victoria Theatre, 9 Empress Place, Singapore 179556

Ticket prices:
Category 1 – Weekdays S$28 for child or adult; Weekends S$48 for child or adult (*S$63 for child or adult with backstage tour)

Category 2 – Weekdays S$25 for child or adult; Weekends S$38 for child or adult (*$53 for child or adult with backstage tour)

Category 3 – Weekdays S$18 for child or adult; Weekends S$25 for child or adult (*$40 for child or adult with backstage tour)

You can book your tickets on SISTIC. All prices exclude SISTIC and handling fees. Terms and conditions apply.

Discounts (from 28 June 2017)
Weekend Category 1: $160 – Family Pack for 4 tickets to the same show, same time
Weekend Category 2: $129 – Family pack for 4 tickets to the same show, same time
Weekend Category 3: $85 – Family Pack for 4 tickets to the same show, same time

15% for current ACT 3 Drama Academy students. Call ACT 3 International or in person at ACT 3 Drama Academy

***

The show was sublime today – we thoroughly enjoyed it. Loved the elegant storytelling, stunning visuals and vibrant music. It was probably my favourite theatre show by far!

If you are going, be sure to stay till the Q&A at the end where the puppeteers come out to answer questions from the audience. I was so tickled by how the ‘tongue machine’ worked!

Please go watch it – promise you will love it!

Disclaimer: We received complimentary tickets to the show. No monetary compensation was received.  All opinions are my own. The pleasure was all ours!  

The Artground, A Curious Place To Be

I am always on the lookout for children-friendly places that are fun, not too crowded and do not cost too much (because it adds up quickly with three kids!). Trust me when I say there are not many places in Singapore that fit the bill!

We received an invite from a secondary school friend of mine, Luanne (whose title is the Chief Worm, haha), to check out The Artground which recently opened at Goodman Arts Centre.

Essentially an open play space for children aged 12 and under, The Artground aims to provide positive arts experiences across a variety of art forms.

Throughout the year, there will be interactive art installations which provide non-directive play opportunities for children to discover and practice their motor skills. And the best part, entry to The Artground is completely FREE!

Upon arrival, my gleeful boys plunged themselves headlong into the engaging  playscape.

Created by local artist Poh Ya See, Down The Rabbit Hole is the current interactive visual arts exhibition that invites you to hop, skip, climb and crawl to explore the world of animals that live underground. Meet some unexpected furry friends, amazing insects and tiny little creatures that call the area under our feet home as you make your way through the installation.

The children could clamber through tunnels, doodle with chalk on the walls, thread pool noodles through a grid network of holes, cuddle up with giant plush snakes, run through a blue ocean and a forest with twinkly lights… it was tons of fun!

Luanne shared that The Artground hopes to provide a platform for emerging local artists to showcase their work. I thought it was such a wonderful initiative!

I love that the installation encourages creativity and open-ended play so the children were free to climb, run around, explore and just play. There are no ‘Do not touch’ signs nor are there any time limit for play. Our local museums really should take a leaf from them!

The place is airconditioned and very spacious. I think it would be the perfect destination on hot or rainy days, perfect for playdates or even for stay-at-home mums to bring the children on weekday mornings! Parents can just chill out on the beanbags while the children run amok 🙂

There is also a craft corner filled with bags of recycled materials which children can help themselves to, as well as a quiet reading corner.

Here’s a video snippet of the place if you are keen:

Come Saturdays and Sundays, Weekends at The Artground offers age-specific drop-in programmes that families with young children can engage in together. These include gardening, performing arts (music, dance/movement & drama) as well as arts & craft activities.

Each programme will be charged at $10 per parent-child pair. You can purchase a single ticket, TAG cards for 5 or 10 + 1 sessions at $50 and $100 respectively at the reception.

We tried out the Arty Crafty – Happy Funny Fishes class (for 4 to 7 year olds) where the boys learnt how to make colourful number-patterned fish using paper plates. Here’s what’s on for the weekend of 23 and 24 September.

Before we left, we also made sure we checked out The Good Garden, a children’s urban food garden initiative by Cultivate Central for The Artground.

The Good Garden is a whimsical food garden that will nurture a sense of what it means to connect with nature and help things grow. We sniffed at the herb patch and admired the airplants, crawling vines and even the most plump baby brinjals. We also spied compost pits and self-watering devices made from recycled materials.

Such a lovely green space – I would love to bring the boys back to attend the weekend gardening workshops!

The Artground is a lovely space where families can feel at ease to come to, to spend some time, to discover, to learn and to be curious. We had a really good time and will definitely be back!

The Artground

Goodman Arts Centre

90 Goodman Road

Block J #01-40

Singapore 439053

Opening Hours: Wed to Thu 930am-5pm, Fri to Sun 930am-6pm, closed on Mon and Tue.

Of dinosaurs and pschedelic animals at Artgrain

I would love to sign my boys up for regular art lessons (coz this Mama loves art) but they are busy enough as it is. So I have figured the next best thing is, sending them for holiday art classes. Which works out great because they see art as a recreational activity rather than something they have to do every week.

This September holidays, we tried out Artgrain for the first time ever. It has been around in our neighbourhood – we walk past it all the time and it is always packed with students. It was a 3-day art workshop (3 hours each day). Ryan did Jurassic Art – he shaped two dinosaurs out of clay and painted a prehistoric landscape for them. Sean did Psychedelic Animals where he painted zebras (my favourite animals!) in fun, quirky colours. I would have loved to see them in action but didn’t have the chance as I was at work 🙁

I thought Sean’s final masterpiece was really quite stunning! Definitely earned a deserving spot on my walls. The boys told me they had fun. Maybe we will be back next holidays!

Just Fly It!

How was your September holidays?

As a last hurrah before school reopened, we cycled to Bishan Park for MacDonald’s breakfast, much to the boys’ delight. A rare treat because our weekend mornings are usually packed with classes!

Then we attended a Parent-Child Chuck Glider Workshop with Singapore’s largest enrichment programme provider offering aerospace-related programmes, Just Fly It.

Designed for children aged 5 and above, parent-child pairs will work together to design and build a glider from scratch and be able to fly our very own model plane.

Captain Joyce who has 13 years of aeromodelling experience under her belt gave us a good technical rundown to the parts of a plane and their significance. I will readily admit I have zero clue about planes but I felt like I learnt so much in one hour!

Then the fun part: making our very own model planes.

We were taught how the different parts of the plane should be shaped from balsa wood and fit together. Sean relished being able to design his own plane while the younger kids helped to decorate the plane 😉

It was a bit tricky, especially working with penknives and superglue (I really would not recommend it for younger children) but I liked that we were applying STEM techniques and it was all very hands-on. There is really a lot to consider when designing a plane!

Everything came together quite nicely in the end. Loved seeing everyone’s completed planes together!

Finally, we could take our planes to Bishan Park for a test run. Joyce gave us a final ‘secret ingredient’ to make our planes fly better and sure enough, they did! We had a fun time whizzing our planes around – okay our planes need a bit of tweaking still, haha!

Thanks for a fun morning, Just Fly It!

If you are keen on joining the Parent-Child Chuck Glider Workshop, here is the Chuck Glider Workshop Fact Sheet. It is $45 for each parent-child pair. Really makes for a fun family bonding activity – I would highly recommend it for primary school going children!

Review: Jujube Tokidoki Seapunk BFF diaper bag from Agape Babies

Whenever I go out with the kids, I always make sure we have all our essentials with us. That includes water bottles, a change of clothes, wet wipes, snacks/gummies, bug spray, comics and activity books for the kids. This, on top of my wallet, camera, sunnies, keys and phone.

I am always hard pressed to find a backpack – I always choose them over sling bags so I can have my hands free – that can fit everything in nicely and look good at the same time.

So I was really thrilled my new Jujube Tokidoki Seapunk BFF diaper bag (RRP: $219) from Agape Babies checks all the boxes!

If you have used Jujube bags before, you will know their bags are thoughtfully designed for busy parents and impeccably made with sturdy quality finishing. I really wish I had discovered them sooner!

I couldn’t resist getting it in the retro BFF backpack design and the vibrant signature Tokidoki print which opens up to a chic pink interior. The light coloured lining makes it easy to see what is in the bag.

Few features I really liked:

  • The bag is very roomy and can hold all our things easily with room to spare.
  • There are side pockets for water bottles (good for ever thirsty children) and many internal compartments, pockets and even a retractable key hook to keep everything organised.
  • The bag comes with AgION Antimicrobial Linings which kills germs, mold, mildew, fungus and bacteria.
  • It comes with quality finishing like quiet magnets, metal hardware and really smooooth zips. You just know it will last for years.
  • Best of all, the bag is made of Teflon fabric protector which repels stains and is completely machine-washable. 

Seriously, why did I not discover this bag sooner?!

As you can see in the pics above, you can pretty much carry the BFF any way you want because it comes with detachable shoulder straps and messenger straps!

Definitely a handy bag that will see a lot of use in our household! You can find the new Jujube Tokidoki SeaPunk range online at Agape Babies. (PS. You can get $10 off every $200 purchase with the code 10OFF)

Disclaimer: I received this Jujube bag for the purpose of this review. No monetary compensation was received. The pleasure was all mine, and all opinions are my own.

Jo’s excursion to The Animal Resort

I joined my little Joey on his excursion to The Animal Resort at Seletar recently. To be very honest, I hardly ever see him in school so he was over the moon to see me – he kept shouting to his teacher, 我的妈妈!!! Look at his happy face! So glad I didn’t miss it 🙂It was our first time at the Animal Resort. We were greeted by a beautiful horse at the entrance and the children enthusiastically started yanking grass around them to feed him.

We got a quick rundown by the lady who runs the place and the children sang ‘Old MacDonald had a farm’, haha.

The children were given packets of food and told to go forth to feed the animals. The animals are surprisingly very tame and seem accustomed to people. Jo was very brave and the birds just came right up to him to eat from his hand!

We also visited the rabbits and guinea pigs enclosure and Jo had fun feeding them carrots. I think the animals were very well-fed that day!

The farm is quite small and a bit run-down. The food for the animals is reasonably priced at $1 a packet. I would say it is good for young children. Though I am not sure if I would visit it on my own again! (Oh, if you are going, please spray lots of mozzie repellant coz the mozzies are vicious!)

Finally it was time for lunch. We sat down and Jo was so hungry he devoured an entire pack of fried rice. It was nice to meet his little friends – Jo still can’t really tell me the names of his friends  – because he is in an all-Chinese class and Chinese names are not his forte – yet but all the kids seem to know him 😉The children had a final go at the swings and said goodbye to the horse before we called it a day and boarded the bus back to school. This is probably the last time I can join my boys on their excursions because they don’t allow parents for higher levels. SOBS!

Innovative fun at Codomo’s Family Design Workshop

Over the Hari Raya Haji holiday, we were invited to Codomo‘s first ever Family Design Workshop at SUTD.

I was very impressed with Codomo’s programme when Sean attended the Design Innovation holiday camp at Keys Academy. Till today, it probably stands as the best holiday class my kids have ever been to!

To kickstart the Family Design Workshop, Aditya asked us what came to mind when we thought of the words ‘Design’ and ‘Innovation’.

As you can see from the word map above, words like ‘create’, ‘make’, ‘useful’ ranked highly among the entries. Aditya went on to explain that good design does not only mean making things look beautiful or sleek. More importantly, good design or innovation means coming up with solutions for people’s needs, whatever they may be.

Then we were introduced to the concept of ‘chindogu’ which is the process of creating something from two seemingly unrelated items.

We were asked to brainstorm what we could create with two random items on our table – a thick elastic band – you can see it on Ryan’s head in the pics – and a plastic clip. The boys and I came up with 3 different ideas (eg. using the band + clip to hold up notices on a pillar, or hanging up a bag of snacks in the car). How ingenious!

Next came the Spaghetti Tower Challenge. With nothing more than 20 strands of spaghetti, masking tape and string, we were tasked to make the tallest tower possible that could support a piece of marshmallow on top in 20 minutes. Quite challenging, but we did it! Can you see our precarious marshmallow tower? Ours was not the tallest but hey at least it was quite stable. Good fun!

During the break we were introduced to a carnival game designed by Codomo – they have an upcoming Micro:bit Carnival Tycoon holiday workshop this Sep holidays – as well as a Kickstarter-backed coding card game called Potato Pirates. I am going to get a set for Sean once it is launched!

We got reacquainted with Makey Makey during our final challenge. Makey Makey is a very ingenious kit that allows you to turn anything that can conduct electricity into touchpads.

With paper clips on paper cups, we designed a user-friendly game console for persons with disabilities. It worked great and the boys had a lot of fun playing Pacman with it! (Thought it was very cute as Ryan was holding the Earth wire and they had to complete the circuit by holding hands!)

It was a really fun and engaging workshop for the family. I loved that we were all encouraged to go all out and be as creative as possible. I do hope  Codomo will continue to hold such family design workshops in future!

Just to share, Codomo will be holding two half-day holiday workshops on 6 Sep 2017 – you still have today to sign up!

Micro:Bit Carnival Tycoon (Age 6-8)

6 September, 9am – 12pm
Get your kids to learn programming and electronics using the Micro:bit.

Potato Pirates Python (Age 9 – 12)

6 September, 1pm – 4pm
Learn 10 hours of programming concepts and basics of Python in 3 hours.

Happy holidays!

A Zahra-mazing Shimmer & Shine Show at City Square Mall

Believe it or not, my boys Ryan and Jo are huge fans of Nickelodeon’s Shimmer & Shine! They like to pretend to cast the magical spells (‘Boom Zahramay!’) just like the dazzling genie twin sisters do, and are constantly repeating the silly antics that the characters, especially Nazboo the dragon, get up to.

To kickstart the September holidays, my boys were overjoyed to watch Shimmer & Shine live on stage as part of City Square Mall’s ‘A World of Zahramazing Fun’ programme which runs from 1 September to 1 October 2017.

All genies-in-training will be happy to know that they can come to City Square Mall from 2-10 September to help Shimmer and Shine find a special Genie Gem in Zahramay Falls!

There were also special appearances by Shimmer and Shine’s human bestie Leah as well as their exotic pets Nahal and Tala.

Come dressed up as your favourite genie and you might get a chance to join them on stage to learn some genie magic 🙂

Personally, I found the show very entertaining because there were lots of catchy song and dance numbers. My boys were about the only boys in the audience (haha) but they were bouncing around and having so much fun!

Here are a few snippets from the show:

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the City Square Mall’s A World of Zahramazing Fun Activities such as dressing up like genies as well:

1. Shimmer & Shine FIRST EVER ‘Live’ On Stage

Date: 2 – 10 September 2017, daily except Monday

Time: Tuesday – Friday: 2pm and 7pm

Saturday and Sunday: 1pm, 4pm and 7pm

Venue: Level 1 Stage

Boom Zahramay! Help Shimmer and Shine find a special Genie Gem in Zahramay Falls! Come dressed up as your favourite genie and you might get a chance to join them on stage to learn some genie magic.

2. Up Close With Shimmer & Shine

Date: 2 – 10 September 2017, daily except Monday

Time:  Tuesday – Friday: 2.45pm and 7.45pm

Saturday and Sunday: 1.45pm, 4.45pm and 7.45pm

Venue: B2 beside travelators

Get a chance to meet your favourite twin genies up close and snap a family photo with them! Head over to the Customer Service Counter at Level 2 one hour prior to each show to redeem a Meet & Greet pass. The passes can be redeemed with a minimum of $50* spent in the mall (maximum 3 receipts), limited to 50 passes per session!

3. Shimmer & Shine Beauty Hall

Date: 1 – 10 September 2017

Time: 1pm – 9pm

Venue: B1 Fountain Square

Complete your experience with a visit to Shimmer & Shine Beauty Hall! Adorn yourself with glitter tattoos, dress up as your favourite genie and get creative with Shimmer & Shine colouring sheets. Redeem a Beauty Pass with a minimum spend of $40* in the mall. Passes are limited to the first 4,000 redemptions.

*T&Cs apply.

For more details on the activities and promotions, visit City Square Mall website or check out City Square Mall’s Facebook page.

Sean’s 8!

We threw a soccer party in celebration of Sean’s 8th birthday last weekend. I can’t believe my little Sean is 8!

We settled on a soccer theme quite easiy. Sean loves soccer – he trains in school twice a week playing the defender role and he cannot get enough of the game!

I only started prepping for the party less than a fortnight before the party. Having been through a few parties, I have a pretty good idea of what works and what doesn’t by now! I generally kept the party quite simple, retaining the good bits that the children like and weeded out the rest which no one ever really cared about! HAHA

I thought the soccer theme would be quite a hard theme to adapt to a mixed group of kids (with many girls) of varying ages but surprisingly it came together quite nicely. And I have to admit it is actually a super fun party theme – there’s just so much you can do!

On the morning of the party, I blew up a small bunch of white, black and green helium balloons and put up the birthday banner. My friend Meiru was kind enough to pass on her son Ryan’s banner from two weeks earlier – and all I had to do was replace 2 letters and ta-da, it was perfect for our party!
It was pouring all afternoon so I was really grateful for cool, slightly overcast weather tjust before for the party. I think we have been very lucky for all our parties so far, phew!

How cute did the boys look decked out in their soccer togs! They just wore their training jerseys (Jo wore Sean’s extra set) and I only bought new socks for all of them coz theirs were getting quite ratty. Yay!

My mum and helper helped to prepare the party food since morning. The usual fried beehoon, oven-roasted chicken wings, fruit satay and lots of finger food for the kids – seaweed chicken, fish balls, chicken nuggets. I made mashed potato and a big salad.

Instead of my usual craft table, we set up a table of Magnatiles, kiddy rides and a goalpost (from Decathlon) for the kids to play.

The younger kids busied themselves with Magnatiles while the older kids tried their skills/luck at penalty shoot-outs. Even the girls who have never kicked a soccer ball before really got into it. Super fun! Erm yes, the ball ended up into the pool at one point!

(Yes I did remind everyone beforehand to come dressed in comfy clothes and shoes!)

As always, we started with Pass the Parcel. It’s a great warm-up game for kids – everyone can join in regardless of age! 

The forfeits for this party were largely soccer-themed, like ‘Balance a soccer ball on your head’, ‘Dribble a ball around the circle’ and ‘Shout Ole Ole Ole!’ but I also snuck in a few silly ones like ‘Touch your tongue to your nose’ (very funny to watch everyone attempt this at the same time!) or ‘Do a silly dance’ 🙂

Most of the kids have been playing this game since they were babies – I have a feeling they will probably not want to join in soon, Sean included! SOBS!Next came the Soccer Drills.

Foops came up with simple challenges for the children – dribble a ball through the cones, overhead throw, toe taps on a ball and a final kick into the goal. All the children were encouraged to complete the stations and they did at their own pace. Big thanks to all the daddies for gamely stepping up to help man the stations!
On hindsight, I think we could have easily incorporated at least 2 more stations especially for the older kids who whizzed through the whole thing in minutes! Ah well, maybe next time. 

For completing the Soccer Drills challenge, the children were presented with a medal, or to be more specific, an edible ‘number 8’ medal. HAHAHA, I was so proud of myself for coming up with the idea! So easy to execute, I got to use my recycled ribbons stash and the children loved it! 🙂

Next up, pinata time. I made a soccer ball pinata, of course. I was so proud of it – it was HUGE and perfectly ROUND because I used a inflatable beach ball instead of a balloon!

Alas, it broke during the party!!! Not sure why – maybe because it was too big and heavy or I didn’t make it thick enough this time. Sigh, first time it has ever happened!
Anyway the show had to go on because the children were all looking forward to bashing the pinata! (Not only my children have come to expect a pinata at our parties, our little guests have similarly high expectations now!)

The poor, ailing pinata had to be put on ‘chair support’ but really, the children couldn’t care any less. They really gave it a good bashing – look at their gleeful little faces! So funny.

Our final game was Treasure Hunt (which all the children have come to expect of our parties as well). I gave out a list of items for the children to find so that the younger children who were given a big headstart had a chance to collect everything too. 

Hee, how serious do the children look hunting for ‘treasure’! This is also another really easy game to execute – if you have the space – and it is very popular with the children!

Oh, for the goodie bags, I just printed soccer balls with the kids’ names and fill them with age-appropriate colouring and craft kits (like DIY card sets for the girls that I got on sale from Cotton On Kids).

Last but not least, the birthday cake, or cakes in our case!

This year, I ordered a jelly cake from a home baker (search for ‘Aunty Yochana Jelly Cake’ on Facebook) as a few of our guests have diary allergies. I only saw the cake when we opened it in front of the children so I was just as enamoured by the cake as they were! It was an elaborate Pikachu jelly cake surrounded with a lot of soccer balls – I can’t imagine how much work went into it!
I was a bit worried the jelly cake may not be enough to go round so I decided to bake another cake. I baked a lemon sponge cake with cream cheese swiss meringue buttercream and kept the design very simple with a number 8 in sprinkles. The boys helped me add the sprinkles that morning and you can bet my entire kitchen floor was covered with sprinkles after that!

The children gathered to sing the birthday song and cut the cake. Thank goodness we had two cakes because they were just enough for our guests! I was very flattered when a few kids came to ask me for my cake instead of the jelly cake and said it was very yummy! (I thought it was very well-done this time too!)

I hope everyone had a good time at the party. I know my boys and I did! Till the next party – Jo and Ryan are already telling me what they want for their party in Jan/Feb next year (likely a Trolls party)!

For Sean’s birthday this year, we asked everyone not to bring presents because our boys are very blessed and the really do have a lot of toys already! Instead, we asked our guests to donate to their favourite charity in Sean’s name if they so wished.

Everyone was more than forthcoming with their donations and we are very grateful.

Gugu was nice enough to go through the World Vision website with Sean and after much contemplation, he chose to give books and educational materials to a child in China and 6 chickens to a family in Philippines. Such a great experience for Sean to be on the giving end to bless others!

Don’t worry I did set aside a few birthday presents for Sean – I am not that selfless or heartless! HAHAAfter the party, Sean actually fell quite ill on his actual birthday (Aug 15)! He had a raging fever and a bad throat which took a few days for him to recover from. We got him a cake and icecream on his actual birthday but he was in no mood for them.

When he was finally well enough two days later, he finally allowed us to sing the birthday song for him (again) and blow out the cake!

If you are keen, you can check out the rest of our parties:

Ryan and Jo’s Pokemon party

Sean turns 7 (with a kampung-themed party)!

Yoho, Ryan and Jo! (pirate theme)

Sean turns 6! (superhero theme) (preparations)

Happy birthday to my two little turtles! (Ninja Turtle theme)

A Mr Men and Little Miss party for a special 5 year old

Lala lala It’s Ryan’s second birthday (Elmo theme)

Robot Sean turns 4! 

Ryan turns 1! (vintage circus/funfair theme)

Sean turns 3: Dinosaur birthday bash! (preparations)

Sean turns 2!

Turning one (The Hungry Caterpillar theme)

Happy 8th birthday to my sweetheart Sean. You are a very sweet, good-natured and thoughtful boy. You are dorky as can be and we can always count on you to come up with the silliest games with your brothers. You love nothing more than soccer, having Pokemon battles with your brothers, reading comics and playing Plants vs Zombies on the phone (which you know Mama is not too happy about). I know school and the monotony of weekday routines (like piano practice) are sometimes a bit hard on you – some days we get frustrated and lose our patience with you but you always take it all in stride and never hold it against us. I pray that you will always have a good heart and that Mama and Papa will have the patience and wisdom to bring you up to be smart and kind. Please know that you (and your brothers) bring us so much joy we can’t imagine our lives without you. We love you. 

Love, Mama

Healthy bentos for children with Milo

Hands up, who grew up with Milo? 🙂

One of my favourite childhood memories is of my mother making cold Milo as an after-dinner treat. I would help add the ice cubes and stir before helping myself to a big cup of ‘Milo peng’. I also remember when I got bored on quiet afternoons, I would sneak into the kitchen and scoop Milo powder from the tin and eat it just like that. Anyone did this too?!

It’s quite amazing that Milo with its trademark green packaging looks (and tastes) pretty much the same today and my children drink iced Milo with the same fervour as I did (and still do)!

So when I received an invite to a bento-making workshop by Milo Singapore, I said yes immediately!

The event started with a short introduction to Milo. Did you know Milo originated from Australia and it is the most popular chocolate malt drink in Singapore?

Since Milo is a huge advocate of healthy breakfasts for children, we got to learn how to make a healthy bento breakfast with Shirley better known as Little Miss Bento at the Cookyn Inc premises. I have always wanted to learn how to make a pretty bento so this was a golden opportunity for me to learn.

Shirley brought us through the process of preparing a bento set with a Mama Hen rice ball and two baby chicks. She was really engaging and very good with the children. The instructions were actually quite simple and straightforward. Even the children like Sean could manage on their own with little adult supervision.

First, the boys peeled the hard-boiled egg to get the yolk (they happily devoured the egg white). They then mixed the yolk with a handful of rice. The mixture is then shaped into small yellow balls (for the chicks) using cling wrap. How ingenious! We did the same for Mama Hen but with white rice and shredded crab sticks.

(If you are trying this at home, it is probably best not to squeeze the rice like my boys did, or you would end up with very dense, hard rice balls!)

With a bit of ingenuity, a slice of chicken ham quickly got turned into an apron for Mama Hen, red part of the crab stick into her hair, corn bits into her beak, seaweed (using a hole puncher) into her eyes and carrot bits into the chicks’ beaks and feet. I was so impressed!!!

Then all that was left was the assembly of the bento. In went Mama Hen and her chicks, lettuce, a cob of corn, grilled chicken wings, steamed broccoli and beans, cherry tomatoes and of course, a packet of ice-cold Milo! Easy peasy! Look at the children’s happy faces and their cute bentos! We actually went home and had the bentos for lunch. Yummy and healthy!

Thanks, Milo Singapore, for an enriching morning. Now I am inspired to put a little more effort into my boys’ snack box for school!

#milopacktoschool