Anniversary posy from A Better Florist

It was our 9th wedding anniversary last week.

Hubs and I met up after work for a lovely Japanese dinner at Mikuni and it was nice just spending some rare couple time together in the midst of a busy work week.

I really wasn’t expecting anything more so imagine my surprise when I got home to the loveliest bouquet of flowers from A Better Florist (though not from the husband, haha). It is so nice to receive flowers when you least expect it!

The bouquet that I received was The Keira (SGD98) which was part of A Better Florist‘s ‘Farmer’s Choice’ signature floral arrangments.

I adore the elegant mix of fresh lilies, summery-coloured roses and a delicate posy of ammi majus all beautifully wrapped in a rustic burlap. The dreamy sunset-like colour palette reminded me of my own wedding bouquet from many moons ago!

A Better Florist carries a wonderful selection of floral bouquets that would fit most budgets – I really like The Josephine and The Lilah which come in tall glass vases you can reuse again.

I find the website easy to navigate and the pictures and explanations clear. You really do get what you see in the picture!

If you are looking for a last-minute gift, A Better Florist offers same day delivery (at no extra charge) for orders made before 3pm. Please quote ‘DEBRA10’ at checkout for SGD10 off your order – offer valid till 20 Aug ’17!

Besides bouquets, A Better Florist also conducts floral arrangement workshops – I can’t wait to join the next one ! Will share my experience when I do. Do ‘Like’ A Better Florist Facebook page so you can be updated on their upcoming floral jamming sessions.

Thanks for making me smile, A Better Florist!

A surprise Montigo getaway

At the end of the June hols, I pulled together a little surprise getaway for Foops’ birthday.

I settled on Montigo Resorts, Batam which I have always wanted to visit. It was quite pricey for the Hari Raya long weekend but hey how often does one of our birthdays fall on a public holiday, and a long weekend at that! I couldn’t figure out how to keep it a surprise all the way and get the whole family to the ferry terminal at 7am on a weekend morning so I had to spill the beans to the hubs a few days prior. Still a surprise, right?!

It was the kids and my first visit to Batam. We arrived at the resort quite early so we whiled away our time at the Kids’ Club while waiting for our villa to be ready.

We were quite impressed with the Kids’ Club even though it is showing some signs of age. The whole building is cleverly built out of bamboo with a small pool and a decent play area for the kids.

The Deluxe 2-Bedroom Villa we stayed in blew my boys’ minds away.

We had the most gorgeous view of the sea. The villa is three-storeys high and comes with two bedrooms, a small lap pool out front and a huge tub on the second floor. ‘This is the biggest house we have ever stayed in, Mama!’, exclaimed Ryan. The house was so big I couldn’t even hear the kids when they were in another level. Not sure if that is a good thing though. I had to watch them like a hawk because of the pool out front!

(To be very honest, our stay was not all perfect. Some gripes we had: the floor was quite gritty, there were a lot of mozzies, food choices within the resort were quite limited and rather pricey and the service was a bit patchy at times. Just sharing to keep it real. Just don’t go there with sky high expectations!)

We had a very comfy stay and hardly ever left ventured out of the resort the whole 3 days.

The resort is not very big. The boys really liked being ferried around the resort in buggies (which they nicknamed ‘Zuzuzuela’ after the huge slide we tried in Sunway Lagoon).

There’s no beach to speak of (which was a bit of a let-down) but there is a long jetty that extends to the sea – I wanted to bring the boys on the banana boat but they were not very keen.

Our routine for the three days went pretty much like this: pool-bathe-breakfast-Kids’ Club-pool-bathtub-dinner-watch cartoons-sleep. The one and only time we headed out of the resort was to eat at a nearby kelong for dinner – it was cheap and good!

The highlight of the trip for hubs and I – we managed to squeeze in a body massage. I asked the hubs to go for one (since it was his birthday and I didn’t really mind not going) but he felt bad and made another booking for me after he was done. We had to take turns haha but hey that’s how it is when you have kids in tow!

On our second day, it was actually Hari Raya. We had lunch at Pantai, one of two restaurants in the resort, and the staff arranged for a birthday cake to be delivered to our table! Very nice of the staff to make the effort though they really did not have to activate so many people to sing the birthday song 😉

The boys enjoyed the stay very much. I think holidays like these which do not involve sightseeing and moving around too much are perfect for them at this age. Foops and I did manage to get some reading done, chilled at the pool and caught up on sleep so it was a good break for us too.

I think I wouldn’t mind going back again but will definitely try to get the villas at off-peak periods (and prices)!

We got back to Singapore in the evening (one day before school reopened). Met up with the grand folks for another round of cake-blowing and dinner even though we were spent from the travelling! Hope the hubs had a happy birthday. Till next year!

Father-Son Camp 2017

Earlier in May this year, Foops and Sean went for their second Father-Son camp. I was half-afraid Foops would not want to sign up again after last year’s tough experience but he did, yay!

On the whole, the hubs said the event was very well-organised (better than last year). The take-up rate was very good (many more boys from Sean’s level this year) and they even printed t-shirts for everyone.

The father-son pairs boarded a bus from school to a campsite in Kranji. They started with teambuilding activities like using rope to make a contraption to balance an egg, face-painting, walking across a balance beam.

Then they cooked their own lunch with mess tins. Sean and Papa’s carbonara pasta with hot dogs looked quite edible!

Then the groups did a little midday hike in the Kranji marshland area – it was a very hot day! Phew! (I was with the younger boys at National Gallery Biennale enjoying the nice aircon 🙂

The teams were tasked to build a little contraption using straws and plastic bag to protect their egg from a high fall. Sean reported their egg got smashed from the fall though, oops haha.

They returned to school in the evening. They had dinner (not sure BBQ or packed food, will have to ask). I am not sure what else they did at night but I did find affirmation letters that Sean and Papa wrote to each other 🙂

This year, the hubs got an air mattress from Decathlon so I think they had a very decent good night’s rest.

Next morning, they had a telematch on the field. Looked like a fun, crazy set-up. They played with Nerf guns and soccer. Picked them up smelly and sweaty so I think they had fun!

Am grateful that Sean and Papa got a special opportunity to spend a full day and a half together. Let’s hope Foops will have the energy to do this again, especially with Ryan and Jo!

Some of our favourite toys

My boys spend a lot of time playing with their toys at home.

Over the years, I have streamlined our toys and retained only those that we really like. The best toys are truly the well-made, open-ended which my boys never seem to tire of. Some do come with a hefty price tag but when I see the many hours of play my boys have gotten out of them (which translates to many hours of peace for Mama), I would say they have repaid themselves many times over!

I have shared before about 3yo Sean’s favourite toys before and it is quite heartening to see 3yo Jordan playing with the same toys (especially the wooden cooking sets and DUPLO) now.

I thought it would be interesting to share some of my boys’ favourite toys (Sean is almost 8yo, Ryan 5yo, Jo 3yo) currently:

LEGO/DUPLO

Our mega DUPLO zoo set (which Sean received for his first birthday) is still a hot favourite in our house. It is probably the one toy that is played with everyday by all three boys!

As for LEGO, the boys do have a few ‘mixed’ bins of LEGO which they play with quite regularly. Sean does enjoy playing with them but the younger two are not really into LEGO yet.

I played with LEGO as a child so I fully understand the allure 🙂

Tinkertoys

If there is one toy I like to recommend for young children, it would be Tinkertoys. They are a staple in most American households.

I got a small set for Amazon for Sean few years ago and he absolutely loved it and played with it all the time.

The plastic components are well-made, versatile and a good size for small hands. There are spools, flags, connectors, discs, end caps, rods, bendy pieces, etc. My boys like making play swords and weapons with them.

I got tired of them fighting over the pieces so I got them a jumbo set with more than enough to go around. So far, so good. Am quite surprised local toy shops don’t bring them in – they really should. They don’t cost too much on Amazon anyway.

K’Nex

K’Nex is a more grown-up version of Tinkertoys. Same concept but with smaller, more sophisticated pieces. Some of the pieces are very small so I would not recommend them if you have babies/toddlers at home!

The designs are geared towards boys, but I can’t imagine why girls shouldn’t play with them though (I wish toy manufacturers would stop making gender-specific toys)! Ryan and Sean play with them a fair bit so I would say they are good for children aged 5 and up.

Zoob

Yet another modular connector-type of toy, similar to Tinkertoys. My boys get a lot of play out of them too!

Magnatiles

Our first encounter with Magnatiles was at the now-defunct Gymnademics where Sean used to attend gym classes when he was 3-4yo.

Children and adults were drawn to the translucent magnetic tiles like bees to honey. I really wanted to get a set for a long time but held back because of its steep price tag and the fact that it was readily not available in Singapore.

We chanced upon Magnatiles again when we were in Japan last year. They were slightly cheaper because of the SGD-JPY exchange rate so we bought a few big sets at one go. It turned out to be the best investment ever because the boys play with them all the time.

My boys like to use them to make elaborate 3-D structures and homes for their Pokemons. I think it is great for developing spatial awareness in children.

If you buy it, I would recommend you buy the biggest set available (or more than one set) so there are many pieces to go around. Really a case of the more, the merrier 😉

Happy to know there are many local shops (Pupsik Studio, Playhao, Toddle) that carry Magnatiles now.

If you don’t want to spend too much, a cheaper alternative would be Magformers. We have them too but my boys still prefer Magnatiles over them.

PLUS PLUS

PLUS PLUS is a simple modular toy made in Denmark. The pieces comes in ONE shape only but with a bit of creativity, the possibilities are endless!

Personally I don’t find it all that exciting but my boys go through bouts of playing with PLUS PLUS obsessively! We have both the Mini and Midi sizes – I find the Mini pieces are too tiny for young children but the Midi ones are just right. I find that you don’t need a big set for this. A medium-sized set would suffice.

Ryan and Sean love making structures and robots and they can spend hours playing with them. I like to have a small bag of them when we travel or go on road trips because they are easy to clean up and good for keeping fiddly hands occupied!

1-2-3 Power Rangers

We chanced upon this 1-2-3 Power Rangers set in Japan. My boys couldn’t stop playing with it at the store so we bought it even though it was quite pricey (I think we paid about SGD70-90 for it but looks like it is cheaper on Amazon!).

It quickly became Ryan’s favourite toy and he played with it obsessively for months. He would play by himself muttering to the pieces for hours.

Essentially, each coloured cube can be transformed to an animal and together the cubes can be connected together in the most creative ways to form a giant Power Ranger robot. It is very sturdily-made and ingeniously designed as most Japanese toys are.

We were so impressed with it so much so that I got my sis to buy the following two sets for me (4-5-6, 7-8-9). It is one of those toys I will definitely save for the grandchildren!

Cardboard box

Last but not least, the ubiquitous cardboard box! Which other toy is free, allows you to climb into it, doodle on it and can be a cave, aeroplane, car, tent? I swear every cardboard box that comes through our door really get maxed out.

Just wanted to add this to the list to show you we are not toy snobs and that not all toys have to be expensive to be good! HAHAHA

***

That’s it for now. Will be interesting to see what how the boys’ tastes for toys change in time.

I am always on the lookout for interesting, well-designed toys with good mileage to add to our collection. Any other toys to recommend?

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post but I have included Amazon affiliate links (which just means I will earn points if you make a purchase (at no extra cost to yourself) via the links). 

Children’s Season 2017: Our Favourite Places at National Museum

How are your June holidays coming along?

It’s Children’s Season at the museums, and we went to check it out at National Museum last weekend.

Interestingly titled ‘Our Favorite Places’, the interactive children’s exhibition was adapted from  The Little Singapore Book by local authors Sim Ee Waun and Joyceline See Tully, with illustrations by Diane Ng Rose. It brings us back to what Singapore was like 50 years ago. Young explorers discover popular family hangouts in the 1970s and 1980s, as well as cultural sites and historical landmarks along the Singapore River. Parents and grandparents can take a lighthearted walkdown memory lane and relive wonderful memories of yesteryear!

My boys were very captivated The Soft Dome you won’t miss it because it is right at the entrance of the museum. The set-up was impressive and rather unexpected for a museum, I thought. We were invited to lie on the soft netting to admire the beauty of the National Museum’s iconic stained dome. My boys couldn’t contain their excitement and were clambering all over the netting, despite the minders’ repeated instructions to lie still (which is an impossible feat with my boys). Not the most children-friendly installation, I have to say!

Our next stop was Our Favourite Places Bumboat Trail at The Concourse, Level 1. Even though the significance of the installations was not immediately obvious to my boys, they certainly brought me down memory lane because they were the Singapore landmarks of my youth. Gasp, am I that old now?

The boys took a bumboat at Clifford Pier to ‘cross’ the Singapore River, crossed the Cavenagh Bridge, tried their hand at an old-school balance and sorted mail at General Post Office Building (now Fullerton Hotel). They even put up a puppet show at the Old Parliament Building!

Look who was at the basement? It’s The Giant (by Jean Jullien, France). Shh, don’t wake him! The boys had fun doodling on the tall sleeping blue giant and… err, shouting in his ear to wake him up!

Then there’s Our Favourite Places – Trolley Bus and Trishaw Trails on the Glass Atrium on Level 2.

I thought the concrete wall of glass bottles containing scents of all sorts was very cool! We got a whiff of a couple – Jo wasn’t too enthusiastic and ran away after he smelled one (I think it was ginger, haha)!

Quite a lot of fun interactive stops here. You could reach into earthen jars for old-school memoribilia like wooden clogs and Chinese drums, feel the textures of embroidered cloth used to make saris, hide in a tent on East Coast, take a whiff of spices and pose for a pic in a teacup ride or at the dragon playground.

There were two colouring stations too – too bad my boys had no patience to design their own Peranakan tiles or houses.

It was obvious a lot of thought had gone into the activities to truly make them fun for children!

We also managed to catch a few short animated films in the Young Cinema which is screened at 10-12pm and 2-4pm over the weekends in June. Snacks were provided too!

It was hardly crowded when we were there on a Sunday morning. Overall, I personally found the exhibits a bit underwhelming this year but I think you would appreciate them if you like low-key exhibits or with young children. Worth spending a few hours there!

Whilst we were there, we also checked out Story of the Forest, an immersive installation based on William Farquhar Collection of Natural History Drawings exploring the intriguing relationship between man and nature. The boys had fun running down the spiral walkway and pointing out the many animals on the screen.

Children’s Season runs at National Museum from now till 30 Jul 2017. There are also storytelling sessions and workshops – you can check out the details here.

Arty fun at Faber-Castell Art Festival

The school holidays are here!

We had the best time today attending the inaugural Faber-Castell Art Festival at Marina Square Central Atrium.

Taking place from now till 4 Jun 2017, the Faber-Castell Art Festival welcomes everyone to be inspired by the possibilities of art in its many facets, and even try their hand at creating a form of art.

We took part in the Colouring Competition (Family Category) today. The boys were very enthusiastic about it and they really coloured their little hearts out. The Faber Castell colouring pencils and markers were lovely to use 🙂

My mum and I had to come in at the end to help the boys finish up because colouring is tiring business! And err, one of us even fell asleep halfway. No worries, Grandma to the rescue! HAHAHA! How do you like our psychedelic rainbow-coloured Singapore skyline?

Okay we didn’t win any prizes – there were many really beautiful pieces around us! – but it was a fun experience for us!

(Psst. There will be another Colouring Competition (Individual Category) on 3rd June 2017 1130am. Details below.)

There are many art-related activities happening around the atrium so it was quite fun to walk around. Lots of Faber-Castell products (such as stationery, colouring books, colour pencils, markers, paint, goodie bag fillers) on sale too!

There are also many creative workshops by local and overseas artists encompassing a wide range of genres from brush lettering, watercolour painting, fashion illustration to botanical illustration:

  • Art Experiences with The Lettering Workbook, Singapore

Taught by Kai Yun, these fun and breezy workshops encompass a variety of styles and media. Brush Lettering and Watercolor workshops are priced at $85 each, with a special price of $150 if participants sign up for both. Sticker making is priced at $50 per person.

Brush Lettering

  • 27 May, 1.30pm – 3pm
  • 28 May, 4.30pm – 5.30pm
  • 4 June, 5.30pm – 7pm

Watercolour Floral Wreath

  • 27 May, 4.30pm – 6pm
  • 28 May, 7.30pm – 9pm
  • 3 June, 11am – 1pm

Watercolour Lettering

  • 27 May, 6.30pm – 8pm
  • 28 May, 6pm – 7.30pm
  • 4 June, 7pm – 8.30pm

Sticker Making

  • 28 May, 3.30pm – 4.30pm
  • 4 June, 4.30pm – 5.30pm
  • Fashion Illustration with Clayrene, Singapore

28 May, Sunday, 1pm to 3pm, $130 per person

In this exclusive session, the artist will be using Faber-Castell’s watercolour pencils and nail polish. http://www.artclaytion.com | @artclaytion

  • Colour Pencil Illustration with Tiffany Yao, Singapore

28 May, Sunday, 11am to 1pm, $30 per person

For this workshop, the artist will be working around the subject of ‘Cupcake Fantasy’, allowing participants to learn basic drawing and colouring skills, while letting their creativity go wild as they decorate the pastry of their dreams.

  • Creative Journaling with Abbey Sy, Philippines

4 June, Sunday 1 to 4pm, $120 per person

  • Floral & Foliage Illustration & Mixed Media Workshop with Lucinda Law, Brand Ambassador of Faber-Castell, Singapore

4 June, Sunday, 10.30am to 12.30pm, $85 per person

Free Activities

  • Family Bonding Art Competition with Hans Art

 3 June, Saturday 11.30am

Free to enter (with any purchase of colouring materials), contestants with the use of Faber-Castell products will engage in a friendly competition to create a unique masterpiece in a bid to win attractive prizes. Participants who pre-register at workshops@faber-castell.com.sg will receive extra perks.

  • Badge Making with Puffingmuffin

From 28 May to 4 June, the public can design their own badge with any purchase of $30 and above in a single receipt.

  • Creative Mind Mapping by Mr Thum Cheng Cheong

28 May, Sunday, 11am to 1pm

Using the brand’s versatile PITT Artist Pens, the public will be treated to a demonstration of how to represent ideas and concepts in a ‘mind map’.

The Faber-Castell Art Festival runs from now till 4 Jun 2017 at Marina Square Atrium. Lots of arty fun for the whole family!

The inaugural Children’s Biennale at National Gallery

The first ever Children’s Biennale at National Gallery opens today! It runs from now till 08 October 2017.

Themed Dreams and Stories, the festival offers a wide array of interactive art showcases specially created by local and regional artists for the Children’s Biennale, as well as performances and activities curated for children and the young at heart.

We spent a good few hours checking out the many art installations today, and didn’t even manage to cover everything!

 

From Rochor to Kallang (by local artist Vincent Leow) was inspired by the impending demolition of the iconic Rochor Centre, one of Singapore’s first public housing estates. A majority of the estate’s residents have been relocated and now live in Kallang. The artist created this work in response to ideas of moving, migration and relocation.

We had lots of fun peering into the small wooden bird traps. There were odd little trinkets inside like small animals like birds or rabbits, eggs or aeroplanes – with accompanying sound effects too!

Being Yourself features a selection of Chng Seok Tin’s artworks, recreated as beautiful textured woodcuts. Despite suffering a tragic near complete loss of vision, the artist learnt new life skills and continued to pursue art with courage and purpose.

Each of the woodcuts represents a significant moment in the artist’s life. I thought it was quite impressive how the emotions such as joy, anger, despair, hope and strength really came through. The boys had fun making prints of the woodcuts which made nice little momentos to bring home!

Firewalk: A Bridge of Embers by Mark Justiani (Philippines) was definitely one of the most show-stopping immersive display at the Biennale. You must not miss it!

The 12-meter-long bridge beckons you to take a dreamlike walk through infinity, and peer into the excavations of the former Supreme Court building. The work creates an illusion of depth, depicting an archeological site that stretches endlessly into the ground. Objects that could have been once treasured––toys, books, building blocks and letters––can be found within it.

It was truly quite a terrifying experience walking on the glass bridge whilst peering down into a seemingly bottomless abyss. You may want to stay away though if you are afraid of heights! I thought the artwork was beautifully executed – it will definitely stay with me for a long time!
The Obliteration Room by world renowned artist Yayoi Kusama was a hot favourite.

When Yayoi Kusama was a small girl, she started seeing the world through a screen of tiny dots. They covered everything she saw—the walls, ceilings, and even her own body. For 40 years she has made paintings, sculptures and photographs using dots to cover surfaces and fill rooms. Kusama calls this process ‘obliteration’, which means the complete destruction of every trace of something.

Super fun for the boys to go around covering all the white furniture and walls with bright colourful dots. Today the room was still largely white – I can’t wait to see what the room would look like over time!

Tibetan Buddhist nun Pema Chödrön once said, ‘Stop waiting for some idealised moment when everything is simple and secure.’ Instead, we should try to be fully present in each moment. Duplet by Lynn Lu is a cute art installation inspired by this very idea.

We sat huddled together with our heads in the clouds quite literally, and listened to a series of questions which we would try to answer simultaneously. A thought-provoking performance art piece about being present in the moment.

This Changed My Life by Lynn Lu was inspired by the book, Invisible Cities, by Italo Calvino where a nomadic community remembers important events in their lives by stretching strings across their rooms.

For this participatory art work, we were encouraged to pen down a wish or significant event in our lives on a piece of ribbon and stretch it across the room to form a collective web of stories.

We did not manage to see The Sonnet in BlueRock & Sphere and Homegenising and Transforming the World – we must go back again!

But we did manage to see a few more exhibits around the Gallery which were not part of the Biennale but really fun too!

The Blue Who Swims All The Way (by Betty Susiarjo) at the project gallery at Keppel Centre for Art Education is a mesmerising underwater wonderland of soft sculptures. So much to like about this place – the giant bobbling ‘sea creatures’, the cosy wooden alcoves, the stunning detail of the tapestry that adorned the walls, the adorable ‘pebble’ stools that my boys wouldn’t stop bouncing on (I really wanted to bring them home!). Possibly one of my fave exhibits of the day!

We also explored print-making at the Keppel Centre for Art Education. The boys went round stamping scenes on their paper and using rubber stamps to add details like birds and people. Very fun and interesting!

Overall, I was very impressed by the wide variety and high quality of the exhibits of the inaugural Children’s Biennale at National Gallery. The wonderful thing is, the place is huge so the crowd is really spread out. Be prepared to spend at least half a day there. There are workshops you can sign up for as well. It runs from now till 8 Oct 2017- don’t miss it! 

Singapore Repertory Theatre presents 小红帽 (Red Riding Hood)

We have been huge fans of Singapore Repertory Theatre’s The Little Company’s top-notch plays such as Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Charlotte’s Web and the most recent Peter Rabbit.

We are delighted to hear that come July this year, The Little Company will be presenting 小红帽 (Red Riding Hood) in Mandarin

小红帽 (Red Riding Hood) is an uplifting story about a brave girl named Red who must journey through the forest to reunite her family and save Mother’s bakery from closing down.

Will she reach Grandma’s house in time? Or will the charming Big Bad Wolf distract her from her quest? Join Red on her adventure into the woods, where no one is what they seem!

Filled with humour and packed with original music, this is a fantastic show to be enjoyed by children and adults of all ages.

简介

成功呈献备受好评的英语制作之后,新加坡专业剧场旗下的小剧团继而推出音乐剧《小红帽》的华语版。在这激励人心的故事里,一个名叫小红的女孩勇敢地走进森林里,她想要一家团聚,也同时希望能解救母亲的蛋糕店生意。

她能及时到达老奶奶的家吗?她会被大灰狼诱骗而无法完成任务吗?让我们跟随小红走一趟森林冒险之旅,用眼睛发现一个非一般的世界吧!

幽默有趣的精彩剧情、悦耳动听的原创音乐,这部老少咸宜的儿童音乐剧肯定能让你放声大笑、乐不可支。

Here’s a trailer of the show:

 

The show is recommended for children aged 5 and above.

DATES: 20 July (Thu) – 1 Sep 2017 (Fri),  Weekdays : 10am, Weekends & Public Holiday : 11am & 2pm

PRICES: From $25 – excluding SISTIC fee

VENUE: KC Arts Centre – Home of SRT, 20 Merbau Road

TICKETS: SISTIC at 6348 5555 or www.sistic.com.sg (Please refer to www.sistic.com.sg for more information about Group discounts/ Family Packages available.)

Giveaway!

Good news – I have one Family Package (4 tickets) to SRT’s 小红帽 (Red Riding Hood) on 29 July 2017, Saturday, 11am up for grabs. Please make sure you can make it for the show before you join the giveaway.

To participate, all you have to do is:

1) Visit both the Olimomok and Singapore Repertory Theatre Facebook pages. (It will be good if you could ‘like’ the pages as well).

Optional entries:

2) Leave me a blog post comment telling me why you want to watch the show. Don’t forget to leave your name and email.

3) ‘Like’ my Facebook post on SRT’s 小红帽 (Red Riding Hood), tag 3 friends and leave me a comment telling me who you would bring to the show if you win the tickets.

4) Add me (‘Olimomok’) on Instagram and tag 3 friends in my Red Riding Hood giveaway Instagram post.

Then complete the steps in the following Red Riding Hood raffle by 28 May 2017 (Sunday) end of day (Singapore time). This giveaway is open to Singapore residents only. (This giveaway is in no way affiliated or endorsed by Facebook or Instagram.)

Looks like a show my boys would enjoy! Hope to see you there!

Making Mother’s Day clay pottery at Da Vinci Group

Last weekend, I went for a lovely Mother’s Day date with Ryan and Jo (while Sean was at a soccer tournament).

We were going to make a special clay creation at the cozy studio space of Da Vinci Group– I think I was more excited than they were!

A bit of background first. Started in 2012,Da Vinci Group is an education enterprise that combines the ​collective specialties of neuroscience, psychology, cognitive science, arts, and education to revolutionise conventional teaching and learning methodologies.

One of their pioneering programmes is NeuroCeramics™ where pottery is used as a hands-on platform to engage children and stimulate creative expression. It is something I believe in too – that children actually learn best when they are actively involved in an activity and using their hands.

To start off, we were given small blobs of lead-and-toxin free clay to play with. The boys held them gingerly in their hands slowly getting themselves with the weight and texture of the clay.   They described it as cold, sticky, heavy… then they proceeded to roll/squish/prod/flatten/pinch/poke the clay. As you do 😉

Since it was Mother’s Day weekend, we were asked what our happiest memory with our mother/child was and to make something to represent that memory.

Ryan said he liked to play soccer so he made a soccer ball. Jo flattened his lump of clay and drew a face with the satay stick and declared that it was ‘Mama!’ so I guess he is happy being with Mama 🙂 I made a rainbow because just being with my boys made me happy.

Founder Amu then taught us how to make a clay dish. Ryan shaped our clay into a round bowl shape adeptly and since Jo liked drawing faces, I rolled for him small balls of clay for him to draw our family of five. How’s that for teamwork? Ta-da, our family smiley face clay bowl!

Our bowl will be glazed and fired up in the kiln at 1200 degrees Celsius for a few days. Can’t wait to get it back!

It was wonderful looking around the room to see the other mother-child pairs working together to create something beautiful – there were rectangular trays, tea-cups, dishes, etc., all with lovely personalised touches!

My boys enjoyed working with their hands, as did I. I also really appreciated that the session was short and sweet, just right for my fidgety boys! I don’t often spend enough time crafting and chatting with my boys so this was a really sweet and meaningful way to spend Mother’s Day with them.

***

If you are keen to try out clay pottery, you can check out the following programmes:

  1. June holidays Da Vinci Group In-house Workshops for Kids ($100, minimum 2 sessions from dates below)

For 2 hours everyday, your child will experience fun in learning through DVG’s highly acclaimed NeuroCeramics® and NeuroTheatre® Programmes. While discovering new content in our classes, your kid will work with clay to mould their creations. Thereafter, using stories, drama, movement, and music, they will be exposed to embodied learning, which will show them how to take ownership as storytellers, and cultivate their creativity and divergent thinking. You can sign up here. Quote ‘OLIMOMOK’ for 10% discount, offer valid till 31 May 2016.

PS. There are also June holiday programmes at Trehaus CoWork at Claymore Connect, BibiNogs at Kings Arcade and Brick4kidz at Turf Club – get in touch with them to find out more!

Dates/Time:

Week 1: 29th, 31st May, 1st, 2nd June 2017: 3pm to 5pm

Week 2: 5th, 6th, 8th June: 10am to 12pm OR 3pm to 5pm

Week 3: 12th, 13th, 14th ,15th June: 10am to 12pm OR 3pm to 5pm

Week 4: 20th, 21st, 22nd, 23rd June 2017 – 3pm to 5pm

2. Dragon Kiln Tour ($90 for 1 Parent and 1 Child aged 2 and up)

Hop on our Dragon Kiln Tours this May and June as we bring you through the history and heritage of one of the oldest surviving brick-built kilns in Singapore. You and your child will be introduced to clay, ceramics, and the firing process in the two hour session. 

You and the little ones will also have a hands-on free play session where you will both get the opportunity to touch, feel, explore and appreciate the clay medium. To conclude the tour, you will each paint your very own ceramic coaster using underglaze.

**Minimum 20 people a session for the tour to start.

Choose from the following dates:

16, 19, 23 May, 5, 6, 8, 23 June: 1030 to 1230am

19, 30 May, 8, 12, 23 June: 230pm to 430pm

3. You can also try the KlayKit® (retail price is $180), an educational revolution in a box. The KlayKit® takes discovery with clay to the next stage, through practising Neuroeducation at home (or anywhere you choose to go). Retail price is $180, with 4 activities inside. Once again, key in discount code ‘MOM&I’ to get 10% discount. Valid until 31 May 2017.

Jo’s first school excursion

I joined Jo recently on his first ever school excursion.

I wasn’t actually planning to go, because I wanted to save my leave for ‘more important’ things like holidays but then again, I thought this was probably the last time I could legitimately join my last baby on a school trip. Sniff.

Jo was super happy to hold my hand, sit next to me and take the bus together. He had this slightly bewildered look the whole time – like he couldn’t believe I was there in school with him! Just him! Poor third child of mine – you really do get very little one-on-one time with me!

We headed to Toa Payoh Amaze for the morning. Indoor playgrounds are not my cup of tea. Very physically challenging to run with him through the made-for-children-not-adults rabbit warren of tubes/slides/tunnels. I gave up following him after a while. He was fine on his own anyway, and it was really nice to see him play with his teachers and little friends. Made me realise I don’t see him enough in school 🙁

Few funny observations of the day: As Jo is enrolled in an all-Chinese program, I realised he would call his beloved Lao Shi all the time to get her attention or show her something cool but then he’d just stop there because he didn’t know how to articulate what he wanted to say in Chinese. He also could not tell me any of his friends’ names, even though most of them could call him by his name. He is quite the popular boy in his class – I think because he is quite playful and chatty. His teacher also pointed out to me the girl he is always with – I was like, huh, what girl? How come he never tells me anything from school? 😉

The children had Macs for lunch and then we called it a day. And we boarded the bus back to school. I had a lovely morning – just my baby boy and I.