Friday, August 29, 2014

Foodie Fridays - Sweet & Bitter Almond, Red Dates and Pumpkin Soup

We love to drink soup, from the simple mixed vegetable soup to herbal soup, any type of soup coz we gotta have soup at dinner time.  Today I am sharing with you a nourishing soup that only requires 4 ingredients which you can grab at any supermarket.  The recipe calls for different amount of sweet & bitter almond but because I bought premixed package so I simply just put 3 tablespoon of it into the soup.


If you are cooking over the stove in a stew pot than you have to boil it for about 4 hours. For me, I made this the night before using my thermal pot.  The next afternoon DinoPapa cook a simple lunch for himself and had it with the soup.

While boiling the ingredients, my nose was being overpowered by the sweetness smell from the red dates, I thought perhaps I had put in too many and the soup will probably turn out to be too sweet.  When I drank it later there were no strong red dates sweetness, instead there is the sweetness from the pumpkin with a little hint of almond, it is quite tasty actually.


Why is it a nourishing soup?
So, what's so nourishing about this soup other than perhaps the pumpkin which aids in bowel movement?

Thursday, August 28, 2014

DinoFamily's September 2014 Term Holiday Fun

A few days ago DinoBoy said in a somewhat sad tone "This September there will be nothing for me because I have to go to XXX (student care's name)."  Little did he know that this Mama has lined up some weekend fun activities for him to enjoy.  Why ONLY the weekends you asked?  Sadly, this Mama is unable to take leave for the whole week or even a few days because this Mama does not have too many annual leave left *sigh*  So, we shall make the most out of weekend and have an enormous time enjoying it.  Here is what I have planned for us~

Fun-cation @ United Square
We are fans of Geronimo Stilton, so how can we miss the FIRST live show in town?!!!  Can you hear us squealing and screaming with excitement???  We are getting ready for some cheddarfic action with Geronimo Stilton at United Square.

Kids can look forward to an engaging mousey adventure filled with games, dance, songs and a whole lot of fun! Get your paws ready to tap and clap along!

OMG!  Meet & Greet sessions, FOC too!  We must not miss this!!  We'll just have to queue to get a Meet & Greet pass 1 hour before each show, only the first 50 families will get to Meet & Greet Geronimo, Thea, Trap & Benjamin Stilton after the show.

Catch Geronimo Stilton ‘Live’ Shows / Meet and Greet!
Show Dates : 03 to 15 September 2014
Show Time : Mondays to Fridays 2pm and 7pm
Weekends : 2pm, 5pm and 7pm
No shows on 9 Sept, Tuesday.
Show Venue : Atrium, Bastment 1

Total Turtle Takeover at City Square Mall!
Are you a Cowabunga!!! fan too?  This September, be prepared to meet the familiar heroes in a half shell – the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! The exciting Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ’Live’ On Stage will take place during the September school holidays at Singapore’s first eco-mall, City Square Mall. 

Look forward to meeting the Turtles – Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello and Michelangelo – join in the action as they share some tips they have learnt from Master Splinter.

Gosh another Meet & Greet session not to be missed!  There are 50 Meet & Greet passes to be redeemed, join the queue with your minimum spending of $50* receipt 1 hour before each show to get a pass.

If you are catching the "Live" show anytime from 05 to 14 September, stay back for the Turtles TV Nights and watch episodes from season 2 of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles at B1 Fountain Square from 8pm to 9pm for free. There are also wide range of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Nickelodeon merchandise for sale from 08 to 14 September 2014

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ‘Live’ Shows / Meet and Greet!
Show Dates : 06 to 14 September 2014
Show Time : Mondays to Fridays: 2pm & 7pm
Sat & Sun: 1pm, 4pm & 7pm
Show Venue : Level 1 Atrium, City Square Mall

3D Turtles Floor Art: Snap & Win!
This, we are definitely NOT going to miss it!  A unique Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3D Floor Art, shown for the first time and exclusively at City Square Mall.

Find the 3D Turtle Floor Art at L1 Atrium, strike a pose and share your photo on Instagram with the hashtag #TurtlesAtCitySqMall and stand to win $50 worth of Metro vouchers! Only 20 winners will be selected, based on the creativity of your photo and the number of likes garnered.  Contest runs from 21 August to 14 September * Instagram accounts have to be public to qualify. Other Terms & Conditions apply.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Once is NEVER enough on the Skyline Luge Sentosa

When I received the media invite to the Skyline Luge Sentosa I was excited because I know DinoBoy will enjoy this but at the same time I was scared.  I am not a fan of height, especially those that mean I am hanging high up in the air with nothing to hold on for my life.  Regardless, I still went ahead to confirm our attendance because to see my son happy and have a chance to experience something new & dangerous is more important than my little fear or phobia. 

Frankly, taking the Skyline ride for the first time, I was petrified!!!  Sitting strapped down by a safety bar on a chair that hangs on the cable by a small "metal thing"and moves slower than a snail uphill with the feet dangling below was way too much for me to handle.  The noise made by 2 Luge karts hanging below our chair is affecting me too, I tried to distract myself by chatting with Adora and taking photos.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Finding Fuzzy: A "You-Decide Tale" of a Lost Friend (Sweet T Tales) - Book Blast & Giveaway

About the Book

Title: Finding Fuzzy: A "You-Decide Tale" of a Lost Friend (Sweet T Tales) 
Author: Cat Michaels 
Illustrator: Irene A. Jahns 
Publication Date: March 26, 2014 
Publisher: 2101 Ink 
Pages: 44 
Recommended Ages: 5 to 10 
Reviewed by: Renee (Mother)
Summary: Illustrated chapter book for early readers (Gr. K-3)

Blue sky ...

Warm sea ...

Sugar-sand beach ...

The perfect family vacation on the Carolina coast ...

Except the trip takes a nosedive when Jenna loses Fuzzy, her plush blue rabbit pal. Jenna learns to carry on without him. But when she stumbles across a secret, she faces the toughest decision of her young life. And YOU, the reader, will help her make that choice and come up with the ending of this You-Decide tale. Don't worry. Cat shows you how in her book and on her website.

So, slip on your flip-flops and join Jenna at the shore. It's time to decide YOUR ending for Finding Fuzzy.

Caution: Irene A. Jahn's ocean-themed watercolors have been known to cause beach fever.
"Finding Fuzzy" placed second in the Purple Dragonfly Writing contest, a national contest for children's book authors, in the category of chapter books.


Book Preview



Purchase


The Buzz About the Book

"Finding Fuzzy is an early chapter book featuring the opportunity for children to create their own ending to a sweet, summertime story. The main character, Jenna, has a decision to make when she discovers that her beloved stuffed bunny she had lost is now being used to protect a litter of kittens. After weighing out all of the possible outcomes, it is up to the reader to decide what happens next in the story. I thought this was a unique concept that will interest children, especially ones who are interested in writing their own stories (like my daughter!). I recommend this book to parents, homeschoolers, and teachers with children between the ages of 5 and 10." ~ Renee @ Mother Daughter Book Reviews

"The story is sweet, and suitable for all children. The book is set up to get kids to think and discuss what they would do in a certain situation--in this case, giving up a precious friend (the stuffed bunny.) I could see using this in either a classroom setting or as a bedtime story. The watercolor illustrations really capture a beachy mood and create a great visual for kids as well.. " ~ 5 Star Review, Nikki B., Goodreads

"Cat Michaels has put young readers in a position to solve the dilemma. Readers must brainstorm and utilize their critical thinking skills to write the ending to Jenna's story. This quick to read chapter book has small colorful illustrations that help readers imagine the beach. Readers will also find that the author has created a world where they use all five senses. The back of the book has tips for parents and teachers to help their readers.. " ~ 5 Star Review, Kristi B., Goodreads

"This is a book with a difference. The space where the ending should be is blank, leaving readers with the opportunity to take a far more pro-active role in the unfolding of the story. It's time to get creative. It's time to give the story your own ending! There's room for a picture as well, so the budding author can test out their illustration skills too!" ~ 5 Star Review, Peachy Emma, Amazon

"The genius here is that Cat has picked the perfect storyline to make your would be writers put themselves into Jenna’s shoes and truly understand how she feels.It’s the stuffed animal, every child has one and every child is very attached to it. This is a great book for it's educational value as far as letting the kids use their imagination to come up with their own conclusion. ----5 stars for this one!" ~ Bookroom Reviews, Amazon

About the Author

CAT MICHAELS started writing stories in fourth grade and hasn’t stopped since. After earning an M.S. degree in special education from the University of Kansas, she spent two decades helping students from kindergarten to college reach their potential.

She also managed communication and resource development programs for an international high-tech company that included writing press releases and articles for trade journals. After recession and downsizings, she returned to her education roots, serving at a community college as a writing coach and learning specialist for students with Asperger’s syndrome and learning disabilities.

Cat spins tales of everyday life, with a twist of magic or twinge of mystery, that open young minds to new ways of thinking and looking at the world. Illustrations by watercolor artist Irene A. Jahns help bring that world to life. Cat and her family live in North Carolina where she designs playful gardens, dabbles in all things digital, and writes.

* Download free pdf of chapter 1 and You-Decide pages by visiting http://www.catmichaelswriter.com/finding-fuzzy-a-you-decide-tale-of-a-lost-friend.html *


FREE Short Story Offer

Subscribe by email to Cat's Connections to receive updates, special offers, and to be among the first to hear about new releases by Cat Michaels. PLUS, when you sign up, you will receive a short story penned just for adults, Driving Down to Dillon: A Very-Short Story of Love and New Beginnings by Cat Michaels. Click on the cover below to subscribe to Cat's Connections.

PLUS... email subscribers to Cat's Connections will also receive 5 extra in the giveaway below.

Driving to Dillon by Cat Michaels

* Giveaway *


Prize: One winner will receive a $30 Amazon gift card or PayPal cash prize
Contest ends: September 19, 11:59 pm, 2014
Open: Internationally
How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.
Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. One winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If a winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the author, Cat Michaels and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com.

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Friday, August 22, 2014

Foodie Fridays - Simple Almond Butter Cake

I have not been baking since I don't know when, so last weekend I decided that I will TRY to bake something because I think my flour and ingredients are going to be expired soon (after checking, they are not).  I flipped through my many cake books and finally decided to bake an almond cake since I have all the ingredients except for milk.

That Sunday I accomplished so much that I am so proud of myself.  In the morning I went to NTUC to gather the ingredients. I baked AND cooked a 3 dish + 1 soup dinner for us and my sis' family.  This almond cake recipe is so easy and simple that I could start the preparation while watching my soup boiling on the stove.



The last time I baked this cake I put too little almond flakes on top so this time I make sure that they cover every corner of the batter.  When I open my oven to remove the cake the aroma of baked almond flakes fills my kitchen, it makes me want to cut a slice to enjoy with my cuppa.

I always have difficulty in storing my cakes because the containers I have are either too small or too big.  I managed to find this rectangle box from Daiso with the right size and height plus the cover is in my favourite color, best part is that it cost only $2, it does not matter that the box is not air-tight since it will be consumed within the next 2 days.  Now perhaps this will make me bake more cakes in the near future.

Till my next bake post, hope you will try your hands in making this simple almond butter cake.

Almond Butter Cake

by Jennifer Lim
Prep Time: 30mins
Cook Time: 40mins
Keywords: bake dessert nuts cake
Ingredients (10-12 slices)
*140g self raising flour
*140g castor sugar
*50g milk
*2 eggs
*150g butter, soften
*50g ground almond
*Some almond flakes

Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 170°C. Grease and line an 8x3x3 inche loaf pan with baking paper.
2. Sieve the self raising flour and ground almond (optional), set aside.
3. Using an electric mixer, cream butter & caster sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy.
4. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mix to combine.
5. Add milk, mix to combine.
6. Add the flour & ground almond 1/3 at a time. Mix to combine.
7. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 40mins.
8. Remove from oven and let it cool on a wired rack for about 10mins.
9. Remove cake from the pan and let it cool down completely before storing.

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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Karmack - Book Blast & Giveaway

About the Book


Title: Karmack
Author: J.C. Whyte
Publication Date: June 6, 2013
Publisher: Muse it Up Publishing
Pages: 140
Recommended Age: 7+
Summary: A strange little creature enters the lives of three tough guys at Higgins Elementary. And from that point on, pranks come back like boomerangs, smacking the bullies right in their fifth grade butts!

Sully, the leader of the gang, is the only one who can see this creature, which he names Karmack. Sully learns that the creature’s job is to balance all the bad pranks the bullies have pulled over the years. Karmack warns that if this fails, “dreadful, awful doom” awaits them all.

Sully soon realizes that he must save not only himself but his friends, who have no idea why they keep getting boomeranged by Karmack!

"Karmack" won First Place in the 2014 Purple Dragonfly Writing contest, a national contest for children's book authors, in the category of chapter books (e-Books).


Purchase the Book


The Buzz About the Book

"Karmack is a well-written, middle grade book tackling the difficult topic of bullying from the perspective of the bully. The character development is absolutely brilliant as the reader witnesses the transformation of Sully from an aggressive, angry bully to a positive role model and respected leader among his peers. While the concept of karma is not for everyone, I found myself agreeing with the main message of how our actions have consequences, intended or otherwise. I would recommend this book to middle grade classrooms as a great book to generate discussion around bullying." ~ Renee @ Mother Daughter Book Reviews

"A wonderful story about growing up and treating others with respect, Karmack is well paced, funny, and manages to teach important lessons without coming off preachy." ~ Jess W., Amazon

"A fun read with important lessons for us all about Karma, and why bullies have more to balance than most people. Great for ages 9 up, child centered, non-preachy, action packed, great classroom read aloud." ~ Carolyn W., Amazon

"What an AMAZINGLY FUN story! EVERYONE needs to read it! Full of FUN, FANTASY, and FANTASTIC REVENGE on a bully! Fun for ALL ages!" ~ Shauna W., Amazon

"Karmack is a captivating pre-teen fantasy and author J.C. Whyte has created a strong cast of characters that are well developed and quite likable. As the story progresses, the suspense builds to a delightful outcome that is sure to keep readers anticipating Whyte's next round of literary treasures. We look forward to seeing more from this author." ~ Literary Classics Book Review, Amazon

About The Author


When J.C. Whyte was eleven, her 6th grade teacher gave a class assignment to write a poem about a sport. Realizing her classmates would probably choose popular American sports like baseball or football, J.C. decided to write about something different: golf. And to her complete surprise, the teacher found it comical; she was thereby encouraged to keep writing.

Then over summer break, students were told to choose 26 books from a reading list and write a book report on each. J.C. was horrified! She wanted to enjoy her summer, not spend it reading! You see, J.C. was a very slow reader and didn’t much enjoy the experience. Plus, kids back then didn’t have all the fun books to choose from today. But that same teacher who had assigned the sports poem told J.C.’s mother she could write 26 stories instead of reading them. That was absolute genius! Although she didn’t actually write 26 stories (perhaps six?), J.C. submitted one which made her teacher laugh out loud in class. And she got an “A” on her summer reading assignment. J.C. has never forgotten that wise teacher who let her play to her strengths.

So from the age of eleven, J.C. knew she wanted to be a writer. Yet by the time she reached college, she understood that writing stories seldom paid the bills. So she got her degrees in Journalism and Communications Management. Then for many years she channeled her creative energies in the field of Public Relations.

Marriage, kids, and several more degrees and occupations later (including stints as a travel agent and paralegal), J.C. entered law school – mostly for the challenge of writing creative arguments for the court. But while in law school, she became a columnist for the student newsletter, writing humorous pieces on the strange and quirky life of a law student. She was absolutely thrilled when one of these articles was chosen for publication in The National Jurist, a magazine distributed to law students throughout the US.

But after graduating and passing the Bar, J.C. realized within a few years that creative writing was still what made her heart sing. So now, as a grandma, she’s returned to writing. And with publication of her middle grade novel Karmack, she’s come full circle, back to where her writing journey began.


* Book Blast Giveaway *


Prize: One winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card or PayPal cash prize
Contest ends: September 18, 11:59 pm, 2014
Open: Internationally
How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.
Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. One winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If a winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the author, J.C. Whyte and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Lost (and Found) Balloon - Book Review & Giveaway

In celebration of my birth month, I am lining up a few giveaways to my readers, since the DinoFamily love books, it is a MUST that we have a children's book giveaway!  I went through our mini library and decided on The Lost (and Found) Balloon book by Celeste Jenkins.  I won this autographed book in a giveaway last year and it's seems right to bless another child through a giveaway too.



Title : The Lost (and Found) Balloon
Author : Celeste Jenkins
Illustrator : Maria Bogade
Recommended age : 4 to 8
Number of pages: 32
Publisher : Aladdin
Publication date : 01 July 2013
Summary : Where do balloons go when you let them loose? Find out in this whimsical, imaginative tale, winner of the General Mills Spoonful of Stories contest. Molly O'Doon ties a note to her red balloon, lets it loose, and off it goes on a buoyant adventure. Who will answer Molly's letter? Someone in a different state or a faraway country? Or maybe, a new friend much closer than she could ever imagine. "The Lost (and Found) Balloon" is the winner of the 5th annual Cheerios(R) New Author Contest. Selected from more than 8,000 entries by a team of editors, teachers, librarians, and General Mills staff, "The Lost (and Found) Balloon "will also appear in a bilingual (English/Spanish) mini-paperback edition in 1.5 million specially marked boxes of Cheerios.


Purchase


My Review

I have always like books with rhyming words and this book tells a story using rhyming couplets which I absolutely love it!  Incidentally since I was a little girl I have always wondered what really happened to balloons that broke free from the kids' hands and floated away into the sky?  I used to think that they will be floating up there forever and ever, or landing in another place where some other kids will pick them up and bring it home.  

The Lost (and Found) Balloon tells a story of a little girl who decided to let go a big red balloon into the sky with a little note attached to it.  Where will the balloon go?  Who will find it?  A beautiful story that started off innocently and ended up with 2 kids being acquainted in an unconventional way.  I wonder why I never thought of attaching a note to my balloon and setting free to find a new friend?

Being a visual creature I always take extra time to study the illustrations of any children books that I have a chance to read and review.  I think Maria Bogade has cleverly if not creatively brings out the main & important character in each page.  Look at the following sample pages and see if you agree with me.  The clean and simple illustrations definitely earns a thumbs up for me. 



Giveaway Details

Prize : An autographed The Lost (and Found) Balloon book
Contest Ends : 28 August 2014
Open : International
How to Enter : Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below
Terms & Condition :
- Winner will be picked randomly by Rafflecopter widget.
- Winner will be contacted via email within 48 hours of the giveaway ends.
- The winner will have 72 hours to respond to email, failure to do so will mean that a new winner will be picked.
- Prize will be mailed out by normal mail for local winner and registered mail for overseas winner.

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