Thursday, November 16, 2017

My Super Fun Play Book

Before the phone comes games or got smarter, before tablet were born, or even TV has got so many programs for the kids, there were other stuffs to keep the kids busy and occupy so that they do not come up to Mums and whine "I'm bored!"


One of the favourite thing that Mums of not-so-long-ago likes to give toddlers or young children are lapbooks; some know it as quiet book or busy book, whatever the name the book is to keep the little hands and fingers busy.  Keep those busy hands busy? With what?  Read on to find out more!

I received this gorgeous My Super Fun Play Book (Retail Price USD58.00) from Smart Mama, I said it is gorgeous before I even open the play book because the cute flowers, butterflies, star and cars, the vibrate color makes me feel happy just by looking at it.


This play book comes in a plastic carrier which makes bringing them around a breeze, it is lightweight so the younger children can carry the play book themselves while on road trip or plane ride. 

When I opened the book I was awed!  I can't keep my hands off it as every activities looks so interesting to play or fiddle with.  There are 12 pages to the play book and each page is exquisitely designed and made.  

This is because they are hand stitched by the underprivileged women in Philippines, the play book also goes through stringent tests and conforms to the European standards of EN 71 and ISO 8124, we can be sure that the play book is safe for the kids to play with.








My Super Fun Play Book has also won a 2017 Tillywig Brain Child Award. Check out the review here to see what the experts have to say!


What is a Tillywig Brain Child Award?
Tillywig's mission is to provide retail buyers, news media, parents, and consumers with product information and reviews of superior children's products available in today's marketplace. Read more about it here.

My Super Fun Play Book consists of several embroidered ornaments which are meticulously stitched by hand. For this reason, we are only able to produce a limited supply each week. Each book in the production process is handled with a team of passionate and dedicated craftsmen who are committed to producing quality products.
Good and durable things takes time to produce and are limited at any time thus, My Super Fun Play Book is currently out of stock till January 2018.  You still can order them as Christmas gift, just a belated one, I am sure kids will be ok with that.

Alternatively, you can also purchase the following 2 products for your kids, they are made with the same stringent standards and regulations as My Super Fun Play Book so no worry about safety issues.

My Quiet Book
My Quiet Book (Retail Price USD38.00) is a delightfully colourful fabric book with 6 activities designed to develop fine motor skills, enhance hand dexterity and encourage creativity. Each page is a three-dimensional playland containing a distinctly different yet equally engaging activity to be explored.

Detachable pieces are affixed by velcro on every page to keep young minds busy for hours of play. A pocket on the front cover of the book also allows you to insert your little one’s name!

Activities include Tell the time, Spot the shapes, Let’s dress up, Match my colours, Seasons and Abacus. It is also a must-have accessory for family travels. Surface wash only. Colours or contents may vary from those illustrated. Conforms to safety requirements of ISO 8124. Product dimensions: 20cm(l) x 31cm (h). For ages 2+



My ABC Book
Children will delight in learning their alphabet with this charming My ABC Book (Retail Price USD48.00) which allows parents to work on stimulating speech, fine motor skills and object identification. 26 beautifully hand crafted pieces corresponding to individual alphabet pockets are contained in a plush bag which also makes My ABC Book an easy travel companion.

Surface wash only. Colours or contents may vary from those illustrated. Product dimensions: 32 cm (w) x 26 cm (h). For ages 1+



Where to Purchase Smart Mama products
Shoppers in Singapore can purchase Smart Mama products from BingBling 
Shoppers in other countries can purchase Smart Mama products from their website 

Disclaimer : We received a copy of My Super Fun Book for the purpose of this post.  All opinions are 100% ours based on our review of the play book.  All photos in this post belongs to The DinoFamily, you may not use them without our permission.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

The Magic of My Name - Personalised Children's Book

Parents these days have so much choices on items to be made as keepsake for their kids so that they can document and reminisce their childhood together when they are older.

I didn't have such options when I had DinoBoy a decade ago, sure there were other options such as brush made from baby's hair, gold plated foot print to frame up etc but I wasn't interested in all those because being someone who is practical I feel those things are a little bit useless (no offend to any parents who got those for their kids), so all I have are photographs and this blog.

When The Story Tailors contacted me to do a review their book The Magic of My Name I was excited!  Like a little girl who is going to receive her new toy kind of excited!


After visiting their website, I love their idea of teaching children to value their name and really be proud of it by attaching a special meaning to each letter of the child's name and incorporate it in the story.  However, as much as I like this personalised book, it is not suitable for our Tween (ya, he proudly called himself that earlier this year.) as the suitable age range is 0 to 8 years old, but it is just a perfect gift for a friend who just welcomed their #2 boy earlier this year.


OUR REVIEW
When I received the book, I fell in love with it immediately because it was such exquisitely made.  As it was for a toddler I ordered the hard cover version (you can opt for paper back too) and I was not disappointed.  The book felt sturdy with nicely bounded pages which definitely could withstand the rough handling of a toddler.

I am impressed with the quality because each page is printed on thick glossy paper, which will not easily get torn when mishandled by a younger child.  The illustration are colorful and cheerful that will appeal to the kids to keep on reading.

So the story starts one night at bedtime, the boy asked his Mum about his name, she replied that his name has a special meaning but as it is time to sleep, said she will tell him another day.  A little fairy heard the boy and came seeking the boy when Mum left the room, promising him that he will find every thing that he is looking for about his name.

Thus, the child sneaked out of his bed and followed the fairy to a secret forest so far away where he entered through a door to begin his adventure


While discovering the meaning of his beautiful name, he traveled through green valley, thick woods, vast desert, braved through deep dark wood, walked with a chatty bush through a forest, played with seals at North Pole, sat on an Ostrich who bring him across the green meadow where he met a sad Knight and helped him mend his broken sword.  Do note that there a a few stories so your story book may be different from ours.

Oh my!  What an adventure!  Our sweet little boy finally know the meaning of his name!





A name sets us apart from every one, gives us an identity and personality, it should be one of the first word that every child learn.  I find it heart warming that The Story Tailors took a step further with the personalized story, attaching a positive meaning to every letter of the name thus making the name even more unique and meaningful to each child.


However, though the website says the book is targeted for babies to 8 year olds, I think this book ill be too lengthy to be a board book for toddler.  Parents can read it to them but they may not be able to sit through the whole book but they are great to start reading routine with them.  It will be a great book for 3 years old and up kids.  I mean, who would not be excited to receive a book that tells a story with them as the main character in it?

HOW TO ORDER THE PERSONALISED BOOK
Personalising the book is very simple, you can start doing it when you are at The Magic of My Name website, simple choose gender of the character, key in your child's name, click "Create my personalised book" and you are almost done! The next step is to choose language (choice of language is limited and Chinese is not available.) and if you like you can add special dedication for your child to be printed on the front of the book. That's it! You are done! Remember to save the changes and proceed to preview your book!



DEALS FOR YOU
With Christmas approaching, why don't you order this personalised book as an unique special gift for your child or even nieces and nephews? 


About The Story Tailors
Founded in 2015 in Barcelona, The Story Tailors is formed by a team of professionals with wealth of experience in creating children’s cartoons. Its mission is to create stories that are both magical and moving, sparking an interest for reading and giving parents something that is both educational and entertaining for the little ones in the house.

Disclaimer : We received a copy of The Magic of My Name Personalised Children's book for the purpose of this post. All photos in this post belongs to The DinoFamily, you may not use it for personal use without our permission. All opinions in this post are 100%.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Legoland Malaysia 5th Brick-versary

5 years ago I visited LEGOLAND Malaysia with the family, it was our first family outing and we had so much fun at the newly opened theme park.  That was also the first time Mum goes overseas with us (after much persuasion no less), she doesn't like to take the planes so she felt safer with the short 30mins (approx) or so coach ride from the Singapore custom.

I remembered I stayed with Mum whole day coz I wasn't keen on taking the rides, we walked slowly behind the gang  while the rest went off to try on the different theme rides, only to catch up with them while they are in the middle of the queue.  We will find some place to sit down and wait for them to be done with the ride, chatting non stop.  It was a totally different sort of LEGOLAND experience for me, a rather slow and steady one, but I enjoyed every minute of it.

We did take ONE ride though, we queued 30mins just to get on the Observation Tower where we enjoyed a 360 deg view of the whole park as the tower rises up.  For someone who is not a fan of height, Mum really took a big step to go on that ride.  I am sure she was nervous when the tower rise up slowly even though she did not show it.  That's my Mum!


5 years later, I am back to LEGOLAND Malaysia, this time its the first solo trip with DinoBoy out of the country.  We haven't been on holiday overseas for ages and this trip excites me a little bit even though its only to neighbour country but its back to a place where it hold fond memories for both of us.

We met up with Mummy Serene and her family outside the theme park because theme park are best enjoyed with friends!  The kids are excited and eager to run towards all the roller coaster rides and but that have to wait because the Mamas got them to build some blocks for the 5th Brick-versay Giant Birthday cake.




There are so many attractions but the boys are only interested in roller coaster rides, they were very disappointed when they saw that Project X ride were all boarded up, closed while they do something more exciting to the ride (you will know at the end of the post).  In fact a few other rides were closed too which is really a bummer for the kids who were looking forward to those rides.



Well, as a consolation, the boys get to go on Dragon's Apprentice on their own (ok they have each other as company) for the first time.  Even though my heart was at my mouth but I knew how much he wanted to take that dangerous looking ride and this Mama is not a roller coaster fan, so yes I let them go on it then pray to Guanyin and Buddha and Tee Gong to por-pee them and keep them safe.  The ride was pretty short and fast, they were done by the time we make our slow way down from the platform after waving them off.

We met up with Mummy Cynthia & family later on and the boys just went wild playing together!  They went off to take the LEGO® NinjaGo® The Ride, I heard that they had so much fun trying to defeat the Great Devourer. The ride uses the state-of-the-art hand gesture sensors so the "ninjas" get to vanquish the Great Devourer without any handheld devices.

So glad that we have Mummy Cynthia with us because I wasn't ready to let DinoBoy to sit on this big roller coaster ride that has twists, turns and dips without any adult's company.  He wasn't sure that he wanted to go on the ride after almost flying out of the seat the last time he was on it 5 years ago.  After much encouragement from me and some explanation that he has grown bigger in size and height thus will fit the seat properly now, he decided to join the rest and of course he left the ride a happiest boy on Earth.



I am no Star Wars fan but this is one attraction that I enjoyed most. Featuring seven iconic scenes from the six Star Wars™ films and The Clone Wars™ animated series you get to see some familiar Star Wars characters like Yoda, R2-D2, Darth Vader and the legendary Sith Lords. The lighting and sound effects are great but what makes every thing so real are that some of the models moves, like this war ship in the photo below.



We spent some time at the Miniland and the boys spotted some familiar Singapore iconic scene and structure.  Look!  Even the mini Merlion "spits" out water!


We ended the tiring day with some play time at the play ground.  The boys sat on this spring structure for a while before some one decided to play "catching" and off they dashed in different direction.  That went on for a good 30mins before we had dashed off to the Big Shop to grab some LEGO merchandise #takemymoney.

I am sure every one, especially the kids, left the theme park feeling ecstatic.  For me, I left the place with a sense of accomplishment on the first solo trip with the boy and remembering Mum on one of the happier days we spent together years ago.

Thank you LEGOLAND Malaysia for giving us a day of fun and creating precious memories!


If you are thinking of visiting the theme park, don't forget to purchase your tickets here and if you need one more reason to nudge you to visit LEGOLAND Malaysia, what about this!

The World's First LEGO® Virtual Reality Roller Coaster


Ready, Set, LEGO®! Prepare to embark on the wildest LEGO ride as LEGOLAND® Malaysia Resort will be the world’s first LEGOLAND park to launch the LEGO virtual reality roller coaster in November 2017!

The Great LEGO Race will transform the existing “Project X” roller coasters (now we know why Project X was closed during our visit) into an exciting, high-octane experience that puts kids and parents alike in the driver’s seat and asks, “Are you brave enough to face, race and beat the best of the best in all of LEGO world?”

Disclaimer : We were invited by LEGOLAND Malaysia Resort to visit the theme park for their 5th Brick-versary and for the purpose of this post. All opinions in this post are 100% and based on our experience at the park. All photos in this post belongs to The DinoFamily, you may not use them without our permission.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Foam Roll away Runner's Hip Injury

NB : This post was written in end September 2017 but I was told by Primero Fitness to hold it as they were revamping their website.  After waiting for almost a month I told them that I will go ahead to publish the post as it also document my personal injury and recovery experience.  So here is the post, late but 100% true story of an injured runner who took on 4x relay marathon without proper or enough training.

A month's been passed since my 1st Half 4x Relay Marathon with Mizuno Ekiden and I am still feeling sore. Tough as it was I was glad that I managed to take part and completed it, I was expecting some form of aching muscles but I was not prepared for what I am experiencing now.

My over exerted legs, calf muscles and feet were recovering well with the help of Theo10 Heat cream and various Young Living Essential Oil, I was able to walk normally within a week.  However my agony starts to creep out almost at the same time, I was feeling pain at the left hip, I thought it was the hip acting up, continued with my healing regime and expecting it to go away in a week or so... it never happened.  

I wasn't kidding when I told my running Mama friends that I can't run nor train when they asked me to join Great Eastern Women's Run that is happening in November 2017.  That is because the pain has gotten worse, now I am feeling a dull pain at the left butt area and an ache that travels from the hip down the thigh to the knee.  Thank goodness knee is feeling ok... perhaps for now.

How bad in shape I am now?  I couldn't get up from the chair without experiencing the sharp pain on the hip, no matter how slowly I move, getting up from sitting long on the floor makes me cringe in pain.  I can't stand for long, the hip is so sore from standing in the MRT train ride home that I am limping when I alights the train some 25 mins later.  Forget about wearing my heels, even a 2 inch heel is painful to walk in.  My usual walking stride makes me yelp pain and I can't walk fast, I was only able to take small slow steps, much like strolling along the road.  

I am really really REALLY MISERABLE! 

Now before you smirk at me and mutter "serves you right for not doing stretching during warm up and cooling down", I did that diligently because I knew that was going to be some strenuous running for me thus I wanted to take great care to prevent myself from getting any injury.  So what is happening to me?  

Overuse injuries occur when we outpaced our body's ability to adapt to the stress of training.
Yeah... thanks for the info, now I know about that, what is preventing my body to heal itself or rather why is it taking so long to heal?

Well, simply because I did not give it ample time to recover and human body do not "heal by itself", it needed help to aid or hasten the healing.  Remember doctor's favourite advise?  "Rest more and don't exert yourself any further."  Thanks Doc!  We probably should listen to them more often.  Frankly, it is quite impossible for me to have bed rest and constantly moving around non-stop does aggravate it further..

Feeling helpless and awfully irritated by the pain, I googled for it hoping to find some remedy or ways to get rid of it and found this.

IT Band Syndrome
Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS) is one of the most common overuse injuries among runners. It occurs when the iliotibial band, the ligament that runs down the outside of the thigh from the hip to the shin, is tight or inflamed. The IT band attaches to the knee and helps stabilize and move the joint. When the IT band isn’t working properly, movement of the knee (and, therefore, running) becomes painful. IT band pain can be severe enough to completely sideline a runner for weeks, or even longer.


Source
Hmm... my knees are ok, I just feel constant dull pain by the side of the thigh... so I googled further and found a more possible cause for my pain.

Piriformis Syndrome
The piriformis is a small muscle that runs from the sacrum to the outside of the hip. For a small muscle it can cause big problems when inflamed or overused. Because it runs over the sciatic nerve, the piriformis has a nasty habit of putting pressure on this nerve and causing exquisite pain in the glute and posterior hip area when it swells or spasms.

Source
Ok... so I have a pain in the butt issue here, no pun intended of course.... and I may also have this.

Hip Bursitis Symptom
Hip Bursitis, an inflammation of the fluid-filled bursa sacs that lubricate the joints and symptoms include pain on the outside of the hip which is worse during activities such as running, climbing stairs or getting out of a car. The pain will gradually get worse and the area on the outside of the hip is tender when pressing in. Pain may also radiate down the outside of the thigh.

Incidentally Piriformis Syndrome also causes pain on the Iliac Crest where inflamed ilium gets or damages on the muscles around the hip bone will send bolts of sharp and severe pain to it.

Source
The mystery of the sharp pain at the hip is SOLVED!

After reading up so many articles on hip pain/injury, runners injuries on the web, the most common treatments advised given were physiotherapy or occupational therapy, pain-killing medicines, stretching, strengthening exercises and use of foam rollers.

Well, the 1st two options are out and the stretching exercise I did on and off (I know I'm not very disciplined but sometimes it just slipped my mind) the past month did not help much, the excruciating hip pain is still there.  The foam rollers suggestion caught my eye because I remembered that I have foam rollers that PRIMERO Fitness sent to me months ago.


Google is such a great tool to find out information at the comfort of our home or anywhere with your smart phone.  So I did a search on foam rollers benefits and was awed!   

Regularly using a Foam Roller – especially a deep tissue massage roller – offers many of the same benefits as a sports massage, including reduced inflammation, scar tissue and joint stress, as well as improved circulation and improved flexibility. - taken from MastersofMuscle.com
I came across a term - Myofascial Release (MFR), a strange word that means a technique that helps releases the tension and tightness on the dense tough tissue that surrounds and covers all your muscles (this is your myofascia) and bone by applying deep pressure to it.  In layman term it means deep tissue massage lah.

So to get sore rid of muscles due to over usage or otherwise you can visit a professional masseuse to get it fixed or you can use the foam rollers to achieve it, which by the way is call Self Myofascial Release (SMR).  Although a point to note that foam rollers will probably not do as good as a masseuse's powerful hands but it is a great alternative.

With that I unrolled the TPE Yoga Mat and placed the Centenarian foam roller (Retail Price SGD39.90) onto it and start to work on my problems I mentioned above with this easy but painful exercise.





How do I feel?
Day after 1st Foam Roll Workout
I used the Centenarian roller and I almost die of pain as the grid worked deep DEEP into my muscle!  Perhaps I should have used Paperclip roller (Retail Price SGD33.00) instead but I gritted my teeth and went through the exercise.

The next day I felt happier!  The sharp excruciating pain was gone but it was replaced by a dull soreness, it was a great improvement for me!  No more cringing or falling back onto my chair when I try to get up from it.



A week later the 2nd Foam Roll Workout
I should have continue doing it but I was too tired to do so and it was a week later when I hit the rollers again with Centenarian, I forgot about the pain the grid caused me!  Surprisingly it did not hurt as much as the 1st time, I was able to finish the routine without crying out in pain.  The next day I felt less soreness on the hip area and a few days later I caught myself running after the bus without feeling any pain on the hip! 

I am a happy girl again and definitely going to continue the exercise till the pain goes away completely.

For all of you out there who has not try foam rolling, give it a go, a 30 mins before or after your workout benefits your body tremendously!

Credit

Credit


Monday, October 23, 2017

Howlarious Halloween 2017 with Cartoon Network Asia

Earlier this month we attended a Parent-Child Howlarious Halloween culinary event together with some fellow mummy bloggers and their family. This is an event hosted by Cartoon Network and according to their invite we are going to make bento and some treats.  Exciting!  We have prepared simple Onigiri bento together for DinoBoy to bring to school many years ago, see post here, now that he is older I think he can handle making a bento complete with veggie decoration etc.  

When we arrived at Culinary On we were warmly greeted by Ben from Ben10!  DinoBoy was happy (even though he does not look like he is, shy lah!) coz he's seeing his favourite cartoon character up close and personal.  Too bad Ben did not join us in the kitchen, it would be fun to see him change in to different alien to help each of us with our preparation.


After registration we proceeded further in and we were met with FOOD!  Yes, I am tam jiak or glutton but this time its coz we missed our breakfast.  These delicious finger food and fruits prepared by the good people at Culinary On are a life saver for me!


Soon, it was time to start, the first one we have to make is We Bare Bears bento and everyone's taking this VERY SERIOUSLY, look at their faces!  They are glued to the 2 pretty ladies in front; the Chef from Culinary On and Emcee from Cartoon Network.



There is a reason why we are paying full attention to the steps for making food, especially for the bento because it is all hands on for parents (ok mostly for the parents) and kids, the nice people from Culinary On are only lending a helping hand when we faces some difficulties. 

You must be wondering why there are no photos us preparing the Ben10 Omnitrix cookies, well since our hands have to be gloved all the time when handling food, no touching of handphones thus I can't take photos.  Strangely there are none from the official photographers too but I think I know the reason.  It was a long 3 hours and kids are getting tired and restless, I think the adults too.  So the parents are probably doing the same as me, busy trying to complete that dreaded Omnitrix cookies as fast as their hands can while the kids are playing among themselves or distracted by something else.  So no kids to make the cookies together = no photos hahaha~ Luckily there are many pairs of eyes to watch out for the kids to ensure they are safe while the parents are busy.  

Though we did not prepare nor bake the cupcakes and cookies, we were given the recipes to try to make them at home.  Let's see if we have the chance to do it... ok wait... where did I put that recipe???



Here are OUR creations; I can proudly said OUR creations because DinoBoy made his We Bare Bear bento and assembled the Powerpuff Girls cupcake topping by himself, you can see that he is absolutely proud of himself.  This boy truly love to cook and prepare food!

Well, of course the Omnitrix cookie is another story that can be swept under the carpet hahaha~

Our We Bare Bear Bento and Powerpuff Girls Cupcakes
We had such a great time with Culinary On and Cartoon Network staffs, they are all so fun loving and helpful people, some even baby sit the younger ones while the parents are busy with the older kid.  They are really great with kids, it's no surprise I guess coz working in a cooking studio where they constantly host cooking classes for kids they staffs should feel comfortable around kids.  And how not to feel like a kid when you are working in a TV channel broadcasting ALL the cool cartoons?!  Great job guys!  We love to go back again for your next event!

Well, for our boy he is ALREADY a Chef, a Home Chef! 


It wasn't all play for us, we have to work hard too!  Here's a couple of shots that says so, in case you think otherwise *wink*  DinoBoy don't get interviewed at every event but when he does he puts in 100% effort to share his opinion and views on the topic... so much so that he over-ran the interview time *opps!* I wonder what did the interviewer asked him that got him rambling on and on.


Happy Halloween Every one!  

Are you ready for a HOWL-ARIOUS good time this October with all your favorite Cartoon Network Asia characters on StarHub TV Channel 316 and Singtel TV Channel 226? Here is the terrifyingly fun list of hair-raising cartoon comedy shows not to be missed:



Halloween Movie Premieres
1. Scooby Doo Moon Monster Madness (31st October, 3pm & Repeat Broadcast @9pm)
2. Scooby Doo Franken Creepy (21st October, 2 pm)

New Halloween Episodes of Hit Shows 
1. Regular Show - "Terror of Tales VI" (28th October, 12 pm)
2. Teens Titan Go! - "Halloween V Christmas" (29th October, 11 am)
3. Ben 10 - "Scared Silly" (29th October, 9 am)
4. The Powerpuff Girls - "Midnight at the Mayor's Mansion (22nd October, 11.30 am)
5. Uncle Grandpa - "Costume Crisis" (28th October, 11.45 am)
6. We Bare Bears - "Charlie's Halloween Thing" (29th October, 10 am)
7. Justice League Action - "Trick of Threat" (22nd October, 12.30 pm)
8. Mighty Magiswords - "Zombie Pumpkin Vlogs" (21st October, 10.30 am)

For more updates, do visit: CartoonNetworkAsia.com or the Cartoon Network Asia Facebook Page.

Disclaimer : We were invited to the family culinary event by Cartoon Network, we were not required to write about it but we decided to do it. All photos, otherwise individually credited, belongs to Cartoon Network, you may not use any of the photos in this post for your personal use without prior permission from us. All opinions in this post are 100% ours based on our experience during the event. No compensation were received.