Saturday, June 30, 2012

Visit to Central Fire Station

I got to know from Alicia of Accidental Homeschooling Mum about a fire station visit that includes a tour in the Civil Defence Heritage Gallery, the price is $33 for 1 adult & 1 kid (Daddy decided to join us and we do not need to pay extra for him). Frankly speaking I was only interested in the Civil Defence Heritage Gallery then the fire station since we have already visited the Seng Kang Fire Station a few times when DinoEgg was younger. I did not gather any more information other then those Alicia posted online nor notice that this is actually an excursion conducted by MandrinaKids in a classroom workshop format. It only dawn me today. Regardless, so long I get to go to the Civil Defence Heritage Gallery I do not mind sitting through "a class".

The excursion is from 9.30am to 11.30am, we reached the meeting point TCC Cafe, Ground Floor, Funan Centre at 5mins to 9.30am as we were unable to get a cab earlier. We did the registration and only then I realised that I have forgotten to provide Eileen (from Homelearning Fun group) DinoEgg's age so they presume that he is same age as the other 2 kids and prepared teaching materials & crafts for 3yrs old. Well, I am ok with it (anyway it was my fault) but I am sure DinoEgg will be able to interact and be involved during the class.

The kids were given a goodie bag that includes 1 packet of ribena, 1 packet of raisins, 1 biscuit, 1 bottle of bubble (which DinoEgg is super excited about it) & a folder with the class materials.

After we have settle down & ordered our complimentary TCC drink, Ms Leila Lim; owner of MandarinaKids, welcomed us to the excursion with a short introduction of MandarinaKids, herself & Teacher Ma Hong or 马老师. The excursion includes 45mins of classroom style learning follow by visiting the Central Fire Station and ends with a tour & learning at the Civil Defence Heritage Gaallery.

Soon after the lesson starts, the kids refer to the file where there are Chinese words & pictures of fire engines, ambulance, police car and some other transportation vehicles. Under each picture is the name of the vehicles are written out in hanyupinyin, Chinese & English. Teacher Ma read out the Chinese word and get the kids to say it once. As the lesson plan was made for younger kids, Teacher Ma is trying to make it more interesting for DinoEgg. When she knows that he knows hanyupinyin and when he does not know how to read certain words she lead him to use hanyupinyin to pronounce the word.  I like it when she asked DinoEgg more difficult questions like “为什么它叫直升机?” "Why is it call a helicopter?"  This gets him thinking hard and try to give her an answer, its not the correct one but I am glad that she did that, at least she made an effort to engage him in the lesson. 

Walking on the overhead bridge to get to the other side of the road where the Civil Defence Heritage Gallery & Central Fire Station is, we stop for a short while so that Teacher Ma can show the kids the different vehicles that are on the road; 汽车 car、德士 taxi、巴士 bus、小货车 van etc.

How can we NOT take a photo with the Fire Fighter statues outside the Civil Defence Heritage Gallery?

We went to Central Fire Station and the kids were running around trying to take in everything!  The red fire engines of different sizes and looks are just giving them too much sugar rush!  Look at the things & information they are learning!  I am sure they were ecstatic when they tried their hands on the hose spraying strong water at the plants.

NOTE : You are NOT allowed to climb up the back of a Fire Engine.  We didn't know that and went clambering up steps without 2nd thoughts.  We were spotted by 1 Fire Fighter who asked so nicely for us to "get your butts down NOW!" hahah~ ok ok that's me saying but he was very polite and courteous telling us that its dangerous up that with all those controls for the ladder and every thing so its best that we come down as quickly as possible.

Here are some of the photos I took while walking through the fire station and the gallery.  It was filled with weekend crowd plus there was a secondary school excursion too so the small place was very crowded.  Regardless, Teacher Ma is still able to bring the kids around and explaining to them how fire fighting were carried out in the olden days, the fire engines of yester-years etc.

Can you spot a very old fire hydrant & the trampoline they used in the olden days from the photos?

I enjoyed myself today during the class & at the fire stations. 

Class was fun, I always thought that DinoEgg has no problem with reading Chinese words but realized that there are some words he is still unsure like 直升机 helicopter、 警车 police car.  Perhaps he seldom come across the word 直and 警.  A prompt with the hanyupinyin enable him to pronounce the word though.  Nevertheless I am not freaking out coz he knows how to read, write and speak Mandarin and I am satisfied with his progress for his age. 

I did not see the fire engine with the ladder & platform, it would have gotten many people (adults + kids) queuing to get on to it n travel all the way 4-5th storey high to get the view n feeling of being high up.  Not for the faith hearted though.  DinoEgg did it TWICE at Sengkang Fire Station and he is always so excited after he comes down from it.  I was intrigued by the "ancient" fire engines and the ways fire fighting was done when technologies were not as advance. I would have stopped to read the introduction or description of each fire engines and the history but there were way too many people to let me stand in front of the display to read and take every thing at a slower mode.  I will probably go back again on a weekday where there are lesser crowd and we can have the place to ourselves.

Great excursion & great family time!

Remarks : I am in no way affiliated to the management of Mandarina Kids or have been compensated to write about this excursion. All opinions are based on our experience, and 100% my own.

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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Snuggling Together

I had an interesting chat with some mummies and amongst the vast topics we are chatting, we shared the special "thing" we do with our kids.  Things our kids likes to do relaxing while manja aka cuddle with us, sleeping or falling to sleep.

1 mummy shared that her 8yr old likes cuddle up to her and play with her ear lobe, another one shares that her 9mth old girl likes to put her head on her tummy while she is sleeping.  

I listen and I smile.

Me & DinoEgg have our "thing" too.  He's been sleeping on our bed since he was a toddler.  We are usually the first to turn in while daddy is outside watching tv, so besides the usual bed time chat, he likes to hold my hand when he falls into sleep.  Either my hands covering his small hands or our 10 fingers crossed clasping each other's hands.

Photo credits

Its such a calming feeling for me and I guess its the same for DinoEgg too. 
Comforting & reassuring.
Makes him fall asleep faster too.

Now that he has his own room & own bed, we seldom have the chance to do this.

Kinda missing those nights... maybe I'll snuggle with him on his bed tonight and hold hands till we both goes into our dreamland.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Thankful Tuesday - My little Cheeky Boy

We always try to instill good habits on DinoEgg.  Since he is older we have always request him to put the cups at the kitchen top or near the kitchen sink after he's finished with it.  Recently we have requested him to do the same after he is done with the meals. 

Couple of days ago, after our tasty dinner of Oven Grilled Pork Chop with Orange Juice, he got down from his chair, took his plate & utensils then walked over to where daddy was sitting and took a peep into daddy's cup.  Both of us saw what he did (we were already done with our dinner n relaxing on the sofa).

Daddy : You want to drink?
DinoEgg : No, I want to clear the cup.
Daddy : Oh~~ *chuckles* Its ok, daddy still wants the drink.
DinoEgg : -thinks for a sec-  Errmm... daddy can you please hurry up and finish your drink?
Daddy : Its ok, you can leave the cup, I will finish it later.

Instead of proceeding to the kitchen with his plate & utensils immediately, he did not move. 

Daddy : Do you want to drink it? 
DinoEgg : OKIE!  
and happily sips the Coca Cola in the cup then went off to the kitchen.

Both daddy & I laugh coz we know he was eyeing the drink from the start.  Sensing that something is not right.  He came back to us and said "I learn from 好公民 (Social Studies in English?) that we must always clear the table after our meals.  I'm being good and I cleared mine."

Yes dear son, we hear & see you but we know that you were tempted by the drink when u saw that there were some in the cup.  Its ok!  We know your are always trying you best to be a good boy and its ok to give in to *harmless* temptations.

Its moments like this that I feel that we have did well in our teaching plus disciplining DinoEgg.  There are tears & heartaches, the journeys are bitter but the results are sweet.  We are raising a better child for the future.

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Monday, June 25, 2012

Packing Peanuts Craft Time

What do you do with starch-based packing peanuts?  Well, add in Giotto Decor Pens, a pair of scissors, a paint brush and some water, you have some fun creating things with your little one.  Why water?  this is because the packing peanuts are made from starch therefore by brushing a little bit of water on them it will turn have a glue like surface thus able to stick them together.  Thanks to Pamela of Tan Family Chronicles who has plenty of packing peanuts to share with a few of us.

This is the 1st time we are doing craft with this.  It is a very versatile material, u can flatten it, roll it, cut it, use a little bit of water to stick it together and transform it into something you like.   Having nothing in mind what to make, I just threw him an idea "How about a spider?" which he spontaneously "Oh ya!!!  Then we can hang it up in my wardrobe and scare away the monsters that are inside there."  Though I was stunned for a second & considering how I should reply, I decided to go with his flow "That's right!  We can use a string and tie it up, then hang in it to scare them away!"

So he went ahead and do his spider.  Even use the scissors (normal ones, not safety scissors) to cut 1 peanuts into 4 strips for the legs.  Dipped the brush into the water n brush them on the spider head and legs then attach to the spider's body.

While he was doing his spider, I play around too.  Decided to do a snail which is an epic failure hahaha~~ Little DinoEgg saw that I am doing a snail and he wanted to do one too.  And he started it after he's done with the spider.

After he's done, I am so proud of him and at the same time so ashamed of myself.  Look at his snail!!!!  Really look like a real snail, where else mine is like... a slug with a shell???  LOL  However, I did well with my giraffe *proud*, it even have little horns n ears.  

We colored the animals & insects we made together.  He insist that my snail is a Girl-Snail while he's is a Boy-Snail so that they can "get married."  He rattle on... giving me a "lecture" on it "Ya, only boy & girl can get married, girl & girl or boy & boy cannot.  Just like you and daddy.  Daddy is boy and you, a girl so u get married then have me." *speechless*  Here you are, Girl-Snail in PINK and Boy-Snail in Blue.  He made a table for Lover Snails to sit together.

We spent 45mins together, making only 5 items.  These 5 craft items are not useful, other then displaying them on top of his bookshelf & hanging the spider in his wardrobe.  He could even put it together with his LEGO people (Giant Snails attack??  lol).  However the most important thing is we spend time together and I  managed to get him away from the tv, ipad, iphone & laptop for the amount of time. ~SMILE~

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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Oven Grilled Pork Chop with Orange Juice

I was taking a much needed shut eye while daddy was in the kitchen cooking.  I woke up in time to see him bring the pork chop out from the oven.

This is daddy's personal recipe, he got the inspiration from 1 of my recipe book.  It a very appetizing dish coz the orange juice is sour and sweet, mix it with the sweetness from the carrots & celery plus the crunchy onions together with the grilled pork chop, makes me want to have more.  We eat this with plain white rice with seafood soup.  A very satisfying meal! 

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端午节 Dragon Boat Festival 2012

Yesterday was Dragon Boat Festival 端午节, we went to collect some dumplings 粽子 from 6th Ah Yee and mum mid last week.  We've been eating dumpling almost daily since then.  Home made dumplings still are the best.

I had 2 dumplings as breakfast again today, what will my waistline say??? Ok at least I can skip lunch *BURP~~~

I happen to see this book "Celebrating the Dragon Boat Festival" in Popular, was passing my time browsing there while waiting for daddy & DinoEgg to reach Thomsom Plaza.  An interesting and informative book where they relate how the festival is celebrated, there is a simple dumpling 粽子 recipe (don't think its a full one so please check the web if you want to try your hands on making dumplings) and also tells the story behind dumplings. 

DinoEgg reading the book, enjoying it. I have yet to go into details about the festival but when we were at my mum's couple of days ago, I showed him the bamboo leaves mum bought for her dumplings.

He had his first taste of dumpling ytd (we rarely buy dumplings let alone bring it home so he does not have the chance to eat it on "normal" days) , half of it to be exact, after many attempts of offering it to him since we got our 1st batch of dumplings from 6th ah yee.  I guess Hunger wins so he relent and try. After he took the first bite, he says to me "Mummy, the dumpling is delicious.  I wouldn't have know it if I did not try it right?  Now that I try it, I like it, thank you mummy!"  

This morning I offer dumpling to him but he rejects it in a nice & polite way "No thanks, mummy."  I know that he has done what is expected of him when it comes to food; that is to try every food and not to say "Yucks" by looking at it or even before trying it.  Sometimes if he does not like what is in his plate he will tell us but he will still finish it, once he said "I will not waste food because there are other people who has no food on their table."  Well done son!  Good job daddy & me *proud*

Later the day it show how easy to make him do whatever I want just to help him do something.  He was building his Batman lego set n hit snag.  He came up to me for help, I was enjoying my dumpling n told him that I will help him after I am done.  I offer the dumpling to him and he backed off, I gave him The Look & jokingly tell him "take a bit lah." and then he did!  He burst out laughing and say I must help him now -read I eat dumpling u help me- I laugh out too.. silly son, I would have help you even if you did not take the bite.

So have your kids try the dumplings 粽子 yet?  How did they feel towards this sticky delicious savoury food?

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New House - Looking Neater

Finally received my shelves from IKEA.  Daddy spent most part of ytd fixing up the wooden shelves for the store room.  We would have save the trouble by paying $30 to have IKEA do the deeds but why spend the money on it?  Anyway after 4hrs plus some bruises & cuts the shelves are DONE!

The New laundry area, loving it already!

Not the same for Store room.... Daddy done his part by putting those stuffs onto the shelves but I have to do my part of sorting some of the boxes & big plastic bags of -unknown- stuffs.  TIRED even by thinking about it.  Procrastinating....

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Saturday, June 23, 2012


It was a hot & humid day!  We were at home with the ceiling fan on full blast but it did not help much.  We are feeling all sticky n mood is not so great.  Slightly after 11am IKEA delivered our shelves and daddy starts to get busy with assembling them while me & DinoEgg busy ourselves with tv & some craft time.  Then its Art Class time follow by the exciting visit to Legoland roadshow @ Raffles City!

We almost could not find it as its been donkey years since we step foot onto it.  We walked the whole stretch the mall but did not see it, we turned around to try to find the Information counter and the daddy saw the advert on the escalator.  The event is on 3rd floor!  DinoEgg could not hide his excitement (neither could I!), we were meet with a big area filled with nothing but Legos!  There are many big boxes filled to the brim with Lego pieces of million sizes and different colors.  Kids & adults are sitting around them happily building their Legoland of space, farm, zoo, pretty house etc.  I would have sit down and have my hands on them if I am not wearing a dress.

While we left DinoEgg to immerse himself with all the Legos and head off to the counter to grab out tickets.  There was a short queue and it was moving fast, within minutes we got our Legoland Tickets!  

After we got our tickets we went back & find DinoEgg busy building this, according to him its Ice Cream Trucks.

And look who we bumped into! Its MummyZhu of MummyZhuHappyWorld~ I did not see her as I was keeping an eye on DinoEgg as he was in the smaller kids section, was afraid that he might accidentally bump into any toddlers.  MummyZhu came up to me to say Hi! as she saw & recognize DinoEgg. We have a short chat before I have to leave the place with my boys.  Of course not before I snapped photos of her handsome boys =)

How can he give up a chance to get his hands on some new Lego set?  Daddy obliged (as always when he is satisfy with his behavior for the pass days) and he is a proud owner of Batwing Battle Over Gotham City set.

Hot & Humid!  We are glad to get out of it even if its just a couple of hours and enjoying the *free* air con while having some family time.

Have you got your Legoland tickets?  We grabbed the annual tickets as we foresee we will be going back there more then once.  According to the Legoland staff, there will be shuttle service from Singapore to Legoland.  Its a wonderful news since we do not owe a car thus cannot drive into Malaysia.  The Lego Hotel will only be ready in 2 years time but in the meantime we can stay in a hotel at the nearby place which is only 10mins bus ride away.

So looking forward to this!  Grand Opening on 15 September 2012!  If you are a Lego-fanatic then grab your tickets now and mark the date down on your calender!

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Friday, June 22, 2012

Friendship Friday - Are you trying to blog?

This is my 1st post for Friendship Friday, clueless how such linky works but feeling my ways around comfortably.  This week's theme is Blogging Tips, I do not have any great tips to share, I shall share with you my blogging journey and hopefully it will inspire you.

I've been blogging since February 2007, 6 months after my precious son is born.  I was in a depressed state at that time due to some reason that is best to be left forgotten, luckily a fresh start with a new job start my healing and get me out of it.  At the same time I joined a certain forum and decided to start a blog as it was "Zee In Thing".  What's more interesting then to pen down the Love of our Life's growing up days & moments?

I have never thought that there will be anyone reading my blog since I did not publicize it other then sharing it with a few closed friends.  The main purpose of my blog is to be my personal diary on me and my family.  Being a silent blogger for a few years, I got tired of it, my blog post got lesser and eventually I stopped in October 2010. I wasn't happy but I just couldn't bring myself to blog any more.  A writer's block you may call it but I felt drained n not inspired in any ways.

However I found my inspirations to blog again in March 2012 and never looked back, I blogged about the magical change in me at Here's to My Virtual Friends.  I am grateful for these virtual friends who came into my life and left some footprints in my life.  And knowing that I have "stalkers" in my blog has really help to boost my interest and confidence to start blogging all over again.  I have also adapt a new concept for my blog, it has includes stuffs like parenting, my cooking & also my new found love - baking.

I have written 2 posts last month about blogging; Are you blogging in Freedom on 17 May 2012 and The Power of Blogging on 18 May 2012.  

Incidentally Adeline of The Accidental Mom Blogger share this today which I only recently found out to be true.

We are One as a group but yet different in our ways.  This is how the blogging community is.  I hope you find fun in blogging as much as I do.

Friendship Friday - Friend of the week 
Jean Chua of Jean Stitch

Jean is a SAHM who loves to sew things from lunch bags, tote bags, shopping bags, phone pouches, baby blankies, quilt blankets and her latest creation is fabric bookmarks.  She also homeschools her 2 beautiful kids; 8 year old daughter & 4 year old son too.

"I love anything in floral, it is always my fave and vintage, modern, a little girly and clean. A never ending list" that's what she wrote in her blog's intro and I think this is also a hint to her character.  I have known Jean for only 2 months but we hit off almost immediately.  We have not met up with each other yet (Imagine the fun we will have when we finally do!) but during our numerous chats in facebook I sense that Jean is a pleasant & happy person, I can feel the joy in her through these chats.  I fell in love with her unique creations that I have already requested her to sew something beautiful for me.

Do get acquainted with her and hop by her blog to see the lovely things she's been sewing.  I am sure you will want to get your hands on one of her creations. 

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Thursday, June 21, 2012

An Unpleasant Dinner

Computer Clipart ImagesWe went to a famous neighbourhood restaurant for dinner couple of days ago and left the restaurant with more disappointment.  We frequent this restaurant as we like the food and mostly coz DinoEgg likes their Creamy Mushroom in Sourdough bread bowl.

This branch at our neighbourhood mall is always packed with people.  Sometimes we have to queue for 15mins just to get a seat.  When we are seated and ready to order, we always have to raise our hand for another 5mins or so before some waiter/waitress "happen to look at our direction" and attend to us.

Anyway, on this particular day, our orders were taken, ice water served, basket of utensils reached.  We are relaxing and waiting for our food.  About 10mins later the drinks came, 5mins later DinoEgg's Salmon & mushroom pasta was served followed by daddy's Crayfish pasta.  While both of them are enjoying their pasta, I was sipping my Coke Float feeling hungry.  Daddy waved for a waiter who came to our table (luckily we do not have to wait for another few mins for some one to notice us) n he asked about my pasta.  The waiter went off to check the system and came back telling us that we have only ordered TWO pastas & 3 drinks.  Instead of asking if he can add on the order he repeats that our order is ONLY two pasta.  Right I hear you the 1st time Dude!  Upon seeing our unpleasant face, he quickly say he will check with the kitchen and scurry off to send the Manager to our table (We did not ask to speak to the Manager).  Daddy told him in an unhappy tone that 1 order is missing n the Manager replied in an unpleasant tone too that he will look into it.  I explained to him that every time we visit the restaurant for dinner, most of the time there will be something that turn the dinner into an unhappy one coz there were bound to be missing food or drinks or something.  The Manager apologise for that (though his tone does not sound apologetic) and daddy lost his cool.  He said that they do not deserve any service charge if their level of service is this standard and he is unsatisfied with the staff's attitude.  The Manager said nothing and left our table.  A short while later my Laksa Aglio Olio with King Prawns were served.

Ok, I have to clarify the reasons for this outburst.  Every time we visit the restaurant we are always served by waiter/waitress who wish they are some where else rather then be right there at that moment serving customers.  They show a stoned expressionless face, even though we smile and talk nice to them its like getting slammed onto the wall.  And frankly, if you can scribble our order on pieces of small papers, repeat them to us correctly, why is it that items still goes missing?  Were their staffs paying full attention  when keying the order into the system?  Apparently NOT!  And for this case I saw there are 3 sets of fork & spoons in the utensil basket, so tell me, 3 sets for TWO pastas?  Payment is also an issue.  We give up trying to call for our bill and decides to head off to the cashier to pay.  We'll be able to make payment immediately IF there is some one at the counter, otherwise you just have to stand there and hope some one suddenly "discover" your existence. 

I took a look around and there are about 6 or 7 waiter/waitress serving, so is the manpower insufficient?  It seems that way since every one is always busy with something while there are always 2-3 customers raising or waving their hands to attract their attention.  We are a frequent customers to their branch in Thomson Plaza too, same situation but the staffs are slightly friendlier (perhaps lesser crowd, lesser queues n its in a more atas estate? *shrugs*).  To be crude, I did not go to a restaurant, spend on the food and be treated like some dirt or what by some one.

Seriously... I wonder why we succumb to our taste bud and return to that restaurant again and again.  The more I thought about it, the more it left a bad taste in my mouth *YUCK*  So what if they waive off the 10% service charge this time?  Mental note - No More Next Time!

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012