Monday, September 18, 2017

Pumpkin Painting and Autumn Harvest Floral Display 2017 (丰收之秋) at Gardens by the Bay

The September 2017 term break has started and we kick it off with a media invitation to Gardens by the Bay.  We spent an afternoon of getting acrylic paint all over our hands, glue stuck on our fingers, glittery stuffs stuck on our elbows kind of pumpkin painting fun with fellow bloggers and their kids. 

We have always seen how the "Western people" carve, decorate and paint their pumpkins during Halloween on tv but we have never try our hands in it.  As usual this Mama leave it entirely to the boy to decide what to do with his pumpkin, there are plenty of ideas and materials to unleash his imagination.  

Initially he tried to replicate the picture on his pumpkin with brush but the acrylic paint starts to run and color got mixed together, he got frustrated, grabbed 2 wet tissue and cleaned the entire thing off the pumpkin.  Next he look around the table and found a piece of sponge, dipped it into the green acrylic paint and started dabbing on the pumpkin.  He used a egg carton for the nose, I don't know why he wanted the nose to be jet black... perhaps his pumpkin stuck its nose too near a fire an got a burnt nose hahaha!

So, after he gave the pumpkin a bright green hair, orange face (how original...), 2 googly eyes and a black nose, he declared that he's done, he's FAMISHED and ditched the weird looking half-done pumpkin to the Mum and ran off to enjoy the small buffet spread provided by Garden.  Geez!  What kind of a pumpkin is that! So this Mama got a taste of her own medicine... You think you've won son?  You are wrong!  This Mama is also good at decorating ok!  

A handful of glitter stuffs, 2 red pom-poms, some black eye peas, glittery paper and a Christmasy ribbon are added on to our pumpkin.  Now at least it looks cheerful and all ready to welcome Christmas! My decoration work is not bad eh?

Later that day we were invited to the Flower Dome to admire the Autumn Harvest Floral Display (丰收之秋) where pumpkins are literally at every corner and amongst them you can see blooms like heleniums, callunas, phloxes and chrysanthemums.

Look at DinoBoy's expression!  The only pumpkin he saw in real life were those gutted and cut up either halved or quartered pumpkins in the super market, he has never seen a whole pumpkin before.  He was surprised earlier to see that a full grown pumpkin was that big but when he was in the Flower Dome, he could not believe his eyes when they see them!

We know pumpkins are usually in hues of dark orange, round with smooth and slightly ribbed skin but we saw a wide variety of them.  There were giant ones, tiny ones, gourd shaped, round, longish, different hues of green and yellow, some were even as white as snow!  

Did you know that the word "Pumpkin" originates from the Greek word pepon which means "large melon"?  Almost all the parts of a pumpkin can be eaten, including the shell, seeds. leaves and even flowers.  MMmm~~ I love roasted pumpkin seeds and the healthy Pumpkin soup that I always cook for the family.

There are a few displays around the area using pumpkins, beside the Cinderalla's Carriage that welcomes you at the entrance there is the Autumn Harvest pickup truck, Jack and Beanstalk , Jack O' Lantern and of course this 6 meter tall fruit and vegetable Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum giant in the centre of the dome!

Before you leave the dome, be sure to take a few snap shots with the coffin display, make a scary face and send them to your friends as a Halloween greeting.

As for us, we prefer to send a much more peaceful and loving greeting to all of you~

Autumn Harvest Floral Display (丰收之秋)
Date : Fri, 1 Sep – Sun, 29 Oct 2017
Time : 9am - 9pm
Venue : Flower Dome
Admission charge to the conservatories applies.

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It's been a week since I wrote this post but I did not blast it because I was hoping to do a giveaway with it, apparently it did not materialize till today (29 September 2017).  With the permission from Gardens by The Bay PR Company, I am gifting away the Autumn Harvest Basket with its cute little stuffed cloth (or felt???) vegetables to kids who will appreciate it much better than us.  So, here it is!  Read further about the giveaway.

Giveaway Details
Prize : 1 basket full of Autumn Harvest as seen in the photo above.
Contest Ends : 10 October 2017 @ 2359hrs
Open : Singapore
How to Enter :
1. Answer the question by commenting on the blog post "Who would you like to gift this Autumn Harvest Set?  And why?" 
2. By doing all the required steps in the Rafflecopter widget below.  Omitting of any steps will mean you are disqualified from the giveaway.
Terms and conditions of giveaway are as follow:
- Be entering this giveaway you agree that you will not sell the prize for personal gain purpose.
- To avoid being disqualified without prior notice for the giveaway, please read carefully the following and fulfill ALL the requirements stated.
- Prizes are non transferable nor exchange for cash.
- Winners be picked based on the best comment that I feel most heart warming and fulfillment of all giveaway criteria stipulated in the Rafflecopter widget.
- Winners will be notified via email, please ensure you have provided a valid email.
- Winners will have 24 hours to respond by replying to our notification otherwise, a new winner will be picked.
- Prizes will be given out by DinoMama.  Arrangement on prize collection will be determined later.
- Only one winner per household.
- This giveaway is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook and Instagram.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer : We were invited by Gardens by the Bay for a Pumpkin Painting Fun and a visit to Autumn Harvest Floral Display 2017, we were not required to write a post but we thought we should because we enjoyed the visit so much. No other compensation were received. All opinions in this post are 100% ours and based on our experience at the floral display. All photos in this post belongs to The DinoFamily, you may not use them without our permission.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Tomato Pork Chops with Song-Cho Magic Quick Cook Pressure Cooker

So I have a new toy in the kitchen and I am sure you guys already know what it is since I have been singing praises about it quite regularly in my social media platforms.  Yupe, it the Song-Cho irresistibly functional stove top Magic Quick Cook Pressure Cooker (6L) @ SGD278.50. 

When we talk about pressure cooker we always associate them with delicious, tasty soup that took shorter time to cook but yield the same taste as if we cooked them over the stove for hours.  That day I decided to take it a step further and used it to prepare some boneless pork chops.

I remembered that morning when I told DinoPapa about preparing this dish with the pressure cooker, he replied "Okay" with a look of disbelief on his face but did not comment further.  He knows better not to say too much lest he irks me and get an earful from me.  

Looking at the photo below you can see that it is a success, I mean, of course it's a success!  I have much confident in myself!

About the Magic Quick Cook Pressure Cooker
Now, before I share the recipe for that dish, let's talk about this Magic Cooker and why even DinoBoy love it so much. There are plenty of pressure cooker in the market to choose from and personally I think the following points are what makes Song-Cho Magic Quick Cook Pressure Cooker stands out from the rest.

1. Fast cooking time 
It is stated that this Magic Quick Cook Pressure Cooker saves up to 50% cooking time (working at 140kpa or kilopascal), as compared to other standard pressure cooker.  Since this is my first pressure cooker I have no way of verifying that, however I do know that my Lotus Root Soup, ABC Soup or even herbal soup are usually done in well under an hour.

For a half pot of soup it takes roughly about 10 minutes for the balancing weight to start "dancing" (take a look at my short video to see the "dance"), turn down to the smallest fire to continue to cook for a few minute before turning off the fire and let the pot release the pressure silently.   It takes about 20 minutes or so for the Pressure Indicator or Safety Valve to drop down thus allowing me to unlock the pot and serve the soup.  

You might be asking how long should you continue to cook, well the rule of thumb for Song-Cho Magic Quick Cook Pressure Cooker is Usual Time Taken divide by 8.  For example if I cook Lotus Root Soup in a normal pot over the stove it takes about 2 hours for it be ready so I take 120 minutes (in case you are wondering, 1 hour has 60 minutes so 2 hours there are 120 minutes) divide by 8, that will give us 15 minutes, the time required to continue boiling under small fire before turning it off. See! So easy!

No more cooking soup the night before or only weekends!  I can now make them on the day after I reached home from work, putting the soup to cook while I prepare the other dishes and we'll have flavourful soup to drink later.

2. Safety 
Pressure cooker relies on steam pressure in a sealed pot to cook the food, gone are the days where they are seen as pots rattling away on the stove threatening to blow a gasket or the whole pot (ok ok I exaggerated a bit), instead they are equipped with safety mechanism to ensure nothing gets blown up in your kitchen.

For Magic Quick Cook Pressure Cooker there are 5 safety features on the lid;
  1. Filter - New design with 8 side opening and one top opening to reduce the possibility of food getting stuck to the pressure regulator underneath.
  2. Pressure Indicator (with safety lock) - Raises once there is micro-pressure and prevent the pressure cooker from being opened.
  3. Balancing Weight - Act as a pressure adjustment regulator; releases pressure automatically
  4. Safety Valve - Releases pressure automatically where needed.
  5. Second Safety Valve - Releases pressure automatically if the first one is not enough.

3. Stainless Steel Pot
The pot is made up of multiply stainless steel but that does not mean it weighs a ton, contradictory it is fairly light weight.  With the multiple layers of stainless steel on the whole pot it provides high thermal conductivity outer layer for fast and even heat distribution which enables it to retain the food moisture and nutrition, that means we get to eat healthy food with most its good stuffs still inside them!

Take a look at the photo below, it is not a dissected pressure cooker pot but it's Song-Cho's stainless steel pot but they are being manufactured with the same design.  As you can see, Song-Cho's pot is multi-layered throughout the whole pot, even extended to the handle part.  On the other hand, most of the other brand's stainless steel pot only have additional layers at the bottom of the pot.  

As the pot is made with high quality stainless steel grade it is scratch proof with no harmful coating on the inside surface, I could use the green scrubbie thingie or the steel scrub to scrub away any burnt stains without worrying about damaging the pot or causing some chemical reactions   

4. Versatile and User-friendly
Besides being light weight, the Song-Cho Magic Quick Cook Pressure Cooker is easy to operate too, with its guided arrow you will know easily which direction to turn the cover and to release the valves etc for cleaning.  Having said that, the pot handle design caters for both right and left handed users so the left handed users does not feel awkward when they try to lock the cover.

Each pressure cooker comes with a stainless steel powder, trivet glass lid either for reheating or enabling us to use the pressure cooker as a normal cooking pot.

The Song-Cho Magic Quick Cook Pressure Cooker can be used over the stove with fire, induction or electric cooker.

With its numerous plus points this is a pressure cooker that you will want to have in your kitchen because it will help you Save Time in cooking, Money for using lesser gas or electricity.

Tomato Pork Chop Recipe
Back to the Tomato Pork Chop that you see at the top of this post.  We love this dish but the hassle of cooking the meat and the vegetable separately is time consuming, not to mention a few more plates to wash after that. On top of that there is a risk of over cooking the meat thus making it too tough to bite or chew.

With the Song-Cho Magic Quick Cook Pressure Cooker, the meat is browned in the pot and vegetable with tomato sauce dunked in after that, cover and cook.  All's done in 20mins!

As for the vegetables for this dish, you can basically use any that you like though those its better to add in root vegetables like carrots, turnips, radish, potato, onion, celery since they hold up well during long simmering or in this case pressure cooking.  I added in capsicum and they turned out soft and bit soggy which we like.  So it all depends on your preference.  For others like broccoli or cauliflower are best added in later when the Pressure Indicator or Safety Valve has dropped down and able to unlock the pot.

For the tomato sauce and water, you can add in more or less from what I have indicated, based on your preference on the sweet sourish taste and the consistency of the sauce.

Basically this is a One Pot Dish so you adjust the flavour and add in the ingredients you like and have it alone with steaming white rice or with other dishes.  Enjoy your cooking!

Tomato Pork Chops
* 250 to 300g of boneless loin
* 1 each of green, red or yellow capsicum
* 1 - 2 carrots
* 1 yellow onion
* 1 - 2 potato
* 1 tablespoon of Oyster sauce
* half to 1 cup of tomato sauce
* Olive Oil
* some water

1. Slice the pork loin into about 1.5cm thick.  Use a meat tenderlizer or the back of a knife to gently chop the pork loins on both sides to tenderize it. 
2. Marinate the pork loin with Oyster sauce for at least 6 hours.  Remove at leave 15mins before the time you intend to cook it.
3.Roughly chop up the potato, capsicum, onion and carrot.  Set aside.
4. Heat up the pressure cooker and pour some olive oil into it.
5. Add in the pork chop and brown both sides.  Discard any excess oil if any.
6. Add in all the vegetables into the pot.
7. Mix the tomato sauce to about half cup water to 1 cup tomato sauce or to the consistency you prefer.  Add the mixture into the pot and give it a little swirl.
8. Cover the pressure cooker and lock the lid.  Turn on the fire to cook it till the Balancing Weight  starts to shake.
9. Turn down to smallest fire, let it cook for another 2 to 3 minutes and turn off the fire.
10. Remove the pressure cooker from the stove and let it cool down till the Safety Valve drops down.
11. Serve and enjoy the pork chops!

*** *** *** *** *** 
If you love Fish Maw Soup you will know the many hours we have to let the pot of water simmer to soften the cabbage and the fish maw, at the same time ensuring that the cabbage does not dissolve before the fish maw are soft enough OR that the fish maw gets too soggy because we lost track of time and left it to simmer for too long.

Well, look at my perfectly cooked Fish Maw Soup~ Cabbage soft and sweet, fish maw springy and spongy.  The soup's all done within an hour!  'Nuff said!

*** *** *** *** ***

I am part of a group of mummies who had the chance to use Song-Cho's kitchen appliances, read their individual review on different products too.

1. Rice Cooker by Mummy Cynthia from I Love De Family
2. Ideal Wok by Mummy Edlyn from Mummy Ed
3. Magic Quick Cook (8l) by Mummy Christy from KidsrSimple
4. Soup Maker by Mummy Serene from Xavvy-licious
5. Bread Maker by Mummy Meiling from Universal Scribbles

Disclaimer : We received a 6L Magic Quick Cook Pressure Cooker from Song-Cho for the purpose of this product review post. No other compensation were received. All photos in this post belongs to The DinoFamily, you may not use them with out our permission. All opinion in this post are 100% ours based on our user experience on the product.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Review of SRT's Red Ridding Hood (Mandarin) 2017

Throw away the Little Red Riding Hood story that you have known since you are a little girl or little boy, the SRT's The Little Company Chinese production Red Ridding Hood 小红帽 will make you fall in love with the heart warming story again, and perhaps makes you appreciate Mandarin more than.

Set in current time; coz Grandma whips up the latest Mcdonald's local flavour burger, Little Red 小红 lives with her parents in the forest (maybe in Pulau Ubin lol) where they run a cute little bakery shop call 甜心蛋糕屋.  Life is perfect, peaceful and loving till the dad did not return from his trip to the Grandma's to delivery some yummylicious cakes that he baked.

Since the disappearance of the Dad, business was not doing well and the responsibility of visiting Grandma at the other side of the forest falls on Little Red. So dressed in his ang bao red hood, off she went to visit Grandma. Along the way she met up with the Big Good Wolf 大好狼 who of course have ill intentions and sent Little Red to the other direction so that he can reach Grandma's place first. From here the plot took a turn from the age old fairy tale and you expect non stop laughter and fun.

Besides the Wolf being or pretend to be goodie goodie Good Wolf, all the other characters were different from the original ones.  Little Red is not shy or scared but she is confident, innocent with a bubbly personality.  Woodcutter wanders around the forest without his ax but instead with a big Very Important Book.  Grandma is not old, ill and bed riddance but witty, chatty and have bounce in her steps.  Mum is not an unimportant character like the fairy tale but she is one brave Mum who enters the forest in search of Little Red but turned victim and transformed into something evil.

This is our 2nd children's play in Mandarin, the 1st one was so long ago and was a great disappointment to me (I couldn't even remember the production company nor the story, bad memories are best forgotten hahah!), we had such enormous fun!

I love how crisp and clear the performers said and sang their line, makes my heart swell to hear properly pronounced Mandarin.  The original songs are catchy, the dialogue are humorous and easy to understand.  If my half potato 11 year old son is laughing away throughout the hour you bet that younger kids will be able to enjoy the play too.

Another thing that caught my eye was the ingenious props that can be transformed easily from the cake house, to forest scene to Grandma's house effortlessly by the 5 performers on stage.

SRT The Little Company never fails to surprise me with every production.  Thumbs up to them!  I look forward with eagerness to their next Mandarin production.

Red Riding Hood 小红帽 (Mandarin)
Event Date
Thu, 20 Jul - Fri, 1 Sep 2017
Weekdays: 10am
Weekend & Public Holiday: 11am & 2pm

KC Arts Centre - Home of SRT

Ticket Pricing (Excludes Booking Fee)
Standard: S$28, S$25

Family Package of 4: S$95 for Cat 1 tickets
Family Package of 4 (with TLC CD Vol.2): S$107 for Cat 1 tickets

Weekends (Sat & Public Holiday)
Standard: S$48, S$38, S$35

Family Package of 4:
Cat 1 (with photo taking)*: $163
Cat 2 (no photo taking): $129

Family Package of 4 (with TLC CD Vol.2):
Cat 1 (with photo taking)*: $175
Cat 2 (no photo taking): $141

*Ticket includes a photo taking session with the cast in costume.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

My 1st Half Marathon with Mizuno Ekiden 2017

The 3rd edition Mizuno Ekiden 2017 happened yesterday on The Promotory @ Marina Bay and I was part of it, running my 1st 5.3km, one quarter share of a 21.2km half marathon.  What a wonderful experience it was!  I wasn't required to write a blog post for this but I wanted to because it was a personal milestone for me!

It has never crossed my mind to take part in marathon let alone a 4x relay half marathon but my fellow blogging mummies were 1 runner short and they tried to rope me in.  I rejected the first few times they asked as I am never a runner nor even jog in my life, I remembered I used to walked the whole 2.4km for IPPT or faked unwell when there was any running involved during PE lessons during my school days. I must be kidding myself to even think of joining a run.  However, I relented later because they really want to take part in the run, I knew I had just landed myself in a "doomed" situation when I said Yes to them.  Well, since I joined them I have to do something about my running, I actually wanted to start training or even jog a bit to build up my stamina or breathing but there wasn't even an ounce of opportunity.  Things just happened and that was put to the lowest priority.

A day before the day I was having butterflies in my tummy, even wanted to chicken out the last minute but that was not an option because I am running as a team with other mummies.  To chicken out now means our team will be disqualified.  The 2 boys weren't very supportive too *ggrrr* I told them that I am aiming to finish the route within an hour, DinoPapa exclaimed "An hour! I can do 10km for that duration!" DinoBoy said "Mum will NEVER run, she will most likely walk the whole way." I ignored them for the rest of the day hahaha!

So on the day, I put on the event tee, heaved a huge sigh and went off to face my fate with determination of finishing within 1 hour, "I'll crawl if I have to!" I told myself.

It rained cats and dogs earlier but luckily the weather took a turn to better later with a fair bit of sunshine so the event went on as scheduled.  The flag off time for the 1st runner was 4.30pm, I didn't have to be there so early but was there slightly over 4pm to meet up with fellow mummies.  Here you see me with Mummy Angelia, Mummy Serene and Mummy Edlyn, 4 of us running for 2 different teams.

Soon it was time for me and Mummy Edlyn to be in the waiting pen to take over the sash from our team mates. It was pretty crowded in the pen and every one craned their neck to stare at this huge screen in front of the pen.  This screen shows the team that is entering the last part of the route so that the next runner can enter the Transition area to take over the sash from them and continue the run.

Why can't the organisor put the screen higher than this so that every one can see it clearly instead of crowding at the front to see the updates?  Talking about updates, there was a link where you can track your team members so that you can anticipate the time he or she will be back but probably due to the huge surge of usage or search on the website it was not working...  Oh well, back to staring at the huge screen.

Mummy Edlyn left to ran her part leaving me alone in the pen feeling excited and scared, then I saw my team's name flashed on the screen and off I went into the Transition area.  I spotted Mummy Meiling a short while later and took over the sash from her.

I ran about 1km and my lungs started to feel like they were going to burst any time, I didn't have side stitches which was a surprise to me. A few moments later my legs gave way, protesting at the top of their voice so I had to stop running and took to brisk walking instead.  From then onward running was near impossible so I brisk walked and jogged a little.  It was kinda demoralising for me because I wasn't progressing faster than I wanted to, I was afraid that I couldn't achieve my targeted time.   I look at the route in front and kept thinking "are we there yet!??" like a 3 year old.  Every time I past by the medic point I was tempted to fake fainting spell so that I can rest.  I know right!  The mind playing tricks with me and I quickly put that thought to the back of my head and pushed on.

By 2.2km my throat was so dry that they felt like sand paper, the Hydration Station was a life saving sight!  I took a cup of energy sport drink and finished it in a few gulps while continuing my way.  It was a wrong move, the energy drink was so sweet that I almost puke, it also did not quench my thirst because my throat felt like sand paper again.  There was was no turning back to grab a cup of water, I just have to wait till I am hit the turning point and jog back to the Hydration Station again to grab the chilled mineral water instead. My experienced triathlon secondary school mate told me that our body needed the sweet drink but HECK! give me water anytime!  He agreed that the energy drink was not doing great help too... duhz!

One thing about running at Marina Bay area, you are bound to see a huge crowd of tourists at Gardens by the Bay, Marina Bay Sands and Esplanade area.  These tourists do not care if you are running a race, a marathon or for your life, they simply go about doing their "tourist thing" of site seeing, taking photos and selfies, some gawked at us, wondering what the hell are we doing and some brought up their camera to take photo of us (eh for what har?  We look so awful can!?).  Please, the next time you see a steady stream of runners with running bibs on their tee, sweating like hell, step aside and give way, it will be wonderful if you cheer them on!  The event volunteers did a great job in ensuring the tourists stay away from our running track but there is only so much they can do.

The worse part about running at these area is running head on into cloud of the cigarette smoke.  Aiyo! I was telling my friend afterward that I was already feeling short of air, the smoke almost suffocate and killed me on the spot.

Finally I saw a sign that makes me see a speck of light the end of the running tunnel! 4km later and I haven't collapsed!  Woohoo!!! However by this time I was so tired that I couldn't jog, thus I quicken my steps, determined to save up some energy to ran the last bit into the Transition area.

Sadly, that did not happened... the moment I started to run at the last few meters my legs turned jello, they almost gave way causing me to fall.  I remembered a man cheering me on to "Let's go! You can do it! Don't give up!" but I replied to him weakly that "I can't do it any more." while stumbling away from him.  Yes, I walked to the finish line and in my daze I couldn't locate Mummy Angelia (a huge size man was blocking her from my view! Ggrrr!), luckily she ran up to me and took the sash from me.

Still trying to catch my breath, I walked feebly away from the Transition area, took a bottle of mineral water and a can of energy drink that was handed to me and went off to find the others.  I couldn't find them among the crowd even though they gave me a rough location, it was pretty noisy and I badly need to sit down so I wandered off outside the event area.  I found a quiet spot, plop my fat ass down and sigh a huge relieved sigh.  I immediately made a call home to tell DinoPapa and DinoBoy that I am done, within an hour too!  DinoPapa was so surprised and congratulated me.  "I told you I will do it, didn't I?" I said smirkingly into the phone.

And with that I ended my 1st official 5km run, I didn't walk around the Race Village because I was too tired.  Took me a good half hour before I could stand up from my spot AND remembered that I did not do any after workout stretch.  Die lah!  Tomorrow sure cannot walk....

This would probably be my first AND last run, it is just too much for my body to endure and it really took a lot of determination to push on, I think I am just not cut out for running.  Even though I shamelessly proclaimed that I achieved my personal target, I did the worse among my team mates, better not drag any one down the drain with me so nope, no more running for me.  My secondary school mate told me to start training, even suggested some places to run around out area and do better in the next run but no thanks... I think I had enough.  It was a great experience while it lasted and I can proudly tell others that I participated in 4x relay half marathon even though I wasn't doing it great.

However, this experience also show me that if I really put my heart and determination into something, I can achieve it no matter how hard the road to success is.  I shall hold this in my heart and remind myself about this when I hit my next challenge.

*** *** *** *** ***

Well I was expecting myself to crawl out of the bed and crawling around the house because of aching joints and pains.  Instead, I only had difficulty getting out of the bed coz of stiffed muscles and except for stabbing pain at the hip area and aching back I was ok!  I am no iron lady or super hero, I had help with some natural products!

With the help of these 2 wonderful products, I had a good night rest, woke up at 830am this morning which is a rare case for me!  The same friend asked me "How's the muscles this morning?" I replied "Great!" and it's not bluffing, I even walked to the nearby mall to pack lunch for all of us.  I can't run, not even a few steps, tried to do it as I was trying to cross a small road while a car was turning in and can only managed 2 quick steps.  Walking is still fine and that is enough for me.

Look at the instagram photo below posted yesterday, you can see how tired and swollen my feet were even after I have bathed and let warm water ran onto them for some time.  My calf and thigh muscles were not in good shape too.  I applied a thin layer of Theo10 Heat onto them, stretch out my feet to relax the muscles and let the cream work on them.  My whole leg feels much better after a while and as mentioned they felt a little bit minty and cooling too.  Theo10 Heat were made 100%  with natural organic ingredients including peppermint, camphor, capsicum and beeswax. 

I always like to use essential oil to support the family's health and this time is no difference, I turned to them to ensure that I recover better from the strenuous running.  Just before bedtime, I applied Young Living Valor on my tired legs and hips, I forgot my back and shoulder thus I woke up with stiff muscles on these area.

Why Valor you asked?  Well, besides able to calm and balance my body's energy and unwinding before bed time, it also helps to ease muscle tension.  The following ingredients and explanation taken from here may give you more insight about Valor.

  • Rosewood Essential Oil – Has an amazing woody scent that comforts our nerves. Is used for balancing our moods and emotions.
  • Spruce Essential Oil – Known for its strengthening and refreshing qualities. Is good for our respiratory and nervous systems.
  • Frankincense Essential Oil – Soothing essential oil that is quite widely used and is known for its effect on our immune system.
  • Blue Tansy Essential Oil – Comparatively rare oil that relieves stress and tension.

If you would like to find out more about these two products, don't be shy to drop me a message at my facebook page.

Disclaimer : We were invited to take part of Mizuno Ekiden 2017, no other compensation was received.  All opinions in this post regarding the marathon, Theo10 and Young Living products are 100% based on our own and based on our experience and usage of the products.  The products view are not to be taken as expert medical advice, please seek professional assistance or advice for your condition. 

Friday, August 18, 2017

Rise and Shine Festival 2017

Rise & Shine Festival is celebrating their 5th birthday this year in August and they strive to continue their mission of helping parents build champions of tomorrow and raising happier, healthier, brighter children!

For this special installment, they are collaborating with LEGO to bring together the LARGEST Learn Through Play Festival!
  • Largest LEGO “learn through play” fun space
  • Four fun education zones – discovery, play, shine and learn
  • Over 20 Kids Trial Workshops
  • Educational health masterclasses for parents led by Singapore Paediatric Society
  • Storytelling and reading programmes by National Library Board (NLB)
Here are some of the events you can expect to see during the event.

1. LEGO® Amazing Experience Zones (NEW)
Interactive LEGO® pop-up event

a. Singapore's Largest Family Building Competition
Take part in Singapore's Largest LEGO® building competition for families and win up to $400 worth AMAZING LEGO® prizes and more! There are limited space available at the competition pit so pre-registration is required.

1st: $400 LEGO® set
2nd: $200 LEGO® set
3rd: $100 LEGO® set

Ticket price: $5 (each participant will receive a gift bag worth $20)

b. MEGA LEGO® Pit Stop
Kids get to build their own LEGO® Race cars and put it to a speed test on the racing ramp.

Limited space available, pre-registration is required. Registration is free. (no prizes/ gift bags for this segment)

Sign up for free at:
Bring along the confirmation email for entry

2. Mission Pass (NEW)
The Mission Pass offers kids access to a full day of fun games & exciting activities where they can learn and play at the same time.

It is a fun-filled journey of over 30 stops where kids can learn through play by participating in activities to either

1) Find things
2) Make things
3) Learn about things!

Kids who completed the pass can redeem a goodie bag worth $50- only valid for the 1st 3000 successful completion.

Mission Pass Exclusive Activities:
Experience go-karting like no other! Let junior experience the thrill of car racing in a controlled and safe environment at our super awesome mini circuit!

Put on your thinking cap and get on a mad science adventure and explore the world of logic!

Featured activities:
• Create REAL snow
• Make ice cream from nitrogen
• Make super gooey slime
• Formulate polymer worms
• Magnetic tricks
• Puzzle solving games
• & more!

It’s time to get crafty and bring home beautiful art pieces your child has created! If your child loves to perform too, be sure to try out these exciting activities!

Featured activities:
• Design a bracelet with your name
• Create watercolour master pieces
• Make nursery rhyme themed finger puppets
• Hands-on experience on musical instruments
• Wii Family Dance Station
• & more!

Sports can be fun! Try out these mini circuits for some adrenaline-pumping actions!

Featured activities:
• Softball try out for kids
• Mini friendly football match
• Junior Gym session
• & more!

Bring along the confirmation email for entry

3. Superhero VS Super Villain Dress Up Competition (NEW)
Come as an individual or with parents! Get dressed up in your favourite gear, and strut down the runway! Win up to $300 worth of prizes!

Age 3 – 6 years old
Competition Date: 25 August 2017, Friday
Time: 11.30am - 12.00pm
Venue: Big Stage @ Rise & Shine Festival 2017

Age 7 – 10 years old
Competition Date: 26 August 2017, Saturday
Time: 5.00pm – 5.30pm
Venue: Big Stage @ Rise & Shine Festival 2017

Bring along the confirmation email for entry. Each participant receive goodie bag worth $20.

4. Education Fair
Besides the activities for kids, parents looking out for enrichment classes can also enjoy exclusive discounts during the event.  Not forgetting the crazy toys & books sale where parents can enjoy up to 80% discounts. Major bands like

5. Kids workshops
Parents can enrol their kids in a short interactive workshop in Yoga, Dance, Speech, Music, Memory techniques.

Rise & Shine Festival- Asia’s Largest Edu-Fun Fest!
Date: 25 – 27 August 2017
Venue: Suntec Convention Centre, Halls 401 - 404
Time: Opens 11am daily

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

11th Birthday Party @ Tag Team Downtown East

It has been years since we last celebrated DinoBoy's birthday with family and friends, partly due to financial situation, partly because I was stretched out by work and family commitment plus coaching DinoBoy on his school work (yes, I just have to mention that because I truly hate his mountain of school work), leaving me little energy to do anything else.

This year as the school preps the students for PSLE next year, it seems that he haven't had enough time to rest or take a breather as the teachers are piling the students with loads of work, there were always some homework from one of the subjects daily.  We played a lot more lesser which I wasn't happy about it so I decided that on his birthday he should have a day of maximum fun with his cousins and friends!

Venue - Tag Team Singapore
I was asking among friends about the birthday parties they hosted for their kids, most of them mentioned indoor playground or a simple buffet at home for family & friends which wasn't quite what I was looking for this time.  Then Mummy Edlyn mentioned that she hosted Ethan's birthday party at Tag Team Singapore not long ago.  I went to their website, liked what I saw and contacted them immediately through their website to inquire about available slots at their Downtown East venue.  Talking about efficiency, I was surprised to received a whatsapp message from them the next day! That's not all, throughout the following month up till the day before our party, they were responsive to my queries in whatsapp too.  I even received a reminder email on my "date" with them 2 days before the party.

Frankly speaking, I was a little worried after I made payment to them because I have never seen this place before and know nothing much except from the website and what was shared with me by Mummy Edlyn.  I was so afraid that they have "forgotten" my booking n mess it up.  I initially planned to do a site visit but I did not managed to find time to do it, the reminder email finally sets my mind to ease.

And just like that, it was all done.  We made booking for their 2 hour Multi Equipment Laser Tag package @ SGD450 (peak hours) that includes an hour of 4 missions play time and 1 hour for usage of their party room for food and beverages.

Remember earlier I mentioned that I have never been to Tag Team Down?  On the actual day we went there 30mins earlier than our slot @ 11am thinking that we could settle in while waiting for the guests to arrive BUT they are not open yet, apparently their operating hours starts at 11am *opps!*   They were very kind to let us in while they are busy setting things up to start their day.

Opps! We were too early! See the roller shutter on the right? hehehe~

We did a little exploration while trying not to get in their ways as they check the guns etc to ensure that they are in working conditions. I was expecting a huge room or even a few rooms but instead there was only 1 big area with foamed obstacles. The photo below shows the right side of the room, you can see the left side and the entire area in the video. Not a huge space but I think for the kids it is good enough for them to run around.

There is a party room big enough to fit in about 15 adults comfortably, with a 3 seater sofa and some metal benches around the room.  A cozy little place for game break and food later.  The best part about this place is that it's fully air conditioned! 

When every one's arrived it is time to start the party!  Oh wait!  Before all the kids all dashed into the room they had to sit quietly and listen to the facilitator for a 10-15mins of Mission Briefing where the facilitator introduced to all the equipment or laser guns that the kids will be using during the 1 hour laser tag game.

The following Safety instructions were also given out.
  • No Running - quite impossible but I guess if its not mindless dashing it is ok.
  • No Physical Contact - means no body slamming, no using the laser guns to hit friends
  • No Moving of Obstacles - eh no picking up the foam blocks and throwing at the opponents okay!
In case you are wondering, the laser gun uses the infra red technology much those you seen in your remote controls, so you aim and "shoot" at the sensor on the Sensor Belt to "kill", and the belt will vibrate when you are "hit".

As the birthday boy DinoBoy was given the privilege to choose his team mates and he picked those sitting next or close to him hahaha~ clever boy!  No need to ponder or think who to choose.  So the kids get into their respective team; Blue Team and Red Team, together with the 2 facilitators who is in charge of each team, they entered the room eagerly and the 1st game started.

Even though there are only 2 facilitators, they were able to control the kids, even managed to break up a little squabble among the kids in short time.  Of course, the kids were well behaved too, they know to give and take so that every one can have fun together.  Good job kids!  I am so proud of all of you!

Having said that, it was still chaos and "war like" in the room with the kids screaming, squealing, shouting, laughing at the top of their voice.  It was challenging to take photo, besides being too dark for clear images, every time I aim my camera at them, the next second they ran off and the frame only captures blur images or the foam structures.  So videos are better to capture the fun they had at that time. I am sure the adults standing at the side watching them are enjoying themselves too.

Judging from the kid's expressions in this photo I am sure they had enormous fun that day! It was further validated when DinoBoy told me that they were talking about it on the following school day.  I am so glad that I made the decision to go ahead with this party at the last minute, now DinoBoy will have a great memory of his 11th Birthday. 

Now that you read about our party at Tag Team Downtown East, read about Mummy Edlyn's post on her experience with Tag Team Singapore East Coast Park over here.  We have provided you with the "virtual" view of both locations on our post to make the decision on the venue easier for you *wink*

Note : Tag Team Downtown East is tucked away in a corner on level 4 of E!Hub Pasir Ris.  You have to walk towards the Cathay cinema ticketing counter, turn left and walk further in to reach the place.

Besides the Multi Equipment Laser Tag, Tag Team Singapore has other activities too.  For the older kids perhaps they can try the Virtual and Mixed Reality Laser Tag.  They also do customized events for both indoor and outdoor venue all over Singapore.  Do check them out if you are planning for a group fun for your kids or your friends/colleagues.

Tag Team Contact
Downtown East
Telephone: 6385 2065
Email :

East Coast Park
Telephone : 6348 2696
Email :


Invitation Card - Canva
With the venue booked, I proceed with the guest list with DinoBoy and since I do not have any of the mum's contact number, I had to write a simple note about the birthday party for the kids to bring home to their parents. I thought I have to chase the parents but wow~ they are such wonderful parents who replied me days before the RSVP date. Days later, I sent out the birthday invitation card via whatsapp (don't you just love such instant messaging platform!) to all of them. The card looks decent eh? I created it using Canva, an amazing online design software. They have a lot of templates to use or if you are feeling creative you can make one from scratch with their many choices on layout, text etc.

Food & Beverages - Neo Garden Catering
I was so happy that I managed to settle the party venue & guests list from the comfort of my home and workplace that I almost forgot to order food!  And that was like less than a week to the party!  Well!  Here's another efficient company that saved my day!  We have been ordering buffet from Neo Garden Catering during DinoBoy's past birthdays, they had never disappoint us with their food so this time I decided to go back to them again.

Their Mini Buffet attracted me because it starts from a minimum 15 pax with as low as SGD6.50 per pax and also because Mummy Edlyn ordered that and she was satisfied with the food (see, word of mouth is very important!) I decided to opt for that choice.  A day after I placed my order online, I received a call from their sales coordinator to confirm the food ordered and payment arrangement.

It was again a good experience with Neo Garden Catering.  How so?  Well, you know how frustrating and time consuming it is to have to speak to different people regarding our order and repeating the same thing again and again.  With Neo Garden Catering, it was a breeze for me as the same Sales Coordinator handles my order and that makes communication easier and faster too.  Since it's a kids party, I like to make sure the food I ordered are kids friendly, that means not too spicy.  The Sales Coordinator was patient enough to answer my queries and even ensure me that the food is enough for all to enjoy.  When I needed to increase the number of pax 2 days prior to the party there were no issue at all too, it was confirmed immediately over the phone and confirmation emailed to me.   And I receive SMS when my order is confirmed,  credit card payment made and even their delivery man's name and mobile number on that day too!

Do note that the mini buffet does not comes with food warmers, instead they are delivered in a huge food warmer bag.  They are packed nicely in durable decent looking take away containers where you can simply remove the cover and serve the food in a presentable way.  The vegetarian bee hoon we ordered were packed in sturdy tupperware with side locks.

You must be wondering why there weren't any photo of our food.  Well, this Mama was so busy setting up the food and getting the kids to eat that she totally forgotten about it.  Nonetheless, the food received Thumbs Up! from the adults that were there and tasted the food.  Well done again Neo Garden!

Note : Actually there is no need to order exact number of pax for the kids because they are so hyped up with the running and shooting that they weren't in the mood to eat.  Though they drank loads of water because they perspired so much!  Playing is such hard work!

Neo Garden Catering Pte Ltd
1 Enterprise Road,
Singapore 629813

Call Centre Telephone : 6896 7757
Call Center Hours:
Monday – Sunday: 9am to 7pm

Mini Steam Cake - Little Sweet Tooth Bakes
I first got to know about Little Sweet Tooth Bakes when we attended Dumpling's birthday a couple of years ago, her How to Train Your Dragon cakes were something new at that time, most important they were super tasty too!

As they made customized orders, I discussed with DinoBoy and he wanted laser guns, target and the word "Zap!" design on his cake.  I have no idea how the cake will turn out since they do not do sample for me to see but I have total confident in them after seeing their work online and on Dumpling's birthdays.  They really did not disappoint me, look at the cute color fun steam cakes!

We opted for Speculoos Crunchy fillings, the crunch gave texture  to the soft steam cake, added on with their mini size you really cannot stop yourself from popping them into your mouth non stop!  Lucky I ordered 50pcs so there were plenty to go around.  Look at the kids stuffing those delicious cakes into their mouth.  You don't see DinoBoy look so decent, he had 1 cake in each hand that he is hiding behind his back.

Usually Little Sweet Tooth Bakes will take order for bigger size steam cake for candle blowing but the lady boss was away and only back a day before my party so there wasn't enough time to make the bigger piece.  No big issue at all, I simply pop by Spotlight to grab the "Happy Birthday" alphabet candles to stick onto the mini cake.

And how can a party end without the famous Dab pose? Don't know what this is? Where did you go these few years LOL (actually I also don't know what it is till earlier this year hahaha~), read about it over here.

Little Sweet Tooth Bakes

Gifts for Kids - Laser Gun Keychains 
You know how organising a party can really get into your head and you start thinking to add MORE things to it? Well, that's what happened to me, 5 days before the party I thought to myself "Why don't I do a small gift for the kids as a keepsake and remember DinoBoy's fun party whenever they see that gift?"  So I sat down at my work table and made a stuffed toy Laser Gun, add in the keychain and viola!  Simple to do but to make TEN of it in 5 days where I only have like 2-3 hours per night to do, I was really challenging myself to the max.

Regardless, since I started it I have to finish it by hook or by crook.  5 days with 2 sleepless night later 10 beautiful Laser Gun keychains are done!  I attached them to the cute little mini packs of steam cake to be given to the kids at the end of the party.

If you are interested to order these laser guns for your party send a message at my shop Shop of Curios.  I do customized orders of keychains, soft toys, bags, pouches etc too.   

Shop of Curios
Email :

After Thoughts
Having planned the boy's birthdays when he was younger where preparation have to start months before with the start of sourcing stuffs to put in the goodie bags to the ordering food and cake nearer the party day, it was a hassle and a big "investment" especially I have to host birthday celebration at home with the family and in school.  This time it was so much easier and simpler, not to mention pocket friendlier too!  I guess as the children gets older, birthdays are more ABOUT them and FOR them, it does not need to be elaborate, all they need is a place and time where they can have some fun time with friends.  

Now, where should I host his 12th Birthday Party next year? 

Disclaimer : This is not a sponsored post.  We are sharing our experience with the various local companies that makes the boy's birthday party a success.  We hope our party gives you an alternative choices when you are planning for one yourself.  #Supportlocal