Friday, November 28, 2014

Parenting with Love: P1 Journey!

2015 marks the start of a new journey - somewhat unsettling yet exciting. It marks the journey of formal public schooling for Dumpling. It was a pretty hard decision to make as given a choice I would pretty much want to continue to homeschool her but that is not to be the case.

On the homeschool end, I have been working with her on things such as money, time telling, etc., so that she will be able to manage those in school. But truthfully, nothing beats receiving the enrolment letter for reality to finally sink in that my baby is ‘no more’. L

Having said that, the hubs and I are quite pleased with the school that she will be attending based on our interaction with them so far. The school seems to be well organised which made our registration a breeze. Unlike some of my friends, we needed only to go to the school once and that was for both Orientation and administrative stuff.

I received our Orientation letter quite early on and items such as book list, dental form, students' data form and an itinerary of the Orientation were all included in the same letter. The letter shared the class which Dumpling has been allocated to.

The morning finally arrived. I like that the process was systematic and clear. Upon arrival at the foyer area, all we had to do was to look for the class names and pick up our folder from there.

Dumpling was a tad unsure and nervous (not unlike moi!) but we had to leave her seated at the hall with her classmates. The Principal greeted us and shared some basic information before the children were led away to their classrooms for next year. (Frankly, this is where I had separation anxiety and I swear that the hubs was rolling his eyes at me at one point!)

After the various reps (CCA Dept, PSG section, etc.) have presented on their slides, the parents were led to the children's respective classrooms. This is where it was useful that we had the 2 of us at the orientation. I was in charge of filling up a Giro Form while the hubs went to the bookstore to purchase the school books.

Once I was done filling up the form, we went to the respective "stations" (according to the child's serial number) set up at the front of the classroom and a designated staff did the checking of our details on the form.

When that was done, the hubs was back and the parents were led to an AV room which was used as a holding area. I could see that Dumpling had settled down well and made two new friends too.

What I was really pleased about is that there was no 'tests' / 'informal assessments' done for the kids. During the entire month of November, quite a lot of my mummy friends also attended Orientation days too. I heard from some of them that their kiddos were led through a somewhat informal 'assessment' where they had to reach a list of Dolch words out loud to the teachers as well as attempt some Chinese activities.

Dumpling had none of those and was in fact watching Tom and Jerry in the AV room. When I asked her how the morning went and what they did, she shared that they were brought their classroom and told that it was to be their room for the next 2 years. Thereafter, they were shown where the bathrooms were and they were also brought around to tour the library (she was especially thrilled to know that there is a library in the school) before being led to the AV holding room.

After we picked her up, we went over to the last 'station' of that morning - to purchase school uniforms and for mummy here, to hand in my PSG form. :)

The queues moved pretty quickly and we were done in about 30 minutes. For uniforms, my suggestion would be to try on sizes which are for your child's age. Unless your child is much taller / petite in size, usually the recommended sizes by the vendor would be quite spot on.

And yup, Dumpling will be starting her new journey in a convent. :)

If I can share 5 tips, it would be the below:

- Prepping the bank details for GIRO Deduction (account name, account branch, account number)
- Bringing along a pen / pencil (shading is needed for the Giro form so pencils would be more suitable)
- Attending the session with your spouse / another adult (so that each of you can queue for different items)
- Bring cash (an approximate amount to be brought for books, badges, online learning portal subscription, etc. for us came up to about $300-350.)
- Water bottle & Cardigan for the kiddo

As this blog is to share my parenting thoughts and journey, this also marks the start of sharing on Dumpling's Primary School journey. I will still be supporting her from home on topics that she is keen on so there will still be posts on home learning and sharing of resources. For the coming year, I aim to share a bit more on my parenting thoughts and I will do so with the next post on something that has been on my mind a bit - one on money management and how to avoid raising a kid with the 'entitlement' mindset. Till the next post, please pray for us that her Primary school years will be fun and enjoyable. :)

Edit (4 Jan 2016):
Looking for more tips? Veron, a fellow mum blogger, has also shared her experience on the P1 Orientation experience which you can read about here!

During the course of Dumpling's Primary 1, I have written a few more posts on various areas (academics, bento, etc.) which is collated below:
What to and how to prep for Primary One Prep
6 things that I learnt about Primary One!
What to expect for and tips on Primary One Show and Tell!
Learning about the Primary 1 English Curriculum (Stellar Programme)
5 tips (after surviving 2 terms in Primary 1!)
Primary 1 Bento Tips and FAQs!

If you have enjoyed this post, please follow me on my Facebook Page where I share my parenting thoughts, food photos (be prepared for tons of them!), early shout outs for giveaways and interact with you, my readers! You can also follow me on Pinterest and Instagram.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Review + Giveaway - SofzSleep

Dumpling is a light sleeper and sleeps very little since young. She’s skipping half of her naps and the other half with me ‘forcing’ her to continue on days where she has no activities to go for. So it is no surprise that I am quite anal about her rest and quality of sleep. :p

As adults, we spend a good 1/3 of our time resting and for the kiddos, depending on their age, it ranges from anything between 10 - 14 hours per day. It is common knowledge that the quality of pillows is directly related to the quality of sleep. So what constitutes as a good pillow?

To me, it's comfort, support and material. We were blessed with a Sofzsleep Junior pillow to review recently and here's our take.

:: Comfort

I was quite surprised to discover that Sofzsleep pillows has a 'natural bamboo cover' and this gives the pillow a satiny smooth feel. That's especially important for younger children and infants where their skin is very delicate. For Dumpling, this is clearly a winner as she is highly sensitive to texture where I still need to snip off clothes labels till now! However, with the Sofzsleep pillow, I have no such issues.

:: Support

I suffer from insomnia so personally I place quite a strong emphasis in the firmness and support of the pillow. If I average 5 hours of sleep daily, I surely will make those hours count!

Now, for Dumpling, it's the same concern too. To me, this relates to the quality of sleep. If she doesn't get a good night's rest, I think she will find it a challenge to stay focused for almost 6 hours in primary school next year.

We have been experimenting and buying pillows of various 'height' and she has previously complained of a stiff neck on an occasion where we used a 'lower' pillow for her.

Sofzsleep pillow is firm yet comfortable. I nudged and pushed into it a few times and as you can see, it didn't 'sink' in. Instead, it adjusts itself where the latex material 'rises' up almost immediately when there is no pressure.

Most of us turn and move through the night as we go through the REM mode so what I noticed was that there was no concern or need to fluff up the pillow; the pillow 'adjusts' itself when Dumpling turns the other way.

With a natural contour in the Sofzsleep Junior Pillow, the shape supports the head and neck properly.

:: Material

I come from a family with strong allergy genes and in the bedroom, we have a purifier, diffuser and a dehumidifier. :p Being a sinus sufferer, this means that Dumpling has slightly more sensitive airways. Hence for me, features like 'Dust Mites Resistant" is another check on the box.

Sofzskeep is also made from natural latex without the use of chemicals and is also anti-bacterial!

Dumpling has been using the pillow for a few weeks now and the shape of the pillow is retained and so far Dumpling has not complained of any neckache and in fact, she lugs the pillow from room to room as she goes about her activities. :)

I am pleased to share that I have not 1, but 2 of these Sofzsleep Junior Pillows (M Size) worth almost SGD120 for a giveaway!

(For SG residents only)

:: To enter:
1. Enter through rafflecopter below!
2. Leave a comment below and share a tip for a good night's sleep!

:: Terms and Conditions:

- Entries that do not fulfil the requirements stated will be disqualified without notice.
- Winners will be notified by email, through the email address provided. Thereafter, we will require the winners' addresses for the pillows to be delivered to them by Sofzsleep.
- This giveaway is for Singapore residents only. 

- Draw date will be on 28 Nov.  

That's not all! Quote Beanie N Us when you order through their FB page (via PM) at and receive a 15% discount! Promotional period is only from 22 Nov to 4 Jan 2015! Just in time for the new school year! :)

Disclaimer: We received a Junior Pillow from Sofzleep in order to do a review on and give our opinions of it. No monetary compensation was received for this post. Sofzsleep is the sponsor of this giveaway. Sofzsleep is on Instagram too!

If you have enjoyed this post, please follow me on my Facebook Page where I share my parenting thoughts, food photos (be prepared for tons of them!), early shout outs for giveaways and interact with you, my readers! You can also follow me on Pinterest and Instagram  

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Review + Giveaway: A Night at the Safari, A Day with the Duchess & The Lion Dance by David Seow!

David Seow is an author that we are not unfamiliar with having read his books – Emma’s Elephant, If I Were a Blue Kangaroo, etc. David started writing stories when he was babysitting his niece and nephews, and decided to write one about them. And that’s where he drew his inspiration from for the famous Sam Sebbie and Di-Di-Di series.

Sam, Sebbie and Di-di-di are three siblings who go on wonderful excursions and encounter amazing adventures along the way. Here are Dumpling’s top 3 picks.

:: At The Night Safari
The Night Safari is always an adventure for Dumpling whenever we visit it. There is just a hint of mystery in the air when it is a night outing. The tram ride, of course, is a key draw. Dumpling would start whispering and pointing out those nocturnal creatures the moment the ride starts.

And it is the same for Sam Sebbie and Di-Di-Di. The trio started their adventure on a tram ride when suddenly, the tram stopped suddenly with a bump and a bam! Turns out, one very sleepy animal was in the way.

How will they be able to get past the giraffe? Will anyone be able to wake him up? This lovely story, told in an easy rhyming style, is great for younger children as it introduces the various animals and vocabulary in the Safari. 

:: A Day with the Duchess
Amongst all 3 stories, this is my favourite. While “At the Night Safari” is less wordy, “A Day with the Duchess” is more suitable for older children. Dumpling remembers the Duchess’s visit to Singapore, 2 years ago, as I showed her the articles in the papers then. She was very excited that someone from the Royal Family (almost like a real princess mama?) visited Singapore. :)

The story was a joy to read as Kate (Sam’s pet hamster) was brought to meet the Duchess.

(Can you spot where Kate is?)

Unfortunately she was separated from the siblings along the way. The story is ‘true’ as it highlighted the various places the Duke and Duchess visited. From Gardens by the Bay to Queenstown to Raffles Hotel, it also shares how Kate ended up being part of the Duchess ‘entourage’.

Of course, the 3 siblings were worried sick; will they ever be able to find Kate and get her back?

The illustrations by Soefara Jafney were really good! Being quite known for her impeccable fashion sense, I pored through the drawings of her outfits. :p Upon close inspection, I realised that the drawings of the Duchess’s outfits were “true” to what she wore during her visits!  (I did a google to check that out!)  

:: The Lion Dance
The final book that Dumpling has selected is The Lion Dance. On “one extra-special holiday” the siblings (with new member Xandy) were told by their parents that they would be watching a special performance: a lion dance! So who is this lion and where does it come from? Does it really dance?

Like the other titles, the excursion proved to be yet another adventure for the children. They ventured into a ‘hidden’ area, drew open a big red curtain and saw “the funniest lion”. They decided to put on the Lion costume and surprised their parents by hopping out from behind the curtains, only to realise that they are the ones who were surprised instead!

The crowd cheered and the drums went “doong doong doong bang!” and gongs  went “doong doong doong chang”!

“Oh, goodness gracious me!” exclaimed Xandy… “What do we do?” he asked.

How will the children be able to shimmy their way out of this ‘adventure’, or will they :)
This title is a simple yet lovely tale with captivating illustrations. I enjoyed thumbing through the pages and pouring over the traditional Chinese elements - cranes, lanterns and even the 'Bruce Lee' lookalike outfit donned on by Sebbie!
To place an order for these books, you can visit Epigram here.
I am pleased to share that I have not 1, not 2 but a bundle of these 3 autographed titles worth almost SGD50 for a giveaway!
(For SG residents only)
:: To enter:
1. Enter through rafflecopter below!

2. Leave a comment below on how you encourage a love for reading with your kiddos at home! Please include your email address  

:: Terms and Conditions:

- Entries that do not fulfil the requirements stated will be disqualified without notice.
- Winners will be notified by email, through the email address provided.
- This giveaway is for Singapore residents only. 

Disclaimer: I received copies of the titles from Epigram Books in order to do a review on and give my opinion of it. No monetary compensation was received for this post. Epigram Books is the sponsor of this giveaway.

If you have enjoyed this post, please follow me on my Facebook Page where I share my parenting thoughts, food photos (be prepared for tons of them!), early shout outs for giveaways and interact with you, my readers! You can also follow me on Pinterest and Instagram

Friday, November 7, 2014

I Theatre Hop and Honk Review!

Values are somewhat, to me, synonymous with I Theatre's productions. From selfishness (Rainbow Fish) to the value of hard work (The Little Red Hen), I love how these are impressed upon the kiddo using various stories and characters.

Hop and Honk is a bit more than that. This is a tale about friendship, about the acceptance of differences, and of not judging a book by its cover. It is a cleverly woven tale using two classic stories - The Frog Prince, Anura, and Ugly Duckling, Cygna.

The tale starts off with the witch turning the Prince into a frog who later befriended Cynga. Like the traditional tale, Cygna never fitted in with her siblings or in her school. She was often ridiculed and ostracised.

This is not unlike Anura, who had amnesia, and also found out that he was also very different from the rest of the frogs. This started an unexpected yet charming friendship between the two who went on to seek for answers on who they are, where they came from and why are they different; not unlike many of us who face these uncertainties, even in adulthood.

And like all fairytales, there is a villain - Herodias the Heron, flanked by his two weasel sidekicks - Lester and Chester. The easy banter and camaraderie between this trio provided many light-hearted moments and laughs amongst the audience too.

The musical is refreshing and the songs lively. One of my favourite scenes is that of when Anura was with other frogs. The props were well designed to depict that of a 'pond' scene and the song was catchy. The frogs were also well portrayed by the actors and Dumpling was very amused with their bobbing of the heads and how they "ribitted" through. :)

Of course, what Dumpling was looking forward to was the moment Cygna transformed into a beautiful swan "so that the mean ducks would stop making fun of her". :)

The set was beautiful, certainly one of my favourite amongst all the I Theatre productions. The costumes of the swans and the frogs were well thought out and elegantly designed. Hop and Honk is not your traditional fairy-tale, rather more of a fractured fairy-tale that has been given doses of adult humor injected with local context.
The two palace swans' heavily accented English certainly had me in stitches of laughter, a clever play on how appearances (in this case the elegance of the swans) may not be indicative of who they are.
Using these 2 stories, Brian Seward was able to explore and present themes which are very "real" in our society and faced by school children these days. From bullying to self esteem issues, these were communicated well and in digestible bits that can be understood by children. 

As Hop and Honk is about 95 minutes long (with a 15-min interval), I feel that the musical would be suited for older children of 5/6 and above. With its splatter of adult humor, I believe that this is one production that parents would enjoy too!

Hop and Honk is presented at the Drama Centre Theatre (NLB Building in Bugis) from now till 15 November.

You can purchase your tickets from Sistic here! You can read about reviews of previous I Theatre's productions here

Disclaimer: We were invited to watch the production and give our opinions of it. We were not compensated for the post. All opinions expressed are entirely ours.   

If you have enjoyed this post, please follow me on my Facebook Page where I share my parenting thoughts, food photos (be prepared for tons of them!), early shout outs for giveaways and interact with you, my readers! You can also follow me on Pinterest and Instagram 
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