Saturday, September 29, 2012

My 360 degrees and the new 20s

With my birthday round the corner, I figured that now is as good a time as ever to reflect on things a little. In my 20s, it was fun and so much of me time! I got to exercise everyday after work, went for drinks with my collegues anytime I wanted to (hello #5 Emerald Hill), midnight movies and loads of shopping. 

THEN, I became a mum. Life took on a 360 degrees change for me.

1) Alcohol moments:
Consist mainly of the occasional wines when we are dining outside and the Choya at night because I need to be able to hear her request for night feeds from earlier days (Yes Luis, if you are reading this, it is this sad now! LOL)

2) I try to take care of myself (Vit C immediately when I feel like I caught a bug so that I do not pass it to Dumpling)

3) My shopping sprees made way for Dumpling's classes and clothes

4) Salon trips became less frequent and I have traded salons in towns for those closer to home just so I save on travelling time

5) Entertainment now equates to productions such as Gruffalo, The Owl who is Afraid of the Dark

6) Definition of exercise has changed from daily power yoga classes to bringing the little one (and running with her / after her) at Fidgets / Port of Lost Wonder where my muscles groan the next day

But there are loads of good moments and accomplishments too and here's my top 3!

1) Became a mum and falling in love many many times over with Dumpling 

2) Acquired new skills - baby signing, got my diving licence and MOST IMPORTANTLY, the art of falling back to sleep after waking up for night feeds / night potty training, etc.

3) Started back on driving after having my licence and not driving for more than 9 years! 

So I thought that it would be good to list down what are the things I want to accomplish for the next year:

1) Pick up a new instrument (yes, at the ripe old age of 3X, I want to pick up something new)

2) Tone up - find some time to exercise

3) Head off for a holiday to just chill (in the works)

4) Head off for ANOTHER holiday (still thinking about it, LOL)

5) Just taking some time to rest - I see morning swims, massages and hair appointments at salons in the horizon!

6) Spend more time with Dumpling

7) Be a cool mum 

8) Continue to work on my Chinese

9) Worry less

10) Laugh more 

So far, I love being in my 30s. I am certainly more confident and comfortable in my own skin where I am not too "young" to mind what others say and not too "old" to not embrace fun moments of bursting into songs and skipping through malls with Dumpling. :) 

So, here's a Happy Birthday to me in advance and with some more years before I hit the 40s, I leave you with one of my favorite quotes from SATC (yes I watched it, yes, I even enjoyed some parts of the chick flick series)

Oh Louise enjoy yourself that's what your 20's are for, your 30s are to learn the lessons your 40s are to pay for the drinks!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Comfort food - Laksa!

I don't binge but I can safely say that I love food (as if you can't tell by now!)

I usually am gamed to try most new dishes (unless there are allergy concerns) and am definitely more adventurous as compared to the man when it comes to eating. :p

For loads of Singaporeans, Chicken Rice is their top pick for a national "dish" (read this somewhere before) along perhaps with pepper crabs? I love chicken rice but I also lurve spicy dishes. One of my favorite lunch time hang out is a Korean restaurant in Tanjong Pagar but I will save that for another Foodie Friday post. 

Besides chicken rice, for me, it would be Laksa. Laksa is a popular spicy noodle soup from the Peranakan culture, which is a merger of Chinese and Malay elements found in Malaysia and Singapore, and Indonesia. (
In Singapore, most stalls would serve it with fried beancurd (tau pok), slices of fishcake, sometimes prawns (which I do not fancy), egg with thick vermicelli. But for me, the most important things are: the chili, gravy AND cockles!

The gravy needs to be rich but delicately balanced so that the coconut milk does not overpower the spices and chili in the dish. The tau pok (and this is the only dish that I eat tau pok) then soaks up all the gravy which spurts out in warm spicy bursts as you chew on it.

And the cockles. I know it is not everyone's favourite but it is certainly one of mine! Juicy and "fat", as you chew on it with the gravy, it is just a perfect marriage for me. Laksa just makes me happy! 

What is your favourite local delight? 

Linking up!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

A tale of mortality

Death is a dirty dirty word for me. Till this day, I have issues dealing with the finality of it. I am unable to discuss this topic without being affected. My maternal grandma passed away when I was very young and both grandfathers passed on before I was born.

But my first experience with the concept of death is no less scary. I was walking with my mum on the way to my kindy and BAM! There was a thunderous roar and I swear I felt some vibrations on the ground too. Next thing I know, there is this LOUD, PIERCING and ABSOLUTELY heartbreaking screeeeeam and wail!

My mum tried to cover up my eyes but I saw the lady. The lady who decided not to walk on anymore, the lady who decided to walk away from it, the lady who chose suicide. Away from her husband, from her child and sadly, from God. Yes, there was a child involved (could be more but I only saw one that day). The boy is possibly around my age then and was peering down at the grotesque scene through the iron grilles at the parapet.

The husband carried the boy and ran down the few flights of steps while shouting, crying and yelling with such grief and such desperation as he tried to reach his wife. The cry of hopelessness, the cry of anguish, the cry for help, the cry for answers.

The lady was still breathing, contorted in a weird position and was foaming in her mouth as she said her final words to her husband and son. The man was pounding on the ground, asking in a tormented tone "why why why???" while rummaging his fingers through his hair, hugging his son and was just desperately, so darn desperately, trying to understand, trying to make sense, trying to say his goodbyes to his other half, trying to be strong for his son and quite possibly trying to hang on to a very fragile thread of sanity and control. Trying.

The incident affected me so much that even now, I have issues with the concept of death. I understand that people do pass on but the finality of it and the grief the family members face (the screams of the husband still ringing in my ears at this point) scares me. 

Dumpling's great grandma is in critical care. She's 91 and has a rich life. Life filled with six children, many grandchildren and one great grandchild - Dumpling. She is one of the most fiesty persons I know (made police reports complaining about her neighbours and even visited the MP to lodge her complaint earlier this year), fiercely independent (travelled along to many countries in her 70s and 80s, prefers to stay alone and cooks her own meals daily) and is just so full of life.

Unfortunately, she had a stroke (not her first but the most serious one) and has been in critical care since last Monday. We visited her and I just sucked at it. I could not touch her without my eyes misting over and I just cannot bear to look at her this way.

When we arrived, Dumpling was shocked too, to see this frail form of a human barely holding on. It is like the very essence of life has been sucked out of her by a dementor and she is barely lucid and unable to make sense of her surroundings.

What's even harder for me is Dumpling's questions on her great grandma. What is a stroke, how does it happen, why can't she move her body and the one I dread - will she get better mama?

I suck at lying so I don't really know how to answer her without getting emotional. The one worry that I have is when it clicks in Dumpling one day and she knows that even the ever energetic mama Sue here will eventually say goodbye one of these days. How does one explain and help your preschooler deal with death? How do you lessen the blow and the pain? How do you help her deal with the fear? 

Even as I write this with my shades on my face as I am tearing on the bus, I am still unsure of how to answer Dumpling when the Lord finally decides to claim her great grandma. For the moment I can only pray that should great grandma leave us, she will leave us with integrity. Leave us with peace, free of pain and discomfort and perhaps even with a smile on her face. Knowing that she will meet her maker and that we are very blessed to have her in our lives. That I for one, am very pleased that Dumpling got to know her great grandma for some years.

Dumpling with Great Grandma Elizabeth de Souza, Feb 2012

Linking up with Sandra:'s Talkative Thursdays

Monday, September 24, 2012

Music for Preschoolers Part 1

Dumpling showed some interest in music when she was younger (which we subsequently went for a trial with a music school but we did not sign up) and she brought up the topic again some months back.

I started researching and reading up a bit more in this area and reached out to a friend, Wan Juan, who has a Degree in Accountancy but decided on pursuing her interest in teaching music. Here's part 1 of our chat where she shares her thoughts on music for preschoolers and tips on what parents can do to support from the homefront.

Alicia: Wan Juan, firstly, can we have a short introduction for the readers here?

WJ: I started teaching piano full-time more than 10 years ago but converted to part time teaching since I had my boy, KJ who is turning 4 soon. A majority of my students consists of children, the youngest being 3.5 years old, although I have taught adults too. I have not taught my son the piano as yet and many people are surprised. :)

So why haven't I taught my own son piano? Let me start off by making a distinction about piano playing (in terms of technical ability- that I think KJ is not ready for) as compared to the musical concepts which come before that. It is this love for music that I believe is the most important and not the ability to play the piano or any other instrument.

Alicia: It is said that Music is good for the soul. :) How do you think it is good for preschoolers?

WJ: Music develops listening skills. This can be seen from a child's ability to pick up tunes and recognise the activities that is related to it e.g. hello and goodbye songs in school, lullabies etc. With constant exposure, the child grows accustomed to the musical cues formed and hence music can be used to establish a daily routine that leads to formation of habits. In addition, the sense of pitch and rhythm is enhanced and this can help in their language skills later on.

Through music, children experience the integration of their minds and bodies. When they hear a piece of music, their minds form an image and the body responds with a related movement. Hence it's not only the sense of hearing that is being developed. Stamping, skipping in time with the music, or creative movement (pretending to be a falling leaf, a tree, climbing up the stairs when hearing music with ascending notes) tap into their imagination and artistic side.

Feelings and emotions are also involved. This is when a same piece of music can mean different things to different children. E.g. One child may interpret a loud sound as thunder, whereas another thinks it's an elephant stomping. Or the same song can mean different things to the same child on different days! This shows that they are not simply hearing the music, but actively thinking about what he has heard. Music thus actively involves the mind and helps the child to link the various senses.

Music, being the universal language, enhances learning of language and other subjects. Imagine having to learn the 26 alphabets by reciting without singing? Wouldn't that be monotonous and much harder? By putting a tune to it, the alphabet (and many more topics, eg, days of the week, calendar, Chinese poetry etc) become more easily remembered. Even phonics is taught through songs, e.g. Letterland and Jollyphonics. Granted, memorisation does not equate to understandingbut it does make learning more enjoyable and repetition becomes fun. Eventually, the child's vocabulary expands. In fact, research suggests that the first three years are critical for combining music experiences with learning, as alphabets, numbers are all involved in musical concepts.

Alicia: How can a parent, with minimal music background, incorporate music into their children's daily lives?

1. Singing is really the best way as the voice is natural instrument. Use music to communicate and represent/accompany daily activities. E.g. Use a wake up song every morning, a washing up song, or I love you song when saying goodbye. In this way, music becomes fun and forms a natural part of the child's life. It also evokes positive feelings when the child associates the musical cues with tasks that he enjoys doing.

2. Even when the child is doing some other activities, play some music in the background. It does not have to be "serious" classical music, you can begin with playing nursery rhymes, say while he is playing with toys or drawing. It may not seem like he is actively listening, but subconsciously the music will be registered in his mind. Look for signs that he is attracted to a particular song. Then you can have fun by playing musical games or doing creative activities to attract his interest further. (Refer to the next section for suggested activities)

3. Because music is such an abstract subject, it may hard for a child to make sense of it. Parents should try to create interest and stimulate his imagination by relating the music to something he knows or likes e.g. does the music sound like a particular animal? Or his favourite toy? This also links back to the previous point so that when trying to plan activities, look for those of interest to your child.

4. Appeal to the various senses, since music involves more than listening. Visual activities (like viewing or painting pictures that go with the music), kinesthetic (e.g. bounce or hop along with bouncy music, stamp his feet for loud music, squat or bend down for soft music) help the child get involved in the music. Lastly, ask him about the mood of the music or how he feels about it.

Clockwise from top left: "Classics for Children"  - value for money because it contains several classical pieces suitable for children,  "Favourite Pre-K Songs" - nursery rhymes cd that I have been playing for KJ (but there are many others in the market), J'apprends le piano - compilations of various famous piano pieces by different composers

Alicia: Are percussions encouraged or needed?

WJ: Percussion instruments are highly recommended as they expose the child to the different musical timbre and heighten their sense of hearing and pitch. They also help to improve their motor skills. Where possible, have a variety of low and high-sounding instruments. Drums, triangles, wooden blocks are especially good as there are more than one way of producing the sounds e.g. drums can be banged, tapped, rolled upon, triangles can be tapped. Toy xylophone is also a good choice as simple tunes can be played on it.

Above: Common percussion instruments: xylophone, castanet, shaker and bells

Alicia:What type of music / composers do you recommend for preschoolers?

WJ: Firstly, I believe any type of music is good exposure for children, just like how it is beneficial to read to them books from different authors and genres. That being said, classical music may not appeal to children as it is hard for children to make sense of it, especially without lyrics. To begin with, choose short pieces or those based on stories. The following are suitable choices:

1. Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite - attractive music with an interesting storyline about a little girl who was given the Nutcracker toy for Christmas present and her dreams and adventures that come with it.

2. Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf - Another story based orchestral work, about a boy Peter and his adventures with a wolf as he wondered into a meadow, and other animals along the way.

3. Saint Saens' Carnival of the Animals - 14 short orchestral pieces that stimulate the child's imagination by depicting the movements of various animals like elephants, horses etc.

Alicia:What activities can a parent do with their child(ren) at home? 
1. Rhythm games
With any nursery rhyme, make accompaniment beats or rhythm using percussion instruments - toy drums, castanets, shakers, bells etc while the song is being played. Initially, they will just make random rhythms, but gradually, try to guide him to a more regular beat. Do join in asyou have to show that it is fun! (Even though you have to bear with the noise level). Depending on the age, variations can be made below:

a) Each one of you beat a line each

b) Vary the dynamic level - do a soft/loud version. Play game of opposites eg. One of you beat loudly and the other beat softly.

c) Choose one word from the lyrics and only beat/shake the percussion on hearing the word e.g. on the word "dell" for Farmer in the Dell. This is a fun activity to train listening skills, and more importantly, develops rhythmic feel, because he has to do it right on the beat and not before or after. For more fun, use the percussion on every word except the agreed one :p

d) Beat the rhythm from the beginning part of the song and see if the child can copy and beat the same rhythm back. Then ask him to guess the title of the song.

2. Action- based games
On hearing the selected word being sung, do the action as agreed. Eg for the song Three Blind Mice, squat when hearing the word "mice". Later on this can lead to creative movement by letting the child select objects to use according to what he hears from the song eg bounce a ball for a jumpy song, scarfs, feathers, ribbons for slower, lyrical songs

3. Creative games

a) Changing lyrics - I think all children can do this without being asked to. But try to make it more guided, e.g. For instance, for wheels on the bus, you can change to different vehicles or even different animals. Children enjoy being silly, so don't be afraid to give silly suggestions e.g. how about an apple on a bus??

b) Creating art pieces - drawing/painting/collage work using different materials based on how the child feels about the piece. This may not be as complicated as it sounds and can be done for young children as well. Abstract art is perfectly acceptable and in fact, better than a pictorial image, as it can actually stimulates his imagination and thinking. e.g. a loud sound can be depicted as a big messy blob of paint, and a soft chirp as a small dot.

Some questions to guide the child:
- Do you think it is dark at night or bright daylight?
- What kind of weather does this sound like? Rain? Thunder? - Do you think it sounds like a fast/small animal or a big and slow one?

c) Making a sound track for a story (this is more for older children above 5 yrs old) First prepare and lay out some objects and instruments, including some unconventional ones e.g. plastic bags, plastic bottles, chopsticks, abacus etc

Then, while you read a story, let the child create different sound effects. Or better still, if you have an audio story cd, so that you can participate in the sound-making! Challenge each other by trying to come up with different ways of creating sounds from the same instrument.

Note: This may seem like not music in the true sense, but it cultivates the musical sense of the child, because firstly he must imagine the sound for the particular story thereafter, conveys the sounds using various instruments. At a later stage, when he is more accustomed to "sound compostion" he can make up his own tunes using singing, or if he is learning an instrument, he can play on it.

Alicia: Can you share any resources with our readers which can be used at home?

WJ: Here are some resources which I have at home :)

A set of 4 books introducing various aspects of music to children (instruments, musical symbols etc). Note: These are not theory exercises, the entire series is all on colouring and visual recognition.

Above 2: Cover and inside pages of a book I found recently - "Sing Along and Learn" by Scholastic. It is for teachers to use in classroom, but it can also be used at home. CDs are included and topics range from parts of body to numbers and alphabets, plus it comes with accompaniment exercises. Good to engage the children and easy for music to be part of their learning process.

Here are some links to more musical activities

This is a site which provides free song sheets and lyrics, plus some activity sheets

This is a slightly more "advanced" site, which includes composers and theory exercises

Join us again for Part 2 of our chat where Wan Juan will share more on the technical part of music and what to look out for in selecting for a music school / music teacher.

Wan Chuen is a mum of a 4 year old boy, Kaijie (KJ), who has been teaching piano for more than 10 years. She has a DipABRSM from the Association Board, a LTCL (Licentiate) in Instrumental Teaching and a AmusTCL from Trinity College.

Wan Juan can be contacted at  

Friday, September 21, 2012

Birthday Blast! Hee Ha! Howdy Cowboy Affair!

When Elisa and I first chatted on her guest post for a Cowboy themed birthday party, I was intrigued. It is certainly not a common theme especially in Singapore due to the differences in culture. When she subsequently emailed me her post and photos, I was simply blown away by the activities and the games! Read on to find out more!

I have been doing theme parties for many years for my three sons. This year, I asked Samuel what theme he wanted for his birthday party. He said "Horse". I explored having a party at the stables, but it was beyond our budget.

I found a toy rental company Toys for Rent, which has mechanical ponies for rent. After thinking through, I decided that doing a party incorporating a mechanical pony could be possible. One thing led to another, and in the end, we had a "Cowboy"-themed party.

My little cowboy!
I got the hat from a party shop. We have the checked shirt.
And thanks to the Royal Rangers vest, the look is complete!

I always design my own invitation card. It helps that there is a huge amount of resources on the internet. I decided that adding a picture of the mechanical pony would entice the children to come. It worked - the children were very excited :)

We integrated games into the overall theme - there were three stations - "Shoot-out", "Animal lasso", and "Pony-ride". The children also had to "hunt down" some "bandits".

This was the "program sheet" which I did up

I also did up a "Wanted" poster. I pasted the words "WANTED" and "REWARD" and pictures of bandits, onto a beige piece of paper. I burnt the paper along the edges, and it turned out beautifully.

The boys are looking at the "WANTED" poster

We did the party outdoors, at two BBQ pits near our place. Each of the pit comes with a Pavilion. We did a recce the day before at the venue and located the suitable areas for the various games stations.

At the "Animal lasso" station, the children had to "catch" at least two (out of three) farm animals in order to earn a token.

We used "Newwater" water bottles to represent the farm animals. Again, I found cute pictures of farm animals from the internet, and pasted them onto the water bottles.

Aren't these animals cute?

Coming out with a workable lasso proved to be quite a challenge. We experimented with many different designs before we settled on this one. Edmund helped me to make the final product. After the children have succeeded in looping the lasso around at least one bottle/animal, they were supposed to return to the starting point, and pull the animal slowly towards themselves.

We pasted three "X" on the floor to mark three levels of difficulty. If the children were unable to catch from the furthest point, they were allowed to move forward to the next X.

My eldest son Elkan helped me man the "Animals Lasso" station.

The children were great. When we first designed the game, we were not sure whether the children will find it too difficult and therefore give up, but they did not. It was indeed quite a challenge for many of them but they persevered on, and many of them played this game again and again.

Elias helped to mann the "Shoot-out" station. We originally wanted to use toilet rolls as targets, but at the recce, we found the place soooooo windy, that we had to use wooden blocks. The moral of the story - always do a recce.

The third station was the "Pony-ride" station. We had a good friend to help. He was so into the role that some people asked whether he came along with the ponies!

We got two ponies so the children could ride alongside each other, or do a tad bit of racing, which some of them did :)

Apart from the three games stations, we also had some art and craft, which we housed in one of the two Pavilions.

The children were supposed to start from there actually. Upon arrival, they would collect a Sheriff's badge (I used double-sided tape so they could to stick it unto their shirt) and a "Sheriff's Licence". The Sheriff's License would have their name and picture, which is actually a cartoon picture of a little cowboy/cowgirl.

We had another good friend who came to help. She was very busy nearly all the time :)

The children could choose from a variety of pictures of cowboy/cowgirls to represent themselves. They could then choose a "building" and a "cactus" picture, which represented the building and "desert area" which they have "jurisdiction" over.

All the pictures the children pasted on the “License” were downloaded from the internet. My helper spent many hours painstakingly cutting them out.

We were unable to print the "license" onto hard coloured paper.
So we printed it onto normal paper, and laminated it instead.

On the other side of the "License", they could paste other pictures e.g. cowboy boots, cowboy hat, horse, etc.

This is Elkan's License. He did it after the party ended.He pasted every single variety of object which we provided.

These pictures had to be redeemed by "tokens" which the children had to earn through participating in the three games stations. We also scattered pictures of bandits all over the event venue for the children to find.

You can run, but you can't hide!
(We placed the bandits early in the morning. We had to stop the cleaner from sweeping them away!)

Some children were very excited and they kept bringing bandits back to me. Since I had hidden a limited number of them (about 25), I had to ask them to put them back!

After the children have "caught" the bandits, they were supposed to "put them in jail". We did it via a little optical illusion - an idea which we stole from a Science Centre activity. We had a picture of prison bars on one side, and the children would paste the bandit on the other side. When you spin the picture forward and backward, quickly, the bandit would look as if it was behind bars! See the picture below!

This is what happens when you spin the card quickly.
The guy looks like he is in jail!

In line with the theme, the goody-bags were in the form of money bags (the goody bag included a pack of mamee noodles, a Kinderjoy, two balloons and a plastic farm animal).


Established since 22 August 2006
Opening hours on 18 August 2012, 10 am to 12 noon

  We had the food in the other Pavillion.

 We had fried Bee Hoon, Egg Tarts, Paus, Fishballs and Watermelon.

Soon it was time to cut the cake. We got a "Farm" themed cake from Prima Deli.

Happy birthday Samuel! We love you so much! :)

I had so much fun. It was wonderful because the weather was good, and being out in the open, with the sun and the wind and watching the children run around, laughing and playing was heavenly.

To add to the atmosphere, we downloaded some music from a Western music radio station (Range Radio), so the party really had a western feel to it.

I was especially proud of my two older boys, who "discharged their duties faithfully". They were busy throughout, and did not get the chance to play at each others' station. Elkan was also too big to sit on the pony, but they did not mind it. They enjoyed themselves too. Elias said that it was the best party we have ever done. What a priceless compliment :)

Elisa is mother to Elkan (12), Elias (11) and Samuel (6). Loving children through helping families is her passion.

She blogs at
(Give them roots and wings).


This is part of a Birthday Blast series where blogger mum friends hop on over to share their birthday party planning tips and ideas. Next up, we have Sarah from The Playful Parents with a theme that more than meets the eye - TRANSFORMERS!

Monday, September 17, 2012

A Julia Donaldson Sunday Afternoon

I happened to chance upon this poster some weeks ago and immediately thought "how apt!".

Pic above from Bookaburra

This is because I will be contributing a guest post for a fellow blogger friend, Winnie, who is featuring a "My Favourite Children's Author" guest series on her blog.

Julia Donaldson is one of Dumpling's favourite authors and to date, she has read almost all of her titles. 

We like the easy rhyme in titles such as Zog and the heartwarming title "Stick Man". When Dumpling was young, simpler titles likes Hippo has a Hat and One Mole Digging a Hole kept us company for many nights.

She liked The Gruffalo so much that her 3rd Birthday Party was centered around the theme with a private screening of both the play and the cartoon. Additionally, Mummy Sue here went into an "overdrive" spending some loooong hours in front of the computer crafting a comic strip e-invitation using key elements from the Gruffalo story and cartoon.

I am saving the 3rd Birthday story for another day as part of my Birthday Blast series but here is a sneak peek of what was part of the storyboard.

Pic above: serious DI work after our photoshoot to fit her in. I had worries that the kids may be frightened but the feedback from the parents were that the kids found it hilarious and really loved it. LOL

Pic above: even the menu was not spared

Anyhow, so off we went on a Sunday afternoon to the Bookaburra event where we watched a screening of The Gruffalo cartoon and we were also looking forward to the Cave Baby Story Telling and Finger Painting activity.

I was initially quite worried about the crowd but perhaps with it being a Sunday (family day and all), it was a tame crowd. From the chuckles (the adults) and the giggles (the kids), it was clear that the film is a hit with the young and the old.

However, to our disappointment, the story telling was cancelled. Dumpling was very disappointed as it was one of the rare occasions which I allowed her to skip her nap.

So, she occupied herself with finger painting on a Cave Baby sheet.

Dumpling was done with the activity rather quickly and I chatted with one of the staff, Denise who explained that the story teller had something urgent to attend to and hence the session was cancelled at the last minute.

When she realised that Dumpling was actually looking very much to it, she extended other craft activities to Dumpling.

To... (and this is really cool) Egg Painting!

Denise (below) did not just demonstrate and entertain Dumpling (and then 3 other girls thereafter) with the egg painting exercise but she also took the time to share the story Tyrannosaurus Drip with Dumpling (which the craft activity was based on) before she started the craft.

I was impressed both with her love for the book as well as taking on the initiative to share the love with the little ones. :)

Pic above: Here, Denise used marbling oil/part and dripped the various colours into a bowl of water

Above pic: the marbling oil paint then gets transferred to the "egg"

And when Dumpling told Denise that she wanted to try her hand at doing everything on her own, Denise was entirely OK with it and let Dumpling choose her colours, added the oil paint to the bowl and then "painted" the eggs.

And as you can see, this totally made Dumpling's afternoon!

Looking for more fun ideas with Julia Donaldson's titles, stay tuned for my guest post over at Winnie's on the 15 Oct!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Why Do I Blog?

I first started blogging in 2006 for a year before I became pregnant (in a different blog sphere) and life sort of halted for a bit. I then started this blog with the grand intention of blogging about the early days of lovely parenthood. I had visions of a perfect me glowing in a perfectly matching outfit with my little one where we meet my girlfriends and lift our pinkies while drinking tea. :p

Life certainly has a weird way of throwing you off the curve because shortly after the birth of Dumpling, Post Natal Depression hit. It took a while for me to adjust to life with a 2 dogs and a baby. Around the same period, shortly after I returned to work, a total of three departments were made redundant. My department was one of them and so, I had to hunt for a new job all over again after being comfortably “settled” in the previous company for almost 4 years.

It took me a while to get into the whole parenting groove and being a SAHM. Parenting did not come easy and naturally to me. Through a guest post where I shared my post natal depression experience, I had many mums reach out to me via PM and email seeking for my doctor's contact and advice on battling PND. As my PND got better, I was able to enjoy my little one more too.

It was then that I decided to revive my blog. I have not been actively blogging until the recent months after I joined the Singapore Mom Bloggers group where I met many talented mummy bloggers. There was so much great sharing and I love the easy camaraderie.

So why do I blog?

I blog because I want to have a platform where I can reach out and share with other parents and readers out there. Be it the nicer side or the ugly side of parenting, I wanted to have a personal space where I can air my parenting thoughts and to keep those sharing ‘real’ - where I share my struggles and the moments which challenge me. It is also a place where I can share what I hope to be useful tips and ideas for all parents – be it recipescreative ideas or even fun DIY gifts to make with our children.

More than that, as I sat down to reflect on the "voice of my blog" these past 2 weeks, I realised that at the back of my mind, it is also a place for me to chronicle all the moments that I have with my little one. I want to have some sort of a memoir to pass on to Dumpling (hence the blog title from Day 1).

One of these days when I grow old (and maybe end up being senile), I will still have this blog to read through and pictures to look at even though my aged mind may not be able to remember all those moments. I want to have a place to store all these memories: from the fun that I have with the little one right right down to reflecting on my parenting journey into the teenage years.

I also wish to leave something behind for Dumpling - she can choose to use this as a guide or for some laughs when she is a parent, or simply take this as a trip down memory lane when she is older and hopefully have something to remember me fondly by. :)

And so, a special note and dedication for Dumpling:

“Lu lu (this is the name that you insist on me calling you at this moment), when I finally pass on and am no longer around, whenever you should miss me, you'd only need to read through this blog and remember all the fun we have together. If you end up being a mum/grandma and I am not around to help you, I hope that you can find some inspiration or take a breather by coming here. Perhaps you may even find my rantings and ideas useful and share them with your kid(s) some day. I also hope that you will be able to look at the crazy things we did and think of me fondly (ok, VERY FONDLY) with a smile.

You only need to know how much I love you and how truly blessed I am (and we all are) to have you in my life. You have given me so much and taught me so much as a person, a parent and as God's child. I am truly and deeply humbled. I know I will miss you dearly when I pass on but you will not be alone, you will have all of these lovely memories from this blog to remember me by. I love you.” (Mama Sue - your current nickname for me )

(Featured above: 3.5YO Lu and a "forever 25" Mama Sue. :p
Not drinking tea with lifted pinkies but in matching Shanghai Tang outfits no less. LOL) 

This is part of a blog train which is hosted by Rachel from Catch Forty Winks. The blog train leads us into the lives of other Singapore Mom Bloggers who share, with us, their passion behind blogging and why they blog. 

Next up:

Pamela Tan is a mother of three young children, aged between 2 - 5 years old. She is currently a full-time working mum, with a side-line in selling board games online. Pamela has many varied interests including playing strategy board games, engaging in various outdoor sports, collecting Spiderman action-figures and creating photo collections of her family. Pamela maintains a personal blog at and the online board game store at

Friday, September 7, 2012

Hidden Gem - B Bakery

I was introduced to this neat little bakery many years back when I was working at Beach Road. Many of us know of the shops in Arab Street for their wicker basket items, lush fabrics and even semi precious stones and embellishments such for sewing/crafting.

But not many know of Bussorah Street. Whenever work gets a tad too much, this is where I would head out for lunch / for a quick cup of Teh Tarik. B Bakery is one of my absoutely favourite places to chill. :)

The quaint charm of Bussorah Street

B Bakery is tucked neatly along one side of some eateries. As the name suggests, B Bakery (soon to be renamed I was told), bakes all of its bread. It even cures the salmon along with roasting its own beef. I was also told that the delicious vinaigrette which it uses for all the side salads was also its own concoction.

On this lovely afternoon, I headed out with a colleague for a nice breather and we sampled their set luncheon. And as luck would have it, roast beef sandwich (U.P $10.90) was on the menu!

I am not really a sandwich or a bread kind of person. B Bakery, however, is one of the rare places which I actually would purposely head out for a nice lunch. 

This is one of my 2 favorite sandwiches - Roast Beef. 

I really love the bread here. Freshly baked, it is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. The bread is also not too dry and the slices are just nice - not too thick. The bread seems to also be buttered with lemon butter as there is a nice tingling zest to it. You are also offered a choice of bread for your sandwich - white / brown / focaccia, etc. 

The sandwich comes with a generous amount of grilled vegetables - capsicum, onions, eggplant, etc., certainly a nice change to the usual lettuce. The roast beef was cooked just nice as it was moist and not overcooked.  

The side salad (included) comes with a nice drizzle of the tangy sour-sweet vinaigrette which I love. 

My colleague and I ordered a slice of cake each to finish off our lunch. The popular choices are tiramisu and sticky cinnamon bun (which they only bake a very limited quantity each time hence this runs out very quickly). 

I have tried both before and hence for the afternoon, we ordered something different - sweet date cake (above pic) and passion fruit cheesecake (below). 

I do not have a sweet tooth but the sweet date cake was surprisingly good. Moist and warm, it has a dense texture without being overly sweet. Simple and wholesome. 

The passionfruit added a nice edge to the cheesecake with the slight sour-sweet flavour. The cake was also 'well balanced' with the generous strawberries as its flavour cuts through the rich cake.

At this moment as I am writing this post, I am still "lusting" over the grilled vegetables in the sandwich and the warm crusty bread. I will definitely be back again to satisfy my craving - cured salmon this time. :)

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