Thursday, January 30, 2014

Through her eyes #4 - BA NAH NAH!

We were leaving Jacob Ballas Children's Garden when Dumpling suddenly stopped and said "Mama, look!" I turned and saw her pointing to a rock on the floor and mumbled noncommittally "yes yes, banana."

She repeated herself and said emphatically "no MAMA, LOOK AGAIN!"

Then I saw it...

Did you spot it too? :) A banana lover! LOL

In case you are not aware, these little yellow 'men' love bananas!

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Monday, January 27, 2014

Polliwogs @ VivoCity!

Our Saturdays are kept fairly free and wide open this year as I really want to 'slow down' and enjoy Dumpling as much as I can and spend as much time as I can with her. Usually we would head to the gardens / play dates / catch a movie or a play or head to the play ground. Last Saturday however, she was in for a little surprise! I did not tell her that we were heading to Polliwogs till the morning itself! 

Now, if you have not heard, Polliwogs has a new outlet at VivoCity! It is located on level 3 (near Marche) towards the direction of the link bridge to HarbourFront. Dumpling was clearly excited as she was raring to burn her beans. :)

She had a great time there and basically hung around only at her favorites spots. Here's sharing her top 5 picks!

:: 1. Toddler's corner
Well, it is not technically named as that I'm sure but this is where I saw most toddlers hanging out at. This part of the gym spots the popular carousel and ball pit in addition to mini tea cup rides.

:: 2. Flying Fox
Dumpling loves thrilling rides so not surprisingly, this is still one of her top favorite activities at Polliwogs. She'd giggle and kick her legs in glee as she 'flew' from one end to the next. 

:: 3. Spider Maze
I am not sure if this is the official name but that's what Dumpling calls it. Along with her close gor gor friend DinoBoy, they spent almost 3/4 of their time there! This is basically a 2-layer grid like strips with a trampoline below. So how do the kids get across without falling into the 'pit' and be eaten up by the 'spider' Aragog (yes, we watch too much of Harry Potter, I know...)? Here, Dumpling and DinoBoy show you the steps:

Step 1: 
Enter into the web slowly. The idea is not to fall through but stepping onto the purple layer...

Step 2: 
Hold onto the first layer (pink) and use that as a support and walk through slowly

Step 3: 
Step onto the blue padded edge and use it as a step to crawl up

And of course, finish off the obstacle course with a Kodak moment shot!

:: 4. 'Rock' climbing
Now, if I were to be perfectly honest, I was itching to give that wall a go... Took me a while to convince Dumpling to try but Z was great at giving her a hand leg (in this case...)


And this is where I could wait no more and... 

Tada! Scaled the wall! So, you parents will be happy and relieved to know that the wall withstood the weight test and didn't even budge despite having the not-so-lightweight me on it!

Am happy to say that after my demo, Dumpling caught on and managed to scale all the way to the top!

:: 5. The Swing!
Though Dumpling did not hang around here for a long while, each time she passes it, she will swing on it for some time. And swing and spin she'd go... Even leaning as farrrrrrr back as she can... Maybe she has the right idea, perhaps it is good to have a different perspective, a different angle at times!

And as always, a parting shot from us! :) It was a good morning of FUN FUN FUN!

The Polliwogs at VivoCity 
1 Harbourfront Walk
#03-12 VivoCity
Singapore 098585
Tel: 6376 8097

Entrance fee:

Children below 2 years old

Weekdays: $13 PER ENTRY

Weekends and Public holidays: $13 for 2 hours. Subsequent half hour $5


Children aged 2 to 12 years old

Weekdays: $20 PER ENTRY

Weekends and Public holidays: $25 for 2 hours. Subsequent half hour $5


Free admission for TWO Adults with every paying child. Subsequent adult pays $5 per pax.

Chinese New Year promo! (Till 14 Feb 2014)

1-FOR-1 ENTRY (for fans of The Polliwogs FB page)

Terms and Conditions:

- Free entry applies for the lower of the entrance fees charged to the customer.

- Valid until 14th Feb 2014

- Not valid on weekends, gazetted school holidays and Public Holidays

- Not valid with VPP or other promotions

- Cannot be exchanged for cash, credit or in kind

Disclosure: We were invited to Polliwogs @ VivoCity for the purpose of sharing my experience. No monetary compensation was received though Dumpling got to play with her close gor gor friend DinoBoy while mum here got to yak a bit with some blogger friends. Photos of the flying fox and rock climbing are taken by good friend, DinoMama. For the record, I would like to add on that none of the photos was edited in anyway. I am eternally grateful to DinoMama for ensuring that the shots of my rear are smaller than that of a bus.

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, January 24, 2014

Counting down to Lunar New Year #1 - Chinese New Year Books!

Chinese New Year is a fairly big celebration here in Singapore and since Dumpling attends daily Chinese lessons, we read up on many of these Chinese celebrations and festivities. Here are some of our picks: great as a read-aloud or for your child to read independently. 

:: 1. Chelsea's Chinese New Year
What first drew me to this title was how 'Charlie and Lola like' the drawings and characters are, except well, Chelsea is an Asian. :) After a bit of research, I realised that the illustrator has also illustrated many children's books bearing similar cherubic faces. :D

The story is simple, narrated by Chelsea on how her family celebrates Chinese New Year and the common practices the family has.  

The story is presented in a simple manner and provides some good basic information on this celebration. The title also has 'blurbs' of useful information (in purple boxes below).

Number of pages: 24
Author: Lisa Bullard 
Illustrator: Katie Saunders

:: The Runaway Rice Cake
The Runaway Rice Cake is like the Asian version of Gingerbread Man, with a twist. The Changs are celebrating Chinese New Year and all they have left is just enough flour to make one rice cake 年糕. However, something miraculous happened - the Rice Cake came alive and ran off.

The Changs gave chase and the rice cake runs into an old woman... What happened to the rice cake and did the Changs have enough to eat?

Number of pages: 40
Author: Ying Chang Compestine
Illustrator: Tungwai Chau

:: Hiss! Pop! Boom! 
If you are looking for a informational title, Hiss! Pop! Boom! is a good choice. It talks about the various traditional practices presented with gorgeous Chinese ink painting. I was actually reminded of the meaning of some of the things we eat and do after reading this book! :)

Number of pages: 32
Author: Tricia Morrissey
Illustrator: Kong Lee

:: Chun Jie
I really like this series of Chinese titles (a series of 6 titles) which is on traditional Chinese festivities. This story shares how some Chinese New Year practices came to be e.g. 'firecrackers' and 'red couplets' came about, and how they were used to frighten the monster Nian.

The title is also not too wordy with about 5 sentences per page mostly. The illustration is cute and the colours are bright too.

:: TaoShu
Everyone's favourite siblings - Tao Shu and Ling Ling learn more about Nian in this short and funny story. Created and published locally, this bilingual title is an easy and entertaining read for preschoolers. Tao Shu (the warrior boy) was told to get some cabbage from their garden. However, he and Ling Ling discovered that someone has eaten all their cabbages. Who can it be? That marks the start of the siblings' investigations.

Number of pages: 32
Author: Andy Logam Tan 

I hope that these give you some ideas on what books you can borrow from the library to read with your preschoolers in getting them to understand and enjoy Chinese New Year more!

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

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Through her eyes #3 - My Instrument, My Choice

Some time ago, I briefly mentioned that Dumpling has taken on a new instrument but I did not elaborate because frankly I have no idea how long she will stick with it and I am also not entirely sure if I have the tenacity and perseverance to continue to plow on with her.

Simply put, I have a 'love-hate' relationship with this instrument. I play a keyboard instrument and it was a shock to the system when Dumpling first attended the class and I realised how hard it was. I was totally lost and unprepared for the intensity of this small string instrument. As I was not sure how long Dumpling will stay with this (she chose the instrument, not me and she asked for lessons after hearing it) we picked a basic model for her very first violin.

She has since outgrown the earlier model and I was advised by her teacher to get a new one for her. And so, off to violin shopping we did over the weekend! 

The sale person brought down about 5 violins of her size (from various ranges) and played for her to hear so that she can make a choice. 

When he played it a second round, Dumpling was curious and asked "Shouldn't I be playing it? I need to hear it right? So I should be playing it to see which I like? Why are you playing for me? Can I have it please? I would like to try it on my own - to bow it, feel it, to hear it."

The. Salesperson. Was. Stumped. (And I was looking for a place to hide my face.)

Did I mention that my kid is just a tad over 5YO?

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

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Privi-Kids: our choice! Review + a giveaway!

I am pretty sure that the idea of online shopping came from a female. And perhaps a mum at that. I could never lug a kid around in crowded malls. The number of times I have been out to the malls since I had Dumpling is definitely less than 10 times a year (the neighhourhood one not withstanding since the library is in the mall and yes, am a dork). So where do I buy our stuff from? I prowl on the internet for online shops. From groceries to books to learning resources to clothes, online shops are my best friends.

:: Range of sizes

I chanced upon Privi-Kids last year as I was looking for a gift for a girlfriend who was having her second child, to add to a gift 'basket' I was making. I wanted to look for a matching dress for the firstborn and the infant and I was really glad to find it here. Sizes at the shop usually start from size 1 or 2 and go to size 7 or 8. This would be great for parents with same gender kiddos who want to wear the same design!

:: Clean design, easy navigation

I have to admit that what draws me to the site is that the design and background colors are kept clean and simple. I have come across sites which are hard to navigate and has a really busy background which I personally find distracting (ok, am anal) as I like items with print. At times, I find it hard to choose because the background of the webpage clashes with the prints!

Navigation tabs on Privi-Kids are kept simple with clear drop-down menus too. 

:: Checkout 

Checkout is as simple as 4 steps and the best part is, because it is a local shop, it allows for 'bank transfer' as a payment option! How convenient is that?!?

:: Spoilt for choices

With Chinese New Year around the corner, I have been shopping online again and here are my picks for Dumpling for this  Chinese New Year!

For something dressy... 

There's something about this piece that Dumpling really likes. It could be the nice soft jade colour or it could be the soft silky feel of this long dress but upon receiving it, she immediately chose to wear this for a reunion luncheon with my folks.

This piece features simple girly details like faux pearl buttons and 'drawstrings' at the shoulder area to create soft ripples, giving it a romantic look :)

For playdates...

For outdoor casual play dates, we love spaghetti dresses and tops. You can do no wrong with this simple yet cheery sundress. And in red too, how apt! You can choose to dress it up with a fancy hairclip (like below) or a simple necklace (yes, my kiddo has necklaces)!

(While Dumpling was waiting for me to test my camera and lighting, she started practising various expressions and angles... She will probably hate me for sharing these shots in future but... :p)

From the exaggerated expression...

To a serious poser...

To an angelic shot, this dress clearly takes you places (and faces too I must say!) :p

For something that has a bit of 'Cheeky Fun'

I am not big on petticoats / poofy skirts but I am BIG on tulle, layering and texture. Dumpling has loads of simple tops at home and I am always on the lookout for nice shorts and skirts. When I saw this 'Fairy Skirt' I added it to my cart IMMEDIATELY...

This skirt has a pink under-layer and an almost turquoise blue tulle over it. Coupled with a silver waistband and a pink bow, it is every girl's 'fairy' dream. :) 

I had originally brought Dumpling's violin down as a prop for the shoot but she started playing on it and I could 'see' how beautiful this skirt would be in a black and white photo too because of the layering and textured effect. I'd  let you be the judge!

As always, I have good 'lobangs' to share! Just for Beanie N Us readers, here's a 10% discount code! 

Simply key in BEANIENUS10 at the checkout!

I am also pleased to share that 1 lucky winner gets to select 1 outfit from Privi-Kids!
Here's how to win:

Earn credits using Rafflecopter below by:

1) Clicking 'Like' on my Blog Facebook page
2) Clicking 'Like' on Privikids Facebook page 
3) Leaving a comment on the comment section on "Which outfit you like and why?" 
4) Sharing this post with your friends on your FB page! 
(For Singapore residents only)

The more credits you earn, the higher your chances of winning! :) 

Disclosure: I was invited to shop at PriviKids for the purpose of sharing my experience. No monetary compensation was received though Dumpling got to keep those really cool dresses and skirt after the shoot! All outfits featured are from PriviKids (except the white top paired with the Fairy Skirt). Shoes, hairclip and violin are model's own. Stylist, hairstylist, personal shopper and photographer - model's talented mum. :D

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, January 21, 2014

Book Talk Tuesday - "Good-bye Baby Max" and "Riley's Lost Tooth" with a GIVEAWAY of $100 Amazon card (or PayPal cash)

:: Riley's Lost Tooth 

Dumpling actually walked before she cut her first tooth so LOL, I think her tooth may drop much later as compared to her peers. However, this title had me interested as Dumpling is at a stage where loads of her friends are dropping their first tooth and I thought that it would be nice to be able to read this with her.

The main characters of this story are Sunday, Precious and Mr. Lee who are the family pups, on a mission to help Riley find her 'lost ' tooth! :) Where could Riley's tooth be? How did she lose it? After looking for it in the yard, in the garden and in the trash, Tooth Fairy appears to explain to them how it works and that dropping the milk teeth is a sign of 'growing up'.

I found the story simple yet engaging as the story centered on the pups. A rhyming story, it is an easy and fun read-aloud for the younger children, preparing them for what is to come.

:: Goodbye Max

"Spring  has arrived. Birds are building their nests. And cold winter days are now laid to rest. The children are thrilled for soon they will greet three baby chicks, so soft and so sweet..." Goodbye Baby Max explores the topic of 'death' gently with this lovely title where some children experience loss when one of the baby chicks, Max, died.

Some of the children were devastated and the class discussed on having a memorial for Max. I like that the story touches on this topic in a gentle manner yet exploring different ways for the children to express their and deal with that loss.

:: About the Book

Riley's Lost Tooth by Diane CantrellTitle: Riley's Lost Tooth Author: Diane Cantrell Illustrator: Heather Castles Publication Date: February 16, 2010 Publisher: Brown Books Publishing Group Number of pages: 24 Recommended age: 4+ Summary: Oh no! One of Sunday's very favorite humans, Riley, has lost her tooth! But where did it go? How did she lose it? Why does no one besides Sunday seem to care? It isn't long before the tooth fairy steps in and tries to teach the pups all about growing up. Join Sunday and her two puppy-pals, Precious and Mr. Lee, as they try to hunt down . . . Riley's lost tooth!

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Author Website

:: Book Trailer for Riley's Lost Tooth

Good-bye Baby Max by Diane Cantrell  Title: Good-bye Baby Max Author: Diane Cantrell Illustrator: Heather Castles Publication Date: February, 2008 Publisher: Bridgeway Books Number of pages: 32 Recommended age: 4+ Summary: Mrs. B's class excitedly awaits the birth of three baby chicks. When Max is unable to crack open his shell, the children's loving teacher assists them in expressing their feelings of loss and planning a special good-bye.  

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Author Website

:: The Buzz

Riley's Lost Tooth: "The book is well written and the illustrations are beautiful. The book will definitely appeal to all children (including children at heart like this reviewer) and their parents / grandparents / elder siblings and other care givers. The book is strongly recommended as a good gift that is educational and also entertaining." ~ 5 Star Review, S.V. Swamy, Amazon
Good-bye Baby Max: "This book is amazing! I have given it as several gifts to my friends with children. It is very well written and the illustrations are fun and colorful. This book it a great tool to help parents and teachers talk to children about loss of a pet and a loved one in general. I would highly recommend this book to everyone!" ~ 5 Star Review, Dawn N., Amazon
Good-bye Baby Max: "This colorful, hardcover children’s title Good-bye, Baby Max (Bridgeway Books, Texas, 2007) by Diane Cantrell & Heather Castles is special in its purpose of teaching an invaluable lesson: that of properly saying the final farewell to a loved one who is no more ... Diane Cantrell has created a very purposeful book for children-one that is at once a story, a poem, and a healthy course of helping children get over grief. The book’s illustrations by Heather Castles are very appealing to a child’s imagination. There is a good deal here in Good-bye, Baby Max to learn for children ages 4 to 8 years and the 32-pages book is a must read for all kids of this age category." ~ Ernest Dempsey, Book Corner
Good-bye Baby Max: "I bought this book to help my nieces and nephews deal with the loss of a beloved pet. The storyline and illustrations were used as a springboard to discuss their own loss. I highly recommend this book to anyone that has young children and is looking for a way to help them cope with a loss in their lives." ~ 5 Star Review, Jeanne B., Amazon
Good-bye Baby Max: "[Good-bye, Baby Max] is a tender story about death, a tough topic for young children. Kindergarteners eagerly await spring and the hatching of the class' three chick eggs. But one chick, Max, dies. What ensues is a gentle exploration of grief and its many expressions -- from tears to songs to artwork. At the end, the surviving chicks' peeps encourage the children to embrace the living without forgetting the dead." ~ Michele Siuda Jacques, Detroit Free Press

:: About the Author: Diane Cantrell

Diane CantrellDiane Cantrell began her career in education teaching Pre-K, Kindergarten, and Transitional First Grade. She also worked as a counselor providing assistance to parenting teens in a local school district. As a Licensed Professional Counselor, Diane has provided therapy for adults, families, and children in agencies and private practice settings. As part of her private practice, she offers parent training to her clients and to parents in local schools. Diane is presently writing and publishing children’s books as well as provides counseling services to adults and children in her private practice, Life Designs Counseling. Diane’s time at Fort Sam Houston I.S.D. provided inspiration for Good-bye, Baby Max. The book, which is based on a true story, describes how Ms. B helps her kindergarten class cope with the loss of a classroom pet. At the time Diane wrote the book she was working with many children who were experiencing a great deal of loss in their lives. Her hope in writing Good-bye, Baby Max was that the story would help parents, children, and other caring professionals begin talking about losses rather than responding to their losses from a state of fear. Her second book, Riley’s Lost Tooth, was written for her granddaughter, Riley as a Valentine’s Day present. Mr. Lee, and Sunday are main characters in the book as is Precious, who died before the book was written. When Diane is not involved in writing or listening to people’s stories, she enjoys being with her husband, Rich, and their two dogs, Sunday and Mr. Lee. Diane and Rich live in San Antonio, Texas.

Website | Twitter

* $100 Book Blast Giveaway *

MDBR Book Promotion ServicesPrize: $100 AmazongGift card or PayPal cash (winner's choice) Contest runs: January 20th to February 19th, 11:59 pm, 2014 Open: Internationally How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the author, Diane Cantrell and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions - feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, January 20, 2014

Parenting with Love - Our Primary One Prep Journey

As shared in my New Year resolutions post recently, one of the goals this year is to prep Dumpling for Primary One next year. With most of her friends in K2 this year, I have been seeing almost daily updates during these 2 weeks on spelling lists (both English and Chinese) and concerns about the kiddos going to Primary school I thought to blog about it and share our not so little journey.

Being a newbie where I have an 'only' it will also be my first time sending the kiddo off to Primary school. Frankly, it is a tad daunting for me. Being academically prepared is one thing but I cannot help but fret over other matters like - if she will finish her food in time during recess, will she enjoy school, what if there are 'mean girls' (she has already been experiencing this in her Chinese class over the past few months last year where a few older kids ganged up and picked on her and called her names), if she will be totally lost in the big sea of changes.

:: 1. Losing personal belongings
I am not sure if it is just Dumpling but even at home, she's terrible in keeping track of her personal belongings. Stationery items will be misplaced despite many reminders and we'd usually spend some time the following day looking for her pencil case.

For this year, what I have done is this:

These are the items we bought together at the end of last year and they are kept in her TaoShu pencil case. Every evening, during homeschool, she will use only the pens and items from this pencil case and every evening, she will take 'stock' and pack them back into the case.

So far, she has 'lost' her scissors once and left her princess pen strewn in our homeschool area a few times. Hah! Let's see how she does by the end of next month. :p

:: 2. Hygiene habits
We are very particular on her washing her hands before meals and I certainly hope that she will continue to do so. For bathroom habits, when we are out, I am letting her go into the cubicle on her own with me waiting outside. She needs to learn how to tackle the different locks, what do to if the door gets stuck as well as how to clean up on her own. The thing is that having a helper at home is definitely useful but this also means that the kiddo is reliant on the helper helping with everything. One mummy blogger Hui Ing, a former Primary School teacher, has blogged about the importance of this here.

:: 3. Money Handling
We have been introducing the concept of Money to Dumpling since last year where I made some printables and had a week of fun. She has since been tasked to be the Financial Controller for the family where we basically leave her with small amount of money when we are out - a mix of $2 notes with coins where she helps us to pay the vendor. :)

While I know that at the canteen, the vendors will help the children with the money handling (getting children to place the coins they have in their hands and the vendor takes the needed amount) but I rather she learns it on her own than expecting the vendor to help her every time.

Another mummy blogger, Jiahui, has also shared a really useful post on how to teach your child to plan his / her allowances. This will be a tip I will definitely use when it is Dumpling's turn.

:: 4. Telling the Time 
On the homeschool front, we have been tackling this topic slowly but steadily. I first used these resources with her last July to sort of introduced to her the concept where it is more story based.

We took a break then but because she has learnt how to count in blocks of 5s, we have revisited this topic end of last year. I would like her to be able to tell the time so that she is aware of for e.g. when she has to go for which activities and how much time (during recess) does she have left to eat. I have also shared in an earlier post during Book Talk Tuesday on a pretty useful sticker book which we have used to continue our learning journey on this topic. At the time of this post, we are left with pretty much another week odd of work. :)

:: 5. Nap 
I am pretty anal when it comes to routine and Dumpling still takes daily naps at the moment as I believe a lot in rest. Many well-meaning friends have reminded me that she will need to be weaned off once it is school time so let's see how I can look into this closer to the last quarter of the year. :)

As much as I can prep Dumpling for her entry into formal schooling, I am also aware that there are many instances where life throws us a curved ball and well, it does not quite happen the way we have planned (or hoped) for it to be. Rachel shares with us an interesting post where her son had quite a different experience with his pocket money, with his P5 buddy, that is. I applaud her for her effort in being able to refrain from telling Kyle what to do. Ing in another post shares how her family is helping their younger child adjust to Primary school too and has really good tips on this.

It is also a timely reminder that while we can prep our kiddos as best as we are able to, there are many things that they just have to go through and learn from practical life experiences. *sweat* Let's see how I will be journeying through this last preschooling year and please, wish me the very best of luck. Here's a paranoid mum, signing off!

Edit (4 Jan 2016):
Fellow blogger mum, Elin, has shared about raising an independent child while Angie has shared a list of 7 tips for preparing your child on Primary One. Waiwai also shared a 10 tips on preparing your child for P1. Perhaps you have a second / third born? No worries because Dominique has shared a post on Preparing for Primary One, second time round. Hop on over to learn more!

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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