4 Values My Kids Learnt From The Nightingale Musical by SRT

The nightingale musical

We caught The Nightingale by Singapore Repertory Theatre last weekend, and the kids had a really good time. The musical was funny, acting on point, and the songs were catchy and upbeat too.

Based on Hans Christian Andersen’s classic fairytale, The Nightingale is a joyful burst of song that reminds us to appreciate and value the world around us. Enchanted by the lilting birdsong of the plain-looking, brown Nightingale, the Emperor of China captures and keeps her in a gilded cage for his daily entertainment. But soon, disenchanted at losing her freedom, the Nightingale stops singing and is replaced by a singing mechanical bird.

Here are 4 important values the kids learned from the musical.

1. You cannot force people to do what they don’t want to do.

The Emperor tried to force the nightingale to sing, and kept the bird in a cage. Only later does he learn that this wasn’t the best environment for the nightingale to thrive.

2. Friendship comes only if you try to understand the other person

The Emperor chased the nightingale away, angered by the fact that it would not sing for him. He could have tried to see things from the little bird’s perspective and seek to understand its needs, rather than just being focused on his own desire.

nightingale 3

3. A “gadget” can never truly replace a real friendship

When the mechanical bird that the Emperor receives from his cousin, the Emperor of Japan, breaks down, the Emperor starts to realise what he has lost. This parallels our world today where kids tend to value screen-time more than face-time, and raises the question: Can we really call a friend whom we interact with online a true friend? 

4. You should not be afraid to try new things. 

In the musical, the Emperor’s Protector was too good at doing his job of protecting the Emperor. The result: the Emperor was sheltered and ill-prepared to deal with the responsibilities of being a ruler.

This last point may be relevant for parents as well. We all need to be reminded to allow our children some degree of freedom and choices as they grow, so as to enable them to learn through different experiences.  

The musical runs from 7 March till 20 April 2018. Get your tickets here before the show flies away!

**ENJOY 25% DISCOUNT OFF TICKET PRICES FOR ALL SATURDAY AND PUBLIC HOLIDAY PERFORMANCES! (Applicable for Cat 1 – 3 tickets.)

My Blade Quest books by Don Bosco (Review plus giveaway!)

My kids love adventure and mystery books, so when Vera saw the My Blade Quest series by local author Don Bosco, she let out a squeal of delight. Needless to say, she dived head-first into the books and finished all six of them within a day or two.

blade quest series

I asked her what she thought of the books. She said:

“I love them! It’s funny, mysterious, and thrilling. I even like the villain, Garth Gan. (He has such a funny name.) I really love mystery books!”

She proceeded to show me some of the funny parts, and started to giggle at the jokes.

As you can see, she likes it when the books contain humour and mystery elements, and Blade Quest is pretty much filled with these.

JJ, who has started to read independently sometime during his K2 year, also enjoyed the series. He said:

“I like that they have to solve a crime, and they get to defeat the bad guy.”

Now that you’ve heard from the kids, here’s what I like about the books.

1. Easy to read – Suitable for young readers around Primary 1-3. The chapters are short, the sentences are simple, and yet the plot unfolds at a moderate pace, so the children’s attention can be sustained through the book.

2. The protagonists are wonderful role models – In book one, A New Game, Jay and his sister Shu travel to Penang. In book two, they jet off to Kamakura, Japan. Regardless of where they go, their mission remains key on their minds: To defeat the villain Garth Gan and protect Blade Quest Industries, the brainchild and legacy of their deceased parents. I think the characters portrayed in Jay and Shu can be positive and empowering for young kids.

3. Tons of local and pop culture references – In book three, the kids land in Melbourne and stay with Papa Jerry and Aunt Nicole, close friends of their parents. Aunt Nicole is a bit of a YouTube celebrity-chef, and the duo actually end up making a YouTube video in all of 40 minutes calling for help from her viewers to locate Garth Gan.

4. Good moral values – there is a strong theme of caring for family throughout the book despite the fact that the duo’s parents have already past on. For example, Uncle Selva, their dad’s best friend and also their guardian, was helping to manage the company, but is suffering from a weak heart.

In each book, we see the kids showing their concern for his health, and also stepping up to take on more responsibility because of it.

I also appreciate that there are themes of creativity and using power for the good of society littered throughout the series.

TIME FOR A GIVEAWAY!

Thanks to Armour Publishing, we have 1 full set of 6 My Blade Quest books to give away to one lucky reader. To participate, just do the following:

  1. LIKE Super Cool Books FB page
  2. Leave a comment on this FB post – Tell us why you’d like to win.
  3. Tag a friend in your FB comment for additional chances of winning.

That’s it! Contest ends 11.59pm on 14 March, Wednesday. The winner will be randomly drawn and notified via Facebook PM/email. Good luck and happy school holidays! 😉

38 habits of love that can change the atmosphere of your home

We’ll be celebrating our 10th year anniversary this year and I’m feeling thankful for the journey that we’ve made thus far.

Still, there is room for us to grow and become better life partners to each other. And we’re constantly trying to think of ways to keep the flame burning.

Sometimes we tend to overlook the small daily habits, but apparently…we shouldn’t. As the Gottman Institute says, “It’s the seemingly meaningless little moments of connection that are the most meaningful of all.”

How to love your spouse (1)

Here are some daily habits that we can cultivate at home (listed according to the 5 love languages):

Words of affirmation

1. Say “thank you” when she cooks a nice meal

2. Say “thank you” when the other takes over the kids

3. Say “thank you” when the other has done something for you

4. Express words of affection, e.g., that she’s beautiful, gentle, or understanding. (Likewise for him, tell him he’s   loving, kind, or hardworking.)

5. Listen with curiosity and seek to understand first before responding

6. Express support when you know she’s been having a rough time at work. (Likewise for the ladies too.)

7. Sneak a love note into her handbag (or use the note to wrap a chocolate bar and hide it in her handbag.)

8. Compliment her on a new dress or hairstyle

9. Make a gratitude list for each other, and take turns to read it out one date night.

10. Send her a sweet WhatsApp message out of the blue

 

Acts of service

11. Do the laundry, sometimes

12. Wipe the dishes she’s washed

13. Play chef for the night

14. Wash the car without her asking

15. Throw the trash at night

16. Top up the fuel when it’s low

17. Offer to ferry the kids to enrichment classes and let her sleep in on the weekends

18. Carry her heavy bags

19. Inform her early if you’re not having dinner at home

20. Check with each other before making a major decision

21. Make an effort to protect family time and prioritise it above other commitments

22. Ask her how you can help out more at home

 

Gifts

23. Surprise her with flowers for no reason

24. Pick out a handbag/jewellery for an occasion

25. Plan a romantic getaway/staycation just for the both of you.

 

Touch

26. Hug often, before you leave for work/after you return

27. Hold her hand when you’re out on dates/shopping

28. Give her a kiss the moment you step in the door (John Gottman even suggests doing a 6-second kiss every single day!)

29. Lead her across the road or at crowded places

30. Diffuse some essential oils, turn down the lights, and give him a massage.

 

Quality time

31. Spend time exercising together

32. Go for a walk in the park

33. Learn something new together

34. Check out a new cafe or restaurant together

35. Catch up (even if just for a few minutes) at the end of a long day

36. Pray for each other often

37. Plan a surprise date and pick her up after work.

38. Put your phone on airplane mode during your weekly or monthly date night

 

As part of my focus to be faithful in the small things, I hope to cultivate more of these little habits of love at home. 

What would you add to this list? What are your favourite ways to show and receive love?

Be faithful in the little things

I asked God to give me a focus for the year, for both family and work.

The phrase “be faithful in the little things” popped into mind and lingered.

Everywhere around us, most people are rushing to achieve the bigger and the better. There’s nothing wrong with having big dreams and ambitions, but don’t overlook the small, daily habits that may help us live a more meaningful life in the long run.

So I thought about the specific ways I want to be faithful in the small.

  • Training the kids to say their please and thank you’s.
  • Teaching them to say grace before meals.
  • Teaching them to show appreciation to those who serve and help us.
  • Giving them opportunities to give to others.
  • Training them to do little chores around the house (they already help out but we need to be more regular and consistent.)
  • Teaching them to consume less and make the most of what we already have.

For myself too…

  • To be thankful for even the smallest projects or jobs I secure, and to do them wholeheartedly.
  • To say “thank you” and “I love you” often to my spouse
  • To start a weekly devotional time with my fast-growing tween
  • To keep the Sabbath a day of rest (and a gadget/social-media-free day)
  • To marvel at God’s tender love and mercies that show up in mundane everyday things, in the coffee I drink, the air I breathe, and the clothes I wear.

be faithful in little things

What are the things you’d like to be faithful in this year?

“Do small things with great love.” – Mother Teresa

“If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities.” – Luke 16:10

Mums, are you tired and in need of an energy boost? Here’s MetaboliX Plus

I first heard about MetaboliX Plus before the December hols. Honestly, I was a tad unsure of taking on a new supplement. After all, things have been working well with my regular doses of probiotics from iHerb and the occasional fish oil supplement.

But, I have also been struggling with low energy levels for some time. In between managing my freelance work and taking care of the family, some days the responsibilities do feel too heavy to bear.

When I heard that MetaboliX is safe, and helps to support energy production in our bodies in a way that only boosts the production of a co-enzyme that naturally occurs in our body, I jumped at trying it out myself.

What the supplement does is promote the body’s production of NAD+ (Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide), a co-enzyme that is present naturally in every cell of our body and is essential to life.

It is known as the molecule of youth due to its role in cellular energy production and its ability to regulate the genes of aging. Unfortunately, as we grow older, the NAD+ levels in our body decline. MetaboliX Plus contains nicotinamide which is a precursor of NAD+.

I road-tested MetaboliX during our recent family holiday in Melbourne. As we took the red-eye flight and I knew I’d have trouble sleeping during the flight and be like a zombie the next day, I popped MetaboliX Plus supplement upon arriving at Melbourne airport in the morning.

red-eye flight

The Results

I didn’t feel a surge of energy like that of a sugar or caffeine boost (which also typically precedes a crash.) Rather, it just felt like my energy was sustained over the entire day. Although I had close to zero sleep, I survived the first day without much ado (though I did take a power nap and that helped too.)

I continued to take the supplement throughout the trip and found that it easier to get through the entire day of activities and travelling, not to mention dealing with cranky and irritable kids on occasions.

Because I wasn’t battling tiredness, it became a lot easier to hold it together and stay calm even when one or two kids were fighting or throwing a tantrum. (This, to me, is the real impact of taking this supplement!)

Metabolix Plus by Entity Health Metabolix supplement by Entity Health

MetaboliX Plus has an added ingredient – Boswellic acids – that helps reduce joint inflammation and pains. As I don’t have any major problems with this apart from the occasional neck ache, I will probably stick to just MetaboliX (without the “Plus”) from now on.

Discount code!!

From now until 30 June 2018,  use my promo code “MWPS10” during checkout to enjoy 10% discount on all health products on Entity Health’s website

Find out more about MetaboliX or MetaboliX Plus now and kickstart 2018 on a strong note!

PS. I was sent a bottle of MetaboliX Plus for the purpose of this review. However, all opinions and stories shared here are my own.  
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