What we did during the June holidays

We took things nice and slow during the June holidays. We adjusted to a more relaxed schedule since school’s out, and on some days the kids only rolled out of bed at 8, which meant that I got to catch a bit more sleep.

Here’s what we got up to.

June_activities_cakepops

First up, Vera got to put on a baker’s hat when we attended the “Little Chefs Celebrate SG50” Push Pop Cake Making Competition. She loves decorating and was practically waiting to gobble up the colourful push pop cakes! Thankfully, with the help of the PA culinary arts interest group volunteers, the giant SG50 cakes were put together without a hitch. I thought it was a meaningful activity to get little ones involved in designing and decorating push pop birthday cakes for Singapore!

Vera also had the opportunity to join an art camp this June. I thought it’d be good fun for her as she’s always dabbling in something arty or crafty at home. Here are some of the colourful canvases she brought home! My favourite has to be The Grid Tree, where she explored painting in grids (inspired by Piet Mondrian perhaps), and also learnt about the contrast between hot and cool colours.

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After the art camp, I found Vera a lot more aware about layering her paint-work. She created this rainbow face piece by herself one day. It’s really fun to watch her enjoy playing with art.

rainbow piece

On quiet days at home, the kids got up to all sorts. Vera put her love for story-telling and drawing to good use – creating her own paper puppets and some dramatic scenes and stories to entertain JJ (and I).

puppetry

I also got Vera The Black Apple’s Paper Doll book, and she’s been busy playing dress-up with the dolls. Middle brother also seems to have discovered his more nurturing side by playing make-believe with Vera’s toy doll. (Hopefully this translates to gentler play with his siblings too, fingers crossed…)

dolls

Closer to the end of June, the kids had loads of fun putting together their own superheroes from scrap material, and a toolkit kindly provided by the folks behind Superhero Me. We had a great time at the Superhero Me Festival at the central library too, and the kids got to star in their very first stop motion video decked out in hero costumes! It was a really meaningful event where the little ones got to learn about kindness, resilience, respect, and other values that a superhero possesses. The volunteers were also very patient and excellent with the children. Now whenever JJ acts in contrary to these values, I would remind him of what we’d learnt, and he would often stop and think about his behaviour.

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And one of our last stops, the River Safari. The highlight of the excursion was of course being able to meet Kai Kai and Jia Jia up close. We just sat on the floor and spent about 10 minutes observing each of them. It’s amazing how different their personalities are, and how obvious this was. (It helped that one of the panda enclosure keepers shared briefly about it too.)

June activities_River safari

Because it was my birthday month, I decided to reward myself by taking time out to learn something new. I signed up for a calligraphy class with The Little Happy Shop, and really enjoyed myself.

Here’s a little something I wrote to remind myself that God is the one who makes all things beautiful in its time – as for us here waiting on this earth, we just need to do our part, and trust that He will do the rest.

Lastly, I just want to share with you that I’ve been encouraged by the progress that JJ has shown in his behaviour. (So the verse below holds added meaning for me.)

Often, we can’t see the fruit of our labour, be it in raising our children or in our family relationships or in ministry. But press on, and God who is faithful will do the good work in His time.

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PS. The little pink stone above was also designed by Vera. 🙂

I hope your June holidays was good too!

What to do during the June holidays? Head to Masak Masak at the National Museum

We visited Masak Masak 2015 at the National Museum of Singapore. The exhibition, made up of 10 installations by local as well as international artists, features familiar playgrounds and activities from the past. Even NAFA and SOTA students have been roped in for this year’s exhibition, so you can expect lots of interesting and interactive activities for little ones.

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Step into the museum and you’ll be greeted by this rainbow origami installation by Mademoiselle Maurice from France.

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This is Mademoiselle Maurice herself sharing about the inspirations behind Spectrum of Paper, a beautiful origami mural done in response to Jeanette Aw’s newly launched book, Sol’s Journey. At first glance, it reminds me of birds in migration. In this gallery, your child can learn how to fold an origami bird.

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At Simple Pleasures in Life by Jeanette Aw, children are given free rein to colour in the wall art or to draw anything they please.

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Time for wayang kulit, or shadow puppetry! The story is about a young princess who wanders away from her palace, and meets some naughty spirits from a nearby forest. The puppetry performance is on every weekend at 2.30pm. Tickets are selling fast from Sistic.

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Vera making her own shadow puppet.

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Here’s an interesting installation that kids who love to crawl and hide in tunnels would enjoy. Aptly named Wanderlust, this installation is fashioned from simple materials such as crepe paper. I hope it withstands the the curious fingers of little tots!

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Next to Wanderlust, children can get a glimpse into the history of woodblock printing. This artform gained prominence in Singapore after WWII, and often depicts life on the streets. Children can do some serious stamping here, just to get a flavour of how woodblock printing works.

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On the ground floor, kids can wander around and admire dancing solar flowers, or try their hands at this giant version of Ring-a-bottle.

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Or they can test their general knowledge by fitting the right country name to the flag. This is actually meant to be a large-scale version of the old-school eraser game. So pick your opponent and try to flip your eraser above his!

Masak_2015_10 The kids’ favourite room in the entire exhibition has got to be Luma-city. Shrouded in darkness, coloured lights leave a trail on the floor when you move over it by pushing a giant plastic vehicle. The trio spent a good 10 minutes racing around amok in the room, and made the poor staff pretty busy.

Beware if it’s too crowded though; it’s no fun to be run over by a giant toy car or boat.

The other hot (literally) favourite? The bouncy playgrounds on the lawn. This is open to small visitors every Saturday and Sunday, 10-12pm or 4-6pm.

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The best solution to a hot day? Ice-cream!

Masak Masak 2015 is open till 10 August, daily, 10am-6pm. Do remember to check out the special programmes on the main museum website. Have fun checking it out during the hols!

A date with dinosaurs at ArtScience Museum

For the first time ever, ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands introduces Dinosnores, A sleepover with Dinos.

We were invited to a media preview of Dinosnores, and decided that daddy would bring Vera on a special daddy date!

Here’s how the programme went.

7pm Interactive guided tour

dinosaurs from dawn to extinction

dinosnores engaging workshops for kids

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dinosnores 3 theories of extinction

The guided tour was helpful as the guides provided insight into the many dinosaur fossil exhibits as well as the three main theories of how all the dinosaurs became extinct.
7.45pm Dinner

fried rice for dinner

8.15pm Workshop: stop motion / time lapse video

dinosnores stop motion workshop

dinosnores doodle

Here, kids were guided on how to make a time lapse video using an iPod. Vera was curious at first but she got distracted halfway and decided to doodle instead.

She drew a picture of an unhappy looking man in front of three lava and ash-spewing volcanoes. And what looked like dinosaur footprints in the ground. It’s interesting that she drew her own interpretation of what she learnt during the guided tour, i.e., that the dinosaurs could have been exterminated by volcanic activity. But instead of drawing a dino, she used a person to symbolise the unhappiness and danger that a volcano can bring. This tells me that she was listening to the guide during the tour. 🙂

9.15pm Prepare sleeping area

dinosnores sleepover

Hmm, centuries old dino bones make for a pretty dramatic bedside companion.

As Vera usually sleeps pretty early, the duo missed the Night at the museum film screening. Here they are on the foldable bed daddy brought along.

9.45pm Film screening: Night at the museum

Midnight: Lights out

Next day…

7.30am Breakfast & Workshop: Shadow puppets alive!

Muffins!

An ostrich shadow puppet

8.30am Workshop: A day in the life of a paleontologist

a day in the life of a paleontologist

9.15am Free and easy, photo op

Photo memento

10am Home, sweet, home

So…what’s the verdict?

Daddy gives it the two thumbs up for fun and novelty. As for comfort, he gives it one thumb. (Partially because the foldable bed he brought for himself and Vera was a bit squeezy for two.)

Tickets for Dinosnores are still available for this Friday the 21st! It costs $120 per child (only for children aged 6 to 12 years), and accompanying adults get to go for free. (Maximum four children per adult. The number of adults must not exceed the number of children per booking.) To book, please call +65 6688 8826 or visit any Marina Bay Sands box office.

If you do make it, remember to bring along:
1) A thick jacket as it can get quite cold at night.
2) An inflatable mattress (if you have one).

All in all, snoozing with the dinos makes a memorable date night adventure with dad! PS. Plus it does mean that mummy gets the whole bed to herself for one night…well almost, if not for baby josh. 😉

33 weeks and counting

Dear Vera and JJ,

Mummy is now 33 weeks pregnant. Walking around and going on bus-rides with you guys in tow is starting to be a laborious and somewhat hair-raising affair.

But thankfully, on most days, we receive the help of kind strangers who give up their seats for you guys, and we’ve managed to enjoy most of our gallivanting without too much ado.

I’m still quite determined to hang out with you both on my days off. Seeing the both of you have fun at the pool or playing with your friends at the playground or heartily tucking into our mid-day snack (which on good days consists of something chocolaty) makes my day.

I’m kinda thinking ahead and already feeling a sense of loss for such days. And am wondering how we are gonna cope after baby Joshua’s arrival, and when I will be able to take you out alone again.

It’ll be tough at the start, and I need to find out from other mummies how they do it. But though I may not be hanging out with you kids outside as much and have to do boob duty for most part of the day, please know that I am always loving you, and will still be around to play / mediate quarrels / comfort / pray okay?

I promise not to hide behind my phone when you come traipsing down the hallway, excited to share with me your news of the day.

I promise to let go of my need to write, vent and express through my blog, and to give you more one-on-one time wherever I can.

I promise to involve you both in the caring and loving of Joshua. Because we are one family, and we’ll all in this together.

Meanwhile, I am amazed at how the both of you have grown. (Just look at this 1 year ago photo I dug up.)

Vera, you’re so grown up now, and JJ, you’re no longer the little baby I once knew.

You both have your own little minds about how the world should work, and about when you get to eat your favourite things like ice-cream (ideally every day of course…)

Time is racing speedily by, and I realise you won’t remain so little for very long. I count these moments precious…before the whirlwind of change hits us.

So, I am thankful.

Thankful that I can still keep up with you guys.

Thankful that daddy and I can still find the time to go for couple pilates classes (at Pilates Fitness) on the weekends.

Thankful that baby Joshua is well and extremely active in the womb. (Sometimes I fear that he’s gonna kick himself outta there somehow. I know…crazy paranoid preggie mum talking.)

Thankful that whatever storms come our way, we know we will go sailing home safe and sound. Because we know that Jesus is in the boat, and he calms all our storms…Right guys?

Love you always and always,

Even when it’s tough.

mummee.


Bedtime rituals: So I say a little prayer for you

I’ve always known family rituals were important, but until I heard this, “it’s the little things you do everyday that your children will remember for the rest of their lives,” I never really quite knew the weight of it.

One of our most important (and favourite) rituals is our bedtime ritual – the one where we read books, sing our favourite bedtime songs, and nod off to sleep.

There are moments where I’ve been tempted to slack in this area, and get down to tackling my to-do list instead.

But I’ve pulled myself back to keeping these bedtime moments sacred…Regardless of how the day had gone, I will just hang with the kids, remind them I love them, pray with them, and stay till they fall asleep. (And when they finally do nod off to sleep, I will whisper a prayer of blessing and protection over them.)

Everything else just has to wait.

And so recently, something beautiful happened, and I was glad to be around to catch it.

Vera has been now appointed herself as “prayer leader.” She will gather us together, ask “are you ready?” and give us instructions to repeat after her.

It’s been ongoing for the past four nights. This is how she prayed on one night.

Heavenly father,
Thank you for the good day today.
Please love us more and more and more.
And make a world with beautiful flowers and rainbows,
and butterflies that fly around these flowers.
Please let us love you more and more and more too.
And all the children say?
(To which we respond)
Amen!

To be honest, I had this on the tip of my tongue: “Sweetie, God already has made such a beautiful world, complete with rainbows and flowers and butterflies. And he already loves us so much, there cannot possibly be more we could ask for (or can there?)”

But I held those words back, and just smiled. I think God in heaven is pleased with her prayer, and to see the love and faith of a child. So who am I to find fault with these little things? 😉

I’m looking forward to hearing more prayers from this child of mine. May her prayers always be from the heart, and may her world always be filled with rainbows of hope, and flowers of blessing.

Thankful for bedtime rituals. What does your bedtime ritual look like?

A Juggling Mom Motiviational Monday

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