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.  

Done List, 2017

Many people are busy planning for the new year; new resolutions, fresh to-dos, bold and brave plans.

But have we looked back at the year that is fast coming to a close, and acknowledged ourselves or others for the things already done?

Instead of working on a to-do list, I compiled my done list over the weekend.

What have I accomplished this year? On the work front, my freelance work has found a stable footing. I was really stoked (and totally surprised) by an opportunity to write for a local news site, focusing on education and parenting — issues that I’ve always felt passionate about. I also started to take on cases in special needs and educational therapy. It’s a steep learning curve for me in this new field.

At home, the younger boys settled into their new kindergarten and adjusted to new teachers and friends. JJ also graduated at the end of the year, and is (almost) ready to start primary school as I type this!

We recently went to Melbourne for a holiday and had a blast, although traveling has always been iffy for us, particularly with kids who don’t cope that well with change. But Melbourne has a special place in my heart; it was my spiritual home during my undergrad years, and it felt special to be able to catch up with family and friends there. The farmstay was the highlight of our trip (will share about that in a future post!) I think we all grew a bit through the process and experienced God’s grace even in managing the more difficult moments and meltdowns.

Bay of martyrs besties at Geelong

We actually managed to take a family pic in front of the café where the hub and I met. (So epic!) The kids were not impressed though, as the café had already closed down…we ended up having a coffee at the one that popped up right beside it.

family pic at crema

Apart from that, we’ve been taking things real slow this December. Last weekend, we brought our tent out on a whim and enjoyed a relaxing experience outdoors. Suffice to say that we’ll be doing this more often in 2018.family in a tent

It’s been a year of growth for me in different ways. I learned a few things about connection, kindness, and authenticity this year. Through books such as these:

  • Wonder by RJ Palacio. As well as Auggie and Me. This series made me cry and opened up a new chapter of kindness and empathy in my own life.
  • The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown. Reading this was like giving a gift to myself; it reminded me to stop seeking after / creating a picture-perfect life, but to live an authentic and connected life, more in tune and less judgmental.
  • Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl. An all-too-famous book on how to find meaning and purpose in life. A must-read in one’s lifetime.
  • When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi. Also known as the one through which I bawled my eyes out many times over. This book taught me to cherish everything I have.
  • Madeleine L’engle’s A Circle of Quiet. Her writing makes me laugh, and through the guffaws provides a serving of strength to dream about writing more seriously for myself.

Reading (and crying through) those titles made me realise that if there is only one way that I experience beauty, it is through the written word.

I also benefitted from these books on parenting:

  • The Dolphin Way by Dr. Shimi Kang. I love her insights; a back-to-basics type of book with lots of practical tips and how-tos with regard to parenting in a social, connected, and gentle way. (A great read for parents looking to curb their tiger-mum instincts.)
  • The Explosive Child by Ross Greene – A must-read for anyone who is grappling with an easily frustrated child. (A friend sent me the e-book and I’m grateful to her to this day.)
  • Loving our Kids on Purpose by Danny Silk – I’m only halfway through this, but am enjoying its focus on parenting from and to the heart, looking beyond just managing behaviour and all the external stuff.
  • The Happy Mom by Doreen Wong – A book filled with godly wisdom and insight. Read the review here!

Through 2017, I think I saw more compassion rising within me, towards the kids and even myself. Not perfect, but progressing.

The parts of the year that I enjoyed most were the ones where we were able to connect with other like-minded families and friends, be it through the simple play-date, a prayer gathering, or the coffee break with other moms. It was on some of these occasions where I felt most alive, most vibrant, and most in tune with God and his creation. I really thank God for the community He’s given to us.

2017 is also the year where we got to go on date nights without feeling much guilt (if at all!) It’s a sweet place to be, but I’m looking forward to the new year and all that it has to bring. By His grace, so sweet and sufficient, I’m going to embrace our lives–imperfect as it may be–and enjoy the ride.

Blessed 2018 to you and your loved ones! xoxo

no one ever told her
about this thing called “mothering.”
maybe because it was a journey
of discovery –
her greatest work of art –
her biggest lesson in letting go…
where she’d learn to nurture a “self”
to shine bright
and find her own self in the process.
no one can tell you that.
you have to live it to know it.
and when you do,
it changes you forever.

– Terri St. Cloud

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