20 fabulous Christmas gifts for mamas

Tis the season for gift-giving. As mums, we tend to be givers, we give a lot of our time and energy to our families, children, loved ones, friends, and at work.

Most of the time, we forget our own needs, or train ourselves well to set them aside for a while at least.

So I’ve compiled a list of top 20 gifts, dedicated to all you lovely and loving mamas (and the people who love them most)…We all deserve a little treat this Christmas, be it from ourselves or our spouses. *hint hint*

For the mama with sensitive skin:
1. Calendula Remedy (from $16.90) by Four Cow Farm
2. Tea Tree Remedy (from $14.90) by Four Cow Farm

** Blog readers stand to enjoy 10% off any of Four Cow Farm’s oils and balms! Just enter promo code “mwps10” at the check-out.

Offer ends 31 December 2013.

Read our review of Four Cow Farm here.

 

 

 


For the crafty mama: 
3. Personalized hand-carved rubber stamps ($22) by LoveSprouts

Lovesprouts customised stamps

** Blog readers stand to enjoy free delivery on any order! Just drop Jo a message on Facebook and quote “MWPS”.

**Remember to attach a photo for her to customise the stamp! 

Limited to the first 20 orders. Offer ends 31 December. 

 

 

 


For the mama who needs some pampering:
4. Overnight Elixir ($49.90) by Human Nature
5. Sunflower Beauty Oil (from $8.90) by Human Nature
6. Organic extra virgin coconut oil ($16.95) – {You’ll have to refer to this useful 101 uses for coconut oil post to make sense of this.}

For the mama who appreciates handmade: 
7. Cloth keychain ($16) by Jean Stitch
** Readers get to enjoy Jean’s handmade keychains at 10% off (or $14.50)! Just drop Jean a message on Facebook and quote “MWPS”. Offer ends 31 December 2013.

Jeanstitch keychains

For the playful mama:
8. Gobblet Gobblers ($49.90)by My First Games

For the mama who loves pretty things:
9. Letterpress Coasters by Small and Able ($8)

For the fashionista mama:
10. Trio macarons necklace ($34.40) by Miniature Patisserie
11. Rose ear studs (3 pairs, $12.80) by My Handmade Crafts
12. Crochet-covered black snap clips (9.90) by Our Secret Stash

For the pregnant mama:
14. Earth mama angel baby Natural stretch oil ($35)
15. Mom Supply + Demand tee and onesie set ($69.90)

For the writer-mama:
16. Animal Notebooks ($8) by Small and Able

For the super-organiser mama:
17. Port-a-bag inserts ($20.95) from Howards World

For the mama chef:
18. Poach pods (set of 2, $18.95) from Howards World
poach pods
For the eco-mama:
19. Fantasy Bauble ($30) by Plant Story

For the collector mama:
20. Flower Fox Plate ($35) by Small and Able

Flower fox plate

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning that if readers made a purchase via these links, I would earn a token commission… Thanks for your support!  🙂

Little Lessons: Kids just wanna have fun

I recently learnt that kids can make games / entertainment out of anything. It’s like their innate superpower.

Here they are, transforming a stone staircase handrail at the Botanic Garden into a slide.

It’s sometimes handy to have big sturdy cardboard boxes lying around the house…

Because you never know who might wanna hide inside one day…Just to give you a little shock. 😉

Sometimes I feel in today’s rush to take on many things and multi-task, our kids lose out in terms of play-time. And we mums and dads don’t get down on the floor to play with them as much as we should / want to.

I hope they don’t inherit my rushed-ness and I hope I learn from them the ability to slow down, and explore more, think more, create more.

The emphasis these days is about primary-school readiness, and learning to read and write. But listen to what Jane Healy has to say:

“Misguided efforts to train preschoolers in skills more appropriate for kindergarten and first grade diverts valuable time and attention from their real learning needs. To become good readers children first need help in installing the cognitive and language furnishings that will make the brain a comfortable place for real literacy to dwell! During the early years these are best learned through active, hands-on experiences (e.g. playing, building, exploring, talking), imaginative social play, and listening with enjoyment to good children’s literature…”

– Endangered minds: Why children don’t think – and what we can do about it

During free play, children learn to make up things, conjure up stories, and dream up new worlds of funny-looking planets, galaxies, and googly-eyed monsters.

I had an interesting conversation recently with a speech therapist who specialises in paediatrics. Here’s what she said:

Kids today are not playing the way that they used to. Instead of climbing trees, they master the art of swiping iPads at an early age. Yet, parents expect their children to write properly when they are 4 years old. The problem is…we haven’t been giving them sufficient opportunities to strengthen their hands and fingers by engaging in different physical activities. So we shouldn’t be disappointed when they can’t write well at 4 or 5 either.

Children are designed to play and run around in the great outdoors. I think we adults too, need to unwind, get our hands dirty, and learn to just have fun again.

Every night I watch as my kids rough and tumble with their favourite toy in the world – daddy. And I secretly can’t wait to pop so I can join in the fray…

Now it’s your turn. What little lesson would you like to share this week? 🙂

mamawearpapashirt

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5 things for your weekend

Ahhh…the weekend.

I’m looking forward to rest, play, and bask in the warm sun. Hopefully there is ample and yet cool enough weather. (I am wishful, I know.)

It’s the last few days of Chinese New Year, so here’s hoping that everyone gets to finish off your favourite new year goodies.

This week ahead, me and the man will be celebrating our 5th anniversary. (Gosh. Has it been 5 years already?)

If you find yourself with some minutes on your hands this weekend, you may want to explore some of these ideas / places.

1. Learn how to make a pinwheel (by Lisa Leonard Designs Blog). I tried it and it was fairly simple to do. Now the challenge is to fill up the rest of this rather empty wall with photos and other pretty things.

wall-in-progress

2. Design your own special lovey-dovey or crazy-funny ziploc bags (by ScissorsPaperStoneBlog)

3. Hoping for a simpler, more fruitful life? Read this post I wrote for World Moms Blog: 7 Ways to a Simpler, More Fruitful Life

4. Check out the new library @ Chinatown. (Heard it stocks a wide selection of Chinese books!)

5. Mull over this quoteTreat people as if they were what they ought to be, and you help them to become what they are capable of being. (Johann von Goethe)

I thought the quote is exceptionally applicable for parents. When we believe in our children and treat them as unique individuals, help them articulate their dreams and give wind to their sails, we help them to become what they are capable of being.

What an awesome thought…

May this weekend be filled with new inspiration for you, new discoveries, and lots of soaking in nature. May there be surprise pockets of time for you to tune in to your heart’s desires. Have a joyful weekend!

Out of the box with CitiBlocs

We’ve been playing CitiBlocs – building blocks that are made out of wood and precision cut. Each piece of wood is exactly the same size and extremely evenly cut, so that they can be stacked quite easily and yet remain stable!

Vera’s been enjoying it. She can build and build for as long as 30 minutes by herself – with a few occasional drop-ins from us.

She’s been building stuff we’ve never seen before, like this thing below that looks like a cage. We asked her what it was and she replied that there were some yummy sweets inside the cage!

I asked her to try breaking the cage down by pushing down the first block and to see if it will topple the rest. It did! She was pretty pleased…maybe because now she can get to the “sweets” easily. 😉

I also guided her to build this simple tunnel. We then ran a little car through the tunnel to see if the car would be able to go straight and not hit any block. It was good fun, until her little fingers managed to topple all the blocks accidentally that is. Oops!

The hubby recently hopped on the building bandwagon. Here’s a pyramid he constructed.

Uh oh, here comes the destroyer. We gave JJ a little soft ball and ask him to throw at the pyramid structure. He hit the blocks down on his first try! Boy…was he ever so happy.

What I like about CitiBlocs?

– it’s open-ended and your children can build whatever their hearts desire (good for budding storytellers too as they can tell a story about what they are building)

– it’s fun (especially the toppling part)

– it’s suited for all ages, so everyone in the family can play

Guess what? My friend Pamela is giving away 1 box of CitiBlocs (100 pieces, in hot or cool colours) to one blessed reader. Just do the following:

1) LIKE the My First Games’ Facebook Page
2) LIKE mamawearpapashirt’s Facebook Page
3) Leave a comment on the picture of Vera on My First Games stating whether you would like to win the hot or cool coloured CitiBlocs.

That’s it! Contest ends on noon of Christmas eve, so hurry join in the CitiBlocs giveaway now! 🙂

PS. My First Games also sells many different types of board games suitable for children, and they’re having a 10% Christmas Sale store wide for nett purchases above $75, so do hop over to have a look. (Free delivery for nett purchases above $100.)

====== Contest is now closed ======

The winner is comment #10: Elizabeth Khoong. Congrats Elizabeth! Please drop an email to Pam at myfirstgames@rocketmail.com with your name, address and mobile contact number, and she’ll be in touch shortly.

Thanks for joining in and have a blessed Christmas everyone! 🙂

Let our children play! 20 easy ways to play at home

Play is a non-negotiable for kids. It’s a need, not a want. It’s the first thing on their minds when they wake up – even before breakfast – and probably also the last thing on their minds before they fall asleep.

As Prime Minister Lee himself also acknowledged in his recent National Day rally speech, we can and should let our children play during these precious preschool years.

However, due to the hurried lives we lead today, the odds seem to stand against play. The increasing attention being paid to academic development and enrichment activities goes against the grain of free and easy child-centered play.

All of that sounds pretty gloomy, but here is the good news. In spite of the competitive environment, you can make a choice to let your kids play. It’s easy and there are so many psychological, cognitive and social benefits to play. As psychologist Lawrence Cohen points out, play is a child’s way of exploring the world, communicating feelings, bonding with their care-givers, and dealing with stress and anxiety.

Most of all, I think play is a child’s special love language, so the more you play with them, the more love they’re receiving!

You don’t need state-of-the-art toys or the latest gadgets. You don’t need to invest hundreds of dollars. All you need is to put on your play-hat. Here are some ideas to get you started…

1. Alphabet workout! – Get your child to do the alphabet using their body. Allow them to use other props if necessary or even an accomplice, especially for letters like “H” (two people standing facing each other and joining hands). Easy fun for the family!

2. Play bowling with recycled drink bottles and a soft ball.

home bowling with recycled bottles

3. Pitch a tent in the living room and pretend you’re going camping.

4. Take out an old muffin tray and let your toddler have fun scooping pebbles from one part to another. Can also try sorting by colours.

5. Put on some fun music and dance with the kids. (Have you tried the Rhinoceros Tap? Hilarious fun!)

6. Make funny faces in the mirror and see who’s the funniest. (Capture these on camera and recap for a good laugh afterwards.)

7. Create a colourful “sand pit” with a large plastic container, some rice grains and food colouring, and give the kids scoops and pails. You can easily turn this into a craft session with some glue and drawing paper, but you may want to lay newspaper on the floor before doing this, or do this at the balcony or outdoors. (Tip: go easy on the food colouring, as a little goes a long way. Let the coloured rice dry first before playing.)

8. Play dress-up!

9. Explore nostalgic games with your kids such as five stones. Adjust the rules of the game according to your child’s age. For example, you can place a small hoop or draw a square on a paper, and ask your child to throw as many stones into the hoop / square as possible!

10. Bedtime silliness! Daddy or mummy gets to piggyback the kids to bed. Alternatively, you can try making a bedtime sandwich – where kids take turns getting squashed in between mummy and daddy. (Caution: Only try this with preschoolers and not infants okay?)

11. Concoct-a-potion using flour, water, food colouring. Try mixing in shaving cream or other gooey stuff lying in your house, just so you can see what happens. Bonus: Put on a wizard’s hat, and pretend you’re mixing a magic potion.

12. Pillow fight!

13. Read a book and act it out. This was actually an idea suggested by a reader on my recent post, We’re going on a bear hunt. The best part about this is that any good book can be inspiration for dramatic play, and you can improvise any way you like using whatever materials or “obstacles” you can find in the home. Great for building the imagination. Alternatively, do some craft-work inspired by the book. For instance, if your child loves The Hungry Caterpillar, you can try out these caterpillar crafts.

14. Peek-a-boo sensory play – this game is good for younger children and infants. Put different materials of different textures into a bag and let your child reach his hand in to touch. Use words to describe each specific material, such as “soft”, “tickly”, “rough”, and “furry”.

15. Name hopscotch – use crayon or chalk to draw boxes, and write each letter of your child’s name on each box, starting with the first box.

16. Crayon rocks – this was quite an accidental discovery. Fellow mum-blogger Evelyn was the one who introduced crayon rocks to me. Besides being easy for little hands to handle, I found that they were good for counting as well. You can also divide the colourful rocks into little groups like we’ve done below, to get a bit of math action. If you’d like to purchase some, you can find them from SG baby mall or FoxySales.

crayon rocks

17. Tear paper and guess the animal – Have you ever imagined clouds looking like animals? Well, this is simply that. Give your child different coloured pieces of paper and ask her to randomly tear them into different shapes. Guess what animal or object each piece looks like. You can further build on this game by turning it into a craft session – add on the different parts of the animal’s body onto it using crayons or whatever you have at home.

18. Puppet play – Puppets are fun props to have around the home. You can make them dance to music or better still, rope in the kids and create your own little puppet drama!

19. Pack a picnic and sit around the balcony to enjoy it. I can’t think of a better way to enjoy a picnic than in the great outdoors, so this comes a close second. The best part? Get everyone to close their eyes and make-believe they’re at a beautiful garden in a country of your choice. 😉

20. Make goopMix 1/2 cup of corn flour and 1/4 cup of water in a bowl, and add 2 to 3 drops of food colouring. It’s like  half dough, half body paint. Let the kids play and make a mess just before bath-time.

There! I’ve tried my best to keep these ideas simple and either costing nothing or next to nothing. And I really hope you guys have fun with them!

PS. Let your kids explore and use their imagination. You’ll be surprised to see how they build on a game or reinvent the rules. By all means, let them try different ways to play, and take their cue when they’re tired or want to do something else.

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