All Posts By

MotherKao

All this blog's PR Stuff Food, glorious food! Reviews

It’s the smell of breakfast and more with ‘A Helping Hand’

December 4, 2016

Ever since this came along, my children have stopped eating corn flakes and cereal for breakfast.

ahelpinghand-1

‘A Helping Hand’ by Frog Michaels: read how this came about here

Thanks to A Helping Hand by Frog Michaels, my helper has been churning out pancakes and variations of egg dishes for the kids, in addition to making bread and buns for the whole family since two weeks ago when the cookbook arrived.

My kids are eating better, thanks to this.

At least we no longer hear ‘Huh? Cornflakes again?’!  

A stack of fluffy pancakes for breakfast for the kids by Helper A, thanks to the cookbook

A stack of fluffy pancakes for breakfast for the kids by Helper A, thanks to the cookbook!

This was sent to me in Helper's A excitement to share she made poached eggs

This was sent to me in Helper’s A excitement to tell me she made poached eggs one of the mornings I wasn’t around. She tried many more recipes but I barely got to take any pictures because by the time we remember to take photos, the food’s all gone!

I think having a cookbook in Tagalog is such an awesome idea.

Like how awesome this is with the Tagalog side by side the English one

Like how awesome this is with the Tagalog side by side the English one

I think having 86 recipes for Western and Asian cuisine for my helper written and printed in her native language is an even awesomer idea.

I’ve personally told my helper that the possibilities are now endless in terms of what she can whip up, instead of sticking to the staples she always prepares, like pasta and fried rice. She can now be a pro in the kitchen effortlessly from this point forward.

This book is everything I wish she could cook.

A Helping Hand is Singapore’s only cookbook written in English and Tagalog and is designed to help employers and helpers alike churn out tasty, balanced and healthy meals for the family.

Beyond that, it succeeds in being more than just a cookbook: it’s a book that helps relationships between families and their domestic helpers; gives helpers the tools they need in order to feel confident in the kitchen and the information they need in order to purchase ingredients to put a meal together; and helps helpers understand descriptive cooking phrases like ‘beat’, ‘bake blind’, ‘braise’ and ‘blanch’ that would otherwise get lost in translation.

The best part of it all is that for every book sold, a donation goes to Humanitarian Organization for Migration Economics (H.O.M.E.) – a Singapore charity and society dedicated to upholding the rights of migrant workers.

Makes an awesome gift to your domestic helper – if yours is from the Philippines – this Christmas!

More details:

A Helping Hand helps get honest, classic, uncomplicated European and Asia dishes onto your table with minimum fuss and effort on your part. Get A Helping Hand from the various stockists in Singapore or online at a special price of SGD 39.90. We hear a Bahasa version is in the pipeline too. Akan datang!

Disclosure: Frog Michaels has very kindly gifted her cookbook to my trusty helper, A. No monetary compensation was received and all opinions here are my own. Helper A thinks ‘A Helping Hand’ has made her more confident in the kitchen and she is immensely grateful! 

All this blog's PR Stuff Motherkao loves... Reviews

Give meaning & memories this Christmas – Print for Fun photo prints

December 2, 2016

This Christmas, may I encourage you to give your loved ones your presence and meaningful presents that add value and meaning to their lives.

Like memories.

And precious moments.

We received an early Christmas present this year from Print For Fun which completely surprised me. I would say it was one of the most meaningful gifts my family had ever received.

I mean, someone actually took the time, culled through my IG feed, picked out the many happy memories my family had this year and put them beautifully in a collage.

And then framed it up and delivered it to my doorstep.

I mean, how thoughtful can a gift like this get?

I’m so thrilled by the idea of this idea – going online and choosing a collage of photos (2×2, 3×3 or 4×4) and have them within a 9″x 9″ black frame.

Or making a collage poster for your favourite family.

Or printing the loveliest of a friend’s smile on canvas; and then having her get your gift in the mail.

They say it’s the thought that counts, and with this gift idea, it’s making every thought (of that someone you’re gifting to) count.

And just for Motherkao readers, get a 10% off all photo print products on Print For Fun by entering the promo code MOTHERKAOXPFF when checking out (promo ends 31 Dec 2016).

How’s that for the most wonderful time of the year?

Becks Kao Holidays! I can't categorise such entries Nat Kao

What to do, where to go, what to get: when your children fall ill in BKK

December 1, 2016

Guess I’ve earned some creds to do this post now, now that I’ve survived two days with very sick children in Bangkok.

So it happened that on the morning of our very early flight to Bangkok, Becks woke up radiating heat like an overworked, cranked up truck engine. She was feeling hot to the touch and queasy the whole plane ride. Apart from giving her pain relief and oiling her like crazy with essential oils and then with ru yi oil I grabbed from Eu Yan Sang at Departure, there was really nothing we could do to make her feel better. The stewardess onboard the plane tried to do her best, cheering her up with the kid’s pack and putting up the DND sign so she could get uninterrupted sleep, but still, Becks was feeling as awful as awful can feel.

By the time we reached our rented apartment at Ramkhamhaeng, she was hitting 39 deg C already (yep, we brought our thermometer – a must when you travel with young children); and so did Nat, who began to look unwell, ran a temperature as high as Becks and knocked out the moment he hit the sack.

In a time like this where homecooked teochewmuay was out of reach and simple clear broth was almost impossible to find, I was glad for 7-11.

And so I fed my children few spoonfuls of porridge (grabbed from the quick bites section which the staff helped microwave), topping it up with warm water (congee in Thailand is more sticky than watery), and started sponging them like crazy after they filled their tummies.

It was a good thing we lugged several packs of fever patches along so they could keep a cool head while they slept. Having said that, BKK is never short of over-the-counter meds supplies at 7-11 or Boots Pharmacy and fever patches, Paracetamol, cough drops are never out of reach anywhere you go.

Kids took a nap shortly after, but they woke up feeling worse.

And then it was time to make the call: ride the fever out or get medical attention.

So I’ve been told by my friend that in Bangkok, the top three hospitals are Bumrungrad International Hospital, Bangkok Hospital and Samitivej Hospital. He kindly drove us to the Samitivej Hospital with a Children’s Centre located at 488 Srinakarin Rd Khwaeng Suan Luang, Khet Suan Luang, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10250. It was about 7pm and the wait was not excruciating (an hour or slightly more), considering we’ve all waited for more than 4 hours at KKH back at home. The staff there could converse in the English Language fairly well, but you need to speak slowly and clearly. In the interest of time, I had my friend translate when we saw the doctor, because I really felt more comfortable with some translation rather than speaking slowly when my anxiety got better of me.

Forms there are also a bit tedious to fill  – they ask you for soooo much info – so always check with the nurse if filling in the birth weight or AGPAR score is even necessary. In my case, it wasn’t.

notwellkaokids-1

Getting examined

Getting examined

Anyway, service, hygiene, standards and quality of care at Samitivej were excellent and we had an absolutely pleasant experience there. The meds were similar to the ones my PD would give the kids, and the pharmacist was able to explain perfectly how to consume and when to consume the meds.

The bill, well, that’s another story.

Nonetheless, given the circumstances of having two kids running very high temperatures, I would highly recommend going there, should you ever encounter an emergency in Bangkok with kids.

The kids were given antibiotics for a bad throat infection, and a cocktail of many other meds in case they threw up / had runny nose / needed rehydration / had diarrhea from the antibiotics. Syringes were provided generously and so were child-sized face masks. There was drinking water available everywhere we turn in the hospital so you can consume the meds straightaway.

On our way home, we headed to a pharmacy (most close at 11pm, yay) to stock up on Vitamin C and other forms of supplements like milk tablets, DHA gummies and multivitamins. We’ll be needing them daily for the duration of our stay there, and so it was good to get it on Day One. The MaxValue supermarket chains are also 24 hours, and so we stocked up water by the 6-litre tubs (we buy the Aeon brand) and then headed back so the kids can get some rest quickly.

On hindsight, I think we did pretty well and were well-prepped to hold out for the interim with what we packed, which included:

  1. Probiotics – Neobiotics is the brand we buy
  2. Fever meds – Ibuprofen and Paracetamol
  3. Antihistamines – Fedac
  4. Regurgitation & gastric meds- Zantac
  5. Cooling fever patches
  6. Essential oils – peppermint, lavender, lemongrass
  7. Hand sanitisers from Dettol
  8.  Our trusty Braun ear thermometer
  9. Pull-up diapers (lots of them) – kids are toilet trained but with the amount of water they are made to sip so ever frequently to cool and hydrate, diapers are absolutely needed when they are ill and too lethargic to make toilet runs
  10. Betadine throat spray quick relief of painful throat infections

And so with the meds, the hourly sponging last night, the troopers are finally on the mend.

(Self) Examination Holidays! The Kao Kids

December Prologue Twentysixteen

November 30, 2016

I’m fighting a cough that wouldn’t go away for a month already and it’s terribly exhausting. Every night, my mind is filled with so much to write and reflect as the year comes to an end and the children are growing up so quickly before I can take stock of how the year has gone by for us but every night I am hacking, hacking, hacking away for the whole of November.

And so as time whizzes past me and my children are moving up one academic level in their learning milestone – Primary 2, Primary 1, K1 – gulp! OH MY! – I am making myself a promise to give them a little more of me in the December of twentysixteen.

And so away we go, back to where the warmth and love and kindness we’ve received the last time round, this time of the year, to be together.

Goodbye November: the Kao Kids looking out to see where December is taking us

Goodbye November: the Kao Kids looking out to see where December is taking us

This is proving to be a bit challenging though; one of them has a high high fever now and is throwing up and the other is also starting to feel ill.

Appreciate all prayers and love sent our way.

Going Out! Happy days Holidays! The Kao Kids

The suite life, at Legoland Malaysia Resort

November 7, 2016

We love to cross the causeway for this reason.

We’ve done staycays in SG but nothing beats being at Legoland Hotel in Malaysia. It’s a combination of many things – from the dancing disco lifts and treasure hunt in every room we check in (you solve a mystery and get access to a treasure chest of Lego gifts!) to the minifig trading at the lobby and the themed rooms with every possible Lego detail to put the kids in complete Lego fantasy.

The kids absolutely love, love, love being at the hotel. They love bugging the jitters out of me and Fatherkao with can we buy? buy? buy? pppplllleeeaasssseee at the Lego shop, fixing swords and sticks and spaceships from the massive pool of free flow Lego bricks at the lobby, gorging themselves silly at the breakfast buffet in the mornings and looking out from the room into the theme park and water park and talking non stop about the many adventures to be had in this place.

They weren’t even that excited at Disneyland.

The children always dream of coming back.

Which makes me feel my experience at Legoland isn’t totally complete if we’ve not stayed at the suite. We’ve stayed at the premium and deluxe themed Pirate, Kingdom and Adventure rooms but not the suite yet.

This time round last weekend, because we had company and made an entourage of 8 people + 1 toddler, we could finally stay in one. The suite can take up to 2 adults and 6 kids or 4 adults or 4 kids or 3 adults and 5 kids or whatever permutation you can make to make 8.

There are 2 bunk beds, 2 pull out trundles, 1 king-sized bed and even a spare baby playpen, complete with two baths (one tub and one standing) and a dining area with an awesomely huge ass TV and a separate kids TV area, all overlooking some of the best views of the water park and theme park on the highest floor.

At least that’s what I had at the Kingdom Suite.

Ta-daa! The view when the door flings open. Photo credit: Legoland Malaysia Resort

Ta-daa! The view when the door flings open.
Photo credit: Legoland Malaysia Resort

The sleeping area for 6

The sleeping area for 6

Complete with own TV viewing at the side

Complete with own TV viewing at the side

legolandninjago_kaokids-25

The luxurious kingdom king-sized

With a dresser area

With a dresser area

The awesome living area

The awesome living area

Where my 3 kids had 2 more for company

Where my 3 kids had 2 more for company

And there's also a coffee machine, hooray for Krups!

And there’s also a coffee machine, hooray for Krups!

Check out the number of bath robes and bedroom slippers

Check out the number of bath robes and bedroom slippers

And the Mothercare playpen tucked nicely on the top shelf

And the Mothercare playpen tucked nicely on the top shelf

The awesome spacious toilet - this is toilet #1

The awesome spacious toilet – this is toilet #1

And this is toilet #2 with enough space to line 5 children up to take a bath two by two

And this is toilet #2 with enough space to line 5 children up to take a bath two by two

And these are awesome toiletries arranged like a jigsaw puzzle which we never got from the premium/deluxe rooms

And these are awesome toiletries arranged like a jigsaw puzzle which we never got from the premium/deluxe rooms

PLUS...the awesome view from the suite windows

PLUS…the awesome view from the suite window

Just makes my kids sing ‘Everything is awesome!’ on repeat mode being in this place!

So is the experience complete yet? It’s a yes for me, for sure. Being in this suite is sweetly relaxing – the space, the view, the details in the room and the wonderful Legoland hospitality.

As for the kids, it’s looking more complete than ever.

legolandninjago_kaokids-13

These happy faces say it all. Our emptied wallets say it all too.

~~~

Disclosure: The suite life has been experienced in a 2D1N stay brought to you by the Kao family and their friends. It is not free, although we received a media rate at time of booking. No monetary compensation was received and all opinions here are my own.

All this blog's PR Stuff Going Out! Happy days Reviews The Kao Kids

Ninja-wannabes training programme – Launch of Legoland’s Ninjago Ride

November 7, 2016

My boys have three loves when it comes to LEGO – Chima, Nexo Knights and Ninjago. A long time ago, these Lego TV series and their characters sound like ridiculously made up words to me: Moltor, Lavelle, Merlok, Fangpyre, Garmadon, Spitta, Samukai, Ming (the name of a ghost!), Morro, Kruncha, Frakjaw, Bonezai… (and I can go on and on) – but these days everything in all these three series have found seamless integration into our daily vocabulary at home, especially with the kids.

The good thing is, each of these series has at least one or two female characters, so Becks is usually not left out.

And if all three kids had to pick a favourite – it has to be the Ninjago series, where the elusive world of ninja-hood is made accessible to them, and where it’s absolutely cool to wield ninja weapons like the sword, the shuriken, nunchuks, the scythe, and the sai,  and learn kungfu moves.

Correction (as rectified by Ben): The ninja heroes – Kai, Jay, Cole and Zane; and later Lloyd and Nya, train under Sensei Wu to master an ancient martial art called Spinjitzu. It’s not kungfu, alright.

It was only just a while ago they were completely clueless about these ninjas and their stories.

So when LEGO Ninjago World finally opened on 4 November in Legoland Malaysia, my ninja warriors at home declared that they absolutely have to head there to check it out.

They have been hearing so much about the new ride and have been anticipating its launch since our last visit to Legoland.

And so to Legoland we went over the weekend, despite the jam, the rain and the sick mother.


It was drizzling all of last Saturday but that never once dampened any ninja-wannabe’s spirit to defeat their enemies.

The ninja-wannabes entered Ninjago World with much anticipation and respect to Master Wu (hurhurhur, the joke internally is that Master Wu is me because that is my surname), and met their favourite Ninjagos in brick form.

Always ninja-ready! The boys had company this trip!

Always ninja-ready! The boys had company this trip!

Nat with his favourite Ninjago

Nat with his favourite Ninjago

With Cole the black ninja

With Cole the black ninja

We so don't need any lightning now, Ben

We so don’t need any lightning now, Ben

Check out the awesome Mountain Shrine made of bricks where Ben tells me the ninjas train in private. And Nat says, "My face is like that because I am Lloyd and he is very angry."

Check out the awesome Mountain Shrine made of bricks where Ben tells me the ninjas train in private. And Nat says, “My face is like that because I am Lloyd and he is very angry.”

All ready for ninjahood!

All ready for ninjahood… and the 4D adventure!

Ninjago The Ride, we hear, is the very first of its kind in Asia. The new 4D ride enables guests to use their hands to throw virtual lightning bolts, move shockwaves, send ice soaring and emit fireballs with incredible accuracy – and you can feel the heat and cold too! With teamwork (maximum 4 in a car), ninja wannabes can become their favourite characters and defeat enemies, from snake tribes, ghosts and skeletons to the Great Devourer under the guidance of Master Wu.

So it was NINJA…GO from the get go!

There's a gallery indoors leading to the ride which made Becks the happiest because she found her long lost sister, Nya

There’s a gallery indoors leading to the ride which made Becks the happiest because she found her long lost sister, Nya

Nya's story told in pictures

Nya’s story told in pictures

Lots of visuals to look at while meandering towards the queue

Lots of visuals to look at while meandering towards the queue

And you can also stop to fix bricks on brick murals

And you can also stop to fix bricks on brick murals

And finally...

And finally…

The two littles insisted they were afraid and needed to be with me. They gamely put on those 3D glasses nonetheless...

The two littles insisted they were afraid and needed to be with me. They gamely put on those 3D glasses nonetheless…

And so it was, that the camera captured us this way…

legolandninjago_kaokidspictureair2

And this way, for the car in front of us!

legolandninjago_kaokidspictureair1

Throwing virtual projectiles with mere hands in an indoor ride away from the rain, by the way, was a brilliant idea, especially since we were there on a day the rain didn’t seem to go away.

And it’s an awesome and exhilarating experience, I tell you – the ride features a ride track of more than 400 feet, 10 scenes and 39 projectors that spin you round and take you high and low, immersing you in a 4-dimensional interactive adventure as a ninjago.

So awesome was it I went twice with the boys (Becks went once and declared ninjahood this way isn’t for her, haha) and my arms are now aching from shooting fire and ice at villains that came charging in my face.

Coming in 3rd with a 6-figure score! Not bad considering I shot all the shurikens of ice and swords of fire

Coming in 1st with a 6-figure score for the first round! Not bad considering I shot all the shurikens of ice and swords of fire

And 3rd on our 2nd attempt. This time round the boys said they will be sharper and faster, but I still think I did all the work!

And 3rd on our 2nd attempt. This time round the boys said they will be sharper and faster, but I still think I did all the work!

The boys felt as though they received a badge of honour having been trained by the simulation ride to be proper ninjas with proper ninja moves. They have, henceforth, officially declared to have undergone the tutelage of Sensei Wu and emerged “trained”.

I, for one, am declaring that I have officially mastered the snake move in Spinjitzu. See above last picture. I’m like the most awesome ice and fire snake-style ninja.

The ninjas will be working hard overtime fighting imaginary villains, for sure, back at home. After receiving tough training like this, I forsee my boys applying what they learn, complete with throwing REAL projectiles now.

Cue ‘Everything is awesome‘ Lego movie theme song.

~~~

LEGOLAND® Malaysia Resort announced the opening of its latest hi-tech attraction, LEGO® NINJAGO™ The Ride, the very first of its kind in Asia, on 4 November 2016. Visit LEGOLAND® Malaysia Resort’s official website or contact LEGOLAND ® Malaysia at +60-7-597 8888 and stay connected with LEGOLAND Malaysia Resort’s social handles (Facebook & Twitter) to find out more about their online promotions.

Disclosure: We were invited to Legoland Malaysia – whose hospitality for the Kao family is immeasurably awesome, as always – to review this ride. All opinions of ninjas, ninjahood and ninja training are our own.

Ben Kao Family life as we know it Milestones and growing up

Too naughty to handle – soundbites from a p-one child

November 2, 2016

It’s been a full ten months going eleven of being a Primary One kid’s mom. And while I am conscious of the fact that my firstborn is growing up fast and would soon take issue with his school life shared on a public domain, I can’t resist the thought of penning some of the darndest things he’s said and done.

It’s ok, son. It’s ok to be naughty. Mama’s got your back covered for now.

 

Losing his spelling list

Ben: I can’t learn my spelling. I lost my spelling list.

Me: Then go ask your teacher for another one.

Ben: I can’t! She’ll scold me!

Me: Why can’t you? Just tell her you lost it!

Ben: I can’t lah. Nevermind I have a plan.

Having a plan

Me: (walking him to the bus stop to wait for school bus) So, tomorrow’s your spelling. Have you learned it?

Ben: No. I don’t have the list.

Me: So what is your plan?

Ben: I’m going to borrow from a girl. A girl will sure have her spelling list. I’ll copy the words down.

Me: Great idea.

At the 1st Parent-Teacher Conference

Ben’s teacher: I wanted you to know something. Ben cheated for his spelling test last week.

Me: ???

Teacher: Last week, during spelling he was looking down under his table and I found him copying the words from his partner’s spelling list.

Me: Is his partner a girl?

Teacher: Yes.

Me: -_-

Why did you copy?

Me: (back at home) Why did you cheat?

Ben: I didn’t.

Me: Your teacher said you did. You copied from your friend’s spelling list.

Ben: Huh. That was my plan!

Me: You are not supposed to copy! Spelling test means you learn the words by heart and spell them without looking at them. What did you think a test is?

Ben: Huh. I thought I lost my list so my plan is to borrow from a girl to copy!

Me: -_-

~~~

No handphone, public phone can?

Ben: Mom, can I have a handphone?

Me: No.

Ben: If I have one, then I can play Mine Craft and Pokemon like my friends.

Me: I want you to be immersed in the world of books and wonderful stories.

Ben: Huh. But I want a handphone. I want to call you.

Me: Come here. I give you ten cents. If you want to call me, call me on a public phone. It does the same thing.

Ben: -_-

~~~

Canteen Fun, I

Me: Did you do anything naughty today? I’ll be asking you that every day since your teacher has been telling me you and your friends are quite naughty. Talking during National Anthem and running around the canteen during silent reading.

Ben: Hmm. Uhmm. I did.

Me: What?

Ben: You know right, today, we all did an experiment in the canteen. My friend bought a fizzy drink, and I added ice cream, and someone else poured something in – I don’t know what lah, maybe his soup – and we dared one another to drink it.

Me: -_-

Canteen Fun, II

Me: Did you do anything naughty today?

Ben: Uhm, yes!

Me: What is it?

Ben: You know right, today, we all did another experiment in the canteen. A friend bought a fizzy drink and someone else added mentos and we shook the bottle until it exploded and it spilled all over the floor.

Me: Oh my.

Ben: And the best part was I told everyone to run away and we all did and we hid in the library!

Me: -_-

~~~

Girls are our buddies, I

Ben: Mom, today our teacher gave us a buddy.

Me: Who’s your buddy?

Ben: I forgot her name.

Me: Ten months into school and you don’t know your classmate’s name?

Ben: She’s a girl lah, and I can’t be bothered to remember girls’ names!

Me: -_-

Girls are our buddies, II

Me: So why do you have a girl as a buddy?

Ben: ALL the boys in class now have girls as their buddies. My teacher punished us with that.

Me: ?

Ben: We were being violent during recess. We played an “attack” game and H pushed me so I pushed him back and he fell and my teacher found out and she banned us from playing during recess. The girls are our buddies to watch us so we don’t play during recess.

Me: You’re banned from playing?

Ben: Yea, we’re not supposed to play. Only can eat.

Me: -_-

Girls are our buddies, III

Ben: But we quickly found the solution to our girl problems.

Me: Tell me.

Ben: We trick the girls!

Me: How?

Ben: We all run to the toilet and hide from them, and then run out to play!

Me: -_-

~~~

Postscript: Fatherkao believes boys would be boys and I shouldn’t be controlling too much or hovering around him and nagging him like a typical helicopter parent. “He’s a boy; let him do what boys do.”

Oh well, for now I’ll just laugh it off.

 

 

All this blog's PR Stuff Food, glorious food! The Kao Kids

Wrapping up this Children’s Day

October 6, 2016

Recently, Mission Foods Singapore threw me a challenge to surprise my children by making them a “fun and creative meal made from healthy wraps” for Children’s Day.

Challenge accepted, I say! These days, anything that falls in the category of the Food Department goes straight to their father. Hurhurhur.

So I told the husband about this challenge and asked him to think of something that would get the kids to eat wraps. The kids have never eaten anything with wraps, and so it was a challenge on two counts: one, to make something healthy or fun or creative; and two, to make something they would eat.

He took up the challenge gamely with the following:

Step 1:Sear fresh prawns with olive oil and a dash of salt and pepper, and then dice

missionfoods_wrapchallenge_kaokids-2

Step 2: Dice onions and tomatoes and toss with a dash of olive oil

missionfoods_wrapchallenge_kaokids-4

Step 3: Mash kiwi of the yellow kind

missionfoods_wrapchallenge_kaokids-6

missionfoods_wrapchallenge_kaokids-5

Step 4: Mix all ingredients 

missionfoods_wrapchallenge_kaokids-7

Step 5: Add pan-seared chicken breast (optional)

missionfoods_wrapchallenge_kaokids-11

Step 6: Put them all in a Mission Foods wrap 

missionfoods_wrapchallenge_kaokids-10

Step 7: Enjoy

missionfoods_wrapchallenge_kaokids-12

Wa la. A simple wrap-tastic meal that’s done in less than an hour.

A healthy meal with fruit, veggies, carbs and protein.

Did the kids eat the wraps and enjoy their first experience? Well, let’s just say we might try tacos the next time because they kept screaming roti prata and I wasn’t about to pass the sugar.

~~~

Disclosure: Mission Foods Singapore sent us the wraps that were used for this challenge. All opinions – and the no-fuss recipe – are our own. No child was harmed for being worked as labour to mash the kiwi.

All this blog's PR Stuff Holidays! The Kao Kids

A Brick-or-Treat kind of Halloween party at Legoland Malaysia

September 30, 2016

If you know my kids and have been following this blog for a while, you would also know that they aren’t fans of Halloween. You should see how they run and refuse to look at the Halloween costumes, masks and tricks on sale at Cold Storage this time of the year.

They literally squeal and turn tail in horror.

Only recently have they been able to crack some jokes about bloody eyeballs and vampire teeth, but even then I can tell they are not fans of ghouls, ghosts, Frankies and vamps.

“They don’t exist in this world!” they would declare. “And we don’t like to see all these monster, so scary!”

So what is a mother to do when she received an invitation to head to Legoland Malaysia – yes, Legoland, the kids’ favouritest place after the Singapore Zoo and Port of Lost Wonder – to join their Halloween party?

To go or not to go, was the question.

“Maybe we will see superheroes?” Becks asks hopefully.

“If we see monsters we just punch them lor,” Nat quips.

“I don’t think it will be scary lah,” Ben says, not ever, in any way, for every Lego-loving fibre of his being, giving up a chance to go to Legoland.

So to Legoland Malaysia we went last Friday – in anticipation for a not-scary, superheroes-kind-of-a-day-out and looking forward to having Nat punch monsters in their faces in case we saw any.

And I tell you we DID NOT attend a party which was imagined by the kids like any of the above.

Here’s why.

Legoland Malaysia REALLY took organising their Halloween party seriously.

Picture Credit: Legoland Malayisa Resort

Picture Credit: Legoland Malayisa Resort

Lord Vampyre's Maze Picture Credit: Legoland Malaysia

Lord Vampyre’s Maze
Picture Credit: Legoland Malaysia

Lego building activities Picture Credit: Legoland Malaysia

Lego building activities
Picture Credit: Legoland Malaysia

Halloween inspired all round the park Picture credit: Legoland Malaysia

Halloween inspired all round the park
Picture Credit: Legoland Malaysia

Think full-on dressing up (which we didn’t because we left our token superheroes capes in the luggage in the car and Fatherkao could only joined us much later at night!), elaborate Halloween food and desserts, full turn out of monsters dancing in a parade and tricks galore, including sneaking up behind you in the dark and boo-ing the s***s out out you, like while you’re enjoying the cool of the night and have completely let your guard down. Of course,the treats, which would make the scaring forgettable because the party promises to fill each treat bag to the brim with sponsored goodies.

Halloween inspired food with "worms" and "nails" and "spiders'

Halloween inspired food with “worms” and “nails” and “spiders’

Ben, brave enough to go around getting pictures. Featuring The Perfect Father's Spiderboy!

Ben, brave enough to go around getting pictures. Featuring The Perfect Father‘s Spiderboy!

The monsters are out!

The monsters are out!

And ready to dance! See their dance vid on on IG!

And ready to dance! See their dance vid on my IG

It was that kind of party.

It was also the Kao kids’ first that kind of party.

legolandhalloweenoct2016_kaokids-51

Legoland Malaysia Resort has been throwing Halloween parties and this October isn’t gonna be any different; in fact, it’s promising to be bigger, better and more spooktacular. I hear park hours will be extended to 8.30pm on Brick-or-Treat Party Nights (Fridays and Saturdays) and any kid who turns up in costume enters for free.

I don’t know about you, but we were sure glad to have the extended park hours for the sheer fact that the sun sets in the evening and the theme park is finally cool enough for us to function.

This is a great idea, by the way. Well done, Legoland Malaysia! Good way to beat the heat and awesome to stand under in the coolest of evenings.

This is a great idea, by the way. Well done, Legoland Malaysia! Good way to beat the heat and awesome to stand under in the coolest of evenings.

And in the cool of the day, here’s four things we enjoyed at the Legoland Malaysia Brick-or-Treat Party last weekend.

Yea, we liked it, even if it was that kind of a party, such that we partied for two days!

legolandhalloweenoct2016_kaokids-54

1. Watching other kids dress up and being awed by Halloween-inspired food and drinks

As part of the media invite and preview, guests were invited to dress up, and boy did we have a visual feast! The kids absolutely loved wowing at other kids in costumes.

Legoland Malaysia VIPs and the best dressed finalists Picture Credit: Legoland Malaysia

Legoland Malaysia VIPs and the best dressed finalists
Picture Credit: Legoland Malaysia

Ninja turtle! Spiderman! Vampire! Snow White! 

It was fun.

And funny too.

Everyone on stage!

Everyone on stage!

This won the best dressed by the way. The jumping hantu. The Chinese vamp hopping behind earned a consolation.

legolandhalloweenoct2016_kaokids-91

Too funny!

2. Interactive Halloween Show with LEGO Frankenstein and LEGO Green Witch

What’s not to love, if at the end of the day, all the monsters can learn friendship and kindness? The thing about all the live shows at Legoland is that all’s well always ends well. The show was great in engaging the crowd and getting them to sing and dance. The cast and characters of this special Halloween show at Lego Kingdoms were funny and tickled us all to the bones.

the-invited-media-and-their-families-enjoying-halloween-brick-or-treat-party-nights-celebration-media-event-on-23-sept-2016-4

Picture Credit: Legoland Malaysia

Picture Credit: Legoland Malaysia

Picture Credit: Legoland Malaysia

3. Posing for photographs with Halloween-themed decor

Not fans of monsters, but now great posers when it comes to standees. The kids absolutely loved these photo opportunities. They were intrigued by these Lego standees throughout the Brick-or-Treat trail and wondering if there were minifigures for sale for their collection.

pose-with-standees_kaokids

I would buy them for sure – if there was a special Halloween minifigs box set – for the kids. Too cute!

Something to think about, eh, Legoland?

4. Getting treats from the Brick-or-Treat trail and making friends with monsters (except for Hut #5)

So this Brick-or-Treat trail that’s exclusively Halloween fun on Halloween party nights has 10 huts where a monster (read: real, grossly made-up people in costume) resides and gives away a treat when you approach him or her to collect a stamp. That is, if you’re even brave enough to approach each hut.

If you are brave enough to complete the entire trail, meet and greet those roving Halloween characters and complete activities requested of you, you’d receive a limited edition Halloween commemorative brick at the end of it all.

The Kao kids were initially pretty much freaked out after the monster parade, but decided that for the sake of getting the commemorative brick, they would brave the freaking and go trick a’treating. The little tokens of sponsored treats were indeed enticing, like getting packets of colour pencils from STAEDTLER, little notebooks from Canon, a tin pencil case from MILO, Ribena pastilles and Haribo gummy bears amongst many others; and the monsters from most huts were friendly and made sure to let the kids know that they were approachable.

legolandhalloweenoct2016_kaokids-118

legolandhalloweenoct2016_kaokids-119

legolandhalloweenoct2016_kaokids-120

legolandhalloweenoct2016_kaokids-121

legolandhalloweenoct2016_kaokids-122

So it helped the kids let their guard down until we reached Hut #5.

By Hut #5, Nat was feeling all-so-brave and ever-ready to collect yet another goodie until the grim reaper? Dracula? asked in his sternest and scariest if he’s counted the bats in his maze.

legolandhalloweenoct2016_kaokids-124

legolandhalloweenoct2016_kaokids-125

And poor Nat was so freaked out he bawled immediately and declared the trail (for him, at least) was over.

Which was all together TOO hilarious for me, my helper, and Ben and Becks. If you were there and you saw a crying kid that was refusing to count any bats, that would have been my son.

Thankfully, Ben and Becks were game enough to continue the trail and kept the good cheer laughing and befriending the monsters.

legolandhalloweenoct2016_kaokids-133

The last and only "monster" Nat was willing to pose with after Hut #5. That's cos' he is a wizard who's wise and waves a magic wand!

The last and only “monster” Nat was willing to pose with after Hut #5. That’s cos’ he is a wizard who’s wise and waves a magic wand!

The Spooky Miniland Tour was what we stayed away from though. The kids really couldn’t handle the ghouls in their makeup and frightening stance walking towards them and pointing at them or randomly breaking out into laughs which terrified them IN THE DARK, especially Becks and Nat. I had to beg some of them not to frighten my kids, and thankfully, these lovely ghouls (bless their souls) broke into smiles and explained to the kids that they were just pretending.

Phew. (If you like frights unlike my kids, get ready for a frightful tour of Miniland at sunset where you’ll enjoy Lego Fun Facts and spine-tingling storytelling sessions at selected clusters.)

There was also a host of Halloween activities at the Legoland Hotel Lobby and the kids enjoyed the Three Magic Witches performance. Ben also took part in the Witch Cat Building Challenge and made a black cat in 25 minutes. He loves any Lego challenge and he made the cat from scratch following the instructions in the given time and beat his opponents.

legolandhalloweenoct2016_kaokids-143

legolandhalloweenoct2016_kaokids-146

legolandhalloweenoct2016_kaokids-153

So proud of this boy!

We were here staying at the hotel earlier this February celebrating the boys’ birthdays which was really memorable with the entire Di Mattoni crew breaking out in song for the birthday cake cutting. This time round, it was a completely different experience and I am glad we got to enjoy Legoland – its theme park, water theme park and hotel – in a Halloweenish kinda way for a change.

It was thrilling for the kids and now with hindsight about how the characters were people in disguise, they could talk freely about the monsters, both as human pretend form and as LEGO mascots.

legolandhalloweenfun_kaokids

The Legoland Water Theme Park was as usual lovely – no ghouls lurking around, thank God – and so was the hospitality we received at the hotel. We extended another night and returned to the theme park once more for the Halloween Party in the cool of the day, conquered more rides and basked in the atmosphere of lit Jack-o-lanterns, funky scarecrows and Lego people and “monsters”.

Bring it on, Halloween, I think the kids are a little more daring after Brick-or-Treat at Legoland now!

legolandhalloweenoct2016_kaokids-113

~~~

More Details:

  • Brick-or-Treat Halloween Party Nights are happening at Legoland Malaysia this weekend and for every weekend in October! 

SELECTED DATES  : September (16-17, 23-24, 30)   October (1, 7-8, 14-15, 21-22, 28-29)

TIME                            : 4pm – 8.30pm @ RM85 per entry

LOCATION                 : LEGOLAND® Malaysia Resort’s Theme Park

ACTIVITIES               : Brick or Treat Trail

LOCATION                 : LEGO® Kingdoms

Parks hours are extended to 8.30pm on Brick-or-Treat Party Nights and any kids (3 – 11 years old) who come dressed in costume gets free entry from 4pm

  • LEGOLAND® Hotel will also be featuring a special Halloween Day & Night Hotel Promotion:

Booking Period: 25 Aug – 30 Oct 2016

Stay Period: 18 Sep – 31 Oct 2016

What Halloween heroes will get:

  • Daily breakfast
  • Dinner for 2 adults and up to 3 children below 6 years old (3rd adult or child above 7 years is chargeable at RM95/adult & RM50/child)
  • Halloween Brick-Or-Treat Commemorative Brick (one brick per child in room, while stocks last)
  • Day & Night Hotel Halloween activities

There’ll be many exciting activities that will be hosted by the hotel which include LEGO® Colouring, Witch Cat Building Speed Challenge, Ghostly Bowling, Three Magic Witches musical performance, Little Chef Pastry Making and lots more.

~~~

Disclosure: We were invited to Legoland Malaysia to join them in their Halloween party. No monetary compensation was received and all opinions here are our own. Including how Nat needs you to know he would conquer Hut#5  for sure the next time.

Ben Kao I can't categorise such entries Thunderstorm days

Concussed

September 15, 2016

Part of the deal of raising boys is that you need to prepare your heart for fractures, falls and fights. Like that time when my husband came back from the playground with the kids and looked me in the eye, told me to breathe and prepare to go to the A&E because Nat fell and fractured his arm. Or like two nights ago when my husband declared that we would have to go to the Children’s Emergency with Ben.

On Tuesday afternoon, I received a phone call while at work and it was Ben crying on the line. He usually does not pull the crybaby number on me unless he’s ill and uncomfortable and he had shared with me that he had knocked his head against a pillar during recess. He said a boy dashed past him so quickly he didn’t even realise, and the next time he knew, he’s hit his head. While on the school bus, he felt a headache coming and was in discomfort.

I told the helper to give him some pain relief. He could barely eat his lunch and had to climb into bed to have a nap.

When I came home, I found him squirming in pain due to a headache that won’t go away, and a fever. He also threw up his dinner, and looked more lethargic than usual. I was going to monitor him for the night but Fatherkao decided that we should get him assessed by the doctor for any head injury right away.

So we headed to the NUH Children’s Emergency where he got a thorough check up and was diagnosed with a mild concussion.

Say….what?

So apparently, my eldest’s gotten his head concussed, alright. Just by walking to the canteen during recess time.

I’m a little flummoxed here – tell me, like how the heck did another child manage to give my son a concussion by dashing past him and scraping his shoulder?

Who’s this child? Is he big sized? Is he taller, stronger, fatter? What is he? Did you see his name? How would you not know if a child is coming towards you? – were the questions I fired Ben.

Why didn’t you stiffen your body to anticipate the impact? – was the question Fatherkao asked him.

I DIDN’T SEE HIM COMING AT ALL! – was the concussed child’s reply.

Unbelievable. I’m having a real headache here just trying to figure out how this could happen to a child walking in the canteen.

Being observed at NUH

Being observed at NUH

But I didn’t write this to share my bewilderment but some handy tips on how to monitor a concussed child. It’s crucial to note what to do and I am glad for tips from a nurse friend and a very detailed doctor-in-charge (coincidentally, Dr Kao!!!)

You’re welcome.

Well, first of all, the first 6 hours, as the doctor tells us, is the most crucial. If a child vomits more than 3 times and has a headache that gets more intense by the hour, admit him straightaway. And if he fell from a height (for more than a metre and like in all other dangerous situations), that’s like an absolute no-brainer (pardon the pun) – go straight to the ER for that. For Ben, his injury was sustained while he was standing up, so the risk is slightly lower than someone who falls from a height.

Second, remove all forms of stimulation from the child who’s experiencing a headache (which include lights and sounds from radio, TV, etc) and try to keep him in a dim and dark place as much as possible. The injury will cause great discomfort, and minimising these will help the child calm down and recover from the concussion faster.

This was Ben at the ER during observation, not wanting any light and sound

This was Ben at the ER during observation, not wanting any light and sound

Lastly, monitor injured child for the next 72 hours and provide pain relief for as often as possible. After Ben was observed in the ER for 2 hours and had anti-vomiting meds and Paracetamol administered, he was discharged. The doctor said he saw colour come back to his face and that we should just monitor him for the next few days. He was given 3 days MC and advised to refrain from contact sports.

My concussed boy slept for most of his first 48 hours since the injury, and I’m glad to report he is feeling less tired and a little better today. I also think that all the prayers and thoughts sent his way helped greatly, plus Aroma Life, an essential oil blend from Young Living which I used to massage his head.

Thank you, Jesus. 

I don’t know how much more my heart can take with my boys growing up so quickly, and moving around, and being active so much, and I am probably going to scream NO if anyone comes to me requesting to play rugby.

My head’s pretty traumatised already from this one.