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We are heading to a dazzling parade!

February 16, 2016

The ages of 7, 6 and 4 are wonderful. It’s convenient to bring the kids out, and they can carry their own barang. And they are fascinated – and finally no longer intimidated – by floats, dragon and lion dances and loud gongs.

Which is why we are so thrilled to be going to be heading to Chingay 2016 this Friday at the F1 Pit Building this year.

Themed ‘Lights of Legacy, Brighter Singapore’, Chingay 2016 will bring Singaporeans together to celebrate the legacy and wisdom of founding Prime Minister Mr Lee Kuan Yew and our Founding Fathers based on the core values advocated by them. Some of the key highlights of the parade include a 66-metre ‘flying’ LED dragon, aerial performances and the biggest full-scale illuminated show.

Chingay01

Chingay02

Chingay03

Chingay04

We are going to be awed by the lights that light up the night, I am sure. I hear there will be over 8,000 performers forming up 50 parade contingents. Woah. Talk about SCALE.

It’s going to be a beautiful night. So glad I have older kids who would appreciate this with me now.

 

Get your tickets here if you haven’t, and see you at Chingay!

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

We’re racing to the zoo, zoo, zoo – Safari Zoo Run 2016

January 17, 2016

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The littlest is 4 this year, which means we can *at last!* take part in the annual Safari Zoo Run! AND… we’re so thrilled that we don’t have to run run with the kids – like how we had to do 5-clicks for the Sundown Marathon last year with Ben. This year, we’ll participate in the Family Dash (going at 2.5km only!) which means we can all do it together quite effortlessly (I hope!), while being at one of our favouritest places in SG. We’ve been Friends of the Zoo for a few years now and it’s going to be special this year to be taking part in the Zoo Run as a family.

The Safari Zoo Run was conceived to commemorate Singapore Zoo’s famous matriarch and one of Singapore’s most loved animal personalities — Ah Meng the Sumatran orang utan, who died of old age in February 2008. But really, beyond remembering Ah Meng, it’s all about a time of family bonding, as well as raising awareness on wildlife conservation since portion of the proceeds from this year’s race will go towards aiding the conservation efforts of Singapore Zoo and Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

Definitely supporting conservation. Which is the reason why we’ll always be Friends of the Zoo.

If you’re big on conservation, and love a workout with your family, book your slots here for the Zoo Run which happens over 2 days!

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Note that Junior Category is open for 13 to 17 years old and the Kids Category is for 4 to 12 years old.

RACE DETAILS
Date: 27 & 28 Feb 2016, Sat & Sun
Time: 730AM – 11AM
Venue: Singapore Zoo
Targeted no of runners: 16,000 pax (8,000 per day)
Website: http://safarizoo.run/
Facebook: www.facebook.com/SafariZooRunSingapore

We’re dashing to the zoo, zoo, zoo… How about you, you, you?

All this blog's PR Stuff Food, glorious food! Going Out! Learning fun! Motherkao loves... Reviews The Kao Kids

Family Day Out at City Square Mall

December 27, 2015

If I could give out an award for the most family-friendly mall in the country, it has to be City Square Mall. I’m not just saying this because the kind folks from City Square Mall hosted us to a day out in November, but because every time I go to the mall (which is frequent enough), it’s like a one-stop for so many possibilities for every single one in the house. We’ve had lessons at Eye Level there since 2013, attended the ZooMoov launch party there, gone to Fun N Laughter for birthday parties, shopped at Babies ‘R’ Us for presents, ate at Food Republic, Astons, Swensen’s, Pasta Mania, Streats Hong Kong Cafe – all the food that the children liked, and chilled out for a cuppa at Delifrance and Starbucks when the kids were busy playing at a party or having lessons.

I really love this mall.

Like I was saying, the folks at the mall deepened my love for it even more when they hosted us for a family day-out last month and showed us even more things we could together as a family. It came at a time when I badly needed to spend quality time with my husband and children, and I am so grateful that I got to do that amidst the craziness at work.

First Stop: Art Jam for the Entire Family

I like the notion that we would be doing something so artistic (hurhurhur, like I am so in tune with my artsy self!) and yet so differentiated all at the same place. Which is what the entire hour (and a little more, I thought) was about at Global Art (04-23) to kickstart our Family Day Out. I had gotten my hands dirty and my nerves flustered once with acrylic painting – and then never tried it thereafter – so I was so glad that both the husband and I got the chance to learn the techniques step-by-step. What a difference a guided session makes. And how important it is to have a patient teacher, too.

Paying close attention to the teacher so we can model after her

Paying close attention to the teacher so we can model after her

Practising on paper first before starting on the canvas

Practising on paper first before starting on the canvas

Following the instructions on the task sheet and getting familiar with the palette knife

Following the instructions on the task sheet and getting familiar with the palette knife

And we started when we were ready!

And we started when we were ready!

Whilst the adults were busy learning the basics of acrylic painting, the Kao kids were equally engaged learning the techniques of colouring and shading with oil pastels, something I am grateful that they got to pick up. I am also impressed that teaching instructions and tasks were differentiated for Ben, Becks and Nat at our session at Global Art, and the kids were all engaged sufficiently.

It was crucial that the tasks were differentiated as each child was at a different skill level, and Global Art teachers made sure of that

It was crucial that the tasks were differentiated as each child was at a different skill level, and Global Art teachers made sure of that

All three of them of pressed on through the hour to complete their respective tasks.

Presenting the Kao Kids' masterpieces...

Presenting the Kao Kids’ masterpieces…

And so did Fatherkao and I!

And our completed flowers painted on canvas with acrylic paint!

And our completed flowers painted on canvas with acrylic paint!

Second stop: Flying on flavoured wings at Wingstop

When we were done with painting, our stomachs needed to be filled. Lunch was calling out to us in the form of wings. Chicken wings, that is. I thought the kids would be thrilled, but it turned out that I was more thrilled than them. This was like a dream come true, eating a buffet of flavourful, marinated wings and challenging my spice level at the same time. I thought Nene Chicken did it for me; but I’m happy to say Wingstop (B1-33) did more.

Did what?

Filled our tummies with American-style buffalo wings that contained too much goodness.

Warning: Drool-inducing pictures of food ahead First, the deliciousness of the salsa chips and fried mushrooms

Warning: Drool-inducing pictures of food ahead
First, the deliciousness of the salsa chips and fried mushrooms

And then they kept coming... This is Garlic Parmesan

And then they kept coming…
This is Garlic Parmesan

The Lemon Pepper and Louisiana Rub

The Lemon Pepper and Louisiana Rub

The Mango Hanebero

The Mango Hanebero

Teriyaki... And then my hands got too busy and too messy to be taking pictures

Teriyaki…
And then my hands got too busy and too messy to be taking pictures

Kids loved the Garlic Parmesan and Teriyaki, husband loved the Louisiana Rub and I loved the Mango Habanero best, although I also did challenge the Atomic.

Wingstop is all about “sauced and tossed, and made to order” chicken wings with 11 flavours to choose from – the first ten comes from the States: Original Hot, Cajun, Atomic, Mild, Teriyaki, Lemon Pepper, Hawaiian, Garlic Parmesan, Hickory Smoked BBQ and Louisiana Rub; and the 11th, the Oriental Soy Pepper is specifically made for the local market. It already is in 660 locations in the U.S; and this is its 2nd store in Singapore at City Square Mall. You have to absolutely try them to love them.

Nat loves the drumstick!

Nat loves the drumstick!

And this was me before I conquered the Atomic

And this was me before I conquered the Atomic

Third Stop: Becoming Baking Geniuses

All ready to bake

All ready to bake

When we were done with lunch, we proceeded to Genius R Us (07-07/08) for a time of mother-and-children bonding session. If you followed this blog since I first started, you would know I baked a fair bit with the kids and for the kids when I stayed home. Baking has always been therapeutic for me before the kids and when they were younger and could only assist in some tasks.

Unfortunately, I’ve become a little bit more OCD as the kids got older, and I’m quite sorry to say that I’m a pain in the neck when it comes to precision for measuring out ingredients, and becoming really, really fussy about mess.

So you can imagine me doing the happy dance inside when I learned that I would get to bake and not need to worry about cleaning up.

The Kao kids were really thrilled to be baking with Mama again, although I think the Mama three years ago (when we all started baking together) and the Mama now is very different; the former being more relaxed in the past and the latter now being a tad naggy. I had to constantly nag at the kids to listen to instruction, wait for me to help them with measurements and not break the eggs.

We're making ice cream cone pops today!

We’re making ice cream cone pops today!

My little bakers

My little bakers

My littlest baker

My littlest baker

And their ice cream cone pops

And their ice cream cone pops

Nonetheless, I think the kids did a terrific job despite their naggy mother. We had many cake pops to eat after that, and I had to nag them about hydration and pacing their chocolate intake. Well, the successful cake pops made everyone happy at least!

Last stop: Sweetness in Cocoa Heaven

Who was I kidding when I nagged about pacing chocolate intake with the cake pops? Our last stop was choco heaven and that was the most joyous part of the day for the kids. I think all nags from Mama was quickly thrown out of the window. Bring on the adrenaline, and the cocoa here at Cocoa Colony, is what they said.

And after the first few round of cocoa drinks, I succumbed too and asked for more.

Ordering our drinks...

Ordering our drinks…

From this list of Top 10 Faves at Cocoa Colony

From this list of Top 10 Faves at Cocoa Colony

And going 'wow' at all the desserts!

And going ‘wow’ at all the desserts!

We got to try the signature creations at Cocoa Colony (01-12) and learned about the history and origin of each cocoa gem in liquid form, solid form, gelato form and even powdered form. Cocoa Colony is a local company that believes in using quality cocoa in everything they make and sell, yet keeping prices affordable and accessible for everyone. That’s great news because the last time I went to another specialty cocoa place at the Esplanade some years ago, it dented my wallet a fair bit.

I’m hopeful now that we’ve all tried the deliciousness of the liquid gold that is cocoa in drinks, tasted it in gelato and savoured it in other forms like their Cocoa Bolas and chocolate bars at Cocoa Colony and can safely say that their avant garde cocoa isn’t any lesser in quality than the famous one we all know that’s moved to Vivo. I love the affordability at Cocoa Colony which gives me the option to try many more items on the menu.

We sampled the best cocoa in Cocoa Colony hot

We sampled the best cocoa in Cocoa Colony hot

...and cold

…and cold

I tried the pure cocoa in powder form

I tried the pure cocoa in powder form

And the kids couldn't stop savouring the gelato

And the kids couldn’t stop savouring the gelato

Oh well, cheers!

Oh well, cheers!

What a sweet, sweet end to the Family Day Out!

***

I couldn’t believe that I had spent ONE entire day doing so many things with the family, and that a mall with its family-friendly tenants provided this opportunity. All in all, it was a fruitful weekend well-spent with the family at City Square Mall, and I cannot say enough that it’s altogether impressive and convenient as a one-stop to do so many things!

Disclosure: We were invited to spend a day out with the family at City Square Mall and hosted by the kind people from the mall mentioned in this review. No monetary compensation was received and all opinions here are strictly our own.

***

LATEST EDIT: Cocoa Colony has since ceased operations at City Square Mall as of 2017. For a list of updated stores, visit their site here. The menu and drinks remain largely unchanged and are wonderful sweet treats to have to make your day, nonetheless.

Everyday fun! Going Out! Happy days Holidays! Milestones and growing up The Kao Kids

Overheard in Bangkok

December 19, 2015

We’ve been living here for close to 3 weeks now, and it’s almost feeling like we can live here forever. We love the food the people and the affordability. Guess the only thing we aren’t really loving are the crazy Bangkok jams, but hey, they didn’t call this amazing Thailand without them I am sure. This city has been so kind to us and we’ve had too many wonderful memories here, the funniest things ever said and heard (amongst ourselves) included.

***

Day 1

Ben: Why are there so pictures of this man?

Becks: What man?

Nat: The man wearing spectacles!

Ben: He’s everywhere! On buildings, on roads, on street sides and even inside shops!

Me: Erm, the Thais call him king, kids!

***

Day 2

Ben: Why do they have a king and we don’t?

Becks: We have! Mr Lee Kuan Yew, remember?

Me: -_-

(I had to explain constitutional monarchy and democracy to the kids, but I don’t think I did a very good job. Anyone wants to volunteer?)

***

Day 9, at Platinum Mall

Me: Ok, today’s shopping day so we’re going to be shopping non stop. Every floor has something for us to explore. I will need to get a lot of things.

Ben: Yes, like my pants. I have no more pants.

Nat: And my socks! And t-shirts!

Becks: And a hat! I want a hat.

Me: Ok, great! Let’s go.

Minutes later, after a few dizzying rounds of going up the escalator to find the food hall (which meant we saw what every floor of the mall had to offer)…

Becks: Mama…

Me: Yes?

Becks: I have only one wish.

Ben: What? Change your mind again?

Me: You want to buy dresses, is it? You must have seen enough Frozen dresses to last you a lifetime?

Becks: No…

Ben: You want shoes, is it?

Becks: No…

Me: Scrunchie?

Becks: My wish is to have a tiara. So I can be a princess!

Me and Ben: -_-

Wearing the tiara every day

Wearing the tiara every day

***

Day 12, at Asiatique in the day, walking past Juliet’s Garden

Me: This is what we visited in Verona when we were in Italy, kids.

Ben: Who’s she?

Me: Juliet. Well, we were told in Verona that when we rub Juliet’s left breast, we will find love and good luck.

Becks: What? We need to touch her left BRA????

Us: -_-

The love-locks filled garden on a hot day at Asiatique where nothing was open

The love-locks filled garden on a hot day at Asiatique where nothing was open

Verona's Juliet, looking all worn out (Photo Source)

Verona’s Juliet, looking all worn out (Photo Source)

Act 2, Scene 2: Capulet's Garden Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou, Romeo?

Act 2, Scene 2: Capulet’s Garden
Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou, Romeo?

***

Day 13, at Bangkok Railway Train Night Market

Me: I finally found it after searching for so long!

Ben: What?

Me: Good ol’ entertainment for 20 baht!

Ben, Becks, Nat: YAY! We have iPhones!

Me: We call it the Blackberry.

Ben: Ok, mine is.

Becks: Mine’s pink berry!

Nat: And mine’s green berry!

Me: -_-

New "phone"!

New “phone”!

Nat's new Greenberry

Nat’s new Greenberry

Ben with his Blackberry

Ben with his Blackberry

Becks and her Pinkberry

Becks and her Pinkberry

***

Day 14

Becks: See, I have an iPhone and I can play iPhone games.

Me: Yes, that’s right. Best ever.

Becks: And I can even take selfie!

Me: -_-

Becks taking a selfie while on our Safari Park self drive

Becks taking a selfie while on our Safari Park self drive

***

More ‘Overheard in Bangkok’ coming your way soon. Till then, here’s the reason we are here, and how we are eating like the locals.

Family life as we know it Going Out! Happy days Holidays! The Kao Kids

Bangkok Living, Part 2 – Street Eats

December 3, 2015

I am making seasoned travellers out of my kids, doing the most untouristy things here in Bangkok (read about why we are here here). We’ve been here 4 days now and we’ve not eaten at a single restaurant nor visited a single tourist attraction (save Siam Paragon, which I went to, just to see how much the food hall’s changed).

We’re living in an apartment where cooking isn’t allowed, and so we are always searching for where to have breakfast, lunch and dinner. There’s a bustling street selling street food right in front of where we live, but we’ve not tried anything there yet. We’ve been hopping around on our friend’s car and he’s been taking us to where the REAL good food is.

I don’t think we will encounter any eating experience that can match what we’ve been experiencing so far if we lived in the greater BKK metropolis. I’d thought I’ve done enough street to get some street cred from the few times I’ve visited Bangkok, but those were in no way near what I’ve experienced on this trip.

And my kids. Oh, these kids. The transformation these 4 days have been pretty amazing. They’ve managed to morph from grumpy on Day 1, whining about no air con, the unbearable heat and dirty floors to becoming solidly adaptable, gamely trying anything I feed them by Day 3. I’m not sure if it’s because they see how much their mother eats at every turn she makes, or if it’s because of the generosity of my Bangkokian friend who made sure we get to try everything that’s good on the menu, or if it’s due to my repeated nagging about the value of taking the road less travelled and getting them NOT to think and act like self-entitled tourists, but I am sure the fact that the awesomely tasty food we’ve been ingesting so far helps A LOT in making them enjoy what they are eating now.

Nothing beats living like this, really.

~~~

*Warning: Salivation expected. Food pictures ahead.*

Over the last 3 days, we’ve had…

Duck

I’ve never tasted duck this good, soup that tasted so herb-y yet heavenly, and noodles that soaked up the savoury gravy this soft and chewy. This was duck noodles near Thong Lor.

This was the first thing I wanted to have - duck noodles.

This was the first thing I wanted to have – duck noodles. Soup version.

The story goes that many years ago, my friend posted a picture of this claypot duck noodles and declared it heavenly. I commented saying I wished I could try it. And many years later, I am FINALLY here. In other news, hello again, blood pudding.

Duck noodles. Claypot version. The story goes that many years ago, my friend posted a picture of this claypot duck noodles and declared it heavenly. I commented saying I wished I could try it. And many years later, I am FINALLY here.
In other news, hello again, blood pudding. I’ve never forgotten how you tasted since Yong Tau Foo days at Tiong Bahru market when I was 6.

Beef

This was refreshing as it was salty. A happy paradox, no less. I bet no one can tell this was beef just by looking at the second bowl.

This was a helluva kicka** beef noodles soup tucked in some corner of some Soi which I would never have known existed for 40 years. My friend's wife had this as a kid, and she says the taste hasn't changed.

This was a helluva kicka** beef brisket soup tucked in some corner of some Soi which I would never have known existed for 40 years. My friend’s wife had this as a kid, and she says the taste hasn’t changed.

This clear beef noodles soup so so so tasty. Kids had it with sugar added to the soup and liked it much.

This clear beef noodles soup was so so so tasty. Kids had it with sugar added to the soup and liked it much.

Thai coconut pancakes

These were piping hot when we got them and they were oozing creamy coconut sweetness in the mouth. These Thai coconut pancakes would be something I would miss so much – where can I find them in Singapore?

We bought this from a roadside stall for our breakfast and they were filled with yummy coconut goodness with spring onions and corn as surprises

We bought this from a roadside stall for our breakfast and they were filled with yummy coconut goodness with spring onions and corn kernels as surprises

Yong Tau Foo, Thai-style; and Green Curry

After tennis training yesterday, my friend brought us to this obscure lane with a stall that’s a gem on its own. It’s in Soi 32 of Ramkhamhaeng. I won’t be able to tell how to get there as it’s clearly untouristy, right in the midst of terrace houses, a pebble-filled open space and lots of trees and motorbikes BUT it was a satisfying eating experience here through and through.

The short walk from car to stall along a dusty road

The short walk from car to stall along a dusty road

Who would have known such good food can be tucked here?

Who would have known such good food can be tucked here?

This is where deliciousness begins

This is where deliciousness begins

The spice line-up

The spice line-up

Granite seating and "landscaped" view

Granite seating and “landscaped” view

Typical fare on the tables – coconut kueh-like dessert and fried pork lard

And this was what we ate:

This is Thai style seafood yong tau foo with the sweet sauce and chilli sauce mixed. Kids had it in sweet.

This is Thai style seafood yong tau foo with the sweet sauce and chilli sauce mixed. Kids had it in sweet.

The most authentic green curry I've ever had in my life. I could breathe in the variety of herbs and chillis used and by golly, this was VERY spicy!

The most authentic green curry I’ve ever had in my life. I could breathe in the variety of herbs and chillis used and by golly, this was VERY spicy!

Thank God for this Pandan jelly drink to wash away the spice!

Thank God for this Pandan jelly drink to wash away the spice!

I hear you can only find this brand in the area where the locals are. Well, at least this girl's cute face ain't too difficult to remember.

I hear you can only find this brand in the area where the locals are. Well, at least this girl’s cute face ain’t too difficult to remember.

Dessert for sale

Dessert for sale

We bought some desserts home and the total cost of everything we ate and drank and bought (which included a packet of banana chips, 4 packets of sugar-coated nuts and coconut milk jelly) amounted to 375 baht. The Singaporean in me gasped for all the money I’ve ever spent on horrible foodcourt food.

I ate myself happy every meal. I think the kids did too. It has been nothing but. Enriching. Awesome. Tasty.

This Bangkok living.

And this is only the first week!

——-

Also in this series: Bangkok Living, Part 1 – Tennis in Bangkok

Family life as we know it Happy days Holidays! The Kao Kids

Bangkok Living, Part 1 – Tennis in Bangkok

December 3, 2015

When we wanted Ben to pick up a sport, he was most undecided. For a while, he liked everything. Golf? Yes! Badminton? Yes! Tennis? Yes! Soccer? Yes! Basketball? Yes! Swimming? Yes! Anything? Yes!

So earlier in the year, Ben picked up swimming and went for swim class weekly. Unfortunately, he was always sneezing in the frigid waters of the cold, cold pool and falling ill quite a bit after his swim class every week so we decided to stop the classes when we moved to the west.

Which brought us back to square one again after that. He still couldn’t tell us what he really wanted to learn when we asked. Don’t ask me why I am big about my boys picking up a sport; I just think it will do their athletic genes injustice if they were to learn a musical instrument instead of a sport first.

But this time round, his father made the decision for him, told him little of his plans and flew the entire family away on a one-way ticket to Thailand – which explains why we are here now in Bangkok. He’s started Ben on tennis training here with a Thai coach and we are gonna be holed up here for the next 3 weeks.

And were we glad that after the first session, the coach (Koo Dai, as Ben calls him; literally Coach Turtle) assessed Ben and concluded that he had potential in the sport and amazing concentration for a 6-year-old. So instead of packing up and coming home (which we would, should he tell us to give it up, that’s why the one-way ticket), we’ve booked 3 weeks worth of intensive training every morning with him so that Ben gets the right footing in terms of the correct techniques in the game.

He’s a new slate, we didn’t know who’s good in Singapore and he needs to be taught the right habits for the sport -practically sums up why we are here with Dai because he came highly recommended by my good friend who lives here.

Tennis training begins here daily at 06:00

Tennis training begins here daily at 06:00

Ben in action

Ben in action

For the rest of us, we are going to be living and eating the way of the locals and immersing ourselves in Thai culture (and Thai TV). We are staying in the outskirts and having our fill of authentic Thai street food and the horrible Bangkok jams.

And just in case you think it’s a nice three-week vacation, nope, sorry.

Brought all our curriculum work, school work, business work to do

Brought all our curriculum work, school work, business work to do

Sawadeekha.

Going Out! Milestones and growing up The Kao Kids

Of bouncy dreams and masak masak (ft. ZoomPark & National Museum of Singapore)

June 19, 2015

Holidays are stuff that dreams are made of. No fixed routines. No schedules. No rush.

At least for now.

I’ve made it the goal of this year’s March, June and September holidays that the kids play and play only. Apart from the older kids’ Chinese home tuition, I promised myself that they would not get any sit-down-with-mama-and-let’s-do-some-work sessions because this is pretty much the very last year Ben is gonna be a preschooler. Which makes it pretty much a very, very precious year for all my pre-schooling children to be having fun with one another with no other demands on their time and no other expectations on their lives. We all know how life starts to get hectic and time becomes a little more screwed up and messed up when a child makes his foray into the formal education scene, and whilst we are all bracing ourselves for the new journey to come – first for Ben next year – we are so not looking forward it.

These are golden years, my babies. Play and go wild as much as you want.

~~~

So during the March holidays (yes, I’m backtracking here a bit!), we had the time of our lives at this place:

ZoomPark 03

Bouncing up and down, left and right

ZoomPark 04

Slam-dunkin’

ZoomPark 05

Shooting a basket

ZoomPark 06

Aiming for the sky

ZoomPark 07

Rock climbing

ZoomPark 09

Racing to aim and throw

It was the wildest we ever got to do as a family. Not even Legoland was this wild.

Think non-stop bouncing, with Mom and Dad, and getting a seriously serious workout.

This is ZoomPark Asia (200 Pandan Gardens, #01-14, Singapore 609336 | Tel: 6334-4615). The healthy, bouncy folks there tell me that 10 minutes of being on a trampoline is equivalent to 30 minutes of jogging.

You bet I was jumping hard at this mega trampoline park. If we didn’t live so far, I would have made it a weekly affair to get a workout here.

ZoomPark 08

Takes a lot of hand, feet and eye coordination, this one

ZoomPark 10

Gives a whole new meaning to peng-san!

ZoomPark 12

Resting on foam blocks after free falling from the rock climbing

ZoomPark 11

We were bouncing alongside Sengkang Babies!

~~~

This June, we signed up as members of the zoo and River Safari again – because my children love the outdoors and animals! – and I had them direct their own homelearning about koalas after our visit to the koalas at the zoo.

Have you met Chan, Idalia, Paddle and Pellita yet? We don't know who's who though!

Have you met Chan, Idalia, Paddle and Pellita yet? We don’t know who’s who though!

Someone's awake!

Someone’s awake!

We kept really quiet in there, because the koalas were sleeping!

We kept really quiet in there, because the koalas were sleeping!

Koala plush mania!

Koala plush mania!

Kids decide what they want to do, and Mama prints them all from free printables online

Kids decide what they want to do, and Mama prints them all from free printables online

Colouring begins!

Colouring begins!

Finding out what eucalyptus smells like

Finding out what eucalyptus smells like

Koalafun 04

Making a koala enclosure and painting the leaves they picked

Wa la! Koala mask ready, koala mazes done and koala enclosure ready for visit!

Wa la! Koala mask put on, koala mazes done and koala enclosure ready for visit!

~~~

We also paid a visit earlier in June to the National Museum of Singapore where Children Season is back, and checked out the inspiring and interactive exhibits at Masak Masak 2015.

Masak Masak 2015 features familiar playgrounds and interactive installations by Singaporean and international artists at the National Museum of Singapore

Masak Masak 2015 features familiar playgrounds and interactive installations by Singaporean and international artists at the National Museum of Singapore

Becks and Nat doing a cute couple pose. The kids were super excited.

Becks and Nat doing a cute couple pose. The kids were super excited.

Spectrum of Paper by Mademoiselle Maurice (France): Step into a rainbow wonderland at the Rotunda and immerse yourselves in a kaleidoscope of colourful, suspended origami boats and planes!

Spectrum of Paper by Mademoiselle Maurice (France): Step into a rainbow wonderland at the Rotunda and immerse yourself in a kaleidoscope of colourful, suspended origami boats and planes!

Navigating the maze that is Wanderlust, made completely from crepe paper

Navigating the maze that is Wanderlust by Crystal Wagner (USA), made completely from crepe paper

Stamping fun with the iconic masak masak stamps

Stamping fun with the iconic masak masak stamps

Making patterns and lots of noise

Making patterns and lots of noise

Playing the eraser flag game, just that this one ain't erasers but giant cushion flags!

Playing the eraser flag game, just that this one ain’t erasers but giant cushion flags!

Making our own shadow puppet

Making our own shadow puppet

Ben's little squirrel wants to join the fun

Ben’s little squirrel wants to join the fun

Becks' little rabbit ready for shadow play

Becks’ little rabbit ready for shadow play with the backdrop of Jeremy Hiah’s (Singapore) Queen of the Forest

And off she goes behind the screen to tell her own story!

And off she goes behind the screen to tell her own story!

Simple Pleasures in Life by Jeanette Aw (yep, the local artiste - didn't know she was so talented)

Simple Pleasures in Life by Jeanette Aw (yep, the local artiste – didn’t know she was so talented), which is apt indeed, because the simple pleasures in life are made of these: adding colours to our lives

The kids had their doodling dream and major graffiti fantasy come true at this installation

The kids had their doodling dream and major graffiti fantasy come true at this installation

Opposite the colouring board is a huge black board which bids you come scratch it with all your might. A colourful background unveils. Ben is loving this - and also the fact the sound drives me nuts.

Opposite the colouring board is a huge black board which bids you come scratch it with all your might. A colourful background unveils. Ben is loving this – and also the fact the sound drives me nuts.

But none was as fun and wild as doing this:

Weeee!

Weeee!

Sliding fun at the bouncy version of the Dragon Playground

Sliding fun at the bouncy version of the Dragon Playground

And then again on the Elephant version

And then again on the Elephant version

Again and again!

Again and again!

And then climbing through the Watermelon one...

And then climbing through the Watermelon one…

Before taking a rest on the wooden carousel swings with Momolato popsicles with real fruit inside

Before taking a rest on the wooden carousel swings with Momolato popsicles with real fruit inside

These brought back so many childhood memories for me, and I am glad the next generation is getting acquainted with them albeit in a different way.

If you love to museum-hop or love being in the museums, Children Season is really the best thing that happens every June.

~~~

Hope your holidays have been as swell as ours so far!

All this blog's PR Stuff Everyday fun! Family life as we know it Going Out! Happy days Milestones and growing up

Experiencing dinosaurs

April 30, 2015

One of the greatest joys of parenting is to be totally immersed and involved in your children’s obsessions.

Boys usually start with cars or balls. Then they move on to trains, dinosaurs, soldiers, LEGO and superheroes of all kinds.

Girls typically are obsessed with the colour pink, in addition to being a little mad about a cat with no mouth, princesses and dolls.

My boys have been into dinosaurs for the longest time. They can rattle those three to four-syllable names faster than I can call theirs, and it’s fascinating how they can immerse themselves so completely in the prehistoric world – from wanting to colour dinosaurs all day long and learning their names, to constructing massive dinosaur parks with thier LEGO bricks and dino figurines and pleading to go to Jurassic Park every single weekend.

Jurassic Park, by the way, exists in the minds of these boys.

In Universal Studios Singapore, that is (which is also called The Lost World).

Photo credit: rwsentosa.com

Photo credit: rwsentosa.com

This is a place where you can go dino-soaring on pterodactyls, put your head into a T-Rex’s mouth, and pat Diane, the park’s latest infant triceratops – which incidentally is the current obsession of Nat, my youngest. This boy loves, loves, loves triceratops.

Nat goes a dino-soaring with a green triceratops

Nat goes a dino-soaring with a green triceratops

And then real dino-soaring with the pterodacyls

And then real dino-soaring with the pterodactyls

And we meet Diane, the infant triceratops. She moves and responds to you when you pat her - which freaks my little girl out and fascinates her brothers

And we meet Diane, the infant triceratops. She moves and responds to you when you pat her – which freaks my little girl out and fascinates her brothers

This velociraptor dude looks so real and it moves!

This velociraptor dude looks so real and it moves!

T-Rex chomp!

T-Rex chomp!

Help!

Help!

The Lost World is a place we head to whenever my boys need their dino-fix.

We got the Universal Studios Singapore’s 6-month season pass in December last year and have been visiting the theme park on a regular basis. It’s a happy place, with happy music blaring everywhere; happy people always smiling, waving, laughing, greeting; happy mascots roaming around; and happy, happy rides.

Being there makes me happy. Being there makes my children happy.

We get fun times taking rides, goofing times posing for pictures, and laugh-out-loud times spotting characters. And best of all, we spend A LOT of time, as my boys would have it, at Jurassic Park, where their dinosaur dreams come alive. Their imagination takes off and soars to a new height with every repeated visit to this place.

There's a triceratops on top!

There’s a triceratops on top!

How about some predator a'roaring?

How about some predator a’roaring?

Toy store fun: Becks grab a stuffed toy but the boys... are all for jaws and teeth

Toy store fun: Becks grabs a stuffed toy but the boys… are all for jaws and teeth

You don’t know how grateful I am for Universal Studios. It has allowed me to participate in the dino-madness with my children, something which I know I wouldn’t be able to do for long because they will all grow up soon enough.

Next stop: the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Mueseum. We’ll be found there real soon!

Jurassic Park Huddle

Jurassic Park Huddle

***

Do you have a treasured moment of indulging with your children in their obsession? 

Cherish the special moments you have with your children. Share your very own fun-filled #FrisoMoment at apps.facebook.com/FrisoExperiences and stand to win a host of amazing prizes, courtesy of Friso Singapore.

Here are the mechanics:

How to participate

Submit a photo of you and your child sharing a special experience. You may submit 1 experience each week. Each photo submitted will earn you two instant rewards – A Friso Experience journal and a Friso voucher worth $5, $10 or $20. Friso Singapore will also select and print one photo in 4R size with a Friso frame and send it to you.

You will be eligible for weekly and grand prizes if you agree to display your image in the gallery to inspire other parents.

Prizes:
  • Instant prizes: Friso Experiences Journal + Friso Voucher will be awarded to every entry.
  • Weekly Prize: The best photos will be selected to win the weekly prize. If you didn’t win in the first week, you will still be eligible for the weekly prizes in the remaining weeks of the month.

Week 1 to 2 (7 Mar – 23 Mar) 8 x FujiFilm Instax Mini 8

Week 3: 5 x Rebel Kidz Retro Racer Balance Bike

Week 4: 5 x Annual Zoo membership [2 adults + 2 Child]

Week 5: 5 x GOPRO Hero Camera

Week 6: 3 x Port of Lost Wonders party package

Week 7: 5 x Fujifilm Instax Share Printer

  • Grand Prize: A year’s supply of Friso milk.

One winner in April will be selected from the top 25 most voted entries for the month.  You may vote once per day for each entry. Remember to include the hashtag #FrisoMoment on your IG and FB posts!

***

Disclosure: This post was brought to you by Friso Singapore. Friso Singapore has invited Motherkao to share her #FrisoMoment to inspire parents to experience MORE with their children.

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

Fly away spontaneity

April 29, 2015
The Transit Lounge at T2 where sunflowers abound and one is a little closer to the planes and skies

The Transit Lounge at T2 where sunflowers abound and one is a little closer to the planes and skies

During the long weekend that was the Good Friday weekend that was in April, we did the crazy spontaneous.

We booked a budget flight and got onto to the plane, away to KL for a 1D1N.

Yes, we left the country for a one-day-one-night spontaneous family getaway.

And it was such a fun one with everyone in tow, helper included.

We departed for KL on a 4.30pm flight on Saturday, arrived in KL at 5.30pm, took the KLIA Express to KL Sentral. From there we walked to Le Meridien where we got two rooms with an awesome city view, and then headed to Jalan Alor for dinner.

The luxurious beds at Le Meridien all to themselves. They say 'yay' and I say 'yay' too! No co-sleeping on this trip!

The luxurious beds at Le Meridien all to themselves. They said ‘yay’ and I said ‘yay’ too! No co-sleeping on this trip!

Walking down the food street at Jalan Alor

Walking down the food street at Jalan Alor

Our dinner consisting of chicken wings, satay, oyster omelette, carrot cake, char kway teow, beer (for the adults) and juice (for the young 'uns)

Our dinner consisting of chicken wings, satay, oyster omelette, carrot cake, char kway teow, beer (for the adults) and juice (for the young ‘uns) – awesomely yummy!

Back at the hotel room late at night, my husband sprang me a birthday surprise, and the kids and I were on an all-time high. They soaked in the warm water in the tub. The adults soaked in the city’s night view from the hotel window. By the time we crashed, it was close to midnight.

Happy birthday (again), this time from the hotel staff at Le Meridien, planned by Fatherkao

Happy birthday (again), this time from the hotel staff at Le Meridien, planned by Fatherkao

The next morning, we checked out and took a taxi to Seremban to meet with family, had lunch, and was back at the KL airport by 3pm, and back in Singapore – 3 hours later.

This was Restoran Xin Kai where we had great bak kut teh!

This was Restoran Xin Kai Xin in Seremban where we had great bak kut teh!

All with one big duffel bag and a huge dose of a sense of adventure.

Were we tired? Not at all. We were adrenaline-charged by this sudden burst of spontaneity.

For the kids, it was all about new sights and sounds, and non-stop eating.

For the husband and I, it was all about holding hands, which we haven’t done for the longest time.

For the family, it was all about experiencing a foreign land together and filling one memory page at a time, moving around from place to place and taking a flight together, watching the clouds and sunsets and pretending we were cruising through a billowing sea of cotton candy.

Any time spent with family is good time, and I am glad for this spontaneous family getaway

Any time spent with family is good time, and I am glad for this spontaneous family getaway

We would do this again in a heartbeat, this crazy spontaneous!

***

Cherish the special moments you have with your children. Share your very own spontaneous #FrisoMoment at apps.facebook.com/FrisoExperiences and stand to win a host of amazing prizes, courtesy of Friso Singapore.

Here are the mechanics:

How to participate

Submit a photo of you and your child sharing a special experience. You may submit 1 experience each week. Each photo submitted will earn you two instant rewards – A Friso Experience journal and a Friso voucher worth $5, $10 or $20. Friso Singapore will also select and print one photo in 4R size with a Friso frame and send it to you.

You will be eligible for weekly and grand prizes if you agree to display your image in the gallery to inspire other parents.

Prizes:
  • Instant prizes: Friso Experiences Journal + Friso Voucher will be awarded to every entry.
  • Weekly Prize: The best photos will be selected to win the weekly prize. If you didn’t win in the first week, you will still be eligible for the weekly prizes in the remaining weeks of the month.

Week 1 to 2 (7 Mar – 23 Mar) 8 x FujiFilm Instax Mini 8

Week 3: 5 x Rebel Kidz Retro Racer Balance Bike

Week 4: 5 x Annual Zoo membership [2 adults + 2 Child]

Week 5: 5 x GOPRO Hero Camera

Week 6: 3 x Port of Lost Wonders party package

Week 7: 5 x Fujifilm Instax Share Printer

  • Grand Prize: A year’s supply of Friso milk.

One winner in April will be selected from the top 25 most voted entries for the month.  You may vote once per day for each entry. Remember to include the hashtag #FrisoMoment on your IG and FB posts!

 ***

Disclosure: This post was brought to you by Friso Singapore. Friso Singapore has invited Motherkao to share her #FrisoMoment to inspire parents to experience MORE with their children.

All this blog's PR Stuff Going Out! Learning fun! The Kao Kids

A date with Mama’s old friend

April 1, 2015

If you grew up in Singapore, you would have met Singa the Courtesy Lion.

In fact, I’m going to show off here on my own blog to say that I was once chosen to wear the ‘kindness badge’ that’s got Singa on it in Primary 2. Or was it Primary 3? Gosh, that was way too long ago. Back then, he was the mascot of the Courtesy Campaign. And the badge was the coveted honour we wanted to wear on our school uniforms because that’s to tell the world you’re a very, very courteous pupil.

It’s no longer called the Courtesy Campaign now but the ‘Singapore Kindness Movement’ today. Back in the good ol’ days in 1996, during his New Year Message, then Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong highlighted the need for Singapore to become a gracious society by the 21st century. Considerate social behaviour supported by a strong economy and good government will make Singapore the best home for its people, he said. In line with Mr Goh’s call to build a gracious society, the Singapore Kindness Movement (SKM) was formed in 1997 and aims to encourage Singaporeans to make a positive commitment to gracious living through simple acts of kindness in their daily activities.

I’m all for teaching kindness and graciousness to my children, and it’s my personal parenting belief that with or without this movement, my kids must learn their manners and to be gracious from the heart.

But Singa! Singa is someone they absolutely must meet! So despite not needing to join a movement to learn about kindness, I had to lug everyone to see him when he came to a mall near us with his ‘Kindness Cubbies’.

It was nice to get up close and personal with an old friend. Yes, he was introduced as “Mama’s primary school friend” to the Kao kids.

Singa

Singa & the Kindness Cubbies

Singa & the Kindness Cubbies_and us

My children’s take-away from this meet-and-greet and mall show? I’m so glad it wasn’t “Singa is so cute right!” or “Omigosh, the girl-cubbie’s so adorable” but the 5 MAGIC WORDS to make Kindsville a pleasant place to live in.

What are the 5 MAGIC WORDS? Bring your kids to check Singa and the Kindness Cubbies out!

Venue: Northpoint Shopping Centre

Date & Time:

  • 17th April (Friday) – 7:30PM
  • 18th April (Saturday) – 2:30PM & 7:00PM
  • 19th April (Sunday) – 2:30PM & 7:00PM

Venue: Downtown East

Date & Time:

  • 1st May (Friday) – 7:30PM
  • 2nd May (Saturday) – 2:30PM & 7:00PM
  • 3rd May (Sunday) – 2:30PM & 7:00PM
At the roadshow, you can even send 'Love Letters' for free to family members and friends, courtesy of the very kind SingPost!

At the roadshow, you can even send ‘Love Letters’ for free to family members and friends, courtesy of the very kind SingPost!

Disclosure: I’m a supporter of any local movement or initiative that makes our home a better place. Here’s to spread a little kindness! We were invited to pose with Singa and Cubbies. No monetary compensation was received. All opinions here are our own.