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This year’s Thanksgiving Dinner by the Kao kids’ (ft. kids-friendly recipes)

November 28, 2017

[Sponsored – this post is IKEA-inspired]

Now that the kids are older, I have every plan to work them hard. I mean, why not? They are bursting with so much creativity, so much energy, and so many ideas it would be such a waste if I don’t tap on all these while they are still willing.

So I told the kids that in November, they’ll have to cook up a Thanksgiving dinner for the family.

I was surprised there was absolutely no protest and zero whining. In fact, they were excited. They started talking about what they could do – should we make sunny side ups, Mama? shall we bake a big cake? maybe we can make some pasta? hmm, how about some cookies? ok,  let’s make chicken wings!

I had to source and tweak some recipes in order for a few things to happen: one, the family gets a complete meal; and two, the meal prep and work is something that an eight-year-old, a seven-year-old and a five-year-old can manage on his/her own individually.

I needed more tools in the kitchen to assist their meal prep, and so also we headed to IKEA to get some shopping done.

This was what we did. This was Thanksgiving dinner, prepped by the Kao Kids. #iamaproudmama

~~~

First to enter the kitchen last Saturday afternoon (which we dedicated as our very own Kao family’s Thanksgiving Day) was Becks. She loves to bake. She love treats. And she is all ready to make us an orange pound cake.

Chef Becks is pictured here in her best festive garb, the VINTER 2017 children’s apron, complete with a chef’s hat. Fits her to a tee, and gets her in the mood for baking. I think this girl takes after me – we both love to bake!

Before she started work, I laid out the ingredients and utensils she might need and did a run through of the steps and what she would be doing with what (equipment / utensils).  Becks is an auditory learner, and she functions better being told verbally what to expect. I followed this really easy recipe here from Del’s Cooking Twist and ran through the steps with her, all while pointing to the equipment and tools she would use:

First, the eggs and sugar that Mama’s prepared and measured go into the KitchenAid; second, the flour and baking powder will be sifted with the IDEALISK Flour Sifter; third, the butter needs to be melted in the saucepan; fourth, the orange needs to be juiced with the SPRITTA Citrus Squeezer,and lastly, the batter needs to mixed well and poured into the moulds on the baking tray to be popped into the oven.

Step 1: Eggs and sugar gets beaten well

Step 2: Sifting the flour & baking powder (actually just clicking away!) with IDEALISK

Steps 3 & 4: While the butter is slowly melting in the saucepan, use SPRITTA to squeeze juice out of one large orange

Step 5: Mix the batter well and pour into baking moulds – we used the BAKGLAD baking moulds to give us 2 cute foxes & 2 bears

Of course, Mama hovered around the kitchen as her assistant and preheated the oven, handled all electrical appliances (I helped with the melted butter, for sure!) and doubled up as sous chef when she needed me to. But these 5 steps were more than doable for this seven-year-old, and Becks was more than able to rise to the occasion in making four mini orange pound cakes for our Thanksgiving dinner.

In fact, [spoiler alert], they turned out so well, that a friend tried (she came by while we had dinner and sampled some) and wanted to order from Chef Becks so she could give away as gifts for Christmas.

~~~

Next to enter the kitchen was Ben, all ready to handle some protein.

I modified this recipe by Ina Garten, by tweaking some of the things to our liking (no thyme, 1 lemon instead of 4) and making it less daunting for Ben. Actually, to prep this dish, in my opinion was the easiest to do, just ’cause the chicken spends more time in the oven than anything else. But preparing this dish takes the most guts to do – as it requires massaging the cavity and every bit of the chicken – and so it was tasked to the oldest kid among my three.

You don’t see his disgusted look here, but he was basically squealing for the first minute of touching the chicken.

How cool is my eight-year-old chef in his TOPPKLOCKA apron and chef hat, touching protein for the first time in his life

After he became familiar with how cold and slimy the skin of the chicken and cavity felt, he was all ready to stuff and rub ’em all in. In went the garlic cloves and quartered lemon, some butter, salt and pepper.

And then the skin was rubbed with olive oil, salt and pepper before it was covered with streaky bacon rashers. He worked atop the KONCIS stainless steel roasting tin with grill rack, which contained the mess efficiently and let him pop the chicken straight into the preheated 220°C oven.

~~~

So there needed to be carbs for the dinner, and I decided to task the youngest for this. Doesn’t sound very easy for the youngest to be preparing the mains, but hey, the solution was pretty straightfoward. We would be skipping the pasta and mashed potatoes, and having all-day breakfast for dinner instead.

‘Cause this was the EASIEST recipe I could find for a five-year-old to do. And I thought: why not?

French toast for dinner, it is.

With this really easy recipe, you’ll pretty much get pretty carbs on a plate in three steps, and this was as easy as it gets for a fiver.

All you really need is a large stainless bowl and a whisk and uber large pie dish (the BLANDA BLANK 36-cm stainless steel bowl, VARDAGEN balloon whisk and VARDAGEN 32-cm pie dish are ideal for this task), some eggs, white bread, honey, salt and single cream and you’d churn out the staple in no time.

Of course, Nat had to be heavily guided by my verbal cues. He listened and worked as I instructed: whisk together the single cream, eggs, warmed honey (so it’s more loose liquid), salt, and then pour mixture into the pie dish.

When we were ready to eat, he dipped each slice of bread into the mixture in the pie dish and let the bread soak for 30 seconds on each side. As he removed each slice onto a rack and worked with more bread, I fired up a non-stick pan with butter and cooked each slice till golden brown.

Then we’d slot the slices of french toast into the oven for another 5 minutes for that perfect crunchy bite.

~~~

Would you please have a look at the finished products after about 5 hours of labour in the kitchen? The adults helped with the plating but look at these gorgeous browns, and bursts of colours!

Serving ware really do dress up the dish: the roasted chicken sits on a VARDAGEN oven dish, the french toasts were plated with raspberries, blueberries, strawberries drizzled with maple syrup on matt-glazed DINERA plates and the cakes rest on the festive VINTER 2017 side plates.

Thanksgiving dinner by kids, for the whole family.

We couldn’t wait to tuck in.

This Thanksgiving, our hearts and bellies were full.

On this cosy dining table for our family of five, I had food prepared by my kids for the first time ever. This Thanksgiving meal wasn’t just tasty. Every bite of what I ate melted every ounce of fiber in my heart.

And I gave thanks for that.

Disclosure: This is our first of three in a series of collaborative work with IKEA. IKEA sponsored all the bakeware, cookware, utensils and tools mentioned in this post. All ideas and creativity are our own. #IKEASG#ad#sponsored#incollaborationwith

Happy days Holidays! Motherkao loves... The Kao Kids

Dunfermline, Scotland – and 5 things to savour with kids when you’re there

July 14, 2017

Cold and rainy Dunfermline, Kingdom of Fife, Scotland

Cold and rainy Dunfermline, Kingdom of Fife, Scotland

One huge reason why we decided to head to the UK with the entire family in tow this summer was because we had family in Scotland, and we wanted the kids to reunite with their granduncle and grandaunt again. They come to visit often, but we’ve never visited them in the UK, and so Fatherkao and I thought it would be an adventure to take the kids all the way to the Kingdom of Fife.

Sounds really like heading back to medieval times.

Fife, still commonly known as the Kingdom of Fife, is a historical county of Scotland. Fife is divided into 3 districts: Dunfermline, Kirkcaldy and North-east Fife. We flew to London first, then took a Virgin East Coast train for about 5 hours to Dunfermline, where we would stay with family for a week. That became our base to explore Perth, Stirling, Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Much little is known about Dunfermline, except that it’s the hometown of the great Mr Andrew Carnegie, one of the greatest philanthropists our world has ever known. There’s certainly more to the town and former Royal Burgh called Dunfermline, and here it is, 5 awesome things to do with kids (Motherkao’s version) in Dunfermline, as experienced by us.

If you ever head there; you’re welcome.

1.  Have steak bakes at Greggs

Arguably you could say that you can find this awesome bakery all throughout the UK and you don’t really need to go to Dunfermline for it. Tis’ true that you can get your sandwich and pasties and score a £2 steak bake and coffee lunch easily anywhere anyway. But I say, it’s tastier here in Dunfermline for the reason that it is waaaayyyy colder here with summer hitting 10-14°C and having your piping hot pasty, pizza, calzone, bacon roll or bake dripping with steaming bubbling goodness for breakfast or lunch is one of the best things we ever did in Dunfermline.

Awesome hot piping bakes

And for sure, it was also tastier because we savoured hot bakes on a cold rainy summer day with family.

2. Spend a day at the Dunfermline Carnegie Library and Galleries

This spectacular £12.4million place was recently built in Dunfermline and houses a museum, exhibition galleries, local history Reading Room, new children’s library and a mezzanine café with stunning views over the landscaped garden to Dunfermline Abbey and the Heritage Quarter and features the world’s first Carnegie Library. You could easily spend a day or days here FOR FREE. We walked through the galleries again and again, learning the wonderfully rich history of the former Royal Burgh of Dunfermline, about Robert the Bruce and the history involving England and Scotland, their kings and their queens – stuff that my Literature and History classes were made of.

Museum fun: navigating our way around

The famous people of Dunfermline

Which I thoroughly loved.  I studied English Literature and History for most parts of my growing years wearing school uniform, and museums excite me.

 

Role playing was fun – costumes of kings and queens

 

View of the Dunfermline Abbey

Rainy day at the Galleries

Anyway.

The kids were made to read, listen, watch and just appreciate the immersion of being at the Library and Galleries. And since it was a rainy day that day and we didn’t fancy walking around in the rain and in the cold, we spent a good time just soaking up the quaint little town this way.

Enjoying comics from the comics shelves

Role play time

Hanging out with the Gruffalo

The Very Hungry Caterpillar read and reread

Enjoying the Children’s Section of plentiful books!

I must say the library is one of the most impressive I have seen – and that the civic mindedness everyone has towards the care of books, and the consideration of others around was truly worthy of respect.

3. No sweat at Pittencrieff Park

I have never known what it’s like to play with abandonment in midsummer day till I watched my three kids in their child-likeness embrace the swings and slides at Pittencrieff Park.

And what a joy it was capturing these smiling faces.

The sun’s shining down on us but we ain’t feeling it

So many times they asked for Dada to give them a push and they got bolder and bolder on the swings

Fun times!

Of swings and merry-go-rounds in 14°C weather – we could go on and on since the sun doesn’t set till 10.30pm in summer!

Back at home, I can’t even last beyond an hour in the park or the playground. The humidity, the mozzies and the relentless heat would usually end up killing most of the fun. And the kids would end up sweaty, grumpy and very quickly quarrelsome.

Not here in this park. Not in this weather. Not on this holiday.

We could even take time to roll on grass, lie on grass and smell the flowers.

Big thanks to Mr Andrew Carnegie who many decades ago made this park possible for the people of Dunfermline. Granduncle told us the story of Junior Carnegie not being allowed in parks as a little boy because places as fun as these were only for the rich, and that he swore he would make it big enough to make parks free for everybody.

So here we are.

4. Hello again, Dennis the Menace

I grew up a Xennial and lived a largely analogue childhood where I would watch Dennis the Menace on tv (no cable last time) and then read lots of Beano Annuals. There was also Heckle and Jeckle, and Looney Tunes and He-man and Flintstones on tv for most part of my preschool years and so you can imagine it was such a blast to the past for me stepping into Brewers Fayre at Crooked Glen at Fife Leisure Park that has a Beano-inspired indoor playground.

Having lots of fun at Brewers Fayre at Crooked Glen, Fife Leisure Park

The kids were, of course, just happy to have indoor playground time. And the husband and I were just happy to be revisiting childhood once more having dessert and sipping coffee/wine.

5. Getting on the train and enjoying the view

The view of the countryside and of coastal England from London to Edinburgh and then to Dunfermline was a breathtaking one. Gives a whole new meaning to counting sheep because plenty of sheep was what we saw. Including oxen and horses, quaint cottages and pavements lined with flowers blooming in full glory.

Train rides are made of these

…Lots of snacking

… Lots of drawing and doodling

…Chattering and reading and bonding

Beautiful views are soul food.

The beautiful sights to take in

The town of Dunfermline was beautiful and rustic and I loved it every time we got on to the car or train because the view outside the window never looked so good. So good that it recharges and refreshes the soul.

Town views

Love these houses

Dunfermline at 10.30pm

Soul food is good “food” for kids, especially city kids who are inaundated with screen time, worksheets, and schedules of tuition, swimming, enrichment and all the et ceteras. They need to learn to look out of the window, count sheep and do nothing, all while imagining and inventing a world in their imagination on road trips and train rides.

~~~

We’re missing summertime Scotland like crazy now, back in humid and hot Singapore, and wishing big time for some more wanderlust dust to be sprinkled upon us once more.

Goodbye, Dunfermline

Going Out! Happy days Holidays! The Kao Kids

London numbers

June 2, 2017

1 hour delay due to inclement weather.

13.5 hours on a full flight.

1 hour to clear customs.

15 minutes from the airport to Paddington Station.

 

Waiting for the Heathrow Express

Waiting for the Heathrow Express

London Dreaming_June 2017_Kaosgotravelling (2) - Copy

London Dreaming_June 2017_Kaosgotravelling (3) - Copy

 

 

Onboard the Heathrow Express

Onboard the Heathrow Express

Paddington!

Paddington!

6 hours hanging out with 2 grumpy, tired kids, 1 especially prone to hissy fits.

7 hours behind in local time and severely jetlagged.

2 chirpy birds up and awake, tinkering around our AirBnB apartment at 4 in the morning, local time.

1 superbly supportive and strong spouse, tirelessly making things happen, like breakfast at 5am with only 5 hours of sleep.

1 sensible child (which makes me feel very strongly that from age 8 onwards is the age to bring any child on a long trip) who has been channel grazing across 4 British home shopping channels all morning. Hurhurhur.

~~~

We are here in London, in awesome midsummer weather where the sun rises at 5am and sets at 9pm and where the Kao kids can get their fix of rolling hills and vast expanse of spaciousness and rich culture.

Where it’s also the much needed time I need to reconnect with the family and be fully present.

Hopefully, we will be returning with 5 hearts full.

 

Going Out! Happy days Holidays! The Kao Kids

UK dreamin’

May 28, 2017

child-997231_1920

There’s dirt on my shirt
And leaves in my hair
There’s mud on my boots
But I don’t really care

Playing outside is so much fun
To breathe the clean air
And feel the warm sun

To stomp in a puddle
Or climb a big tree
Makes me quite happy
Just look and you’ll see

Dirt on My Shirt by Jeff Foxworthy

 

(Self) Examination Happy days

Counting my blessings

April 4, 2017

Dear Lord,

What was on your mind when you gave me these?

KaoKids_Reminisce - Copy

These very beautiful little people. And this wonderful person who chose to marry me.

Birthday Lunch_MotherkaoApr2017 - Copy

You must be thinking of how blessed, how loved, and how happy I would be.

With these people in my life.

For 36 years of life. For having these people in it. And for everything You have given.

Birthday Cake_MotherkaoApr2017 - Copy

My heart is full.

And filled with gratitude.

Happy days

Happy Rooster Year!

February 9, 2017

Alright, no more monkeying around.

Time for a really cocky year.

This Year of Rooster marks my 3rd cycle of being a rooster, and I am wishing that this year, I will strut my stuff and be the best rooster in the Rooster Year.

Don’t want any cock ups.

Just wanna wear the rooster crown tall and proud.

May this year be one you will do the rooster strut and not cock up at all.

Happy Lunar New Year, or whatever that’s left of it!

CNY 2017 (5)

And this is how we 'bai nian'!

And this is how we ‘bai nian’!

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.

Happy days Milestones and growing up The Kao Kids

Run fun

May 30, 2016

One of the best things about the kids being at 7,6 and 4 is that they love to run these days, and wish to run with purpose.

Gone are the days where you have to stop them from running into danger (think the toddler years) and running with no idea of danger (think those years where the idea of road safety was still an obscure concept). These days my kids play tag a lot and race one another to finishing points at the playground, void deck and corridor and love the thrill of starting races.

Best time to participate in runs ever.

We’ve had tremendous fun doing the Safari Zoo Run earlier in February as a family when Nat finally turned 4, thanks to the kind invitation of HiVelocity and Wildlife Reserves. It was the first time 5 km became a reality for Becks and Nat and the second time for Ben (not counting the Hello Kitty Run in which we walked all 5 km in the rain). A while ago, late last year, we already did the OSIM Sundown with Ben in which I was super impressed by his stamina and ability to persevere at 6 years old then.

At the Singapore Zoo earlier this February to participate in the Safari Zoo Run

At the Singapore Zoo earlier this February to participate in the Safari Zoo Run

Run completed, and medals collected!

Run completed, and medals collected!

Doing a run almost always guarantees a host of life lessons the kids can experience which can never be taught in any other setting. First, it brings out the complainer in every pampered child I have; and with every run we do, we get to deal with the whining head on admist the heat, humidity and discomfort. Nothing beats telling Becks to deal with it and suck it up in a run more than anywhere else because there was nothing really anyone can do about her sweat / mosquito bite / need for water / blah blah blah except to finish the run (hurhurhur).

Second, it brings out the competitive nature of the kids – my boys, at least – and lets them show off their athletic flair and drives their desire to win and overtake. And sometimes, a run becomes an opportunity for the kids to realise that they ain’t as good as they think they are and that finishing a run is not as easy as one thinks.

Fatherkao and Ben had the opportunity to do just that – dash 800m – in the recent Cold Storage Kids Run which we were invited to. They did it in what? 6? 7? minutes and felt such a tremendous sense of accomplishment that I know Ben would remember for a long time, although I know the run also showed him that there were stronger, tougher, better 7-year-olds than him out there, and that he could have been better and faster than them.

Off to run - dad and son!

Off to run – dad and son!

Easy peasy, fun and happy, to have completed the run

Easy peasy, fun and happy, to have completed the run

This kind of healthy competition – un-said, un-verbalised and un-intended – and getting kids motivated together with a bunch of like minded people, is what I think is the best takeaway for my kids in any run organised here in Singapore.

And the reason why we would likely be participating in more since the kids are now at the age – the golden age – for any form of running.

Time to put on our running shoes this year!

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.