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All this blog's PR Stuff Product Reviews The Kao Kids

Solution to tracking after-school routines: the 3M Post-it® Super Sticky Dry Erase Surface [Review]

April 15, 2017

I need a way to keep track.

Of my kids, and what they need to do at home, that is. 

Every day, while I am busy at work, my kids would call me on my mobile (and sometimes they sound so like one another) and ask if they could watch tv / go to the playground / go downstairs to scoot / play catch at the stairwell and I have no way of checking if they have followed the routine I set for them – which includes completing their school work, doing at least 30 minutes of homelearning and packing their room and study area.

And when one says (and sometimes I need to ask: Who am I speaking to? because they sound so alike!) “I’ve done my homework!” and I say, “Ok, you can head to the playground for an hour”, it usually means that ALL THREE of them ascend into the playground madness WHETHER or not ALL THREE of them have actually finished their homework.

And because I am not physically home to ensure the home routine is followed and my helper is usually busy with other more important things like laundry and dinner prep, the Kao kids have found a way to circumvent the after-school routine which I have set by just getting the one that’s done what he/she is supposed to do to call Mama to ask for tv time or play time.

Which also leaves me with a huge headache when I come home because I would check school bags (for Ben and Becks) and find worksheets undone, spelling not learned and revision of tests/quizzes totally not part of their after-school discipline.

I’m trying to get some things automatic here – like checking school bag for homework and completing it before play. It’s a good discipline to have and keeps the school-going ones doing at least the bare minimum for consistent academic work.

All this long-windedness to say one thing: HALLELUJAH for this timely delivery!

My favourite brand sent me this lately and it was in such appropriate timing to solve my present woes. The 3M Post-it® Super Sticky Dry Erase Surface was a simple yet effective tool to help me keep track of the after-school routine.

This was how we did it:

Find an empty surface for an instant, flexible whiteboard solution - in our case, we have a wall space

Find an empty surface for an instant, flexible whiteboard solution – in our case, we have a wall space

Slowly and gently remove the backing so that the self-stick film can stick onto the wall - Nat (the shortest in the brood) needs to be the gauge for the height limit

Slowly and gently remove the backing so that the self-stick film can stick onto the wall – Nat (the shortest in the brood) needs to be the gauge for the height limit

Smoothen out bubbles with the 3M cloth provided

Smoothen out any bubbles with the 3M cloth provided

Line the borders with tape so that writing does not go beyond

Line the borders with tape so that writing does not go beyond

Remind children where the writing can start and where it must stop

Remind children where the writing can start and where it must stop

Allocate and task-check corner (I used black tape to create a table); and give instructions - every day after school check for (1) school work to be done (2) home learning revision to be done AND then put a smilely face in the box once completed

Allocate a task-check corner (I used black tape to create a table); and give instructions – every day after school check for (1) school work to be done (2) home learning revision to be done AND then put a smilely face in the box once completed

Declare the rest of the surface a doddle and practice corner. Becks immediately practises ting-xie words!

Declare the rest of the surface a doddle and practice corner. Becks immediately practises ting-xie words!

And this was how I solved my tracking problem by making it somewhat self-regulated; every school day there must be accountability for these two areas – school work and homelearning. And all by using a flexible whiteboard on an available wall space in the house.

So far, it’s been proving to be quite effective. Except I must say I am beginning to hate the marker dust bits settling everywhere and the kids have to be nagged all the time to wash their hands after every session  of scribbling on the wall.

Oh well, hopefully someday, someone invents a dust-less marker.

For now, some parts of the wall is also stained with marker stains, which is a little annoying. Although they aren’t writing on the wall, their enthusiasm when erasing things with a duster (think using broad arm strokes) sometimes cause some staining here and there at the edges.

Other than that, I am quite happy that such a sight is found daily in the evenings when the kids are winding down before going to bed:

Playing tic-tac-toe

Playing tic-tac-toe

Doodling and self-expression - notice how each kid has associated his/her favourite things by drawing them under their names

Doodling and self-expression – notice how each kid has associated his/her favourite things by drawing them under their names

…And I am happy to put up with some marker dust and a stained-markered wall in exchange for sibling moments like these.

Hopefully the self-regulated tracking doesn’t lose its momentum too!

~~~

More details:

3M introduces its first flexible whiteboard solution, the Post-it® Super Sticky Dry Erase Surface, designed to transform ordinary surfaces into instant work and collaborative spaces. Utilising a proprietary dry erase coating, the Post-it® Super Sticky Dry Erase Surface is a rolled, self-stick film product that easily adheres to horizontal or vertical surfaces, converting them into a pristine, dry erase board. It is light-weight and able to be stuck on painted dry/steel walls, finished wood, glass or existing dry erase/chalk boards. It also features a stain-proof writing surface that provides smooth writability and erasibility, and is less susceptible to scratching.

Utilising the Post-it® Super Sticky adhesive, the Post-it® Super Sticky Dry Erase Surface does not require tools for installation or wall repair after removal.

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The Post-it® Super Sticky Dry Erase Surface (60.9cm x 91.4cm) retails at $55.95 (w/ GST) and is available in selected Popular bookstores. The Post-it® Super Sticky Dry Erase Surface will retail at a special price of $39.90 (w/ GST) at the Popular Book Fest that will be happening from 2-11 Dec at Suntec City.

Disclosure: The Kao kids received this flexible whiteboard last month for the purpose of this review; no monetary compensation was received and all opinions here are our own. 

All this blog's PR Stuff Becks Kao Ben Kao Product Reviews

Getting good light wherever – Review of 3M’s LED P1610 Polarizing Task Light

March 11, 2017

Do you have this problem? You get the kids a study table and then they draw and do their work everywhere else EXCEPT at their study table.

And then you go on and custom make a pretty study area with some personalisation here and there for each kid and they continue do their everything – drawing, reading, writing – everywhere EXCEPT there.

And the study area you’ve painstakingly designed and built, with all the good lighting and proper seating, becomes just another place to dump all kinds of things.

True story.

I’ve given up on asking my kids to sit at their desks to do their work. Over the years it has been just too daunting to nag them to go there – sit down – do work. 

So I stopped, and I invited them to consider different parts of the home to do their work or to read a book. It could be at the dining table, on the floor, on the beanbag and even on the master bed, which they love to hang out at.

But I always had one serious problem: lighting.

Whenever they are everywhere, it always feels like they are casting shadows over what they are looking at.

I need a solution and I am so glad to have found it.

Enter 3M’s latest colour-change polarizing lamp, the LED P1610 Polarizing Task Light.

LED P1610 Polarizing Task Light - Copy

It’s everything I need for my kids to make everywhere a work and reading space – it’s cord is long enough to bring from where it’s plugged to where they are and it’s fully adjustable and rotational.

Best of all, the LED P1610 Polarizing Task Light is adaptable enough to function in any space at any time of the day (not just at a desk, but when the kid is on the floor, seated on the sofa, wherever!) and allows you to customize the light colour via a touch control. Offering 5 colour selections – cool white to warm white – users can adjust the colour of the lamp according to the time of day, or their mood levels.

Which means you can switch the colour of the lamp to a ‘Cool White’ in the mornings for increased alertness and change it to a ‘Warm White’ when winding down for the day.

In addition, the LED P1610 Polarizing Task Light is also an extremely versatile lighting solution. Using the same touch control, you can perform a myriad of tasks under sufficient light intensity.

More intense or detailed activities such as studying or knitting often require higher lux levels, while activities like watching the television require lower light levels. The LED P1610 Polarizing Task Light has 5 levels to choose from, with the highest providing focused illumination at 1000 lux and the lowest providing a softer glow of 200 lux.

Guide to the the LED P1610 Polarizing Task Light explained - all it takes is experimenting with two touch control buttons and one ON/OFF button to find your comfort level

Guide to the the LED P1610 Polarizing Task Light explained – all it takes is experimenting with two touch control buttons and one ON/OFF button to find your comfort level

Ben reading with warm white at 400 lux in the evening, with no room lights on - bright and comfortable enough!

Ben reading with warm white at 400 lux in the evening, with no room lights on – bright and comfortable enough!

To top off it’s versatility, the LED P1610 Polarizing Task Light is also fitted with 3M’s Polarizing Filter Technology, which consists of a 3M proprietary optical film to reduce glare by up to 80%. Such rays occur when harmful light bounces off surfaces and creates reflective light (glare), a by-product when light bounces off a glossy surface material which actually is a main cause of strain on the eyes. While most other lamps allow normal light rays comprising both comfortable and harmful light to enter, the 3M polarizing optical film – which is what 3M is really great for! – only filters comfortable light through; at the same time, it converts the harmful rays into optimal lighting which means that only optimal light reaches the eyes.

Which is great for the kids as there is minimal immediate eye strain for them and they can work more productively and safely when the light is used, improving their psychological health as well.

Becks doing her homework at night - it's great that the light cuts out the glare and there's no shadow cast on her paper

Becks doing her homework at night – it’s great that the light cuts out the glare and there’s no shadow cast on her paper

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The LED P1610 Polarizing Task Light eliminates multiple shadow with its 3M Air-Guide Technology as well

The LED P1610 Polarizing Task Light also gives free angle control. I use it to clean the kids' ears at night too!

The LED P1610 Polarizing Task Light also gives free angle control. I use it to clean the kids’ ears at night too!

By providing effective illumination, constant task work is made more comfortable and better in the long run for protecting their eyes.

It’s amazing that 3M constantly upgrades its products to allow users to achieve optimal experience, and taps on its patented technology to enhance the well-being of its users. We’re certainly beneficiaries of good technology, and it’s great that as a mom, I’ve finally found the lighting solution for my kids who love to do their constant work and reading everywhere except their study table.

It’s now ‘Go there – sit down – do work – WITH the Polarizing Light, kids!’ and when that instruction is followed, it really doesn’t matter if they are found at the study table or not.

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~~~

More details: 

The LED P1610 Polarizing Task Light retails at SGD289 (w GST), and is available in two colors – Pure White and Solid Black, at all Popular bookstores and selected Best Denki and Challenger outlets.

A good investment that goes a long way, in my opinion!

Disclosure: The Kao Kids received the LED P1610 Polarizing Task Light from 3M for the purpose of this review. No monetary compensation was received and all opinions are our own. If you’re hard and fast about kids sitting right at a table, this light has a diameter of 16 cm and uses only 7.5W. Make space for it, and it will be a worthwhile investment! 

All this blog's PR Stuff Ben Kao Going Out! Nat Kao

For learning and the love for wildlife – Safari Zoo Run 2017

February 27, 2017

This has got to be the most meaningful Zoo Run yet.

To run for wildlife conservation, and to be educated along the way (literally) – what a new twist this adds to participating in a run.

Last Saturday, the boys and I, together with their father, participated in the annual Safari Zoo Run 2017. We took part in the fun and non-competitive race – the 2.5km Family Dash – and rooted for Team Canola, with a beautiful manatee named Canola as our team leader. Hurhurhur.

SafariZooRun_KaoKids_03 - Copy

SafariZooRun_KaoKids_01 - Copy

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But what was amazing was the fact that this year’s race took on a larger than life conservation effort that involved education about 4 endangered / threatened species.

Imagine being encouraged by cute animals – aka various “team leaders” – along your race route to stop for a photo and spread their message.

SafariZooRun_KaoKids_04 - Copy

And because I had inquisitive kids, I had to educate them along the way. With help from Google of course. Explaining to them why manatees are a threatened species, why elephants are endangered, why orang utans are facing extinction, and why even the hornbills have now made it to the list.

Here were my shoutouts for Team Chawang, Team Ah Meng and Team Sunny:

And of course, for our team leader – yipeety, Ms Manatee!

Now that is how we kill two birds with one stone – join a race and get that movement fix, and participate in conservation efforts while at that.

Thank you, Wildlife Reserves Singapore, and Safari Zoo Run 2017, for having us, and educating us. Looking forward to your continued conservation efforts in the next zoo run, for sure!

SafariZooRun_KaoKids_05 - Copy

 

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Zap the fats and the double chin with LPG at Aura & Miracles [Review]

December 10, 2016

After three kids, I am resigned to the fact that I have to live with orange peels on my thighs and a flabby tummy that makes me look like I am four months preggers perpetually.

Well, in fact, after three kids, I now have issues I never used to have, which has everything to do with elasticity down south but that’s for another post on another occasion altogether. Suffice to say, I’ve paid many visits to my piles doctor this year.

For the record, I don’t hate my body – pushing three kids out is what I am proud to have done – but I do wish it could look better on some days and not having to feel like a truck’s ran over it and back.

So when my friend, Mummy Ed, shared with me how lipomassage worked for her when we met for coffee some time ago, I couldn’t wait to try it.

I’ll take anything non-invasive anytime, so this is perfect.

So to Aura & Miracles I went, hoping to find a miracle for the orange peeled skin and stubborn fats to melt into nothingness and disappear. I know nothing can replace diet and exercise but I really wouldn’t mind indulging in a quick fix or two once in a while. Some stubborn fats melting away is better than none.

aura-miracles

Aura & Miracles – how apt the name: look for Sherry or Pearl and they will show you some magic with the LPG

And there I was introduced to the LPG technology, via this ginormous machine that could so many wonderful things. Here are 3:

the-giant-rabbit

This looks like a giant rabbit to me!

1. Induce lipolysis – so it does melt the fats like butter somewhat! The roller technology targets the areas for fat burning and breaks the fats and other lipids by hydrolysis.

2.  Give you 10 hours equivalent of physical exercise – 30 minutes of lying there is equivalent to 10 hours of hard core cross training, minus the cardio bit, of course, but that’s the effect.

3. Improve blood circulation and lymphatic drainage, and smooth cellulite

Well, apparently LPG is the world leader in patented innovation when it comes to the treatment of connective tissues for therapeutic, beauty and medical applications. This treatment is also quite commonly used for sports therapy.

While I was assured I was in safe hands due to the brilliance and track record of this technology, I couldn’t wait to see what effect it has on me. The thought of #1, #2 and #3 happening sounds awesome already.

Melt, fat, melt!

So I got into a body suit, laid flat for about 35 minutes and had the LIPOMASSAGE BY ENDERMOLOGIE® pinch, suck and roll my fats around. Some parts were awfully painful (I was told by Pearl, my therapist, that the fats must have been too stubborn there) and some parts gave me the good kind of pain, like what a good deep tissue massage does. As it was my first, I was told that it would get better with every subsequent session and that would be a sign that the fat cells are getting smaller.

Yep, something like that (sorry no picture of me in a body suit that you can see) except I was flat out trying to catch some sleep

Yep, something like that (sorry no picture of me in a body suit that you can see) except I was flat out trying to catch some sleep.

Watch this video for the scientific bits of how the fats actually get broken down with this ‘giant bunny’: https://youtu.be/e7dsppIa4FQ

I was also told that I won’t drop dress sizes immediately or walk out looking like 36-24-36, so there, I had my expectations adjusted right away.

This is the area on my thigh I have the most orange peels. Nope, not going to show how they look but suffice to say, some lines out of many many lines were smoothened. So I assume they are gone?

This is the area on my thigh I have the most orange peels. I’m embarrassed to put out my peels on my very public blog but suffice to say, some lines out of many many lines were smoothened after one session.

But what I could really expect out of even a first treatment was to immediately see the water retention in my body gone, feel some smoothening on the cellulite-inflicted areas of my body and have a really good night’s rest after the treatment. Like a deep tissue massage, the lipomassage uses the technology to mechanically stimulate each cell for rejuvenation.

I don’t have awesome before and after photos to show for (sorry, not a pro beauty blogger here, and also too tired after work and massage to pose like I’m a 36-24-36), but this is what I have:

before-and-after_lipomassage_arms

Clearly the top is “before” and the bottom is “after” and you can see much of the flabbiness on my left side being pinched away just after one session.

And what I did have was a really good sleep that night (and the other night I did my 2nd treatment) and many days of feeling lighter and less flabbier. The arm is more toned, that’s for sure.

I also went back after two lipomassage sessions to try the EndermoLift™ by Endermologie® which was like a mini lipomassage for the face. The treatment apparently helps to revitalize dull, tired looking skin, reduce signs of wrinkles and stimulate collagen production. At the same time, it enhances facial metabolism, detoxifies and prepares skin for natural absorption of enriching serum and ampoules. This relaxing treatment unblocks facial lymph nodes, promotes skin renewal and enhances blood circulation.

This is how your double chins and fine lines are pinched away and your cells are rejuvenated

This is how your double chins and fine lines are pinched away and your cells are rejuvenated

It’s like a smaller version of the lipomassage technology pinching your face and neck everywhere, rolling, and sucking as it goes along every contour.

I caught a selfie of my very tired self on the left (in the dark, no less) just before the treatment and there - can you see the double chin? The one on the right is after one session of Endermolift and it's considerably more contoured

I caught a selfie of my very tired self on the left (in the dark, no less) just before the treatment and there – can you see the double chin? The one on the right is after one session of Endermolift and it’s considerably more contoured

Melt, double chin, melt.

If you’re looking for a wellness centre to experience the LPG technology and non-invasive treatments like Endermolift and Lipomassage, Aura & Miracles is the place to visit (402 Orchard Road, Delfi Orchard, #05-13 Singapore 238876 | Tel: 6333 8707).

The therapists are well trained in the LPG technology, and know exactly how to manoeuvre it to target specific areas of fats and cellulite that are exercise-resistant and diet-resistant (yep, apparently some fat cells are such!). They also provide you with a comprehensive assessment of your body and educate you about the technology before commencing treatment, something I appreciate very much.

And just for Motherkao readers, Aura & Miracles has kindly extended a special offer for anyone interested to trial the technology!

Quote “Motherkao” or “Elizabeth from Motherkao Blog” and try any treatment for SGD 68 (U.P $88) for the first time.

  • If you wish to take up a package for the lipomassage to do it regularly, you can get a 10% off the package price of $2500 and enjoy two additional complimentary sessions (total 12 sessions).
  • If you’d like to take up a package for Endermolift face treatment, you can get a 10% off the package price of $2000 and enjoy two additional complimentary sessions (total 12 sessions)

Disclosure: I was invited by Aura & Miracles to try out 2 lipomassage sessions and 1 Endermolift face treatment for the purpose of this review. All opinions, as well as the actual outcomes here are my own. It will differ from yours because your body is yours and my body is mine. Simple logic, I know, but please don’t hold me responsible for any outcomes, intended or unintended. You should just go try out one session for yourself! and who knows – your fats may melt faster than mine! Good luck!

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

Safari Zoo Run 2017: 3 more days to sign up + discount code to do so!

December 6, 2016

We’ve always loved the zoo, zoo, zoo; how about you, you, you?

You can love it too, too, too.

Let’s all love the zoo, zoo, zoo.

Sorry, can’t help myself doing a little boogie dance here when I think about my family’s love affair with the Singapore Zoo.

Did you know that our award-winning Singapore Zoo is something all of us can be proud of? I’m proud of the fact that it is committed to wildlife conservation and conservation research, and that every cent I spend there goes to supporting the efforts to keep the conservation spirit going.

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 orangutan, who died of old age in February 2008, as well as to encourage family bonding, and next year’s Zoo Run is going to get more exciting with the theme “Run for Wildlife”, focusing on raising awareness for wildlife conservation.

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The Zoo Run will feature 4 animal icons in the form of Team ‘Ah Meng the Orangutan’, Team ‘Chawang the Asian Elephant’, Team ‘Canola the Manatee’ and Team ‘Sunny the Hornbill’. You’ll get to do your part for wildlife by choosing an animal team to support and help raise awareness for them.

Join a team and run for wildlife today – because we’ll certainly be doing likewise like we did this year, probably in the non-competitive category! I very much anticipate the Kao kids wanting Team Canola bad (hurhurhur, manatees cutiesssss!) but I may be wrong (I haven’t told the kids yet!).

We’ll be revealing our animal team at next year’s run, so see you on 18 February 2017!

More details

Run for Wildlife Safari Zoo Run is happening next year on 18 Feb 2017 (Saturday) – get more details on race categories, fees and age limits for kids here.

The Early Bird Rate for registration ends on 9 Dec (2359 hours), and the organisers tell me that they’re giving a unique discount code to enjoy 10% off prevailing rates when you register from now till 15 Jan 2017.

Use SZR2017BGPMOTHERKAO10 when you register to get your discount!

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.

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‘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?

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…

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

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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.

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

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

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Step 3: Mash kiwi of the yellow kind

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Step 4: Mix all ingredients 

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

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Step 6: Put them all in a Mission Foods wrap 

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Step 7: Enjoy

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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~~~

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.