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

Gentleness and goodness in a bottle [Review of Alobaby]

August 10, 2017

We’ve been taking something along with us for a while now, every time we head outdoors.

It’s easy to use (just spray!), comes completely DEET-free, and protects our skin from the sun (at SPF 15). It repels insects, is made from natural ingredients and is additive-, synthetic perfume- and colouring-FREE. It is also specifically created for delicate skin (that of a baby’s).

It’s a new brand on the block called ALOBABY.

And for sensitive skin like mine, and my kids’, we are so glad that a product so, so pure like this has finally been created. I was spraying it like crazy that weekend sitting around watching my kids swim. It was also subsequently on hiss mode covering my kids during their tennis practices and weekend pool fun times. My pet peeve has always been that most insect repellents and sunscreens give us an icki-ness I can’t stand, and usually if we want many things like hydration, protection from mozzie bites and prevention from sunburns, we have to slather a slew of separate products like how we marinate meat before we bbq them.

And because the Alobaby Outdoor Spray is so pure and natural, it really doesn’t matter how often we use it and for what we use it, we just ANYHOW spray also can  – it feels refreshing and is extremely effective.

They also have an extensive range of products from moisturising care and baby bottom cream to massaging oil and UV lotions.

There’s comfort and safety in natural ingredients, and it really doesn’t matter if my babies aren’t so anymore – products like these give me a peace of mind even then, for sure!

Good things must share, and we’re doing a GIVEAWAY, yay!

Alobaby is giving away 2 sets of the products of their UV & Outdoor Mist (retailing at SGD35) and Outdoor Spray (retailing at SGD25) to 2 Motherkao readers.

Just launch the Rafflecopter app here for a chance to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway ends 16 August 2017!

Disclosure: We share only what we love, and we’re loving our complimentary Outdoor Spray from Alobaby. All opinions here are our own and no monetary compensation was received for this post.

 

 

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

Making it personal this Teacher’s Day with Bright Star Kids

August 4, 2017

As a teacher, on that one very special day I am celebrated, thanked and honoured, I always loved the gifts that had a personal touch. Red pens are nice, chocolates are nice and flowers are definitely welcome but the students that prepared gifts with a little more thought – like a picture of me taken in secret (yes, I have had that – those sneaky people took pics of me in my most dramatic), or something with my name on it (like a personalised card or mug) – warmed my heart a tad more on Teacher’s Day.

Would so totally be nice if I got something like that for Teacher’s Day (source)

I confess: I haven’t been thinking like a teacher when it comes to gifts to buy for my children’s teachers for Teacher’s Day.

We have been giving chocolates and red pens.

So terrible, and lazy, I know.

I do tell my kids to make personalised cards but that really is about it.

This year, I resolve to be a little more thoughtful. The older two are in primary school now, and we have had the privilege of having two very caring form teachers in our kids’ school life. Ben has the same form teacher and Chinese teacher for two years now, because most P1 teachers follow their classes up to P2, and they have been awesome in nagging encouraging him with their positive affirming words to display exemplary conduct and demonstrate focus in his endeavours. Thank God for MORE people who would nag guide him like this.

Becks had a rough start to school mainly because we’ve discovered that she might have some learning difficulties that require remediation and intervention (I’ll share more in another post when I am ready), and her form teacher has been the most supportive and kindest person anyone can be to a lost 7-year-old who’s still transitioning from preschool to primary school. The local education system punishes late bloomers harshly (and I have no qualms saying this as an educator and mother of 3 who’s been born and bred in this system herself) and her teacher’s nurturing ways are a gentle reprieve from the cruel realities of KPIs and academic outcomes.

I digress. Point is: I’d better spend more thought to show my gratitude to my kids’ teachers this Teacher’s Day.

And so I did with Bright Star Kids. They do the most gorgeous personalised gifts from lunch bags and rompers to stickers and mugs, and I so had to ink my kids’ teachers’ names on these canvas totes bags that come with an inspiring quote to encourage them every day. Teachers carry a lot of things to class, from marked worksheets and resource guides to whiteboard markers and water bottles and these tote bags make a practical gift for any school teacher. Besides, if it’s forgotten and left at some corner of the school, it’ll be picked up and returned easily because the teacher’s name is on the bag.

Thoughtful enough, for sure!

And here you have it, my little girl parading with the bags customised for her teachers. Ben says he wouldn’t do anything cheesy like that, it’s already embarrassing enough I am making him bring the bags to school next month. Hurhurhur. My wimpy kid and his half grown up mind.

One for the form teacher

One for the Mother Tongue teacher

Imagining how her teacher will look when she gets it

Yea, probably a happier face would be more like it, girl!

More details:

Shop for customised gifts for your kids’s teachers here at Bright Star Kids (still got time!) and use the discount code ‘TEACHER’ to  check out. You get 30% off with that code for a $30 minimum spend on all gifts. Pretty good deal and impetus to start shopping and making your gifts more personal, this Teacher’s Day!

Disclosure: Bright Star Kids reached out to us probably already guessing what a lazy mom I have been and offered to sponsor my kids’ Teacher’s Day gifts for the purpose of this review. All opinions here on what I would love to get as a teacher are my own. But I think I speak for most teachers lah.

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

The earth laughs in flowers, so did my team that day – ft. A Better Florist

July 25, 2017

Who wouldn’t like flowers when they come wrapped up nicely in a bunch and delivered to your doorstep? I don’t think there would be anyone who would protest.

Just look at these faces.

Meet my lovely team (one missing from the picture though) – the ones that I work with daily and the ones whom Trehaus depends on for everything to run smoothly.

The lovely gerbera bouquets were couriered by hand to these lovely ladies from A Better Florist.

These folks make it so easy to send love; all that was needed was an email, an address to send to, and a message on each card that read:

“May you be proud of the work you do, the person you are and the difference you make.”

And in a jiffy, the flowers arrived at the timing I wanted, for the people they were for. And I am so glad these blooms made their day!

If you’d like these blooms to make someone’s day too, use the discount code “MOTHERKAO20” when checking out on their website to get a 20% discount.

Disclosure: A Better Florist sent these flowers in exchange for this post; no monetary compensation was received. These folks believe that sending and receiving flowers should be easy, affordable and beautiful, and that every reason is the perfect reason to send out flowers. Well said!

Product Reviews

Spying with my ‘little’ eye – Fatherkao’s review of the D-Link DCS-936L HD wi-fi camera + a completely easy to set up guide

July 18, 2017
[Guest post – review by Fatherkao]

I’ve never thought of installing cameras at home. Until I got kids.

Suddenly, I was scrambling around looking for options, exploring the different types of CCTVs, Internet Protocol (IP) cameras and similar options at baby shows and IT shows and trying to memorize all the specifications as if they meant something. Truth be told, all those wonderful specifications of different cameras meant nothing because I did not understand a single thing. Who could tell the difference between a centralized IP and a decentralized IP camera system? Say what? I just needed something simple to set up and something that worked so I could check on my kids often.

In the end, I settled for a video baby monitor which gave me a limited range of a room in their early years. Towards their toddler years, a baby monitor was no longer good enough so a friend lent me his IP camera to try out but the setting up was really frustrating. Not to mention the available support for mobile apps was so limited. It was a total nightmare and I eventually gave up.

I was glad when the folks at D-Link sent us a D-Link DCS-936L HD wi-fi camera to review so I can see how much things have or have not changed since my last contact with an IP camera.

It changed my mind about IP cameras and I can now declare that technology has evolved!

Cameras are now getting better. The DCS-936L HD wi-fi camera has great features which users will appreciate and the best part is its quick and simple set up steps.

It’s also compact, sleek, extremely unobtrusive (not clunky or ugly) and very easy to position anywhere in the house.

The DSC-936L camera features a wide-angle lens which covers a 120° view angle (no panning required!) and the live 720p (1280 × 720) HD video during the day or night is sharp. The camera can be rotated to suit your preferred viewing angle and the video quality is excellent while the built-in microphone captures audio rather well.

I placed it just beside my fish tank to test out the audio and I could hear the faint burbling sounds of water quite clearly. Combined with the good live video quality, it was like those fish aquarium screensavers we used to have on our desktops! However, I do find the night vision mode overly sensitive on auto mode. You will also need to get used to the clicking sound every time it switches mode.

You can take great stills directly with mydlink phone app and store them on your phone or you can connect the camera to your D-Link network-attached storage (NAS) and store the stills and videos there. For me, I’m using both mydlink phone app and NAS.

There is also a MicroSD slot which can house a 128GB card. This means you can have up to 72 hours of continuous recording and much more based on where the camera is located. The camera features both motion and sound detection so you can always be assured of the responsive recording.

You can also adjust the sensitivity level for both motion and sound detection when the camera is set up.

The sound detection sensitivity level can be adjusted based on real-time information from the camera. This makes it very easy for users to adjust the detection level based on the ambient noise in the placed location.

For more technical specifications, you can refer to them here.

The box set comes with the camera, the power adaptor, 2 mounting screws, a Quick Installation guide and a Quick Install card.

The setting up of the camera caught me completely by surprise. It was so easy that I resisted the greatest impulse to run out and buy some more cameras to outfit my entire house. The Quick Install card is a must as it contains all the important information you will need to set up the camera. You will need to register a mydlink account using the mydlink Lite mobile app or on the mydlink website. Once you have successfully registered an account with mydlink, you can set up the camera with the following steps:

  1. Select “Remote” and not “Local”.
  2. Scan the QR code found in the Quick Install card after you click “Add a New Camera”.
  3. The app will locate the camera and a notification that the camera is connected will show at the bottom of the phone.
  4. Select the home wi-fi network for the camera to connect to. (I did not use the WPS function on the router as I was not sure what it would do.)
  5. Key in the camera wi-fi password found in the Quick Install card.
  6. It will then link the camera to your ‘mydlink’ account.

And it’s done.

Configure the camera to your heart’s content.

Fatherkao’s Verdict:

The D-Link DCS-936L HD wi-fi camera has certainly changed my mind about the ease of setting up an IP camera. The camera is packed with features and style which users would appreciate. And every noob would definitely love the plug and play features; you don’t have to know much technicalities to install one, for sure.

I have found this camera to be very reliable with no disconnectivity or over-heating issues and would definitely trust this little camera to spy on my children.

Disclosure: D-Link sent across this camera for the purpose of the review. All opinions here are our own, and we only share what we think, in utmost honesty!

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

Worry-free luxury for a holiday – Review of Original Sprout (again)

July 6, 2017

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When you tell me that a brand believes in an ethical philosophy of promoting an environmentally-friendly lifestyle, I am definitely one happy user. I love sustainable brands and products.

And I want my children to love them and make supporting them part of their lifestyle when they start making consumer decisions as they get older.

Which is why while on our UK holiday last month, the kids got to enjoy their baths and the best skincare with Original Sprout. We were acquainted with the brand when the Kao kids were younger (we fell in love with the Miracle Detangler, and have been using it ever since) and now it was only befitting that I would lug the Original Sprout Natural Shampoo, Deep Conditioner, Miracle Detangler, Scrumptious Baby Cream and Hair & Body Babywash all the way to London and Scotland where the weather was colder, the air was drier and worry-free luxury in baths (and post bath, for skincare) was what the entire family could benefit greatly from while away from home.

Enjoying daily bubble baths with the Babywash in the tubs in our AirBnB apartment

Enjoying daily bubble baths with the Babywash in the tub in our AirBnB apartment

Becks using the Miracle Detangler religiously every morning and after every bath

Becks using the Miracle Detangler religiously every morning and after every bath

For effortless combing

For effortless combing

Applying to dry skin - our skin wasn't too used to the harsher water and colder weather, especially when we were in Scotland

Applying to dry skin – our skin wasn’t too used to the harsher water and colder weather, especially when we were in Scotland

I love it that Original Sprout was the brainchild of a mom who loved her daughter so much she had to create a product that could effortlessly detangle her daughter’s hair, and that it’s a brand that believes in utilising ingredients that are free from synthetic hormone disruptor, oestrogen disrupting ingredients, sulphate and parabens.

I have to say if you have a daughter with long hair or thick hair or tough curls, this Detangler (definitely Original Sprout’s bestseller) works instant magic. I never needed to go through another day where I have to hear Becks scream ‘ouch’ whenever I comb her hair, or when she tries to work through the hair on her own, even though she already has pretty fine hair to begin with since this Miracle Detangler came into our lives.

Happy to share that Original Sprout is back, and is now available at Watsons, Guardian, Kiddy Palace, Motherswork and 1010 Mothers & Child Essentials. Alternatively, you can purchase Original Sprout online on at www.originalsprout.com.sg.

Happy to have lugged them all in our luggage last holiday and pampered ourselves with worry-free luxury.

~~~

Disclosure: We are users of Original Sprout since we did a review for the brand when it first launched in SG back in March 2014. Original Sprout sponsored the products we packed in our luggage and all opinions here are our own. Unless we love it, we won’t share it. We’ve loved it since the day we used their products!

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

Eyewear coolness. Because vain. – Review of Ottica.com

June 24, 2017

Just like you never say no to one more bag or a pair of shoes, you never say no to one more pair of sunglasses.

Because?

Because vain.

I recently had the opportunity to find my perfect pair on Ottica.com, and by golly, the perfect pair I did find. All in the comfort of my home, in front of a screen, without having to take off, put on that trial pair of sunglasses – and repeat a hundred times – to find what fits my face.

It was online shopping at its best! So stoked that technology has made that all happened.

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All I needed to do was to go to Ottica.com, and start browsing each tab.

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I went to Sunglasses, then to Gender, selected Female, and then a whole new world of choices opened up from colours, to shape to frame size.

You can choose to see what's most relevant for you from size and shape to colour and brands

You can choose to see what’s most relevant for you from size and shape to colour and brands

I keyed in my frame size, following the current pair of sunglasses I have with the best fit, and then the search was filtered further. When I clicked on any choice of sunglasses, a section on the right allowed me to upload my own photo to see how I looked.

You can key in your frame size by looking in the insides of your current frame that fits best

You can key in your frame size by looking in the insides of your current frame that fits best

Uploading a profile picture

Uploading a profile picture

And then, SHOPPING BEGAN!

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I tried my Raybans, I put on Tory Burch and Michael Kors and fitted Carolino Lemke and Versace cat glasses just for the fun of it. I got snapshots of myself in aviators, with round rims and oval ones and got the kids to do a poll for me.

I could even get an overview of what I tried, just to do more comparisons.

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All very good fun.

When I finally narrowed my selection to getting sunglasses from Coach, I could further choose between brown and black lens, rotate the sunglasses frame to see what I get on the sides and how it looked.

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And then, it was down to these three in black lens – with frames different – which was then put to a vote by the kids.

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You can imagine how long this process took. But at least I got to “try” every possible choice possible. Without needing to put on/take off like a gazillion times, which I imagine would be laborious and might likely result in me making decisions in a haste, if I were in a physical shop!

When it was time to check out, all I needed to do was to choose the type of lens type and thickness I’d like to have, and then check out through the payment link after keying in my shipping address.

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Fuss-free, easy, convenient at my finger tips.

I loved that I had FULL control of what I am getting, and I probably will never buy sunglasses any other way again; or glasses for that matter of fact, since Ottica also provides for prescription.

I got the sunglasses in a matter of days – I think it was less than a week – and wala, it’s been lovely having it for company while I was on holiday.

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Chic, cool and chosen by my kids.

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All in the name of vanity.

~~~

Disclosure: I was gifted credits to experiment and review this website by Ottica.com. All opinions here are my own. I’ve been looking for a website like this for the longest time and this is a timely collaboration opportunity for a time-starved mother like me!

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

Add surprise to your shopping – Lazada GSS Sale: 3 more days to go!

June 3, 2017

I’ve been a mother for the last 8 years which also means one thing: I’ve been shopping online mostly for the past 8 years too. It’s amazing, the amount of browsing and “screen” shopping I do while tucking the kids in bed.

I’m super thrilled to learn that Lazada Singapore is having one of our biggest sales of the year in June and to celebrate the annual Great Singapore Sale, they’ll be bringing back the “Surprise Boxes” which received overwhelming response during their Birthday Sale earlier in March.

I got my firsthand experience receiving the Lazada x Beautiful Me Mum & Bubs Box lately, and by golly.

It was a surprise, alright; it was a huge one!

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Each surprise box consists of a range of exciting products from brands such as Maybelline, Logitech, Laneige, Blackmores, Philips Avent, Nescafe Dolce Gusto, Sennheiser and Nature Republic, just to name a few. Each box is customised to who you are and your choice of preferred lifestyle, so to speak – are you a health and beauty junkie? a gaming couch potato? a techie? a parent with young bubs? – and features a specific category of products.

No surprises here, what my choice of category was.

And my little reviewers picked and chose what they like from the nine items we received from the “Surprise Box”.  Love it how they have a mind of their own now, and are helping me to partially reveal what you’ll get in a Lazada x Beautiful Mums & Bub Box.

Aveeno Baby Lightly Scented Natural Oat Extract Wash & Shampoo

So the little girl loves anything that would prettify her. She picked the Aveeno Baby Wash & Shampoo that’s soap-free, tear-free, paraben-free and allergy-tested. She lathered it on her hair and skin for a gentle wash and came out smelling fresh and fragrant, like any girl who loves a good bath and hair wash would.

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Loved it that a brand like this cares for sensitive skin. First time hearing of Aveeno Baby, though definitely not the last if I can be ordering it from Lazada.

Blackmores Kids Fruity Fishies

Fish oil is something I can never get my kids to eat. They say they hate the aftertaste if they burped.

The packaging with the cute fishy face and the capsules in the bottle looking like cherry tomatoes managed to convince Nat to take it on as its reviewer.

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Well, he was a little apprehensive at first, when I told him something’s gonna burst in his mouth, and had to calm his own nervousness with his fidget spinner (hurhurhur). But as soon as the burstable capsule released some orange-raspberry flavour, he was all smiles and said it was yummy. Yay!

Studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids are essential for healthy development in children but too many kids these days don’t eat enough fish to get sufficient omega-3s from their diet (tell me about it – fish is expensive here ok). One burstable capsule contains 500mg of  concentrated omega-3 triglycerides-fish oil, and is naturally-flavoured and tooth-friendly,

Happy to be giving one to every kid since it’s passed the test of taste with the youngest!

Bioglan Kids Smart Vita Gummies

I make the kids eat elderberry supplements often but I never knew this was available in the market as a gummy. Black elderberry is an excellent immunity booster and the kids have been taking them in chewable tablet form every time I sense a cough and cold coming.

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This was much loved by everyone – who wouldn’t like chewy gummies that would pack a punch of zinc, vitamin C and elderberry juice?

The kids wouldn’t be saying no, for sure, and they loved it that the Bioglan elderberry gummies were found in the “Surprise Box”.

~~~

With participation from so many awesome brands, there’s bound to be a “Surprise Box” tailored for everyone. We hear that this GSS, there’ll be flash deals every 2 hours and items going for up to 90% off. If you’re a mum with bubs like me, you can go straight for the Mum & Bubs box, and go find out what else awaits you besides what we’ve revealed. I’m sure the health & beauty or gaming or home & living boxes wouldn’t disappoint too in terms of surprises, and you can definitely look forward to shopping with a twist this GSS from 6 – 8 June 2017 for your surprise boxes!

Gonna be upfront here too, to suggest that you use my affiliate link so I can get some good stuff from Lazada too, heh. And if you’d like more discounts, check out with this voucher code*: GSSLIZ18  so you can get more for less!

Happy shopping, this GSS!

~~~

More details:

During the GSS, each Lazada Surprise Box consists of items worth a minimum of $100 and goes for $29 nett. The voucher code GSS LIZ18 is applicable from 6th to 8th June for new customers, 18% off capped at $8 with no minimum spend required.

Disclosure: We’ve been invited onboard the Lazada Affiliate Programme, and received this box courtesy from Lazada Singapore. No monetary compensation was received and all reviews done by the Kao kids are feature our own honest opinions. 

 

Ben Kao Milestones and growing up Reviews

Going the Ortho-K way (Part 2)

May 6, 2017

It’s been two weeks since Ben started putting on his Ortho-k lenses. I shared in Part 1 why we decided to make that his choice of visual aid, and how we got him started by first taking him to Aero-V for a check up and subsequently getting his lenses customised.

So when we were informed that his custom made lenses arrived from the States, we headed down for a one-hour session at Aero-V with Brian to get Ben acquainted with his new visual aid to wear to sleep at night.

Now, for a noob to contact lenses, this may all be extremely overwhelming. Sticking something into your eye, and sticking hard lens (RGP lens, or rigid gas permeable, to be precise) that would make your eye feel uncomfortable for a few days till your eyes get used to it, would certainly be something that any child would feel jittery about.

But Ben’s mom was NO stranger at all to these things, having worn all possible kinds of contact lenses from soft to toric and RGP, and so I guess my familiarity – and that it wasn’t really THAT big a deal or anything to be afraid of – was something that my son could latch on quickly to to find comfort. I guess it helps that I had been a confident contact lens wearer for a good 14 years, and my don’t-worry-you’ll-be-fine attitude helped calm Ben significantly.

But of course, he was still a little apprehensive. Who wouldn’t?

Learning a new habit isn’t always easy. Ben still had to learn to put his Ortho-k on and take them out himself.

 

Getting acquainted with his lens - learning that the most important thing is CLEAN HANDS

Getting acquainted with his lens – learning that the most important thing is CLEAN HANDS

Putting it on -right side first always - with the help of a mirror and looking down, keeping eyes wide open at ALL TIMES

Putting it on -right side first always – with the help of a mirror and looking down, keeping eyes wide open at ALL TIMES

The technique of keeing one's eye wide open is to use the left hand to keep upper eye lid open wide up to the bone of the eye brow, and pulling the lower eye lid down with the right middle finger. Lens to be put on the right index.

The technique of keeing one’s eye wide open is to use the left hand to keep upper eye lid open wide up to the bone of the eye brow, and pulling the lower eye lid down with the right middle finger. Lens to be put on the right index.

DONE!

DONE!

And now the left. Never forget putting a drop of eye drops before wearing it to keep eyes lubricated while asleep

And now the left. Never forget putting a drop of eye drops before wearing it to keep eyes lubricated while asleep

Learning how keep the left eye open to put the left lens in quickly

Learning how keep the left eye open to put the left lens in quickly

After taking them off, and trying on his full degree spectacles for fit and comfort. This pair of spectacles is to stand by for days he wouldn't be able to put on his Ortho-k, like if he falls ill or goes for camps

After taking them off, and trying on his full degree spectacles for fit and comfort. This pair of spectacles is to stand by for days he wouldn’t be able to put on his Ortho-k, like if he falls ill or goes for camps

And of course, for a 8-year-old, it was daunting. Especially taking them out.

To ease his fear of squeezing his eye lids, we opted to use the little suction pump for removal, and vowed to have enough of these little pumps so we would never be found in a situation where can’t take the lens out (true story that happened to me when I wore RGP in my teen years).

The fitting and training session went well, and Ben got a little gift box – which Brian thoughtfully prepared – to bring home. The entire package with Aero-V to make his Ortho-k lense included the following:

Service at its best!

Service at its best!

  1. Ortho-k lens, custom-made
  2. a starter kit for lens cleaning
  3. a bottle of saline
  4. suction pump to remove the lens and Blink eye drops
  5. a mirror with back light
  6. a box and white cloth (more on that later, on the brilliance of simple things)
  7. two pairs of spectacles – one made to Ben’s full degree, and one with his power halved
  8. one year warranty for lens
  9. one year follow-up
  10. 24/7 access to the optometrist by email or whatsapp (how awesome, if we had any questions!)

How brilliant is the idea to do all the saline rinse over the transparent container box, and putting on the lens over a piece of white cloth. Why didn’t I think of that, in the past? Many a lens could have been saved from digging them out of the sink hole and bending on all fours to locate a missing lens with the feel of a finger.

Could.have.been.more.innovative.last.time.

I am happy to report that for two weeks now, the Ortho-k wearing has been a great success. Ben’s mother has been helping him put on and take off his Ortho-k for him religiously every night, and on two occasions where I came home late and he had no confidence to wear them on his own, he only needed to put on his half degree spectacles in the later part of the day.

But if he was on his Ortho-k in the night, he always managed to sleep well with zero discomfort and absolutely no eye-rubbing (he wears an eye mask to sleep) and woke up to perfect vision every morning after the lenses were taken off.

This has been the best thing for him so far, and I know my boy is loving the freedom of not having to wear his spectacles. I know he relishes in this freedom because I watched his grump level increase tremendously when I forced him to wear his half degree spectacles on those two occasions I didn’t manage to help him put his Ortho-k on to sleep.

Just compare this face…

Ben in his half degree

Ben in his half degree

With this contented one…

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Mom’s definitely the more tired one, no thanks to needing to wake up when he wakes, and putting them on for him before he sleeps, and doing all the lens cleaning in between on his behalf. But thankfully, the boy has promised to step up his game next year to try to do this by himself! His freedom to swim, read, play and do sports with perfect vision every day (ever since that dreadful eye test result) without the need for any visual aid makes this mother’s efforts all worth it.

YAY TO NO-SPECKY BOY!

Disclosure: I didn’t get engaged by Aero-V to share this, but I am definitely recommending Brian and his impeccable service and professionalism if you’re seeking for an Ortho-K expert to advice you. All opinions here are my own.

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. 

Ben Kao Milestones and growing up Reviews

Going the Ortho-K way (Part I)

April 5, 2017

So I last posted in January that I was super bummed that myopia and astigmatism had finally hit my firstborn (ugh, sneaky thing), which started me on my quest to gather research about childhood myopia and how to control it.

There’s tons of literature out there about myopia being acquired and/or inherited and most research shows that it’s a combination of both genes and environmental factors that lead to bad eyesight. And if genes has a part to blame, then I am indeed worried. Because growing up, I had severe myopia and astigmatism. The type that inconveniences your life. Like not being able to even see your toes when you shower. And the last thing I want to witness in my kid is him going through the anguish I did: my myopia and astigmatism rose rapidly every half a year starting from age 7 and there was nothing I could do to stop it from deteriorating. And with every passing year, I would be in spectacles half an inch thicker than before, and this was the narrative of my sad story of the long drawn battle against myopia from age 7 all the way to age 23.

Which sucked. Big time.

Anyway. With this excruciatingly crappy experience with poor eyesight (until the beautiful five-letter word made my world), I was determined NOT to let it hinder the joys of growing up for Ben. Imagine being knock out of your glasses in a ball game, losing your spectacles when your canoe overturns, and having someone step on your glasses, breaking it so bad you got to tape your specs and wear them to school to the amusement of all your classmates, AND the worst of all, being chosen as a flower girl and having to put on those horrible looking speckys and having the photographs of you looking like NERD stick in your head for forever – those were terrible growing up years having to live and depend on spectacles.

Which then led me to my research on Ortho-K.

Which also made me scream at my mom (I am, unfortunately, 29 years late) when I found out that this could have and would have been my way to seeing better as a child.

Mom, if you had taken a stab with this then, I would really have been much better off and not be as blind as a bat. Even my dreams were blurry growing up. Just sayin’.

Orthokeratology, or Ortho-k, is the fitting of specially designed gas permeable contact lenses that one wears to sleep overnight. While you are asleep, the lenses gently reshape the front surface of your eye (cornea) so you can see clearly the following day after you remove the lenses when you wake up.

This article calls it ‘braces for the eyes‘.

I wasn’t sure if it was an option for Ben who loves to rub his eyes and if it would be a huge hassle at waking time for a child who gets ready for the school bus with his eyes closed all in 5 minutes. Until I spoke with three of my cousins who were on it for close to 20 years now, and found out how it has liberated them, made life convenient for them and kept their myopia under control all these years. Nothing deteriorated since the day they put on their first pair of Ortho-K lenses to sleep, and in fact they could now (as young adults) go for 4-5 days without it before power came back.

Sounds like something I want Ben to go through.

I was recommended to both Issacs-Optom (one of the pioneers in Ortho-K, here in Singapore – this is also where my cousins go) and AeroV, the latter being highly recommended by Mumseword whose kid is also on Ortho-K lenses. I was assured that Brian from AeroV would really make sure everything – from custom fitting to checking and following up – would be done smoothly, and so we’ve been there for two appointments already.

 

Eye examination to assess for clarity of sight

Eye examination to assess for clarity of sight

Getting his power determined

Getting his power determined

His eye was a little swollen due to rubbing, so we had to go back again. That's the reason why we had two checks.

His eye was a little swollen due to rubbing that day, so we had to go back again. That’s the reason why we had two checks.

Ben_OrthoK_AeroV (3) - Copy

Measuring his cornea

Checking the health of his cornea

Checking the health of his cornea

Ben’s Ortho-K lenses has been ordered last night, and it was like a stone off my chest.

I can breathe now, because the checks have been done twice and custom fitting for the lenses was checked and double checked, and all that’s left to do is to introduce a new sleep time and wake time routine when the lenses arrive and he is pretty much set to get his myopia corrected AND controlled at the same time.

Of course, the hole in the pocket is bigger than if he were just to make glasses but we’re certain that this is really what we want for him: a spectacle-free childhood, and the freedom to see without hassle.