I am quite possibly the only person from both sides of our families and among our friends who is the most “enthu” (enthusiastic) about the National Day Parades. Wear red? No problem! Wave a flag? I’ll wave TWO! Sing the songs? If I know the words, heck yeah! I’ll probably scream out the words if I can. Nobody can shout “Chan Mali Chan Oi Oi” better than me ok? If I don’t know the words, just fake it with some realistic mumbling lah! Nobody would be the wiser!
We got to watch the NDP 2016 Preview 2 last Saturday (30 July 2016) and I was super excited that it was going to be at the stadium. I have attended a preview at the old stadium with my mum many years ago and it was awesome. I was sure it would be just as fabulous this year. I even excitedly told my husband “Got aircon inside you know! No need to use our battery operated fans!”
However, there had been so much talk about this year’s NDP at the National Stadium (The Singapore Sports Hub) and most of them not very positive.
The common complaints I read online:
My favourite Red Lions will not be dropping into the National Stadium because of safety issues.
No mobile column aka military vehicles and the aerial displays. Bimbo confession: I thought they were talking about some movable structure. *twirls hair* Haha!
Cannot see the fly past with the gigantic national flag from inside the stadium.
Cannot see the grand external fireworks from inside the stadium.
The tok gong retractable roof cannot be retracted during the parade.
At first I thought, “Har? No Red Lions? No big big flag? No way!!” These are iconic elements of past parades and I enjoyed ooohing and aahhing for the brave jumpers. I grumbled a bit and then I stopped to think for a bit. Actually change a bit is ok mah. Why is everybody so stuck on the old programme format? Must we always see the same things during every NDP? You not sian one meh? 往事只能回味 ok?
We’ve had the Red Lions dropping in to say hi since 1989. Not seeing them for 1 year is ok right? It won’t make me love them brave (male and female) jumpers any less. They so stylo like Top Gun! *girlie scream*
Weren’t the mobile column supposed to only happen once every 5 years? Last year already have right?
Technically, we can still see the fly past but it’s on the big screen. During the national anthem, 6 huge national flags were unfurled and raised by the audience at the seating gallery. The symbolism gave me many feels and good goosebumps.
Technically can see the external fireworks through the small opening and on the LCD screens all around us. There were some indoor fireworks too. Yvie was super excited about those and kept screaming to me “WOOK MUMMY! PIREWORKS! PIREWORKS!!” The kid’s screams were louder than the fireworks and it probably shocked the lady in front of her more than the fireworks themselves. Haha! You know ah, if you bear to leave the show early, you can see the fireworks very clearly outside of the stadium.
There were equipment hanging off the ceiling so how to retract leh you tell me? This roof is not like your VW convertible’s roof leh, you cannot happy happy anytime want to open close can open close leh. Besides, the stadium got aircon. Your mother never tell you cannot open the windows when you have the aircon on because it will leak out meh? Ok, not the same.
The Husband helping Xander during the segment when the audience had to sign the words to “Count on Me Singapore”.
Learn from the video here. Didn’t know they have the video online until I saw Sengkang Babies’ post the other day. Thanks ah Andy!
The post show madness was expected. The Stadium MRT station was so full, we couldn’t get anywhere near it. There were (I am assuming here) NS guys sitting in the middle of nowhere on what looked like umpire’s chairs with loudhailers, trying to keep the spectators updated about the MRT station situation and even tried to entertained them by asking some questions and getting folks to do some practise cheers. Needless to say Kallang Wave Mall was full house too. Be prepared to either leave the show very very early so you can catch the train home peacefully, pack some light dinner to munch during the show (food is also available for purchase at inside the stadium if you feel lazy to bring any) or take your time and linger around until the madness subsides.
My photos are limited because my phone camera is so frustratingly lao ya and I shouldn’t give away too many spoilers for those who are going to watch it on the actual day. We enjoyed the show and I think if you go with an open mind and no expectations, you would too. Give the new format a chance lah.
Disclaimer: I balloted for our tickets the good old fashion way and all opinions expressed are 100% my own.
A few more days before Xander enters Primary One, the biggest milestone in all Singaporean child’s life. Did you do anything unusual to prepare your child for primary school life? Many of my friends started prepping their kids since dunno how many moons ago. Some taught their kids how to buy food, count their change, learn to read time, others send their kids to enrichment centres to learn to read cheem-er books, do cheem-er math exercises, basically be 1 or 2 steps ahead of their peers so that the kids will have an easier time understanding what goes on in class. I like how thisfriendprep her daughter and I agree, sometimes it’s not all about the books.
Frankly, I don’t know how to prep Xander for primary school and reading my friends’ Facebook statuses about their experiences made me quite nervous and even sweat a little bit. The Husband described our parenting style quite “Light Touch” and that I shouldn’t worry too much since everything will naturally fall into place as the days go. I couldn’t help but ask myself “Are all these prep work really necessary?” Apparently, yes. What does a child usually need to know before entering primary school then? Earlier this month, we were invited to attend the 3 days Primary One Prep Workshop by BlueTree Education Learning Centre. I thought the timing was perfect and why not give it a try.
I can hear you ask me, “3 days?? 1 day not enough meh? 3 days learn simi?”
Using the world’s famous landmarks, the 3 days, 2.5 hour workshop covered learning the fundamentals of the English language such as the parts of a sentence through stories and poems, as well as a host of foundational math concepts like shapes, symmetry and the number system. The little travellers were taken to China to climb The Great Wall, Italy to see Leaning Tower of Pisa and Egypt to learn more about the Pyramids of Giza.
During the 3 days course, each young traveller was assessed on some basic skills and the teachers would feedback to the parents if extra attention should be given to whatever the child needs help with. Some of the basic skills are:
Listening to instructions from the teacher
Copying instructions from the board
Basic independent reading
Basic arithmetic skills
The average K2 child would have already learnt all these (and more) during their kindergarten years so it is just a matter of practising some more at home. Only if you wish to of course.
The 3 days workshop was an eye opener for me. Prior to this, I never knew “copying” is such an important skill and have always assumed all kids can do it with no problems. As the class sizes are capped at 8 and less, I felt the kids had the opportunity for their questions to be heard and the teacher was able to concentrate on them efficiently. At the end of each class, Xander couldn’t wait to tell me about what they saw during their “trips” and the friends he made. It was fun and educational. I like!
BlueTree Education Learning Centre offers regular enrichment classes as well as holiday workshops for children from pre-primary level to primary 6. These classes are also taught by ex-MOE teachers and curriculum specialists. To find out more about the centre and their courses, you can visit their website (http://bluetreeeducation.com/) or find them on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/BlueTreeEducation)
BlueTree Education Learning Centre Pte Ltd
271 Bukit Timah Road, Balmoral Plaza #02-15 Singapore 259708 Nearest MRT: Newton
Bus Services (Balmoral Plaza Bus Stop): 48, 66, 67, 170R, 171, 700, 700A, 960
Telephone: +65 9106 4702
Disclaimer: Mother of Xander was invited to attend the workshop by BlueTree Education Learning Centre. No monetary compensation was involved and all opinions are my own.
I was having the strangest cravings the night before and really really needed to get myself a slice of old school butter cream cake. I normally avoid butter cream at all costs because it tastes so…buttery. I guess all the breast feeding had caused me to have weird cravings for fattening, sugary treats that I don’t normally like.
I’ve read about Dong Po Colonial Cafe from a couple of blogs like ieatishootipost and A Juggling Mum so I knew the retro cafe serves very affordable treats ($2 per slice of cake!) and most importantly, butter cream cakes! Since we had some time before dinner, we headed there for a quick bite.
As I was laying everything on the table, a kid from the next table saw that we had also bought the same cookie she had moments ago. She turned around, looked at me dead in the eye and said “It tasted like medicine.” Xander nodded enthusiastically and I was slightly embarrassed. Her mother also chipped in and said “Kids can’t lie.” Oh boy…
I’m no food expert but I will tell you how I feel about our experience at the cafe. The kids were right, I wasn’t a fan of the cookie. I did however enjoy the cakes. They weren’t exactly the old school type I was hoping for but they didn’t taste too bad.
When we were there, it was quite busy and the air-condition wasn’t very strong. I was sweatin’ buckets while drinking my teh peng (iced milk tea). Yvie wasn’t too happy either so she was fussing quite a bit until The Husband had to bring her out for a wee walk until she fell asleep. Pampered lah my kids. We always have the air-con turned on full blast at home. 😛
Never mind them. I enjoyed myself nevertheless and will go back again to try the other stuff during their off peak hours.
At 5ish months, my funny little girl can sit up unassisted and she is feeling mighty proud of herself! Silly girl has also started to lick and gnaw on anything in sight. Fuzzy blankets, the clothes I am wearing, soft toys, plastic toys, metal chairs, dirty tables, whatever she can reach, she will lick ’em. I’m amazed she hasn’t gotten any rashes around her mouth or experienced diarrhoea yet. *TOUCH WOOD*
Xander also had a taste for strange things when he was a lot younger. He used to chew the headboard on our bed. I didn’t know it until I saw the little teeth marks on the edges many years later. I’m such an observant mum, eh? What was the strangest thing your child has ever tasted?
Here’s a short Instagram video of Yvie doing her usual cute stuff at home. Sorry if I’ve been posting too many pictures of her. Can’t help it lah 🙂
Yes I’m feeling a little maternal in the middle of the night so I’m sharing 2 videos of the kids here with you.
I need to count my blessings to have these 2 little rascals in my life. They drive my blood pressure up, run my patience low but most of the time they bring us so much joy we have never thought possible. The way a child’s face lights up when they see you is enough to make any parent forget about whatever was troubling them that day. You feel on top of the world because of that one bright smile. Correct or not, Parents?
The video above was taken by The Husband’s niece on the day Yvie was born. He was sooo gentle with her I almost cried with pride.
Xander has been a really good big brother to little Yvie so far. Even though he is petrified of her supersonic screams and unbelievably pungent poopy diapers, he understands she is just doing what all babies do. He rarely complains about her, sometimes even tries to soothe the screaming banshee when Mummy and Daddy’s hands are full. You know, the little boy makes it a point to plant at least 1 kiss on his sister every morning before he leaves for school, 1 when he sees her after school and 1 before he goes to bed. He loves his little sister and I pray they will continue to love each other long after we kick the bucket.
This is KorKor entertaining the little one right before bedtime.
For the parents with more than 1 child, do your kids get along? I know mine are still in the “honeymoon” period so I am enjoying this while it lasts. With lots of pictures and videos of course!
Just so we are clear, I am not a foodie. I make disastrous food. I don’t enjoy seeking new food experiences as a hobby simply because as a parent of 2 young children, I don’t have the time or energy to hunt down obscure places with food that may or may not be to my kid’s liking. This kind of gamble I don’t dare take because a hungry child = angry mum. We often stick to tried and tested places and only occasionally venture elsewhere. In fact, I depend on my friends to tell me what is good and new in town because I am also a mountain turtle 🙁
Among the places they have mentioned, one name kept popping up. Gu Ma Jia (姑妈家). Who? It’s a homey Chinese restaurant situated along Tai Thong Crescent which was voted one of the top 10 favourite restaurant by SPH CATS Classified Food Fest Award 2013.
Do not let the restaurant’s simple layout fool you. The food is fresh, scrumptious and sincere. Gu Ma, the founder, is very much like my mother because they both prefer to buy their ingredients and seafood from the market daily. This is to guarantee freshness and taste. My mother used to say better to buy today, cook today. Why buy fresh, then put into the fridge and wait until not fresh already then serve your family leh? It simply did not make any sense to my mother. Gu Ma agrees too.
Nah, nah! This is the famous Assam Fish Head! Sorry my photo does not do it justice. It had the right amount of tanginess. Not so sour until your toe can curl kind. This is a really appetizing dish but I still prefer the one from a kopitiam near where we stay. The little stall has since closed and my dream assam fish head is nowhere to be found. Sigh…
I don’t know how anyone can look at the spongy brinjal and think “HA! This one can make crispy!” Apparently Gu Ma can and she did it beautifully. This is a weird and wonderful dish I will definitely order again in future.
The Claypot Chicken with Ginger and Sesame Oil reminded me of my confinement food. In a good way of course. Perfect dish for a cold rainy day.
This ain’t no ordinary tofu. This bean curd was made by the restaurant, not the store bought variety. Somehow even Xander who normally runs away from any kind of bean curd, gobbled it all up with the mushrooms. If the kid eats it without any protest, it is a winner in my books.
Oh the Kyoto Pork Ribs! It was so tender and juicy! Unlike the typical Ku Lo Yuk, these pork ribs were not drowned in batter and smothered in sickeningly sweet ketchup and pineapple sauce. What’s a Chinese restaurant without a yam ring right? Everything goes well with yam ring me thinks 🙂
I called this The Veg with the ‘Fro. The Husband said the mark of a good restaurant lies with how they cook kailan. Gu Ma took it to another level altogether. The Yuan Yang Kailan is cooked in two styles, blanched and fried. You can’t recreate this with your normal stove because the heat is not high enough. Forget it. Just go eat it at Gu Ma Jia lah. I wanted to ask Gu Ma what inspired her to invent this dish but Yvie was fussing and I left The Husband in charge of helping me do the asking. Sekali when I turned around, I heard him say “Auntie ah, you designed this dish to look like your hair izit?” OMG! Never. Ever. Compare a woman’s hair to vegetables, ok folks? Luckily Gu Ma was too stunned to realize what was happening so I fasterly changed the question. Phew.
Gu Ma said, the stems are usually stringy and to solve that, she just had to peel it and to jazz it up, she tried to fry the leaves just to see how it ends up. Voila! Yuan Yang Kailan was born! So clever ah this auntie?
The inevitable happened. I forgot to take a picture of a dish and boy was it a good dish! I strongly believe that anything fried with salted egg yolk is oh so delicious. Forget about cereal prawns! Prawns with Salted Egg Yolk is to die for! Even Yvie couldn’t take her eyes of them. Of course lah! The prawns were enormous!
Don’t forget to try the Fruity Jelly Enzyme with longans and wolfberries. *whispers* Good for losing weight!
Overall, this is the place I will bring my parents because I know they will enjoy the fresh home cooked food and the non pretentious setting.
Oh yes! They have catering serviceand bento box delivery too! Do pay them a visit the next time you are in the area.
Tip: Parking spaces are very limited so be prepared to make a few rounds in the neighbourhood or just take the public transport. A little bit of walking exercise after dinner is also good!
I meant for this post to be out LAST YEAR but hey, better late than never right?
Me: What would you like for your birthday, Xan? Xan: Mmm… I dunno. Me: How about the cake? You want a proper cake like your cousin’s or several cupcakes laid out together?
Xan: Cupcakes! Cupcakes!
Me: Okkkk… What kind? How do you want them to look like?
Xan: I want it to be a surprise! Don’t tell me ok? I want a surprise!! *excited giggles*
And so the birthday party prep began.
Have I told you this little fella doesn’t like cakes? He likes to taste them, buy them, distribute them but he’ll never finish eating them. If for some strange reason he does finish the cake, it must have been damn nice. Since he’s not going to care how they taste like, it made my life a whole lot easier.
We figured he is probably not going to be able to celebrate with this group of kids in K2 (his birthday is in December and most parents would’ve withdrawn their kids from the school from November onwards), I decided to go the extra mile and tried to plan something extra special. He was a big fan of the movie Despicable Me and especially love the silly minions so I went along with this theme for the party.
You see, I don’t plan parties, I go to parties. I had no clue whatsoever what to do other than ordering cakes. In times like this, the Internet is the best place to source for ideas and I found this! How cute are these cupcakes?? Incidentally, these were made by an old secondary school mate so I quickly made my order with her and breathed a huge sigh of relief.
The Goodie Bags and Balloons
I DIYed the goodie bags and balloons for his friends and boy did I bit off more than I could chew! I forgot to take into consideration I couldn’t prepare everything in advance without spoiling the surprise for the little boy. That meant we only had the night before the party to get everything together. That meant blowing up the balloons, cutting the eyes, tags and whatnots. Very chuan ah! *hyperventilates* I found the templates for the Minion goggles here and the Evil Minion goggles and mouth here. For the goodie bags and I enlarged some of the goggles a little bit use on the yellow and purple balloons. Nice right? I even made “hair” for the evil minions but they were very troublesome to make. Have to use steel brush to brush out some purple wool. Wah biang! Brushed until hand numb only managed to get a small handful of usable fluff. I cursed and swore and wanted to give up. In the end I had enough for 4 purple head. The rest of the evil fellas had no hair and the kids didn’t even care because none of them wanted to take the evil minions home! Wah lau! So cute why dowan?? *heart crushed*
We also forgot that to fit 30 balloons in the car + big box of cupcakes + goodie bags will require some space planning which I obviously didn’t do. The balloons almost got crushed by the car door, nearly flew away at the void deck and they blocked my rear view mirror thus making driving a little tricky and scary because of they were staring back at me in the mirror. That was not the worst. Midway through while I was on the way to pick up the cupcakes, it started to rain. WAH LAU EH! *cries to the sky* WHY YOU BULLY PREGNANT ME???
Luckily The Husband met me at the cupcake pick up point and we managed to get everything into the school building with minimal damage; some of the balloons flew out of our hands and landed in the rain 🙁 After some screaming, running, shoving, huffing and puffing (referring to the very large and pregnant me lah), we got the table, goodie bags and balloons set up before Xander’s class arrived. Phew!
Yay! We are finally here!
Xander’s face immediately lit up when he saw us and the balloons. He was beaming from ear to ear. His classmates squealed with excitement. The surprise was a success! Yay!
I was so glad he loved his surprise party. I wonder if he will remember it 20 years down the road? Oh well, doesn’t matter lah. As long as he enjoyed himself and we have these photos as mementoes can already lah 🙂
P.S. Minion cupcakes were created by Flourish. Do give them at least 1 week advance notice for customized design.
Xander has been down with fever for a couple of day but he tries to keep his mood up despite the discomfort. You know he is quite ill when he just flops around on the sofa or on our bed. Poor fella.
Since Yvie was born, he has developed a habit of giving her a big hug and lots of kisses before he heads off for school with Daddy in the mornings or right before he goes to bed. Now that he is ill, he was told to stay away from her for the time being and he was quite bumped out. Could only poke her lightly from a distance.
Just the other day I wanted to take pictures of Yvie to send our family via Whatsapp and he suddenly popped into the frame. Ah, I guess a pat on the head is ok la. Poor Xander’s already small eyes are even smaller when he is down with a cold. You see the rascals’ smiles? Really look like they are plotting something naughty eh?
I was snooping around Facebook one day and I came across a conversation between 2 friends who were discussing about new places to explore in Singapore. So kaypoh hor? 😛 One of them mentionedGlee Kitchen (not to be mistaken with a hit TV show of a smilar name. GL-uten frEE. Geddit? Geddit?) a gluten free place situated inside Toa Payoh Central Community Club. Inside Toa Payoh Central Community Club? Small cafe ah? No leh. I saw on their Facebook page they had proper tables and chairs leh. Gluten free food nice ah? Not bland and cardboard like meh? I dunno. I nair had it before. Since The Husband recently had a health scare, lifestyle and dietary changes needed to be made. Besides eliminating sugar from his diet, going gluten free seemed like a good idea too. No harm trying mah. So I told him about this place that day, picked the little boy up from school and off to Toa Payoh we went!
Glee Kitchen is a 100% gluten free, casual dining establishment. If you have a special request, let the friendly team know beforehand what your dietary restrictions are and they will discuss with you what they can or cannot do for you. Really lah, they are very friendly one!
The owner, Keirra, explained to me that when her children were younger they had specific dietary needs and going gluten free was the best option for them other than relying on medicines. She saw marked improvements in them physically as well as emotionally after the diet change. She also reminded me that a gluten free diet does not necessarily work on everybody as the effects and health benefits will vary from person to person. Luckily for her it all worked out very nicely. Unfortunately, back then, such places were not common and even the costly ingredients were pain to find locally. The ex-educator’s dream was to set up an accessible place where she could serve affordable, healthy food and to provide a safe, quiet area for children with special needs to relax while their family members enjoy their meals nearby. When the space inside Toa Payoh Central Community Club was made available, they jumped at the opportunity to finally be able to kick start this dream with the restaurant. I was very thankful to have the opportunity to bump into Keirra while we were there and for her to take the time to share her personal experience with me.
Sorry, I nair take picture of the menu inside. Too hungry and too pregnant to remember to do a lot of things lah.
After you place your order at the counter (they also have a dessert display showcase), go and wait for your food at your table or go kaypoh see how your food gets prepared. It’s a small setup and the kitchen is quite visible. But no lah, don’t disturb them lah. Let them do their work in peace ok?
There are the food we ordered that night and they were ALL GOOD!
Update: The lady boss say this was Penne with Ragu Sauce.
Update: The ladyboss say this was the Eggplant Salad.
We also had chocolate soy pudding or The Husband preferred to call it Chocolate Tau Huey. It was buelly good! Not too sweet, just the way I like it! Sorry no photo because I couldn’t stop at the 1st bite and didn’t think about taking a photo of it.
So, if you happen to be in the Toa Payoh area or looking for a nice gluten free place, try them out. Sincere food, reasonable prices, why not?
As Glee Kitchen is still relatively new, be kind ok? Do Like their Facebook Page for the latest offerings and updates.
Disclaimer: This is not a paid or compensated review. This is an honest, true to heart review of a really nice eatery. My family and I really enjoyed the food so I thought I should share a good find with all of you.