Mother of Xander had a makeover!

来啊! 来啊! 郑宇他妈整容咯! Ahem… not that kind of makeover. The website had a makeover lah.

Screenshot of previous site
This was how it used to look

My last blog makeover was 2 years ago. How time flies eh? Friends who have been following my blog will remember the previous look which was based on China’s cultural revolution. Ya, it had the classic red flags and Mao hat, that sort.

In order to retain the super cheena spirit that I love, the new look is based on the 1930s Vintage Shanghai pinup girl. Sort of.

Who designed the new site you might ask. Of course it’s The Husband. Again. From the buttons to the seksi pinup girl to the structure of the site. All him. So clever ah this fella? *giggle* If you are interested to engage him for your site makeover, I suggest you contact him directly. The pinup girl portrait of me only took him 8 YEARS to do. *rolleyes*

Why this theme? Well, we were having tea at Dong Po Colonial Cafe recently when he suddenly asked me what sort of look I would like for my blog. Since he was in the mood to redesign his own blog, he said he will refresh mine as well. Woots! So I looked around and spotted the posters of the 1930s Shanghai girls. I pointed to it and said “NAH! I like that I wan that gimme that!” To that he said “DONE!” The rest was history.

The trouble with the themes on WordPress is that not everything (my Chinese words for example) gets formatted properly. I am in the midst of doing some housekeeping and if you spot anything unusual, please let me know!

Contact me on Facebook or email me at motherof@xander.sg.

If you just want to chat with me, ALSO CAN!

Thank you for visiting Mother of Xander’s blog. I hope to see you back again soon!

Feeling very blessed

The kids
The kids enjoying a special moment.

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!

Let’s go… to Glee Kitchen!

Glee Kitchen
Yes, they are gluten free!

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 mentioned Glee 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!

Found it!

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.

The simple menu

Sorry, I nair take picture of the menu inside. Too hungry and too pregnant to remember to do a lot of things lah. 

How come got spoon one? Other places got number plate, here use number spoons lor! Cute!

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!

Saba & Kimchi Risotto. Sorry photo not very nice. My hands trembled a bit by the delicious aroma lah.
Glee Kitchen_02
Sous Vide Chicken Leg with Roasted Vegetables. The skin is crispy lor! Very nice lor!
Erm… Penne with Marinara sauce? I don’t remember already. Xander really enjoyed this non-spicy dish.

Update: The lady boss say this was Penne with Ragu Sauce.

I also forgot the name to this dish but the warm salad with grilled eggplant and balsamic vinegar dressing was sooooo good!

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.

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Glee Kitchen website: http://www.gleekitchen.sg/
Glee Kitchen Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/gleekitchen

Operating hours: 
Tue – Fri: 11:30 am – 9:30 pm
Sat – Sun: 10:30 am – 9:30 pm

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What’s in your hospital bag?

Less than 2 weeks to my EDD and my hospital bag is finally packed! Phew!

I tried to do some research online on what folks normally pack for a 2 to 3 days stay at the hospital and the lists are almost all the same. Some more detailed than others but the essential items are the same lah. There was one I really liked was from Growing With The Tans and so I adapted a lot of her ideas into my list.

Here’s my list in case anyone is interested…

THE LIST

ADMINISTRATION
WHAT WHY
1 Marriage Certificate For baby’s birth certification registration.
2 Husband & Wife’s NRICs For baby’s birth certification registration and open baby’s CDA account at the hospital.
3 Prenatal medical receipts Claimable up to $450 under the Medisave Maternity Package. Can submit at the hospital. (I did not know this until I read the post from Growing With The Tans)
4 Pre-admission paperwork Because you need to check in with proper document.
5 KKH booklet Since it’s in your bag already, just bring.
6 Latest bank statements To open baby’s CDA account at the hospital.
7 CDA application form from either OCBC Bank or Standard Chartered To open baby’s CDA account at the hospital.
8 Pens and a notebook/scrapbook In case you feel inclined to write down the day’s event and want to make a print of your baby’s feet for keepsake. Or you could just Facebook everything.
FOR MUMMY
WHAT WHY
1 Makeup pouch & lip balm I want to look decent in the photos.
2 Face & bath towel Confinement not supposed to shower 🙁
3 Toiletry bag:
Toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, comb, hair clip.
You don’t want people to faint from your dragon breath or smells from your pits.
4 Long sanitary pads + disposable underwear Get the longest adhesive pads you can find. They will work better than regular maternity pads. Easy disposal.
5 Night gowns with easy nursing access You will want to nurse your baby as soon as you can.
6 Nursing bras You will want to nurse your baby as soon as you can. These provide easy access.
7 Robe/sweater Because you don’t get to wear your silk robe in your non-air conditioned home so why not now.
8 Breast pads In case of leakage.
9 Slippers/ slip-on footwear You probaby want to just wear them to the hospital instead of bringing extra footwear. Less junk to lug around.
10 Dress for going home 1 piece outfit is easier to put on especially if you had a c-sec done. If your night gown looks good enough as a ‘going out’ outfit, BEST!
11 Breast pump* For stimulating the boobs and help milk flow.
12 Socks It might get cold in the ward.
13 Cellphone & cellphone charger To call, send messages or pictures to your family and friends of the new baby. Facebook and Instagraming will deplete battery life very fast. Please bring charger.
14 Mints/candy In case you forgot to brush your teeth and your guests are standing right in front of you already.
15 Stretch mark oil I dunno. Because the smell is comforting to you?
FOR BABY
WHAT WHY
1 Going home outfit x 2 In case the hospital does not provide any. Bring 2 sets just in case the 1st one gets dirty. I’m packing 3 sets because I can.
2 Swaddling cloth x 2
3 Baby mittens and booties x 2 sets
FOR DADDY
WHAT WHY
1 A clean change of clothes All the huffing and puffing around the hospital is bound to create some manly funky smell.
2 Camera You could just use your smartphone but hey, you’ll never know when you need a 15MB quality photo of the family portrait in scrubs right?
3 Coins For the middle of the night snacks from the vending machine. For him. I’ll probably eat air.
4 Watch To time contractions. But I haven’t seen his watch (the kind with hands) in years!
AFTER THE BABY GOES HOME
WHAT WHY
1 Milk bottles and teats For expressed breast milk.
2 Baby accessories cleaner To wash all the baby accessories lah.
3 Breast milk bags Easy storage.
4 Wet wipes Wipe the baby’s kar chng lah.
5 Diapers You’re asking why? You’re kidding right?

* The Husband saw this and said But you’ve got me for that. *rolleyes*

THE BAG

Forget about using expensive totes, they are really cumbersome. I remember using a really nice Fila bag when I was in the hospital with Xan. Nice to look at but oh so troublesome to carry around when we checked out. Kept slipping off the shoulder. Use a luggage with wheels, so easy sia!

The bags came just in time. One for Daddy’s stuff, the other for the baby’s stuff.

I like to organize things into small bags inside my big bag. The hospital bag is no exception. Remember my last post on shopping with Jedpacks.com and how I loved their bags? The bags finally arrived! I knew I simply had to use the wet bags for my stay at the hospital!

The Snuggybaby Espresso Damask Large Wet Bag holds The Husband’s stuff and the Snuggybaby Ningyou Wet Bag holds the baby’s stuff. So pretty hor the bag?

OCD much?

As I won’t be checking into a single bed ward this time, I don’t want my bras and panties to be in full display when I dig into my bag. So how? I pack them into individual bags lor! So clever right? What you see are 4 ziplock bags (A4 size from Daiso) each consisting of 1 nightgown, 1 nursing bra, 1 disposable underwear and 1 pair of disposable breast pads (just in case). I brought the sanitary pads along in case I don’t like the ones provided by the hospital. These are kept separate. If I needed The Husband to help me get my stuff, he can just grab the bags without additional instructions from me.

The one with blue elephant belonged to Daddy, the other one belonged to Xander

On the hospital’s website, they suggested for us to bring our own baby clothes and swaddling cloths. These 2 blankies are very special to us because 1 belonged to The Husband and the other belonged to Xander. My mother-in-law kept the 36 year old blankie especially for our children so I thought it was only appropriate that I packed it into the bag for the baby 🙂

3 sets of clothes, socks and mittens for the baby

Finally, the baby’s very pink clothes. No need further explanation right?

So there you go, my hospital bag checklist and a peek into what I am bringing for my (hopefully) short stay.

Did you bring a special item with you for your delivery/hospital stay too? I would love to hear about it!

 

P.S. Just a reminder, don’t forget to join this week’s Child Label giveaway!
Giveaway ends on this Sunday, 23 February 2014 at 11.59pm

 

Let’s go to… The Toa Payoh Dragon Playground!

The Toa Payoh Dragon Playground

Built in 1979, the Toa Payoh Dragon Playground was one of the most iconic fixtures in the established town other than than the observation tower in Toa Payoh Town Park. The building, Block 28, behind it has been barricaded and will be torn down for redevelopment but the playground will stay because it is one of the few precious vintage playgrounds left in Singapore. Read about it here. Heng ah! Since 1993, playgrounds in Singapore were no longer constructed from scratch but purchased from overseas. They are now made from lightweight plastic and rubber, no more retro tiles and cement liao. When you fall on the ground, you probably won’t even see blood. What’s the fun in that right? So sterile…

Bye bye Block 28!

Even though my secondary school was just a stone’s throw away, I don’t have many memories playing at this playground in particular but I definitely had fun at other sand filled playgrounds at my old ‘hood. Nothing beats playing and getting your toes all dirty in the sand. I watched the boys play marbles (because they said girls cannot play with them *rolleyes*), threw sand at each other’s faces, get bullied, became a bully, so fun! Even found some real money while pretend digging for treasures! HUAT AH!

Recently, there was a documentary series on TV that focused on places and things that make us Singaporean. One of the episodes was about these playgrounds and the producers also interviewed 2 daddy bloggers and their families in the show. You can watch the episode here.

We visited the dragon playground just before Chinese New Year after driving past it a few days prior. We saw some folks getting their wedding photos shot there in the middle of the night and we also noticed it looked a little different at the back. Being the big kaypohs we are, we simply had to go back to check it out ourselves.

The playground was in such a sorry state. It was taken over by big angry ants, weeds, dried leaves and litter. The rope swings were damaged, slides were very dirty, the paint on the body of the dragon was peeling, even the branches from the trees nearby were dangling precariously over our heads. This was such a far cry from our last visit there a few month before! So sad leh. None of my complains seem to bother the 2 boys and another family of 5 who were there before us, from having fun. They were climbing everywhere and going up and down the slides. I was happy to stay on the ground and away from the creepy crawlies.

Soon it was time to go. I hope the next time we visit, the redevelopment works would have completed and the playground all cleaned up. It would be such a shame to see the dragon get destroyed from neglect. I am going to hunt down the rest of the cool vintage playgrounds around Singapore with The Husband and Xander before the government change their mind and suddenly decide to tear them down.

How about you? Do you have any fond memories at a particular vintage playground? I would love to hear them!

 

Happy Chinese New Year to all!

image

My family and I would like to take ths opportunity to wish everyone…

恭喜发财! Happy Chinese New Year and everything good in the Year of the Horse!

HUAT AH!

Let’s go… to Chinatown!

What’s a Chinese New Year celebration without a trip (or two) to Chinatown? We don’t necessarily go to buy new year goodies but mostly to join the hustle and bustle of the activities and ok, maybe buy some unnecessary fattening snacks and knick knacks we don’t need. Please lah, it is impossible not to get sucked into the pointless consumerism when you are in Chinatown.

There is chinese new year music blasting from everywhere, hawkers shouting and clapping to get shoppers to stop at their stalls, seductive smell of barbecued bak kwa, squid, giant prawns and chestnuts in the air, dripping cold Taiwan jelly being distributed by overly enthusiastic dudes on stools and getting jabbed in the belly by excited aunties rushing to get free taste of butter roasted peanuts. Welcome to Chinatown!

Chinatown Night Market

I usually avoid going anywhere near Chinatown during festive periods because of the crowd and the noise. I wasn’t like this in the past though. You would never find me at home and I would always be at some crowded hotspot with my friends having fun. Now that I’m a mummy and in my 30s, I no longer find joy in mosh pits and (butt)cheek to (butt)cheek dances (aka being in crowded trains or places).

The Husband’s office is pretty close to Chinatown and Xander knows it. Whenever he and I go pick Daddy up at the end of the day or when Daddy needs to work late at the office, Xan will always beg me to bring him to Chinatown for a walk. This boy has the ‘I am so 可怜and cute’ face pat down so of course we simply had to make a quick trip to the night market lor.

Checking out the wares at Chinatown

After a quick dinner, I told Xan to look out for small decorative stuff we could buy to dress up the pussy willows he and Daddy bought from Ikea a few days prior. Give the boy a mission and he was kept busy the whole night.

Buy buy buy!

We ended up going back a second time with Daddy over the weekend. He was very fascinated with the preserved leg of ham with the hoof. Xan kept mimicking the hoof with his hand, “Mummy! See! Same ah?”

Little shopper and his loot for the day

In the spirit of festive joy, the little one was given some money to spend on whatever he wanted so he ended up with a pink fan and an inflatable sword with the words, 天下第一剑 printed on it. The Husband laughed and said “Wah! You are so 楚留香. Naturally, Xander didn’t care. He said he needed the fan because it was “soooo hot”. I rolled my eyes because it was the windiest Chinese New Year week I’ve ever experienced lor. As for the sword. He didn’t say why. He just had to have it. As much as I would like to linger around the market a bit longer, I wasn’t about to risk going into labour in the middle of the street market. I was so tired and was getting crankier by the second. The boys were very wise to agree and we quickly made our way back to the car and head to the nearest coffee joint for my coffee fix. Hehehe! I win!

So how did you prepare for Chinese New Year? Hope it was 马-vellous! Geddit? Geddit? Marvellous! Hahah!