Thursday, 16 August 2012

Happy 5th Birthday, Isaac!

Isaac at birth - 6th August 2007
Isaac turned 5 years old recently. It's amazing how the baby above grew into the charming boy below. The past five years with Isaac has been nothing short of amazing, and we look forward to many good years to come.
Isaac @ 5 years old
You know the children's tv channel Okto has this practice of featuring pictures of kids whose birthday fall in the existing month? Well, Isaac watches Okto when he's at his grandparents' home, and he always pays attention to the birthday book segment, reading the names of the kids, and how old they are. So, when it was August, I quickly submitted his picture onto Okto's facebook page, as per their instructions. So, on his birthday, we were at my in laws' place, and watching Okto when the birthday book segment came on...

Me:"Isaac, pay attention to the birthday kids' pictures... Mummy submitted your photo. But if they don't show it, it's okay, right?"
Isaac:"Yes, it's okay. We see how, right?"
Me:"Yes, that's right. Maybe have, maybe don't have... we see how... if don't have, nevermind. Doesn't matter."
Isaac:"Jake and the Neverland Pirates is the last one. After that, no more..."

We watched, and watched as the birthday book pictures cycled through. My heart was pounding as I repeated a short silent prayer for Isaac's photo to be featured... and we reached the last one, with Jake and the Neverland Pirates in the backdrop... and, it was not Isaac.

"Oh. Don't have." I said in a very dejected voice. I was frankly, very disappointed. I was really hoping he'd be featured. What a nice surprise that would have been for his birthday. It was the actual day too.

"Mummy, it's okay. You said if don't have, then nevermind, right? Doesn't matter, Mummy. I still love you." said Isaac. And he turned to me and gave me a hug and a kiss as he comforted me.

I almost cried. My little boy's all grown up! Sigh!!!

Happy 5th Birthday, Isaac. Love you!

Monday, 6 August 2012

Loving our Spot in Jurong!

Even before I was married, I've lived in the western half of Singapore. Thankfully hubbs was also sort of from the west, and had no objections to living in the west after marriage. Okay, we confess, we also stay in Jurong West coz at that time in 2004, there were 10,000 surplus HDB flats available and the flats in Jurong West were comparatively cheap and large. At $350k for a 132sm executive apartment, was very decent, even way back in 2004. Over the years, we have come to love Jurong even more...
We love the fact that we're so near many parks. The Chinese Garden, the Japanese Garden, the Jurong Lake Park, the Jurong Central Park. Sometimes we just go for a walk, sometimes we bring the bicycles, and sometimes we go fly a kite - or watch others fly theirs. It is invigorating to just walk in the open, soak up the sun and smell the fresh air. 

Oh, and we must dispel the myth that we have bad air in Jurong. In further out Tuas where the factories and industrial area is, perhaps. But not where we are. Yes, we do get a whiff of chocolate in the air during certain times of the year when the wind direction blows a particular direction, but it's mild and not annoying. Sometimes, when people hear that we live in Jurong West, they ask us if the air is very polluted. I was quite shocked (and a bit insulted) when I first heard that question, coz it never occured to me that the air here is polluted, as we are quite a distance away from the heavy industrial areas.. So, when we go to other parts of Singapore, I always take a sniff of the air, and I objectively can't say that the air in other parts of the island is any worse nor any better than the air we have in Jurong.
We do get aeroplanes flying right above our estate though. The kids love it. Everytime they hear the plane/s go, they rush to the window to see the aeroplanes go by. Apparently, we lie right in the flightpath of army planes landing in the Tengah Airbase at nearby Old Choa Chu Kang Road. Once, when we drove by there, we saw an army plane landing, the kids were ecstatic.

Off Old Choa Chu Kang Road, near the Tengah Airbase, is the Qian Hu Fish Farm where you can tour the farm where they rear fishes, or you could go fishing for tiny fishes, feed fishes, and feed turtles. It's great fun, though the next time we go back, we'd try to discourage the kids from doing any fishing - it seems like a very traumatic experience for the poor fishes!

Now, this above, is one of the hidden secrets of the west. Many people (who don't stay in Jurong) whom I've mentioned this to - doesn't know about this. This place is the Jurong West public pool. It's got this nice kids play area, this humongous long blue slide which you have to climb up I think 10 metres to get to, and it has a Lazy River which has a current that you can cruise in! And the best part is, adult fees are only $2 on weekends and $1.50 during weekdays! Kids even cheaper!

There is also the Science Centre, the Omnimax Theatre and the Snow City in Jurong East. Science Centre has some outdoor grounds with simple hands on stuff that you can learn science. And they have a mini water play area too. I love going to the Science Centre shop as well, has pretty cool stuff!

We love Jurong so much, that we're self-professed Jurong Turtles. With the ever expanding Jurong Point, revamped IMM and born again JCube (used to be known as Jurong Entertainment Centre), Jurong is very much self-sufficient. This will be very much so especially when the Jurong General Hospital is completed. Furthermore,with the plans for the Jurong Lake District, we have exciting times ahead! Hurrah for Jurong!

This post is part of the fantastic Loving My Spot series mooted by Sarah of The Playful Parents. Here, we bloggers declare to the world why we love the part of Singapore we live in, in a lead up to Singapore's National Day, 9th August. A celebration of love!

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Harness the power of games to bond with your children @ MamaWearPapaShirt

Hubbs and the twins playing Zimbbos. They can play this game with the proper rules now.
I've actually been rather busy lately guest -posting for other other bloggers. What's that? Basically, I write articles and have it posted on other people's blog.

The latest one I have done is on harnessing the power of games to bond with your children. Hop on to June Yong's MamaWearPapaShirt to read! :)

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

KidsRead Make-Cars-Day!

Remember these cars I made out of recycled materials? The day after I posted that blog post, my friend Christina called me on the phone, to ask the finer details of making the cars. Apparently, she volunteers once a week at her local Community Centre in a programme by National Library Board called kidsREAD. The objective of the programme is to cultivate children's interest in reading. In the one hour session for children between age 4 and 8 from low-income families, volunteers would read a book and conduct an activity with the children. Christina was interested to have the kidsREAD children make a car, as the activity for one of the sessions that she would be leading.

We took approximately three weeks to prepare. We had to collect all the materials required (the bottles, bottle caps, straws and satay sticks) and prepare the materials. As the children were young, we decided to do the cutting for them: using penknife to cut the holes in the bottles, poking holes in the wheels and cutting the grooves on the satay sticks (refer to this other post for more details on how to make the car). The main problem was collecting such a large number of bottle caps in such a short span of time. Christina's friend came through for her and collected hundreds of bottle caps for her, after seeing her plea for help on her Facebook wall.

Last night, was the session! I was excited to see my car design creation being made by so many kids.

Christina read to the kids, the book "Why Should I Protect Nature" by Gen Green, illustrated by Mike Gordon. The book teaches children that they can protect nature too. One way is to reuse and recycle. She then brought out the cars I made to show them the end result of what they were trying to achieve that night - a toy car made out of 'trash'.

 The kids were all excited and keen to get started on making their car. With help from the adult volunteers, hubbs and I, everyone managed to have their car made. The kids excitedly took them to the floor to race the cars against each other's car.

It was very satisfying seeing all the kids having fun with the cars. The adult volunteers were all very amazed with the craft as well, and one of the ladies even asked me if I conducted lessons to teach people how to make toys out of recycled materials. 

Kudos to Christina and her group of volunteers too, for volunteering their precious free time with these children from low-income families. We hope that this kidsREAD programme really does achieve its objective of getting the kids interested in reading. Thanks to all who helped us collect the materials too! 
Our end products!


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