Simple pleasures

We are often so tired from the day to day routines whether on weekdays or weekends that we just want to stay at home and sleep or watch youtube or order food by delivery. But last weekend I insisted that the husband and I bring the kids out on a walk to the neighbourhood park and we had so much fun! It’s really just an ordinary playground but the simple structures and the open space is just so amazing to the couped up kids of today.

On another note, I can’t believe how fast the second child is growing up!

Sewing again

These days my therapeutic activity of choice is sewing, and recently I was in need of distraction so the sewing machine got dusted off. Sandra has a simple dress that took half a day to make but of course she prefers her older sister’s dress that is more complex and took 2 days. Looks like a balloon on her:

Not very green fingers but trying!

When we moved recently to a place with a patio, one thing we knew we wanted was a vege patch. The thinking was that we’d harvest batches of home grown Shanghai greens, Kang kong and other green leafies for our meals. The reality is of course that our fingers are not as green as we thought and each sowing only yielded a miserable portion not even enough for one person.

Good thing we also hedged our bets and grew some herbs that fared better. The hardy Pandan is of course a staple in southeast Asian households and these grew well easily even through bouts of neglect.

The tall grasses on its left are lemongrass. I planted a total of 6 stalks of these after I rooted them and 3 managed to grow well and each developed into a few stalks of lemongrass that grew surprisingly tall! I’m just leaving these to grow until I host some gathering where I will harvest them to make some Thai inspired dishes or perhaps a refreshing lemongrass drink.

On the right of the lemongrass is basil. The label of the seeds said sweet basil but the leaves of these smell more citrusy than the common sweet basil that I get from the supermarket so I’m not quite sure what variety they are.

But what grew best of all are the flowers that Sophia wanted to grow which we didn’t even think will ever sprout, and after they sprouted we didn’t think the tiny thin sprouts will survive the battering of singapore’s heavy rain, but they survived all odds and bloomed!

The herb and flower patch is definitely a work in progress but it feels like we are going in the right direction. Now to start working on mint, rosemary and curry leaves.

Art wall

Sophia adores art and craft, and actually isn’t half bad at it. So when we moved to our new place, even though my interior designer was dying to do a feature wall on the large empty wall behind my dining table, I denied him the pleasure, mentally allocating that space for framed pieces of Sophia’s work. Alas, the shy girl wanted her pieces on her room wall instead and the final compromised was the corridor.

The large piece is the first project from her art class that we recently enrolled her for. She was quickly selected to feature in her school’s newsletter. This is the photo that would appear:

The piece on the right was just a random piece. It was actually Sandra, the younger one, who wanted to paint and, not wanting to lose out, Sophia proceeded to use the paints to create a 5 minute piece as well. The results look pretty amazing if I may say so. I don’t know if this is a fluke because most of her pieces don’t turn out this good but if it is, it’s a fluke I am definitely keeping.

Oh and apart from the art wall pieces she is also constantly working on craft. There are loads of clay figurines and she paints on her toy figurines from kinder surprise eggs. She also recently compelled (yes compelled) me to see her this pencil case. I was the manual worker, she was the brain with specific instructions as follows:

1) cut a rectangle then cut another one of the same size. You can lay the first one on top to make sure the size is the same. (She also proceeded to show me how long and wide the rectangle should be)

2) sew or glue on the zip.

3) make a bow from this ribbon and fix it “here” (at that corner) 

She then wanted to cut eyes etc out of felt but I told her to just draw them on with black fabric marker (phew good thing I bought some of these else I need to see on felt features!) The drawn on features were definitely the highlight of the piece, wouldn’t you agree?


I’m so glad I have a couple of kids who are quite good about haircutting such that I don’t have to spend an exorbitant price going to a specialised place with cartoons kiddy rides and specially trained stylists.

We went to QB House at the basement of VivoCity and were told that we should head to their kids version on level 2 because parents are not allowed to stay with the kids when their hair is cut at the adults outlet (which is much more spacious than the very packed level 2 outlet). We need to stay outside of the shop when the shop is very spacious and clearly can take 2 standing parents. Convinced this is a ploy to get people to pay almost double to use the QB House Kids services as other 10 minute haircut outlets without the kids version nearby don’t seem to have this rule.

Anyway, both the 5 years old and the 1.5 year old happily had their hair cut all on their own.

Success! Kaching, $20 saved is $20 earned!

Kidzania Singapore

It’s the second time we’re at Kidzania and the best time is in the first hour or so after it opens. Any time later and the queues get long. Entry is via what looks like the departure lounge of an airlines and upon entry the kids get 20 kidzos in cash and 30 kidzos in their bankcard to start. Kidzo is the currency in Kidzania and the kids can use it to buy stuff at the end of the day.

At each station there will be a sign telling you the type of activity, age limit, how many kidzos you will make etc.

Each activity takes about half an hour and the waiting time can be anything from 5 minutes if you come at the right time to more than an hour for the popular stations like fireman or police.

Sophia starts the day with being a baby doctor and thereafter paramedic (which she has tried before the last time we were here). Seems she really likes the medical stations.

Watching her feel for her pulse reminds me of my St. John days…

Unfortunately you do encounter your fair share of unpleasant events in Kidzania. Not making it into a group means losing half an hour or more of play time. As a result, there are people who try to game the system by splitting up and queuing at different stations, or attempting to queue for their kids. The last time we were here the staff would politely tell them not to do that. Unfortunately, this time round, at the dental clinic, there was only one staff running the show so when a lady tried to get her two nieces to join the queue in her son’s position, ahead of Sophia and another girl, nobody stopped them. I had to step in to say that is not fair to all the children behind and every child needs to queue for themselves. Actually because of the group count, it didn’t make a difference to Sophia. She was in the next group anyway. The only person who benefitted was the girl in front. But it’s more the principles of it and teaching Sophia that she needs to stand up for herself when she is in the right. The whole matter did leave a bitter taste to the day though.

After completing the dental clinic session Sophia’s friend arrived and they started doing a series of girly things like fashion boutique, getting their makeup done, getting a temporary tattoo etc, mostly kidzo spending things that Sophia wouldn’t otherwise have done.

Then they did courier, which was cute but they would never have found the places if we didn’t eventually step in. Not only did they go round and round aimlessly, they would pass the location they were supposed to go to and not even realise it.

After that were a few sciency stations like water quality assurance which we were too tired to take photos of, and baby doctor station again, and Sophia’s Friend went home.

Sophia continued to do a window cleaning station and after that claimed she pulled a leg muscle and we headed home.

I think they can have a few more cleaning type stations🙂 would be handy to train the kids to do cleaning!