Memoirs of a Budget Mum

Mother to five, parent in progress and occasional kitchenista cookerella

{{Giveaway}}:Hassle-free Baby Weaning with Haakaa from Mama Warehouse!

A MOBM Review & Giveaway 

I’m a busy mama, like the rest of you reading this and the busiest hours of our day have got to be mealtimes, hands down.

I mean, meal planning and grocery shopping are already mentally and physically exhausting.

Throw in prep time for ingredients, cooking early (so we can clear up early), and then the actual “peak hour” where hungry little ones start hovering earlier that you expect…boy…you need several handfuls to feed these many mouthfuls!


Our kids have rehearsed their “Mum, I’m very hungry” cue-pitiful-look line to the T and some days, it is enough to make me warble at your stove, while I desperately scavage for a cracker or two to divert them from swooping in too soon!

At this point, I haven’t even begun to describe the mealtime “carnage”.

Reminders to the kids to eat neatly, even the older ones are still in order. “Eat with your mouth over your plate please.” is on repeat mode. Nonetheless, drips and drops are still inevitable.

And then, we have the one year old who is currently keeping me on my toes in her self weaning, food exploratory stage—read utterly, completely, messy dining.


Sometimes I swoop in to collect the spills but most times, I have to pick up half a ton of food which lands in her bib and on the floor, dig out sticky  rice on her clothes and food bits wedged between her legs.

Not sleek at all. 

Imagine the “yays” in my head when MamaWarehouse sent the Haakaa Silicon Cloudmat and Haakaa Silicon Breast Milk/ Baby Food Freezer Tray our way!


If you’re a busy mama, you know what I mean when I say we constantly look for TOOLS that actually HELP us get better at our mothering jobs – tools that help us be nifty, quick and actually help to make our life easier!!!

Let me start first with the Silicon Cloud Mat:  

1. Haakaa Silicon Cloud Mat 


If you have a baby or toddler who’s started self-weaning, the silicon cloud mat is quite a dream.
These handy little placemats have suction cups so they stick to the table and the perfectly positioned food tray hangs off the front catching all those bits that drop down.

Suction cups work really well as they stick to most surfaces very well and baby can’t pull it out like they tug at bibs.

My 1 yo loves touching and exploring her food and the textures with her fingers. The silicone cloud mat really pairs well with this stage and minimizes the hassle for me.

The mat is perfectly contoured to fit the perpendicular groove at the table edge and the catch-all bin is deep and prevents food bits from falling out.


Dishwasher safe and heat proof this handy little placemat allows you to put warm food on a slip free surface and chuck in the dishwasher when you are finished.

What I like: 

  • Large surface area…catches 90% of the food bits especially if you pair it with a bib with a pocket.
  • No more wiping off rice or food bits on the table. Just peel off the whole silicon mat to wash at sink with all the food bits on it, leaving your clean table surface.
  • Portable: You can roll this tightly into a tube and slot into your baby bag to use outside on high chairs when you eat at the food courts especially when you’re not sure if table surfaces are clean.


Finally, our trusty silicon cloud mat taking up no additional space and making our kitchen sink “pop” with colour!

2. Haakaa Silicon Breast Milk & Baby Food Freezer Tray 

The next kitchen tool that has really helped is none other than the Haakaa Silicon Freezer Tray. 

Each tray has six compartments where you can make-ahead soup stock,  purees, homemade baby food and portion them out to freeze for a rainy day.  Breast milk too!!


Before this came along, I was using a plastic ice cube tray and a silicone IKEA ice cube tray where I had to waste additional cling wrap to protect the food.

Needless to say, it didn’t work well with soups and thin liquids. I tried this on the ABC soup that I wanted to save up for no-cook days and I loved that I could pour the warm soup right in without worrying about  letting it cool down first.

The compartments come in three different sizes (125ml, 50ml, 35ml) (with the deepest being most versatile , in my opinion) and is made 100% food grade silicon! I was able to even put the potato and carrot bits into the deep pockets of the tray.


As you can see, the Haakaa tray makes baby food storage safe and practical with a customized cover.


It is also totally heat proof, microwave safe, BPA, PVC and Phthalate free, dishwasher safe and free of any leaching nasties. You can keep food fresh up to 6 months.

The best part of it is the easy pop out silicone body makes removing cubes a breeze.

Just watch how easy it is: no frantic knocking…just gently twist and the crack line will appear…


Effortless easing out of its shell. And this is rock hard immediately out of the freezer!



Neat!! The good quality silicone saves me time and effort than it would normally take! Love this sooooo much.

GIVEAWAY GOODIES!!

Here’s the good news…

Mama Warehouse is giving away 1 Haakaa Silicon Cloud Mat (worth $32) to ONE lucky winner and 1 Haakaa Baby Food Tray (worth $29.90) to a SECOND lucky winner! {one different winner per product}

Click here to enter the giveaway!

 

Winners of Giveaway! Congratulations! 

Winner of Haakaa Silicon Food Tray

Yin Shian

Winner of Haakaa Silicon Cloud Mat

Karen See

Thank you all for participating! We will be contacting winners via email shortly! 

Terms and conditions

1. This giveaway ends on 15 July 2017; 12am. The winners will be randomly selected from Rafflecopter and announced on this blog post the following day. 

2. Winners will be contacted via the email address provided and will have 48 hours to respond; failing which a new winner will be selected.

3. By entering this giveaway, you agree to release your email address to the sponsor for verification, contact and marketing purposes.
This giveaway is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook.

Disclosure: We received a Haakaa Silicon Cloud Mat and Food Tray for review purposes. All opinions are our own.


June Holiday Fun at The Kidz Academy 2017!

Media Invite 

The Kidz Academy is back in 2017 with a local twist from 9 to 11 June 2017 at Suntec Singapore Halls 404 to 406.


The three-day event this year is going local, with a focus on showcasing Singapore’s rich history.

Here are the key highlights not to be missed: 


1. Immerse in Local History & Folklore

The Kidz Academy Storyland segment will feature live theatrical acts, and showcase performances based on Singapore’s urban legends – The Legend of Bukit Merah, The Legend of Badang and history of Sang Nila Utama. 


Friday 9 June 

Saturday 10 June 

Sunday 11 June 

2. Step Back in Time & Nostalgia

The event will also feature back-to-school games, activities and food from the 60s to 90s with the objective of introducing children to a non-digital era that their parents have grown up in. Parents will love this as this will be a blast from the past of their growing years! 

3. Environmental Entrepreneurship 

Partnering with Youth Leader Singapore, the event will debut TKA Care Challenge: a collaborative effort between ten local primary schools to raise funds for The Straits Times Pocket Money Fund. The students will be creating special knick-knacks made from mostly environmentally-friendly materials to be sold at the respective schools and during the three-day event.

4. Get Preloved Children’s Books at $2.90 each! 

Another fundraising effort will witness the organisers working with The Salvation Army Singapore to raise funds for its local causes through The Kidz Academy Book Cart, which will make its round to schools, offices and the event venue to sell second-hand children books from local and international authors at a fixed price of $2.90 each. 

 The Kidz Academy will take place from Friday 9 June to Sunday 11 June, 10am – 9pm (9 – 10 June) and 10am – 8pm (11 June) at Suntec Singapore Halls 404 to 406.

Other Event Activities:


1. Meet & Greet sessions

The Kidz Academy will bring forth characters from Robocar Poli featuring Poli and Amber for three days of performances and Meet & Greet sessions. Online registrations for the meet and greet sessions will be announced at The Kidz Academy’s Facebook page.


2. Free Trial Classes

Three days of trial classes from educational and enrichment providers will happen from 10am to 8pm daily. The programmes are tailored for ages 2 – 12 years old, encompassing English, Maths, Science, technology, arts and more. Registration will be available at the official website.

3. Daily Stage Activities

A comprehensive set of stage segments from various exhibitors encompassing education, the arts, sports and more.

4. Daily Lucky Draws with prizes worth more than $14,000

Visitors will be entitled to one chance in the lucky draw with every receipt of purchase. Happening twice daily at 2.30pm and 7.30pm, a total of more than $14,000 worth of prizes will include a 2D1N in a One-Bedroom Villa at Amara Sanctuary Resort Sentosa worth $4,100 as the grand prize.

5. Goodie Bag Giveaway (Worth up to $50)

With a total of 1,500 goodie bags to be given away, registrants are to redeem the Goodie Bags at the event from 10am onwards. Participants can reserve a goodie bag through online registrations or be the first 200 to queue at the door. 

6. The Kids Academy Play Pass

The Play Pass is an interactive activity for children of all ages. Participants are to complete activities from different pit stops held at various booths at the event. Completion of the Fun Passport entitles one to a game of Tikam-Tikam with exclusive prizes up for grabs.

7. The Young Singapura Girl Contest


Introducing a new stage segment, the contest aims to crown the most creative display of the young Singapore girl in their best ethnic wear. Open to children from ages 5 to twelve. The top participants will walk away with prizes which includes Universal Studios Singapore® Admission Tickets and retail vouchers. 

8.The Kidz Academy Village 

In collaboration with partners such as Loacker, the The Kidz Academy Village offers complimentary refreshments for children of all ages at varied timeslots throughout the day. Limited quantities will be available each day.

9. The Finals of Speak Up! Kids Public Speaking Competition

Happening on 9 and 11 June 2017, the finals of the second public speaking competition – a joint collaboration between The Kidz Academy and Speech Academy Asia will showcase 24 teams from three different age groups and various primary schools.

10. Safe Cycle Programme

A dedicated zone that imparts basic skills training and road circuit simulation to educate kids on safe cycling, children will be certified as a young safe cyclist at the end of the programme. Registration is available here.

11. Free-to-play Inflatable Zone

Three inflatable attractions will be available across three days on within an allocated space of more than 200sqm. The inflatable zone will include attractions such as Ninja Run, Discovery Box and Ultimate Rebound – the only of its kind in Singapore. 

For more information on the latest updates and event highlights, visit www.thekidzacademy.com.sg 

Learning Math with Slime! – LearnersEd Openhouse 2017

Media Invite  


Last weekend, we were invited to attend a workshop with an irresistible offer- an opportunity to make slime and learn math all at the same time. 

For the kids it was a no-brainer. Make slime? Sold. For mummy me, it was a no brainer too, make slime …without getting the house messy and gucky? For sure! 

So off we trooped to LearnersEd, a Math learning centre, nestled in the cosy neighborhood of Potong Pasir, ready to get our hands mucky and our brains some mathematical exercise.

 The “Discovering Math with Slime” Open House 2017 looked promising to boot.




Greeted by the clean and welcoming premises, the kids went about to their respective classrooms for the day’s programme. 

The aim of the activities of the day: 

• To instill hands-on learning and creativity in children through the process of making slime and butter.

• To bring about an experiential learning process where Maths and Science concepts are infused in the making of slime and butter.



First up, the kids explored the concept of density by observing how oil floats on water. Food dye and salt were added next which would sink through the layer of oil.

 


They recorded their observations eagerly as they watched the effects of the elements interacting.  It was an interesting science appetizer before moving on to the real deal–making butter and slime. 

DIY Slime

Children were given DIY tools to do simple measurements of the ingredients. 

Along the way, they were encountering Maths in real life through the process of making slime and butter. Very cool. 




The verdict was in: “Best Day Ever!” declared little Miss as she rolled and squeezed the green goeey ball of slimy satisfaction, gleaming from ear to ear. 

What we loved: 

  • Integrating fun with learning. 


Honestly, I was curious to see how math would be introduced into the greater scheme of things through an activity like making slime. 

Turns out the way they did it below was meaningful: through concepts of measurements and fractions. 

  • Hands-on experience 

Many times learning is dry and formulaic with rote methods that bore rather than excite. 

So I truly appreciated the centre’s efforts to make learning so energizing with real ingredients at play (the kids earlier made their own butter with marbles and whipped cream). 

The kids also took home practical applications that would lock in their impressions of what they were learning thereby making it more impactful and memorable.

  • A Learner-Centric Program 

Learners Ed has a well-thought curriculum designed by skillful teachers who are familiar with the demands and rigor of Mathematics at the Primary and Secondary School levels. 

The centre runs small group classes (maximum 6 per class) as they value a cosy student-teacher ratio. 

Recognising that every student has different starting points and varied interests and abilities to learn Mathematics, LearnersEd breaks down and simplifies Mathematics concepts into “bite-size” portions so that the students find learning of Mathematics manageable and enjoyable. Lessons are crafted to build in rigor and fun elements. 

Check out their timetable of primary and secondary math classes here! 

LearnersEd truly lives us to their motto of “Taking Math to New Heights” judging from the smiles on these little faces! 

Disclaimer: All opinion for the purposes of this review are my own. 

****

Giveaway Promotion to  MOBM Readers!

LearnersEd is giving away: 

ONE free class + 15% discount for the 1st month of sign up (applies to all levels) 

for the first 10 lucky readers who make a booking with them. 

{Quote promo code: blog27}

Contact LearnersEd now to claim this exclusive offer for a limited time period only and subject to vacancies!

Our Family Outdoor Shoot with The Nice Photo Man!

A Memoirs of a Budget Mum Review 

We recently had the pleasure of doing a family outdoor shoot –like finally! This has been a long overdue affair …like waaaay overdue I would say! Our last official photo shoot was from our wedding, gasp. However, I’m glad we all finally found the right occasion to do it –on my fifth child’s first birthday celebration!!

We started sourcing around for a good photographer we would be comfortable to work with: aka good with kids, reasonable budget etc. We were glad to find him in Asher Ong, the young and budding lensman behind 6 Kids and a Pop Up Camper

As some of you might have read in the media, Asher, only 17 years of age, is the eldest of six siblings, who manned the camera throughout his family’s epic six month family road trip in the USA. 

Covering 43 out of 50 states, the trip  yielded some stunning photography, now published in their family travelogue “Six Kids and a Pop Up Camper”. The book was a storybook adventure for the family of eight and more remarkably, a fantastic testbed for the keen photographic direction of their eldest child, capturing some breathtaking moments of their adventure there. 


We love supporting local talent and as a homeschooling family, local homeschool  talent particularly! Asher is a wonderful example of how passion can be pursued at a young age when given time to blossom. 

Now a freelance photographer, Asher, also known on Instagram as @thenicephotoman, is really a nice photo man (boy). During our shoot, Asher was cheerful, totally at ease directing the shots with our large family and particularly nifty and friendly with the kids. 

These are some of our favourite shots of our family shoot; humorously titled 5 Kids and a Photoshoot, with credits to Asher😊.



We caught up with Asher recently in an interview: 

1. What or who first kickstarted your interest in photography? 


It all started when I was 12 and given a small compact camera as a gift. During that same year, my family of 8 (2 parents + 3 Boys + 3 Girls) flew to Australia on a holiday. I shot a lots of photos, and my Mom showed it to her photographer friend when we got back. He was extremely encouraging, commending me for being one with an eye for composition. Together with my mom’s encouragement I continued to shoot with that little camera, always  bringing it with me to wherever I went.

Before we embarked on our U.S. road trip in 6 Kids and a Pop Up Camper, my parents purchased a mid-pro DSLR to capture our adventures. After finding out about our buy, our Straits Times photo journalist church friend offered me lessons on how to use the camera. He is an amazing sensei- I only had two lessons and it was enough to get me started on my journey. Six months of shooting on the road, saw my skill level advanced at a phenomenal rate! 

2. Do you foresee yourself pursuing photography as a career? 

I never want to come to the point where I find myself saying, “sigh… have to take pictures again…” Hence, Lord willing, I hope to make my photography a “weekend job”, so as not to suck all the love out of my passion. 

3. Who or what are your favorite photographic subjects and why? 

My creative direction is still rather broad.  Each picture communicates a unique story. However, I do have an inclination toward architecture – and it is heavily published on my Instagram. You may say that I have a love for organised and mathematically constructed visuals! 

I also love portraiture. People are so amazingly fun to work with to make beautiful moments. As I continue to grow as a “people photographer”, I always am delighted to see the intricate story that I am able to capture! 

4. What is, by far, your favorite photo(s) from your portfolio? Tell us it’s backstory.


One of my favourite pictures features my friend’s family in a park that they love to hang out at. It is significant to me because it was one of the first portrait shoots that I did. Besides that, I love how organically the whole scene plays out. 
Being the eldest of 6, there has always been a baby / kid in the house. Hence, I work well with children as they can sometimes be nervous or overly excited when the camera is pointed at them. This photograph shows the loving and crazy side of a fun family with 4 kids, 3 of them being boys…


5. Three things most people don’t know about you: 

1. My age! I believe it is due to my friendships with adults that have matured me, such that many people take me for a 20 plus year old. You know those people at the MRT handing out pamphlets? I normally expect them to attempt to sell to me insurance, and other adult stuff… 

2. I cut and style hair- my brother’s hair to be specific. 

3. I play the cello and guitar and sing the Bass section in choir. I love music. 


6. The edge you possess as a young homeschooled entrepreneur: 

I have the opportunity to invest time to hone my skill, giving me an edge above others. I get to choose how I want to allocate and section out my time, be it to prioritise education or projects and work.

7. Three things on your Bucketlist for 2017

1. I hope to get a strong network of companies and services to enable our family to go on a second trip. Be it to finish the last 7 states of America, or to explore other countries like New Zealand or Iceland! 

2. Lord willing, to get into Temasek Polytechnic, Communication Design.

3. Run a Half Marathon. 
****

Photography Services by Asher Ong, thenicephotoman

JUNE EXCLUSIVE for MOBM Readers!

Use the special promo code “BUDGETMUM” to get 10% off a family photo shoot only valid for BOOKINGS during the Month of June! 

For enquiries, contact: 

Asher Ong

+65 9787 6527

ashlight.sg@gmail.com

ashlight.myportfolio.com

Instagram -> @thenicephotoman

{{No More Reluctant Readers!}} Giveaway: ilovereading.sg Magazines for Children & Youth!

{{Giveaway & Sponsored Post}}


Is Your Child Reading Well?

Does your child read and how much time does he or she spend time reading in a given day? 

It may appear that I’ve asked a redundant question: our children go to school don’t they? Shouldn’t they be reading something and reading enough?  

Perhaps cursorily so- with the obligatory 5-10 minute “silent” reading imposed before the typical school day starts. 

Apart from formal English lessons where they comb through the requisite Stellar books in the classroom and the occasional series from the library,  time for reading may in fact be short.

A good part of the day is easily spent clearing homework set from school, or rushing between tuition, extra-curricular classes and activities. For most, it could be hard to find downtime just to read amidst all these nagging priorities. 

Has reading for pleasure become a lost art? 

What really has become of it?

Reading in Jeopardy 

It isn’t surprising that reading has faced some stiff competition from an onslaught of digital entertainment and the rise of smartphone use among the young. 


Distractions, distractions.
The headlines are depressing and statistics don’t lie. A large proportion of people are preferring online pursuits to reading. 

“Children’s reading shrinking due to apps, games and YouTube” a Nielson Book Survey of 2000 British children reports with a staggering 50% of family households now owning at least one tablet. 

That was in 2013, mind you.

Our very own local broadsheet, The Straits Times declares a similar toil on reading: “Low reading rate: Lack of interest, time cited as factors”, according to a 2016 National Arts Council (NAC) Survey. 

Of the 1,015 Singaporeans and permanent residents surveyed, 56 per cent had not read a literary book between March 2014 and March 2015. And it does not help that a large proportion of people prefer online pursuits to reading books.

So how should we encourage children to read and to be excited to do so? 

ilovereading.sg Magazines 

My kids have always been fairly motivated readers and manage to sneak books in between their daily routines. I do notice their preference for comics and reading magazines and they tend to pick these up and devour them easily. I believe this is true for most children.


First, these are bite-sized and colourfully illustrated. Next, they contain puzzles and activities to make reading fun! 

Recently, we had the pleasure of reviewing a suite of reading magazines in that category by ilovereading.sg, a Singapore-based enterprise, where reading is regarded serious business.

 With their tag line “Cultivating Minds”, the publisher hopes to partner parents in providing good content and reading material for children and young people, in hope of inspiring all to read. 

Content is pleasantly packaged into assorted themes and topics that appeal to various age groups. Articles are presented in various genres and text types in bite-sized portions with huge illustrations so reading doesn’t look tedious. 

Here’s what is recommended for different age groups: 

1. Storytime (From 7years)


For young readers and lower primary school children, Storytime is a kids’ magazine packed with fairy tales, myths, poems – all beautifully written and illustrated, with kids activities like puzzles, games and colouring too! 


Every issue of Storytime comes with five classic stories, one or two poems and an extract from a favourite children’s book.

My younger kids enjoyed the activity sections and filled those in quickly! 


2. “I” (From 10years)


“I” is pitched at learners “who have little interest in the English language, see no reason why they should mind their commas, who cannot seem to get past the first page of anything they read”. 

Wow. It is hard to find a magazine catered to woo reluctant readers!

Word bank at the bottom of the story.


True to its name, ” I” , is all about the learner. 

It features  articles and comic strips of various sub-themes such as Chow Down (food), Line of Work (career), Music & Drama, among others.  

Articles are youth-centric and deal well to serve adolescent’s growing pains: from life hacks of becoming a confident person to managing anger and stress in a smarter manner.

3. INSPIRE (From 11years)


INSPIRE is an English Language magazine targeted at young readers between the ages of 11 and 14. 

This magazine hopes to present “fascinating stories, both fiction and non-fiction”.



 The range is comprehensive in INSPIRE with human-interest true life accounts, to opinion pieces, travelogues, narratives and descriptive texts. 

Texts are authentic and realistic with a good emphasis on general knowledge issues which promote good issues for discussion and debate!

4. iThink (From 14years)

iThink is specially designed for the readers between ages 14 to 16 years old. iThink symbolizes the magazine’s focus on critical thinking. “Is Pop Music Trash Now?, for example, presents a critique on the pop music industry and stories provoke critical evaluation in the reader. It is good companion magazine for advanced readers in Secondary school. 


iThink was nominated Best Educational Title in 2016 by Singapore Book Awards 2016.

Why we like ilovereading.sg magazines:

  • Exposure to text types : The magazines, in particular, I, INSPIRE and iTHINK closely follow the standard and format of texts outlined in the MOE English Language syllabuses, while maintaining the quality and concept of an interesting non-academic magazine. Readers get adequate exposure to text types and writing styles, that are crucial for expanding the breadth and depth of their language skills. If your kids, are not reading widely enough, the magazines will ensure you do. 
  • Engage: There is always an intention to engage the reader with post-reading activities such as language games, crossword puzzles, word search and anagrams. The ” I” also contains a generous sprinkle of spicy info bites (Now You Know), tickling brainteasers (Tease Your Brain), YouTube videos, SEL questions and word banks. Engagement in reading is essential. It allows the child to process content and reflect on their reading, making it more intentional. 

    • Educate: Post-reading follow up is critical and the more advanced magazines have dedicated worksheets that mirror the school exam format to provide readers with additional practice on exam-type questions that assess listening, oral, reading comprehension as well as writing skills. At the end of almost every article, there is a word bank that immediately helps the reader tune into contextual vocabulary and expand it fast and effortlessly. They also welcome student essays which are tweaked and given a makeover.

    Disclosure: All views are my own. A subscription of the above magazines was sponsored for the purposes of this review. 

    *****

    {Giveaway Alert: Get Your Free Copy of Storytime/I / Inspire /iThink Now!}

    The good folks at ilovereading.sg are giving away 1 FREE issue of a magazine of your choice for 20 lucky MOBM readers

    To participate in the giveaway, click here! 

    Terms and conditions

    1. This giveaway ends on 29May 2017; 2359hrs. The winners will be randomly selected from Rafflecopter and announced on this blog post the following day. 

    2. Winners will be contacted via the email address provided and will have 48 hours to respond; failing which a new winner will be selected.

    3. By entering this giveaway, you agree to release your email address to the sponsor for verification, contact and marketing purposes.
This giveaway is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook.

    ***All the best!!**

    Congratulations to these 20 lucky readers!

    1. Karen 

    2. Carol Mei Mei Lim

    3. Robert Sim

    4. Ann

    5. Joyce Ong 

    6. Sue Tan

    7. Dawn Lim

    8. Shirley Chin

    9. Michelle Lim Yan

    10. Christy Wong 

    11. Jazry Chan

    12. Evonne Lee

    13. New Siaw Hoon

    14. Jessie Lee

    15. Winnie Lam

    16. Rebecca

    17. Angelina Joelyn Lee 

    18. Stephanie 

    19. Chua Huay Wen

    20. Joanne Soh  

    The publisher will be contacting you shortly. 

    Keep Calm & Mother On

    It is nearly 13 years ago since I became a mother. 

    That feels like a very long time. It probably is. It feels like I had a sudden past life which doesn’t really seem to exist anymore…and an alter ego. It’s hard to explain, but if you’re a mom right here reading this, I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.

    Sometimes that alter ego makes you want to do wild and crazy things, like go undercover, escape on a plane or hatch a rendezvous escapade that involves a swanky beach hat, a divan and a martini, doing nothing but twiddling your manicured toes.


    You need to feel sizzling hot again…and not because you’re slaving at the stove and hanging out the clothes in freaking 35 degree weather. You wish you could wear those stretch marks like a tattoo and not have be conscious of the jiggling jelly fat under your arms.

    It doesn’t help matters that you still feel like a girl in disguise…you remember those young, carefree days but now you’ve got to up your game. You have to try to exercise every good muscle of patience and virtuous living.

    This “motherhood” module feels like one of the most difficult modules to get an “A” on.  There’s no real textbook or manual and you can truly only learn from Experience- which is the “mother” of hindsight. 

    The hardest thing about motherhood is being wise. Or at least acting like you are. When you’re in corporate Mom gear, you get into business and do your job; pull a serious face, give orders and tend to official pressing matters concerning  little people. Every single day. 

    These people are hard to please; they bicker, compare, complain and push your boundaries incessantly. Yet, that get away with mostly everything in your books. Yes, you’re probably biased.

    Motherhood is such hard work it feels crazy. It’s also a little cheesy-especially when you make a fool of yourself to squeeze out those cherubic giggles that make every second worth it. 

    You also didn’t know you had it in you to be a drama queen; to snort silly animal sounds and scream like a rockstar in the 120 decibel range when you step on Lego.

    As a mom, I’ve got my clowning act together, and also my juggling one. Somehow these routines get more and more complicated as the years go by and the best way to deal with it is really to have a very, very, very good sense of humor. 

    You also need to have a bad memory. So you don’t have to kick yourself hard in the foot when you make stupid mistakes or say stupid things that you regret the moment you utter it. Tomorrow will always be better somehow. And in the worst  scenarios, there’s always chocolate and ice cream. 

    Also in your Motherhood Survival Kit, should be the notion that this life, is THE best life. Here. Now. Tantrums. Spills. Messy. Sleep deprived. We are not going to start wishing it away because deep in our hearts we know that this thing called Motherhood–we wouldn’t trade it for the world. It’s probably one of the best things that ever came our way. 

    BASF Kid’s Lab 2017 is back! -Explore the Wonders of Chemistry with hands-on experiments!

    Media Invite

    Over the years, the BASF Kids’ Lab program has been reaching out to children all over the world and this year is no exception- this will be their 20th year in fact! 

    Our family has always looked forward to Kids Lab sessions! 

    Little scientists ready to rock and roll!

    It checks all our boxes for good family fun: free activity (check), educational (check), fun (check) and hands-on and engaging (check)! 
    I mean how often do the kids get a chance to get all decked out in lab gear and goggles, and mess around like it’s their job to!!

    Our session was conducted at BASF’s new and very swanky learning campus near One North. The learning campus, formerly a series of old colonial houses, is now a quaint precinct oozing with old-new world charm and flanked by lush greenery all round! Very nice. 

    Pano view of the grounds

     

    BASF Kid’s Lab adopts a family-friendly approach with its signature hands-on learning of simple chemistry experiments pitched at an easily-digestible level to young children and suiting multiple learning styles! 

    This year the highlight will centre on  two experiments: 

    1.  Poly Lab: children will discover the properties of plastics, and design a kit to separate and recycle plastics, and find out more about the amazing “corn starch” solution! Through hands-on experiments, they will find out how we can use and make plastics in a more environmentally friendly manner
    2. Colorful Butterfly: making use of materials available at home and applying simple science theories, children will be designing their own colorful butterfly.

    Here’s what we love: 

    1. Clear and Simple Steps: We love it that for all experiments, instructions are laid out clearly and simply enough for children to follow with laminated instructions. It’s truly the kids that take ownership for what they are doing and adults can take a step back and let the kids play scientist. 
    2. Recording Observations: Each table is manned by friendly lab assistants who guide the children to record their predictions and observations before and after the experiments and direct the children to uncover key learning points at every stage of exploration! 

     

    Experiment 1: Polylab

    In the first experiment, Poly Lab, the children were briefed on the different types of plastics (plastic bags, cups, bottles) in our immediate environment: 

    They were then led to separate different coloured plastic beads. 


    After adding some salt, the black beads floated to the surface of the water. Kids found out through this that different plastics have different properties! 


    Little scientists recording her observations

    Next, the kids dabbled in the “amazing corn starch” experiment which hopes to point them to future renewable substitutes for plastic.  

    The corn starch solution feels very dense yet malleable…a future plastic substitute!


    Experiment 2: Colourful Butterfly

    This colorful experiment involves red cabbage and is wonderful for younger kids. The kids were instructed to rub the cabbage dye onto the paper butterfly and see the effect of water, lemon juice and soap solution on it! 



    Different liquids yielded different colours! I won’t burst the bubble here to tell you what the result was because you really have to get your child a slot in to find out! 

    BASF 2017: Sign up Now! 

    BASF Kids Lab 2017 is now open for registration. 


    These are the details: 

    Who: Kids 7-12year olds 

    When: June 6-11 2017(Tuesday to Sunday)

    Time: 10.15am, 11.45am, 2.15pm, 3.45pm (1 hr 15min per session) 

    Where: Programme zone, Jurong Regional Library 

    To register:

     1. Go to NLB website 

     2. Search for event: BASF Kids Lab

    Good things must share!!! 

    Cooking for the Village

    Cooking for a large family has always been such a whirl. It always starts with a fluster of inspiration from surfing Pinterest and saving one too many news feeds of Tasty videos. This is followed by the random mad impulse to visit the supermarket to scour for good deals. Usually the Man (my endearingly patient hubby) strategically grabs a basket….with the not so subtle intention to ahem, keep me in line and give me “perimeters” for spending.

    Other than that, here’s what we usually do to keep homecooking on a budget:

    1. Visit good quality supermarkets for reduced items. Just today we flashed by Cold Storage and nabbed some half -priced buys of chicken, flower crab and portabellos. Usually, the reduce have day after use-by dates so one really has to be prepared to whip up something the day itself or the next day. Sometimes if you’re lucky, you get stuff that hold out for longer. Just remember to check when they are due and work your meals around it!

    2. Look in your fridge and work with what you already have. Remember, half the time we over-buy and over-stock as we forget what we have in our pantry. It’s the same with fresh produce. Check in with what u already have and Google their pairings. There could be recipes you never thought existed. Today, I had an epiphany while staring at the miso tub in my fridge and its remaining shelf life. Typically miso goes in soup but garlic and miso is an ingenious pairing and when used as a marinade on chicken, is an absolute recipe keeper. The pictures speak for themselves!

    3. Think of ways to extend the meal. Plan to use every item/part of the cooking process well. Some days ago, I bought mint leaves which I used in a tzatziki dip. I rolled over the remaining leaves in some vietnamese rice rolls the next day. Today’s winning miso chicken dish was also dutifully extended. The chicken and miso juices left in the pan were fully absorbed by the lovely Daiso udon noodles I boiled specially for our carbo-nivores.

    This is tonight’s complete Japanese Fusion Weekend pig out: Garlic Miso Chicken, absolutely delectable in that garlicky saltiness. Cucumber Wakame Seaweed Salad, a 5 minute refreshing sweet sour crunch to cut through the oil and udon that’s soaks up the delicious juices and layered with furikake and seaweed.

    Here’s the modified recipe just for those of you who would like to feed a village 😉


    Garlic Miso Chicken (adapted fr justonecookbook.com) Feeds 10 pax

    Ingredients:

    Parts of chicken (I used 6 thighs and 6 drums)

    1 bulb of garlic, finely minced

    4 Tbsp. Miso – I used white miso

    3 Tbsp. soy sauce

    3 Tbsp. mirin

    1 Tbsp. sugar

    1. Prick the chicken with a fork. Combine minced garlic with miso, add soy sauce, mirin, sugar in a bowl and stir into a marinade. Rub it over the chicken and set it to marinade in the fridge for at least three hours.

    2. Set to broiler mode, 180degrees in the oven for 50minutes, turning the chicken midway. Keep an eye on chicken towards the end to estimate doneness.

    Cucumber Wakame Salad


    http://www.japanesecooking101.com/cucumber-and-wakame-seaw…/

    Udon

    Flat udon noodles. $2 a pack from Daiso. Boil noodles till al dente. Throw into juices in pan and sprinkle furikake to taste. Top with crispy seaweed(optional)

    Getting The Kids Involved at Home – A Labour Day Post!

    It’s Labour Day today and I really had no intention of timing this follow-up post specially to coincide with it. However, since Labour Day is the only day this harried mama enjoys some downtime to expound on how we do chores in this family—it’s probably a sign that the heavens are in agreement!

    I used to cringe at home management. For someone organizationally and administratively challenged like me, I genuinely shuddered at the thought of setting up a spreadsheet for everyone’s chores…AND maintaining it.

    It sounded like I was setting myself up for failure: when things are put in a box within a scheduled time and you didn’t manage to put a check on it, it just wears you down slowly but surely and soon you’ll discover that you’re in a rut.

    Because of that, I literally dumped the idea of having a chore roster and chose to implement chores  according to the flow of what we were doing that day:  whether our day was a fluid one (running groceries, after-school activities) or a structured one (lots of seatwork), we tried to impress on the children to render help where it was needed. The idea was to simply invite the children to be involved in age-appropriate tasks/ chores as we went along. It went with the grain of simply encouraging them to be helpful! If you’re organizationally-phobic like me, there’s hope! 

    I discussed my chore philosophy in this earlier post but to sum it up, we felt teaching children to become cooperative members of a household is one of the best ways to teach them responsibility that would naturally lead to them being caring and considerate adults. 

    So how do we go about the process of assigning chores? 

    ARE CHORES GENDER SPECIFIC? 

    Firstly, hubby and I believe that girls and boys alike should do chores. There’s not really a need for differentiation at this point.

     Essentially, boys who learn to help at home and do household jobs will eventually grow into men who contribute actively in the household and ready to partner their wives through seasons of life—which goes a long way into making marriages work! All moms say “Yes!” Their future wives will thank you! 

    Boys need not be taught to do only typically “manly” tasks such as “cutting grass, and taking out the garbage.” Author Anne Roiphe puts it in more dramatic terms: If we raise boys to know that diapers need to be changed and refrigerators need to be cleaned, there’s hope for the next generation.”

    TRAINING HABITS

    While learning the alphabet and learning to read are important, knowing how to run the laundry, make the bed, dusting and basic kitchen work are also skills sets that are equally laudable. 


    The former are milestones while the latter are not  milestones per se but habits of the mind! Unlike milestones, which focus on achieving a certain skill,  good habits need to be cultivated and reinforced through time and practiced over and over till they stick.

    WHEN IN DOUBT, START YOUNG

    It may be surprising to some parents but many young children can do lots of helping around the house.  As Jean Ross Peterson observes: “Chores begin when your child can pick it up, put it away, fold, sort it, or carry it out the door.”

    The picture above is a guide so don’t feel restricted if you haven’t got this started. Expectations as to what jobs children can do will depend on family circumstances, numbers and ages of children and whether both parents work outside of the home. Whatever the circumstances, set aside time to train them in appropriate tasks. Give them space and communicate the expectation that they will soon grow into it! 

    My then 3 year old used to whine and cry when she was made to pack her toys. She used to take books off the shelves and throw them all over the floor. She found it difficult to return the books back on the original shelf as she couldn’t manage the load of the other books while trying to slot the one she had in. 

    The easy way was to pick up after her. But we reminded her each time to keep trying, offered some help and left her on her own. Slowly she realized how to lean the books one way and to put books in with their spines facing out. She still litters the floor today but doesn’t whine when told to pick up. It’s clear she’s acquired some confidence in this and she knows she’s expected to take care of her “library”.

    Just like we take time to master any given skill and to be good at it, giving our children room and sufficient grace to grow into the rhythm of help, takes the pressure off them. 

    A few months should do the trick and select one or two skills to reinforce at any given time so there will be focus. 

    GETTING SCHOOL-GOING CHILDREN TO PITCH IN

    Most children at a school-going age are eager to participate in doing things around the house. They are usually capable helpers and you can scale up adequately with some  harder chores.


    In our home, when grandpa goes on holidays, he assigns the 7 & 10yo  to help him water the plants in his garden while he’s out of the country. 

    This includes the front garden, the back garden, and two balcony patios and feeding the fish in the small pond. They were taught the specific methodology of watering : which species needed less, and which more(my dad is Mr Green Fingers: plants are as important as grandchildren hehe.)

    When they first started out, there were a few plants that were “slain” in the process and starved of water but slowly the kids got better. Given the ownership and responsibility, they surprised us one day by figuring out how to unlock and lock the padlock to the back door.

    Incidental learning is one of the great plus points of doing chores too…they end up picking up more than you intended to teach.

    TEENS & PROBLEM SPOTS

    This charm of helping out may last for a spell. To be honest, I have faced resistance  from older children in doing chores especially when they are NOT as eager to please and there’s competition with school activities, homework, and time with friends. During transitional phases like these, enforced schedules may not work. 

    According to Fred Gosman’s “How to Be a Happy Parent”, kids can come up with ingenious ideas for avoiding their chores.  One teenager whose job was to make sure there was always toilet paper in the bathroom piled 42 rolls next to each toilet. Another left the pan unwashed because he was only supposed to do “dishes”. 

    To avoid power struggles and get chores done:

     Negotiate negotiables & non-negotiables 

    • It is ok to feel tired and ask for help if you don’t feel up to it. As family, we can help to chip in.  It is NOT ok to show an attitude and be calculative. Almost always, it is likely to be a heart issue rather than a task issue and it may be wise to get to the root of it. 
    • Focus on the task at hand; rather than say “That’s so inconsiderate of you,” say, “I don’t like that I have to do my job and yours as well.”

    This is our journey in chore training. Do you have any helpful handles to share? 

    Singapore Kindness Run 2017 Kid’s Dash Giveaway!

    Recently, I’ve taken to running and it’s taken me by surprise. 

    I am glad for my creaky muscles that are overdue for conditioning. 

    I am glad for my running pals; a group of super determined ladies who are so set on their goals towards better health and fitness it is inspiring. 

    I am glad that this new rigour is going to get me back in shape. Every pregnancy has piled on more and more weight, and it’s about time I did something for me. 

    I am glad for the mornings that I get to come off my usual routine, to spend time amidst nature. Running helps you reconnect …with yourself.

     So for all those who are hesitating to get fit for whatever reason…I do understand how you feel because for most of the years before this one, I thought the same. There’s never enough time nor energy. 

    But…there’s always a first time. 

    And there are always good reasons to start and a good race to start with. 

    The good folks at Singapore Kindness Run 2017 have a gentle run planned for you and your little ones. Here are a few reasons why this is an awesome family run:

     

    1. Race Etiquette Experience Zones

    It’s one of the unique runs with character building and soft skills factored in. A key highlight: a dedicated Experience Zone with Experiential Learning Stations to discover  Race Etiquette Tips for little junior. Well, not surprising as this IS the Kindness Run! 

     
    2. Kid’s Friendly Family Fun

     This could be your Little Junior’s First Run. The 800m dash is an achievable distance to start and the kids would be thrilled with this winner’s  box collectible of the adorable Singa Lion! 

      
    More  Singa Lion!  Can’t resist. 

      
     

     3. Run by the Beach

    Pasir Ris Park with its leafy greens and beachside view is a nice place to have a run. Easterners will be happy and city folks happy with the change of scene. One of my favorite places I run at every week too-away from maddening crowd!

     The familiar leafy terrain of Pasir Ris Park on a typical run morning.

    Some highlights after the run include family photo opportunities with Singa the Lion and a chance to mingle with sports and celebrity ambassadors!   

    Here are some FAQS answered: 

    1. When will the Singapore Kindness Run 2017 be held?

    The race will be held on 14th May 2017, Sunday.

    2. Where will the Singapore Kindness Run 2017 be held?

    Pasir Ris Park, Native Lawn (next to Car Park C).

    3. How do I get to the Race:

    Please make your own arrangements. You can use Google Maps and enter destination as Pasir Ris Park Carpark C for directions from your location.

    4. What are the categories?

    The following are the race categories for the Singapore Kindness Run 2017. There are 3 race categories. Please refer below:

    10KM Men’s Open (min age 13 years or older)

    10KM Womens’ Open (min age 13 years or older)

    800M Kid’s Dash

    7-9 years old

    9-12 years old

    5. How much is it to participate in the Singapore Kindness Run 2017?

    Please refer to the chart below:

    Category    Early Bird         Normal

    10KM           $45                     $50

    Bundle: 1x10KM + 1x800M

                           $70                     $75

    800M Kids Dash

                           $25                     $30

    6. What is the flag off times of the respective categories?

    10KM – 7:00am

    800M Kids Dash – 9:30am

    ALSO IN YOUR RACE PACK:

    Racing Bib with Timing Chip

    Flying Cape All-you-can-Learn Buffet voucher – choose from any of the 1,200 classes and attend for free (UP: $25)

    Mother Earth Healthy Snack from New Zealand  

    Drawstring Bag

     Registration ends 28 April 2017.

    Click here to sign up!

    ***

    *GIVEAWAY ALERT*

    In addition, MOBM has one Kids Dash race for your little one (aged 7-12years) worth $30 to giveaway on the blog! 

    To participate in the giveaway: 

    1. Like Memoirs of a Budget Mum Facebook  & Instagram: @memoirsofabudgetmum

    2. Share this blog post on your Facebook Wall and tag three friends. Remember to ensure that privacy settings are set to “Public”
    For additional chance to WIN: 

    3. Comment on the post here on why you and your little one would be keen to take part in the run!

     *Leave your email address so we can contact you should you win the contest!

    Giveaway ends 26 April, Wednesday @6pm. All entries are to be submitted by then! 

    All the Best!😊

    **Congratulations! Joyce Loh! 

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