Memoirs of a Budget Mum

Mother to five, parent in progress and occasional kitchenista cookerella

Author: Mama T (Page 1 of 9)

Parenting 5 & Making it Work


If you’d asked me 13 years ago when I was expecting my firstborn, if I had ever thought I’d be a mother five times over, I would have stared at you incredulously. It was an obscure thought. 

I didn’t consider myself very motherly, let alone think I had the womb-numbing grit to endure the pain of childbirth! In all honesty, I had the tenacity of a marshmallow.

13 years later, the situation is reversed. Most people stare at me and the hubs incredulously when they find out that we are parents to five kids, and often follow up with the questions: “How do you do it?” How do you cope?”

It is almost as if we’d discovered a certain elixir to surviving parenthood so much so that we would “risk our sanity” doing it again and again. 

**For those who really want to know, we share a glimpse of our dose of “madness” here. 

A Magical Freaking Unicorn? 

I share this notion of a “unicorn” mum, tongue in cheek by the way. 

The thought that we could be parenting “experts” by now, couldn’t be further from the truth. 

I would have trouble even beginning to write a manual on how we parent. 

Maybe only: “How to Swiftly Avoid Stepping on Lego in your Kid’s Playroom Warzone” or “Three Perfect Hideaways so your Kids Won’t Find You.”

Why is this so? 


The Paradox of Parenting 

So what’s our approach to day to day parenting and how do we cope with it all?

The real truth, pardon the oxymoron, is disappointing. 

We are still coping. 

We’re still trying to figure this all out. 

We’re trying our best everyday to make it work. 

This is further exacerbated by what I term as the Paradox of Parenting: everytime you reach a stage where you think you’ve “figured it all out”… boom, something comes crashing, to throw you off-course. 

In the perilous world of parenting, there are just too many “firsts”: 

  • The nerve-wrecking day when you wait for your uncontactable teen to reach home, 
  • The sudden outburst from a normally placid child,
  • The days when you genuinely scratch your head at how to respond to your child’s interrogative questions beyond “Because I say so”.
  • The methods you use that used to work on Child A, which doesn’t work on Child B, which is totally laughable on Child C, …you get my drift.

The MORE you know about Parenting, the MORE you realize you don’t. 

Surprisingly, this brings me much relief as I continue to navigate the parenting jungle. Uncanny, but it’s true.

No Magic Formula 

I’ve stopped searching for that one magical formula or method that works. There is none.

I’ve not picked up parenting self-help or manuals, that either get me excited or stressed at milestones/strategies or lack thereof.

I stay clear from the temptation to compare: to see how people raise their kids vs how I raise mine.  There is no benefit in choking yourself with feelings of inadequacy and tormenting yourself with thoughts of shortchanging your kids.

I’ve stopped weighing in too heavily on other people’s opinions about how I should be doing things or running my household. 

Mothering from Rest 

Instead, I’ve begun to mother from a state of rest. 

Yes, we need physical rest and I do take my afternoon naps very seriously, but this is more than that. 

Mothering from rest means choosing to function from a state of calm and quiet trust that I am my own person (with all my strengths and imperfections) and so are my children. We are fearfully and wonderfully made, unique in our dynamics as a family. We are content. 

Sarah Mackenzie, who authored the book Teaching from Rest, says it so perfectly:

“You are made in the image and likeness of God, and you have exactly what you need to be the mother that He wants you to be. Figure out what drives you and then let your kids shine within the atmosphere you create. Trying to be something you’re not, trying hard to provide your kids with the education that the blogger-next-door is giving hers will burn you out make you want to quit the whole project entirely.”

Sarah Mackenzie, Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler’s Guide to Unshakable Peace


I believe that if I sow with the little that I have everyday -with more heart than self-imposed expectation, things will somehow work themselves out in the end.

It’s not so much what I do and how I do it as a mom that will make a pivotal difference. Rather, its more important where my heart is, in everything I do

This is essentially what keeps me going. 

Making it Work 

Motherhood is about making it work for the long haul and in the greater scheme of things.

The small stuff, the everyday grind, the nuts and bolts of managing the household, well, they do matter. Yet, these must not consume and nor take too much of an emotional toil.

“Rest begins with acceptance. Or, perhaps more accurately, with surrender. There will always be more you can do. 

You will never complete your tasks entirely, because just on the horizon is tomorrow, and tomorrow the to-do list starts anew. 

It is so exhausting—sometimes even demoralizing—to realize that our work in raising up and teaching our children is never really done. But we must remember that we were never intended to finish it.

The true way to live is to enjoy every moment as it passes, and surely it is in the everyday things around us that the beauty of life lies.”

Sarah Mackenzie, Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler’s Guide to Unshakable Peace

My mothering goals are not so much about getting my kids through to the best universities and getting them settled for a bright future in the horizon. 

My goal in the long view of things, is to be a fellow soujourner, a comforting companion, a supportive help; a wise advisor.

 Being a mother means providing a safe and restful place in MYSELF for my kids to find their rest and come home to. Mothering requires us to guard that peace as an anchor to our relationships with our husbands and children. 

There, I said it. 

I really do hope that sharing my journey of “making it work” brings you some soul food ❤️.

P.S. No magical unicorns were harmed in the writing of this post. 😊

https://owlswellblog.wordpress.com/2017/05/01/mothers-make-it-work-a-blog-train-hosted-by-owls-well/

This post is part of the “Mothers Make it Work! Blog Train hosted by Owls Well. To read other inspiring stories, please click here.

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5th Legoland Brickversary Celebration!

Media Invite

Our kids never get tired of Legoland even though we’ve been there more than three times! 

And when we were invited to visit again, no surprises that the kids were super excited! After all, it’s where their childhood memories were made! It was a drizzly day but we were undeterred! 


LEGOLAND® Malaysia Resort is throwing it’s fifth birthday bash this year with lots of goodies and fun-filled activities in store, from 21 August to 30 September 2017.

If you are thinking of popping over to LEGOLAND® Malaysia for a short weekend getaway or 2-3 hours of fun,you can look forward to a host of stunning family fun: a giant sized Lego cake, minifigures exchange, and much much more!  

Here are some Upsized Fun for the Family during Brickversary!: 

  1. Brickversary Goodies Coupons Up For Grab (1st – 30th September) – Stand to win discount vouchers, Lego sets, minifigures, and an all-expense paid trip to LEGOLAND® Japan for the family! See kids frantically scratching their cards out for discounted meals..hope you have better luck!!

2. Jumbo Minifigure Trade – Bring your own minifigure to trade! Go on a Jumbo Minifigure Trading craze with 1,000 kinds of Minifigures and challenge your kids to see who can collect the most Minifigures from the park’s Trading Hut

3. Giant LEGO® Birthday Cake – Who can take the best iconic shot of themselves with a Giant LEGO® Birthday cake made up of 150,000 LEGO® bricks?


4. Fifth Brick-versary’s Edition DUPLO® Bricks – Are you a true blue LEGO® fan? Find out more about the activities that lets you win one of the fan favourite limited edition DUPLO® bricks
 


5. Family Fun Shows and Parades! 

Brickdance by 12 LEGO® costume characters – Mums, dads, boys and girls, get ready for a dance showdown. Battle it out with the adorable LEGO® costumers.

Brick-Dance Parade @ Lego City (daily) — 3:45pm

Photo Credit: herneenazir.com

Character Dance Show @LEGO Star Wars Miniland ( (Weekends, Public and School holidays) – 4pm

Awesome Parade @ The Beginning (Weekends, Public and School holidays) – 6:30pm

The Big Party @ The Beginning (15, 16, 17 Sep) – 6pm – 6:45pm

                                      ***

Top Picks!

Here are some of OUR family’s best recommendations for LEGOLAND and rides that our kids go for again and again! Definitely check out these classic rides and newest attractions! 
1. Ninjago The Ride

We went for this 3 times in total and we rate it hands down, one of the best experiences in the Legoland theme park! The 4D interactive attraction packs a great visual and virtual punch….and workout. Your arms will feel like you had a great workout after! 


2. Splash Water fun! 💦 

My kids love getting super-soaked. This ride gives them the thrills and spills. Super fun.


3.  Raging Rollercosters!

My teen and 7 year old are adrenaline junkies. They come back time and again just for the Dragon Rollercoasters. They dragged me up the big one in the last visit but I managed to escape this time 😅.

4. Playgrounds Galore!

There’s really no age too young to have fun at Legoland. Playgrounds and playmates abound. 



Definitely a fantastic experience time and again! We’ll be back! Thank you Legoland Malaysia! 😊 

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Don’t Judge a Fish by its Ability to Climb a Tree…

It’s that time of the year again where many parents are on tenterhooks and many children stand at the crossroads of Ambuiguity,  pondering the paths their lives may take with the turn of the national exams. 

The tensions remain.

Parents may have bought into the myths of early success and its apparent ramifications for the future. 

At their tender ages, some children may have had unfortunate encounters in school. They might have felt boxed up, and fitted into a prototype of what a successful student SHOULD look like–only to find that the “package” doesn’t quite fit comfortably. 

It’s not a new story. Our systems have little tolerance for perceived exceptionality and mediocrity. 

According to the article “Why there’s no such thing as a Gifted Child”, Guardian’s Wendy Berliner recounts the classic tale of the misfit:

“Most Nobel laureates were unexceptional in childhood. Einstein was slow to talk and was dubbed the dopey one by the family maid. He failed the general part of the entry test to Zurich Polytechnic – though they let him in because of high physics and maths scores. He struggled at work initially, failing to get academic post and being passed over for promotion at the Swiss Patent Office because he wasn’t good enough at machine technology. But he kept plugging away and eventually rewrote the laws of Newtonian mechanics with his theory of relativity.” 

Phew…

Most of that description sound like us and for the most part, our children, doesn’t it? 

Einstein WAS that fish out of water. It was only when he found his ocean, that the tidal wave of discovery broke through. 

Considering Einstein makes us circumspect that there can be a quick fix to achieving real success. 

Allowing our Fish to find the Ocean

How can we as parents, ensure we cast a long view towards education and not be too quick to judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree? 

According to Berliner, who collaborated on the book Great Minds and How to Grow Them, “the latest neuroscience and psychological research suggests most people, unless they are cognitively impaired, can reach standards of performance associated in school with the gifted and talented. However, they must be taught the right attitudes and approaches to their learning and develop the attributes of high performers – curiosity, persistence and hard work, for example – an approach Eyre calls “high performance learning”. 

In essence, we can help our children achieve their level of giftedness eventually, if we sow powerful attitudes and approaches to learning. 

This brings me to the point of this article. Our family is truly heartened to have discovered that there ARE good providers in the marketplace that are centred on that philosophy and who are committed to support our child’s quest towards their own exceptionality. 

Flying Cape – Our Holistic Education Partners

Flying Cape, a holistic education platform,  believes that maximizing learning potential in our children starts with understanding how each child is unique in terms of interests and learning styles. 

Their S.M.A.R.T framework is taken from the best research from renowned academics all over the world and translates into clear and actionable plans for parents and children to employ.  


1. SEEK Out Strengths

If you don’t already know by now or are just going by guesswork or instinct. It may be good to find out your child’s strengths, interests and learning styles using Flying Cape’s diagnostic assessments. 

Flying Cape’s free Multiple Intelligence assessment, designed by globally acclaimed educator Dr Brenton Shearer, can help refine our expectations about what our children are good at.


My son, who’s into Lego and Robotics was found to be logic smart (all that tinkering made sense!) while my daughter fared well in the picture smart category (countless doodles). 

Knowing this, gives us a sense of how to create that supportive environment for our kids to bloom. I don’t expect my daughter to excel in all areas but knowing she has an artistic streak helps me focus on where her strengths lie.

The good thing about Flying Cape’s selection of class package is there is no one size fits all programme. 

Let your child try out a wide range of activities using the All-You-Can-Learn Class Buffet and determine a fit of school and teaching style. At 5 classes for a flat fee of $99, it’s a steal. 

2. MAP Out Personalized Plan

Flying Cape’s Compass Map reveals their philosophy and position on education. In fact, academics is just one launchpad to realworld success.  

Pivotal to the CompassMap, is the idea that  success in academics is not the only way to ensure success in the real world.

Working alongside, are a host of character attributes and multipliers that can accelerate and trigger that significant development and growth. 

Particularly notable is the emphasis on performance character which is termed as “Having the internal drivers to overcome challenges”. 

Performance Character refers to habits and/or dispositions that an individual uses to motivate themselves to overcome personal challenges and hardships. This is not unlike what Angela Duckworth has popularized, in the form of GRIT. It coheres too, with the importance of equipping children with core character traits that will help them push through till they achieve success. 

Interaction Multipliers are focused mainly on socials skills, such as Public Speaking, Leadership and Negotiation Skills.  Learning Multipliers focus on “Techniques on HOW we learn what we need to learn” such as memory recall, speed reading, mind mapping. These skills are rarely taught in schools but are equally important for learning.

3. ACCESS Classes & Activities

Next, search for your desired classes at flyingcape.com.sg. Classes are sorted by category (according to the 8 intelligences and via age groups). 

The friendly customer service is impeccable and the Flying Cape Team fields your questions and concerns while facilitating your booking if you encounter any issues or difficulties.

Get your child’s active input in deciding on the type of classes. Commitment to learn is always stronger if it is a joint decision between parent and child.

4. REVIEW Progress & Achievements

Get regular feedback from your child’s teachers. Measure what matters – Flying Cape’s holistic scorecard helps you track all the activities and classes your child has attended, all in one place.

5. TURBO CHARGE For Greater Success & Confidence

Affirm your child’s progress and jointly determine next steps. Increase the level of difficulty or try out new ways of learning where appropriate. Explore practical applications of new found skills and knowledge.

It takes a village to raise a child and Flying Cape are our family’s trusted partners. The road ahead is long, so we invite you to come onboard.

***

One of our favourite Dr Seuss books inspires with a few wise lines to all who want to succeed:

“So be sure when you step, 

Step with care and great tact. 

And remember that life’s A Great Balancing Act. 

And will you succeed?

 Yes! You will, indeed! 

(98 and ¾ percent guaranteed)

 Kid, you’ll move mountains.

You’re off to Great Places!

Today is your day!

Your mountain is waiting,

So… get on your way!”

{{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!!! 

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