Feeds:
Posts
Comments

After I dropped Asher in school for his sleepover, Ellery and I had our special day (or evening rather). He was playing in the sandpit and made me sand pies, so for dinner we decided to have some real pies at Pies & Coffee.

We had duck confit and wagyu beek cheek pie. The filling was good. The meat was tender and the gravy rich and flavourful. But I was really disappointed by the pie crust which was much too dry and crumbly. It could be an off day. I’ve been there once before and the pie crust was better.

Our pies

Our pies. The mash potato was so good!

We headed home so that Alyssa could bathe and I made a deal with Ellery that we’d go out for ice-cream after Alyssa slept. He was so excited! My goodness. When we left the house he was happily chanting, “Mei mei (little sister) is not here! Mei mei is not here!”. He did clarify later that he loves his sister but was just happy that it was him and me alone that night. I really should try to schedule in these special days with the boys more often if possible.

Ellery chose to go Ben & Jerry’s, and he chose the flavours of ice-cream, and the toppings. Brownie with Candy Bar Pie and Chocolate Therapy ice-cream, hundreds-and-thousands, and sliced almonds. I approve. Yum! We shared of course :)

Ice-cream treat!

Ice-cream treat!

After ice-cream we walked around Dempsey a bit and ended up at Jones the Grocer. I decided to bring him to the cheese room just for fun, and oh, how much fun we had! He was sooooo amused by the names of the cheese and was especially tickled by Munster and Ticklemore! I had never heard of Ticklemore cheese too and found it quite funny. But Ellery thought the names of these two cheese was simply hilarious! He laughed so loud, and long, and hard! “Mun-han-hahaha-han-ster!!! Ti-hee-hee-hee-ckle-hahahahaha-more!!!!”

We bought back some Ticklemore to try and wanted to get some Munster too but the salesperson strongly advised against it. Maybe another day I’ll get a small piece to let him try.

In the cheese room

In the cheese room

Munster

Munster

Ticklemore

Ticklemore

Laughing his head off

Laughing his head off

We wandered Cucina too to see the produce they were selling, before heading home.

Looking at veggies and fruit at Cucina

Looking at veggies and fruit at Cucina

A special day indeed. We should have another some time :)

Special Day – Part Asher

Asher didn’t have school on Friday because the K2 kids were going to have a sleepover in school (how fun right?) Since Asher had been asking to go ice-skating again I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to bring him. With Ellery in school I could focus my attention on Asher and help him become more confident on the ice.

So off we went to JCube. After a warming lunch of katsu curry (he said he wanted his body to warm up so he wouldn’t feel cold on the ice), we went ice-skating, just him and me. Alyssa was with Eni.

It was really special for Asher and I. I seldom ever get the chance to be with just him, even when there were just 2 kids. With 3 it’s even tougher. This was our first time, and he was so happy.

We were pleasantly surprised to bump into his two classmates there. They had been wanting to go back after the Frozen party too. It was great! He became a lot steadier on the ice and could move a little more smoothly, though still far from what I’d call skating. Still more like walking, or shuffling. But he was not afraid. And he was happy :)

I didn’t realise that the Rink had fixed timeslots for skating and we missed about 30mins of the 2 hour slot, but I made a promise to him, so I kept it. And it was so worth it.

With his classmates on the ice

With his classmates on the ice

At a Baby Bjorn event they gave out a canvas tote bag that I’ve found to be almost the perfect size. It fits all the things I need when I go out with Alyssa – diapers, changing mat, extra clothes, etc. It’s sturdy because there is no seam at the bottom. It’s made of a single piece of cloth that’s sewn together at the sides. That also makes it very light, which is great because some diaper bags feel quite heavy even before you put anything inside. The length of the straps are also just right. Long enough to slip off one strap past my elbow while the other is still on my shoulder, yet not so long that when you hold it in your hand the bag touches the floor.

But when we got caught in the rain in Malaysia I realised the one flaw of the bag was that it wasn’t waterproof. In Malaysia I had to stuff my bag into my Mum’s oil-cloth bag so that it would stay dry. I decided then and there that I would try to make a waterproof version of that tote.

Initially I was thinking of oil-cloth or vinyl-coated cotton, but Spotlight didn’t sell those. So I went for waterproof canvas that’s meant for outdoor furniture. There was a nice range of patterns and I was tempted to go for a bright red in a geometric print. In the end I decided to stick with the classic and easy-to-match black and white stripes. If it’s good enough for Coco, it’s good enough for me.

The waterproof canvas frays easily though, so instead of regular seams I sewed French seams. I love the clean finish!

I also didn’t anticipate having trouble making the gusset. I thought I could just hem up the bottom bit and everything would line up properly. Only as I was doing it did I realise the method I had planned out in my head was flawed. Thankfully I remembered seeing a pattern somewhere that had squares cut out at the bottom corners and tried that method. It worked! At first I didn’t realise they had to be squares though, and cut out a rectangle, only to discover that the seams did not line up. I then had to expand the cut-out into a larger square, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise because now the bag has a wider gusset and my things fit even more comfortably inside!

I’m so very pleased with my tote. I tried putting a couple of drops of water on the bag and they just rolled off. Perfect for the coming rainy season and for our upcoming holiday to Hong Kong. I don’t have to worry about Alyssa’s things getting soaked anymore!

Making square cut-outs at the bottom corner to make gussets

Making square cut-outs at the bottom corner to make gussets. Note that this is a single piece of cloth, folded in half before cutting out the squares.

Makes a practical, wide gusset. And I love how the stripes lined up perfectly just as I wanted!

Makes a practical, wide gusset. And I love how the stripes lined up perfectly just as I wanted!

My beautiful French seam, if I may say so myself haha! It's the first time I did it!

My beautiful French seam, if I may say so myself haha! It’s the first time I did it!

Looks neat on the outside too

Looks neat on the outside too. Except for the fraying, waterproof canvas is very easy to work with.

The finished product stuffed with all the baby things.

The finished product stuffed with all the baby things.

Head-Butt Changing Mat

My pet peeve about changing mats is that most, if not all, changing mats are folded wrong. The OCD part of me gets very grossed out by how changing mats are normally folded. It’s usually folded in thirds along the width with either:

(a) the part where baby’s head rests being folded to the middle where some poo/pee might be found, or

(b) the part that touched the butt (and the poop or pee) being folded up to the middle, and the part where the baby’s head rests being folded onto the exterior of the changing mat (which touched the changing table and picked up all the yucky yucky germs from all the hundreds of other babies!)

Why is it like that??

I’ve thought for a long time, since Asher was a baby, about making my own changing mat, and I finally got around to it. I couldn’t stand to wait any longer because I have been using this tiny changing mat that came with the diaper bag Thomson Medical Centre gives out. Not only is it folded the conventional way, Alyssa’s legs and arms are also sticking out. I cringe whenever I see her hands touching the changing table.

I spent quite a long time searching for the right materials. I was initially thinking of oil-cloth, vinyl-coated cotton, or PUL fabric but Spotlight didn’t carry those. In the end I went with waterproof canvas that’s meant for outdoor furniture for the exterior. I considered using that same fabric for the interior but decided I wanted vinyl as that would be easier to clean, but Spotlight didn’t sell that either. However, one of the staff members had a great idea to buy a cheap mattress protector and cut out what I need. To make the mat a little more cushy, I added a layer of flannel and ironed on some interfacing to give it a bit more struccture. Then I finished it off with black binding for a more polished look, and made straps with velcro to hold everything together when folded.

My raw materials

My raw materials

Voila! Here is my ‘Head-Butt’ Changing Mat. The head part folds to the head part, the butt part folds to the butt part. Never shall the twain meet. And big enough so that even if Alyssa flings her arms out, it’s still on the mat. Yeaaahhh. That’s what I’m talkin’ about.

The exterior made of waterproof canvas

The exterior made of waterproof canvas

Fold lengthwise people, lengthwise!

Fold lengthwise, people, lengthwise!

Folded in half

Folded in half

Folded up!

Folded up!

Criss-cross stitching to reinforce the strap

Criss-cross stitching to reinforce the strap

It completely covers the changing table. I love it!

It completely covers the changing table. I love it!

I was going to print the words ‘Head’ and ‘Butt’ on the changing mat, but decided against it because it would look tacky if the words started to peel off. The strap side is the head side.

The perfect changing mat, in my opinion :)

aMaze Me!

We had a bit of time after visiting Sensorium 360° so we swung by the Esplanade to check out aMaze Me! by Tay Bee Aye. aMaze Me! is a live-art installation and is part of Esplanade’s Octoburst 2014 programme. It invites people of all ages (though kids are the ones most drawn to it) to help create a maze by knotting pieces of ribbon anywhere they like. The result is an ever-changing, colourful, beautiful mess that the kids love climbing through.

It reminded me somewhat of the Singapore Art Festival’s Tangled a few years back where people were given balls of coloured yarn to throw around to create a colourful maze-like space as well.

The boys had a very good time tying ribbons and going through the maze. It was great that the kids were given more than one length of ribbon as I think most kids would want to do it again, and again, and again! I was also glad to see that there were many people on hand to guide the kids and teach them how to knot the ribbons. Yes, I could do that, but it’s kinda tricky to climb in while nursing Alyssa :)

Knotty boy!

Knotty boy!

Navigating his way through the maze

Navigating his way through the maze

Having come from Sensorium 360° where the kids had to stick within the bounds of what was deemed acceptable within the designated art space, often being told not to do this, or touch that by the museum staff, I was happy that Ellery’s idea to tie a ribbon around a nearby tree trunk was not immediately dismissed, and in fact he was helped with the process. He wanted to create a bridge for the ants, and spent quite some time devising a way to make the bridge stronger.

Ant bridge engineer

Ant bridge engineer

The boys said they wished the ribbons were strong enough to climb on. That would be interesting wouldn’t it? Then the structure would be like those spider web climbing structures at playgrounds. As it was quite a windy day I thought it’d be interesting to hang chimes or little bells on some of the ribbons too. It would add another dimension to the installation and the sound of chimes tinkling harmoniously would be so beautiful!

Climbing around

Climbing around

"Look Mummy! No hands!"

“Look Mummy! No hands!”

I had thought aMaze was only on this weekend, but apparently it’s on next week too. As we’re catching next week’s Dance Appreciation Series: Introduction to Ballet Classics, we’ll probably come back to take a look at aMaze Me! again to see how it’s morphed. It’ll be more fun next week as the maze would probably have become even more complicated, and even more colourful! The day we were there most of the ribbons were yellow and orange, but they’ll be giving out more colours in the coming days.

aMaze Me! is set up at Esplanade’s Courtyard Green
27 & 28 Sep, Sat & Sun, 11am – 7pm
3 – 6 Oct, Fri – Mon, 11am – 7pm

You can go to the Octoburst website to find out more details on the other activities. Giant snakes and ladders sounds fun!

Climbing is the order of the day apparently

They just had to do this before we left. It’s one of their favourite things to do whenever we’re at the Esplanade.

Sensorium 360°

With the September school holidays now over I decided to bring the kids to check out Sensorium 360° – Contemporary Art and the Sensed World. I generally avoid going to such places during the school holidays because it’s usually extremely crowded. When we went, there was just the right amount of people to create some buzz without it feeling packed.

Sensorium 360° is an exhibition of Southeast Asian and Asian contemporary art that explores the senses and its complexities. It’s not a dedicated children’s exhibition like the Children’s Festival, but there is plenty to fascinate little ones, and quite a few interactive installations that are suitable for kids.

The first installation we went to was The Overview Installation by Eugene Soh. Using a pair of goggles with screens embedded inside, you have a third-person experience of the self. You see yourself through the eyes of a CCTV camera and try to navigate your way through a maze that, without the goggles, would have been very easy to go through. In that state of augmented reality, a simple maze is not so simple anymore. It was amusing to see people ‘walking through’ walls as they struggled to make sense of their spatial position. It’s easy to tell who has better spatial awareness, and it doesn’t appear to be gender related.

Asher trying to go through the maze

Asher trying to go through the maze

What he sees on the screen in the goggles

What he sees on the screen in the goggles

The kids had a great time playing among…breasts! Haha! In noon-nom by Pinaree Sanpitak, the room is filled with cushions shaped like breasts (or Chinese baos, I thought). The artist wanted the reassert the significance of the female breast as a natural form the symbolises nourishment and comfort, as well as signifying the potency of the sensuous and spiritual feminine body. To touch, and be touched. Despite what the cushions were supposed to be, the boys had a great time pretending they were strange creatures living in a swamp.

The only one who fully got what it meant and was happy to just chill out and lie on the warm, soft, comforting breast was the still-being-breastfed Alyssa haha!

Jumping from cushion to cushion

Wheeeee!

Alyssa chilling on a large boob

Alyssa chilling on a large boob

I was surprised by how much I liked Chicken Rice in the Border by Bui Cong Khanh. When I read about it while the boys were jumping around noon-nom I didn’t think much of it. But when we actually went to see the installation I found myself being very intrigued by this concept of food representing your mixed heritage. I wondered what would be the boy’s Hoi-An Chicken Rice – the dish that represented the artist’s Vietnamese-Chinese heritage. With their Hokkien-Teochew-Malayali-touch-of-Peranakan heritage, I’d be hard-pressed to find a dish that represents them. Maybe we can invent something!

Beautiful watercolours on this sheet describing the ingredients that go into Hoi An Chicken Rice

Beautiful watercolours on this sheet describing the ingredients that go into Hoi An Chicken Rice

There were other installations that the boys really liked like Cage (a room full of lasers à la Matrix, very cool) and Twinning Machine 4.0 (a time-delayed projection of your image and movements). I also liked There is a tree in the heart of death and how the scents reflected the music, especially for La Paloma. It would be interesting if a dance performance incorporated this element of scent with each dance having a different scent blend.

If there was one criticism I have it would be that it is not clear how interactive the exhibition seeks to be, and how welcomed or unwelcomed young children are. The museum staff, full of good intentions, kept telling the kids not to do this and not to do that, even when they hadn’t gone overboard on anything, in my view. It could be a paranoia over young kids. The boys were told not to run in The Cage when they weren’t running, yet older teenagers who were running were not stopped. The boys were told not to linger among the hanging ropes, but adults were not stopped. The boys were asked (nicely) not to be to jump around too much at noon-nom when they were mainly crawling about, but there were teenagers who were literally running all over the place, racing from one end of the room over the cushions to another in a fairly dangerous manner that were not stopped too. It was a bit of a killjoy at times. If there was one thing the boys could have done better on, it was to speak more softly – something I’ll have to work on with them.

Still, Sensorium 360° is interesting and worth a visit. It is on at the Singapore Art Museum (SAM) until 22 October 2014, and is free for Singaporeans and PRs.

The Cage

The Cage

The boys discovered their bottles would light up if they used it to interrupt the lasers

The boys discovered their bottles would light up if they used it to interrupt the lasers

Zapping Alyssa's foot

Zapping Alyssa’s foot

Ellery checking out photographs of the other exhibits. I think the artist was taking pictures, and might in time put up a photograph of people looking at pictures of pictures from the exhibit. Picture in a picture in a picture!

Ellery checking out photographs of the other exhibits in Transcendence. I think the artist was taking pictures, and might in time put up a photograph of people looking at pictures of pictures from the exhibit. Picture in a picture in a picture!

Trying to identify the different smells

Trying to identify different smells

Smelling Ocean Mist!

Smelling Ocean Mist!

Twinning Machine 4.0

Monkeying around in Twinning Machine 4.0

Me & my babies!

The kids & I

Touch of Sand

Alyssa has started exploring a lot more with her hands. When her hands touch something, she’ll open and close her hands to feel the object, whether it’s bedsheets, clothes, toys, the playmat, etc.

Since I was waiting for the boys to leave school (somehow they always want to hang around and play some more – I suppose it reflects how much they love their school), I thought she could play in the sand for a bit. It’s probably the cleanest pile of sand around (they disinfect it every week), very fine, very nice to play with.

She loved it! Happily sat there and felt the sand in her hands.

I remember Asher didn’t want to step on the sand as a toddler, and Ellery had his moments too. They didn’t get to play with sand until they were much older than her though. Maybe it’s exposure, maybe it’s personality. Anyway, who cares what the reason is!

Loving the feel of sand

Loving the feel of sand

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 49 other followers