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Archive for February, 2014

Hot Day at the Zoo

We went for a little excursion to the zoo.   It was a really hot day, and I think the animals felt it too.  The otters were all dipping in the water.  For the first time I saw most of the flamingos sitting in the water, not standing on one leg.  And best of all, the white tigers went waddling through their pool!  We’ve never seen them any where else besides the top of the rocks.  What a treat :)

Cooling off in the water

Cooling off in the water

Handsome fellow

Handsome fellow

Me and the boys :)

Me and the boys :)

Strange boys pretending to be parrots

Strange boys pretending to be parrots

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It was a rare chance we had a free Saturday afternoon, so we decided to go for dim sum as that seemed a very Saturday thing to do.  We had seen some really cute dim sum offerings at East Ocean Teochew Restaurant many months back and had been meaning to bring the boys there.

East Ocean has a menu specially created to appeal to children.  There are dim sum dishes in the shape of rabbits, dinosaurs, birds, turtles and more.  The boys loved it!  I had to restrict the number of items they ordered because we still wanted to order some regular dim sum dishes.  In the end they chose the penguin, dinosaur and sparrow.

Kid-friendly dim sum
(picture taken from East Ocean website)

The best part is, it actually tastes really good!  Mr Penguin is actually a lian rong bao (lotus paste bun) with salted egg thrown in for that extra oomph.  Sparrow Fly was moist and juicy with enough bite.  But my favourite is definitely Little Big Feet.  It is just so yummy!  When you first bite in you can straightaway taste the savoury goodness of the pork, shrimp and chye poh filling, and it’s all complemented by the crunch from the almonds embedded in the back of the little dinosaur.

Sparrow Fly

Sparrow Fly

Mr Penguin

Mr Penguin

Little Big Feet

Little Big Feet

It’s certainly kid food with adult sensibilities.  Very tasty, and you kind of hope the kids can’t finish their food :)

As for the regular stuff, they have the best char siew cheong fun (rice noodle roll) I’ve had so far in Singapore.  It’s smooth and is sufficiently thin but does not break easily.  The flavours in the sauce were perfectly balanced, and every mouthful was just delish.  Most other dim sum places tend to get the skin wrong.  It’s usually too thick, or too rough.  This was just nice.  I’m going to try to zha leong (rice noodle roll wrapped around a dough fritter) next time for sure!

We’ll be back!

East Ocean Teochew Restaurant is located at:
391 Orchard Road #05-08/09 Ngee Ann City
Mon-Fri, 1130-3pm & 6-11pm
Sat, Sun, Public Holiday, 10-3pm & 6-11pm

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Jane, her boys, and us headed to the new children’s garden at Gardens by the Bay for a play date.  We had heard about this place and wanted to see whether it was a fun place for the kids.  And it certainly was!

There are two main areas – the sand play area which features a playground and slides, and the water play area.

The playground was quite unlike any other I’ve seen.  It was embedded within a green space, making the playground seem like a hidden world in a forest.  The boys especially liked the jug-like rope parts of the playground, and spent quite a bit of time climbing in and out of them.  I appreciated very much that there were park rangers stationed at the elevated parts of the playground to ensure safety so that parents (like preggers me!) don’t have to scramble up with the kids.

The playground at the sandy area

The playground at the sandy area

Kaizer & Asher in the 'pitcher plants'

Kaizer & Asher in the ‘pitcher plants’

Inside the jug

Inside the jug

Sliding through the foliage

Sliding through the foliage

A big, open slide

A big, open slide

The tunnel slide

The tunnel slide

Spider web

Spider web

Pretending to be caught in the web

Pretending to be caught in the web

Initially the sandy playground-slide area would seem quite big because the slides are located away from the climbing area, but the kids quickly get the layout and if they are old enough it’s quite safe to let them loose to run around on their own.  The slides aren’t the super slick kind, so Asher felt brave enough to try them (he tends to get intimidated by the fast ones).  Kaizer and Titus were really gung-ho though!  They went to wet their bums at the water play area and before going down the slides so that they’d go much faster :)

The water play area featured some interesting spinning poles that I’ve not seen at any other water play area in Singapore.  Asher and I thought it was very fun, but Ellery found the spinning water intimidating and refused to go into the water area when all the fountains were spinning and spraying water everywhere.  He only relented when the poles became stationary again.  But as they started spinning at unpredictable times, he decided to just leave that area altogether and play at the tamer fish themed water play area for toddlers.

Spinning poles at the water play area

Spinning poles at the water play area

Happier here

Happier here

Avoiding the 'poison'

Avoiding the ‘poison’

Lit up at night

Lit up at night

The lot of us had dinner at the amphitheatre area which was shady and well-ventilated.  I had packed fried rice for the kids and specifically instructed the person taking my order to omit the eggs and prawns, but in the end there were still some eggs in it and poor Kaizer and Titus couldn’t eat the rice because they are allergic to eggs.  I felt really bad when Kaizer started itching.  It was a good reminder to myself to double remind and double check when making orders for kids with allergies, and it made me admire all parents like Jane for the trouble they have to go through at every meal to make sure the food is safe for their kids.

Dinner time

Dinner time

Anyway, the boys had fun together, and I was especially happy to see Asher running around with Kaizer because at the moment, Asher is the only boy in his class of 15!  He really needs some boy time.  Thank goodness he has Ellery on a day-to-day basis.

Anyhow, we are already planning to go back there again for another play date, maybe before baby no.3 comes!

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David for Real

Carrying David for real :) Del enjoying her sashimi salad in the background.

Carrying David for real :)
Del enjoying her sashimi salad in the background.

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Yes. It has. It was bound to happen sooner or later, but even I was quite shocked.

The boys are each able to finish a regular adult-sized serving of food!

Today, I ordered a bowl of prawn noodles for each of them. I just had a feeling they could do it. Sharing a single serving has not been enough for a while, and today they (especially Ellery!) have proven their bellies are up to it.

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Each a bowl

Would you believe that wasn’t all they had? After dinner Asher said he wanted dessert and led us through the hawker centre to the stall selling tau hway (soya bean curd).  Since the stall had run out of that, he had a bowl of chin chow (grass jelly) instead!  Gosh. To think he’s a skinny boy.  He looks like we don’t feed him!  Ellery had a cup of soya bean milk, but he (thankfully) was unable to finish it.

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Slurping down his chin chow

And Asher really impressed me today.  For the first time he finished an entire bowl of noodles using chopsticks!  He could even pick up the meat and prawns and a small piece of tau gay (bean sprout)!  Asher was so pleased with himself he at one point even used the chopsticks to pick up Ellery’s noodles to feed him. Quite sweet and amusing :)

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Unglam picture but shows his new found skill

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Upon hearing there were limited tickets for the 2014 Singapore Airshow, I hurried to get some tickets so we could bring the boys for it.  They always like this kind of thing, and I wanted very much to see the aerial displays.

We had a grand plan of reaching the Expo at 730am to catch the early bus, but add in some dilly and dally, and we only got there around 9am.  The first aerial display was to take place at 1030am, so we were still on target, though I worried a little about how long the wait would be to get to the airshow venue from Expo. When Asher and I went for the Navy Open House last year we had to wait an eternity!

In the end, the whole process was very smooth.  They even had a lane set aside for people who are pregnant or disabled so that we don’t have to stand and wait for so long.  I could bring one kid with me to the priority lane so I brought Ellery since he was getting antsy, but Jon had to bring Asher the regular route.  Even then, the crowd wasn’t that bad, and they were through to the front in no time.  I think it really helps that this was a ticketed event, so the crowd was much less than for the free open houses.

We got to the venue by 950, which is really good considering the walk to the Expo Hall, the wait, the security checks, and the bus ride.  We even managed to snag a spot on the stands for the first aerial display.

Snacking while waiting for the first aerial display

Snacking while waiting for the first aerial display

First up was Singapore’s Black Knights.  We ooo-ed and ahh-ed when they entered different formations.  They did disappear from sight completely quite often when they were changing formations though, and there was no commentary so we didn’t know when to expect them back, nor did we always know what they were doing.  There was someone who seemed quite informed behind us giving a running commentary to his son, so we had a little bit of info.  Still, as it was our first aerial show ever, we were duly impressed.

Enraptured

Enraptured

Black Knights

Black Knights

Drawing a heart in the sky

Drawing a heart in the sky

Whoosh!

Whoosh!

Then came the MV-22 Osprey!  I was so excited!  The boys and I have always been fascinated by this aircraft and it was great to be able to see it in real life, and see it in action.  It was interesting to us that when in plane-mode it made the hum of a plane, and when in helicopter mode it made the chopping sound of helicopters.  We were amazed at how it could hover in a stationary position, and could even move backwards!  Ellery was especially taken by the Osprey and kept asking to go see it after the show.

MV-22 Osprey in helicopter mode

MV-22 Osprey in helicopter mode

The plane that Jon and I were most impressed and fascinated with was the F-18 Hornet though.  It was our first time seeing one and we found the movements it made very very unusual.  It almost seemed as if it was drifting in the sky, like how rally cars drift around corners.  When making overhead curves it also seemed to pull back a bit at the apex before heading downwards.  I think it would be quite an unpredictable and tricky opponent in a dog fight.

F-18 Hornet

F-18 Hornet

Another F-16 flew out and did an individual display to round up the morning aerial session.  When it was over we straightaway hurried to the Osprey so that we could go on it.  I was so happy to see that the queue was short, so we quite quickly had our chance to board the plane.  Ellery was super excited!  He even walked up to one of the pilots and said he wanted to be an Osprey pilot when he grew up.

The Osprey up close

The Osprey up close

Ellery with his Osprey

Ellery with his Osprey

Waiting to board the Osprey

Waiting to board the Osprey

Our turn!

Our turn!

Checking if the Osprey seats are comfortable

Checking if the Osprey seats are comfortable

The boys very much wanted to board the F-15s too but the queues were ridiculously long with waits of up to 2 hours.  In the midday heat we decided to head indoors to the exhibition area instead to cool off and have a bite.  The booths displaying aircraft models and showing videos of how their new weaponry worked in the field entertained the boys while we rested.  

Such a hot day that people took shelter in the shade of the wings of the C-17.  I was amused at how the crowd conformed exactly to the shadow of the wing :)

Such a hot day that people took shelter in the shade of the wings of the C-17. I was amused at how the crowd conformed exactly to the shadow of the wing :)

We were really looking forward to the next aerial display with the famed South Korean Black Eagles.  And they certainly did not disappoint!  We were impressed with our Singapore team, and though I love my country very much, I have to say we really got up-staged by the South Koreans!  They were incredible!  Where the Singapore team needed to disappear into some far away space to reorganise themselves into a new formation, the South Koreans could change formation in a short distance, mid-flight in front of the audience!  Sometimes they even changed into two different formations while on the same loop!  It was jaw-droppingly good.  There was also the visual appeal of the coloured red and blue contrails.  I was wondering whether each plane had two colours or only one.  If it was the latter, they must have really planned their formations well to ensure that the planes with the right colour smoke were in the right place to create the alternating stripes.  

Black Eagles arriving in style

Black Eagles arriving in style

They really qie-ed us (showed how much better they were) in every respect.  Besides the speed of their formation changes, there were other things.  We did a heart shape, they did a heart with an arrow.  We burst into a fan formation, did the shell and double helix, they did it with colours!  They even drew the Taeguk, a yin-yang pattern found in the middle of the South Korean flag.  The sky was also never empty when they were doing their display.  If the broke into two teams to do different formations, the second team would take over the instant the first was done.  To top it all off, they performed to a riveting soundtrack, there was commentary, and at times you could even hear the team leader over the sound system cuing the rest to change formation “NOW!” Wow wow wow.

Heart with arrow

Heart with arrow

Yin-yang

Taeguk – the yin-yang shape found on the South Korean flag

Tango

Tango

Diamond

Diamond

Another nice formation but I don't know the name

Another nice formation but I don’t know the name

The individual display for the USA F-16 just before the Black Eagles was also very awesome.  The pilot manoeuvred the plane to do some fantastic stunts like shooting straight up into the sky at an almost vertical incline.  He did a 9G turn that the boys still talk about until today.  There were spins, turns, fast fly-bys, slow passes with quick acceleration.  Very impressive.

I’m so glad we got a chance to catch the aerial displays.  They were really a highlight of the show for us.

After the second display we hurried to the F-15s for a chance to board the plane.  By then Ellery had fallen asleep from sheer exhaustion so I brought only Asher while Jon waited in the cool airconditioned area with Ellery.  The queue was miles shorter.  We only had to wait 30 minutes for our turn to board the F-15.  Asher was thrilled to get a chance to push the various buttons and press the button that would have fired off missiles at the enemy.  We then went to check out the Superpuma and the Chinook.

My skinny boy entertaining himself by crawling in and out of the gaps in the barrier

My skinny boy entertaining himself by crawling in and out of the gaps in the barrier

Preggers me attempting to do the same

Preggers me attempting to do the same

Completely absorbed by the experience

Completely absorbed by the experience

Shooting on the Superpuma

Shooting on the Superpuma

When Ellery woke he too wanted to get on the F-15.  By then the exhibition was ending already and many queues were closed.  Thankfully there were some nice pilots that let him sit in the plane for a short while – and he was all smiles :)

Super happy!

Super happy!

Testing out the Mistral surface-to-air missile

Testing out the Mistral surface-to-air missile

Ellery's turn

Ellery’s turn

The cherry on our cake was seeing the protoype F-35 Lightning.  My dad had shown us a video of this plane in testing before, and it was exciting to see it, even if it was just a model.

Model of the F-35 Lightening

Model of the F-35 Lightning

Cool jagged edge like the F-22

Cool jagged edges like the F-22

What an incredibly fun day!

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Regression

One morning I woke to two boys wanting to pretend to be babies and even asked to be swaddled!  They babbled, ‘cried’ for milk, and crawled around the house. Asher later even scribbled on paper like how a baby might!

Quite amusing, but happy it was temporary :)

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