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Archive for March, 2014

Mee Pok Day

We got up and headed out earlier than usual to attend Mee Pok Day at SCGS.

Oh how I love these noodles.  I ate them almost everyday from Primary 1 to Secondary 4!  And no, I have never tired of them!  There are usually two classic ways of eating it.  Either dry with lots of vinegar, or soupy with lots of chilli (my preferred way!).  There’s just something about the noodles that all SCGS girls love.

The original Mee Pok uncle passed away many years ago, but his nephew has since taken over the stall.  He has managed to keep the taste authentic, although the texture of the noodles is less chewy and starchy than it used to be, probably because of a change in suppliers.  I notice such starchy noodles are quite impossible to find in Singapore anymore.

Anyway, I was more than happy to have Jon and the boys try this noodles because I have randomly raved about it in the past.  Asher clearly enjoyed his noodles and wouldn’t stop eating even for a photo :)

We got to walk around the school too.  There have been a few additions here and there, but overall the school is just like it used to be – a nice feeling.

Groupshot, with Asher still slurping up his noodles

Groupshot, with Asher still slurping up his noodles

Mee Pok Day 1

Mee Pok Day 2

Mee Pok Day 3

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With no special plans for dinner we decided to check out Belly View Cafe at the NSRCC Sea Sports Centre along Changi Coast Walk.

It’s the kind of place you go to for a relaxing dinner, by the sea, no less.  We sat right next to the water and enjoyed breeze and the view of the sea, sailboats, ships and planes while eating.  The kids loved the planes flying overhead.

Asher ordered for us that day.  He chose the hot plate toufu, har cheong gai (prawn paste fried chicken wings), and mixed veg.  I always like eating har cheong gai, but overall the food was just average.  You can definitely get much better zhi char elsewhere.  I guess the main draw is the view.

Good view while eating

Good view while eating

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I don’t quite remember how I stumbled upon this online shop when I was in university.  But I’m glad I did.  It’s been more than 10 years since I started the habit of browsing through this online store every week or other week, just to see what’s new.

Conversation Pieces

Conversation Pieces is run by Audrey, a USA-based Singaporean.  Every week she sends out an email with the latest additions to the store, and it’s one of those ‘advertisement’ emails that I always make sure to read.  Why?  Because it’s never just about the clothes, or the accessories, or whatever other product is headlining the week.  Audrey imbues her weekly newsletters with so much heart.

Her newsletters are always bright, cheerful, and full of happiness.  Reading the stories she shares in her newsletters also frequently reminds me to think beyond myself, and to remember that I have it really good.  To do more for others.  It’s not uncommon to read about how she decided on a whim to go to the store and buy up a whole lot of food, pack it nicely, and distribute it to the homeless.  Or how she just felt like baking up a batch of cookies, wrapping them up nicely (yes, this is a trend – everything she does is always nicely dressed up :) ), and giving them away to friends.

More recently she shared about the difficult time she had in the last ten years or so.  Yet she still gave beyond herself, and tried to bring a smile to everyone else’s day.

That’s the heart behind the store.

And store itself is wonderful!  I’m not a fancy dresser.  I’m quite pragmatic, like to be comfortable, and generally keep to basics.  What I like about Conversation Pieces is that there are lots of basics to choose from, and a lot of them have that extra something special – the super soft material, the nice colour, the quirky detailing.

One of my favourite acquisitions is the Perfect Shirt.  It is soooo comfortable.  I bought one for my Mum in coral colour too, and she also loves the soft material and how flattering the fit is.  She and I agree that it’s really one of those tops that you grab to wear again soon after it’s been washed.

Image 1

The Perfect Shirt in Navy Stripes

There’s more than just the basics though.  And I always take the time to look at the pieces in the store, just in case I decide to venture out and trying something different.  I think I spend much too much time browsing this store sometimes ;)

My absolute favourite part of the store is the accessories section though.  The bracelets!  The bags!  The oh-so-soft scarfs!  I’ve bought quite a few little trinkets over the years.  Partly because it’s ‘safer’ since I don’t need to try it on, but mainly because they are so attractive and make really nice gifts.  I often find myself adding a lot of stuff to the shopping cart, then stopping myself from going overboard.  The store’s catch phrase is quite dangerous though, “Regret not what you buy, but what you don’t buy” :)

But hey, there is free shipping until Friday (USA time) in celebration of Conversation Pieces garnering 5000 likes on Facebook.  If you do miss out on the free shipping, the great thing about the store is that there is flat rate international shipping.  I don’t like having to calculate and think about the shipping cost.  That turns me off, really.  Flat rate is great!

Go browse the store and see what catches your fancy!  Things can run out quite quickly, so grab it if you like it (for clothes, medium sizes tend to go the fastest I think).

At the very least, sign up to receive Audrey’s newsletters.  It’s always a little ray of sunshine in your mailbox.

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And the eating continues.

One thing that I’m really grateful for is that we have such a great variety of cuisines to choose from in Singapore.  I think if I had to eat red meat cooked in only one particular style I would tire of red meat very quickly!

I’ve been getting my red meat fill from all sorts of places – fast food, coffeeshops, restaurants, and home cooked.  I’ve eaten it cooked in Western, Japanese, Korean, Indian, and Chinese styles.  With so much variety, I hope to keep up this red meat thing without getting sick of it.

It’s all for you baby!

Eating Red 3

 

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We attended Jacob’s 3rd birthday at Amazonia.  His 2nd birthday was also held there, and the boys still remember having a great time playing, so they were really looking forward to the party.  On a random note, last year Ellery couldn’t pronounce Amazonia properly, and kept calling it “Ama-no-zia” instead :)

The most wonderful thing about this party was that the boys overcame their fear of the big slide at Amazonia!  They aren’t exactly the bravest when it comes to big slides.  But with Ellery’s newfound fearlessness from Westgate Wonderland, and my psych-ing Asher up with stories of how he went sliding down the big slide in Penang during our holiday last year (leaving out the fact that I went down with them), they both went down and there was no stopping them after that!

Once they realised it wasn’t that scary, they just kept going down over and over.  In fact, I was really pleased with Asher cos he was trying to make himself go down faster by pushing as he went down.  Then he and Ellery raced one another.  Even when it was time to go, the ‘last slide’ became another 10 slides down.

Yay!
Jacob's Amazonia 1

As for the party itself, Jacob chose a whale cake, so the whole theme was fish and sea creatures.  The kids had fun decorating little fish tanks with stickers.  And later on, we were surprised that we were given goldfish to bring home as the party gift!  The boys were very excited and thought hard about what names to give them.  In the end Ellery chose “Dino-llery”, and Asher chose “Raspberry” because his fish had a reddish tail, and the head had the bumpy look of a raspberry.
Jacob's Amazonia 2

Sadly though, the fishes didn’t last very long.  I woke up the next morning to a crying Asher.  He was so sad that Raspberry had died during the night.  He really needed a lot of consoling.  Poor boy.

The next night I saw that Dino-llery was struggling to breathe and decided I needed to get an air pump the next day.  But that was one day too late.  When we woke in the morning we found Dino-llery upside down.

We are really not very good fish-people.  The fishes that come home from the kampung fishing excursions don’t last very long either.  I think the next time, I’ll go straight out and get a pump!

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Asher went for a sleepover with Aidan at my parent’s place again, so it was just me and Ellery who happily said we were going for a date, our second in two weeks.

By the time I dropped Asher off at my parent’s house after watching Rapunzel it was 4pm.  By then Ellery had fallen asleep in the car and I was quite sleepy too, so decided to drive home for a nap.  We ended up napping for a really really long time, and only woke up at 730pm!

Ellery was still keen on going out for a date.  Given the time of the night I could only think of two options – the Night Safari or the newly opened Westgate Wonderland.  Since I’ve heard such good things about the new playground at Westgate, and since there would be plenty of food options for dinner, I decided that would be our date night outing.

What a fun night!

We had dinner at Hot Tomato, a restaurant selling grills, seafood and pastas.  I still hadn’t had my red meat portion for the day so we chose from the steak selection, and Ellery decided on steak and prawns.  We was more than happy that it came with pasta too.  It was very cute to see Ellery eagerly awaiting his steak.  “Is the steak ready, Mummy?”, “Yay!  Our steak is here!”

Pretending to be a warthog while waiting

Pretending to be a warthog while waiting

Our steak and prawns

Our steak and prawns

The steak was decent, not too dry considering I asked for it to be well done.  The prawns were fresh and juicy, and the pasta was quite comforting.

We then headed to the playground, by which time it was already 9pm – bedtime.  Oh what the heck!

Ellery had such a good time.  He absolutely loved the playground inside the giant flowerpot, and kept going up and sliding down, climbing up, and sliding down again.  Over and over and over.  Actually, that’s what most of the kids were doing.  It was that fun.  I was especially proud of Ellery because he usually shows some hesitation about going into tunnel slides, and often avoids them altogether.  But here, perhaps because all the other kids were just jumping into it, he went down the double story spiral tunnel slide, no sweat!  I was so happy!  When he had first gone up there I literally prayed for him, that he’ll have the courage to go down.  So happy for answered prayer :)

There's a playground enclosed in there!

There’s a playground enclosed in there!

Wheeeeeeee

Wheeeeeeee

Clinging on like a koala

Clinging on like a koala

The treehouse looked like it would be a lot of fun for kids, but for parents who can’t really follow them up (like preggers me), it got a little worrisome after a while because once the kids climb beyond a certain point, you can’t see them at all!  So for a long while I had no idea where Ellery was.  I went around checking if there were other exits in case he had come down another way.  Thankfully there was only one way up and down from the treehouse, and two exits which came out at the same side.  Eventually it was time for the playground to close, so the kids were chased out of the playground, and that was when I finally saw Ellery emerge again.  He said he had gotten lost.

Treehouse playground

Treehouse playground

 

He then ran to the flowerpot for a couple more rounds of climbing and sliding before we left :)  By the time we got home it was 10.30pm!  What a treat!

We’ll definitely head back again with Asher and explore the waterplay area too.  Hopefully Asher will likewise be brave about the spiral tunnel slide!

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I’ve always thought Rapunzel a strange yet appealing story.  Why can’t the witch just fly up into the tower herself since apparently witches fly on broomsticks?  How did the witch first put Rapunzel in the tower?  Isn’t it, like, crazily painful for someone to use your hair as rope?  I guess fairy tales are like that – creative license to have some loopholes. But we like the stories anyway!

After re-introducing the story of Rapunzel to the boys, I brought them to catch the performance of Rapunzel by The Little Company at the DBS Arts Centre.  Their previous shows like the Three Little Pigs were very engaging, with hooks to draw the children in.  I was looking forward to a similarly good production, and happily, I was not disappointed.

When we first walked in we were surprised not to see a tall tower, but rather a humongous cactus!  That signaled to us that this was not going to be just the usual retelling of the story.  Clearly it was going to be set in the desert, and we were pleasantly surprised at the cactus tower because even the promotional pamphlets showed a regular tower.  The set was very attractive, and the boys straightaway started pointing out things that caught their eye, like how plates were used to decorate the tree.  For kids shows, I really appreciate when the set is decorated well as that’s the first step to drawing the children into the story.

Giant cactus tower

Giant cactus tower

This Rapunzel was cast as an avid reader trying to take matters into her own hands.  Rather than wait helplessly in the cactus tower, she was determined to find a way out of her sorry situation (which includes a diabolical witch taking pleasure in making her cry so that her tears can be used as a secret ingredient in the witch’s recipes!).  Rapunzel finds a magic spell that can break the enchantment of the tower and give her her freedom.  However, she needs to get hold of three ingredients for the spell to work.  I like how the children were involved in helping to remember what the three ingredients were by following the actions to a song Rapunzel made up.  My boys are usually more than happy to participate in such things.

Looking out into the world

Looking out into the world
(photo courtesy of SRT)

With the help of her friends Harriet the roadrunner, Hugo the armadillo, Chester the camel, and her first ever human friend, Montague the Prince, she manages eventually to get the ingredients she needs and gain her freedom.  There was a nice little revelation at the end of the show too, which was an extension of the original tale.

Harriet, Hugo and Montague

Harriet, Hugo and Montague
(photo courtesy of SRT)

There were a couple of cute songs, with my favourite being one about how when you meet someone for the first time it’s better to not be wearing pajamas!  It was so random, and so funny!  It was particularly amusing when later that night my parents brought Asher out for a car ride with his cousin and he was in his pajamas.  Ellery said he hoped Asher wasn’t meeting anyone new  :)

Anyway, Cheryl Tan who played Rapunzel has such a beautiful, crystalline voice.  It was so sweet you can believe Montague’s desire to meet Rapunzel after he heard her singing. I also thought there was a nice chemistry between her and Trev Neo who played Montague. He gave the prince a nice, light touch.

Cheryl Tan and Trev Neo in TLC's Rapunzel (2014)

Rapunzel & her prince
(photo courtesy of SRT)

Overall, I liked the twist in the story and appreciated the fact that it didn’t stray too far from the original.  I don’t like classic stories being mangled!  It was also great that the children were engaged throughout, and could remember parts of it after.

Rapunzel runs until 27th April, everyday except Mondays.  You can get your tickets through the SISTIC website or through their hotline (63485555).

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Disclaimer: I was given tickets to review the show.  All opinions are my own.

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