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Archive for February, 2015

There were some books I remember reading over and over again as a kid, and my two small books containing a selection of Aesop’s Fables were definitely among them. There are about 665 fables in total, dating back 2,600 years. I haven’t read them all, but am well acquainted with the more popular stories.

I think my mum gave away those books, but we now still have two thin copies of Aesop’s Fables in our house. These were Jon’s copies from when he was younger and my late mother-in-law kept them, along with some other books, specially for her future grandkids! She would be very happy to know the books have been read repeatedly by the boys.

If you love Aesop’s stories too, you should check out iTheatre’s performance of Aesop’s Fables from 26 Feb to 21 Mar. They show and tell a selection of Aesop’s most famous stories, along with some lesser known ones, using puppetry, live action and song. The selection will include “The Jay and The Peacock”, “Androcles and The Lion”, “The Lion and The Mouse”, and “The Goose that Laid The Golden Eggs”.

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Their 2009 production of Aesop’s Fables played to sold-out audiences, so be sure not to miss it this time around. We really enjoyed iTheatre’s last show, Hop & Honk, and I hope that they’ll put on a good performance again!

Tickets are available from SISTIC.

*** Giveaway ***

iTheatre has kindly sponsored 2 sets of 2 tickets to Aesop’s Fables on Saturday, 7th March 2015 (2.30pm). If you need more than 2 tickets, iTheatre has offered to sell adjacent seats at a discounted rate to the winners.

To qualify for the giveaway, please do these 2 things by 2 Mar 2359hrs (not a lot of time, so don’t put it off till later!):
1. Leave a comment below on which of Aesop’s Fables is your favourite and why
2. Share this Facebook post with at least one other person.

Don’t forget to leave me your email address so I can contact you if you win!

The winning entries will be selected at random from all qualifying entries. The winners will be announced here in the comments section of this post, and will be contacted via email.  They will have 24 hours to respond, failing which another winner will be selected. Tickets will be available for collection on the day itself at the performance venue 30 minutes before showtime. 

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The tarts disappeared so quickly! The boys would bring the container of tarts around and munch wherever they went. Jon and I kept taking a piece every time we walked past too. Before we knew it, there were none left!

So how? No choice but to make more!

We started at 830pm, and at midnight we were still making tarts! Gosh.

And for the first time, Jon helped us! I’ve never ever seen Jon help with baking before, so it was definitely a photoworthy moment.

The tarts continue to disappear. We intended to keep some tarts for our friends to try, but it looks like the jar will be empty by the time we meet them!

Round 2

Round 2

Smiley face!

Smiley face!

Jon helping with baking!!

Jon helping with baking!!

Father-son bonding :)

Father-son bonding :)

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After last year’s successful pineapple tart baking session which yielded what is, purely in my opinion, the best pineapple tarts around, my Mum and aunts decided to assemble for a pineapple tart session this year too! I was already planning to bake them again this year anyway since I couldn’t bear the thought of eating any other pineapple tarts ;O)

It took a really really really long time to bake 3 batches. The tarts are not difficult to make, just time consuming. We joked that we can’t make a business of this because it’s just too much effort for too little money! After about 9 hours of work, we made only slightly over 300 tarts – enough to fill 7-9 containers. After deducting for costs and manpower, there’s really no point. BUT. For personal consumption, it’s so worth it.

We started from after lunch, and carried on till after dinner. It was a multi-generational effort. My grandaunt, mum, aunt, me, Asher and Ellery all at one point helped to make tarts. A fun day of bonding!

Mummy rolling out the dough

Mummy rolling out the dough

Tried to let Alyssa play with flour but...

Tried to let Alyssa play with flour but…

She ended up eating it so that was the end of that plan

She ended up eating it so that was the end of that plan

The neat tarts my mum and aunts made

The neat tarts my mum and aunts made

The messy tarts the kids made :)

The messy tarts the kids made :)

My mum even made a dragon for Ellery!

My mum even made a dragon for Ellery!

It was actually very crisp and yummy!

It was actually very crisp and yummy!

Baking with Por Por!

Baking with Por Por!

The underpaid workers

9hours later but still happy as tarts!

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My little girl is growing!

This last month has seen her do quite a few new things. She’s started sitting up on her own, can creep forward on her belly (with some combination of stretching and butt lifting), and she’s now progressed to trying to crawl forward, though not very successfully. Getting there.

Getting to sitting position from all fours

Getting to sitting position from all fours

Starting to move forward on her knees

Starting to move forward on her knees

She’s also got 2 teeth! On the day she turned 9 months she only had one tooth, but two days ago the second tooth erupted.

She’s developed her pincer grasp and now loves feeding herself, to the point that I often struggle to feed her porridge. She doesn’t want to eat from the spoon! So I resort to putting fingerfood on the table, and stuffing the spoon in her mouth when she opens it to eat the fingerfood she’s feeding herself. Some might say I could try to let her self-feed the porridge, but I can’t bear the thought of the mess!

Like Ellery, she likes savoury food. And they currently share the same favourite breakfast food- cheese toast! If her main course is too sweet, she doesn’t eat that much of it. I discovered this through observing her preferences on ready-made meals (yep…3rd kid eats ready-made meals when we go out sometimes). The sweetish flavours (the kind sweetened with a lot of fruit), she barely touches, but the more savoury concoctions she eats quite a lot of. The exception is when it’s fresh fruit, especially blueberries, apples, pears, and bananas.

I’ve stopped feeding her baby cereal because she almost always rejects that. Guess she thinks she’s all grown up now. In fact, the other day she managed to gnaw through half a peach with her one tiny tooth stub. Goodness. I was so amazed by that feat.

Self-feeding

Self-feeding

Slowly making her way through the peach

Slowly making her way through the peach

She’s getting more vocal. She started to make noises that have all the intonations of proper speech, but are made up entirely of nonsense. It’s really cute to see her point at something and say meaningfully, “ahbangngngngmagemawada!” “Mmm, yes!” I’d reply.

The one word she’s got down pat is “der!” (there). She sometimes uses it correctly, like when you ask her a ‘where’ question, but she doesn’t point in the correct direction hahaha. “Where’s the cat?” “der!” (pointing at the sky). The only time she gets it right is when it comes to Asher and Ellery. “Where is Kor Kor?” She’ll look around first, then point at them while wearing a big smile and saying in an excited, high-pitched tone, “DER!” She loves her brothers, that’s for sure :)

She still falls sleeps between 7 to 730pm, and I’m very grateful for that. I didn’t sleep train her. She just fell into this routine on her own. So I find that I’m now able to have a bit of time with just the boys before they go to bed.

Another rite of passage she has gone through – falling off the bed. All three of them have done it now. Ellery still holds the record for the most falls off the bed, but let’s hope none of them add to their count. It happened in the middle of the night. I suddenly woke to a thud. I had nursed her to sleep and didn’t pad the space between her and the edge of the bed enough. I woke to find her sprawled on the floor. I’m so very grateful that she didn’t land awkwardly and injure herself. Having said that, I must confess that it didn’t bother me that much. I picked her up, saw she was ok, could still say something, and put her back to bed and went back to sleep myself. I remember freaking out the first time Asher fell off the bed. Fast forward 6 years, look at me now.

She’s been a real darling and I’m very grateful for her!

Much taller now

Much taller now

Can't get her to sit still anymore

Can’t get her to sit still anymore

Feel the lurrvvee

Feel the lurrvvee

Taking up more space on the sofa now

Taking up more space on the sofa now

And not staying still! Trying to pull to standing

And not staying still! Trying to pull to standing

Flexible girl

Flexible girl

Can't wait for the day she can start ballet!

Can’t wait for the day she can start ballet!

Very grabby

Very grabby

Hi!

Hi!

Enjoying a swing ride

Enjoying a swing ride

Big love from Asher

Big love from Asher

Bye!

Bye!

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So on my first trip to Parkland Green I walked past Sandbank, a bistro and bar, and immediately knew I had to come back with the boys.

Why?

There’s a pool right next to the dining area! How fun is that? In fact, it’s not just one pool. It’s two! One deeper pool for the adults, and a shallower one for the kids (and adults who wanna sit instead of stand, I suppose).

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Eat. Drink. Plunge.

I was itching to come so on Friday I decided we’d eat out for dinner. Got the boys changed into their swimming gear and we headed there for dinner. While waiting for our orders to arrive the boys hopped into the pool and were so happy! I think a lot of their excitement stemmed from the fact that they were in a pool in a restaurant. It felt like we were in a hotel with a bar in the pool (although you’re not allowed to eat in the pool).

Pool right next to our table

Pool right next to our table

Asher still waiting for his pizza to arrive

Asher still waiting for his pizza to arrive

Ellery waiting for Asher to finish :)

Ellery waiting for Asher to finish :)

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Enjoying the cold water

The water was freezing because it was a windy and chilly night, but that didn’t stop the boys. I chickened out. But they went in, and played until they were warm. After dinner they went back in, but it soon got too cold for Asher who was shivering quite a lot, so I sent him to change into dry clothes. Sandbank is conveniently located right next to the public showers and toilets, so it’s easy to go clean up and change after your dip.

As for the food, we ordered fried oysters, a quesadilla kids meal, a pizza with buffalo mozzarella and rocket, and a mushroom pasta. The oysters were smaller and more crumbly than I expected, but it’s fried food and we were hungry, so it went down well with all of us. I liked the wasabi aioli dip that came with the oysters as it was kept light with just a hint of wasabi in it.

Fried oysters

Fried oysters

All kids meals are served with nuggets, fries, and (a little) fruit on the side. I suppose it’s an attempt to offer a balanced meal with protein, carbs and fibre haha. But it’s certainly kid-pleasing since most kids like nuggets and fries all the time. Ellery sure was happy with his meal. So happy he even ate the grapes, something he hasn’t done in a while! Good job Sandbank!

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The kids meal

Happy kid

A happy kid

The pizzas are all handmade to order so we had to wait a while for ours to come. Asher was starving, but he’s such a pizza monster he decided to wait anyway. I was led to believe it would be quite big since the waiter told me it would be “more than enough” for Asher and I, but when it arrived I thought it looked like a normal individual-sized pizza. Six thin slices. I could have eaten it myself I think. To me, the pizza was just alright. But for those of you who like Skinny Pizza’s crunchy crusts, you’ll like the pizzas here. It’s done in that style – very thin, crisp crusts. I tend to like my crust a little bit chewy.

The pizza

The freshly baked pizza

The mushroom pasta was pretty good though – creamy with a good amount of mushrooms in it. It certainly qualifies as comfort food, especially on a chilly night like that one.

Fungi pasta

Fungi pasta

The food is decent enough and I like the concept of the place, so I can definitely see us coming back, though probably in the day time when it’s less cold. Ellery is already bugging me to bring them back and has been suggesting at every meal that we go there to eat!

And for the men, it’s a great place to watch soccer. You can chill in the pool while watching the game on the TV!

TV near the pool

TV near the pool

Sandbank is located at:
920 East Coast Parkway, #01-28/32
Parkland Green
+65 6247 7988

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I’ve noticed a new place that has sprouted up along East Coast when I drive along the ECP. Well, maybe it’s not new, but it’s certainly new to me. I popped there one day with my ex-neighbour to explore a bit. It’s a stretch of cafes, restaurants, and bars, and even has a sports store and a laser tag arena. So many interesting places to try! I straightaway made a mental note to come back again with the family.

Just one of three stretches of shops at Parkland Green

Just one of three stretches of shops at Parkland Green

She highly recommended Bakery & Bar St Marc. I wasn’t too hungry as I’d already had a very early lunch since I eat with the boys before they head off to school. She ordered the Japanese curry, and I ordered a plate of truffle fries thinking it’ll be a snack size serving. Well, it’s a snack for 3-4 people! Wow, what a big serving of fries. Really great for friends. It’s even topped with two eggs and strips of ham and sprinkled over with grated cheese! A decadent plate of fries. But it serves it purpose as a snack very well. You pick and pick….I ended up almost finishing the entire plate! I didn’t ask how her Japanese curry was, but as she wasn’t raving about it I assume it was just ok. But she did rave about the chococro and made me promise to try it next time!

St Marc

St Marc

Truffle fries

Truffle fries

Japanese curry

Japanese curry rice

The laser tag arena called Tag Team Inc is suitable even for children as young as 4 years old. I’m tempted to bring the boys to try this haha! Will have to see what the hubby thinks first.

Parkland Green is at Area C1 of East Coast Park (just across the highway from Parkway Parade). There’s plenty of parking, but at night it gets full.

 

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We have found it! Yippie!

I loooooove tahu telor (deep fried toufu dish with lots of egg) but it’s so hard to find nowadays, I don’t know why. I used to frequent a Malay stall at the Clementi coffeeshop near the carpark, but it stopped serving tahu telor. For the longest time I couldn’t find it anywhere, except at the Tangs restaurant where they made a very good, but pricey version.

Today we ventured to Bedok Corner Food Centre. Oh my. The food there looks very very good, and we will definitely be back to try the various offerings. Many stalls have won awards for their food and have newspaper clippings proudly displayed on the front of their stalls. The cheng tng, the jiu he eng cai (cuttlefish and kangkong dish), the boneless chicken rice, the satay…I need to bring my father here (though I suspect he, being even more clued into the best hawker food around, has already been here). They even have roti jala! So so hard to find.

Anyway, the minute I spotted tahu telor on the signboard of Ole Ole Javiyan, I knew what I wanted for dinner. I have a weakness for this dish. The soft toufu, covered with crispy fried egg – fried until the eggs are bubbling, airy and light. Mmmm…so nice. If you’ve never tried tahu telor, please do yourself a favor and go try it!

(This is a very poor quality photo, sorry about that. I didn't have my camera with me and I just had to snap a pic)

My tahu telor tower (This is a very poor quality photo, sorry about that. I didn’t have my camera with me and I just had to snap a pic)

I was in toufu heaven when I bit into my first mouthful. Super crispy eggs wisps contrasting with the soft toufu, accented by the crunchy peanuts and spicy sauce. I thought it wasn’t as good as the one in Clementi, but I’ve missed this dish so much I was just so happy to eat it. And it’s good enough, and anyway, the Clementi one is no more.

So pleased I know where to go for a tahu telor fix now.

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Ever since our successful outing to watch a performance in Mandarin last year, I’ve been on the lookout for other Mandarin shows, especially those with familiar story lines. The upcoming production of Goldilocks and the Three Bears by the Singapore Repertory Theatre’s The Little Company (TLC) fits the bill. TLC is lauching its 2015 season with a Mandarin version of Goldilocks and the Three Bears which was first staged in English in 2013 to sell-out houses.

CHIgoldilocks_A3_301014

Like the English version, the Mandarin production will feature music and lyrics by the Laurence Olivier award-winning West-End musical theatre songwriting duo George Stiles and Anthony Drewe. We watched the English version and I remember the boys liking the porridge song very much, so I’m really looking forward to hearing that sung in Mandarin.

Mina Kaye, Dwayne Tan, Kristy Griffin and Aaron Khaled in SRT's The Little Company's Goldilocks and the Three Bears (2013) (1)

Shocked to find a girl in Baby Bear’s bed! (Picture courtesy of SRT, taken from the 2013 English production)

This is a classic story that teaches young children not to fiddle with the belongings of others, lest there be consequences to bear. If you loved the English version, don’t miss the chance to join the cast as they bring your child on an exciting Mandarin journey!

** Giveaway**

SRT has kindly sponsored 2 tickets to be given away to one reader for Goldilicks and the Three Bears in Mandarin on Sunday, 15 Mar, 11am.

To qualify, simply leave a comment below by 12 Feb (Thu), 6pm stating what would upset you most – having your porridge eaten, your chair broken, or your bed slept in – and why! Don’t forget to leave me your email address so I can contact you if you win.

Bear hugs to everyone!

The winning entry will be selected at random from all qualifying entries and the winner will be announced here in the comments section of this post, and will be contacted via email.  The winner will have 24 hours to respond, failing which another winner will be selected. Tickets will be available for collection on the day itself at the performance venue.

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Study Buddy

So one morning I walked into the boys room to find Ellery helping Asher with his spelling practice! Ellery was telling Jon how important his job was, and that he couldn’t go and do whatever it was Jon was asking him to do because he needed to help Asher.

Brothers that study together, stay together?

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Ellery dictating, Asher writing out the words

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It was Ellery’s turn to go out without Asher, although in his case Alyssa still came along. So it was not quite a one-on-one date.

When I told Ellery about Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo and read the synopsis to him, he was very excited and imagined that he’d see many different types of dinosaurs, afterall the description said we could expect to see an “amazing array of creatures”. He was talking about the show from lunch time, and was bouncing around excitedly before the show.

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It started out promisingly enough with some prehistoric vegetation decorating the stage and the sounds of the forest bringing you into the dinosaur world. The show was delivered in the format of a documentary, with the presenter telling the audience about the different types of dinosaurs that came on stage. They started with a pair of baby Muttaburrasaurus, the dinosaur that at home we joke is the “murtabak-saurus” (murtabak is a type of Indian-Muslim minced meat pancake found in Singapore). I thought it was good how the host gave facts about the dinosaur and invited children up to pat the dinosaurs.

Baby dinosaur (Photo taken from the Dinosaur Zoo Live gallery)

 

I liked seeing the giant dragonfly, Meganeura, because we had read about it in one of the dinosaur stories at home. Ellery was really happy he saw the Meganeura and said he’d tell Asher all about it when he got home. They had several Meganeura flying all about the theatre, and the giant dragonflies landed on the children’s hands and heads, much to everyone’s delight.

Meganeura (Photo taken from the Dinosaur Zoo Live gallery)

 

Next came some Leaellynasaura, which the host consistently mispronounced as “lee-AN-na-saw-ra”. I noted this because when learning about dinosaurs I was particularly fascinated by this species. I thought I might have got the pronunciation wrong but went home to check, and actually even the KidsFest Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo factsheet says it’s “lee-EL-in-a-saw-rah”. It’s a small thing, but if the show aims to give children facts about dinosaurs, I thought the host should have gotten the name right.

A pair of Leaellynasaura (Photo taken from the Dinosaur Zoo Live gallery)

 

From here the show started to get less interesting for me, and from Ellery’s expression, for him too. A fearsome looking dinosaur puppet appeared, and while it looked impressive and served well to add excitement to the show in terms of a scary monster on stage, I felt that the show relied too much on this. The dinosaur, which the host called a T-Rex (more on this later), spent quite a bit of time scaring the audience. Rather than tell the audience interesting facts about the T-Rex, a lot of time was also spent getting children to feed and pat the T-Rex, with lots of false starts and sudden moves to scare the volunteers along the way. Humourous and entertaining, but not very scientific nor educational as the show touted itself to be (“…connecting young audiences to the real science of palaeontology”).

Hugging a 'T-Rex' (Photo courtesy of ABA Productions)

Hugging a ‘T-Rex’ (Photo courtesy of ABA Productions)

A kid did get ‘eaten’ during the show! (Photo taken from the Dinosaur Zoo Live gallery)

 

In fact, that wasn’t a T-Rex at all. The skull structure of the dinosaur was wrong (T-Rex’s heads are much more massive compared to the body), and if you see the photos from the show, the puppet has three claws. Any bona fide dinosaur fan will tell you T-Rexs have only two claws.

Let’s count the claws now, 1, 2, 3… (Photo taken from Dinosaur Zoo Live gallery)

 

The show was supposed to focus on dinosaurs found in Australia, but I guess they were trying to appeal to everyone’s familiarity with the T-Rex. I think it would have been better to stick to Australian dinosaurs so that the show is focused and the audience can learn something new about the less familiar Australian dinosaurs. I suspect that actually the puppet was meant to represent the Australian carnivore, the Australovenator, as this was listed on the KidsFest Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo factsheet. The Australovenator is a medium-sized allosaur, so the puppet would have been more appropriate.

When show ended with the head and neck of the Titanosaur, Ellery was surprised and asked me where the other dinosaurs were. He then said he wished there were more dinosaurs in the show.

Me too.

Indeed, while the show was funny and entertaining, it was not what I had expected based on the show synopsis. Charming, but ultimately disappointing.

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We were given complimentary tickets for the show. All opinions are my own.

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