Archive for the ‘tv’ Category

Doc McStuffins

We went for a preview of the new Disney Junior Series Doc McStuffins at Spruce.  It’s an original new series about a six-year-old girl who acts as the Dr. Doolittle of the toy world.

I actually really like this programme!  The graphics are good – clean, colourful and attractive.  I don’t like cartoons where it seems there is just so much going on, where the graphics look cluttered and messy.  I like the look and feel of this series.

The characters are kinda cute.  There’s Doc herself who has the important job of diagnosing the various ailments afflicting the toys.  More often than not, she ends up calling them something-itis, which is quite funny :)  Some of her other friends include Lambie, a stuffed lamb who’s solution to everything is a cuddle, and Chilly, a hypochondriac snowman

The storylines are tight, and they centre on teaching preschoolers the importance of healthy living.  We watched one episode on the importance of keeping hydrated and I wished Asher could have watched it.  It’s always a struggle to get Asher to drink enough water.  I also like how the series implicitly encourages children to try to fix their toys rather than just dump them.

This is one series I would like my kids to watch!

If you have Starhub cable, you can catch the series everyday at 930am and again at 8pm. 

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Mickey In Space

We attended a viewing of Mickey’s Space Adventure, about Mickey going up into space with his friends Donald, Minnie, Goofy and Pluto.  He meets a space version of himself, called Martian Mickey, which looks like him in every way but is green.  It was a bit Fringe for me, like how Olivia Dunham from the series has another self in a parallel universe.  But I digress.

The place was set up like a mini theatre, and the entire event was kept informal, which was great since Ellery was restless and I had to keep chasing him.

Before the cartoon started Asher said he wanted to eat cake, so grabbed a piece then plonked himself on the arm rests of two adjacent sofas.  He then held that piece of cake for the entire 1hr duration of the show and did not eat a single bite.  After the show he was talking about the cartoon, looking around the room, etc, while still holding the cake.  When it was time to leave I finally asked if he was actually going to eat it and the answer was obviously no.  So I ate it.  Children increase your calorie count!  I mean, it’s a waste to just throw it away!

The cartoon must be quite interesting for kids though, cos Asher could remember quite a bit from the show and talked about it even a few days later.  He talked about searching for treasure stars, about a space pirate dog (Space Pirate Pete), and digging for treasure at the ‘X’.  It’s going to be screened on 5 Mar, 3pm, if you have Starhub cable channel 311.

Sat like that and held on to that little cake for the entire show!

Meanwhile, Ellery was navigating his own obstacle course

Place was set up like a mini theatre

Boys in their Mickey hats...crappy crappy camera

One of the cool things from the goody bag we received was genuine astronaut ice-cream.  I was fascinated!  At the same time I couldn’t help but wonder,  “is really what they eat?”  It may be exciting being an astronaunt, but the food sure sucks.  First, the ice cream isn’t cold.  It is brittle and crumbly when you open the packet, powder dry when you first bite it, it starts to ‘melt’ but I think the actual process is that it is soaking up moisture from saliva, then it kinda sticks all over the mouth for a bit until you swallow.  Initially it tastes a little like regular Walls ice-cream but later just tastes like processed rubbish.  I think if I were an astronaut I’d stick to sweets and chocolate.  Still, it was fun trying it :)

Very cool astronaut ice cream

The event was held at the Science Centre so we wandered around for a while after.  There was one quite interesting exhibit which aged your photo so you can see what you may look like in future.  The stress on may is mine, cos I’m seroiusly hoping the thing ain’t accurate!!

Asher as a young adult

Ellery as a young adult

Me when I'm old

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Disney’s For Grown Ups

Ellery and I attended a Disney launch for a portal to help parents with planning a Disney character themed party for their kids.  So there are templates for everything from table centre pieces, head pieces, to other paraphenalia.  At the event they had done a Jake and the Neverland Pirates theme to show what content was available on the site, and the stuff was quite nice.  With just a printer you could have all the decor settled for your party.

Just prior to the event Del had commented that it was difficult to find Mickey related things for Anya’s upcoming party, so this could be useful for her, and I could see how it could be useful for parents of other kids who like Disney characters too.

If you’re one of them, you should check it out.

Anyway, Asher and Ellery definitely had fun with their pirate hats and (very limp) paper swords.

Very happy to be wearing his pirate hat

A full Jake and the Neverland Pirates set up

Captain Asher Sparrow!

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Asher’s birthday was preceeded by a lot of activity, in particular a lot of baking.  We baked cookies for the gift pack, made chocolates, and baked a cake too.  A couple of weeks before I was chatting with my cousin, Del, over coffee about Asher’s birthday and she mentioned a cake she read about where someone had buried toy dinosaurs inside, and I thought that was a great idea!  A dino dig cake!  Asher would love that!  I spent the next few weeks dreaming up the ideal cake.  I love baking, so it was a lot of fun for me to think about what kind of cake would be yummy and then to go find recipes to try.

Initially I thought of making meringue dinosaurs fossils to dig up, since those would be edible.  But my meringues got so soft and sticky in our hot and humid weather they simply would not do.  So decided to just stuff dinosaur toys inside, nevermind that they weren’t fossil toys (since you can only dig up fossils, right? Not dinosaurs all fleshed out.  It’s a technicality I think most people will overlook heh).  In the end I settled on a 2-layer chocolate sponge cake (each layer made with slightly different ingredients, like adding crushed biscuits, and altering the type of sugar used), and chocolate-oreo icing, topped with crushed oreo biscuit ‘soil’, and baked some stegasaurous cookie ‘fossils’ and a number 3 for decoration.

Helping to stuff dinosaurs into the cake

Grid pattern so I remember where to cut!

Besides the baking, the lead up to the birthday was actually quite uncertain.  Asher suddenly fell quite ill two days before his party and we found out it was a stomach flu bug.  We contemplated cancelling his party.  On Thursday, the first day of his illness, his condition was quite severe and we brought him to the doctor who said he’d probably be well in two days and would be ok for the event.  On Friday his condition had greatly improved and were thankful he was better.  He was still a little lethargic at times, and he himself knew he needed to rest more, so he took extra naps and slept earlier at night.

He was ok for the party on Saturday and we assessed he was well enough to be with his friends since Ellery, who was in close proximity with him throughout, was still fine.  We certainly didn’t want him passing anything on!  He has good memories of his party (he talks about his cake and about playing with his friends), though I think he would have enjoyed it even more had he been in tip top condition.  He was still a little lethargic that morning, and took a nap during his party!  But think that nap was what he needed, because after that he was more lively.  A week later when we went to Turf City again, he remembered his party, talked about it and wanted to play at the playground again :)

I was telling Jon how unfortunate it was that he caught a bad bug so close to his birthday.  He hasn’t been so ill in more than a year!

Anyway about his party proper.

We decided to hold it at Sol Playground Cafe at Turf City since there was a sheltered outdoor playground as well as an indoor play area for younger kids.  Many of our guests have two kids now, so the facilities at Sol suited us well.  Plus, there’s free parking!  Jon was mighty pleased when it started to drizzle because it vindicated his insistence on the venue as it allowed the children to play even in wet weather.  I duly gave him all the necessary praise on his foresight ;)

The indoor play area

We also decided to go with a dinosaur theme because Asher is in love with them.  Really.  Totally in love with them.  If he could, he would be at dinosaur.  His ambition used to be a paleontologist.  Now, if you ask him what his ambition is, he’ll say its to be a dinosaur – “I actually want to be a dinosaur” (emphasis all his).  So dino we went.  Everything was dino related – from the party packs to the decor to the cake.  And he couldn’t be more pleased!

Christmas and dinosaurs

Dino pack - cookies, chocolates, stamps, tattoos and toys

Diving into his unwrapped present from Del, and telling us about one of the sauropods

Happy birthday Asher! Several days before his birthday I asked which was his favourite dinosaur, and he said stegasaurus, so I decided to go with that for the fossil :) But I realise that his favourite dino actually changes from day to day!

Asher! Whenever he plays with his blocks he always says this is him because he has a red hat too.

Eating up the fossils!

He used the toy shovel to eat the cake!

I must say that the staff there were very attentive and accomodating.  They allowed our guests flexible ordering, meaning they could mix-and-match items on the menu, order other things not on the menu, or make special requests for whatever reason (dietary or taste preferences).  The food was quite good and apparently, according to one of my friends who had been there before, the standard has improved a lot.  It was actually our first time eating there!

Kaizer and Titus stamping away on the colouring sheets

Adrian, Adam, Del & Anya

Joanne & Jo Claire


The kids, even the older ones, enjoyed the indoor play area, and after finishing their food everyone ventured outside to play at the playground.  For a while the boys hogged the playhouse, and we dubbed it the boys club.  They didn’t allow any girls to go in at all.  Later on it morphed into a juice stall, and eventually that business closed down and the girls could go inside again :)

Standing guard at the boys club

No girls! Poor JC left outside

Playing with the windows - open, close, open, close...

Roof Party with Josiah

I was happy to see the kids getting along, refering to each other their friends.  Some of them see each other only once a year at Asher’s birthday.  I’m grateful that there’s a bunch of close friends and family who have kids around the same age as us.  It’s really nice to have people in the same life stage as you.  And in particular, some of them have a very similar outlook on parenting so we’re quite on the same wavelength.  I hope that this bunch will continue to be close, and that our kids will be close as they grow up!

Ellery likes slides!

Peeking in with Joanie

Heather scooting about

Family huddle

My cheeky dinosaur

After the party, we headed home and Asher thoroughly enjoyed his treat of being allowed to watch and entire DVD worth of Tractor Tom!  We came to know of this series when Asher received the video as a gift from his Aunts from UK.  Aunty Radha, Sheela – he loves it!

Being a couch potato at home

To end on a funny note, when I about to bathe Ellery in the evening I was surprised to see he had a dino tattoo on his arm!  I had no idea it was there at all because it had been hiding under this sleeves the entire afternoon.  I felt like a mother discovering her son’s little secret :)  Wonder who put it on him?

Joined a dino gang and didn't tell Mummy

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More Than Meets the Eye

This is one series I don’t mind encouraging and developing an interest in – Transformers!!!  I love, I love!  Got Asher a Transformers waterbottle when his old one was getting worn, so he was familiar with Optimus Prime and Bubble Bee – the two characters on the bottle.  So when I saw that these very two characters would be making their appearance at Taka I jumped at the chance to bring Asher to see them.  Not sure whether they did anything much, we were running late and got there just in time to be the last family to grab a shot with them :)  Now, if only the show wasn’t so violent I’d let him watch it and see just how cool they are!! :)

The scale is all wrong though…How can I be as tall as Bumble Bee?!?!  I made the mistake of telling Asher that the real Transformers are sooooo big, and he kept asking to see the real ones (which of course I can never produce), so had to distract him with other things.

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Disney Junior Hatched

After catching Under the Baobab Tree, Del invited us to go check out a Disney Junior event at Hatched, the all day breakfast place.  Honestly, I don’t have subscription to the channel simply because we’re not home most of the time.  But I know that Asher watches TV at our neighbour’s house, his cousin’s place and at my parent’s house.  The one time I had the chance to really check out the programmes was when we changed our Starhub box and had access to all the channels for 2 days while they configured the new box.  Those 2 days, Asher got to watch a lot of TV in the evening, and I distinctly remember thinking that a lot of what was showing on the various kids channels wasn’t very good.  It seemed as if there were no good programmes available for his age group in the evening at all.  Whatever was showing was…well…lets just say it didn’t compel me to subscribe to the channel.

I’m always interested to know what he watches.  And I’m the kind who’d rather my kid not watch any TV at all than watch bad TV.  So it was good to hear Nancy Kanter, VP for the new Disney Junior brand worldwide, acknowledge that there was a need to make programming more appropriate for preschool children, and to provide such programming outside of the morning hours – which is when kids are at preschool anyway.  The new Disney Junior channel replaces Playhouse Disney, and has expanded it’s target audience to 2 to 7 year olds.

It’s amazing how Disney has created characters that appeal to kids, and I’ve thought on more than one occasion that these people certainly know what they’re doing.  Even without the channel at home Asher is familiar with Mickey Mouse and his friends, Chuggington, and Little Einsteins.  There are new programmes in the works like Jake and the Neverland Pirates, but for the moment Asher is still most familiar with Mickey.  Throughout the presentation while Nancy showed snippets of the new programmes, Asher kept saying, “I want to watch Mickey!”

Getting acquainted with Handy Manny

Waiting for the event to start. 

Our table overrun with kids!  The organisers had kindly given the kids drawing/sticker sets to occupy them while waiting.

Anyway, we couldn’t stay to the end of the event.  They were providing lunch but we needed to rush back cos Ellery was at my in-law’s place and I needed to get back to him.  And just as well we left, Ellery was boycotting the bottle still, and had waited for me to drink and take a nap…

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Bob the Builder

Brought Asher to see Bob at West Coast Plaza.  He loves the series and I think it’s pretty good too.  The stories are always short, simple, and memorable.  The characters are fun too!  The session was disappointing though.  There was no performance of any sort.  Bob just appeared for a photo session with the crowd.

I think Asher had more fun with the vehicles, especially with Muck.  He was actually a little wary of Bob, and would only hold Bob’s hand if I held his.  But with Muck he went all around touching it, climbing on it, and pretending he was Bob by hanging onto the side like how Bob does in the show :)

Holding hands with Bob

Meeting Roley 

Being Bob on Muck 

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Juggling Time

Taking care of Asher alone is really training in time management and prioritization. Once there’s a little bit of spare time I’ve gotta decide what needs to be done, and do it immediately. Should I bathe, eat breakfast, do the laundry, etc? Decision made, DO! Cos once the free time runs out, that’s it, it’s feed, play, then try to put him down for a nap again (not an easy task given that this boy doesn’t like napping in the day. Each nap is preceded by a lot of fussing/crying/screaming.)

It’s a challenge, but it’s been fun juggling caring for Asher, cooking my lunches and some dinners, doing the laundry, some ironing, folding clothes, packing up the house, checking email, and when I’m really free, blogging :)

Of course there are the frustrating moments, and it can get tiring. I’m usually quite worn out by the weekend. I’m always glad when Jon comes back home cos it’s an extra pair of hands to help – and he’s a big help! My mum comes by occasionally to bring me lunch now and then too. But personal time is hard to find. Diary entries have become just a few lines to a few paras long instead of pages and pages like how they used to be.

Still, there are some things that are great. All the feeding time means I’ve plenty of time to read (albeit intermittently). Finished up 3 book so far – Sippy Cups are Not for Champagne, Momfidence, and Sense and Sensibility. The first two were lent to us along with a few other pregnancy/parenting books. Just some entertaining, brainless, reads :) The last was a book I’ve always wanted to read but never got round to it. I really like that era of novels cos the writers then seemed to be able to capture the psychology and emotions of their characters so well!

Besides books, I’ve now found a new favourite TV programme on Discovery Travel and Living! Jon & Kate plus 8! During my 11am-ish feeds I’m always at the TV watching this show. It’s a reality show about the Gosselin family where Jon (30) and Kate (dunno her age) have 8 kids – two six-year-olds, and six two-year-olds. Imagine! I find it inspiring to know that Kate, with so many kids on hand, can still care for them all on her own, prepare all their meals, clean the house, and the kids are all so lovely and well-adjusted (on TV at least) :) Each episode features what would be an easy activity for an ordinary sized family to accomplish, but which requires so much planning for their family. Things like going to to zoo, taking a road trip to Disneyland in Orlando, buying beds for the children, etc. And the kids are soooooo cute!

Anyway, despite the business I’ve still managed to find time to try new recipes! Recently I made Spanakopita, a Greek spinach pie. Recipe courtery of Discovery Travel and Living’s Food Safari show. (As you can tell, Discovery Travel and Living is my fav channel on TV). It’s made with filo pastry and filled with spinach, greek feta, pecorino, and ricotta. Yum yum yum! I had made a huge pie 2 Saturdays ago, and Jon and I finished it all in one afternoon! Then a few days after that, since I had extra ingredients, I decided to do a short-cut version for lunch :)

Yesterday, Jon and I made hamburgers from scratch complete with chips and salad! We marinated the beef with all kinds of herbs and spices, then made the patties and fried them. We also had a couple of friends over to enjoy the meal. What fun! Cooking is so therapeutic! :) (Although I must admit the cleaning up after is less fun heh).

A few weeks back we also endeavoured to make potato salad for a friend’s party. Jon was very supportive of this cos he loves that reciple :) I think we made it as much for ourselves as for the party haha :)

There are still several recipes I want to try! Lets see if I find the time!

Juggle, juggle, juggle!

Anyway, some not so recent pics of Asher, just cos I like them :)

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London TV is very…liberal.

At 8 plus on Mondays there’s this show called “Undress the Nation”, and one of the episodes was about how many women wear the wrong size bras, and they went on a crusade to get women to find the right bra. In the process, they somehow got many many women to strip off their clothes, and even strip off their bra on national tv! Well, first, the thing I find really strange is that they even show topless women at 8plus. Second, why did those women even strip when they know the camera is pointing at them?!?

And the best part, Trinny and Suzannah (the hosts) didn’t themselves strip topless. If they had to take off their bra they used a towel to cover themselves. Hmm..double standards?

And now I’m watching this programme on tv called “Autopsy: Emergency Room”, and they show a real cadaver being sliced open, until the entire front torso is flipped back onto the legs. They cut upon the skull and look at the ‘fresh’ brain. (I actually took some photos, but I think it might be too much to stomach for some of you :) ). But ok lah, though it still seems a bit much for tv, I do find this quite interesting, heh :) But again, they show women and men completely nude, in the name of education – for illustration purposes. They have an artist draw out the bones on the models, and show where fractures take place.

Anyway, one thing is for sure. If you are in Britain with kids, you better take note of what programmes they are watching on tv!

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Rugby World Cup Finals

Met up with Hsu Hsien and Sathia on Sat to go watch the Rugby World Cup Finals. They had just arrived in the morning, exactly one week after us.

Before the match we were watching X Factor on TV – something like American Idol, but British. Quite an interesting concept. They’ve taken the usual format of a singing competition, but this time the judges have a personal stake in the outcome as well. Each of the judges has to recruit a team singers according to their given category. It’s split as follows: ‘above 25’ (dunno the guy’s name), ‘males’ (Danni Minogue), ‘females’ (Sharon Osbourne), ‘group’ (Simon Cowell). So it gets quite entertaining cos the judges will start bickering among themselves and questioning each other’s decisions and selections. It gets nassstyy hahaa.

Anyway for the real aim of the night, we headed for a bar in Farringdon area. England’s play was rather sloppy that night. They kept dropping the ball, losing the ball at the line-up, and making other mistakes. Pity about that try that wasn’t counted though. So close! Anyway, no celebrations in the town that night since South Africa won :) But at least I got to try cider! mmmm… :)

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