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Posts Tagged ‘kid-friendly activities’

We had gone for the 2012 iLight festival held at Marina Bay, and I remember the kids had a great time interacting with some of the light exhibits.  So I was very keen to take them down for this year’s iLight festival.

I managed to coax my parents to come along, and we started by fueling up at Glutton’s Bay at Esplanade, ordering wayyy too much food but somehow managing to stuff it all in.  Whenever I’m there I can’t stop myself from ordering the hokkien mee and the or-luat (oyster omelette).  The hokkien mee is cooked with a punchy stock, giving the final product a wonderful flavour.  The or-luat also beautifully balances the chewy texture of the starch with the crispiness of the fried eggs, topping it off with fat, juicy oysters.  Yum!

After stuffing ourselves, we very much needed a good walk to work off our dinner.  And boy, did we have a good walk.

We started by checking out the performance by Tribal Tide at the Esplanade’s outdoor theatre.  They were performing as part of the Mosaic Music Festival.  We were drawn there by their irresistible beats, created using a variety of drums from Africa,  India, South America and other parts of the world.  It’s the kind of music that just makes you want to move.  I could have stayed there all night if I didn’t already have other plans to see the iLight exhibits.  Plus the kids were in need of some physical activity – they took to climbing all over Papa during the performance, and I was getting worried about his back :)

Tribal

Tribal Tide performing as part of the Mosaic Festival

(clockwise from left) Shooting Kung Kung the minute they saw him, climbing all over him, attempting to sit on the funny curved bench

(clockwise from left) Shooting Kung Kung the minute they saw him, climbing all over him, attempting to sit on the funny curved bench

We decided to walk across the Esplanade Bridge, past Fullerton to go see The Pool exhibit at the Promontory.  The idea was that from there we could walk the rest of way around the bay area and catch the rest of the exhibits without having to double back at any point.  That plan worked out well, though it took much longer than expected!  We took a grand total of 4 hours to complete the round!

We walked at a leisurely pace, stopping to see the various sights and exhibits, even catching the Marina Bay Sand’s laser light show at 8pm from the Fullerton side (which I think is nicer than watching it from the MBS side). Because there was always something new to see, plus the fairly breezy (though slightly hazy) weather, the time passed really quickly.  It was only during the last one hour that we started to feel our feet ache and checked the watch.  We were surprised to see that we had spent so much time there!  The boys really impressed me too.  Asher walked the entire way, while Ellery walked almost all of the way – I carried him for a few 5 minute stretches during the last 30min of our outing.

I thought this year’s line up of exhibits was more interesting as a whole than the one two years ago.  The kids, in particular, loved playing at The Pool.  It’s an exhibit made up of giant concentric circles created from interactive circular pads.  You can jump onto the various pads, and when you do the pad changes colour.  At different times the colour scheme of the pads would change.  For example, all pads start blue and change into rainbow colours when stepped on, or all pink changing to blue when stepped on.  It was pretty to see a path of coloured lights where people had stepped on.

The kids pretended they were Elsa from the cartoon Frozen.  They stomped on the pads and imagined ice forming under their feet :)  I could only coax them away from The Pool by telling them there were other exhibits ahead that we could pretend were made of ice.

At Floating Hearts, a wall of illuminated hearts that passers-by could switch on and off, the kids tried to turn off all the lights.  The iLight guide attempted to convince them that it was prettier with the lights on and proceeded to switch the hearts back on, but this only spurred all the children around to try and switch all the lights off even faster!  It was quite funny seeing half the exhibit darkened, and realising that the upper part was still illuminated only because the children were too short to reach the hearts above!

Ellery liked Joujou-ours, a bunch of teddy bear heads in different colours – and one looking like it had chicken pox.  He happily ran from one bear to another giving them a big hug.

The other exhibits the kids liked were The Wishing Tree, which they pretended was an ice tree (had to stop them from stomping on it!), Happy Croco, more because of the funny sign that said “Please do not enter or Croco will bite”, and Cloud where they could pull chains to turn on and off the lights.

At Flash, Ellery on his own decided he wanted to lie down and rest, and he chose to lie down in the exhibit much to the amusement of everyone around :)  He really looked so comfortable.

iLight Festival 2014 1   iLight Festival 2014 3 iLight Festival 2014 2

If there’s anything that could be improved, it would be signs pointing to where the nearest toilets are – important when you are with little kids.  The map they provide does not give that information too.  FYI, you can duck into the Fullerton Hotel, some portable toilets at the Promontory where Savour (the food festival) is being held, Marina Bay Link Mall (there’s a lift along the Promontory), and MBS.

Also, be prepared to pay through your nose for any drinks.  We brought some of our own, but along the 4 hour hike we drained all the bottles and needed refilling.

The iLight Festival is on everyday from 730-11pm until 30 March.  Check it out if you can!

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I have fond memories of the one time I made pineapple tarts with my mum when I was a teenager.  I remember how fun it was to shape and decorate the tarts.  My mum and I have always enjoyed baking together, and we had a tendency to start baking late at night and continue past midnight.  Don’t know why, it always just happened that way.  It was always nice chatting with her though, a good time of bonding.

So this year I wanted to let the boys have a go at making pineapple tarts.  When I had made tarts with my mum,  I remember she had made the pineapple jam from scratch which was an enormous amount of work!  I was very sure I wanted to skip the arduous task of making my own jam, so bought the Red Man brand premium pineapple jam from Phoon Huat.  The premium version is made from only good quality, ripe pineapples, whereas the cheaper version (can’t remember what it’s called on the packet) is made from any pineapple.

I am picky about my pineapple tarts.  If I like it I can eat many at a go, but if I don’t like it I gag at having to finish even one yucky pineapple tart.  I know most people nowadays like the closed pineapple tarts, and some shops seem to only sell that version.  I really really don’t like that kind of pineapple tart.  It’s too soft and mushy.  Even the most crisp of them on the outside and still too soft on the inside.  It’s like a sticky mess in the mouth when you eat it.  Same goes for the open pineapple tarts.  Once someone says it’s so yummy because it “melts in your mouth”, I can pretty much guess it’s the kind I don’t like.

I like an open tart that has a a crisp pastry.  None of that melty, sticky business please.  So I scoured the internet for a recipe that I liked.  Almost all of them touted the soft melt-in-the-mouth kind.  Skip.

Finally I stumbled upon a recipe at Papa Cooks! for a Nyonya pineapple tart that is cripsy.  His description of how the tarts ought to be like told me it was just the kind of tart I was looking for.  The fact the the recipe was also passed down from his aunt who is regarded as the master of pineapple tarts in his family also won me over.

So I bought my ingredients and settled the boys down to an evening of baking.  The recipe is easy enough, and the tarts came out perfect!  The boys and I ate sooo many.  I thought we had made a ton of pineapple tarts and was wondering who we could give them away to.  But once I tasted them and saw how the boys scarfed them down, I wondered if we had enough to give away at all!

They certainly had a great time making the tarts.  They did everything, and I only helped a little bit.  They mixed the ingredients, cut out the dough, did the egg wash, rolled the balls of jam, placed it on the tarts and did the decorations (which were very funny :)  not traditional at all, but full of humour and love).

I love their decorations!

I love their decorations!

At one point they kept saying they wanted to make a giant pineapple tart, and they each proceeded to shape a tart way bigger than the usual size.  They topped it with a ton of pineapple filling as well.  After the tarts were baked, Asher struck an agreement with me that he was going to have just 3 tarts since it was already late.  He started with his giant tart which was equivalent to five tarts.  When I said he was done, he asked me innocently, “but what about the other 2?”  I laughed and told him nice try.  But in the end he won, the tarts were so good, he ate way more than 3 (including the giant tart)!

Scooping a giant jam ball

Scooping a giant jam ball

Asher's giant tart

Asher’s giant tart

Ellery's giant tart

Ellery’s giant tart

See how big the giant tarts are!

See how big the giant tarts are!

I’d definitely want to make these again next year, but will make sure we start much earlier in the day.  The recipe is easy, but putting the tart together takes a lot a lot of time.

Anyway here is the recipe adapted from Papa Cooks!:

Pastry Ingredients:
– 500g plain flour
– 300g unsalted butter (slightly softened)
– 2 eggs
– 1 tsp salt
– 2 tbsp icing sugar
– 1 egg yolk (for use as the egg wash)

Making the dough:
1.  Mix the flour, icing sugar and salt together in a large bowl.

2.  Using a fork, scrape the flour and butter together until it resembles bread crumbs.  Using a fork prevents the butter from melting too fast, spoiling the pastry.

2.  Add the eggs and still using the fork, gently coax all the crumbs together until they just bind into a dough. Do not over mix the dough.  This is crucial to ensure the pastry will be crispy after baking.

3.  Shape the dough into a ball, wrap it in cling wrap and refrigerate for at least half an hour.

Assembling the Tart:
1.  Pre-heat your oven at 175 degrees Celcius.

2.  While the dough is refrigerating, roll the pineapple jam into small balls (use your cutter to estimate the correct size the jam balls should be – not too big, not too small).

3.  Take chunks of dough, squash them with your palm into the desired thickness.  (This is the kid-friendly method.  Using rolling pins just means more washing up, and fighting over who gets to roll it.  I like to let each kid have his own baking sheet so that they have their own space and can squash their own dough.)

4.  Cut the dough using the pineapple tart shaped cookie cutter, arrange neatly onto the baking tray and brush with egg wash.

5.  Put the jam balls onto the tarts, adjusting the size of the jam balls if necessary.

6.  Decorate the tarts however you want, traditional or otherwise, then egg wash the whole tart again.

7.  Pop into the oven for about 20 minutes, or until the tarts turn golden brown.

They each did their own half of the tray.  This was just tray #1.

They each did their own half of the tray. This was just tray #1.

Ready for the eating! (and one already eaten)

Ready for the eating! (and one already eaten)

Pleased as pineapple

Pleased as pineapple

"Good" he says approvingly

“Good” he says approvingly

My first attempt at a photo grid!

My first attempt at a photo grid!

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