Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Lexi and Adi Episode 2

In an ideal world, all sisters should band together and be each other's best friend.

Lost and Found

Last Sunday was not a good day. We were jinxed I tell you. I should have known from the start that we shouldn't have gone out when my hair got caught in the hair dryer. Or maybe we've just been having a run of bad luck. Did I mention that I broke our laptop right before an important job interview the previous week? And this happened right after I finished collating a presentation I intended to show my hopefully future employer. But as it seemed a tad too cliche to say my computer broke which is probably the adult professional's version of 'the dog ate my homework' I just went on the interview without it. Anyway, so broken computer and hair dryer-fried hair aside, we still went out to have a nice family day. However, a cab ride later, as luck (or in this case, bad luck) would have it my husband loses his wallet in the back of the cab. Ack. So after he comes back from running after the taxi, empty handed, following which he promptly forgets the taxi's license plate number, we were resigned to spending the next few minutes calling our various banks to try and block our cards. An hour, 4 phone calls and one broken phone later (wherein the phone dropped to the ground, repeatedly), we finally blocked all our cards, posted an alert with Comfort Cab and could take a moment to think 'let go, move on' so we could enjoy the rest of the day.

And so we did. And we thought to ourselves, okay, lost wallet, not the end of the world. Sure it was a hassle since aside from waiting for my husband's new cards to arrive, he also had to file for a new IC (cost: SGD100) but at the end of the day we didn't lose that much.

So we went on with our lives.

Today however I went down to the mailbox and found a package. It was a big envelope and quite bulky. I instinctively knew it was my husband's wallet. I opened the envelope, unwrapped the plastic around my husband's wallet and saw that it had all his money and cards intact. The wallet also came with a letter from SingPost. It seems that someone found the wallet and dropped it in one of the many mailboxes scattered around the island. But going the extra mile, when SingPost processed it, they actually took the time to put protective wrap on it, write up a letter and mail the wallet back to us free of charge.

My husband's wallet and the SingPost letter

Let me just say, wow, the system really works.

Thank you anonymous-person-who-found-my-husband's-wallet and thank you Singapore Post!

Baby clothes for a song

I have been on a baby clothes embargo ever since we came back to Singapore. What with the new clothes gifted to the kids over Christmas as well as the clothes I bought for them in the various bazaars I've been to, they actually still have a lot of new clothes to wear. However, I couldn't help buying a couple more new ones (for future use) when we went shopping recently at Song and Song in Lucky Plaza. The clothes are quite cheap (think 5 dollars per top!) and if you take the time to go through the racks there are a couple of really cute ones.

Here's what I bought for the kids:

I also saw some really nice boys' long-sleeved tees with robots and dinosaurs but unfortunately the sizing was either too large for my 6 month old or too small for my 2 year old. I was only able to get this bear on the scooter tee in the right size. Still, quite a nice haul for only 20 dollars.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Lexi and Adi Episode 1

Moms with multiple kids know that when a new baby comes along, you have to take the utmost care to help the older sibling adjust to life with the new baby. Well, here's a fun take on that age old sibling rivalry issue.

Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to the library we go

If by a stroke of luck your offspring suddenly develops into a reading monster like mine, you'd realize that for the sake of sanity (yours and your husband's) it would be a good idea to introduce new books for reading time every so often. This way you don't have to keep evading your child when she demands that you read the same book to her for the nth time that day.

Good thing then that there are lots of good community libraries in Singapore. It gives us an endless supply of books to borrow for our insatiable reading monster. My husband and I have actually been library members for quite some time now. I remember we only had to pay a registration fee back then which allowed us to borrow 6 books at a time, for 3 weeks and since both of us are members, this means we can actually borrow maximum of 12 books in one go. For permanent residents the one-time registration fee is now SGD10.50. Also, if we liked any of the books we borrowed, we could renew and extend the borrowing period for another 3 weeks for free. Of course, subsequent renewals would then be for a fee.

Here's what we borrowed during our last library trip:

Books for learning shapes and colors

We carefully pre-selected books that would help our daughter learn shapes and colors. We also borrowed a couple of lift-the-flap books which she's really into these days. She particularly loved the Thomas the Tank Engine book we borrowed because it had so many flaps, 60 in total!

And this is just a sampling of the other wonderful classics available at the library. You'll find the usual suspects - Dr. Seuss, Eric Carle, Karen Katz, Sandra Boynton, Spot (Eric Hill), Clifford, Caillou, Olivia and so on.

So if you want to encourage your child's reading habit but don't want to spend tons of money on new books every month, just head on over to the library and borrow to your heart's content.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Making play clay

The last time we went to our pediatrician, she recommended that we let our daughter play with clay so she could develop her fine motor skills. I was a bit hesitant to do this at first as she was still at that stage where she loved putting things in her mouth. Even now, she would draw and paint and we (me or the nanny) would have to sit with her to make sure she didn't start putting the marker tips to her mouth or start biting chalk. I felt it was a bit of a risk to buy any of the popular modelling clay brands for young kids. I mean, even Play Doh is recommended for kids 3 and up. But as it was something that would help her develop, I thought I'll just try to make sure to get something food grade level so even if she ingests it, I wouldn't worry.

Coincidentally, I was browsing through the latest issue of Parenting Early Years magazine on my zinio and read about ecokids usa which develops creative play toys using non toxic and food grade ingredients. Note the description...'exploratory molding dough handmade with natural and organic fruit, plant and vegetable extracts from annatto seed, beets, blueberries, carrots, paprika, purple sweet potato, red cabbage and spinach, flour, salt, cream of tartar, organic rosemary oil, vitamin E oil, soybean oil, coconut oil, potassium sorbate and citric acid.' Wow, it actually sounds good enough to eat. Aside from eco dough, they also have eco paints and eco crayons. I was all excited to buy when I saw the price USD23.99. Aaarrrghh. So expensive. You could buy the same amount of Play Doh (just the compound, no tools) for about USD5.


No choice but to do it the old-fashioned way then which is to make it homemade. I browsed the internet and found several recipes for homemade play clay. Here's the one we used today:

Play Clay

1 cup flour
3/8 cup salt
3/8 cup hot water
Food coloring (optional)

Mix flour and salt in a bowl. Pour water. Stir. Knead for 5 mins. Mix in food coloring if available. Play.
Once done, store in airtight container. Will last for a week.

Homemade play clay and Crayola = Fun

And yes, the moment we handed her the ball of play clay she immediately took a bite out of it, and it did take a bit of work to get her to play with it, 'No this is not food, this is for play', but eventually she got the hang of it and we'll probably be making more batches of this in the future, but with color next time.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Rooftop Playground at Tampines1

More than anything my daughter loves to swim and even though we have a pool in our condo and I make it a point to have swim time with her 2-3x a week, I still want her to experience going to water parks and wet playgrounds so she can have fun with other kids.

Thank goodness there's a new wet playground in town. We read about the playground in the Straits Times and saw the reviews from a few mommy/daddy blogs. It only opened last weekend (March 10) but I felt it would be too crowded so we went on a weekday instead.

Here are a few pics from our playground jaunt...

I think the place is another great venue to bring your kids to and it's free! However, please note that it is a rooftop area and can get windy at times so if you bring your kids in the late afternoon, they shouldn't stay too long as they'll be freezing cold after awhile. I'm sure they won't notice this and complain as they'll be too busy running around the different water spouts so as a parent you'll have to be watchful.

Another thing, though most areas are made of a padded material and therefore safe, there is one area (see middle pictures, the one on the left) where they have pretend rocks (or could be actual rocks) which I think are a bit dangerous as children kept stepping on these things and could possibly slip and hit their head. I was worried especially as this was where my daughter wanted to stay and so we just had to be extra careful.

Still, despite these, it was a great new space for kids, we had an absolutely wonderful time and will surely be back soon!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Feeding Essentials

Time really flies. It seemed like I just gave birth some time ago and now my baby has started eating semi-solids. I was a bit hesitant to do it as she's only 5 months old, but the doctor said she was quite ready and it will likely help with her spit-up problem (or 'lungad' in Tagalog) since she's much more likely to absorb the semi-solids better than her milk.

And so we bought/brought out the essentials to begin our feeding adventure:

1. Bumbo chair - We left our bumbo chair in Manila and so had to buy a used one via craigslist for SGD20. Still much cheaper than the SGD70-80 retail price for a new one. We didn't buy a feeding chair as we already have a booster chair on hand for when she grew older and could sit on a chair without needing support. We also felt the bumbo was much better at helping her sit properly.

Andi in her yellow bumbo chair

2. Plastic bowl and spoon - We bought a plain plastic set from Pigeon as she'll only have one semi-solid meal for the first few weeks and bought a set of plastic bowls and spoons from Munchkin for when she's older and will have solid meals 3x a day.

Andi's Pigeon feeding set. The space on the left allows you
to mash food and then transfer on the main bowl (here shown
with pureed broccoli, yum!)

3. Philips Steamer/Blender - This is hands down the best investment you can make if you plan to give homemade food to your baby. We bought ours at a baby fair more than 2 years ago when we had our first baby and we plan on using it now for our second one. It's so convenient because you don't need to use different machines. Just steam food first, flip the container and then blend. So easy. In fact, we only gave bottled baby food a handful of times to our first born and that was when we would go out and needed something convenient and easy to prepare.

Our 2 year old Philips steamer blender with Philips VIA storage cups

4. Philips VIA storage system - We bought these to store homemade food in the freezer.

5. Bibs - Thankfully we had tons of bibs left over from having our firstborn and all of these were gifts from family and friends. If there's one thing I didn't buy which we had tons of, it was bibs. However, what we had were cloth ones and for the early weaning stage and even much later, it's much more convenient to use plastic bibs.