Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Not Living UP Yet

So I posted previously that my husband, sister and I each bought a Jawbone UP to track our activities, sleeping patterns, meal intake and mood. I was quite excited to be an early adopter of the technology and was quite diligent at first about updating my information and syncing my data. But the constancy of the feel of the device was a bit off-putting for me. I took it off for a few days and felt freer. I told my husband I was too busy to keep tracking these things but actually it wasn't serving its purpose for me. I knew I wasn't moving enough, doing enough and it just seemed like maybe I shouldn't wear this band until I was really committed to have a more active lifestyle.

In any case, there's been a lot of interest in the Jawbone UP I've noticed since it's probably one of my top five posts in terms of reach and here I thought it was just one of those factual posts you publish very quickly.

I know there are some of you who are committed to making this work. My husband and sister for example, still wear theirs quite diligently. In fact it's so much a part of my sister's life now that she's going into withdrawal since she's not wearing her band currently (i.e. her band stopped charging properly and she had to contact Jawbone UP in the US for support so they could give her a replacement band) and she's more active than ever. She's drunk the Kool-Aid obviously and is truly disappointed that she's currently not living UP. Like me, she's also gone out and recommended it to at least 10 people.

I just really think it's one of those things that can change your life...but only when you're ready to make that change.

Kids and Movies

My kids are at that age where they're starting to appreciate full-length animation movies. It's quite fun to watch. They'd be glued to their seats and then start laughing hysterically at something or other. It all started interestingly enough with a bunch of clearance sale DVDs I bought from the closeout sale of VideoEzy Novena. I should probably have bought more, but I carefully handpicked the ones that I wanted to watch as well. I chose the Toy Story series, a whole bunch of Charlie Brown DVDs, Winnie the Pooh, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, Lilo & Stitch and the odd Mickey Mouse Clubhouse DVD. 
Lexi and Andi started with Toy Story first and not even in sequence. Rule breakers that they were, they chose to watch Toy Story 2 first. This made me a bit crazy because of course shouldn't kids learn the Toy Story storyline in proper sequence? As it happens, they ended up watching Toy Story 2 a gazillion times before deciding they've memorized it enough and it was now time to move on to Toy Story 1. That in turn took another gazillion viewings before they were ready for Toy Story 3 and by then they just plonked in whichever one they felt like watching. I loved the Toy Story series. I think it's quite an appropriate movie for kids just starting to appreciate movies in general. 
After that, it was Jake and the Neverland Pirates, which then turned us onto the series and all things pirate-related. For awhile there, I got a bit carried away and seriously thought of doing pirate-themed d├ęcor for my girls' bedroom but kids being kids I'm sure they'll latch onto another favourite thing in a couple weeks' or months' time.
Winnie the Pooh was also a hit especially with my younger daughter Andi. Charlie Brown as well, though I realize the Charlie Brown series has themes that younger children might not easily grasp - like faith (Linus waiting in the pumpkin patch every year for the Great Pumpkin who never appears), unrequited love (Charlie Brown pining for the little redhead girl), disappointment (Charlie Brown bringing a suitcase to school to fit in all the potential valentines he was expecting to get and not getting a single one) and so on. But they seem to like it so I let them watch. Maybe they're still trying to grasp the story. In a way it also feels more realistic and relevant I suppose especially for Lexi since it's about kids going to school and about friends.
Lilo & Stitch was quickly forgotten while Mickey Mouse is always a favourite they'll keep coming back to since we also have other DVDs and recorded episodes of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on our video recorder.
Recently, we thought maybe it's time to introduce the fairy tale classics to them as well. We started out with books but thought it might be more entertaining to watch the Disney fairy tale classics. So my husband trooped off to Mustafa on a mission to find these DVDs. He first got Snow White and eventually found Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty. Meanwhile, I tried the free trial at hollywoodclicks.com so I can borrow Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin among other DVDs.
Well, as I was watching them again with my kids I realized there were quite a few violent and possibly scary scenes in there. But they seem to take it in stride and dutifully laughed at the funny scenes.
In fact, Lexi is so protective of her favourite DVDs that we aren't allowed to touch them and only she can handle them so she knows exactly where they are. We had a problem before with some of the DVDs gone missing so I think this time she's decided to be systematic about it and appointed herself sole guardian and protector of the DVDs. In fact, we can't even throw out the box the DVDs came in. We tried to do that once and she looked at us accusingly as she digged them out of the garbage.
I'm looking forward to sharing more movie moments with both of them and still have a long list to go.   
Minnie: Why do we get stuck in the back? Bunny: Yeah, I can't see a thing!

Minnie: Now this is much better. Bunny: True that.

Minnie (seen sitting on corner of sofa): Hey where'd those two go? And why don't we get snacks? Bunny: At least you're still in the frame. I'm totally out of shot.

Andi: Is this what's called a captive audience? Lexi: Shhh. I'm trying to read to you....I can't quite read yet so I'll just try to make something up. 

Andi: I'm so tired from running around all day it's nice to just lie down and watch TV. Lexi: Yes especially when you can rest your head on a pillow as comfy as this.
Minnie: Oooommmpphhhfff.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Extra Virgin Pizza

My first thoughts upon hearing that Extra Virgin Pizza was opening in United Square was 'Ugh, extra virgin doesn't sound very appetizing, it's probably one of those organic, healthy eating kind of places'. And since I tend to want my pizzas, quite meaty and tasty, I wasn't that interested in trying out a place that would serve bland food. But then my sister told me the food was quite good and to go try it out. Well, I did and this is now one of my go-to places for casual lunch or dinner.  
I get the 'extra virgin' concept and the thrust for pure ingredients and it really shows in the food. The first time I had the meatball spaghetti, I was overwhelmed by how pure the tomato sauce tasted. And my kids loved it too. My daughter Lexi who is at that stage where she's a picky eater more than anything actually ate both the spaghetti and the pizza we ordered. Normally, she would just eat white rice and egg. But here she was eating everything in sight. At SGD20-24 for each whole pizza, it was quite reasonable. So far we've tasted the meatball, pepperoni, spotted pig (their version of a meaty pizza) and four cheese pizza. We keep coming back to the meatball pizza though and the spaghetti & meatballs. That tomato sauce is to die for. And I've never said that about any pizza or spaghetti before but this one's love. If you check their promo materials, it says that 'Extra Virgin pizzas are handmade with premium ingredients and baked to order in twin brick ovens. Extra Virgin uses Italian double-zero flour, California organic Saporito tomatoes and imported cheeses and toppings.'
In any case, it's still quite easy to get a table there, mainly because there's still less foot traffic where they're located but just wait until Wee Nam Kee opens and more people find out about the pizza place next door. So go now! 

The main counter
The menu. Not a lot of items but most of the items are quite good anyway.

Lexi posing while waiting for the yummy food 

Andi also quite cheerfully waiting for the food 

Meatball pizza! Yum! With the famous 'leopard spots' that Extra Virgin pizza is known for.

Pepperoni pizza. Good but I would still go for meatball pizza any day.

Random Shots

Things have been pretty quiet as we settle in our new apartment. We'll go out to hit the playgrounds or the mall but otherwise it's quite nice just watching DVDs or downloads at home while sipping chococinno made from our new coffeemaker. Here are some random shots of our recent trip with the kids.
Yes I know it's a safety violation but Lexi wouldn't take off her sunglasses while balancing on this beam. At IMM playground.
Lexi and Andi cooling off at IMM playground
Andi at the coloring table at Art Garden, Singapore Art Museum

Andi exploring at Art Garden, Singapore Art Museum

Andi loved sitting on this 'broken chair'

Lexi and Andi with Walter the (giant) bunny. Lexi didn't want to pose for any pictures inside the museum but specifically asked to see Walter and to have a picture with him.
I loved this room which was plastered all over (floor, ceiling and walls) with illustrations of fairy tales. It had a mirror on one area where you could project messages, a tree, a bridge and of course a coloring area.

Dada and the kids