Monday, March 30, 2009

Community Channel - Natalie

Just recently, I stumbled onto this video as I was surfing the web…

I thought it was really quite hilarious… as It was about this Aussie girl who does Vblogging. She’s a real natural and she just vblogs about her daily life!

I liked this particular episode best, as it has happened to me numerous times…Basically,  I am just left hanging on the other line…talking to a blank screen!…

Hmm…is this the result of per second billing!?!


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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Julia Gabriel and Growing Up Gifted

This week 2 year old Nathan had his first class at Julia Gabriel. We did not want to send him to baby school too early, as we did not feel that it was very beneficial. But as Nathan was not doing much at home, we felt that some stimulation was needed!

julia gabriel

Nicole went for Classes at Growing Up Gifted at United Square, and as a result, we are able to do a tentative comparison between the 2 schools.

At the moment, we really prefer Julia Gabriel.

The curriculums in the 2 schools are different, but like in all schools – the teachers play a very significant role!

Nathan’s teachers were really bundles of energy. They were bouncing and dancing around the class.

Chinese is also used as a medium of instruction in the class (Btw, Nathan was lost when the Chinese teacher talked to him…It was as good as speaking in tongues)

Growing up Gifted

Nicole attended 3 terms in GUG, and as my wife was pregnant with Nathan, I spent a lot of hours attending lessons with Nicole.

I think the teachers at GUG were not very impressive, and the teacher to student ration is not as good as well.

I remember the classes at GUG were really full, and there were only 2 teachers for the whole class.

In JG, there are 4 teachers in the class – which results in better supervision by the teachers.

The prices at Julia Gabriel are more expensive, but I think it might be more worth it….

Of course, u can try another school of thought, and send them for classes to develop their motor skills at My Gym instead…

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Tyre Recommendations – time to change your tyres?

Since this blog is about families, I have decided to blog today about something that is really related...

Today, I am going to talk about the family car- my Toyota Wish!  And if you are a driver, this information is going to really helpful!

I have been driving my Toyota Wish for 2 years already, and it has served as a good family car.

Hitting 60,000km, I realized that it’s time to change my tyres!

I used to think that any tyre will do, but after being introduced to performance tyres by my colleague, I have been converted!

I have realized that tyres DO make a difference, as they reduce your braking distance and your driving ability!

Performance tyres

My first set of performance tyres were from Goodrich, and they stuck like glue to the ground.

I tried the Bridgestone G3 tyres next. How were they? They had quite a good grip and were good on rainy days as well. However they were a bit noisy.

I tried a “quieter” tyre next – the Bridgestone GR80.

bridgestone gr80

Bridgestone GR80

This tyre has an average grip and it is very much quieter.

My Recommendation – If u are quite a family guy, this tyre is for you!

Price – Not too expensive as well. About $95/tyre.




Which new tyre to buy?

I wanted to try something different, as I had been on Bridgestones for some time. Furthermore, I really had to change the tyres, as I have a puncture in 2 of them.

What I really wanted to try were these Michelin tyres called Pilot Preceda 2.


Michelin tyres are definitely more costly, but I wanted to try how they would feel like on the roads.

Btw, Nathan also reminds me of the Michelin Man…Check out why in this post!

Anyway, I got this recommendation from a friend who is really into cars, and also through some of the local car forums…

Through them, I got a phone number of a local contact.

Anyway this tyre shop in Ang Mo Kio is supposed to give quite decent prices. Unfortunately…the service is really terrible! Dont you just hate bad service!

I had to ‘chase’ this guy, asking him when my tyres were ready…and worse of all, he does not even bother to pick up your calls!

You call him, but he rejects your calls…Later, he will SMS back and say that he was ‘busy’ or ‘driving’…but you can never get him….Such Terrible Service.

Anyway, I will recommend getting your tyres from the shop opposite his!

Much better service, and you can even have a decent conversation with the dealer on the phone :)

They are called Soh Brothers Tyre Shop and located at Blk 4001, AMK Industrial Park. (Don’t worry, I don’t work for them) :)

To cut the long story short, I did not get the tyres I wanted (Michelin Pilot Preceda), as they did not have the measurements I needed.

Instead, I got the Michelin XM1 tyres!



I think they are quite decent tyres.

The grip is average and they are relatively quiet as well.

A plus point about the tyre is that it is definitely fuel saving.

It seems to ‘roll’ better than the Bridgestone GR-80s, and it  definitely increases fuel savings for me!

Price: They cost me $100/tyre.




Tip of the day:

If you are looking to change tyres…don’t just buy anything that the shop offers you…Try some of the tyres I mentioned above…and feel the difference.

Furthermore, it’s safer for the family as well! :)

Friday, March 20, 2009

Family Day at Botanic Gardens

Just recently, some of the our friends gathered together for a picnic at the Botanic Gardens.

Singapore Botanic Gardens (Small)

Frankly, I have never stepped into the Botanic Gardens in most of my adult life, as I am not exactly a nature lover…but things change when you become a parent.

So…Out came the straw mats, and we formed a little ‘island’, for the kids and adults to gather and have fellowship together.


Besides the “yummy’ food that every parent brought to the picnic, we also ‘pooled’ together our creativity and organised some fun games for the kids as well.

A good ‘ice breaker’ for the kids was the ‘bubble machine’ that we bought for Nathan’s birthday.

This proved to be a real hit, which attracted all the kids in the park to our area.


In fact, these ‘outsiders’ liked us so much, that they even stayed back for our games! I did not even realize it, until Mummy pointed it out to me! I thought they were our friends’ nephews! :)


We had games like a simple “Parent & Child” tele-match, and other physical activities that aimed at tiring the kid out!

As usual, the ‘competitive nature’ in us took over, and very soon, we were trying to make sure that our teams won each event! :) 

EDM_3629EDM_3664We really had a good time, and we ended the day at “Ben n Jerry’s”. We are definitely looking forward to our next event…and you are definitely most welcome to join us, if you are interested! Just drop me a note!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Page Boy for the First Time

This week was Extra Special for Nicole and Nathan.


Nic got to be a Flower Girl (This is her 5th time) …But Nathan was a…

Page boy for the very 1st time!

What’s more…they got to walk down the aisle together holding hands….What a milestone for the both of them! :)


Here is Nicole with pretty bride Jane – She is Mummy’s cousin.



We are so happy that our little boy is growing up, and that we are coming to a new milestone… and very soon, the whole family will walk down the aisle as part of the wedding party!!!

Looks like my days carrying the little ones are becoming numbered...

Monday, March 16, 2009

Ps. Kong Hee has a Blog!

One of the blogs that I always look forward to, is Ps. Kong Hee’s!

That’s right! Our very own Ps. Kong has started a blog and you can find it here! 

I think Ps. always amazes me in that, he is always willing to try out “New things!”

In the last month, he was one of the 1st ministers I know that is on Twitter!

Next, he was on Facebook…


And now, we get to read his weekly blog entries on the Internet!

If you are looking for a Pastor’s view on the current economic situation. Check out what a pastor of a 26,000 Congregation has got to say about it!

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Outing at the "Children First" Festival


On Monday, Daddy and Mummy brought the kids to watch some of the performances at the "Children First!" Arts festival. It is an Annual Arts Festival for Kids brought in by Act 3, and we were looking forward to the performances.

As Nicole and Nathan are both in different age groups, they both watched different shows.

Nathan watched "In the Garden", while Nicole watched "The Magic Teapot".

Shows cost approximately $21/head, and we needed tickets for both Parent and Child.

Ok- Not exactly cheap, but Daddy likes to watch musicals, so we believe that early exposure is important to them!



This was Nathan's first outing to the Art's Festival, so I don't think he knew what to expect.

As it was a "Free Seating" performance, he sat with Daddy on the floor.

We barely sat down for 2 minutes, when suddenly he went "Milk...Milk!"

I think with the room dimly lilted, he thought it was bed time!

It probably did not help, that he did not have his morning feed yet, as we had to rush out of the house. 

Parenting Tip - When you go to a performance, feed your child before leaving the house! 


The performance had a cast of 2 actors, which involved "Shadow play" and the use of images on a projection unit.

It lasted for about 45minutes, and the performance managed to captivate Nathan's full attention for about 30mins. Btw, this performance was geared towards kids from 1 to 4 years old.

The performance was not exactly "engaging" for me, but the rest of the kids seemed to love the performance. In fact,there were lots of "Ooh" and "Aahs" from the older kids in the theatre. 

The festival will run from 7 to 17 March, and you can find out more details here!

Even if a performance is sold out, I saw someone buying tickets at the door, as there are probably cases of people giving up their tickets!

Nicole seemed to enjoy her performance more, as it involved song and dance. The "lucky' girl gets to watch it twice, as the school has also decided to bring her to the same performance!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Baking Bread 101

Mummy blogs...

Nicole was down with a fever today, so I took childcare leave to take care of her (and try to separate her from the rest).

Well, it was like old times, when I stayed home on a working day. The last time Nicole was sick, she felt better during the day and we baked cookies.

Today, her fever subsided in the afternoon. So I decided to bake BREAD!

It was an easy decision... since she has done cookies twice, the next FUN thing to make is bread. I could envision Nicole and Nathan kneading and shaping the dough. How difficult can it get? They have loads of practice with Playdoh!

So it started with shopping for Bread Flour, Salt, Sugar, Yeast and Egg ( can see how inadequate our kitchen is!). After mixing all of that, we got a nice block of dough to work with.


We kneaded, karate chopped, pinched, and squeezed the dough. We wanted to ensure "the dough gets a thorough work-out", according to the recipe.

For the uninitiated, we have to 'proof' the dough for an hour to ensure the yeast works and in turn, the dough will rise. After working on the dough, we put it in a large bowl and covered with a damp cloth. Then the bowl went in a large pot filled with some hot water. Yeast grows well in warm and dark surroundings!

The funny thing was when we were proofing the dough. All of us went to the living room, to watch TV. Nicole would periodically walk to the kitchen, climb on the stool, peep under the damp cloth, and scream out loud,

"Mummy, the dough is bigger now!"

It wasn't long before she didn't have to peep, cos the dough grew out of the bowl!

After proofing, we have to knead some more. I didn't want to take any risk of the bread not rising so I resorted to following the prata man. (Notice Nathan's face!)

Indeed, all work leads to profit! Check out the unbaked bread and the HAPPY and TAO (hokkien for arrogant) bakers!


AND.... after 30 minutes in the oven, we are proud to present Amish White Bread and Buns (with variations).


Nicole made her own special concoctions:

Her favorite is MIlo Bread! (For obvious reasons!)

And of course "Porky Porky Bread" (Bread with Pork Floss)

It was a FUN day for the kids!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Valentine's Day Video

Valentine's day has been over for quite a while, but I was just watching the video done by Jin Lian for our recent event.

I thought it was very well done, considering that it was her 1st attempt handling the whole project!

A Big thumbs up to her! Thumbs-up

If you like this video, you can see more videos at the ETzone Website.


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Thursday, March 5, 2009

Parenting Tips: Free tickets to Attractions

Great News for Parents!

Upon the Recommendations of 1 of my readers  (Hann), I  have a really good “lobang” for all Singapore Readers!

The Singapore Tourism Board is giving out Free Tickets to local attractions!

For every 2 paying adults, there is free admission for 2 children (12 years and below) or 2 Senior Citizens (60 years and above).

Attractions include:

The Singapore Flyer, Wild Wild Wet, Escape Theme Park, Dukw Tours (Competitor to Duck Tours), Hippo River Cruise and the Sentosa Cable Car. (For a complete list, go to the Singapore Tourism Site) 


To get your free pass, Text ‘2009’ to 79777 to get a SMS passport, that gives you a chance to obtain free admission.

This offer is valid only for weekends in the month of March.

Actually, there was a similar but better promotion in Feburary, where parents were Free as well! Unfortunately, I was not aware about it!

This is definitely not a hoax, as it is given by the Singapore Tourism Board, and you can check out further details from their website.

I am looking at the Singapore Flyer, River Cruise and the Cable Car.

Hmm….Hopefully I can find the time!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Movie Review - Marley & Me

marley and me

This week, after the children went to sleep, we managed to sneak out and catch a movie.

Starring Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston, the movie showcases a young couple who adopt a labrador puppy they name Marley.

I am sorry, but I am not much of a dog lover, and I only found out that Marley was a labrador after talking to some of my colleagues!

What was the show about?

It’s kind of like my Blog!

The ordinary life of John Grogan (Owen Wilson) and his wife. Instead of just kicking off the marriage with kids, John decides to delay ‘parenthood’ by getting Jennifer Aniston a puppy.

Marley the puppy is a real tyrant, and he proves to be a real “handful” for both husband and wife.Just when they seemed to have got him under control, babies start coming along for the lovely couple.

As Marley is always ‘out of control’, I thought that Marley would probably eat their first born! (Since Marley has eaten an answering machine and everything in his sight)

However, Marley seems to adjust to the new addition to the family, and they eventually have 3 kids! Btw, I also noticed that Jennifer Aniston does not seemed to have put on any weight, and still looks as good as she did before all the children. (Notice the tinge of skepticism in this paragraph)

It’s right at this point, that you realize that about 15 years have passed & the kids have grown up. Owen Wilson finds promotion at work and Marley has grown old…Very soon…It’s time for him to go…

Okay…Here is the tear jerking part…Watching Marley slowly die…left my eyes watery and my nose really “runn-ey”…

Hey! I even wanted to get a dog after the movie!

Fortunately, I was held back by economic pragmatism, and I did not make any sudden purchases!

Is the movie worth watching?

Well, it’s not going to get a nomination for the Oscars!But if you have watched “Slumdog Millionaire”, and all the rest of the movies that were nominated for the Oscars, this show might be a good pick!

But it’s really no rush as well…and you might be better off watching it on DVD!

My rating - 2.5 out of 5

Monday, March 2, 2009

Hair Cut for a Pre Schooler

As part of the recession proof measures, we have decided to cut Nicole’s hair by ourselves.

Actually this is not our 1st attempt, as we have tried cutting Nathan’s hair as well. However, mummy has stopped doing that, as Nathan ended up with a real “girly” hairstyle, as we did not have the shaver.

Here are some photo’s of Nicole’s hair cut.  DSC_0004


Mummy attempting to layer and create texture on her little model! Check out the multi coloured clothes pegs!


As you can see…our little model was very cooperative on this particular occasion, and managed even to give a smile to the camera!

This was definitely much cheaper than cutting her hair at Junior League (Located near every Toys ‘R’ Us). A hair cut there cost $17!!!

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