Monthly Archives: November 2014

BB Share-A-Gift 2014

It’s that time of the year again! The Boys’ Brigade is collecting food and household items from the public to sort and pack into food hampers for beneficiaries, which will then be delivered to their homes. The BB Share-A-Gift project reaches out to more than 6,000 households who are receiving assistance from Government-funded ComCare programmes and from 202 Voluntary Welfare Organisations.

Every year, we take the kids to one of the donation locations to purchase food items for donation and we also volunteer to deliver food hampers. This year, we have gone one step further and are involved in the publicity materials as well!

Have a Heart, Share a Gift

Have A Heart, Share A Gift

There are many ways you can help:

  • Go to one of the donation locations and buy food items to donate. They need items like rice, biscuits, cooking oil, instant noodles, condiments, beverages and canned food (halal). You can also adopt wishes at some of the locations. The operating period is until 17 December 2014, 11.00 am to 9.00 pm daily.
  • Those unable to make a trip down to a donation location or who are overseas can make an online donation of food and household hampers valued at $30 or $50.
  • If you drive and have a vehicle, you can volunteer to deliver food hampers.
  • Already actively involved? Tell your friends and family about BB Share-A-Gift and get them involved as well! Like their Facebook page to be kept updated about the items they need.
picking out halal canned food

picking out halal canned food

passing our items to the Boys

passing our items to the Boys

We have completed one round of donating food items and will be delivering food hampers on Saturday. Do join us in helping the beneficiaries of BB Share-A-Gift!

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The Days Are Just Packed! – Travelling with 3 Kids

When we go on holidays, I pack for four different people: the three kids and me. The husband cannot be trusted to pack for the kids because he was assigned that role once and totally didn’t bring anything for Anya and we had to buy clothes for her to wear!

And of course, it’s not just a matter of packing clothes. When we travel with the kids, we need to bring diapers, milk powder, toys, books, and so on. And If we are travelling to a cold place, packing becomes a lot more difficult because of the bulky warm clothing we need to bring for each kid.

dreaming of a white Christmas

dreaming of a white Christmas

toasty in their fleece jackets

toasty in their fleece jackets

Fortunately, we are headed to a tropical destination for our holidays this year! Looking forward to the playground, the pool and the beach. So this is how I pack for the three little ones.

packing for three

packing for three

You can fit quite a lot of stuff in a Trunki, surprisingly! Ok, let’s slow things down a little:

take a suitcase

take a suitcase

sweaters for the cold plane

sweaters for the cold plane

comfy dresses for Anya

comfy dresses for Anya

also some tights and shorts

also some tights and shorts

t-shirts to match

t-shirts to match

shorts and tees for Adam

shorts and tees for Adam

some onesies for the baby

some onesies for the baby

and some tees and shorts too

and some tees and shorts too

swimwear for all

swimwear for all

ready to go?

ready to go?

take another suitcase and fill with diapers/ milk powder/ books/ toys!

take another suitcase and fill with diapers/ milk powder/ books/ toys!

We are all ready for our holiday! It’s always comforting to know that if we forget anything or run out of diapers and such, we are in a civilised place and can always pop out and buy more. And dirty clothes can always be laundered. The most important thing is to remember the passports and try not to worry too much about everything else!

Disclaimer: All clothing pictured is sponsored by FOX.

Tibby and Duckie

I love that Anya is old enough to read simple books to herself and her brother! I brought Emily Lim’s Tibby and Duckie along for a bus ride and handed it to Anya and she was immediately engrossed in the book and read it a few times.

Emily Lim is a local author of several award-winning children’s books. Her books impart important values to children in an engaging and accessible way and the books are always beautifully illustrated. Her latest book, Tibby and Duckie, was launched last week at Singapore Writer’s Festival.

reading Tibby and Duckie to her brother

reading Tibby and Duckie to her brother

After Anya had read the book a couple of times, I asked her what it was about. In her words, Tibby and Duckie is about two friends, Tibby, a Tiger-Bunny, and Duckie. Duckie cannot swim and Tibby tries many different ways to help his friend learn how to swim. The book shows us that we must help our friends and that it is important to be yourself instead of trying to be something you are not.

trying to swim

trying to swim

To be honest, with my limited grown-up imagination, I was a tad confused about Tibby. What on earth is a Tiger-Bunny, I demanded to know. Unfazed, Anya replied as a matter-of-fact that Tibby is a bunny with tiger stripes. What she enjoyed about the story was the fact that Tibby was such a good friend to Duckie and didn’t give up on his buddy.

Tibby and Duckie is a heartwarming story about friendship, never giving up, and being true to yourself. Tibby & Duckie is now out in the bookstores and online. If you want to order personalised autographed copies, you can also email Emily at emilylim888@yahoo.com

GIVEAWAY

I have a copy of Emily Lim’s Tibby and Duckie to be won by one lucky reader!

To qualify, simply do the following by Thursday, 4 December 2014, 2359H (Singapore time):
1. Like the ‘In the Wee HoursFacebook page.
2. Like and comment on this Facebook post telling me the best thing a friend has ever done for you.

Terms & Conditions: This giveaway is open to Singapore residents only. Winners will be contacted through Facebook message and will have 24 hours to respond, failing which a new winner will be drawn. All incomplete entries will be disqualified. All entries will be verified before the winners are announced. To be fair to our sponsors, please note that all fake Facebook accounts (e.g. accounts set up purely to take part in contests with no or very few real friends) will also be ineligible to win.

Disney & SMRT Collaboration

Love Star Wars, The Avengers & Frozen? Then you’re in for a treat! SMRT and Disney have an 18-month collaboration and you will be able to get up close and personal with their most iconic characters. Disney’s franchises and brands will be brought closer to over 2 million passengers and hundreds of thousands more shoppers in SMRT’s transport and retail networks daily.

We attended the official launch on 12 November and the kids were delighted to be greeted by Stormtroopers when the train doors opened. Of course, they were there just for the launch but it was still pretty cool.

just another day on the train

just another day on the train

harassing the Stormtrooper

harassing the Stormtrooper

check out this carriage!

check out this carriage!

the Force is strong in this train

the Force is strong in this train

Ms Dawn Low of SMRT and Mr Rob Gilby of Disney

Ms Dawn Low of SMRT and Mr Rob Gilby of Disney

The entire train is Instagram-worthy and I can imagine fans of Star Wars, Marvel, Pixar and Disney having a blast taking photos of themselves in their favourite themed carriage. The kids at the launch all zoomed to the back of the train where characters from Frozen were prominently displayed on the windows.

I love all things Disney and I think this is such a great collaboration that will make our train rides more interesting. Really looking forward to riding the train with different Disney characters at the different lines and stations!

superheroes galore!

superheroes galore!

our favourite

our favourite

the kids are loving it!

the kids are loving it!

Our 9th Wedding Anniversary

We were in Nepal last week and celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary there. It was a VERY memorable anniversary and not entirely in a good way. We had a nice dinner at Moondance in Pokhara the night before and even joked that it could count as our anniversary dinner since we might be very tired after getting back to Kathmandu the next day.

dinner at Moondance

dinner at Moondance

So on the day of our 9th wedding anniversary, we woke up at 4.30am and a cab took us to Sarangkot to view the sun rising over Annapurna. You can trek up, of course, but we are lazy people. There was a free viewing area but some enterprising locals were offering an elevated view with seats and free hot ginger tea for just 100 rupees so we opted for that instead.

It was very cold and somewhat cloudy but still an awesome experience. The locals told us that we were lucky because it had been even cloudier the days prior to that. We had quite a good view of the sunrise but the clouds moved in very quickly after that.

lots of people gathered to watch

lots of people gathered to watch

a magnificent sight

a magnificent sight

didn't manage to get a good shot with the mountains

didn’t really get a good shot with the mountains

warming up with some tea

warming up with some tea

silly jump shot just because

silly jump shot just because

After getting back to the Lakeside area of Pokhara, we had breakfast at the hotel and spent some time packing before heading out to explore the area on bikes. We cycled to the dam and the waterfront, stopping whenever we felt like it and randomly eating and buying things.

I had been wanting to try the fried snacks I see everywhere but Adrian was a bit paranoid about the hygiene level. He has not gotten over the fact that I suffered bad food poisoning during our honeymoon in Bali. We passed a stall that looked quite decent so we had some anyway!

cycling in Pokhara

cycling in Pokhara

the dam

the dam

by Phewa Tal lake

by Phewa Tal lake

random fried snacks

random fried snacks

After checking out of our rooms, we grabbed lunch at Black & White Cafe where I had the most amazingly delicious vegetarian Dal Bhat set ever! It was so good! We love Dal Bhat so much that we had it four days in a row while we were there and for me, that one was the best.

Dal Bhat

Dal Bhat (the curry on the left belonged to Adrian’s meal)

Sadly though, things went downhill after that wondrous hot meal. We got to the airport and were told we could not check in for our 2.15pm flight because there were four flights before ours that were delayed due to bad weather. Our options were to cancel our flight and get a refund or wait until 4pm for an update on the situation. The plane had to leave Kathmandu by 4pm so that we can get out of Pokhara by 4.30pm. They don’t fly once it’s dark.

After waiting 3 hours, we were told that the plane was boarding people at Kathmandu so we could check in our luggage and get our boarding passes. We were so happy! But just 5 minutes later, we were informed that our flight (and all the other flights after that) was canceled due to air traffic!

Adrian immediately got on the phone and asked our hotel to arrange a car and driver for us. We were driven to Kathmandu and it took us 6 hours, in the dark, and on very crappy and dangerous roads.

sad

sad

at the petrol station before our 6-hour drive

at the petrol station before our 6-hour drive

So it was a really memorable anniversary for us and although those 6 hours on the road were terrible, we had each other and I’m thankful for our driver who drove very cautiously and for the man at our hotel who cooked two bowls of hot noodles for us when we arrived cold and hungry.

Here’s hoping our 10th wedding anniversary will be unforgettable for good reasons!

Music Crash Course at The Eighth Note

The husband bought me a little ukulele early this year because one of my New Year’s Resolutions was to learn an instrument. It was sitting around collecting dust for a really long time until I started a music crash course at The Eighth Note.

The music crash course is held over 4 weeks x 1 hour and you can choose from ukulele, guitar, pop keyboard and drums. I have absolutely no music background whatsoever and wasn’t expecting to learn all that much after four lessons but I was surprised!

In the short one hour of my first lesson, I learnt about the anatomy of a ukulele, how to read a chord diagram, and a few basic chords. By the end of that lesson, I could play 2 songs. Really a great sense of satisfaction! It helps that my teacher Neil is very patient but also strict enough to ensure I’m not slacking off. He took the time to find out the kind of songs I like so that I could learn them and to correct my mistakes.

After completing four weeks of lessons, I’m able to play many of my favourite songs on the ukulele and I also learnt different ways of strumming to fit different types of songs. For example, I can now play I’m Yours by Jason Mraz, Count on Me by Bruno Mars, a whole bunch of National Day songs including my all-time favourite Home, and at least 3 of Adele’s songs. And that’s just to name a few!

with my ukulele teacher, Neil

with my ukulele teacher, Neil

playing some simple songs

playing some simple songs

Anya has been taking the same ukulele crash course but she’s doing 8 weeks x 30 minutes since kids tend to have a shorter attention span. She’s about halfway though and can play a few chords and songs. I think she’s enjoying herself because she keeps wanting to borrow my ukulele to practise.

Anya and her teacher

Anya and her teacher

The music crash course is just $40 an hour and I think it’s utterly worth it. It’s great for complete beginners like me or if you want to try a new instrument before deciding to pursue it more seriously. I’m definitely impressed with my experience at The Eighth Note and will turn to them to fulfill any future New Year’s Resolutions!

The Eighth Note (Main Branch)
19 Lorong Kilat #01-04
Singapore 598120
Tel: 64651418
Email: hi@theeighthnote.com.sg

The Eighth Note (Parkway Centre)
Parkway Centre #02-02
Singapore 449408
Tel: 63480628
Email: jac@theeighthnote.com.sg

GIVEAWAY

I have a 4 weeks x 1 hour music crash course (or 8 weeks x 30 minutes for a child) to be won by one lucky reader! The winner can choose from ukulele, guitar, pop keyboard and drums.

To qualify, simply do the following by Saturday, 29 November 2014, 2359H (Singapore time):
1. Like the ‘In the Wee HoursFacebook page.
2. Like the ‘The Eighth Note‘ Facebook page.
3. Like, share and comment on this Facebook post telling me (a) which instrument you want to learn and (b) at which branch of The Eighth Note!

Terms & Conditions: This giveaway is open to Singapore residents only. Winners will be contacted through Facebook message and will have 24 hours to respond, failing which a new winner will be drawn. All incomplete entries will be disqualified. All entries will be verified before the winners are announced. To be fair to our sponsors, please note that all fake Facebook accounts (e.g. accounts set up purely to take part in contests with no or very few real friends) will also be ineligible to win.

The Rock School: The Rock Challenge & Carnival 2014

Anya really enjoys rock-climbing and we have tried a few places but our favourite is The Rock School! We were there in July this year and again very recently and both times, we were immensely impressed by the patience, dedication and skill of the instructors.

Their 2-hour Fun Climb programme for kids is perfect as an introduction to climbing for the little ones. The kids warm up with some games inside a room and learn basic climbing techniques. Under the instructors’ guidance and assuring hands, they become familiar with the climbing holds and gain confidence before attempting the wall outside.

getting to know the kids

getting to know the kids

warming up with some games

warming up with some games

a briefing before climbing

a briefing before climbing

guiding the littlest one

guiding the littlest one

put your foot here

put your foot here

steady there

steady there

an assuring hand

an assuring hand

At the rock wall, the instructors put on the harness for the kids and brief them on safety and demonstrate how to climb the walls before allowing the kids to try it for themselves. To motivate them, the kids are given stickers for each section they manage to climb.

Unlike other climbing schools where kids are left to fumble around and find their own way up the wall, the instructors are completely focused on each child they are belaying at that moment and providing guidance and encouragement each step of the way.

time for the actual rock wall

time for the actual rock wall

starting at the simple one

starting at the simple one

all the way up

all the way up

gave the red wall a go as well

gave the red wall a go as well

After the climb, the kids are presented with their card with the stickers they have managed to attained. Adam was too young to climb on the rock wall outside but they did not forget him and gave him a card as well and he was so pleased.

The kids had so much fun at their Fun Climb session and it really is the perfect introduction to rock-climbing for first-timers.

his efforts get acknowledged

his efforts get acknowledged

look how happy she is

look how happy she is

so much fun!

so much fun!

An exciting upcoming event organised by The Rock School is The Rock Challenge and The Rock Carnival. Click here for instructions on how to register!

Date: 22 & 23 November 2014 (Sat & Sun)
Timing: 10am – 4pm
About: The Carnival is a 2-day event (purchase a 1-day pass) with climbing as the highlight and side events like face painting, balloon sculpting, flea market and more. On top of a specially constructed bouldering wall with routes of varying difficulties, the highwall will be open for parent-child climbs. Climbers may stay and play for as long as they like, even throughout the whole 6 hours from 10am-4pm!