Thursday, October 31, 2013

Mum's Diary: The Pseudo Exams

Transiting to Primary One is a big deal for kids. It's the beginning of formal education in Singapore and for many of the kids, it's their first encounter with serious and intensive studying. Apart from the kid feeling the stress and heat, the parents usually get stressed up and nervous as well, especially if it's the first time for them. I started this series to document the chronological order of events, my intimate thoughts and emotions on this journey, and it will continue until Joey settles down in Primary One. Hopefully, as we go along, the posts would become more and more positive and encouraging. I do believe in that. :)

Wednesday
30 Oct 2013
11.07am

I've been grossly deceived by my kid's Primary School.

Late last year when I did Joey's Primary School registration, I was briefed that there will be NO examinations until Final Semester in Primary Two. During which, the kid will be assessed based on other areas such as her personality traits, social skills, leadership skills, etc. I thought that was pretty cool - Give the kids time to settle in to a new phase in their lives and get used to the education system before all the hard realities fall into place.

Apparently, even though the school doesn't call them exams, the kids sit through exams anyway. And the best part is they get reflected in Report Books with proper grades and such. When Joey brought home her report book in late May this year, I was taken aback when I saw that there were grades reflected, with banding even! By the grace of God, she did pretty well for all her subjects. But it sent a chill down my spine that I had done nothing to prepare my girl for her "exams". According to Joey, she didn't sit through any exams - Everything was assessment papers. I guess what you call it does make a difference, at least in the minds of the kids.

I was a little upset for a while. Then I forgot all about it.

Now history has repeated itself in the Final Semester of Primary One and AGAIN, I didn't do anything to prepare Joey for her "exams"! I must be the most horrible mom on earth. I am a mother who sent my kid to the battlefield without giving her a weapon or two! It didn't help that the school continued to call it Assessments.

In fact, just the other day, Joey came home and told me casually that she just had her Chinese Oral and Listening Comprehension Assessment. I freaked out for a second before trying to act calm. In my most natural voice, I asked casually, "Oh nice baby, so did you know how to read the words and answer the questions?" I managed an awkward smile.

"Yep, it was ok." was her response. Don't freak out, mom. It was an assessment, remember?

Monday was her school's declared school holiday because of 2014 P1 Registration matters, so we went out to play the whole day. By evening time, the girl casually told me again that there will be all kinds of assessments this week. In layman's terms, that means this week is EXAMINATION WEEK! It's what?! And we just spent a whole day gallivanting at some water playground?!

Nope, I did not make her take out her textbooks and drill her till midnight. She didn't want to because it had been a tiring day. In fact, she watched TV and had an early night. I can only pray and hope that everything goes well, and that she remembers everything she learnt in class.

Before I left the house on Tuesday morning, I couldn't resist leaving her a gentle reminder on her blackboard: "Dear Joey, please take out your Chinese Textbook and practise writing all the words before going to school. All the best for your Chinese Test. I love you."

All I wanted to say was, 'GOD BLESS YOU, MY GIRL. I AM HOPING FOR THE BEST.'

 

P/S: On the day she comes home with her report book, I'm going to hide under the table.
P/P/S: I promise I will buck up next year.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Marina Barrage Water Playground

Thankfully, fun does not always come expensive.

In fact, in my opinion, the really fun places in Singapore are those that does not charge an entrance fee. Some of these places that immediately come to mind are Botanic Gardens, Jacob Ballas Children's Garden and Marina Barrage, which also happen to be my kids' favourite haunts. We especially like it when there are large open spaces for the kids to run and roam - It gives them the freedom they crave for in our little HDB flat.

On Monday, Joey's school was on holiday due to 2014 Primary One registration exercise, so we brought the kids out for some fun. It's been quite a while since we visited the Marina Barrage, so we decided to pop by. I love going to the Barrage on Mondays because the whole place's so peaceful and quiet. While the kids play and have fun at the water playground, I get to have a really quiet and therapeutic time to clear my mind and prepare myself for a brand new week ahead.

Best of all, it's free of charge. Muahahahahahhaa.

We had the whole playground to ourselves, which is only expected on a Monday. I could almost pretend this was at the front porch of our bungalow house. =X

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If you are wondering how fun can it be when there were no slides or a proper playground structure, I can totally relate. But apparently, kids operate in a vastly different dimension from adults. In their mind, anything and everything can be fun. Especially when we are talking abundance of water here. They went from soaking in the shallow water to kicking waters at the walls, then attempting to wet the entire stretch of wall with water, not knowing that they dry up in a matter of seconds under the scorching hot sun. Which may not be a bad thing after all, because it meant they have endless stretches of wall to wet and the game will never end.

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I brought bubble tea and subway sandwiches there for a quick lunch. They were really comfort and happy-tummy food which made all of us very happy. Of course, if you are feeling rich, there' s a seafood restaurant and a cafe at Marina Barrage that can fill your stomachs too. But I kinda think that eating by the water playground was a very cool thing to do. Plus, it's not everyday the kids get to drink bubble tea - It was a special treat that day. :)

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Marina Barrage remains one of my most favourite places to visit with my kids. :)

Technorati Tags: Places to visit in Singapore,Marina Barrage,places of interest,kids playground,water playground

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Pumpkin Patch Fashion: Where Style Meets Comfort

Sponsored Review

Remember our first shopping trip to Pumpkin Patch, where we lugged many pretty clothes home?

About two weeks back, I made another trip to Pumpkin Patch with Joey and we were surprised that in such a short span of time, new designs have been added to the racks. Joey went around choosing her favourite pieces to try on, and I really like the colourful pieces she chose. They are bright and cheery - really happy-looking!

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But I guess the main reason why we all adore Pumpkin Patch clothes is because of how comfortable they feel on the skin. Not only are they stylish, they are also very wearable. Kids are the most fussy bunch - Once a piece of clothing doesn't feel comfortable, they will not wear it the second time. That's probably why the kids keep wanting to wear the same clothes all the time - those are the clothes that make them feel most comfortable.

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I personally like seeing Joey in casual get-ups, so the following look is definitely what I prefer. Also, because she has long slim legs, she can carry off a pair of shorts or mini skirt very well. :)

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This dress has been one of her most-worn piece since we brought it home, and I can totally understand why. It's easy to put on, comfortable and soft. By the way, Joey loves anything with hearts.

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This is such a demure look! Love the pink cardigan that goes so well with the laced skirt.

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Jayne didn't go shopping with us, but we did bring some clothes home for her. She really likes this dress she wore to church a weekend ago because it looks like the flare skirt that her sister has!

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Even as I am penning this post, I've been told that their new collection, Alpine Angels, is already in store! I can't wait to go check out the new collection soon - It sure sounds like a very girly series that my girls would love!

It's coming to the end of the year and holiday mood is in the air. Pop by Pumpkin Patch to get some new apparels for your little ones soon! Or you may wish to check out the following baby fair and get your Pumpkin Patch fashion at really good prices:

Oh My Baby!
1 - 17 Nov
20% off baby apparel & accessories (min 2 pcs)
Plus, receive an exclusive Patch Teddy (worth $39.90) with $80 (Patch Club members) or $100 (public) net spend in a single receipt.

P/S: This is part of a series of posts that The J Babies will be writing in collaboration with Pumpkin Patch. As part of the collaboration, The J Babies received sponsored clothing for purpose of review. However, all opinions and photographs (unless otherwise stated) are our own.

Technorati Tags: Pumpkin Patch,fashion for kids,clothes sponsor

Monday, October 28, 2013

Ten Things That Keep My Marriage Strong

One of the things I am extremely thankful for in my life is my strong marriage. It is an important anchor in my life and gives me the balance, happiness and confidence that I need.

A strong and happy marriage is definitely not something we can take for granted. In fact, in this time and age, with divorce rates on the rise and more people losing confidence in marriage, it takes a lot of effort to keep a marriage going and more so to make it happy and strong.

I was very shocked when I heard the recent news about the possible arrival of Ashley Madison, a dating site for married couples, in Singapore next year. I may be living in a modern time and age, but I am still very old-fashioned. To me, certain values and principles can never be compromised. To see such a wave of blatant propaganda of unacceptable acts is very scary. The very fact that such agencies exist and are even expanding all over the world show that world is accepting extra-marital affairs and flings to be a social norm. This is definitely not the world that I want my kids to grow up in.

I've got friends who commented before that since I have a rather strong foundation for my relationship with the husband, my marriage should be more steady and secure. It's true that since we have been together for 20 years, we have a certain level of mutual understanding and faith. But it would be very shallow to assume that such a marriage needs minimal maintenance. In fact, I found that the more important a person is to me, the more effort I must put into building up that relationship. Complacency is the biggest stumbling block in relationships.

I thought about my own marriage and came up with a list of 10 things that help to keep our marriage strong and happy:

* * * * *

1. We have the same faith – We are Christians.

2. We serve and are firmly rooted in the same Church.

3. We are constantly in contact with each other through Whatsapp during the day when we are not with each other.

4. We are parents of two wonderful daughters.

5. We make it a point that the other party will always be the first to know of important events/news in our lives.

6. We share common interests - Blogging, photography & travelling. That gives us common topics to talk about.

7. We are frank about our feelings to each other & make effort to resolve any issues A.S.A.P.

8. No matter what happens, I am always on his side and he on mine. Yes, that includes conflicts with parents and parents-in-law.

9. We plan and go on dates and us-only trips overseas.

10. I tell the husband when I miss him. He does the same.

* * * * *

What are the things you do to keep your marriage strong and happy? :)

Technorati Tags: Marriage

Friday, October 25, 2013

LEGOLAND Malaysia Water Park Tickets Giveaway!

Courtesy of the kind folks from Legoland Malaysia, I have four tickets to give away to one happy reader!

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To participate in this giveaway, please complete the following:

1) Read my post on my family's visit to the Legoland Water Park to know more about what the park has to offer.(http://www.jbabiesinthedaisies.com/2013/10/legoland-water-park-malaysia-is-open.html)

2. Leave a comment on my Facebook post (https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10153365579505364&set=a.10151066572315364.775000.532270363&type=1&theater) telling me which attraction would you most like to try when you visit Legoland Water Park.

Easy Peasy lemon squeezy! Giveaway ends on 1 November 2013 and results will be released thereafter!

Do visit Legoland Malaysia's official FB page and know more about their wonderful attractions too. Like the page to get updates on their latest news and promotions! https://www.facebook.com/LEGOLAND.my

*The tickets will have validity from January to April 2014 and can be used any time except during public holidays and school holidays.

Go Go Go!!! :)

Technorati Tags: Legoland Malaysia Water Park ticket giveaway

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Daddy Matters

I chanced upon this photo in my camera and I felt this sudden surge of thankfulness in my heart.

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That day, the husband took leave and brought the girls out for some fun at Sentosa. It was a very sad thing that I've used up all my leave quota for this year, so I couldn't take leave to join them. But it was a good chance for the girls to have Daddy all to themselves anyway. The husband took my camera out with him and took many photos of their fun outing. I was looking through all the photos and thinking to myself, "How blessed are they to have a wonderful Daddy who loves them so much."

Moms are important but we cannot deny the fact that dads are critical roles in the lives of little children. Absentee fathers often result in dysfunctional families and children who do not have a sense of security. A family that has a responsible and loving father to the children is one that is blessed and loved. In fact, I find myself loving my husband more each time I see the love he has for our children. There is just an unexplainable charm that every doting father has. :)

Ironically, the husband is actually the main disciplinarian in the house, so the kids know who's the boss. I often have to nag, scream and beg a million times to get the kids to stop doing something. But the husband just needs to give a stare or utter their names in the tone they recognise so well, and they know they better start behaving immediately. But while the kids have this 'fear' of their father in their hearts, I know that they also love him to bits. There's just something about daddies that mummies can never replace.

I am so grateful for my wonderful little family of four. :)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Kid-Friendly Cafe: The Loft

I've always wanted to pay a visit to The Loft cafe because I've passed by the vicinity many times. Finally did with hubby on our pak tor day on Monday!

It's called The Loft cafe simply because it's located on Level two of a shophouse and it's got a third level which resembles a loft indeed. The third level is a private event space that can be booked for private events. I sneaked a peek at the space and saw that it's got projector, screen and chairs. It looks like it can fit a group of about 30 people? Definitely something I'll keep in mind for future events.

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The Loft Cafe serves all-day breakfasts and also desserts such as pancakes, waffles and ice-cream etc.

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The interiors are cosy and comfy, and I like it that there're sofa seats for groups of two or four and the usual table & chair settings. It's obvious that the owner is a Christian because on the shelves, there are many Christian literature and inspirational books for free browsing. On another shelf, you can also find novels and non-fiction books for reading pleasure.

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The reason why I feel that this cafe is kid-friendly is because there's a small corner that contains kids chairs and some toys to entertain the kiddy guests. Those should entertain the kids sufficiently while the parents have a short break of desserts and coffee.

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Hubby ordered Hot Chocolate with Marshmallows. What a cute drink. :)

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And I ordered a short stack of pancakes with bananas! The sliced bananas were cooked together with the pancakes, and they tasted fabulous! Yummy with maple sauce.

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We had the best seats in da house - a four-seater sofa next to the window, where I could look out and watch the streets below.

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A really lovely place to spend a quiet afternoon reading and enjoying your favourite snacks and drinks. I'll bring the kids along the next time round! :)

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The Loft Cafe
268A South Bridge Road
(Off Smith Street)
Singapore 058817
http://www.theloft.com.sg

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Changi Chapel & Museum and The Bark Cafe

The husband has a most innovative way of celebration our wedding anniversary. He took me to the Changi Prison yesterday.

Then again, I wasn't expecting a lavish lunch at a posh and romantic place because we really aren't this kind. But the Changi Prison?!  Well, accurately put, it was the Changi Chapel & Museum and not the prison itself and we had lunch at this alfresco cafe next to it. Turned out to be awesome, just like any of our dates. So, I'm happy. :)

Menu at The Bark Cafe is a magazine, stylishly done.

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I had expected the place to be very quiet with few customers, seeing that it's at such an 'ulu' place. But the place actually started to fill up during lunch hour by tourists and some locals probably working nearby. Thankfully, it didn't get too rowdy - We managed to have a nice quiet lunch and chilled for a while with our after-meal drinks. Alfresco cafes always have this very relaxed feel that I love.

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Ordered quite a lot of dishes since we were celebrating our Anniversary. Didn't come cheap though - The meal cost us $90 along with drinks - really expensive actually, but most of the food was quite delicious. If you order only a main course & a drink each, the spending can be between $25 - $30/pax.

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The caesar salad was the least yummy of it all - it was not chilled enough and the sauce was only so-so.

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Japanese Saba with teriyaki sauce was quite tasty with mashed potatoes and boiled vegetables.

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Tahu Goreng was very good! The peanut sauce was very tasty and the beancurd was so soft!

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Chicken wings were crispy and delicious - Actually tasted a lot like prawn paste chicken.

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Sliced beef with chilli is a starter dish but the portion is really huge. This sure is not a cheap starter at $18+ but hubby said that a whole slab of beef steak was served, so it was quite worth it. Quite yummy.

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There are other items on the menu that I'm interested to try the next time I visit such as the Aglio Olio, Crayfish Hor Fun, Nasi Goreng, etc. All looked really good on the menu. :)

To digest off our lunch, we took a slow tour round the Changi Chapel & Museum. It's a really small place with artefacts, old newspaper reports and articles on the history of Singapore and prisoners. Free admission to all.

Interestingly, people tend to look to spiritual things when serving time in prison. We saw mini chapels, wall murals and many artefacts related to Christianity and Catholicism. As I walked through it, I felt that it was really solemn.

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There is an outdoor chapel which I really like. I'm not sure if regular meetings are still being held here though.

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Again, there're many traces of history that you can read about here. If you like, you can also rent audio guides that will explain everything clearly - Saw several tourists using them.

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Hand folded for good wishes and prayers.

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I wonder how many couples are like hubby and I? We really enjoy visiting such places together and taking photographs as we go along. It's a pretty epic way of celebrating our wedding anniversary, don't you think? :P

Technorati Tags: Changi Prison Museum,The Bark Cafe,food,restaurants in Singapore,cafes in singapore
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