Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Thankful for... both sides of the family

I love that we live next door to my sister-in-law. And that she can cook, and bake… haha, that's besides the point.

Kate can just pop over for lunch every day after school, and when they take their kids out, they simply holler over the wall and ask who wants to tag along.

So glad to be relieved of those full-on outings like taking them to the zoo (for the 100th time), science centre or night safari, yet my younger kids get an opportunity to go.

My other sis-in-law also lives close by, and #4 plays with her younger cousins quite often. Yesterday was the first time Kate joined them to take the MRT into town and #4 did a great job taking care of her.

On my own side of the family, my 6 kids have been the only grandchildren all these years.

Finally, finally, my brother and sis-in-law had their first child. They come over every weekend and Kate always looks forward to their visits.
Big sis
My other sis-in-law also had her first baby last year and Kate is so fortunate to have several cousins around her age. Sadly, that is something my older kids have always wished for but will never have.

Kate loves taking care of her little cousins and calls them her 'babies'. Although sometimes, she doesn't quite do a good job.
Dominoes
Such a blessing to have harmony in the family, and it is something that should never be taken for granted.

I've learn a lot from the hubs side about living with a kampung spirit.

Thankful for so much support and thankful that our lives are enriched by one another.



"He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has" - Epictetus

Thankful… for the hub's cooking
Thankful… for our helper
Thankful… for my family
Thankful… for my mum-in-law


~ www.mummyweeblog.com - a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

Monday, 16 May 2016

Kate's antics: An ice-cream to make your day

I haven't posted any of Kate's antics in a really long time!

Have been busy with other 'more important' things that I've forgotten to watch out for the little things in life, let myself go, and laugh with abandon.

A simple thing like savouring a good ol' fashioned ice-cream can bring so much joy.

It takes a little child to put things in perspective, doesn't it?
Ooh, looks yummilicious
Let me give it a lick..
Woah! Super c-o-l-d!
Just kidding...
She's at the age where she's soaking up everything like a sponge, especially from her 5 older siblings and their friends who come over to our place frequently, and constantly surprises us with the things she says and does.
Cheek to cheek smiles
Many of the friends I have known through my children have kids the same age as my 3 older teens and we feel the yearning of the "Empty Hands". They haven't quite flown the nest, but want their space.

We no longer have to feed them, change their diapers nor carry them till our backs break.

But we miss their chubby arms around our necks and their cheeky faces looking up earnestly at us.

When they are little, we can't wait for them to grow up so our job will be less tiresome. And when they grow up, we wish they were cute and little again.

The irony of it.

So.

Hug your little ones more often.

Hold your tongue and listen to what they have to say.

For the day will be gone too soon.

And you would wish you had held them more, nagged at them less, and found time to laugh with them a lot more.

It is not too late.




More of Kate's antics:

Nice warm drink
Meow…
The long slope
Santa on a Buggy


~ www.mummyweeblog.com - a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

Monday, 9 May 2016

Juice Cleanse with Antidote

I've been meaning to eat healthier and gradually change our family's diet to a more nutritious one, but somehow that has always been pushed to the back burner.

When Antidote contacted me about sponsoring their 3-Day juice cleanse, I was going to pass it up because I've been really busy and didn't want to add too many reviews on my plate at the moment.

However I thought of #1, knowing that she regularly does her own cold-pressed juices. I showed her the website and her enthusiasm was greater than I expected. I agreed to it, on condition that she handled the photos.
Looks refreshing
Seeing how excited she was, I took a better look at their website.

During the period of juice cleansing, your digestive system will be given a rest, enabling your body to go into detox mode naturally while flooding it with vitamins and minerals that it needs to thrive. Your cells will focus on repairing other cells, tissues and organs, and eliminating foreign toxins and the natural metabolic wastes our body produces by itself.

Our Fresh Start programme helps to jumpstart our body, detoxify your cells and get rid of harmful toxins that have built up in our bodies over time.


Sounds like what I needed!
Antidote Advanced Cleanse
#1 immediately chose the Fresh Start Level 3 cleanse, which is for those who have cleansed before and love the taste of greens.

The ingredients are clearly labeled at the back. For example,

Mont Blanc (Anti-inflammation): Apple, Jap Cucumber, Celery, Lemon.

Angel Falls (Liver cleanse): Carrot, Orange, Beet, Lemon, Ginger, Coconut oil, Rosemary.

I didn't mention it to #2 and #3 as I thought they might be a little too young for this, at 16 and 14 respectively.

However, when they overheard our conversation they wanted in on it as well. I was rather sceptical and asked them if they really understood what we were doing.

Me: You wouldn't be able to eat for 3 days you know. Just drink 6 bottles of juice throughout the day.

Teens: We know what a detox is, mum. Can? Please...

So, I ended up doing my first juice cleanse with my 3 teenagers!
Antidote Intermediate Cleanse
In preparation for the cleanse, we were given a list of what to eat more of and what to avoid to ease the body into the cleanse to avoid strong detox symptoms.

I was surprised that the 3 of them preferred to come home and have salad topped with grains like buckwheat and quinoa instead of grabbing fast food with their classmates on the way home from school.

I got into the swing of things and switched to healthy salads for breakfast instead of the usual bacon and eggs.

The 2 of them chose Fresh Start Level 2 cleanse, which is for those who eat a fair amount of green vegetables, but still want to achieve optimum health.

They brought their juices to school in cooler bags and several of their classmates tried it, and wanted to buy them as well, until they found out that one bottle of juice costs about $14.
Antidote Beginner Cleanse
I chose Level 1 as I love my meat and all manner of "unhealthy" foods and decided not to overdo things. Notice the brighter colours of the juices as compared to Level 3, which has more vegetables.

The Fresh Start Level 1 is for those who are new to juice cleansing, or have not been eating enough greens over the years and arrant used to the taste of vegetables. This selection of juices are smoother and tastier, so that beginners will find them easier to drink.

I was a little apprehensive as to what I would do if I felt really hungry, and wondered if I would faint halfway as I went about my busy day.

Turns out, I was full consuming so much liquid that I didn't feel all that hungry. Besides the 6 bottles of juices per day, we were encouraged to drink up to 3 litres of water everyday and decaf herbal tea to stay hydrated.

I checked in with the girls throughout the day, to see if they were feeling ok and reminded them to drink more water. We laughed about which juices were harder to drink and which ones were actually quite yummy.
A la carte
So as not to leave the little ones out, the lovely people at Antidote sent over some juices for Kate and the other 2 kids to try.

It was refreshing to have cold juices ready in the fridge especially on a hot afternoon.

Kate liked all of it, but the other 2 preferred the Atlantic (energy boost) and K2 (promotes strong bones).
Thirst quencher
At the end of the 3 days, I felt such a sense of achievement. I DID IT! I'm glad it was a 3-day cleanse. I don't think I could have held out much longer.

Juice cleansing is done by replacing your meals with bottles of organic, cold-pressed fruit and vegetable juices. Each bottle of cold-pressed juice you receive is made with approximately 1kg worth of organic fruits and vegetables that contains vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that aids in nourishment and detoxification.

Ah, that explains why the bottles are so expensive.
Salad staples
What we got out of the juice cleanse was not only resetting our system with a good flush, but we became more aware of what we were eating and have decided to replace our lunches with wholesome salads whenever possible.

I used to prepare salads for #1 quite a lot last year, but stopped as she was the only one eating it. Now that the 4 of us are committed to a healthier diet, I'm going to start whipping up salads again!
Toss and go
Sane tip:
  • Do it together with family members or colleagues. The moral support really helps and it is way more fun.
  • Avoid delicious smells. I visited a friend and her helper was cooking curry. That almost threw me off the detox!
  • Ensure enough space in your fridge for the bottles.
  • Have easy access to the toilet.
Save tip: Antidote is offering my dear readers a 15% off, coupon code MummyWee. Valid till 10 June 2016.

Happy juice cleansing!

Antidote
www.antidote.sg

Disclaimer: We were sponsored the juice cleanse programme by Antidote. All opinions are my own.


~ www.mummyweeblog.com - a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

Friday, 6 May 2016

Discipline tip #11: Who has the energy to discipline our kids?

When I dropped Kate off at school, she was more clingy than usual and wanted me to stay.

Ms S, the teacher who taught her last year, called me aside and told me about a little incident that happened the day before.

Ms S was walking past the children when she heard Kate saying to her classmates, "You all better put the books properly back on the shelves, if not teacher will put you on the thinking chair."

(I can just imagine a tiny little Miss Bossy wagging her fingers at her bigger friends.)

The other kids looked worried and started packing up the reading corner.
Uh-oh. Who's naughty?
Ms S pulled her aside and asked her what did she say to her friends.

"Nothing", came the immediate reply.

Nobody gets punished because of a slightly messy reading corner, and Kate was aware of that.

"Nothing? You sure? What did you say to your friends?"

"Nothing", and she looked away.

If Kate had simply explained what had happened, that would have been the end of it.


However, she knew she did something wrong, and decided to lie and cover it up.

After pressing her repeatedly, Kate said that she wanted the corner to be tidy.

Ms S spent the next few minutes, or however long it must have taken, to get Kate to admit her mistake, before teaching her that it is wrong to scare her friends with untruths, and that she should not lie when being questioned, but to own up to it and apologise.

Some might say it is just a small matter.

It was an incident that could have been ignored.

After all, Ms S was on her way out as she had finished teaching her class for the day.

She did not need to make the extra effort to pull Kate aside to discipline her.

As parents, we know how draining it is to correct kids and it takes a lot of patience. We have our excuses - a bad day at work, a multitude of worries bothering us, or simply being too exhausted juggling between work and family.

Kate wasn't even her current student.

Yet, Ms S was committed to her calling as an educator. To raise the next generation of children with right morals values.

For every time when we allow a transgression to go unchecked, we have failed them.

For every time when we do not hold our children to higher standards, we have failed them.

And when we start to see bigger issues in future, we wonder how that happened and what went wrong.

The more I am aware,

The more I have grown as a parent,

The more I can see how I fail as a parent.

Sometimes, I wonder.

Is it really their fault? Or mostly mine?

After recounting the whole incident, Ms S awaited my reaction.

Nope, I was not defensive.

I did not make excuses for Kate.

I did not doubt Ms S nor think that she was making a mountain out of a molehill.

After so many kids, I have gone past such myopic responses.

Instead, I was worried.

"Oh dear. For the 1 time that you catch her, there may be 9 other times she's gone unchecked."

I can just imagine this little imp, with all her tricks up her sleeves.

And she's only 3.

Ms S burst out laughing, "I'm sure you can take it. She's your 6th."



Other discipline tips (which I've learnt after having 5 kids):

Tip #8: What do you do when your 2-year old lies?
Tip #9: When the gramps can't say 'no'
Tip #10: 6 Tips to stop tantrums in toddlers


~ www.mummyweeblog.com - a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Glamping in Bintan @ The Canopi

We went glamping (glamorous camping) at this newly opened resort in Bintan and the kids loved the place so much that they are already asking to go back.

It felt like we were entering a make-believe land, a Smurf village of sorts.

The wow factor is definitely there, and everything looks picture-perfect.

However, operationally, they do not seem ready although they have been running for 9 months.

Here are some tips so that you go prepared and will be able to make the most of your holiday.
Glamping - glamorous camping
From Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal, it took us an hour to reach Bintan. Guests of The Canopi are ushered through the express lane and it was a short 5 minute ride to our resort.

Once we alighted from the shuttle bus and stepped into the lobby, this magnificent view awaited us.

"This is the largest swimming pool I have ever seen!" exclaimed #5.
The Lagoon
The lagoon stretched as far as the kids could see.

Right in the middle is the wake boarding section, which is run by a Singaporean.

The rest of the water and land activities are situated at the far end of the lagoon.
Little smurfette
We got the keys to our room and the kids couldn't wait to dump their stuff before heading out to do the activities.

They oohed and aahed about everything and loved the safari themed rooms. All in high spirits as though they had stepped into magical land.

Tip: There are no phones in the rooms, so you either have to walk to the lobby reception for any requests, or you can WhatsApp the number that is given when you checked-in.

Also do note that there is no mini bar, thus no fridge to chill anything you might need to chill.
#5 called it his fort
Some examples of our requests, to manage your expectations:

Bedroom slippers, please. Sorry, we don't provide.
Hand towels? Sorry, ran out.
A glass of beer? Sorry, machine broken.

The tent floor is really rough so pack bedroom slippers along if necessary. Or perhaps that's what the cute little 'well' outside each tent is for!

To wash everyone's feet AND slippers so you can wear them inside the tent. Ok, maybe it's just me who has sensitive feet, but it felt like I was walking on woven rope.

The kids quickly changed into their swim gear and headed towards the water sports centre. After realising that they had to walk one big round, they decided to swim across instead.

Thank goodness I brought Kate's pram along, because she could not swim across and it was taking her a long time to walk such a long distance.
$9 per  hour
There are a lot of activities for the kids. They started with the Water Sports Park which has giant trampolines, slides and obstacles.

Kate did not join them but was content to play with her pool toys.

The kids enjoyed the water park so much that they went again the next day. If the kids are young, they need to be accompanied by an adult.
Bumper boat - 15 min
They also had lots of fun in this Motorised Bumper Boat, with water guns to spray one another. It can go quite fast, and #5 loved spinning it around like those dizzy tea cups at theme parks!
Kayaking
Both single and double kayaks are available and it was rather idyllic kayaking around the lagoon.

The Land Sports Centre is situated right behind the water sports and it is open to public as well. As we were there over the weekend, it was very crowded with locals, especially on Sunday.

The kids were disappointed that they did not manage to do any of the land activities.

The electric scooters were all rented out, and we were told that the ATV bike adventure only commenced at 3pm. When we went over at 3pm, they told us that it was over-subscribed.
Wake-boarding
This is a nice place to learn wake-boarding and the kids were able to stand on the first few tries. #1 even managed to turn successfully!

There were several groups awaiting their turn and as most people paid for the 1 hour session, and with 2 cable lines, it was quite a wait.

If we ever do return, it will definitely be on a weekday.
Chilling
The resort has 1 giant float, which was anchored right in front of our tent.

The younger kids woke up at 7am and after breakfast, they relaxed here while waiting for the older girls to get ready to start the other activities together.
Getting around
After a few times of walking round and round under the scorching sun to get to the activities, we decided to call for a buggy.

There is Wifi throughout the resort and you can WhatsApp the reception for a buggy but they have only 2 or 3 serving all the guests so you might have to wait.

Tip: Don't forget to bring hats, sunscreen and goggles as there isn't any gift/merchandise shop.
One and only restaurant
The biggest bugbear is the lack of food options at the resort, and the fact that it is not cheap.

There is only one restaurant to serve the entire resort. No beach front cafes, no bars, no convenience stores.

There is a little kiosk right at the far end of the lagoon (at the land sports centre) selling a small assortment of drinks and ice cream.

Breakfast: The buffet breakfast was included in our stay, but the spread was very basic. It also took a long time for them to replenish the food when the crowds came in.

Lunch: We ate here again to save time, but the standard was generally below average. The only items which were slightly better were the pizzas, spaghetti bolognese and mee/nasi goreng. Rather expensive at $20 each for a simple lunch with drinks.

Dinner: We decided to venture out to one of the several kelongs around the resort. It was quite an experience for the kids, to take a powerboat out to the kelong, however the food was average. We ordered the set menu, which came up to $20 per person.
Dinner at Kelong
If you have ample time, getting out of the resort for good nasi padang or Thai food would be a much better option.

Tip: Pack along biscuits, snacks and mineral water. Or why not go all out and bring tinned food, cup noodles and portable stoves and have a picnic under the stars! I'm sure the kids would love the novelty of that.
Right in front of our door step
Choice of tents:

We booked the Lagoon View tents, which was great because of the convenience. The kids found it simply amazing to open their front door and almost literally step out into the water.

I loved the convenience as the kids could easily nip back in to use the toilets and I could still be in the room with Kate while she napped, while keeping an eye on the older kids.

However, it was really noisy with the music blasting the whole time, and if you have little children who are easily awoken, a better option would be the Safari tents at the back which are away from the lagoon.

If you are going with several families, it would be nice to book the Safari tents as they are clustered around a central pavilion and the kids can play together in a safe space while the adults sit around and chill, or prepare a BYO alfresco dinner under the stars.

We found the Jacuzzi tents a tad strange, as people were soaking in these little jacuzzis at their doorway in full view of everyone walking past to get to their Safari tents.

I was woken up in the middle of the night and sat outside my tent for awhile.

The utter silence, and fairy lights twinkling over the vast lagoon made the place feel rather mystical. Just an hour's ferry ride away from home yet it felt like we were in a distant land.
Bintan Resort Ferries
The ferry ride turned out better than the kids expected as there was a deli (hotdogs, muffins, chips, cup noodles) and Madagascar 2 was being screened, so the hour passed quickly enough.
Fun times
All in all, it was a perfect holiday for us (the kids got over their disappointment with the land activities pretty quickly) as our friends who were there a day earlier pre-empted us and we were prepared.

I'm sure the kids would hold fond memories of this spectacular resort for a long time to come.

The Canopi

Treasure Bay Bintan
Lagoi
Bintan Island
Indonesia
www.adventureglamping.com


~ www.mummyweeblog.com - a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

Monday, 25 April 2016

#2's literature assignment

#2 was chatting with me about a Literature assignment which she did well in, and I was surprised to see how progressive the curriculum is.

Fan-fic?

They sure are keeping up with the times!

The students were asked to write a fan fiction based on their reading material "Cry, the Beloved Country" by Alan Paton, a teacher who went on to become the first president of the Liberal Party of South Africa in 1953.


Fan fiction is a work of fiction written by fans for other fans, taking a source text or a prominent character as a point of departure.

Scope:

Fan fiction takes a lot of forms and does a lot of different things. Some fan fiction seeks to close loopholes in a source text or to explore character motivations. Some fan fiction turns minor characters into protagonists of their own stories, or uses minor characters' eyes to see a different perspective on the major characters.

Assessment criteria:
  • Your story must be unique and original.
  • Your story must illustrate some form of purpose e.g. explore an issue.
Cry, the Beloved Country
The following is what she wrote, which I thought was pretty excellent!

Absalom,

We have come far. The rally at Alexandra was a success. Soon, we will have higher wages, better hours, a greater step towards justice. It all lies with the scripts now. Jarvis will have them ready tomorrow at 9am in Parkwoods. Do me proud.


John Kumalo.


.

Absalom stood over the plantation, the racing pulse in his right temple visible just below the tiny droplets of sweat beading up across his forehead. He had the letter clenched tightly in his left hand; it was the last of the many he'd received from his uncle over the years, yet was far from what predominated his mind. Of greater importance was the revolver he gripped in his other hand and the two empty spaces in its chamber that had been occupied less than an hour ago.

He dropped to his knees and started to dig, the butt of the weapon the shovel for its own grave. Ironic, but absolutely fitting, considering the entire incident had made him feel like doing something just so.

The ordeal had begun the morning of the letter. As dictated by John's neatly inked instructions, with his partners, Matthew and Johannes, he was to meet Arthur Jarvis under the large Oak tree in Jarvis' yard to receive the script for John's final rally. He thought nothing of the task; bearing the secrets upon which the cause was precariously balanced had become a normality for them.

He blamed himself now for his blitheness. He should have noticed something had been amiss from Johannes' devious eyes, the weapons he'd carried in a dark, lumpy sack over his shoulder, the too-lithe spring in his step as he walked. Johannes was only ever happy when he was in power, and power was something Absalom knew to fear.

They had been passing through the street next to the one of Jarvis' residence, an hour early for their rendezvous, when Absalom finally built up the courage to inquire into the revolver Johannes held. The older boy had smiled secretively and reassured, "It is for safety."

"And the bar?" Absalom questioned, looking to the thick iron rod Matthew was armed with, with what was almost nerves, for it was clear whom the superior of the trio was.

Johannes answered for Matthew as they entered Jarvis' yard through an unlocked gate left slightly ajar for them. "It has been blessed." His humorless tone and stony eyes told Absalom he had the last word.

Absalom had uneasily accepted his answers as the truth, but nothing could have prepared him for the next moments to come. In a spiraling whirlwind of macabre events, he was made to watch in horror as Matthew knocked an inquiring servant unconscious and Johannes shot Jarvis when he came down the stairs. The image of the fear on the white man's face a split second before he was murdered haunted Absalom as the revolver was thrust into his shaking hands and he was told to run and meet them in Alexandra in six hours. So he had.

He stood now, surveying his work, his breathing rapid and guilt overwhelming him. His mind sped to trace back to how it all started, how all his little desires had manifested into one big pandemonium in which he was kept prisoner. From the letters his uncle had sent him from Johannesburg throughout his teenage years, detailing the racism and the protests against discrimination which had developed in the big city, he'd grown up exposed and wanting to make a difference in the lives of his people. He'd jumped at the chance of leaving Ndotsheni when the need to find Gertrude arose. His uncle needed someone he could trust to hold goods and run secret errands, and that responsibility soon came to rest on Matthew's, Johannes', and his own shoulders.

He shook his head at himself; he had been so naive. John's letters had depicted their team as genuine, uncorrupted. They were the higher power with the bull voice and the intelligent brain and the pure heart. They were unstoppable. Or so John had said.

Like he had, the natives bought into their act like it was truth itself. They respected John especially, for he was the voice and the face of the movement. What would they do if they discovered that all of John Kumalo's incredible speeches had been written by a white man, none other than Arthur Jarvis himself?

But as it was to his younger self, Absalom could not blame them for their blind innocence. Beggars could not be choosers, and they had known nothing but empty bellies and broken minds all their lives.

Absalom began the trek out of the plantation slowly. He knew what was waiting for him in Alexandra and was in no hurry to face it. The many similar meetings he'd been to had painted an image in his mind; he could picture the masses of people under Johannes' leadership that would be gathered in one of the dirty fields out in the countryside, could almost feel the vibration of stomping feet beneath him, almost hear the chanting cries of youths begging for the overthrow of John and Dubula's names at the top of the cause against racial discrimination. As if they knew better.

They, under Johannes' and Matthew's guide, would talk about fear and power. The fear of power, and the power of fear, and fear and power as its own. Absalom had to agree that the fear of power was very real, to himself more than others. He feared the white man's power, and his own power to do harm and, most of all, Johannes' immense power to ruin lives, for certainly his poorly thought out strategies to achieve his so-called 'equalized revolution' through violence and pure force would cause just that.

Absalom's steps slowed. John's twisted portrayal of his team had been a disappointment, but no doubt were they doing something great for the natives of Johannesburg. Principally, never once had he heard John or Dubula say a thing about equality or violence. Higher wages, better hours, a greater step towards justice, had been John's exact words. Equality through violence? He could almost hear John laughing at the absurdity of the idea. Impracticality was a worse trait for a leader to have than empty boldness.

Yet, in spite of his irrationality, today Johannes had shown he was to be taken seriously. Today he had silenced the real voice of the movement. Today he might have just destroyed John's chance to succeed.

With this change of thought, Absalom began running, this time towards the vague location of the police station in town that he'd crossed maybe once or twice before. A plan was forming in his mind; he had been given the opportunity to help his people beyond anything he'd ever imagined and was willing to sacrifice himself for it. They would suffer under Johannes' ridiculous schemes to create what he thought to be equality for them all, and Absalom could only hope that turning himself in for the fatal crime they'd committed together would bring the leaders of the new aggressive resistance down with him.

He could only pray that John's team would be able to rise above Jarvis' death and suppress the wild schemes Johannes had left in his wake. Perhaps after he had accompanied Johannes and Matthew to Pretoria, Johannesburg would see a new justice for the natives, after their long fight against white supremacy.

For what better way to fight power, but with more power?


__________

#2 does have a bit of a flair for writing fiction, doesn't she? But then again, most mums are biased ;)



~ www.mummyweeblog.com - a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~
(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-43179904-2', 'mummywee.blogspot.com'); ga('send', 'pageview');