Saturday, 29 April 2017

BYKido - One Pass, Multiple Savings

I've heard of membership passes where you get discounts on F&B or fitness classes, and the good news is that now there is one for families!

BYKido, which means Bring Your Kids Out, was started by a dad who wanted to make it easier for parents to bring their kids out by helping them save money and effort (where to go? what to do?) Basically, you purchase a membership pass for $30 which is valid for 6 months (Jan-June or July-Dec) and you are entitled to a whole host of discounts.

It was fun experiencing some of the activities which we normally would not have tried, and it is also a great way to let your kids be exposed to a variety of classes before signing up for something they are keen to pursue. These were some of the things we got up to recently!

CLIMB ASIA

1 hour Guided Family Climb
2 Climbers @ $39 (U.P $80)
Additional climbers pay $29 (U.P $40)
Promotion available for multiple visits until 30th June 2017

Join Climb Asia for a 1-hour Guided Family Climb (at least 1 climber is between 4-12 yrs old) at the 9-metre indoor climbing wall for some family bonding through sports.

Climb Asia is dedicated to serving the needs of anyone looking to engage in a full-body activity, a competitive sport, a social activity and a lifestyle. Whether you are a complete stranger to climbing or a veteran rock warrior, Climb Aisa will introduce you to new dimensions of adventure and fun.


Activity Details:
Age: 4-12 years old
Location: 60 Tessensohn Road, Civil Service Club, Singapore 217664
Tel: 62927701
Email: beta@climb-asia.com
Climb Asia
Ready Steady Go Kids

2 Trial Lessons @ $10 (U.P $49)

Ready Steady Go Kids is Australia's largest multi-sport and exercise programme for pre-schoolers, to enhance their gross and fine motor skills, hand-eye, foot-eye coordination and balance. Their trainers lead and educate on important features such as warm-up, stretching, cool-down, team-building and sportsmanship. But most importantly, we hope to spark their life-long love for sports and being healthy.

Terms are 10-12 weeks, with 5 sports covered each term: Football/Soccer, Tennis, Hockey, AFL (Aussie Rules Football), Criket, Atheletics, Basketball, Rugby, Golf and T-ball.


Activity details:
Age: 2.5-6 years old
Location: The Cage Sports Park @ Bukit Timah or Kovan Sports Centre
Tel: 98558221
Email: info@readysteadygokids.com.sg
Quote MummyWee for 10% off term fees
Ready Steady Go Kids
A2 Parkour

1 for 1 Trial classes @ Lavender ($25)

A2 Parkour is Singapore's first & premier parkour academy providing the highest quality of coaching standards for its students to learn in a progressive & safe environment. But beyond simply imparting technical knowledge, they seek to impart values, ideology & a positive mindset approach to life's obstacles & challenges.

All kids love to jump around. Let your child discover how to move and have fun correctly as they learn to navigate the environment.


Activity details:
Age: 5-13 years old
Location: Free Runner Lodge, CT Hub 2 #05-91, 114 Lavender Street, S 338729
Tel: 91849744
A2 Parkour
Seimpi School of Music

Free trials and Reg Fee waiver (worth $53.50) for BYKidO Pass holders with any selected MIM course sign up (min 2 months)

Music for the Mind (MIM) is a carefully planned syllabus to guide students from a tender age of 4 months to the age of 7 to explore the richness and excitement of music through interesting play, activities and musical games. Seimpi also incorporates eye and ear training, speed reading, pitch training, memorizing techniques and music theory.

All activities involve stimulating the inter-connectivity between the two hemispheres of the brain by engaging in holistic and all-rounded music training. MIM provides a seamless transition into music graded studies.

Activity Details:
Suitable for: 12 months - 8 years old
Location: Centre Point (Tel: 67376731), Pasir Ris, Hougang (Tel: 63435347), JCube (Tel: 62621193)
Seimpi School of Music
Busy Tables

Purchase 2 Passes and Get 1 Free Pass (Save $18)

Busy Tables is exclusively dedicated to children between 0 and 5 years old and their parents, so they can have fun in a safe environment, away from bigger children. We promote educational values of play for young children and encourage positive parent and child interactions through the provision of quality toys, games and resources.

Activity Details:
Suitable for: 0-5 years old
Location: 35 Rochester Drive, Rochester Mall, #03-22
Email: Busytables@gmail.com
Busy Tables
Thinkasaur

$8 off Single Box and $33 off 6 Month Box Subscriptions

Thinkasaur provides a subscription based children's science programme. The programme, which is founded primarily on encouraging hands-on learning and Do-It-Yourself fun for children, delivers a different set of science experiments each month for both parents and children to work on together.

Thinkasaur comes in the form of a science kit that provides the full spectrum of materials, equipment, instruction manuals and learning points for up to four experiments per box. Each box covers a specific theme, such as chemistry, physics and earth science.

Subscription options available:
Single Box - $48
6 Month Subscription - $258

Activity Detail:
Suitable for 5-10 years old but primarily targeted at 7-10 year olds
Website: www.thinkasaur.com
Email: hello@thinkasaur.com
Thinkasaur
Besides PROMOTIONS, they suggest lots of IDEAS (places to go and things to do) as well as organise ACTIVITIES for new parents to meet up and share tips. With so many exciting offerings, what are you waiting for? Sign up for the pass and bring your kids out today!

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.


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

Monday, 17 April 2017

Where can I find happiness?

I remember having a happy childhood, surrounded by family and friends. Dad worked long hours but mum was a stabalising presence at home.

As a teenager I went through the typical phase thinking that happiness could be bought, only to discover it is short-lived - until the next purchase.

The greatest challenge came when we started having kids and the past 18 years have by no means been easy. In my toughest and darkest moments, I struggled to find meaning in the sacrifices and sufferings of those early years.

On hindsight, it taught me so much.

It shaped me into who I am today. It made me strong.

Living life at survival mode with the 5 older kids, it dawned on me that happiness could be found in the simplest of things and hey, I lived to tell the tale, share my experiences, and hopefully inspire others along this journey of life as parents.

I have been fortunate to enjoy the past 4 years since Kate came into our lives, seeing the world through the lens of a child. It was a breather for me, to recharge body and soul.

The next few years will be rocky, in many aspects. My parents are past their 70s and this is the first time seeing dad hospitalised. Soon, they will be unable to care for my brother which adds to their burden.

As a mother, your worries never end. Slowly but surely, I will have half a dozen teenagers on my hands. Our childrens' joys are ours, their sadness, multiplied a thousand times in our hearts. The paths they choose to walk may give us sleepless nights. I need to brace myself emotionally.

I have been pondering things the past few weeks, and worries started to surface.

Someone shared these lines, and it has redefined happiness for me.

Being happy is not having a sky without storms, work without fatigue, or relationships without disappointments.

Being happy is finding strength in forgiveness, hope in one's battles, love in disagreements.

It is not only to treasure the smile, but to reflect on the sadness.

Being happy is not an inevitable fate, but a victory for those who can travel towards it with your own being.

It is not only to cross the deserts outside of ourselves, but still more, to be able to find an oasis in the recesses of our soul.

In your spring-time, may you become a lover of joy. In your winter, may you become a friend of wisdom.

Happiness is not about having a perfect life but about using tears to water tolerance, failures to carve serenity, obstacles to open the windows of intelligence.

These words shine like a ray of light.

We can find happiness in the bad, as much as the good.

At church, one of my kids asked, "Why is Good Friday good when Jesus suffered and died? It should be called Bad Friday."

It is precisely because of Good Friday that the miracle of Easter Sunday is celebrated.

As much as laughter and joy will flow, so will tears and pain.

I am not afraid. In darkness and despair, I shall find peace.

And when the storms blow over, the bright hues of the rainbow will be appreciated like never before.


Other lessons (which I've learnt the hard way):

Lesson #15: What are we worth, mums?
Lesson #16: What do you do when you get sick of parenting?
Lesson #17: The tragedy of our society
Lesson #19: Are we slowly killing ourselves?
Lesson #20: What does it take to keep a marriage going?

~ www.mummyweeblog.com: A blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

Monday, 10 April 2017

She did it, without tuition

We attended #2's award ceremony last week at her alma mater. It was indeed a joyous occasion for us, seeing how she has blossomed over the 4 years, not only doing well academically, but displaying leadership qualities and being surrounded by close friends. She received a leadership award for her position as band major, and topped her cohort in Social Studies/Literature for the O levels.

I think what I was proudest about was that she managed everything on her own, without me having to nag or micro-manage.

When she entered Primary 1, I gave her my expectations and her responsibilities and guided her to be in charge of her own learning for the next 6 years.

She did not have any tuition nor extra "mummy homework".

So what did she do with her time?

She spent a lot of time reading, and went to the playground every evening with her siblings, even throughout the PSLE year. Their fond memories of playground games with their neighbours will stay with them forever.

Dinner was at 6pm and bedtime at 8.30pm, so that hardly left room for much else during the school week. When bored, she would create all sorts of things, such as mazes for their pet hamsters or swimming pools for their terrapins, and the 5 siblings would find their own fun.

The grandparents took them out most weekends, to the zoo, bird park or science centre.

The only tuition I gave her was after the P6 prelim exams because her grades were Bs and Cs. On hindsight, tuition was probably not needed as we discovered that her school had set very tough prelim papers, and she scored much better for her PSLE with 3 As and 1 A*.

In secondary school, she returned home at 8pm twice a week due to CCA and in her spare time, she wrote fan fiction (she has more followers than me!) and taught herself to play the keyboard and guitar.

I encouraged her to balance health and family with school work especially when the latter became a monster which took on a life of it's own. And even when she bucked the trend and was the only one amongst her classmates sleeping at 10pm, she stood firm.

I did not keep track of her tests or exams, because it was her responsibility, and the message was always that learning does not equate to passing exams, nor competing against friends, but for herself.

In the run up to the O levels, I checked in frequently to see if she needed additional help from a tutor (while reminding her that it should be the last resort), but she reassured me that she was managing ok and was getting help from her friends in her weak areas. In the end, she did well and entered a JC of her choice.
School days are the best days!
I made a decision not to be sucked in to the rat race, to keep my focus on what was healthy and meaningful for them, and the achievement she attained today is testimony that pushing our kids relentlessly through the education mill is not the only way, and we do have a choice in how we want to bring our kids up in this over-competitive academic landscape.

Having walked this 'alternative' path alone, I'm glad they turned out alright.

10 years on, I am assured that I have not short-changed my kids in any way, and that I have achieved my simple goal of giving them a happy childhood, guiding them to be self-motivated, to discover their passions, and to never be afraid to chase their dreams.

For that, it's time I gave myself a pat on the back :)


Thursday, 30 March 2017

How I am preparing Kate to do school

Right from my eldest child, I've always believed in real learning, not just drilling them with content or making them good test-takers. I've come a long way in envisioning something beyond what our schools can offer and am now able to give kids that headstart at my enrichment centre.

Having Kate go through our programme, my insight into kids and learning has risen a notch! It is amazing how every child has different strengths and giftedness yet even the bright ones have their own unique learning issues.

In Janaury, Kate had The Executive Assessment (TEA) done and I expected her to score well as she speaks fluently and seems smart enough. However, I was surprised that her TEA score was 10 out of 21, and it was an eye-opener to discover her weak areas.
The Executive Assessment
I have sat through countless parent-teacher meetings with my 5 older kids but have never received a holistic assessment of their learning. In pre-school, feedback was usually about whether they were well-behaved (my 4 girls) or mischevious but creative (my son), and I would be updated about their reading and writing progress. In primary school, the focus would shift to their grades, on matters such as if homework was handed in on time and about their general behaviour.

On several occassions, teachers tell me, "Your child is smart, but if he can focus better/be more motivated, he will be able to reach his potential."

But nobody tells us exactly how to do that!

With her assessment done, Teacher Jim was able to zoom in on her gaps and guide Kate to bridge them so that she can get the most out of whatever she is learning, both in school and in her other enrichment classes.

I found out that despite her chattiness and street smarts, she is not a strong learner and these are the foundational skills she needs to develop to prepare her well to cope with the demanding curriculum in primary school.

Increase her attention span: The most basic requirement to learn well is to have a good attention span to stay on task. She did not manage to complete some of the activities as she gets easily distracted by others or her mind will wander. The demands of K1 is increasing and she needs to concentrate well to absorb what is being taught in class. By disguising our activities as play, Kate happily undertakes them and manages to stay focused longer each time.

Train up her cognitive processes: In the animal stroop activity, they were instructed to say the colour of the animals in time to the metronome beat, but halfway through, she drifted from colour to name. With weekly practice, her processing speed and mental stamina will be enhanced and she can take on higher levels of difficulty.

Improve her working memory: Kate has no problems with her memory and can remember places we've been to and recall incidences, but I've never tested her working memory. Now that I'm aware it is weak, we need to tackle this if not in primary school, by the time she finishes reading the math problem sums, she would have forgotten what the question was asking for.

Develop her ability to self-monitor: After each activity, they are asked to reflect on how they had done and ways they can improve. Kate would gayly declare that she did fine even if she had gotten most of it wrong. I do love her positive and happy attitude though! Hopefully she will inculcate good habits of being able to check her own work and spot mistakes so that she does not need to constantly rely on her teachers (or me).
Growth mindset?
Develop a Growth Mindset: Sad to say, Kate has a fixed mindset and gives up easily. I assumed that since I have more of a growth mindset, so will my kids! Faced with a difficult activity, she simply said, "I don't know. I don't want to do it anymore" and refused to try. When Teacher Jim asked the kids, "Who is ready for a challenging round? Thumbs up if you are!" The other kids enthusiastically raised their hands, except for Kate. Finally she managed a half-hearted thumbs up, seeming to say fine, I will give it a go. Still, baby steps!

Term 1 has just ended and we're heartened to see good progress in most areas. What's more interesting is that Teacher Jim has unearthed some of Kate's deep-seated habits and attitudes and is working on guiding her to un-do them.

She doubts her own ability and often cannot resist giving herself an advantage by peeking at others instead of thinking and being confident of her own answers. So much so that she has honed the skill of being able to copy discreetly. At 4?? Gasp. (And yes, I managed to catch a shot of her in action. I couldn't quite believe my eyes.)

He also noticed that whenever a question is asked, Kate waits for others to answer and immediately follows and shouts out the answer as her own. No wonder we always thought of her as a smart child! Aware of this, he encourages Kate to think carefully and come up with an answer, to build up her confidence in her own ability.

Her strengths and weaknesses are clearer to me now and with awareness, I can work hand in hand with her teachers to guide her to reach her learning potential.

At times, I will hear her spontaneously chirp, "Don't give up! Keep trying!" while sticking with a task and I can see the growth mindset slowly being internalised.

It will take time, but I'm glad she's only 4 and already on the path of closing her learning gaps one by one and building a strong foundation of positive learning habits to excel in school.

Trial classes at The Little Executive are conducted every Saturday which includes The Executive Assessment.

Trials at $48
Suitable for N2-P2
1.5 hour session
Trial classes are parent-accompanied.

The Little Executive
144 Bukit Timah Road
Singapore 229844
(between Newton circus and KK Hospital)
www.thelittlexecutive.asia
Tel: 6908 1889
Email: knockknock@thelittleexecutive.asia


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

Friday, 24 March 2017

What a day out with #1 taught me

Continuing on from my car-less saga, I spent last Saturday with #1 around town. She accompanied me to a book launch after which we grabbed a simple lunch followed by a trip to Spotlight.

We ate at a hippy-looking eatery, and the self-service ordering process was so complicated that #1 had to decode his questions and ended up making the decisions about what toppings, sauces or sides I wanted.

Too many choices to be made under pressure in dim surroundings. All too much for me. I felt like an auntieBut it was a lovely mummy daughter meal sans little kids blabbing non-stop.

After making our way through spotlight, I was beat and ready to head home. At the bus stop, she checked her phone and announced that the bus would be coming in 7 minutes.

Oh yes, bus apps. That was nice to know.

The bus came promptly in 7 minutes, and after chatting for a bit, I fell asleep. What a nice change from me driving and people falling asleep behind me! I was gently woken up by #1 whispering, "Mum, wake up."

I opened my eyes and noticed that it was pouring.

Oh dear. It was a far walk home and we didn't have an umbrella.

"Don't worry mum, I've already called an Uber and it will be here in.. (checking her app) 2 minutes."

Surprised at her quick thinking, I was glad, but wondered if it was a waste of money since it was just a short ride in to our estate.

Reading my mind, #1 added, "It's just 1 cent! There's a promo."

Really?! Wow.

I looked up at her.

Suddenly, I felt small. My kids can now take care of me?

The way technology is taking over our world, soon I will be reliant on them, and not the other way around.

It was a humbling moment.

The memories of those years of screaming at them and punishing them in mean ways go stand outside the door if you cannot abide by the rules of this house! or no going to the playground for a month! where I was boss and they were at my mercy, came flooding back.

I was a monster mum.

It was only many years later that I learnt the proper way to discipline them. To guide them gently yet firmly, and always with love.
Ice cream night
Thank goodness children are forgiving.

I still trip up at times, and just last night, #5 was testing my patience, refusing to pack his bag and get ready for bed and I ended up yelling at him, something I haven't done in a long time.

Kate came next to me and said, "Mummy, don't shout. You will lose your voice and then you cannot talk to me."

That calmed me down instantly!

I need to constanly remind myself that the other kids are watching and how I respond will be they way they learn, imitate and treat their younger siblings and children in future.


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


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

Monday, 20 March 2017

Shaped for a Purpose by Sherena Loh

At 2am, I picked up the newly published book Shaped for a Purpose by Sherena Loh, planning to read one or two chapters before going to bed. Before I knew it, I had reached the final chapter and it was past 4am! I was drawn to the story because through her sharing, it gives one hope that anyone can rise to triumph above adversity, drawing strength by finding and fulfilling our life's purpose.

Sherena has Muscular Dystrophy, a debilitating disease in which the muscles progressively weaken. Doctors told her that she would only live until 25 years old. But many years later, she is still alive - and living a full life. She was one of the founding members of the Muscular Dystrophy Association (Singapore) (MDAS) and now serves as its Executive Director. In her book, she mentioned her late sister Shook Fund, whom many fondly remember as Mrs Tan, ex-principal of Fairfield Methodist. I'm extremely proud yet humbled to call them my cousins.

Despite her own limitations and challenges, Sherena gives of herself so generously as she journeys with the families of children and youths who come through MDAS. That is how Sherena is, and at our family gatherings, she is always cheerful and positive, radiating joy to both young and old.
Shaped for a purpose
This book is not meant for people with disabilities alone, and it is just as inspiring for us able bodied, as all the more, we should be asking ourselves if we are living life to the fullest. At times, we may feel that life is tough and the challenges around us are insurmountable. However, after reading her story, it puts things in perspective and I feel ready to face my own uncertainties and obstacles without hesitation.

Here's an exerpt from the chapter Fell down? Then get up.

I fall so often that I can say I have a Masters degree in falling! I have accidents in many novel ways, and I have learnt just as many ways to recover from falls.

My most frightening accident happened when I was about 20 years old. At that time, I was still walking. However, my legs had a mind of their own. At unexpected and inappropriate times, they would go 'soft' and I would simply crumble to the ground. On this occassion, I was cutting through a private housing estate to get to a bus stop. As I reached the bottom of a slope, I saw a pack of huge dogs. There were about four to five dogs in this pack. I was shocked and suddenly my legs gave way. Oh no! Unlike other people, I cannot scramble to my feet after a fall. I would need somebody to help me up, or hold onto nearby furniture to pull myself back on my feet. "Help!" I called out. The dogs had, by this time, quietly come down the slope and gotten closer to me. In fact, we were at eye level because I was seated on the road. They looked into my eyes; I could see their tongues lolling from their open mouths.

I saw a pedestrian. "Help!" I called out to her. Incredibly, she asked "Why?" and gave me a wide berth. I felt that even the dogs scorned me, because they eyed me a little longer and went on their way. I was alone again. There was no help to be had. I had to do something to get myself out of my pathetic situation. I crawled on the ground until I came to a stone kerb. Using the low support, I used all my strength and might to pull myself up. I was frightened, exhausted and humilated. I still had to walk to the main road to hail a taxi before I could get back to the safety of my home. Struggling physically and emotionally in the taxi, I had to remind myself not to give in to self-pity and lose focus, because I could not afford to fall again!

Later, at home, I tearfully recounted my harrowing experience to my mother. As I untangled my thoughts, I realised that I was not upset by the fall or the dogs, I was most affected by the callous attitude of people who turned away from a person in need.

But not every passerby responded to me with indifference. I remember another occassion when I fell in public. Again, I could not get up without help. A lady hurried up from behind. Both of us struggled as she tried to heave me to my feet. When I finally regained my balance, I turned to thank her and only then did I realise that she was pregnant! I was touched by her incredible kindness in risking her unborn child to help a stranger.

Sherena ends each chapter with words for us to ponder:

Are you going through a season in which you feel like you are falling and failing? What would make you a failure is if you quit. But as long as you don't quit, you have not failed yet. Everyone knows Thomas Edison as the inventor of the lightbulb, but few of us know that he was branded a failure before that. Nevertheless, he was not daunted by his setbacks or criticisms from others. He said, I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."

I have found 10,000 ways of recovering from a fall. And I hope you would too.

Another takeaway I got from her story was the pivotal role of her mother, my aunt. Besides the agony of seeing her own child suffer an incurable illness, their family faced many tragedies, yet my aunt and cousins remained courageous and united in the face of despair. We mothers are the anchors of the family, and it is not so much the circumstances life deals us, but our responses and how we guide our children to make sense of them that is important.

Sherena was blessed to have the unconditional love of her family, and she writes:

Is there one thing in your life that helped to make things bearable? Something that built a core of resilience in you, although you did not know it at that time? For me, it was my family. They were my harbour in the storm of life. They nurtured my self-esteem even as it was taking a bashing in the open sea. I am grateful for the advantage that my family gave me.

My family showed me love. They accepted who I was, including my limitations. My younger siblings could have sidelined me as I got physically weaker while they got taller and stronger, but they continued to show me respect and henced bolstered my self-esteem. My parents could have chosen to see my disability as a burden on the family, instead all I felt was their love and concern as they searched tirelessly for a cure for me.

Being a voice for the disabled, Sherena sheds light on how we can help them in practical ways.

1. Empower, not overpower

People generally are kind and wish to help when they see a person with disabilities. However, some people may not know how to help appropriately. There is a temptation to overpower rather than empower a disabled person. Instead, it might be more helpful to ask, "What would you like to do?" rather than make decisions for the MD person.

2. Give space for wheelchair users

When I was exiting the train, I had to reverse my chair. I checked around me and said "Excuse me," before I set my chair on reverse. Suddenly, I felt a smack on my shoulder. A lady snapped that I had hit her foot, although I hadn't felt my wheels going over an obstacle. I was shocked by her slap. Through this incident, I have grown to be more sensitive to others in public areas. Sometimes, it is not any party's fault; so if we can be tolerant and forgiving, it will make it much easier for people to live harmoniously in the same environment. From then on, whenever I have to reverse out of a train, I would say, "Excuse me, I need to reverse" in a loud voice, so that people around me are forewarned. I would also add, "I don't want to roll over anybody's foot." The last sentence really gets people's attention, because nobody wants a smashed foot!

3. Volunteer for MDAS Flag Day

Their annual flag day is on the 1st of April 2017 and it would be a meaningful way to spend a Saturday morning with the children and expose them to volunteerism. The young ones will get to hold their own tins and people usually do not reject a cute, enthusiastic tin bearer! (details at the end of this post).
Book launch, with Sherena & co-author Pauline Loh
Above all, Shaped for a purpose challenges us to reflect if we have indeed found our purpose, and it gives those of us who feel we might be "different" or "special" in any way optimism that our uniqueness may indeed be a blessing.

Although it was written with adults in mind, one of our nieces who is 9 brought the book to school for silent reading. Her classmate became interested in it as well, and our niece was saying how she can't wait for her friend to return the book so that she can continue reading!

I have asked my kids to read it too, especially the teenagers as this is the age of questioning and searching for their purpose in life.

I recommend everyone to go out and pick up this book, not just to support my cousin, but to be inspired to live life meaningfully, with a renewed sense of purpose. And no matter what physical limitations or brokeness we may have, may we be able to embrace it.

Personally, I hope that one day, we can call ourselves an inclusive society, as I believe that in God's masterplan, both the weak and the strong have a part to play. And in this march together down the path of LIFE, if we can walk side by side, supporting one another, how beautiful life will be.

For the disabled may indeed be the ones to pull us up, maybe not physically, but in ways we were blind to.

We were all made for a purpose. Let's find our purpose and let our light shine, as Sherena has.
MDAS

MDAS Flag Day

Date: 1 April 2017 (Saturday)
Venues: Bishan, Tampines, Woodlands, Jurong Point
Register: www.mdas.org.sg/flagday2017
Email: flagday2017@mdas.org.sg

Shaped for a Purpose is available at all major bookshops including Kinokuniya, MPH, Times and Popular Bookstore, retailing at $18 (before GST). Publisher: Armour Publishing, ISBN No.: 978-981-47-6559-6.

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

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Sinar Eco Resort in Johor, Malaysia

I like the kids to spend time in nature, and besides the usual zoo and bird park which my parents take them to every so often, I have discovered the Turtle Museum and Farmart.

Kate enjoyed feeding and patting the small animals that I decided to take it a notch up. An overnight kampung experience sounds about right for my urban kids.

I did our booking via Whatsapp (+60 14 2523678) and it was fuss-free.
Sinar Eco Resort
To be honest, I never intended to blog about the weekend, but their hospitality was so sincere that I just had share about this gem of a place tucked away in nearby Johor.

Once we arrived, the kids couldn't wait to be let out of the car having been cooped up for so many hours due to the causeway jam. We plonked our bags in the rooms and headed straight out to feed the animals. It costs RM$1 per packet of feed.
Feeding the chickens
I was apprehensive about entering the chicken enclosure, but put on a brave front and cheerfully ushered the kids in. We taught the kids to splay the chicken feed as far as they could so that they wouldn't come too close to peck us.
Horses
The horses were up next and I was surprised Kate dared to feed them. The handlers taught her to place the carrots on her flat palm and allow the horse to nibble on it.
Rabbits
We had another round of animal feeding on Sunday. Horses, cats, rabbits, cows, goats, fishes, chickens; the kids fed them to their hearts' content.
Fishes
Cats
Meals: All the activities cease at 6pm and they start preparing for the BBQ dinner. The premium BBQ is at RM$70 and one portion is big enough to be shared with a kid. #5 really enjoyed the BBQ and I seldom see him eat so much!

Breakfast was a simple but adequate affair. Adults went for the nasi lemak with curry chicken while the kids had cereal, eggs (hard boiled/scrambled) and rice with ikan bilis.

For lunch, you can ask for the menu after breakfast and let them know what time you will be eating so the kids don't have to wait a long time for food to be served. The kids had chicken chop with fries (RM28) while we had fried rice (RM18) which comes with fried chicken wing.
Up close and personal
gor gor to the rescue
On Sunday we went horse riding, but as the kids are still young, we simply trotted around the paddock. There are options to ride around the farm or if you are an experienced rider you can take the horse out.

The kids asked to go on the river cruise again as it was a different exprience from going out in the night. #5 enjoyed the night cruise as it was such an adventure going out in pitch darkness! Pity we didn't see any fireflies. The 30 minute ride costs RM100 per trip for the whole group.
RM30 for 2 rounds
What made our stay memorable was the service. The manager Devaa tried to accomodate our many little requests for the kids, and I have to commend a most helpful staff, Mohammad. He happened to assist us with many of the activities, and even though we couldn't communicate fluently, he was kind and considerate of the childrens' needs. Nothing was too much trouble, and he attended to us with patience and sincerity. It made the stay a happy one for all the kids.
Thrilled
He carried the kids one by one up to the driver's seat, and though they could only pretend to steer the tractor, that made their day. Kate spotted the cows in the enclosure and asked to feed them. He obliged, and also showed us where the milk collected was stored. That day, Kate finally learnt where her "supermarket" milk came from!
tug of war
Accomodation: The kids' reactions when they unlocked the room door and burst in was quite anti-climatic. Looked, paused, and finally let out a "Huh, so small?" followed by "How come the TV got no 313?"

For me, so long as it's clean, I'm ok. This farm resort was opened last year and the rooms are new and modern, albeit small.

What I loved was waking up at 6am, stepping out and hearing the stillness of the farm. Shortly after, the kids were woken up to the sound of cock-a-doo-da-doo, and it was not coming from an electronic book.
Container rooms
We stayed on the ground floor and it was convenient, without having to climb the stairs every time we needed to grab something.

All in all, I really enjoyed the slow weekend away, and it was definitely an eye-opener for the kids.

Such a lovely family-run farm with the guests' experience at the heart of it. Every sheltered Disney/Lego-land kid should try coming here once.

Maybe I'll book a whole week the next round. I'm sure to hear cries of "there's nothing to do, we want to go home". And home they will return to, with a grateful heart and rested spirit.

Just a few things to note:
- Insect repellent is a must. We protected ourselves with patches, arm bands and liberally spraying repellent.
- Slap on sun block and bring a cap.
- Wifi is available, but slow if too many people are logged on.
- We were lost getting there and ended up in a dumpsite (a first for the kids), but Devaa said it was just us. We keyed Pekan Nanas on our GPS, but it is a surburb, not a street, and our GPS decided we needed an adventure. I'm sure you'll have better luck. Thankfully, on our return drive, it took us a mere 30 minutes to reach the checkpoint.

Sinar Eco Resort
Johor, Malaysia


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