Saturday, 31 December 2016

Tangerine at RWS

One of my favourite places for lunch is Tangerine at ESPA over at RWS, Sentosa. I love that the food is healthy and light and presented so interestingly. The peaceful ambience always makes me feel like I've stepped away from our crazy life into idyllic bliss, even if for a short 2 hours.
Sous Vide Pork
This is the first time we took the kids there and they enjoyed the lovely afternoon with the adults. They eagerly awaited every dish, as they were so prettily presented. I've come back with new inspiration for their school lunches to jazz up our boring meals!
Asian Bouillabaisse
Asian Bouillabbaisse - Hokkaido Scallop, Seabass, baby kailan. 4 course set menu at $62++ per person.
Scottish Salmon Fillet
Melt-in-your-mouth Salmon fillet, so good that Kate asked for more. We were joking that top on our new year's wish list is to have an in-house gourmet chef so the kids can have healthy meals everyday.
Cod Fish $34
Seared Boneless Beef Short Rib
Chocolate Mousse
Refreshing lemongrass jelly with berries to end the satisfying meal.
Lemongrass Jelly
Their spa cuisine is low on carbohydrates and the growing kids were hungry by teatime! My dear mum enjoyed the place so much she wants to go back for their New Year's menu.
Tangerine
The little herb garden outside was enough to keep Kate occupied and happy while waiting for the food to be served, and she too asked to be back!

Tangerine
ESPA at Resort World Sentosa
Opposite Equarius Hotel
Level 1

Opening hours:
Tuesday - Sunday 11.30am - 10pm
Closed every Monday, except PH
Tel: 6577 6688

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


Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Christmas, without the excesses?

I've finally gotten out of bed after being down with a viral fever for almost a week. From running full steam fitting the kids and work into my schedule, to being knocked right to my feet by a tiny unseen bug, it was very frustrating.

Alas, another timely reminder to take care of myself and not neglect my health. And to get enough sleep, on a daily basis!

Feels like I've being given a new lease of life. Can't wait to spring out of bed and start running again. As I drifted in and out of restless slumber, trying to will the throbbing headache and aching bones away, I was conscious there is still so much to be done.

Oh, Christmas is right round the corner and a whole new year begins in 10 days. I'm not ready!

This year, more so after Konmarie-ing my room, I'm torn between being minimalist and keeping to the excesses of the season.

As I was lying in bed mentally counting down the days I had to finish de-cluttering the whole house before 2017, I was thinking of the presents yet to be bought, and really not looking forward to battling the crowds in the malls.
Kids decorating their aunt's tree next door
Besides dealing with Christmas presents, I still have so many items yet to be struck off my ever growing to-do list before the new year dawns, and I'm feeling frantic.

Settling back-to-school matters, the burgeoning pile of home admin paperwork, work admin issues to clear and planning the schedule for next year to fit everything and everyone in.

Amidst all of this, I have to keep reminding myself to take it slow and not get caught up in the meaningless rush of the season, or end up getting snappy at them. I'm more mindful this year, especially because of Kate.

I have discovered that she has an unusual need for routine and ample transition time. We figured it must be very chaotic to be the 6th child in a household where things are happening all the time and with random (to her) people streaming in and out.

So this Christmas, as I try to find time to plan and reflect, I will be mindful to slow down and focus on the important things and remember to be grateful for all that we have. And perhaps, I will be successful in guiding my older girls to understand the real meaning of Christmas, instead of getting caught up in the commercial excesses of the season.

They want the works. I want it simple.

Kate? She doesn't quite care either way. All she needs is mummy and daddy, to be surrounded by people (and dogs) whom she loves and who loves her, and she is one contented kid.

May we experience the true joy of Christmas and bring peace and love to those we meet.

Blessed Christmas.



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

Monday, 12 December 2016

6 ways to squeeze time for the kids as a working mum

This is the first time I am working during the school holidays! I took Kate along with me to our enrichment centre for Dino camp, but she stayed home last week while we ran our P1 Prep camp.

So how do I squeeze in time for her and the other kids during the week? It helps tremendously that I don't have to stick to a 9-5 work week, and depending on the demands of the day, I either get in an hour or two later or leave earlier and resume working at home after they have gone to bed.

1. Start the day early

Even though it is the holidays, Kate and #5 are up by 7.15am. Resisting the urge to sleep in, I think of the hours I'll be away from them and that never fails to get me out of bed. There is nowhere much to take them that early in the morning, hence it's always some park or other.

This little monkey shimmied to the top of the pyramid by herself and called down, "Mum, take a picture of me!" She sure is catching up with the older siblings.
Chilling
2. Kill two (or three) birds with one stone

Instead of rushing to finish breakfast before heading out, we hastily pack a picnic basket with breakfast staples and hop into the car. In that relaxing hour, we get to spend time together, have a proper breakfast and enjoy the benefits of nature.
Xiao Guiling
3. Mobilize the kampung

It really helps that the hubs works from home and instead of rushing back to pick the kids and getting stuck in peak hour traffic, we arrange to meet at the destination and have time to enjoy the outdoors before heading home for dinner.

Sometimes we ask the grandparents to join us, or if the kids end up with friends or aunts, we find somewhere convenient for the kids to play or for a quick dinner together.
Southern ridges
We were trekking through MacRitchie reservoir and Kate was convinced that she found a Dinosaur foot!
MacRitchie reservoir
4. Mummy is there in spirit

When I'm not at home, it doesn't mean that I'm disconnected from them. Kate's obsession this holiday is rollerblading. She loved watching Elsa ice-skate during Disney on Ice and has been asking to go ice-skating every other day. After taking her there 4 times (I'm the one exhausted!) I told her she needs to practice with her rollerblades before I'll consider taking her back.

She was so motivated that she spends 1-2 hours per day on her blades and when I get home, she is ever eager to show me how much she's improved. What a great attitude. Looks like I have to take her ice-skating soon, as promised!

Blade girl
5. Find different ways to be involved

As the kids grow older, they require less and less face-to-face time with you. Any parent of a teenager will tell you that they spend a lot more time in their rooms and communicating with their friends via gadgets. However, this doesn't mean that we stop being involved in their lives.

#3 was lamenting that besides filling her time with clocking the required CIP hours and meeting up with her old friends from primary school, she was bored at home as I am not able to take them out nor go on holidays as #1 is not on term break.

I simply told her to start thinking, and find something gainful to do, make or sell. She started experimenting with home beauty remedies and came up with products to gift her friends, and that led to some orders as well! I encouraged her and told her I was very proud of her efforts.

These days, with technology, we can still stay connected even while we are at work. For teenagers, to be there for them on a daily basis means being able to reply their Whatsapp messages when they need advice or permission to go out with their friends.

Sometimes, it's me who needs advice from them about using technology to make videos or helping me to buy presents online for my staff for Christmas, and that's how we update one another about what is going on in our lives.
Mix n measure
6. Support them daily

Even though I only get to see all my kids during dinner, I keep up-to-date with what they are currently interested in and give them words of encouragement and support.

#2 has just finished her Os and she has the next few months planned out. Last week, she was concentrating on decorating her room as the siblings have just done another round of roommate swopping (yes, it seems to be an annual tradition for them).

She was happily showing me what she has been working on and I was extremely impressed. Instead of spending money on decorations for her room, she decided to make her own. She bought a wooden board ($4 from Art friend), painted it marble, and knocked little nails in it to form the world map.
DIY Wall deco
She painstakingly wound black thread around the nails, ensuring that they were taut, to form the design. Wow. I loved it, and told her so. Sincere words are food for the soul they carry with them through the day, even without the presence of mummy. Sometimes it is encouragement they need, while other times, it may be words of concern and care.
Using nails and thread
To be honest, I was caught off guard at how much easier it was to go to work, be tired, and spend the weekend resting, and not having to deal with the day-to-day demands of the kids at home.

However, I am wary that it is all too easy to let this pattern slip into our norm, as the time we have with our children will never be returned, once lost.


Having these pockets of time to be still, to be present to our surroundings is very grounding for me, no matter how rushed my day is nor how tough things can get sometimes.
Idyllic mornings
Even though these days I'm away between 5-9 hours per day, I'm glad we've managed to work things around this new schedule and am able to spend a reasonable amount of time with the younger kids throughout the week.

I am thankful to have flexible working hours and support from the hubs in caring for them, but whatever your situation may be, try to think out of the box and perhaps you might find opportunities to squeeze time out for your kids during their school holidays.

Related post:

Our June holidays earlier this year where everyone was running at breakneck pace.



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


Monday, 5 December 2016

Dino Discovery Camp @ The Little Executive

It has been a busy, busy week at my centre with our holiday camps in full swing. Our mini palaeontologists had so much fun learning about dinosaurs while working alongside their new teammates.

We use themes which interest kids to teach a wide range of skills necessary for school such as cognitive flexibility, creating reasonable hypothesis, conditional reasoning, as well as life skills such as problem-solving, being a team player, and having the ability to communicate their ideas well.
Enthusiastic paleontologists
Several kids who enjoyed our previous Astronaut Training Camp joined us again and were delighted to see their ex-camp mates.

The happiest little kid was Kate, who could jump into the car with me in the mornings instead of hearing me say, "Bye, mummy has to go to work now."
Delighted to be in mummy's school
A wide range of sensory activities are carried out in our camps as these naturally encourage children to explore scientific processes, such as making predictions and observations and developing analytical skills. A further benefit is that children retain the most information when they engage their senses in experiential learning.
Squishy squashy mud
In our Dino grid game, the kids were split into 2 teams, and the carnivores had to catch the herbivores. Similar to a chess game, they have to think ahead and strategize so as not to be 'eaten'. They make decisions as a team, directing their player on the grid. We had several frightened little herbivores, afraid to be 'eaten' by the carnivorous dinos!
Strategy game
We go to great lengths to make learning come alive and everything we do in the classroom has a real world example. For example, by examining the size and shape of the footprints, the children were able to deduce which dinosaur it came from.
Field notes
Our mini palaeontologists learned how fossils were formed over millions of years and had a chance to make fossil imprints in 'mud'. This enabled them to understand how real life paaleontologists deduce information based on incomplete evidence.
Fossil imprints
There were lots of hands-on activities to keep them engaged and it was lovely to see some of the kids move from being fearful of getting their hands dirty with sensory work to enjoying the experience with their friends. Kate does plenty of baking at home with me and she gleefully dugged in with both hands to shape her dino eggs.
Hiding dinos in their eggs
And... viola! Some tails were peeking out!
DIY dino eggs
In our speculation exercise "If I lived with the Dinosaurs..." they were guided on deductive reasoning and encouraged to use their imagination. This is a fun way for a child's executive functioning skills to be challenged (critical thinking, flexibility, planning) because they need to figure out their priorities to survive. 

Scenarios were discussed, and they were prompted to think further - "how would you catch your fish?" or "how would you find food if you are not going to come out of your cave at all?" I loved reading the different answers! Simply adorable, what these kids come up with.
Creative writing
The older kids worked together to consolidate the various activities they have been doing by creating a pre-historic scene. Judging by the laughter coming from the rooms, they seemed to be having a great time with their new friends.
Our P1s
Our N2s created their own dinosaur world which they were all so proud of. Kate was the last to finish her work as she was so meticulous. Look at her serious face.
Their pre-historic world
They were taught the grid system, which is a typical way a fossil grid site is organized. This enables palaeontologists to record the horizontal and vertical positions of the excavated fossils and artifacts.

For children, grid work is important in developing their visual tracking skills, spatial orientation and perspective taking, all of which are important for the classroom and beyond. Most of all, they get all excited when they manage to dig up a bone!
Grid work
Parents were invited for the last 30 minutes on the last day to see what the kids had been up to, and it was a first for many parents to watch their kids do a show-and-tell. We had a lot of shy kids this round, and it was wonderful to see them have the courage to stand up there in front of so many parents, even though some of the N2s could only manage a whisper. Great effort, kids!

It was extremely heartening to see many dads come in during their lunch hour to be involved in their children's lives. The mums relegated the job of cracking the hardened eggs to the dads and you could see the glee on the kids' faces when the eggs finally broke!
Daddies in the house
We had such a great time with these little darlings and everyone was sad that the camp has come to an end.
Our graduating Palaeontologists
It has been an amazing few weeks working alongside my team of passionate teachers, with the common goal of making the camp enjoyable and meaningful for the kids. As exhausting as it was, seeing the kids have fun, open up, and learn so well over the 4 days is the reward in itself. Probably something only educators can relate to!
TLE team
1 camp down, 2 more to go. Our P1 Prep camp starts tomorrow and I'm certain the kids will have a swell time running their mini 'tuck shop' and learning strategies to get them ready for the big transition.

Our last camp for the year will be the Astronaut Training Camp and there are a few remaining slots so let your little ones join us for a unique space mission they will not forget!




The Little Executive
144 Bukit Timah Road
Singapore 229844
Tel: 69081889
Email: knockknock@thelittleexecutive.asia


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


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