My priorities for 2015

This coming year is going to be really interesting for us. The 6 kids will be going to 5 different schools and 3 of them are entering new schools and new phases. #1 is awaiting her ‘O’ level results and will be going to JC/Poly (gasp! Already??), #3 is moving on to Secondary 1 and little Kate is starting pre-school!

Despite the madness of the year-end season and trying to get everything ready for the new school year, I managed to find time to have a peaceful lunch by myself to sit and plan what I want to focus on in the coming year. Life has a way of pulling us every which way if we don’t have our priorities clearly set out. So here’s 5 things I’m going to concentrate on in 2015.

My private planning retreat

1. To love and serve

I attended a retreat recently, and took home a very precious guiding mantra: To measure our lives in love. The more I live this way, the more life makes sense to me. I will make a conscious effort not to measure my days by what I have accomplished but by how much I have loved. Not only towards my family and friends, but to every single person I meet.

2. Do it now

I’m one of those people who don’t spring into action immediately. When we get vouchers or anything, I would put it aside to do it ONE DAY. And that day seldom comes. When the kids ask me to take them to do this or that, I’ll be excited and say, yes, lets! One day. I owe them tons of places and experiences which I said I would take them some day. I have decided that instead of putting things off, we will make it a point to do it as soon as we can.

3. Make good lunches

There’s something about food which equates with love. Especially when the kids come home from school ravenous and are greeted with a nice meal which mummy lovingly made for them, it puts them in a very jolly mood and conversation flows. Unfortunately, with my very dismal cooking skills, there were many occasions when they rushed into the house with a cheery “Hi mum! What’s for lunch?” And they took a look at the unappetising plate of food which tastes even worse than it looks, their mood literally deflated right in front of my eyes. Like a balloon. This year, I will make an effort to improve my cooking skills especially since Kate is starting pre-school which leaves me with more time on my hands.

4. Do good

Flowing from the premise of trying to show love to everyone we come into contact with, a practical way for children to put this into action is through doing good to others. I have decided that every evening at dinner, I will ask each one of them to share 1 good thing they did that day. I don’t expect them to be able to do that everyday, but we will give it a try and by listening to one another’s examples, it would open their hearts to simple ways they can show kindness to people around them and hopefully one day, it will become second nature to them.

5. Add humour to parenting

#3 heard me coming into the room and she ran into the bathroom and hid with Kate in the bathtub. I chided her with a stern tone, “Please go out now, I need to put Kate to bed”. Yes I know. I’m always the kill-joy. I could have lightened the whole situation by quipping that it was a fantastic hiding spot before asking her to leave the room and it would have changed the mood of things.

We met an Australian lady on one of our resort holidays and the kids had a fantastic time playing with her and her 2 year-old son. There was a sense of joy in the air and I realised that she made jokes all the time and everyone felt happy and the mood was light and jolly. We don’t have to make parenting any harder than it already is, so I’m going to try and remember to add humour instead of walking around with a grim face half the time.

I am looking forwards to 2015, simply because I have found a new perception of looking at life. Instead of dreading the challenges that will come, I will embrace whatever the journey holds, and experience everything in it’s full presence. Every emotion, every situation. And not be afraid to laugh, to cry, to hug, and to share heart to heart. For with 6 kids from 2 to 16, the days will bring with it many surprises, difficulties and heartbreaks. I cannot stop many of them. And I do not wish to anymore.

Here’s to a new and exciting 2015! 

Ask me at the end of the year if I have survived it 😉

Linking up with:

~ – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~ 

Lady M @ Orchard Central

Just 4 more days before the start of school! We decided to make the most of the post-Christmas sales and spent a lovely afternoon shopping. We needed a cafe for a tea break rest stop and chanced upon this ‘very posh’ cafe, as the girls called it. Found out from the friendly waiter that it is a franchise from New York and this is their 3rd outlet in Singapore. And no, we didn’t know either that Lady M was the pioneer of the Mille Crepe cake. Don’t ask me which rock I’m living under.

Lady M Confections

The selection of cakes was so tantalising that the girls decided to have tea here.

As they were hungry from all that shopping, we ordered some of their savoury dishes. The mushroom soup was good, and the smoked salmon panini was not too bad. The beef pot pie was rather disappointing though.

Sicilian red beef pot pie $18

The cakes definitely made up for the so-so savoury dishes. We had the strawberry shortcake and the chocolate mille crepe.

Strawberry shortcake $9

It’s a great place to chill, with a nice view overlooking Orchard road. Next time, we will try to snag the comfy booth seats!

Lady M
181 Orchard Road
Orchard Central
Singapore 238896

~ – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

The Gift of Christmas

The past few weeks, we made a conscious effort to avoid the crowded malls and frenzy of the season, and instead prepared ourselves for Christmas in simple ways.

#3 and #4 have been hard at work with me making these handmade Christmas tags to raise funds for Radion International. We sincerely thank you for supporting us yet again. We also took the lovely children from Mindsville home for a fun outing at Changi airport and everyone enjoyed the extravagant Christmas light ups and decorations.

Batch 1: Sold

#1 made a trip to Shanghai to visit her aunt and spent a week volunteering at WILL home, helping to take care of the 10 children. Such an inspiring story where Pillar Tan, a lady with a big heart, adopted these children from an orphanage and are raising them as her own. More details in another post, for anyone interested in volunteering there or contributing in other ways.

Batch 2: Sold

I asked the kids what does Christmas mean to them, and they chorused unanimously, “Presents!” I shook my head and started my spiel on the significance of Christmas (yet again), and then repeated my question. There was a pause, then they hollered, “Christmas parties!”

Batch 3: Sold

The influence of the commercial world is all too great. Although I don’t like to get caught up in it and the stress that accompanies it, I like that the season brings with it routines and traditions like letting them spend a day at their por por’s place to decorate the Christmas tree and eat pizzas out of the boxes on their laps. We have been going for the same organised Christmas parties for more than a decade and all these form good memories and shared experiences for the siblings. Every year as they grow older, I ask them if the parties are getting too childish for them, but they say it’s still fun. I’m secretly glad that they have not grown up too fast.

However, we cannot lose sight of the real meaning of Christmas and all I can do is to continue giving them opportunities to show love and care to those less fortunate than themselves and hopefully as they grow up, the presents and parties will pale in comparison to the real gift of Christmas.

Batch 4: Sold

Here’s wishing you a beautifully blessed Christmas with your families and loved ones. May we, who have more, be like a star, shining brightly for others who are in need. 


from Kate & all of us here

~ – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

Kate’s antics: Santa on a buggy?

Santa Claus is coming to town…

“On a buggy?”

Santa giving out presents…

“Hey Santa, I’m here!”

Oh well, since I’m too small and Santa can’t see me, I’m gonna check out his cool reindeer buggy.

“Wonder if this thing can fly”
~ – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

Zoom Park Asia – Trampoline Park

It seems trampoline parks are the in-thing right now. Not too long ago, Amped opened their 2nd outlet in Jurong, and now Zoom Park Asia has opened Singapore’s largest trampoline park, also in Jurong. The West is set to be transformed!

Foam Pit

Zoom has many different arenas for the kids to play in, besides basic jumping. The foam pit even has a rock wall at the end.

Main Court

However, the kids were wondering why there are pyramids at the main court yet they are not allowed to climb them, like at the other trampoline parks. It seems to be for the staff to watch that everyone is playing safely, which is great. Kate loved playing with the plastic balls at the Dodgeball arena.


Pretty cool to jump towards the basketball hoop and dunk the ball in whilst being high up in the air!

The kids spent the longest time at the Extreme Dodgeball arena. They split up into 2 teams and Kate had fun running from side to side, not quite knowing how the game went.

Extreme Dodgeball

There’s a mini snack/drink counter with some tidbits and muffins on sale.

It is mandatory to purchase these bright orange Zoom socks for $2 each, which has rubber padding on the base.

Kate wearing her zoom socks

Their verdict?

Pros of Zoom:

  • Great variety of arenas, something for everyone
  • Toddler friendly spaces, and balls to add more fun
  • Slots can be purchased in blocks of 30 minutes
  • The kids felt that the trampolines here are not as springy as those in Amped, so this would be a plus for the younger kids who are just starting out and are a little fearful
  • Kate jumped and played around for a full hour and didn’t even take a break to ask for snacks. She came out all sweaty and happy!

Pros of Amped:

  • Very springy trampolines make it easier for the older kids to do somersaults and other fancy moves
  • Wide open spaces so they can create their own fun and games
  • They love climbing up the pyramids
  • The Jurong outlet is air-conditioned which makes it more comfortable

Sane tip: Trampoline parks are ‘mum’s best friends’. The kids are happily entertained for an hour and when they get home, they are knocked out at bedtime. Kids below 3 need an adult supervising them at all times. Kids above 3 need an adult on the premise.

Save tip: Weekday rates start from $7.50 for 30 minutes.

Zoom Park Asia
200 Pandan Gardens
Singapore 609336

~ – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

SANDBANK @ Parkland Green ECP

We are back at Parkland Green, the new family-friendly arena at East Coast park. I can tell this is going to be one of our favourite haunts. This time, we were invited by SANDBANK for a review of their second outlet with a twist. Their caption reads: EAT. DRINK. PLUNGE. And that’s just what the kids did.
Sandbank at ECP
We told them they could swim in the pool after finishing their meal. That would no doubt get the kids to eat up quickly. One of the kids said, “But we can’t swim after eating.” Well technically, there’s not much real ‘swimming’ to be done as the kid’s pool is not very big. More for the kids to play around in.

Their menu is very comprehensive, with Bar Bites, Appetisers, Soups, Sandwiches & Pies, Pizzas, Pastas, Mains, Sides and even Dishes for Sharing. They also have a wide array of alcoholic beverages.

A typical favourite of my kids’ is pizza and the Meat Lovers pizza didn’t disappoint. It had chucks of stewed beef, bacon, mushroom, and topped with mozzarella cheese.
Meat Lovers $24

#5 automatically went for the fish & chips, and you have a choice of having it charcoal grilled or traditional beer battered. I was busy settling Kate in and didn’t get a chance to try a bite before the whole thing was gone in a jiffy! I asked him if it was nice and he said “Very yummy”.

Fish & Chips $23

Another staple dish when we eat out with the kids is truffle fries and we all agreed that this was one of the best we have ever tried. Two thumbs up!

One of their signature dishes is Beer Infused Roasted Whole Chicken so we had to give it a try. The whole chicken sat on a beer can in the oven in the open kitchen and the kids were tickled at the sight. Served with mixed mesclun salad. This is enough for 3-4 people to share if you are ordering other dishes.

Roasted Beer Chicken $32

If you have a picky child who can’t find anything to eat, which is rather unlikely given their wide variety of offerings, he can design his own pizza. Choice of cheese (blue, feta, gruyere, mozzarella, etc), choice of topping (parma ham / pulled pork / grilled chicken etc), and choice of sauce (tomato / teriyaki / Pesto / even samba sauce!) Our kids designed their own pizza not because there was nothing else to eat but because it was fun! 

Design your own pizza $21

After they were done with their meal, they happily jumped into the pool and had a great time splashing about and playing with their pool toys and a little ball.

Kate having a swell time

And the adults? We had a good time chilling and chatting, with full view of the sea. Doesn’t get much better than this in Singapore.

Lime Margarita $16

After swimming, they were hungry again. We ordered the Fungi Pasta which I didn’t manage to grab a photo of because it was gone in an instant! The kids said it was very yummy. Don’t know if it was because they were hungry after playing in the pool but they polished everything up. Hmm, I should have asked if SANDBANK wanted more partners. What a winning concept. Eat, swim, dry off and repeat. We can easily spend the whole day here with a bunch of friends. There is also a plunge pool adjoining the kids’ pool, but that is for aged 14 and above.

Eating again
If your kids are planning to swim, it would be good to ask for a table near the kid’s pool so that you can keep an eye on them. Do remind them to be careful as the floor could get slippery with many kids swimming and inadvertently splashing water everywhere.

Sane tip: There are toilets and showers located right next to Sandbank.

Save tip: 10% off main courses until 31 December 2014.

920 East Coast Parkway
#01-28 Parkland Green
Singapore 449875
Tel: 62477988

Disclaimer: We were invited by Sandbank to do a review. All opinions are my own.

~ – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

Parkland Green at East Coast Park

We were invited to the launch of the brand new family-friendly spot in East Coast Park known as Parkland Green. National Parks’ latest efforts to rejuvenate the green spaces in our City in a Garden has certainly hit the mark with families. It comprises of 8 dining establishments, 2 sports shops and a laser tag arena. A large open lawn between the sea and the restaurants allow for outdoor activities like kite-flying, ball games and picnics to be enjoyed. Here is a run-down of some of the dining and retail shops we visited.

1. Atmosphere Bistro

We started off our food trail at Atmosphere Bistro, a seaside dining concept catering to families in the day and transforming into a sports bar at night. For the month of December, they offer Kids Pizza making workshops every Tuesday from 5.30pm to 7pm. Tel: 64409705

BBQ Pork Ribs, Mini Burgers, Flaming Pizza

The kids were served Iced Chocolate and were amused by the very cute latte art.

3D latte art

Their chocolate lava cake was very yummy, and the kids attacked it with relish, not knowing we were in for a whole afternoon of other delectable delights.

2. SandBank

Next on our trail was SandBank, and beat this, they have a children’s pool and a 15m plunge pool with jacuzzi on their premise! What a fabulous idea. The adults can enjoy a leisurely time eating while the kids play contentedly in the pool. We will definitely be back to check out the pool once it is ready. For the rest of the school holidays, they are offering 10% off main courses (valid till 31 Dec 2014). Tel: 62477988
Charcoal grilled cola marinated chicken wings

3. Patro’s Sports Bar & Restaurant

We moved along to Patro’s Sports Bar & Restaurant, which serves Mexican & North Indian cuisine. I found the standard of the food to be really good, but was a little doubtful that my kids would like it. Turns out they said it was delicious! From now until 21 December 2014, kids enjoy one-for-one main course from the kids’ menu.

Chicken Fajitas

4. Bakery Bar ST. MARC

I was quite stuffed by now, but there were still a few more stops to go. Next up was Bakery & Bar St. Marc, and here at their Parkland Green outlet, they serve All-day dining with Japanese fusion cuisine. The kids managed to run around between the stops and had space in their tummies to chomp down these chocolate croissants. I tried a bite, and must say that they do taste quite good! I will be back next time for a proper tea and have a whole Chococro to myself.


The lovely wait staff came around with plates of their signature Spaghetti Carbonara, but we had to pass on it. I saw some of the other kids clean up their plate, so it must have been good. Currently, they are having discounts on any 2 waffle cone desserts on weekdays from 11am to 5pm, valid till 29 December 2014. (Closed on Mondays. Tel: 63421786)

I can just imagine this place on the weekends, with kids happily playing in the open green fields while the parents relax at the cafes with good food and drinks. My idea of a perfect day. Now I wish I lived back in the East.

Little Fuji
5. Pick me up Cafe

Next, we were ushered to Pick me up Cafe, an artisan cafe offering healthy home-made yogurt gelato and an all-day breakfast menu. We were served their signature Smoked Salmon on Miso Waffles and The Manuka Waffles (Chef Waffles).
So many flavours to choose from
#1 is into healthy eating and loved their cold pressed juices which they squeeze on the spot. There is a cosy little corner at the entrance for the little ones to hang out at. Tel: 63481909
Pick me up Cafe

6. Starbucks

This needs no introduction, and was a favourite with the older kids. I tried to keep my children away from caffeine for as long as I could but once they entered the P6/Sec1 age, the ‘cool’ thing to drink seems to be Starbucks coffee. Naturally they were delighted when the friendly staff came out with trays of drinks.

Toffee Nut Latte, Christmas Tree Danish

They have both indoor and outdoor seating, and I would say this is their best outlet to chill at, being right by the seaside.

7. Killiney Kopitiam / Cheers

Last on our food trail was Killiney Kopitiam, which boasts an interesting concept. This is the first time Cheers is collaborating with Killiney Kopitiam to offer affordable food coupled with a convenience store to serve their customers better. Expect to find the usual popular local dishes here such as Mee Siam, Laksa, Mee Rebus and Curry Chicken. The cafe opens until 10pm, while Cheers is open 24 hours on weekends. From now till 1 Jan 2015, they are offering discounts on their toast sets.
Killiney Kopitiam and Cheers

And finally, we were done with the food stops and moved on to what the kids had been waiting for.

8. Tag Team

This is Singapore’s largest indoor laser tag arena, and the first and only multi-arena and multi-weapon laser tag facility. Just the thing to help us digest all that food.

I normally don’t join them in such physical activities (yes, yes, I have to stop being lazy) but it looked pretty harmless and 1 arena lasts for 15 minutes. That, I can manage. We broke up into 2 teams (I joined the other team as they were short of 1 player) and my kids had a field day shooting the mummies down. Yup, our team lost. Well, the 3 year old gave up her gun halfway as it was too heavy for her, and the 2 other mummies with toddlers in tow were no match for my very energetic kids swarming around us. Ok, I’m starting to sound like a spoilsport.

It was surprisingly good fun and I was tired after the short 15 minutes of running around in wedges (Btw, they are not particular about footwear. You can even go barefoot if you wish). The kids went on to the next arena (which was air-conditioned) while I waited outside. Kids from as young as 4 are allowed to play, but they would have to be motivated enough to carry the slightly heavy gun for 15 minutes. If your kid can carry a thick dictionary and run around the house, I’m sure he’ll do fine. All my kids enjoyed themselves thoroughly, even the older girls. For the month of December, they are offering family packages with a discount on 5 ‘mission’ tickets.

To avoid disappointment in case they are closed for private events, do call them beforehand. Tel: 63482696

Practising his aim

9. Hvper Sport

This huge sports shop specialises in skating products, and they carry a wide array of scooters, skateboards and inline skates. They also have lots of beach toys, and other sporting accessories. With our $50 voucher, #3 got a good quality water bottle, a hammock and a ball for Kate. 

Hvper Sport
10. Pro Cycle

They stock a mind-boggling array of bicycles, balance bikes, scooters and safety gear, for children and adults. They carry the local brand Valo with bikes starting from $115, as well as the French brand Cronus with bikes starting from $185. What sets them apart is that they encourage their customers to try out their products before buying. All the bloggers’ kids were happily riding round and round their shop!

They also provide bicycle repair services (even for bikes not bought from them) and they have an outdoor bicycle tyre pumping facility which is available 24/7. For the month of December, they are offering 20% off all bicycles storewide. I spotted this really cool looking pink bicycle going at $105. Pretty reasonable considering the bicycles we bought from the HDB shops cost us about $90 each. Would have bought this if Kate was older!
Pro Cycle

To be honest, the last time we went to East Coast Park for a day out with the kids was probably 4 or 5 years ago. I don’t like crowds and prefer to take them cycling at less populated parks. With the new Parkland Green amenities facing the sea and the great food options, we will definitely be back very soon!

Parkland Green
920 East Coast Parkway
Singapore 449875

Disclaimer: We were sponsored this Food and Fun trail by NParks and the participating establishments. All opinions are my own.

~ – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

Great brain games for kids

Over the years, the kids have received their fair share of popular boardgames bought from the malls. While I did like that it got them to play together, what I didn’t like was that the games were based mostly on luck instead of skill. I was delighted when I discovered My First Games which is a local online store owned by a mum of 3 kids, selling a mind-boggling array of good games specially culled from USA and Europe. We have been playing quite a few of her games and the kids absolutely love them.

Pixy Cubes $29.90

One of her best sellers is Pixy Cubes, as surprise surprise, it seems to be the closest thing to an IQ test. No wonder parents were snapping them up. For me, I love that it is an open-ended game and can be played in a variety of ways. Although it says ‘ages 6 and up’, it can be managed by kids as young as 3 or 4 years old.


The simplest way is to play it individually, whereby the child has to follow the pattern on the card. It can also be played with 2 kids, and they each take a card and challenge each other to see who finishes first.

Difficulty level increases

Once the child can master the simple shape using 4 cubes, they can move on to the shapes without the grid lines which uses all 16 cubes.

What I love about #5 is his creativity, and after going through all the card patterns, he had a great time constructing his own designs. Not only is it good for building up their attention span, it also helps with their fine motor skills.

#5’s fort

Another good game to exercise their brain is 7 ate 9. This is a Math speed card game, and can be played by any child who can add and subtract. The older girls initially thought it was a childish game meant for the little ones, but ended up having fun as well.

7 ate 9 ($15.90)

Another personal favourite of our family is Ubongo. This can be played with a maximum of 4 players. Basically, the fastest person to complete their card using the puzzle pieces wins. They never fail to take this game out when their friends come over for playdates. I have seen kids from as young as 7 who are able to handle this game.

Ubongo extreme

It is also suitable for the older folk to get their mind moving. We visited my aunt who is 82 years old and they had a good time bonding over it.

Great family game for all ages

I can confidently say that any parent would be happy to receive any of their games for their kids’ Christmas presents. Well, I would (hint, hint).

For more great game ideas from My First Games, take a look at Life’s Tiny Miracles’ recommendations.

~ – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~