Tikes N Bikes – Kinderbike Balance Bike

It’s so exciting to receive a delivery! This time it’s for the littlest member of our family. Kate was sponsored a cool looking balance bike from Tikes N Bikes. The Kinderbike has been rated ‘the best’ in quality and value by the New York Times 4 years in a row. Wow, Kate sure is lucky.

With my 5 older kids, they all learnt how to cycle the traditional way. They had those bicycles with the trainer wheels at the back. When they were around 5 or 6, we figured it was time they learnt to ride a proper 2-wheeled bike and had to teach them how to do it. That involved holding on to their bike and running alongside until they got the hang of it and we could release the handlebar. Let me tell you, it was pretty back-breaking work! Thankfully, #1 managed to master it within 1 or 2 hours. #2 and #3 took longer, and after going through that with the first 3 kids, I delegated the job of teaching the younger ones to their older siblings.

In the recent few years, I started seeing little expatriate kids in our condo on these 2-wheeled balance bikes. Initially we thought it was really strange and my kids called them the bicycles with no pedals. But as I spoke to the mums, they told me that their children naturally learnt how to balance on the bike and the transition was smooth. The child has total control of his progress and you don’t need to try and figure out when he’s ready to have the trainer wheels removed. Once he’s ‘cruising’ (able to travel some distance with both feet up), it’s evident that he can move on to a proper bike with pedals. That sounded fabulous to me. Wish we had those when the kids were young.

“My first set of wheels!”

I can’t wait for Kate to hang out with her bike and learn to cycle all on her own. With the Kinderbike E series, what’s fantastic about this particular balance bike is that both the seat and handlebars are easily adjustable, with a snap and quick release fixture. Kate is not yet 2 and she has already started using it. The frame is light and can be carried by a child as well – 5.9 pounds to be exact, which is the lightest balance bike in the market.

Kinderbike E series $109

Sane tip: This bike can take a maximum weight of 34kg, so it easily grows with your child. Age suitability is from as young as 18 months to 5 years. It is far lighter and smaller to carry around than a regular bike and fits in any boot.

Save tip: {GIVEAWAY} I’m pleased to announce that Tikes N Bikes has generously agreed to give away ONE Kinderbike E series to one of my lucky readers!

All you have to do is:

  •  Enter the GIVEAWAY below
  •  Like Mummy Wee’s Facebook page
  • Like Kinderbike Singapore’s Facebook page
  • Share this post on Facebook with the caption “Cool balance bike to be won!” and tag Mummy Wee
  •  Leave a comment on Mummy Wee’s Facebook post stating which colour you would like to win: Red, Blue or Green.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Details:
  • 1 winner will be chosen at random
  • Open to Singapore residents only
  • Ends 14 September 2014
  • Winner will be announced on Mummy Wee’s Facebook page on 16 September 2014
  • Winner will be contacted by Tikes N Bikes
List of authorised retailers of the Kinderbike.

Disclaimer: Kinderbike sponsored our E series balance bike and the giveaway. All opinions are my own.

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

Thankful… for blogging perks

When I received an invite to the preview of Disney’s The 7D, I had no intention of going. The thought of driving all the way down to town for the kids to watch some cartoon and fight the weekday traffic home didn’t seem worth the trouble. I casually asked if any of my other mummy blogger friends were going for the media preview and was surprised that a lot of them were. So I asked a really dumb question – Why were they all going?

Because it’s DISNEY! (… silly!)

Being the boring dinosaur mum I am, I was still not convinced that I should lug the kids so far to watch a cartoon. I sounded #1 out and she said I should take the kids. I asked her why, and she said something about how all celebrities attend premiers and it’s the cooool thing to do. Er ok. I’ll be cool this time. She asked me where it was going to be held at and when I told her it was at some cafe called EatPlayLove, she surprised me by saying that she’ll try to join us if she’s off early from school as she likes that cafe.

Captivated by the little dwarfs

As it turned out, the kids had 2 days off from school as the P6s were having their PSLE oral and I couldn’t be more delighted that I had somewhere to take the kids to. After the screening of the animated series loosely based on the Seven Dwarfs, which not only the kids but the adults seemed to be mesmerized by, tea was served. Kate sat and fed herself a whole bowl of Mac n cheese while the older kids helped themselves to burgers, nuggets and fries.

Disney throws good parties!

After they had their fill of happy food, the kids headed to the craft table and occupied themselves while the mummies sat and chatted. The older kids took good care of Kate and she had a swell time crafting as well. Periodically she will come and show me her masterpieces, beaming from ear to ear and saying very loudly, “Look mummy!”

Busy crafting

It was time for a group photo and I think Kate was wondering what the other kids were up to, lining up in a row. Perhaps she was expecting them to break into song and dance.

As we left, the kids were given goody bags with exclusive Disney merchandise. On the way home I asked if they had fun, half expecting them to say it was “ok la”. At 10 & 8, everything is pretty much ‘lame’ to them. I was surprised by their exuberant response “So Fun!” Ah, I guess we can always count on Disney to weave their magic.

Hi ho, hi ho, with goody bags we go
When Kate was born, I was thinking that with 6 kids and the older ones getting more expensive to raise, Kate wouldn’t have much. As it turned out, we have been blessed with lots of unexpected extras.

I’m really glad we came. We could get used to this! Oh, and I do like EatPlayLove cafe.


Don’t forget to tune in to Disney Channel (Starhub Ch312 or SingTel mio TV Ch 234) at 11am on 7 September 2014 to catch the premier episode of The 7D.

Thank you to the lovely people behind Disney for inviting us!

Thankful Tuesdays:

“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 #5’s cooking and caring of Kate
Thankful… for #3 in so many ways
Thankful… for sister-in-law #1

Thankful… for our helper
Thankful… for my family
Thankful… for my mum-in-law

Linking up with:

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

iBabyGuard – Baby monitor which helps prevent cot death

When #1 was a baby, infant monitors were simple one-way walkie-talkie type gadgets. We used them so that we would be alerted when baby woke up from her nap, or when she was crying in another room. These days, they even have video monitors where you can not only hear your baby, but also watch her on the little screen while you are in another room, for added peace of mind. But did you ever wonder, if baby really stopped breathing, would you even know?


In Singapore, not many of us have heard of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) or cot death. When I was in Australia, the awareness there is great. They keep reminding parents not to place baby to sleep on their tummy, as there may come a day when baby’s neck gets strong enough for her to lift her head, yet not strong enough to turn back to the side. They also keep warning parents about the dangers of having loose bedding like towels or blankets lying around the cot. A revolutionary monitor has been created which can monitor baby’s breath count to ensure that baby is sleeping safely and soundly.

The iBabyGuard Infant Snooze is simply placed beneath your sleeping baby and it can detect her breathing pattern which is monitored with the help of a state-of-the-art Fibre-optics sensing system. It uses light as a sensing medium so that parents need not worry about electrical energy being emitted from the device. What’s more, it runs on dry cell batteries, making it wireless so that you needn’t worry about baby getting strangled by the same device you put in place to keep her safe.


So how does it work?


All you have to do is to download an app, which is compatible with both Apple and Android devices, and it will graphically show you:

  • Breath Movements
  • No Breath Movements
  • Waking Moments
  • Absent baby (rolled off)

Here’s the crucial part. If baby stops breathing for 15 seconds, an alarm will sound. 15 seconds?? When I first heard this, I was taken aback. Isn’t 15 seconds way too long? They explained to me that if the duration is too short, your phone might keep beeping as sometimes babies do stop breathing momentarily due to several reasons. They assured me that doctors have been consulted and there is ample time to tend to baby before something tragic happens. Ok mums and dads, start practicing your sprints! (good incentive for a family workout, I’d say).

If baby is down with a bout of flu and struggles to breathe, it can all be monitored and displayed as irregular breathing patterns. Even your fear of baby rolling off the bed can be addressed because the sensors will alert you if baby is absent from the mat. No more bumps on the head for the little monkey!

Some other details which makes this device waaayy cooler than other monitors is that music can be streamed from your phone (you can come up with that Mozart playlist you’ve always wanted to do up for baby), it logs the quality and duration of your baby’s sleep (no more having to diligently jot down the timings of naps), and you can even adjust the sensitivity of the mat. And if that isn’t enough, the creators have also included an ambient temperature monitor just in case it gets too hot or cold in the room.

I was really impressed that this clever device was actually invented locally (yay for local talent). They have been tested in KKH and are currently being used in their delivery wards. This is the only such device in the world as it has been patented. If you see similar products online, they are their brand partners worldwide and have repackaged it for their own market.

Sane tip: I have to admit that we did prone our babies during naps as they slept better that way. And at the back of my mind, I constantly worried about them being unable to breathe. However for us, the house was very small and we had a lot of people around all the time so the baby was usually within sight. This monitor will truly give you peace of mind while you are busy doing other things. Take a look at the short video on their website. A separate parent unit can be purchased if for example your helper is using it and does not have a mobile phone.

Save tip: *Exclusive discount for my readers* The iBabyGuard Infant Snooze is currently retailing at Mothercare for $399. Mummy wee readers are offered a very special rate of $299! All you have to do is to send me an email (mummyweedotcom@gmail.com) to place your order and it will be forwarded to the people at iBabyGuard for delivery to be arranged. Payment terms: Cash on delivery.

Disclaimer: We are affiliate partners of iBabyGuard. All opinions are my own.

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

MY GYM @ Westgate

Kate has been bugging me for weeks to send her to school. Every morning, she gets into the car with #3 and #5 and nods her head enthusiastically saying, “Kate school?”. And after the other 2 are dropped off and we arrive back home, she will start crying and repeating forlornly, “Kate schoooool… Kate schoooool…” So when I told her she could finally go to ‘school’ at MY GYM, she was extremely excited. She wore her shoes, strapped on her bag and stood at the door waiting for me.

“Peace, mum”

She joined the Gymster class which is for kids 19 months to 3 years old. The class commences with about 5 minutes of free play for them to warm up and get settled in. Then everyone sits around the red circle for circle time. Teacher Liyana prepped me beforehand that on the first session, it is normal to expect any of these 3 reactions from the kids.

  • Crying
  • Clinging on to parent
  • Exploring the gym
I was quite certain Kate wouldn’t do the first 2, but was expecting her to wander around for most of the first lesson. I was pleasantly surprised to see that she wandered around only a little bit and participated fully the rest of the time. 5 minutes of free play wasn’t enough for her to finish exploring, so when Circle time started, she promptly ran off to have her own fun at the slide. Teacher Javier went over to her and gently guided her back.
Circle time
Next up was Practice skills, where we are shown skills to practice at home. Today teacher Liyana demonstrated how to facilitate their headstand. Kate was in the midst of walking towards the action and she stepped right up to the blue mat and became the model for today’s headstand.
Demonstrating a headstand
The following segment was Explore and Adventure. The tots walked on an intersection plank to work on their balance and to learn to wait and take turns.
Balancing
The next station was the trampoline, which helps to work on their agility. And of course, it is always heaps of fun for kids to bounce around.
We jump, jump, jump and we stop!
Next, they rigged up this really cool ‘flying carpet’ and the kids were assisted in walking across it.

The magic flying carpet
They also took out these portable swings which Kate absolutely loved. This is to get the kids used to the swinging motion and so that they won’t have a fear of heights. She kept asking to go “higher, higher” and squealed when I pushed her really high. Finally when it was time to say “bye bye” to the swings, she was upset and kept standing at the door to the storeroom and asking me to get it back out. I explained to her that she has to wait for next week, and teacher Javier distracted her by carrying her over to the ‘flying carpet’.
“Wheeee!”

We were almost at the end of the session and it was time for ‘Separation’. Parents were instructed to stay as far away as possible or even hide from the kids to gradually get them to reduce their separation anxiety. The kids sat on the blue mat and played with toys and sang songs.

“The babies on the bus go Waahh, Waahh, Waahh”

This boy is so adorable. He was really into it. For a moment I thought he was really crying. Then he suddenly burst into a giggle.

It was time for Manipulatives. Today’s object was the playground ball and they had to clench the ball between their thighs. Their imagination was stimulated by asking them questions, for example, “Is this a hat?” And Kate nodded! Haha.

The hour passed so quickly and soon it was time to sing the ‘bye bye song’. There was no doubt about it. Kate absolutely loves her school and can’t wait for next week!

MY GYM is a U.S. program with 30 years of experience in children’s fitness. Their classes are suitable for children from 4 months to 10 years. Classes are 1 hour long and fees are $468+GST for a 10-week term + $60 one time registration fee. If you are thinking of what to do for your child’s birthday, why not give them a call and find out more. Their Birthday Bash looks really exciting, and are specially catered to kids all the way from 1 month to 10 years old.

Sane tip: As I am home with Kate, I don’t want to enrol her in a full school program, but she needs some stimulation. So this is perfect for her. After her 1 hour class, she is all tired and goes home and has a nice long nap! Time for mummy’s siesta too 😉

Save tip: All gym programs come with 1 Free Open Gym per week during their term of enrolment. They are quite flexible with their make-up policy and up to 2 make-up lessons are allowed per term.

To see how Kate has progressed, here’s my review at the end of the 10 lessons.
Outlets islandwide:

Jurong East (Westgate)
Tel: 64659205

Tampines
Tel: 67897061

Marine Parade
Tel: 64409916

Rochester
Tel: 66849220

River Valley
Tel: 67335168

Ang Mo Kio
Tel: 65562145

Disclaimer: Kate was sponsored one term at MY GYM. All opinions are my own.

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

Sing to Learn English {GIVEAWAY}

When the kids were young, I was able to restrict their amount of TV time. However with Kate, she gets exposed to a lot more TV because the other kids are watching it. So much so that now she knows how to take the remote control, turn on the TV, sit herself smugly on the sofa and declare “Watch TV” with a smile and a nod.

Since I have decided to choose my battles (I’m getting battle-scarred with all the battles I have to fight with the tweens and teens), I was going to buy some good DVDs to at least make her screen time more educational. It couldn’t have been a better time for The Groovy Giraffe to send over a series of ‘Sing to Learn English’ DVDs for Kate to enjoy. They gave me an option, and without second thought, I chose the one with music.

I firmly believe that music should have a place in every child’s development, and importantly so. A bevy of research indicates an infinite number of benefits when teaching children through music – the development of right brain activity is just one of the many. Children are also able to catch on to tunes faster than the droning monotony of drills and rote learning. And if you know me by now, why choose boring over fun, right?

R’s first time watching the DVD

Kate has been watching the DVD for a few weeks now, and can follow most of the actions. The difference between this DVD and many others is that it aims to help young children recognise words through the songs quite effortlessly. How is that achieved? Structure and repetition. We know how toddlers need structure and thrive in such an environment and ‘Sing to Learn English’ lends itself to this learning strategy.

Each song begins with the introduction of key words which will appear later in the song again. These words are paired with live illustrations so that your child can connect the two. Apart from the fact that the words are displayed so that the child learns word recognition, I really liked that the pictures were set in a local, Singapore context, using real-life images of children, animals and objects. This makes it easy for our kids to relate to their personal experiences and the environment around them. For reinforcement, the same image and highlighted words reappear during the song.

There is also an element of fun where the lyrics are highlighted in true karaoke style – plenty of fun for the family to sing along to! You’d be surprised, but my older kids will happily sing along with Kate and they all have a good laugh afterwards.

The tunes are really simple and there are a total of 14 songs in Version 1. It consists of common ones like “Ten green bottles”, “Old Macdonald”, “Five little ducks” and “Here we go round the mulberry bush” so even if you are not musically inclined, you should be able to keep up with them pretty easily.

So far, Kate can repeat all the single words, and she is gradually picking up the words of the songs. This DVD will enable your child to recognise more than 400 words! I also like that the songs encourage physical activity, and instead of merely being a couch potato, she will jump off the chair and start imitating the actions.

“Tommy Thumb”

You can purchase the DVDs separately at $19.90 each, or get the bundle set of all 3 DVDs at a better deal of $38.90. Volume 2 has a total of 15 songs which includes “London bridge is falling down”, “If you are happy and you know it”, “Where is thumbkin” and “Incy wincy spider”. Volume 3 has a total of 22 songs, such as “Hickory dickory dock”, “Mary had a little lamb”, “Sing a song of sixpence” and “This old man”.

Sane tip: Some days we just need a break to regain our sanity or time to get dinner prepared and yes, the TV is a reliable babysitter. So why not put on some fun music where your child can jiggle along and effortlessly learn to read? If you are so inclined to take it one step further, you can use the images from the DVD as a stimulus for discussion when on family outings. Thankfully we had this in our car, and it was a life-saver when we were stuck in a jam on the causeway back from Hello Kitty Town in Johor.

Save tip: For the whole month of August 2014, The Groovy Giraffe is kindly offering my dear readers a 20% discount off all Wink to Learn DVDs. Just key in “mummywee” when you check out. The Groovy Giraffe also sells children’s storybooks and assessment books at unbelievably low prices. Delivery is free for orders above $60 so why not add in some great books like Roald Dahl’s collection, some Eric Carle, or Dr Seuss Classic collection while they are in stock now. To get 5% off all books (except bargains), use the code “MWEEGG” at checkout.* If you need more ideas, here’s what I bought from The Groovy Giraffe.

Bundle set {GIVEAWAY}

{GIVEAWAY} I’m also pleased to be giving away one bundle set of this 3-in-1 Sing to Learn English DVD (worth $38.90).

All you have to do is:
  •  Enter the Giveaway below
  •  Like mummy wee’s Facebook page
  • Like The Groovy Giraffe’s Facebook page
  •  Leave a comment on mummy wee’s Facebook post stating if you expose your child to music
    Details:
    • 1 winner will be chosen at random
    • Open to Singapore residents only
    • Ends 7 August 2014
    • Winners will be announced on mummyweeblog Facebook page on 11 August 2014
    • Winners to self-collect at The Groovy Giraffe (Everton Park) or pay $5 for shipping, and there will be no exchange of products or conversion to store credits.
    • Winners will be contacted by The Groovy Giraffe.

Disclaimer: We are affiliate partners with The Groovy Giraffe and they sponsored the giveaway and our bundle set. All opinions are my own.

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

The Giving Treehouse @ Marine Parade

Over the June holidays, #4 was invited to attend The Giving Treehouse’s holiday program, where parents send their kids from 9am to 5pm while they are busy at work. Initially I was going to turn down the generous offer from this student care centre located at Marine Parade due to the distance, but after looking at the activities lined up, #4 was so excited that I agreed to let her go. In fact, the older kids also wanted in!

Rock-climbing at Yishun Safra

She loves outdoor activities so the rock-climbing and archery outings immediately caught her attention. Other interesting things included deciphering morse code while learning about different forms of communication tools, making their own camera obscura with recycled material while learning about the history of photography, learning basics of first-aid like the Heimlich manoeuvre for choking, having a 3-course meal to pick up dining etiquette, and even grooming sessions, just to name a few.

This student care centre really makes the effort to engage and immerse the kids. After a session on learning about nutrition and the different food groups, they went out to the nearby mini-mart and each child was given $10 to buy their own ingredients to make up a healthy meal. To instil the value of giving and of serving the wider community, the kids were taken to Pasir Ris MRT station and sold flags to raise funds for Boys Town. Two thumbs up!

Deciphering morse code

The Giving Treehouse stems (excuse the pun) from the story of one of my favourite children’s book ‘The Giving Tree’ by Shel Silverstein, which places great emphasis on the value of giving, nurturing and love. Essentially, this is what sets this student care centre apart from the rest.

Made their own camera obscura

Set up by 3 working mums, The Giving Treehouse aims to provide a home away from home, thus placing an importance on the holistic development of the children who are placed under their care, in a vibrant yet homely atmosphere.

Multi-touch interactive table at IDA

The founders have also included the component of leadership which acknowledges and appreciates that each child is unique with his or her own gifts and talents. With the foundation of their programmes being the 7 Habits of Effective People by Stephen R. Covey, the student care centre has further included enrichment sessions parked under an artful and unconventional name – Journey to the Centre of the Earth. This boasts a myriad of activities encompassing music, art, writing and oratorical skills. Each student is believed to already be a leader in his or her own right and has a leader portfolio created for him where an individual personality profile is included, apart from his or her goals and achievements which are charted.

Archery – a first for many

Besides the truckload of fun the kids have during the school holidays, they are well taken care of and occupied during the school term. All students will have an individualised study plan to allow the coaches to partner the students, parents and teachers more effectively when it comes to areas that need more attention. During the crucial P6 year, small group learning support will be provided for the PSLE exam preparations.

Yoga – relax and destress!

Sane tip: Even though I’m not a full time working mum, I did put #4 at a student care centre as I felt it was a good idea to let her finish up all her homework with some supervision (as I am not familiar with the syllabus) so that when she got home, we could spend all our time playing and relaxing together. However, I withdrew her as I couldn’t find any good quality student care centre in our vicinity. If The Giving Treehouse was in my neck of the woods, I’d definitely put my kids there. And for the busy working parent, their leader portfolio can be a very useful point of reference to figure out your child’s strengths and weaknesses.

Save tip: Not only do they focus on academic excellence, but they also strive for a holistic education with includes values development and sports and team-building while exposing the children to a wide array of enrichment activities. Their centre is cosily furnished with a reading corner, music corner, games corner and even a research corner.


Disclaimer: We were sponsored their holiday program. All opinions are my own.

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

Dream Factory by Ines Ligron – Celebrity fashion expert

During the school holidays, I received a media invitation for my kids to attend the Dream Kids workshop, where they will get to learn about style, build confidence and have fun strutting down a real runway. Sounds fabulous! But Ines who? I have never heard of her, and later found out that this celebrity stylist who has worked with top fashion houses, global beauty brands and internationally renowned fashion magazines has recently descended on our humble shores. This remarkable but down to earth lady has spent the last decade working with the Miss Universe Japan Organisation, and even produced the 2007 Miss Universe winner and two Top 5 finalists. She has also styled Hollywood celebrities like Liv Tyler, Kate Moss and Sarah Jessica Parker, just to name a few. I was intrigued and definitely didn’t want to pass up the chance for the girls to learn about style and to be a bit more ladylike.
Dream Kids workshop

Initially, it looked just like any other modelling class where the girls were taught to walk confidently on the catwalk. However, when I spoke to Ines herself, I was enlightened. She told me it was not just about getting the kids to walk properly, but it was about bringing them out of their shell, to empower them to feel proud of who they are, and to be confident in their own skin.

Their coach was no less than our very own Miss Universe Singapore (2011) Valerie Lim. She was very good with the kids and had a way with them. It was no wonder, when I discover that she is trained in Child Psychology. Beauty with brains. Impressive.

For kids aged 6 – 12

She was really encouraging and #4 who normally doesn’t like such things like parading in public (eeks!) enjoyed herself tremendously.

Don’t forget to smile!

Even boys have a part in this, as what they are trying to achieve here is for everyone, not just the girls.

A table full of fun clothes with matching shoes for the kids to pick from. The little ones got changed and were ready to be back on the catwalk with their new found skills.

I really have to take my hats off to this inspiring woman. #2 was not having a particularly fun time probably because she was the oldest there and felt out of place. Ines picked her out amongst all the kids present and did a make-over for her. In the very short span of time whilst doing her makeup, I heard her constantly re-affirming #2 that she was beautiful and to be confident of who she is, to stand tall and believe in herself. This issue never even crossed my mind as I assumed my kids were comfortable in their skin. Besides, as Asians, we hardly talk to our kids about beauty, and how beautiful they are. Ines said it was all in her body language, the slouch of the shoulders and the negative and disbelieving  responses when she told #2 how beautiful she was. She commented dryly in her French-accented english, “I can see how you are, what you are thinking. Life is boring. Nothing interests me”. I burst out laughing. Precisely. I was just mentioning this to a friend, that our kids are so lifeless. Once they pass the age of around 10, they stop having that glow on their faces. Maybe too much gadget use has numbed them. Or maybe it’s the burden of school. Or maybe they have infused our culture of rushing everywhere without savouring the moments.

Her first make-over

Boy, with just a change of outfit, and little things done to her hair and make-up, I was surprised how fabulous my girl looked! After that, I emailed Ines to thank her for what she did for #2’s confidence, and this very busy lady took the time out to send us a very lovely reply that really boosted her self-esteem. She even invited #2 to come and watch her teenage models who are from different nationalities, and to see how vibrant they are, so full of passion for life. I asked her what she thought about the unhealthy lifestyle of models, and of having to be stick-thin to stay in the modelling industry. She doesn’t subscribe to that, and takes her teen models as they are, whatever size they may be, and she teaches them to be comfortable in their bodies. Really good to hear.

Transformation

Now it’s the mummies’ turn. I was invited to the Dream Mama session for mums who want a new style. It was all very informal and Ines took questions from the mums present on how to be a hot mama! She gave us tips and ideas on how to step out in style in just 5 minutes, how to be a Dream mama even with young kids in tow, and she showed her expertise as she transformed several mums into very stylish mamas. She shared with us ideas on how to dress to accentuate our body shape while hiding our flaws. You can also sign up for their Transformation classes to develop your own personal style!

Look hot even with a tot

Save tip: To spread her love to our local ladies, the Dream Factory is having a pop-up store at ISETAN Scotts from now till 10 July 2014. Do head down and check out the one of a kind merchandise from international brands, personally selected by Ines.

Ines and her Dream Team, which comprises of Valarie (Miss Universe Singapore 2011) and Hiroko (Miss Universe Japan), will share their expertise in several complimentary styling sessions for the public where you can pick up some fashion tips!

Friday 4 July (6-8pm)
Makeup / Hair: Demonstration of the latest hair and makeup trends

Saturday 5 July (11am, 2pm, 5pm)
Fashion Police: Witness the ultimate transformation by Ines as she picks out from the public!

Sane tip: She gave us lots of little tips to step out in style with minimal time and effort spent. One very trusty item in her make-up bag is a creamy light pink lipstick which doubles up as a blusher. She showed us how to quickly dab some on the lips, cheeks and even the eyelids, to instantly brighten up the face. She also emphasised how having the right clothes, with a good cut, good fit and good material is important. She is also a big fan of accessories, such as cuffs, heels and bags to complete the look.


Disclaimer: We were sponsored the Dream Kids workshop, and given ISETAN shopping vouchers to help kick start our Dream Mama wardrobe! 

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

Ed-Quest – Mandarin Enrichment Centre

Typical of many families these days, my kids are hardly exposed to Mandarin outside of their school classrooms. It is no surprise that they end up failing their Chinese year after year. I asked around and was recommended some of the big name enrichment chains. I signed the 3 older ones up for a year but found no improvement in their grades. Now my strategy is to give them one-on-one tuition during their P6 year and so far, the 2 older ones managed to get an ‘A’ with 1 year of chinese tuition.

When we were extended an invitation by Ed-Quest for #5 to attend a Mandarin Enrichment holiday program for a week, I was apprehensive to send him as he already dreads Mandarin lessons in school and I wanted him to have a good break and enjoy the June holidays. I glanced at the program and was surprised that it looked interesting and very hands-on. I finally decided to let him join as #3 and #4 were also going to be tied up with school for that week. In the end, I’m glad he went, as it was a fun way to expose him to the language and he found out that Mandarin doesn’t have to be dry and boring.

Having fun making lanterns
In his 1 week holiday program, they did lots of interesting activities like wrapping rice dumplings, cooking jiaozi, folding dragon boats, just to name a few. I like that they adopt the approach that Mandarin is not merely an academic subject but a language that is rich in history and cultural roots. As this week’s theme was on food, they explored the food items with their five senses, then created and tasted what they cooked. As their interest was piqued, they were more interested to learn the related descriptive words. The holiday program is catered to children between the ages of 5 and 8 years old. The older kids were exposed to more phrases and idioms, and they also wrote poems and short essays about their experiences thereafter.

Tea appreciation
#5 got his good buddy to join him for the holiday program, and when I picked them up, I asked Wu laoshi for feedback and if they behaved well. She said they enjoyed themselves and mentioned that #5 is a visual learner. I quipped, “He hardly understands Mandarin, so he watches to know what to do!” I probed on about his behaviour as his school teacher keeps telling me what a naughty boy he is in school. Wu laoshi mentioned that he is rather mischievous and always tries to push the boundaries. He would also make jokes constantly and tries to do things his own way. Spot on. She deciphered him in 1 lesson. I asked her if she was able to handle him and what methods she used because his school teacher was at her wit’s end.

She shared with me that she did not scold him but was very firm with him and patiently explained why his actions are wrong. Perhaps he can tell from her tone that she is not merely nagging him, but was genuinely concerned about him. She also explained to me that I have to break this behaviour if not he thinks that it is acceptable to play up in every class. Needless to say, I was extremely impressed with Wu laoshi. I relayed my feedback to the management and they told me that they believe in hiring very experienced and competent teachers.

Making jiaozi

I was surprised that #5 actually looked forward to going for the classes and Wu laoshi told me that he started behaving really well and even helped the younger boys. One of the days, they were taught how to make jiaozi (meat dumpling) and she noticed that #5 was fumbling and was probably on the verge of rebelling or giving up. She explained to him why the edges should be tucked and sealed and he went on to improvise and made a whole dozen! I’m glad laoshi didn’t insist on him making it that one and only way and she allowed him leeway for his creativity.

His UFO-looking jiaozi

Ed-Quest has been around for more than a decade, and with Mrs Patricia Koh (founder of the first Pat’s Schoolhouse) as Education Director, they firmly believe in bringing the language alive and making it relevant to the children. My sentiments exactly. If only our schools can adopt this approach, along with having smaller classes, many of our kids won’t be struggling with the language.

The fees for their holiday program are at $250 for 1 week, 9am – 12noon. It runs through to July to cater to the international students as well. Do contact them at 6356 8186 for more details. In addition, they have regular classes for both children and adults.

Sane tip: I’m glad #5 had a very positive first Mandarin enrichment exposure. I’m now all for exposing them to Mandarin in fun and interesting ways. If they can slowly build up their vocabulary and listen to the language spoken more, it wouldn’t be so tough on them during the PSLE year. Ok, here’s my new strategy: Let them join fun Mandarin lessons during the school holidays (I get to have a break too!), listen to some Mandarin CDs, and give them private tuition during P6.

Save tip: I believe in giving my kids quality extra academic classes. No point wasting the child’s time and my time sending them and put them in any enrichment classes from P1 just to make myself feel secured that I’m doing something extra. I always follow up on their progress and ascertain if there is any improvement in grades. If there isn’t, I will stop after 3-4 months because I believe that if the child finds the right fit of the teacher and the method, we will definitely see an improvement in their grades or at least in their interest in learning that subject.

Ed-Quest

177A Thomson Road
Goldhill Shopping Centre
Singapore 307625

Tel: 63568186


Disclaimer: We were sponsored this holiday program. All opinions are my own.


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