Archive | June 2009

Jing at One Fullerton…again!

Jing entrance

I wrote about Jing at One Fullerton some time ago and we went again on the weekend, bringing my parents for a belated Father’s and Mother’s Day lunch.

a carpark complex that has ample available parking spaces….
complimentary parking thrown in…
unlimited servings of dimsum and other Chinese yummies…
cool cutlery and table settings in a well-designed setting accompanied with easy listening chill-out music…
chilli crab that rivals well-known brand named restaurants…
and fried durian ice-cream for dessert…

Jing - fried durian ice cream

what’s there not to like about the place? 🙂

I love their outdoor seating area, and the fact that you can curl up your legs or sit cross-legged on the chocolate brown couch and enjoy your drinks and snacks with a seaview.
Both DS and DD like taking walks along the promenade to go see the Merlion.

Jing outdoors

For $36++ a head, it’s great value for a nice dining place to bring the grandparents for a leisurely lunch. And family-friendly enough to ensure kids don’t go stir-crazy from want of space to explore.

Jing price

JING One Fullerton, #01-02/03, 1 Fullerton Road, Singapore 049213, Tel: 6224 0088

Opening Hours: Lunch – 11.45am to 3pm (Last order – 2.30pm) Dinner – 6.30pm to 11pm (Last order – 10.30pm)

New things learnt at the zoo

My dad arrived on the weekend to join my mum here on their visit. And like all doting grandparents, of course, he brought presents!! A set of 28-blocks puzzle for DD and a toy truck for DS. Each of the six sides of the blocks have a themed picture – so you can assemble the alphabet, numbers, animals, etc.

At the zoo, on our way back from Kidzworld where the kids were already zoning out from all the action at the waterplay area, we’d stopped to point out the rhinoceros and lion exhibits to DD since it was along the way to the exit.

Well, when DD opened up the present, she picked out the block with the Rhinoceros picture on it and named it correctly, proper pronunciation and inflections and all! I’m so proud that she remembered because this visit was the first time I’d taught her Rhinoceros! Proof that one truly does absorb knowledge best in an Alpha mind state? 😉

Animal blocks

A very timely gift from the grandparents!

Later in the evening, she also took out her Lion hand puppet to play, recalling the lions she saw at the zoo. (They didn’t roar though, the completely unsporting lions were turning their backs on the visitors. Sigh, I still like the Tigers best! 🙂 ). Click here to see the step-by-step guide to making your own cardboard animal hand puppet. 😉

It’s a hot day in the Outback!

DH’s been reading this book to the kids in the past couple of weeks with an outback Aussie accent thrown in for good measure…cracks me up! This week happened to be the last week of the Singapore Zoo‘s June Holidays Outback Adventure special. Very nicely timed!

Hot Day in the Outback

So off we went on Saturday morning, DS’s first trip to the zoo.  At the entrance, there was a Zoolympix 2009 booth setup, where you could buy a Zoolympix pack, containing a water bottle, cap and goodie bag containing stuff sponsored by Abbott Nutrition’s Grow and a book detailing the stations we needed to complete, for $3.

We picked up a pack as it looked interesting. It started out a really hot and sunny day and we were just hanging around the Otters enclosure waiting for our friends to arrive, after completing one of the stations of the Zoolympix, when I looked up to see a very suddenly darkened sky with ominous cumulonimbus clouds hanging over our heads.  Oh man!  We just got here!!  We hurried on to the White Tigers exhibit.  There were tons of people about, and it isn’t difficult to understand why.  The tigers are a consistent crowd-pleaser, and they’re always at the ready to promenade up and down and pose majestically for the camera snappy-happy.

It started drizzling lightly just about then, and we started getting the hats and raincoats out to cover the kids.   The rest of it was a bit of a mad dash for me, because I was carrying DS, who kept trying to pull off the raincoat hood, which made me scramble all the faster to get to the next nearest shelter ASAP.  DH and DD were able to take a little more time, catching the kangaroo, emu and wallaby exhibits along the way.   Thankfully, we managed to finally make our way to the Elephants of Asia section, where the 11:30am Elephants At Work and Play Show was just starting in 10 minutes time. Great opportunity to catch our breath… and catch a very impressive show. 🙂  Everyone had a really fun time and DD is still talking about it today!

The rain stopped after the Elephants show, and we made our way to Rainforest Kidzworld for lunch.  After lunch, DS napped in the stroller, while DD had some waterplay fun in the wet play area with our friends’ son.  With the sun beating down really hot all over again, it was really great to sit and splash in the water!!  😛


I really like the design of the waterplay area. I love how it uses the simple and environmentally friendly concept of pulleys and weights to create tipping buckets that splash water when the buckets are full on to the (sometimes unsuspecting) person standing below.    I don’t quite like the look of the huge elephant tipping bucket in the centre though – I think the elephant is quite grotesque looking. 


It was a really fruitful day – we did and saw so many things.  Both families felt we saw more animals on this trip than we ever did when we went as individual family units, so we’ve made plans to go again, in a bigger group the next time round!  Counting down the days to our next trip! 😀

Spoils from the Zoo

Our spoils from the zoo – a panda poster we won from the Zoolympix lucky dip after handing in our book with three stations completed, the hat that came with the pack, a colouring sheet from an Abbott Nutrition stall set up at the Giraffes exhibit which came with a free box of crayons, a little holographic image bookmark they handed out to us at the exit when leaving, and the Zoolympix book.

Fun with Cardboard Craft – Part II

Making a Lion Hand Puppet!
You will need: An artblock sheet, marker, colour pencils, two boxes, scissors, glue, double-sided tape. 

Lion Hand Puppet-materials

1. Draw the various parts of the lion’s face on the artblock sheet – the eyes and mane, the mouth, a tongue, the sides of the mane. Colour.
2. Cut out the parts and attach double-sided tape to the back of each part. [You can also use glue, I just used double-sided tape because DD is on an anti-glue streak at the moment, she hates getting any on her hands]
3. Cut away the thinner section off the top flap of one of the boxes. Attach double-sided tape to the inside section of the remaining flap.

Lion Hand Puppet-doublesided tape

4. Stick this onto the other box, as shown in the picture below. You should be able to put four fingers in the top box and your thumb in the bottom box and clap the two boxes together to mimic a chomping action. Your puppet frame is now ready for embellishment.

Lion Hand Puppet-taped boxes

5. Stick on the parts of the lion’s face – eyes section on the top flap of the top box, the four mane pieces on each of the four side flaps, the mouth of the lion on the bottom of the top box, and the tongue on the section where the two boxes clamp together.

Lion Hand Puppet-ready for assembly 

We had tons of fun running round the room roaring raucously and singing…
The lion is the king of the jungle, and he goes….ROAAARRR!!!  DS was very entertained! 🙂

Lion Hand Puppet-roar!!

Stay tuned for Cardboard Craft – Part III 😉

Fun with Cardboard Craft – Part I

Flannel Board base-folded

Look what my mom made and brought over for the kids! Isn’t it cool?

It’s a flannel board that I can use as a teaching aid to put up pictures and figurines. Mom says it can also double up as a base for puppet shows. I’m already thinking up all the Bible stories that I can tell the kids and stuff we can do for Friday lessons, and anticipating all the fun I’m going to have sourcing out storyboard resources! 🙂

To make this flannel board, you need the following materials: An old cardboard box, scissors, masking tape, a roll of velcro, and a panel of flannel cloth.

1. Cut your box in half. You want the section that has the top flap and bottom flap and a full side panel.
2. Turn it over such that the full panel faces you, and the two flaps are on either side.
3. Reinforce the sides of the cardboard with masking tape.
4. Cut out 8 tabs of velcro measuring 3 inches long each. Use masking tape to secure these 8 tabs to the cardboard as per what’s shown in the picture below. You can also staple them down to make it more hardy for long-term usage. 

The first picture above shows what the board looks like when its folded up for storage. The middle velcro tabs on either side of the cardboard perform a dual function – supporting the flannel when the board is open, and securing the board close when it’s folded.  Isn’t that so clever?! 🙂

Flannel Board base

5. Attach the flannel cloth to the completed cardboard panel. The cloth should adhere easily to the velcro tabs. Done!

The flannel board is now ready. 😀  Cut out whatever figurines or pictures  you would like to use and attach velcro tabs to the back of them and you’re ready to roll. 

Flannel Board in use

Busy bedtime!

Snippets from our bedtime prayers tonight…

Me: Okay honey, let’s thank God for today.  Thank you God for…?
DD: We build sandcastles!
Me: We did, didn’t we? And played on the slide?
DD: I slide down. With Poh Poh.
Me: Yes you did. Was it fun?
DD: And I’m scared of the swings.
Me: Well, yes, so you didn’t go on them.
DD: Only mama sit. And papa sit.  Only people sit on the swings.
Me: Uh huuuh…only people, huh? But you are not people?
DD: No.
Me: [shrugs, okay]. And let’s thank God for our food we ate today, yeah? Remember what you had for lunch? Tell papa what you had? Spaghett…
DD: Sir-spaghee! [breaks out into giggles]
Me: Yup, spaghetti.
DD: Sir-spaghee! Hahahahahahaha!
Me: Okay, let’s finish up our prayers..
DD: Sir-spaghee! Hahahahahahaha!

And the rest of the prayer was finished off peppered with non-stop giggles. Sigh, I had only myself to blame. I did start it! 🙂

And this was all after a chasing game around the room with a chortling DS who was too busy to settle down for a diaper change.  Squirming out from our arms to  scale the picture frame leaning against the wall and attempt to lick the dust off it just for the great thrill of eliciting exclamations from his horrified mother.  And crawling back and forth from the frame to the bedroom door to pound on it.  Hardly your average by the book bedtime routine…

It was just miraculous that they went off to sleep not too far off from the usual timing, after all that excitement and noise! Phew!

Barnslig Rand from Ikea

Of milestones and millstones


Something that’s been giving me a lot of thought fodder recently…whether I am being a good mother to my children, whether I’m giving enough attention to them, whether it’s the right kind of attention, whether I’m giving them sufficient opportunities to develop academically, physically and spiritually, whether I’m an effective example and teacher or just plain wrecking the beautiful and precious innocence that God has so carefully entrusted to us, whether all the stuff in the books I read and put in practice is really going to show some results in the long term or won’t amount to anything much at all. For that matter, what’s the comprehensive, all-encompassing definition of a good mother anyway?

Over this week, DS and his feeding patterns have been driving me up the wall. He will drink half his milk feed, push the bottle away and scramble off to play, and will only finish up the remainder some time later. And I mean, some.time.later. I have tried being relaxed about it, popping the bottle into the refrigerator and bringing it out to warm again later, if he still doesn’t consume it in half an hour’s time.

I know that the books and experts say this is natural for a 9-10 month old who is beginning to discover a whole new world out there and won’t stay still to finish a feed. I know I should be proud that he is achieving this milestone and making several leaps and bounds in physical development. But it disrupts my otherwise efficiently planned schedule of things I need or want to do. I am a character who likes to accomplish things, check it off my list of to-do’s and move on to the next. This becomes an unfinished task that is left hanging until the point of some-time-later that he is ready to drink again rolls around.

And I am also left thinking, why on earth am I making all this effort to pump milk if he won’t drink it properly. To which end I have not gotten much sympathy from anyone, because on one extreme, I am told easy-peasy, just stop expressing and give him formula, then it’s just some random cow’s milk. No emotional energies wasted, just cold hard cash. He hasn’t yet tasted a drop of formula, if he should do and finish it all in one sitting, it will be enough to make me throw my hands up in despair and resignation. So no, I’m not going down that route.

And then on the other end of the spectrum are those who tell me, if it kills me so much, I should have been a stay-at-home mum then I would have never needed to worry about wasted expressed milk. Thanks but no thanks for another not-needed trip down Guilt Lane; that the reason I am now feeling incompetent at managing my son’s feeds and battling impatience is because I’ve not taken the noble path of stopping work, notwithstanding the fact that being a stay-at-home mum wouldn’t necessarily have prevented such a situation anyway!

Then at work, colleagues with kids around the same age as DD are all sending their kids to myriad classes – story groups, playgroups, nursery, preschool, enrichment classes, weekend classes, etc. I am left wondering if I am being a bad mother by not doing the same for DD. After all, how much can I hope to achieve with the little sessions on Fridays and weekends, versus a daily morning bombardment of structured Phonics, Math, Chinese and Music and then Art and Craft and Drama enrichment in the afternoons by trained and qualified professionals, Monday through Friday? Oh, and don’t forget the Story Club on Saturdays. And kiddy gym on Sundays.

Think of all she’s missing out compared to these other kids!! I know I shouldn’t bend to the pressure to keep up with the Joneses, or Tans (for local context!). But then again, no one can say for sure if they don’t send their kids to these classes that they won’t lose out to peers who have gone for every class under the sun before starting primary school proper. No one will say; they will just wag their finger, nod their heads solemnly and repeat the uniquely Singapore mantra “better to be kiasu than sorry”.

I really don’t know. I knew this day was going to arrive, the day I’d have to decide if I want to send her to enrichment classes, if I want to get on waiting lists, which waiting lists I want to get on, which classes to send her to, etc etc. And I am nowhere near the next milestone of having to start stressing out over what extent I am willing to go to get her into a “good” primary school. Grassroots community work, parent volunteerism, donations, alumni memberships, ballots…totally headache-inducing!

To top it all off I keep being told that all the intakes for next year are full, full, full. [Can one expect any other outcome with all the anxious working mothers packing their child off to every available class on this tiny island?] Hrmph, at this rate, I suppose I should be panicking because now I know for sure that next year she won’t be able to get in because her mother didn’t act fast enough to get her into the Story Clubs or playgroups to ensure her enrolment in the real class the following year.

So for the record, I am an incompetent, impatient and indolent mother. Sigh. If you’ll excuse me, I’m just going to stop writing, to go hang the proverbial millstone around my neck!

Banana bread

Banana bread

3 or 4 ripe bananas, smashed
1/3 cup melted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups plain flour

Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). With a wooden spoon, mix butter into the mashed bananas in a large mixing bowl. Mix in the sugar, egg, and vanilla. Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the mixture and mix in. Add the flour last, mix. Pour mixture into a buttered 4×8 inch loaf pan. Bake for 45 minutes. Cool on a rack. Remove from pan and slice to serve.

This recipe’s been in a word file on my pc for years and years and I pulled it out last night because we’d run out of bread for breakfast. I cannot remember where it came from now, so am unable to attribute it. The smells coming from the kitchen at 11pm were heavenly. Too bad that the bread turned out a bit on the dry side. The outside was crisp, which I wasn’t sure was the right result but DH always likes the crisp top off muffins and cakes, so it suits him fine! 🙂 

I’m thinking this could have been because I used smaller bananas and had to remove some portions which had turned black from bruising. I turned off the top heat of the oven halfway, and although the original recipe called for baking it for an hour, I stopped the oven at 45 minutes because I thought the bread was going to end up a tad too brown if I left it longer. I also cheated (I always do) on the sugar. Whenever a recipe calls for 1/2 cup or 1/3 cup, I typically measure out less in the name of health. Not sure if any of these factors have anything to do with the texture of the bread turning out not soft enough!  😉

Bottle Tree Park

Bottle Tree Park - tree

The Bottle Tree Park in Yishun is literally that – there is a single full grown bottle tree at the entrance.  I guess I expected more…I dunno, bottle trees, or at least more trees rather than man-made structures…  😉

We drove in by the Sembawang Road entrance into Lorong Chencharu, greeted by the white signs indicating the premises of the AVA Sembawang Animal Quarantine Station and AVA Sembawang Research  Station. Groovy.  So here’s where they keep all the infected animals for observation and testing…and we’re driving straight into the area?  A little further on, a tiny wooden sign indicated a right turn into Bottle Tree Park, where we then had to turn left to get in to the carpark, but not before noticing another building marked Animal Husbandry and SingHealth Experimental Medicine Centre.  The new things you find out everyday…

The park itself reminded me of a mini version of the Malaysian Mines Wonderland

Bottle Tree Park-lake view

Well, Mines Wonderland is a lot larger and has a greater variety of attractions, but the general concept was the same.  It was such a mish-mash of stuff, it really looked like a typically Chinese kiasu attempt to cover all bases possible. There’s a go-kart track (not operative), a skateboarding park (no one was using it), some fruit trees and stalls selling fruits (space rental revenue?), swan paddling (all chained up, no one operating also), a pool table, a foosball table, a seafood restaurant, a koi pond,

Bottle Tree Park-fish

prawning (didn’t really see this in action), fishing, longkang fishing (lots of kids stomping about in the wading area violently batting the water with their nets and probably traumatising the fish) and of course, plenty of people flouting the rule that only a maximum of 5 fish were allowed to be brought back in the little plastic aquariums they sold for you to put the fish you caught in.  It was such a mixed bag!  And somebody explain to me the link between the dinosaur bones exhibit and bottle trees, er I mean, bottle tree…(so that’s why it’s not called Bottle Trees Park, eh?) 😉 

Bottle Tree Park-dinosaur bones

It was a hot hot hot day, in every sense of the word.  I am not a wax princess but it was truly so scorching that we didn’t spend more than an hour at the park, and for the most of the hour I sat with DS being camera snappy-happy under the very welcome shade of an umbrella shielding a wooden bench by the lake while DH and DD found a shaded spot under the slide to indulge in some sandplay. 

Bottle Tree Park-playground

Ah well, I’m not all cynicism. The trip to Bottle Tree Park and back reminded me of Malaysia in some sense.  The piece of land on which Bottle Tree Park sits on is really spacious, 7 precious hectares in Singapore although there was very little shade around the lake area.  

Bottle Tree Park-lake

There was a lot of greenery (though not so much in the park, as on the way there and back out along Sembawang and Mandai Road) and at some point somewhere around the Thomson area, we drove through a road which was flanked on either side by two storey shophouses with all kinds of trade represented. Altogether quite the interesting weekend trip and not something you see everywhere in the usual urban Singapore landscape.  🙂

Alphabet Wall: Making..U is for Umbrella

A thoroughly messy but also thoroughly enjoyable affair, best conducted in the bathroom where the paint splatter and splotches can be showered down immediately!  😀

You will need: Various scraps of paper in different patterns and/or colours, scissors, glue, an artblock sheet, light blue paint, palette/dish, old toothbrush.

Cut out umbrella shapes from different pieces of paper. If you have different textures as well as different colours or patterns, all the merrier! Cut out enough U shapes from a solid colour paper, to match the number of umbrella shapes. [I snipped a little off the top from the left hand side of the U, just so it would look more like an umbrella handle.  How to tell the difference between these and a J if she should ask later on?  Hmm, we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it, heh! 😉

U is for Umbrella-materials

Let your child glue on the U’s on the artblock sheet in any fashion he/she likes, and then glue on the umbrella shapes afterward.  If you look closely at the top centre section, you’ll see a little squiggle of crayon.  DD always likes to do some crayon work on her art.  While she did that, I mixed up the paint in the dish.  When she saw the paint, crayons were off and paintbrushes became her next favourite thing. 🙂

U is for Umbrella-pretty brollies all in a row

Dip the toothbrush in the paint, and use the other end of the paintbrush to run against the toothbrush to create a splatter effect on the umbrellas.  I hadn’t yet mentioned it but DD exclaimed, “Like raindrops!”  Cool.  Achieved the effect and the lesson objective I wanted! 😎

U is for Umbrella-paint!

After that she couldn’t resist using the paintbrush to dab the paint directly on, so I let her have fun while I cleaned up.  All done! 

U is for Umbrella-completed