Review: The little ones in my life

Sunday, March 27, 2016

I have a confession. I am an addict. Quite a bad one actually. I prowl the Internet every night for good deals. Motherhood has given me the license to shop in my pyjamas. Many a times, new mommies (and seasoned ones too) would love a bit of retail therapy. However, more often than now, we don't have the luxury of time to zip off to the loo let alone to the brick and mortar shop to make our purchases. As such, I'm always on the look out for good sites to shop. 

I got to know thelittleonesinmylife since the birth of Big K. Through the years, I have seen how the woman behind this company, Audrey, grew. In terms of family size as well as her business and product range. The tenacity this woman has is amazing! I really wonder sometimes how she juggles between her family, her business, her travels and her Korean dramas. She is an avid Kpop, Kdrama fan in case you would like to know. 

Ok, back to the focus of my review. The website. Its online presence is one that is no frills. You can shop for the item you want base on brands or categories. Their best selling products are also featured right on top hence you couldn't miss it. Also, if you would like to get a fellow mommy a gift and are not sure what exactly to get, simply click on a gift voucher over at TLO and surprise that mommy. Shipping is also very straightforward. Apart from the usual normal post/ courier, you may also wish to pick up your stuff at their retail outlet at Hougang which is conveniently located near Kovan MRT station. 

thelittleonesinmylife is dedicated to bringing great products from Korea to Singapore. Audrey believes that Korean quality is superior as they have strict laws on baby products and they go through rigorous product testing. 

Below are some of the stuff which I had purchased:

Happy Blossom Premium Pants Diapers
Now, I know that the Korean and Japanese have always been great at producing diapers. Hence I decided to give this a try. It is said that it has ultra absorption features and great breathability. I particularly love the tape behind which aids rolling up the diaper during disposal. There is also a urine indicator which tells you when to change! How cool is that! I have been buying diapers online for a while now simply because, they are so heavy to lug home! So when i saw that TLO stocks up on diapers as well, I was thrilled!

Stick on Fever indicator
Choy Choy choy!!! We certainly hope that we do not need to use this! However, having it around is indeed a useful tool. When your little one is ill, the last thing you want is for the cranky little one to be awoken and wailing in the middle of the night, just because you have to take his temperature with a thermometer! This stick-on is safe and effective and allows you to monitor your child's temperature up to 48 hours! With such a cute design, which kid can resist?

Baby One Milk Bags
This is one product which I have been using for a while. Instead of storing powdered milk in bulky containers, why not use these instead. It is safe for the baby and is great for travelling! Cheers to a flatter diaper bag!

You can follow them on Facebook for their latest updates:
Or hop on to their website:

Here's some goodies for my readers. Get 15% off with a minimum purchase of $88 simply by keying in the discount code: TheMMM. Code expires on 31 May 2016, So what are you waiting for?

Have fun shopping!

*I was gifted with shopping credits from TLO
 to purchase the above products. Any excess was paid through my own pocket. No additional monetary compensation has been received and I do not stand to gain any commission from sales using the discount code given to my readers. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.

Homelearning: Happy Easter

Thursday, March 24, 2016

I spent the last two nights rushing to complete my set of Easter materials for the kids. I thought this grand plan of mine would be easy to pull off but gosh it wasn't! Not when Big K decided that 1130pm was her bedtime as some clever caregiver of mine allowed her to sleep during dinner time! 

Anyhoots, I love occasions and festivals. It gives me an excuse to craft and home learn according to themes. Otherwise most of the time I am rather random. I haven't quite done much in the past few Easters. Mainly just some colouring of eggs or making of a rabbit mask. This time, I was inspired by many avenues and decided to try them out! Here's sharing some of our activities!

This idea was shared by a certain Mama J whom I got acquainted with over a forum. She is such a creative mother, whose passion to create high quality home learning stuff for her 28mo child, inspires me. This series of eggs were painstakingly cut and stuck onto. The aim of this activity could be lots. Teaching Big and small; Matchy matchy; Egg hunt....the options are endless!

Here you go, another activity which Mama J shared with me. I tweaked the instructions a little to fit both my kids. 

Big K loves art. And since we don't do art enrichment, this crazy mama has goto to buck up at home. 

In order to reinforce Big K's phonics, I have done up these flashcards. Words beginning with the letter E since E is for Easter. It was recommended by a teacher that yellow is to be used as the background colour to capture the child's attention.

I bought these amazingly cute pens for Big K's classmates. I traditionally don't do that but they were so cute and cheap, how can I not buy right?! $1 for a pack of 3! I printed the tags off
To incorporate learning, I got Big K to write the words "From xxxx" on each tag. 

To train visual discrimination.

Practical Life: Deshelling of quail eggs

And after deshelling, what can we do to them? Eat of course!
I had left overs for those colourful plastic eggs and decided that Small K could use them in a scooping exercise to practise his motor skills. These could later be filled with beads or buttons to create shakers. You could also have a mix of shakers and non shakers and have a box with two holes (one that says "with sound" and the other "no sound) and get the little one to decide which hole it should go into.

Feed the rabbit. I DIYed this rabbit out of tissue box and toilet rolls and a few scraps of paper. The pom poms could be popped into the rabbit's ear and help develop Small K's motor skills. I turned it into an addition game for Big K by popping the relevant number of balls into each ear and got her to say out the answer and check by counting the pompoms in the mouth.

I love it when one craft can be of multiple uses. Again, we fed the rabbit. This time however, we fed it with different shaped carrots. An activity mainly for Small K but both kids were able to play with each other. Ahhhhh a moment of zen.

Found these eggs at a shop along Bugis and thought Why not? Turned it into a matchy matchy game.

These has got to be their favourite!!! Real eggs? noo..... These are SLIME! Yup, children always seem to have a penchant for slime. It kept them amused for a good 20minutes and we all know what 20minutes of peace means!

Bought these cute little chicks from Cold Storage. $3.90 for 8. The nest was going at $4.90. I really didn't want to buy coz it would mean extra stuff in a small small place. But there were just too cute to resist. I turned it into a number game for Small K. He is to pick a card from the nest and take the corresponding number of chicks. As for Big K, it is once again, used as a counting/ addition game. 

Singing and playing to the tune of 5 little rabbits jumping on the bed!

Here is an activity to teach Small K his ABCs. Printable courtesy of 

Matching the right shapes. Small K has been displaying great ability in shapes. This is just to reinforce. Printable courtesy of

One of their favourites: What comes next?
Printable courtesy of

So there you have it. Hope you guys enjoyed the activities! Have a blessed weekend ahead!

Home Series: 12 Tips for for moving house

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Photo credit:

Try being a full time mom, a full time educator, a full time business owner of Rhapnroll, an aspiring beauty consultant (with Mary Kay) and be shifting house with 2 young children all at once. I tell you, it certainly isn't a walk in the park. And I am doing this not once, not twice, but thrice1 Don't ask. It was a dumb decision and being married to a traditional family, I didn't have much say. 

There were times when I felt like throwing in the towel but for the sake of my wonderful family and myself, I just have to grit my teeth and preserve. Packing is really a pain especially when we have resided in our marital home for 9 years since 2006. This is a guide as to how you can make things a little more organised.

Step 1: Declutter!
And I don't mean doing it only once! I did at least 10 rounds for just my wardrobe alone! Aim to throw out 2 bags of rubbish a day. I am not counting those bags you have in the kitchen or those filled with soiled diapers. Be ruthless! 

I reckon I will never wear those killer heels anymore now that I have two kids to chase and carry. Hence, off they go!

I threw away so much stuff! And, after 2 moves, I still have stuff to declutter!

Step 2: How to organise your giveaways
Put aside a big box for 1) donation; 2) hand downs to friends and relatives; 3) rubbish. Rid #3 fast. As you go through your stuff, place it in the box accordingly. 

You could pass clothes which you will never fit into anymore after pregnancy to your younger cousins or even friends' helpers. They are more than happy to receive. Stop living in denial! I know i did!

Step 3: Sell!

I had much luck in Carousel, gumtree and a couple of interest groups on Facebook. Sell whatever you can to earn some moolah!

Step 3: Rent a temporary storage
Aim for one that is close to home so that whenever you are free, you can transport some boxes over. You have to, unless you live in a mansion as there will hardly be any space to walk or crawl for the case of Small K should you choose to leave everything to the movers. I mean where are you going to put the packed boxes? There is just this much space in a house. Another reason why you should not be lazy is that some transport company will charge extra for additional trips and they also charge according to the number of boxes you have. 

After some consideration, we settled for Lock & Store as it was the nearest to our place.

Below are some for your consideration:
Lock and Store
Ranges from 1st to 200sf. Has a minimum storage period dog 2 weeks and notice period of 14 days in advance when you intend to move. Monthly outlay is as low as less than $100. There is a one time administrative charge and deposit for access card as well as a refundable deposit.

Ranges from lockers measuring from 8 sq ft to 150 sq ft. Montly outlay of $68 to $688. Insurance is offered at $5/moth for coverage up to $1000.

Jumbo Locker
Smallest size is that of a locker and largest being 200 sq ft. Some rooms even come with clothing racks! Monthly outlay starts from $65

Step 4: Start being friends with your local provision shop uncle
Be their buffs and they will save their best boxes for you! All my boxes were gotten from them! We started collecting about two months before the shift. That saved us a lot of money! No doubt the transport company will offer to give some boxes for free, it is certainly not enough for our case. Boxes aren't cheap. But if you are a little OCD and prefer everything new and uniform, then stick to those given by the transport company or you might have to top up should it not be complimentary.

Step 5: Deal with bulky items
You can opt for them to be picked up by various organisations like MINDs or the Salvation army. However, do note that their despatch require 2 weeks advance notice. Some of these organisations will also want to view the items before they decide on taking them. Alternatively, you may want to post online to sell or to give them away. Again, I had much success with Carousel, Gumtree and several other groups on Facebook. Say it is free and a lot of people will start contacting you! I managed to sell off 2 twenty-year-old fridges for $120 each! And I even sold the mil's stove for $50! Well, as they say, one man's junk is another man's treasure. 

Step 6: Prepare Miscellaneous boxes
If you are like me, someone who has heaps, prepare 4 to 5 boxes as one is not going to be enough. Towards the end when everything starts to get a little chaotic as time is running out, I simply dumped the remaining stuff into boxes. Out of sight, out of reach.

Step 7: Be organised!

I tried to pack everything into boxes which I could reuse so that the unpacking and move each time would not be too arduous. Keep an inventory list if possible as things can get a little overwhelming.

Step 8: Turn trash into fun!

Step 9: Book your moves early
We were moving over the weekend when everyone is available hence had major trouble booking the movers. I only started calling for quotes a week before our move. You should do it way in advance. Fortunately we were able to get the professionals in. Most of these professionals will provide corrugated paper, stretch films, OPP tapes and bubble pack. You should get quotes from at least 3 reliable companies and probably show to them the respective quotes to get a better match. Pack the boxes yourself to shave prices. Do keep in mind extra cost will be incurred if the place doesn't have a lift landing, the distance is long and the timing of the day also matters. 

Here are a list of movers for your consideration:
Shalom Movers
Sim Movers (we used them)

Step 10: Contact the town council
Get the workers from town council to help shift your big bulky items which you intend to discard. This is if you live in a HDB flat. We managed to get hold of the worker's mobile and he zoomed up the moment we called. 

Step 11: The big move
Get someone to bring the kids out as things can get messy and dusty. Try to have a person at the new place to supervise where things should be placed and have someone on standby at the old place as well to ensure all goes smoothly.

Step 12: Last check
Sweep as much dust as possible. Sweep inwards and not out of the house as according to my mil, it is treasure hence we can't sweep it away.

Moving house is a very tiring episode. Hope that the above tips will help you in one way or the other! :)

Homelearning: Tips on how to teaching Chinese

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Growing up, I never really liked Chinese New Year. I mean, come on, engaging in small talks with a bunch of people you have not met for the last 364 days doesn't sound very sincere to me. Moreover, the bit which I had immense phobia of was greeting those relatives! How should I address them? What is the difference between a 姑妈 and a 姑婆? Such things instil fear in me. 

Fast forward, post children, things are still quite the same. I am still plagued with fear. What's worse, this time, i can't be asking my parents what do I call so and so before entering their houses! And, in addition, I have to remember what my kids' greetings! Woah! that is really a whole new level! However, I do enjoy decking my little Barbie and Ken dolls in gorgeous outfits and teaching my children about the traditions of Chinese New Year as much as I am not a big fan myself. 

Currently, I am trying to work on Big K's Chinese. I never did worry about her ability to converse in Mandarin as she had the best environment to thrive in. Everyday, after school, she'll be at my in-law's place and they speak mainly in Mandarin whilst at home we predominantly speak English. However, lately, I've gotten feedback that her writing skills aren't up to the mark and her school teacher also commented that she isn't sensitive enough towards Chinese characters. Meaning to say, she has no idea that particular word is a Chinese word. My bad. As honestly, I haven't been getting her to do much writing in Chinese. I have this mentality that they will naturally pick up in school. Boy was I wrong! The onus is on the parent to revise with the child whatever they have learnt. It is hence a good idea for all mummies out there to expose your little ones to Chinese at a young age. 

Much emphasis is still being placed on rote learning and constant drilling through spelling and repetitive writing of Chinese characters. While it may work for some, some may get bored and lose interest. What's worse, it may instil fear or resentment and hence hinder progress. We should help these little ones embrace and learn Chinese in a more fun way. In order to learn the language effectively, one should go beyond the subject that is examined, according to our Minister of Education. It is also imperative that preschools are aligned with the new directives so that transition into primary school will not be a traumatic experience for your child (and you). Learning Chinese boasts economic value because of a resurgent China.

So since I am trying to work on inculcating family values and getting Big K to practise more Chinese, I decided that a theme on family would be apt. below are some activities done with Big K who is currently 4+ years old:

This chart is awesome! It tells me who is 姑姑 and 伯伯!

I made these in order for her to recognise the words. I started off the activity by placing the control card next to her for her to identify. Somewhat like the 3-part card in montessori teachings. Thereafter, I took it away and got her to paste the words on the corresponding boxes.

Mazes are a great way to stretch the child's concentration! 
Penmanship is being worked on by writing the word 公公

Motor skills i.e.. cutting are being worked on over here. 

These exercises gotten from a book called "Play and Learn" published by EPH complemented my teachings.

Another activity which perhaps you could consider is to do up a family tree. It is very important to keep the language alive. Here are some other ways to make Chinese fun:

Learn through songs
This doesn't have to be limited to nursery rhymes. It can be anything from 三字经 to the latest Mandopop song. I recall my Secondary school teacher using Faye Wong's songs to teach us Chinese with a big pond as a backdrop! So 诗情画意! (I hope I didn't get the idiom wrong!)

Read posters
Take every opportunity to read. This can be in the form of posters or menus. The desire to read more will follow naturally.

Inquiry based learning
Get your little ones to use Mandarin to ask questions that interest him. Get him to order a meal or ask for a pair of chopsticks in Mandarin. To communicate effectively is an important and practical skill for life! 

Tune in to FM93.3
Turn on a Chinese channel on the radio whenever there is a chance and expose the little one to the language.

Flashcards and storybooks
Consistency is the key. The flashcards has got to be big for younger children. Preferably A5 size. You may paste a set of words at the child's regular learning corner so that he is exposed to the words daily. Change the set of words on a weekly basis or when you think the child has recognised the words.

Draw or write with a Chinese brush. 

I am not a big advocate of technology for young kids but honestly, sometimes we've got to give in to the great array help out there. We particularly like the Chinese Class app by Monki. It is linked to the Chineasy series, if you are familiar with it. The graphics are great and it is suitable for beginners who are trying to get the strokes right. Great app for kids ages 4 to 7.

Another great portal to check out is Crazy About Chinese. Created by bilingual ex-TV host Diana Ser. She has created short engaging video clips that are particularly useful for piquing the interest of our little ones.

Feel free to share with me how you engage your child in Chinese. 
Remember, 活到老学到老! Have fun learning Chinese!