Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Time For A Cuppa: Homemade Snow Globes

It's almost Christmas, and it is time for the obligatory Christmas post. Since it has been ages since I did a crafty post, here's one.

Christmas is a time for exchanging presents. Children are usually on the receiving end. However, I wanted the Littles to experience the joy of giving as well. I wanted a little variety from the artwork they've been giving thus far, and came across homemade snow globes on Pinterest.

They're really easy to do. First, you need some supplies.

1) An assortment of jars
2) Little toys or figurines. In this case, I stuck to the Christmas theme. These were cake decorations I got from a baking store.
3) Super glue (not pictured)
4) Glitter (not pictured)
5) Glycerine (not pictured)
6) Plumber's tape (optional, not pictured)
7) Ribbon (not pictured)

First, super-glue the figurines to the insides of the lids of the jars. Be sure to leave sufficient space to close the jar properly later. The children made the decision as to which figurines were to be on which lid, and I helped with the actual gluing.

Optional step: before filling the jars, I wound some plumber's tape around the mouth of the jars. Why, to make it as watertight as possible, and also because I had some lying around.

When the glue is dry, and the figurines securely fixed to the lids, add a little glycerine to the jars. I used between one and three teaspoonsful, depending on the size of the jar. The glycerine is to make the water more viscous, so that the glitter stays suspended for longer snd falls more slowly. The children had fun with this step.

Fill the jars with water. Most sources suggested distilled water, but I just used cool boiled water. I filled them as full as possible, as I did not want a big bubble in the finished product. The children filled the jars till almost full, then I took over to get them as full as possible, giving a little allowance for the volume of the figurines.

Next, add the glitter! Again, the children had great fun, but I had to be a wet blanket and limit the amount of glitter used in each bottle.

Put the lid on, close securely, shake and enjoy!

To prettify them, I tied a length of Christmas themed ribbon aound the lid. (See the first picture).

Points to note:
1)As mentioned earlier, be sure to leave sufficient space on the lid so that it can close securely.
2)Don't put too much glycerine, it will cause the glitter to clump together.
3)For these small sized figurines, baby food jars work the best in terms of proportion.
4)The purple glitter bled colour, so we ended up with several with purple tinged water.
5)Don't put too much glitter. Instead of the "gentle falling snow" effect, you'll end up with the "blizzard" effect. Case in point:

Little Man was extremely excited to give the snow globes to Grandma (and Grandpa) and Aunty WL (and Uncle A), so I guess that was mission accomplished.

What kind of gifts did your kids give for Christmas this year?

Little Man: 4 years 6 months
Little Lady: 2 years 5 months

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Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Time For A Cuppa: Slow Down and Connect

Things have been a little crazy around these parts of late. There've been holiday classes to attend, Little Lady's regular classes to go to, errands to run, other holiday activities to go to, Christmas tree to decorate, some packing to do, naps to take.... So we've been out and about quite a bit, and often on a schedule (especially for the classes).

Although I do my best to ensure that they're home for their afternoon nap most days, the children have not been the most cooperative, especially when I'm running errands. As a result, Little Man has been getting rather frustrated. This manifests in his being demanding, impatient and uncooperative.

The other day, I had an errand to run downtown. Instead of bringing both kids along with me (!) or leaving them both with grandparents, who help me to keep an eye on them on a weekly basis, I decided to bring Little Man along with me. To make it more fun for him, we took the train. He had been asking when we could take the train downtown to see the skyscrapers ever since we drove by on the way to lunch with the grandparents one weekend. Since we were actually going downtown, and parking there is usually horrendous and astronomical, I thought, why not.

Although it took longer than if I had driven, it was a good decision. We had to switch trains, which he absolutely enjoyed. Also, taking the train forced *me* to slow down. I could neither control the speed of the train, nor the route it took. I did not have to focus on traffic and therefore be 'distracted' from more pressing matters by Little Man and his stories. Although it took me a while to settle down, I did after a few minutes and thoroughly enjoyed my son's company.

Without the distraction of more 'pressing matters', I could now give my fullest attention to what was most important - my son. He shared his observations with me, told me stories and was most pleased that he had my 100% attention. It was a good time connecting with him. I really must make it a point to just go out on dates with him, doing things on his agenda, rather than on mine. Or to at least merge our agendas, as we did with the train ride to town. He was very patient and cooperative as I ran my errand, and we had another good trip back.

As a bonus, he has been much better behaved after that. It is a good reminder that when childn misbehave, it is a sign that they need us to reconnect with them.

Has your child been out of sorts and difficult to handle lately? Slow down and connect.

Little Man: 4 years 6 months

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Thursday, 4 December 2014

Free Fun Friday: Mickey and Minnie at the Changi Airport

It is now the year end holidays in Singapore. School's out and the kids need some form of entertainment.

One of the places we've been visiting is Changi Airport. Not because we've been travelling, but because they've been having special Disney themed Christmas this year.

In Terminal 3, the theme in the public area is German, with Neuschwanstein Castle and a gigantic Christmas tree. The inside of the castle is fitted out like the inside of a train carriage, with scenes of the German countryside.

There are supposed to be shows too, but I don't think we'll be going for those because I really can't take crowds. I know, my poor deprived kids.

At Terminal 2 are two Spanish themed larger than life Mickey and Minnie topiaries.

Also at Terminal 3 is a Bouncy Playground. Please note that this is not entirely free. In order to be admitted, you need to show receipts with a minumum spend of $30. This entitles the child to 20 minutes of bouncing time.

As you can see, Little Man had great fun here! Unfortunately, Little Lady was too small to join in the fun. :(

Christmas 2014 at Changi runs till Jan 5th, so there's plenty of time to catch the fun!

Little Man: 4 years 6 months
Little Lady: 2 years 4 months

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Time For A Cuppa: First Professional Haircut

Normally, the children have their hair cut either by my Mum or myself. For Little Man, this usually involves an iPad or a movie on the TV, with his shirt off and powder on hand. As I'm no professional, it usually takes me quite a while. The results vary, depending on how cooperative he was that particular session. The results range from great to very patchy.

My Mum cuts Little Lady's hair as I have absolutely no confidence to do so, being more familiar with boys' hair.

However, with my cousin's wedding looming, and Little Man with his role as the ring bearer, I figured that he should finally go for a professional haircut, given our previous inconsistency.

First in the toy train chair was Little Man. I was a little apprehensive about how he would react as he did not always take kindly to having his hair cut. He refuses to have anything around his neck, and would be disturbed by the hair falling on him (hence the powder).

A little ticklish.

Facinated with the apron.

Keeping his ears safe.

A little concerned.

The finished look.

Next, it was Little Lady's turn. I was less worried about her reaction.

It started well.

So far so good. Losing the length.

A little concerned.

I think she has had enough.

"I don't like the hair dryer!"

"I really don't like it!"

The finished product. (Taken on a separate day.)

How did your kiddos take to their first haircut?

Little Man: 4 years 5 months
Little Lady: 2 years 4 months

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Thursday, 6 November 2014

Free Fun Friday: Fire Station Open House

Every Saturday morning, from 9 am till 11am, fire stations across the island hold open houses (with the exception of the one on Jurong Island). Since we live approximately 5 minutes away, we visited the Sengkang Fire Station.

It apparently serves the largest area/boundary of all the fire stations, from Pulau Ubin to Braddell.

We were given a demontration of how quickly a fire fighter needs to put on his gear (1 min 15 seconds).

Little Lady enjoyed the ambulance most, primarily because its airconditioner was on.

While we were there, one of the ambulances was sent out on a call. I think is was a false alarm, because it came back shortly.

The highlight of the trip was when Little Man had a chance to try out the fire hose. He got to turn it off and on again! Super cool!

With Firefighter Kumar, who took really good care of us during our visit.

Fun aside, these brave men and women have a tough job - 24 hour shifts, lifting heavy loads, hot uniforms, risking their lives whenever there is a fire... but a very important job. We are very grateful for the the firefighters and paramedics of Sengkang Fire Station, and all the other fire stations in Singapore and the world over.

Little Man: 4 years 5 months
Little Lady: 2 years 3 months

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Time For A Cuppa: Wedding

Two Saturdays ago, my cousin got married.

Little Man was the ring bearer. Here he is looking dapper.

We had arrived at the church a little earlier so that the children could get comfortable before the crowd arrived.

With his cousin the flower girl.

A nice moment between the beautiful bride, the flower girl and the father of the bride/grandfather of the flower girl.

Little Man did really well walking down the aisle.

The wedding banquet that night was a delicious affair at the Grand Hyatt. I thought the open concept kitchen was really cool. I had never seen that at a banquet before.

What was really fun was the photo booth that was set up. Lots of nice, fun, wacky photos.

Congratulations, Shulin and Lionel! Wishing you a lifetime of love and happiness!

Little Man: 4 years 5 months
Little Lady: 2 years 3 months

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Friday, 17 October 2014

Free Fun Friday: Kinetic Garden

Photo from

We visited the Kinetic Garden the other day and had a blast! The Kinetic Garden is part of the Science Centre Singapore and is located at the entrance, right next to McDonald's. It is filled with numerous structures that demonstrate the application of different scientific principles.

The kids had fun with the Slap Pipes, the Echo Tube and the Trampoline and the Magic Swing.

Little Man has loads of fun with the hydraulic stools. Basically, sitting on one stool moves the others up. While they were definitely more fun when all the stools were occupied, Little Man had great fun nonetheless.

Another structure we spent some time at was the Magic Swing. It is supposed to be demonstrate the scientific principle of the conservation of energy with the double pendulum. At 2, Little Lady was not so impressed with that, simply enjoying the swinging.

Little Man really liked the Water Wheel. In addition to watching it go round and round, and getting splashed, he had great fun watching the leaves he placed in the 'river' go downstream.

Mr Cuppa was put to work cranking the Archimedes' Screw. Little Man would put leaves in the at bottom of the screw and observe them coming up to the top.

It was a hot afternoon, so we did not spend too much time there. We will definitely be back again as there are still many structures that we did not play around with.

Are there similar playgrounds or gardens in your neck of the woods?

Little Man: 4 years 3 months
Little Lady: 2 years 2 months


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