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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Masak Masak at the National Museum of Singapore

I am a big fan of the annual Children's Season, which is a month-long extravaganza of child-centred activities at our local museums, organised by the National Heritage Board. Unfortunately this year, we weren't able to attend many events, no thanks to an already full schedule. But the one event we did make time for was Masak Masak: My Childhood at the National Museum of Singapore, and I'm glad I did, because this has been an exhibition that both children every enjoyed.

Masakmasak1Let's Play!

Without Art Garden this year, Masak Masak is the main event for Children's Season. Thankfully, it proved to be worthy of its position as a headlining act. Here are the activities you'll find:

Come and Play by Justin Lee was the first room we encountered. It was a room full of interesting items, all made out of cardboard! Kids are encouraged to build their dream home with carton boxes and through this activity "be inspired to reflect on our local way of life and learn to be appreciative of what they have". I was personally quite intrigued by the cardboard creations, but surprisingly, my kids weren't. They were also not keen on making the cardboard house, so we didn't linger long in this room. Just long enough for some photos!

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Masak3Do as it says: Come and Play! 

Masak4Some ice-cream for you, Miss?
The little houses you see around like the ones on this ice-cream cart were made by kids who thereafter decided to add their handiwork to the display in the room.

Masak5Rocking Horse! (And it rocks!)

Masak6Wouldn't you like to go sailing on this ship?

It was Larger-than-Life Games in the concourse instead that was their absolute favourite. They were enraptured by this modern take of childhood games: Marbles, Pick-Up Sticks and Five Stones, and spent ages playing with them. Which goes to show that kids don't always need to be engaged with the latest electronics! 

Masak9A modified game of marbles -- get the balls into the hole in the centre while avoiding the potholes!

Masak8Pick-Up Stick-Stick-Stick-'Em-Together-s!

Masak10With these Five Stones, you jump!

Up the escalators and on the right you'll find Rouleaux by Anastassia Elias, which is the cutest collection of miniature dioramas depicting scenes inspired by daily lives, movies and places around the world, made out of… toilet rolls! The collection on display is inspired by the theme "what I want to be when I grow up". I really enjoyed peering through the little peepholes to view the scenes and really liked this exhibit, both for the skill involved as well as the sheer fun of the displays. Mei was really happy to grab a sheet from the counter nearby to colour and make her own paper diorama too.

Masak11In the eye of the beholder...

Masak12What do I spy?

Masak14Peekaboo, I see you!

Masak15Colouring the pieces to make her own diorama is hard work.

Masak13Paper diorama -- completed!

Just beside Rouleaux you'll find Word Out by NUS Design Incubation Centre. Here you can spell with words by creating letter shapes with your body, and it's not really as easy as it sounds. Noey had a lot of fun with this, though he wasn't very good! It takes a while to figure out how to move your body into create the appropriate shape.

Masak16Sometimes it's good to get some help!

Sculpture Scribble by Guixot de 8 in the glass atrium on the same floor was a hit with both adults and children alike. In this exhibit you'll find interactive and fun installations to play with that have been created out of old and scrap materials and are based on the works of famous Dadaist artists. I had a lot of fun here trying to figure out how to complete the tasks using some simple physics! This exhibit is so popular that they set a time limit on it during busy periods. When we visited on a public holiday, we were only allowed 10 mins to play in the area, which was a pity. We spent a long time here the first time we visited just before the school holiday!

Masak17Can you get the ball from one end of the crescent to the other?

Masak18Get the egg into the spoon without touching it! Rap the bar to make the egg jump and catch it!

Masak20Left: Slotting marbles into pots as the covers flip open and shut; Right: Try to get the finger into the nose!

Masak21Left: Noey rolling the ball into the net at the end. do it too quickly and it wouldn't fall nicely; Right: Getting the ball to drop into the different coloured containers.

Masak19Mei supposed to guide the magnet on the string up to the other without touching it, but she liked playing with the magnet instead. (Don't we all!)

On level 3 you'll find one more exhibit: Drawings of Sounds by Ludicart. Here you get to create music with flashlights as paintbrushes. As the light hits the purple spots on the canvas sounds are emitted. My kids love flashlights so they loved this, especially Noey.

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Level 3 is also where you'll find Play@NMS, the new play area dedicated for young children, which will be a permanent gallery at the museum. Do come back tomorrow to read about it. We also have a little giveaway with that so do remember to check it out!

This coming weekend is the last weekend for to catch this exhibition before it wraps up for the season, so if you haven't checked out the exhibition or would like to bring the kids down one more time, don't miss it!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

London with Petite Travellers

I can't believe it's been more than a year since our last long holiday to London! Despite all my good intentions, I never did get round to writing about my holiday. I did however, put together a post on our recommendations for a London holiday on petite travellers, so if you're planning a holiday to London, or even just thinking about it, you might want to hop over and check it out.

London: A City of History, Culture, Shopping and Everything Else In Between

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Sound of Music Live in Singapore!

While it wasn't the hills, Marina Bay has certainly come alive with The Sound of Music!

Possibly the best-loved musical of all time, The Sound of Music is making a limited run at the MasterCard Theatres at Marina Bay Sands from 11 July to 10 August 2014.

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The Sound of Music is based on the true story of Maria von Trapp (previously Maria Rainer) a postulant at an abbey who becomes a governess in the household of the windowed Captain von Trapp and his seven children. She injects fun and music into their lives, and eventually marries the Captain. Unfortunately Austria falls into Nazi German hands and when the Captain is offered a commission to the German navy, the Captain, who opposes the Nazis, decides flee with his family over the Austrian mountains.  

The musical is one of my favourite musicals ever and I grew up watching the film version repeatedly, as well as singing all the songs in the movie soundtrack. It is an experience I've repeated with my kids, and since the first screening, it's been a family favourite. The soundtrack was on repeat mode in the car so much that my then 2-year-old could sing many of the songs! (We stopped playing it when my husband begged for mercy.) 

Naturally when I heard that The Sound of Music was coming to stage, I was really really excited to catch it. But at the same time, I had my doubts. With the film version being the classic that it is, could the stage version without Julie Andrews really be as good? Would it be the same?

Well, I found that it wasn't the same. You might not have known (and certainly I didn't realise it till recently) that The Sound of Music as we know it in the film was adapted and re-worked from the 1959 musical by Rodgers and Hammerstein. This show is a re-staging of original stage musical. So if you're familiar with the film version, you might be a bit surprised to find songs popping up in unexpected places. For example, My Favourite Things is sung by Maria and the Mother Abbess before use leaves the abbey, and it is The Lonely Goatherd that Maria sings to calm the children in the storm. There are also a couple of tunes involving Captain von Trapp and Baroness Schraeder that I did not recognise as they do not feature in the film.

But was it good? It definitely was!

Filling the shoes of Julie Andrews in the iconic role of Maria is a mammoth task, but one that Bethany Dickson took on ably. Her voice, beautiful and clear, rang true and she brought the role to life with the sense of fun. The rest of the main cast were also up to the task, with Janelle Visage as the Mother Abbess being one of the surprise hits for me. Her amazing soaring voice bringing Climb Ev'ry Mountain to the new heights and wowing the audience just before the close of the first act. I also particularly enjoyed the moving performance of Edelweiss by Andre Schwartz as Captain von Trapp near the end of the show. Standing on a stage flanked by huge flags of the Third Reich, his rendition really captured the essence of the touching moment.

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The show stealers of the night though, were the children. Aside from Liesl, the other six von Trapp children are played by locally-based children who auditioned for the roles. 18 children (three groups of six each) were selected from over 400, and they definitely lighted up the stage with their playful and bubbly performances. Their scenes were my favourite, and certainly that of my six-year old too. In fact, my little boy, who was my theatre date for the night, was really captivated by the whole show and saw riveted throughout.

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The Sound of Music is a must-watch for the whole family. Don't miss it!

Ticketing and Show Information

Season: 11 July to 10 August 2014

Venue: Grand Theatre, Mastercard Theatres at Marina Bay Sands

Performance Times: Tuesday to Friday 8pm; Saturday 2pm & 8pm; Sunday 12pm & 6pm

Ticket Prices: $195 (VIP), $165 (A Reserve), $135 (B Reserve), $95 (C Reserve) and $65 (D Reserve). 

Booking Through Internet: BASEentertainmentasia.com, MarinaBaySands.com or Sistic

Booking By Phone: +65 6688 8826

Booking In Person: Marina Bay Sands Box Offices at the Museum, Theatres, SkyPark, Retail Mall and Hotel Tower 1 Lobby

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Our FOX Fashion Moments {Giveaway}

Our clothes from FOX Kids & Baby have seen us through lots of moments over the past couple of months. Here are some of our favourites:

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Thanks FOX Kids & Baby, for fitting us out so fabulously these past couple of months!

GIVEAWAY!

Thanks to our generous sponsors, one lucky family is going to have the chance to create their own FOX moments as I have a $100 FOX VOUCHER to giveaway! 

FoxKidsVouchers

To enter the draw to win this $100 voucher, you have to complete the following steps:

1. Like the Fox Fashion Singapore Facebook Page

2. Like the Life is in the Small Things Facebook Page

3. Like and Share this Facebook Photo, and tag a friend. Do make sure your post is public so I can see it!

4. Leave a comment on this blog post telling me about one of your favourite moments spent with your child, and leave your e-mail address.

You have to complete all 4 steps to qualify so don't miss any out! Use the Rafflecopter widget below to indicate that you've done the above. You can also get additional chances by completing the rest of the steps! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway ends on Fri 1 August 2014, 11.59pm and is open to Singapore residents only. Winners will be contacted by e-mail and will have 48 hours to respond, failing which a new winner will be drawn. All incomplete entries will be disqualified.

Good luck!

 

 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Cleaner and Better-Tasting Water with 3M Water Filter Systems

With the weather being as hot as it is these days, one of the things we've all been doing a lot more of is DRINKING MORE WATER.

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I must confess that drinking more water daily is something that my husband has been nagging me to do for ages. I just don't have the habit of drinking a lot of water, which isn't great, considering that drinking lots of water has a whole host of benefits, including giving you great skin. I am really feeling my age these days and looking it. (Ahhh!!) So I'm diligently trying to up my water drinking routine, and make the kids do so too.

Something that has really helped is my recently acquired 3M Water Filter System. Why, you ask? For one, the water tastes better, and when it tastes better, I drink more.

I grew up drinking boiled water and continued doing the same in my own household. While tap water in Singapore is officially safe to drink, I followed my mother's practice of boiling tap water before transferring these into water pitchers ready to be poured out for drinking. I thought nothing of it and would have continued drinking boiled water but for my husband having a change of heart. He went on a business trip with a client who only drank bottled water and returned home convinced that our usual boiled water didn't taste quite right. That same week we went out to buy a water filter jug, and I had to agree -- the water tasted way better than our usual water.

But I never found a water filter jug very efficient. The filter was slow. You had to wait 5-10 minutes for all the water to pass through the filter. The jug capacity of 1 litre was also rather limited, which meant that if I needed a larger quantity of water, I would have to refill the jug several times and wait for the water to filter through each time to accumulate the required amount. The filters were also pricey, especially when you consider the amount of water they filter (ie. not much!).

With the 3M Water Filter System, I've finally found a solution that works for us. Having used it for over a month, I have to say I really like it and the husband has been telling everyone about it!

Here's why:

1. The water filter system is small and compact. We got the basic system (AP Easy Complete) installed and got a separate tap installed at one corner of our sink. The filter is a single cartridge under the sink, and a tube is run to link the it to the water source. That's it! The installation was quick and easy and took 45 mins. If you'd rather not have a separate tap, it is also an option to upgrade your existing tap to a mixer tap where, instead of choosing between hot and cold water, you can choose between filtered and unfiltered water.

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2. It is very convenient as you get filtered water straight from the tap. No more boiling water and waiting for it to cool down. No more filling a jug and waiting for the water to filter through either. If you need to drink, you can get filtered water instantly from the tap. It is also much easier for me to fill up the soup pot with filtered water when it used to be quite tedious previously as I would have to refill my water filter jug several times to get enough water.

3. We get much cleaner water to drink. The 3M AP Easy Complete water filter is certified by NSF International (an independent public health and safety organisation) to significantly reduce cysts, chlorine, sediment, rust, lead, mercury and volatile organic chemicals in water. It is the only home system in the market that is independently certified so you know that this is a product that delivers on its claims.

4. It is affordable. $0.04 per litre, is I think, not a lot to pay for clean water. Especially since I don't need or use a kettle any more! Each replacement cartridge costs $110 and lasts for 6 months. As a comparison, it cost me about $0.24 per litre with my water filter jug and I needed to change cartridges every 3 months.

5. The water just tastes better. I keep coming back to this, because this has been the biggest, most obvious result. In fact, one great thing that has happened since we switched to filtered water is that the husband has stopped drinking cold water. He used to ONLY drink cold water, but he now deigns to drink room-temperature water as it isn't as unpalatable. I've found myself drinking more too.

If you're in the market for a water filter system, this is the best time to get your hands on the 3M Water Filter System as they are having a storewide 15% DISCOUNT on all their water filter systems during this GSS! This means that you can get the 3M AP Easy Complete (usual retail price: $600) for just $525. And there's more! All blog readers are entitled to an ADDITIONAL $50 VOUCHER which can be used to offset against the already discounted price of the system! Which means that you only pay $475 for the 3M AP Easy Complete.

To get your additional $50 voucher, just click on the following link and fill in your details and use the blogger code MY SMALL THINGS: Click here for your $50 voucher! This offer is valid till 31 July 2014.

If you want to see check out the range of water filters 3M has to offer or try a cup of 3M filtered water yourself, do drop by their showroom at:

No.2 Kim Chuan Drive #02-06
CSI Distribution Centre
Singapore 547080
Tel: 6288 8290
E-mail: sales@jestac.com.sg

Opening Hours:
8.30am to 5.30pm (Mon-Fri)
8.30am to 2.30pm (Sat)




* We were provided with the 3M AP Easy Complete Water Filter System, and drank many cups of water on our own for the purposes of this review. We genuinely love it! All opinions remain my own and are based on my own experience and on information provided to me by Jestac. (Mei is also dressed in her favourite dress, from FOX!)


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

World Cup 2014: Germans Always Win

GermanyCollage

After a month of excitement and too much late-night TV, the World Cup has drawn to an end, with Germany being the worthy winners. Guess I should have bought that Germany shirt huh! But I'm glad the Germans won. They were my 3rd team, after Italy and Spain. I was quite taken by the "new Germany" when Jurgen Klinsmann and his then-assistant Joachim Loew first unleashed Lahm, Schweinsteiger and gang 2006, though glad that they still lost to Italy in the semis. Since then I've sat up whenever Germany played. They were going to be the next big thing, I was sure of it. It didn't happen in 2010 though I was again impressed. There was nothing to stop them this time.

It was honestly one of the better World Cups I've watched in recent years. Highlights of the World Cup for me:

  • Colombia! When the tournament started, DD declared that he was supporting Brazil, Argentina and the first team that beat another team 3-0. Two days later, Colombia beat Greece 3-0 and they became the team he backed. (He insisted Netherlands earlier thrashing of Spain 5-1 didn't count because it wasn't 3-0. Also, DD doesn't like the Netherlands, period.) We laughed about it at first then stopped laughing, because they were so good! James Rodriguez was totally the breakout star for me, and his goal against Uruguay was the goal of the tournament. I wanted them to beat Brazil, I did, even if DD didn't!
  • Great goalkeepers -- Neuer the sweeper keeper, and I-can-save-anything-you-throw-at-me Ochoa, Navas and Tim Howard. It is rare that folks celebrate a goal NOT being scored, but these keepers did it in style and won the plaudits. Oh, and let's not forget the penalty shootout star Tim Krul!
  • Watching Messi light up the stage in the earlier stages. Given that I don't watch La Liga, I've never seen Messi in action. Or at least, I'd never seen him play well, since his previous appearances at the World Cup were really quite disappointing. But this time, I got to see why he's considered the best around.
  • Germany beating Brazil 7-1. 'Nuff said.
  • Miroslav Klose beating Ronaldo's all-time World Cup goals record with 16 goals. I've never thought much of Klose but he really just keeps scoring! Watch out for Thomas Mueller who looks like he will top Klose's record one day.
  • THAT advertisement by the National Council on Problem Gambling that even started making round in other countries. At least they had the good sense not to run it during the final!

(The low points were Suarez's idiotic biting of Chellini and Italy failing to make it out of the group stages.)

The biggest thing about this World Cup however was really being able to share it with my kids. We watched the highlights game in the morning and I would show them some of the highlights on my laptop in the day too. Noey supported Argentina all the way and was so chuffed when his team made it all the way to the finals. He even trotted out to watch the game with me at 3am! (He was really trying to make his usual break for my room in the middle of the night but curled up next to me when he caught me watching telly.) 

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He'd be 10 the next time it rolls round. I'm looking forward to that.

"Football is a simple game; 22 men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans win" -- Gary Lineker. Now, as true as ever.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Papa The Volunteer

Term 3 is Project Term over at the kids' kindy.

And of all the topics, what topic should Noey's class choose for their project after brainstorming with their teacher but LEGO! Mei's class chose Duplo. What are the odds of that huh! 

This is all right up my husband's alley of course, so when they asked for parent volunteers, I felt he was obliged to volunteer and contribute to his children's learning, and he gamely agreed to do.

That's how my husband ended up going to school to kindy to talk about his favourite topic.

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I think Daddies don't get the opportunity to get involved in the classroom as often as Mummies do, so I know it was pretty special to Noey to have Papa there to share. He was tremendously happy to see us and I thought it was very cute when his teacher got the class to greet the husband as "Uncle D" that at the end of the chorus of greetings, Noey quietly added "I'll call you Papa, ok?". He then happily participated in the session and his Papa and I were both glad to see that he behaved well, raising his hand when he wanted to speak and taking his turn.

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When I went to pick the kids up after school, Noey broke into a huge smile when he saw he and told me "I loved Papa's show and tell!" That was, I told my husband, the best validation ever. If I needed an incentive to volunteer to help out more often, well there it was. It was a reminder that we are partners in our children's learning journeys and every part that we can play makes a difference to them. We might teach them content, but more than that, when we make time to be present, we tell them that "you are important to me". (Which reminds me, I'd better check with Mei's teacher to see if she needs us to help out anywhere!)

I'm looking forward to seeing what Noey and his class come up with for their project at the end of term. I'm sure Papa would be proud!

 

Linking up with:

A Juggling Mom Motiviational Monday 

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