Happiness is... making the ordinary extraordinary

Posted by ~Summer~ on 31.7.15
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While many of our friends are going on holiday trips in this couple of months, we have been enjoying our time on the island and cherishing each day as it passes. Sometimes, I do miss the times when we were living in Europe and could easily go on weekend road trips and vacations. Yet, I've also come to appreciate the so-called mundane life of being a stay-at-home mum and I like the feeling of achievement whenever we cross a milestone, explore a new place or accomplish a goal.

In this month's "Happiness is...", I share with you about those ordinary, and sometimes extraordinary, moments that give me great joy and remind me that life is beautiful as a soon-to-be mum of three.

Remember I once said I hope my girls will never find sand yucky but always see the joy in building sandcastles and splashing in the sea even when they grow up? Well, I'm glad they still love going to the beach very much and that we have been able to make time on weekends to enjoy a lazy, hot afternoon in East Coast Park as a family.

We happened to stumble across The Tiara Society one day and the girls totally felt like princesses, even if it was for a fleeting moment, in their beautiful Snow White and Little Mermaid costumes. I hope they know that they will always be princesses in Mummy's heart, at least.

The girls had fun getting wet in the Children's Garden at Gardens by the Bay and it was a joy, and relief for me, that they can now play together and look after each other without needing me by their side. It was so sweet, just so sweet, when I saw the two of them holding hands to run around and hugging each other tightly when waiting for the water to fall. Frankly speaking, seeing them makes me wish I had a sister too!

It was awesome that we could bring our parents to SAF@Istana and enjoy a family day out. We walked around, took pictures, shook hands with the president, visited the carnival and ended off with a steamboat dinner at the popular Thien Kee Restaurant in Golden Mile.

I've been wanting to do something more related to national education with the girls and was happy that we got to learn about and even draw some famous Singapore landmarks! To read more on this, go here.

One big milestone for the little one is that she can now make it through the night without diapers! Woohoo! That definitely helps us to save some money and hassle, for now before the baby comes, and I thank my lucky stars that she has been such a easy one to toilet train. For potty training tips, go here. I was also reminded of how Angel had suffered from bad constipation for a prolonged period of time when she was at this age and feel so relieved that Ariel has been having it smooth and easy.

Though Ariel has not started school yet, we have been going for sponsored classes at My Little Genius and it's heartening that she loves the lessons and looks forward to them! I also like that the lessons are parent-accompanied so I can get to bond, play and learn together with her. We play memory games, do experiments, stack blocks, read stories, sing songs and even dance together in class!

As for the big sister, we crossed a very important milestone and that is Primary One registration. Since we are in Phase 2C, we are waiting for the results to be out next week and I'll share more about that when the time comes! I still find it hard to believe that my firstborn is stepping into primary school in just a few months' time and will need to be even more independent than she is now. Wasn't it just yesterday that I was holding her in the crook of my arm?

On a more personal level, I was honoured to make it to the Top 10 Most Popular Blogs in this year's Singapore Blog Awards! I've said it a few times but words will never be enough to express my gratitude to all those people who have believed, supported and stood by me in this blogging journey. Thank you for giving me the motivation to keep this passion going!

Last but not least, the baby is now 18 weeks old and growing well in my tummy! He/she (yes, we don't know the gender yet) is really lucky to have two sisters who kiss, sing, hug and talk to him/her every single night without fail. Awwww. These are the moments that touch my heart and remind me there is just so much goodness in life waiting for me to savour.

Ordinary days. If they feel so extraordinary every once in a while, I think I can get used to them.


What are you HAPPY for this month? 

Happy memories have a special way of touching our hearts every time we think about them. Join in my linky party at the end of every month and let us smile, rejoice and share the simple joys of life. Highlight and press Ctrl + C to copy my button above, include it in your post/sidebar and add your link below. For happiness is all around us.

Run together, Stay together {Shape Run 2015 experience}

Posted by ~Summer~ on 29.7.15
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So we were all feeling psyched up and looking forward to Shape Run 2015 where we were going to participate in the 1.8km Family Run - the first one that let us run together as a family of four (yes, no more strollers for now!). See our new, vibrant running shoes from Skechers? We really couldn't wait to put them to good use!

I was especially excited about my first real jog as a pregnant mum and having gotten the go ahead from my gynae, I felt that I was in good shape and was hoping for an enjoyable time with my girls. The night before, I got our attires, bags, caps, race bibs and breakfast all prepared. Then I put the kids to bed and did my best to rest early too after making sure that the alarm was set.

Lo and behold, who would have expected that the alarm clock failed to ring and for some reason, the hubby also didn't hear his phone alarm sounding too! I woke up with a startle and was surprised to see sun rays coming through the window. Just when I was wondering why the alarm did not sound at 7am, I took a look at the clock and realised to my dismay that it was already 8am! Merely half an hour more before our run flagged off!

As you can imagine, we got into a frenzy thereafter as I rushed to wake the other three sleepyheads and got ourselves all ready to set off in a record time of 15 minutes. We drove as fast as we could to Kallang while eating breakfast, wearing our bibs, applying sunscreen and tying our hair in the car. There was only one thought on my mind - please, please, please let us make it, or I would have to deal with two utterly disappointed kids!

Upon nearing, we saw that many people who had taken part in the 5km, 10km and 15km races had already completed their runs and were heading off already. When we realised that not only were the roads closed, there was also a slight traffic jam near Kallang Practice Track, the girls and I got off the car immediately so that we could dash over on foot while the hubby tried to find the nearest parking lot.

So, while carrying the toddler and asking the 5-year-old to speed along, we asked for directions and finally found the gate near the starting point. With a stroke of luck, there were two other families with us, one mum had her baby in a carrier while the dad was carrying a preschooler, the other mum was alone with her toddler who seemed barely even two. I suppose it would have been hard to turn us down and see the dejected looks on the kids, so the kind organisers said we could still join in the run! WOOHOO! I can't believe how many times I shouted "Hooray!", "Yippee!" or "We made it!"

With a cheer and a "Let's Go!", our run began! With or without the hubby, there was no way that I was going to throw in the towel or ask the kids to quit. I did promise him before I got off the car that I wouldn't run too fast, that I would take care of myself and baby, and I kept my promise.

You know what's the thing about doing a run at 9am? The sun was scorching and we were drenched in sweat barely a few minutes after we began! Well, obviously, we did a pretty good warm up when we jogged all the way here from the car too! I just loved seeing the smiles on Ariel and that determined look on Angel whenever we take part in all these runs, as far as I know, they are priceless!

Yay, we made it to the halfway mark! I was so proud of Ariel that she did not insist on being carried this time round but instead made it all on her own. In preparing her for this run, which is her second one, I had told her that there should be no carrying, no complaining and no whining before we got to the finishing line. If there is anything she needs to remember, it's that we should never give up. Of course, it was good having a big sister who led by example!

All the way to the finishing line! During the second leg, I could see that Ariel was getting tired while Angel still had plenty of energy to spare. So our gap started to widen and it was heartening when I saw the hubby running to us in the opposite direction!

Yes, we still made it to run as a family! By then, the sun was blazing and when we saw that one daddy who ran past us was carrying his girl on his shoulders, guess what was Ariel's reaction when she first saw her Daddy? Oh yeah, she became his little girl and wanted to be carried.

My first reaction was a "No" which obviously didn't go down very well and it seemed like she was going to burst into tears. That, along with the hot sun, melted my heart and I told her that she could be carried for 10 seconds. So I started counting from 1-10 so fast that it ended up being shorter than five seconds but to my pleasant surprise, she was willing to get down the moment I said 10. Awwww. And from then on, we made it through hand in hand, even if she had no strength to dash, she never did stop.

As for the big sister, she was waiting with the Daddy for us near the ending point so that we could cross the finishing line together. And so we did, with drenched shirts, happy smiles and grateful hearts.

During the run, Ariel said to me innocently "Mummy, later after we finish the run, we must go and take our 'marbles', ok?" So yes, they now have more medals to add to their collection! Hip hip hooray!

Don't their shoes look strikingly pretty? Ariel is wearing the Girls Skechers Foamies Trainers which are lightweight, washable, come with memory foam soles and velcro fastening. Purple is her favourite colour and she chose these herself, what I particularly like is how bright and cheerful this shade of purple looks on her!

Angel has on the Skechers Kids GOrun 4 which has a cushioned, shock absorbing midsole, lace-up closure for secure fit, and padded tongue and collar for added comfort. I must say that both these pairs of shoes were really easy to wear and most importantly, the girls said they felt very comfortable running in them!

As for the hubby and I, we are both wearing the the GOrun Strada Running Shoes which are not only lightweight and well-cushioned, the design also helps to provide support and stability for a smoother running experience. It's good to have at least one pair of good, trusted and well-loved running shoes in your shoe cabinet, don't you think so? I think that gives you motivation to go out for more runs, or at least more walks or strolls in the park, with your kids!

After our run, we decided to hang around, visited some of the booths and also tried to catch all the mascots in sight for a picture. At the Skechers booth, we also shared about our thoughts and experience on the day's events. Thank goodness we could do the interview in the shade and while sitting on the grass some more!

You might think that the girls should have been worn out by now but that's the thing about kids, their energy never seems to deplete, right? I was especially amazed by how the toddler was passionate to join in every workout - pilates, aerobics, everything and anything interested her and made her move!

See? She even tried to lift her leg off and balance herself, with some difficulty. I realised that being the tiniest one in the crowd, she ironically stood out the most and many people were watching her with fascination, some even pointing and giggling when she tried to perform the complex moves.

Well, it's good that she had the power to brighten up the day, right? In fact, she didn't want to let us stop and insisted on dancing, exercising and working out till the very end.

So we did the cool down together before we called it a day and went off for a yummy breakfast at McDonalds. Yes I know, that is just gaining back the lost calories but in the first place, our purpose was more to create happy memories than to keep in shape. For all that we had achieved in one morning, I think this pregnant, hungry mummy and these two fabulous kids deserve a treat, don't you think so?

Hooray for Shape Run 2015 and our first run as a family of four! I do believe that running helps our family to stay together and hopefully, we can continue to do this for as long as we can!

Disclosure: We were invited to join Shape Run 2015 and all running shoes were kindly sponsored by Skechers. All opinions are our own.

Hi-5 House of Dreams {Ticket Giveaway}

Posted by ~Summer~ on 28.7.15

Remember how I surprised the girls by taking them to meet the cast of Hi-5 last month? Well, up till now, they are still talking excitedly about it.

"I sat on Ainsley korkor's lap!" - Ariel

"I was with Dayen and she gave me a high five!" - Angel

"I like the girl with a bun on her hair (referring to Tanika)!" - Ariel

"My favourite is Mary! And I got to hug her twice!" - Angel

Then I realised that they not only love Hi-5, they see them as friends who always bring them fun and laughter through their catchy songs and high-energy dances.

So can you guess what their reactions were when we knew that Hi-5 will be coming back to Singapore in September with their spectacular new show - Hi-5 House of Dreams?

Squeals and shrills. Hoorays and thrills. They definitely can't wait to see their dear friends again!

Hi-5 House of Dreams is a whimsical trip into a fantasy adventure where you can catch your favourite Hi-5 songs – Underwater Discovery, Move your Body, It’s a Party and Living in a Rainbow and plenty of new songs with Hi-5 – Stevie, Mary, Tanika, Ainsley and Dayen. The show promises to be a sing-and-dance extravaganza that is guaranteed to be a fun-filled event to be enjoyed by the whole family. Now, are you as excited as we are?

Hi-5 House of Dreams Event Details

Date: 12 and 13 Sept 2015 (Sat and Sun)
Time: 10.30am, 2.30pm, 6.30pm
Venue: The Grand Theatre, Marina Bay Sands
Duration: 110 minutes (including 20 minutes interval)

Ticket Pricing: (excludes SISTIC booking fee)
VIP 1 : S$115
VIP 2 : S$105
A Reserve : S$65
B Reserve : S$45
VIP Box (For 4 Seats) : S$260
For tickets purchase, visit any SISTIC outlet, book online here or call the hotline at 6348 5555.

Age Limit: 
- Children under 2 years of age may be admitted free of charge provided they do not occupy a seat (they must be seated on the lap of a parent or guardian).
- Children aged 2 years and above must purchase a ticket for admission.
- All children below 12 years of age must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.


For those who are interested to watch Hi-5 House of Dreams, here's a giveaway on A Happy Mum!

This giveaway is open to all readers residing in Singapore only. One winner will be randomly picked and he/she will win 2 x Category 3 tickets (worth $65 each) to the show happening on 13 Sept (Sun) 10:30am. (Trust me, I did try to negotiate for a family package but sadly failed. Still, I hope I can at least bring joy to one parent and one child!) To participate in the giveaway, leave a comment in this blog post with your name and email address. Indicate in the Rafflecopter widget that you have done so and to increase your chances of winning, you can choose to carry out the rest of the options. Best of luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway Disclosure: We received a media invite and complimentary tickets to Hi-5 House of Dreams in writing this post. All opinions are our own.

Adventures of The Wolf {Review and Giveaway of The Wolf Series}

Posted by ~Summer~ on 24.7.15

Now that Angel is stepping into primary school next year, I've realised that many of the books in our home library have gotten a tad too easy for her. That becomes even more obvious on some nights when we would have our roles reversed and she would read a couple of books to me and the little sister instead.

Thus, nowadays, we are on the lookout for books that are a little more lengthy, contain vibrant illustrations and better still, have a moral to each story. Throw in some adorable animal characters and that would make a perfect book for my big girl.

We were thrilled to received The Wolf series from Wild Crane Press which I had been eyeing in the public library but initially thought it might be too difficult for Angel to comprehend. With covers as striking as these and a wolf character in black who stands out from the bright-coloured background, I certainly think they are hard to miss or resist from flipping through.

Written by author Orianne Lallemand and illustrated by Éléonore Thuillier, The Wolf series tells the exciting adventures of a grumpy wolf who lands himself in all sorts of sticky, and somewhat amusing, situations. He might seem a little grouchy and not so personable when you first read about him, but as the story unfolds, you come to realise that he is just a kind soul and a delightful character who will be a hit with the children. Don't believe it? Well, The Wolf is so successful that the series is sold in over 20 countries and translated into 15 languages. In addition, this bestselling children’s book series is currently studied in more than 650 schools.

I think a main part of its success can be attributed to the unique plot in each title and that every book features a different theme - including values like humility, self-acceptance and love. Some of the titles also teach about things like occupations, vehicles, months of the year and days of the week. Even though Angel can now recite the months and days, she sometimes get them jumbled up and since she is also learning to spell the words, these books definitely come in handy for her.

The vibrant, and sometimes hilarious, illustrations in the book also play a big part in capturing the attention of the little ones and make reading more interesting. I like how the illustrator adds details into the lively drawings and not only do they help kids to understand the story better, they also make them look forward to every next page.

On the back cover, you can also find a synopsis of the book as well as the theme that it covers. Here is an overview of the five different titles in the series.

Book 1: The Wolf who wanted to change his colour 
Wolf is in a bad mood! He’s really fed up with his boring black fur. So he is going to try out a new colour each day until he finds one he likes. Though it seemed like such a good idea at first, things seem to be getting from bad to worse! Will Wolf ever learn to accept himself as he is?
(Topic: Self-acceptance)

Book 2: The Wolf who loved himself too much 
Wolf and his friends are going to take part in the Big Bad Wolf competition. To win the competition, Wolf is going to be nasty as possible! But what will happen to him when he finds himself in trouble and without a single friend to help him out?
(Topic: Humility)

Book 3: The Wolf who searched for a girlfriend 
Everyone in the Faraway Forest is in love… Wolf is fed up with being alone! With the help of his well-meaning friends, Wolf learns to dress up, recite poetry and gather flowers. But will all these truly help him to find a girlfriend?
(Topic: Love)

Book 4: The Wolf who did not want to walk anymore 
Wolf has had quite enough of walking. He decides to try riding a bicycle, driving a car, and even flying in an aeroplane, but they are all simply too awful. Poor Wolf is going to find out that walking does have its advantages!
(Topic: Months, Vehicles)

Book 5: The Wolf who wanted to be an artist 
Wolf is passionate about the arts! But does Wolf really have talent in painting, sculpting and acting? If he only knew that he had the soul of a rock star instead, he’d soon be famous! However, Wolf is going to find out that celebrity is not for everyone…
(Topic: Occupations, Arts)

Now, to let you take a further peek into the books, I'm sharing more about two of our favourite titles!

The Wolf Who Wanted to Change His Colour

One day, Wolf decides that he does not like being black and tries to become other colours instead - for instance he tries covering himself with flower petals, taking an icy bath and rolling around in a puddle of mud.

It wasn't until he tried out being green, red, pink, blue, orange, brown and multi-coloured on the seven days of a week that he realised being black was best for him. The moral of the story is of course self-acceptance and through the messy situations that Wolf gets into, the book teaches us about how important it is to love ourselves for who we are and not try to be who we are not.

The Wolf Who Wanted to Be an Artist

On a beautiful summer morning, the Wolf daydreams about becoming an artist and goes about trying to unleash his talent. He attempts to be a painter, a poet, a sculptor, a comedian, an actor and when all fails, he decides to be a rock star and starts a rock band with his friends. Contrary to expectations, he was really talented as the lead singer and all his efforts paid off when he shot to fame after his concert.

Since Angel really loves art and painting, it wasn't a surprise that she likes this book. Although it focus more on occupations and the arts, I hope she also learns through it that it is good to have a dream and only by persevering and striving hard will you be able to make dreams come true.

Although I think this series is best suited for kids aged 6 and above, the good thing is Ariel also likes listening to the stories especially when the elder sister reads them to her. That is a win-win situation for me, right? Well, I definitely enjoy listening all about Wolf's adventures as my girl reads them out loud for me too. Hooray to more bedtime stories!


For those of you who are interested to win a book of your choice from the series, here's a giveaway!

This giveaway is open to all readers residing in Singapore. Three different winners will be picked and they will each win ONE book of their choice from the series. To participate in the giveaway, leave a comment in this blog post with your name, email and choice of book from the series. Indicate in the Rafflecopter widget that you have comments and to increase your chances of winning, you can choose to carry out the rest of the options. Best of luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway Disclosure: We received a set of The Wolf Series from Wild Crane Press in writing this review. All opinions are our own.

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