A child today is a hope for tomorrow (Thoughts on the Jubilee Baby Gift)

Posted by ~Summer~ on 17.4.14
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Some of you might have seen me on Good Morning Singapore on Channel 8 two days ago. If I didn't show it much, I was pretty worn out after having to climb out of bed at 6am. The previous night had been an exceptionally rough one as Ariel was feeling feverish, couldn't sleep well and groped around for the boobs every half an hour.

It was the first time I did a live recording at Caldecott Broadcast Centre, and it was done with no teleprompter, no cue cards, no rehearsal and no idea of the questions I would be asked on set. All I knew was that the topic of the day was the Jubilee Baby Gift - something that I actually felt interested and motivated to talk about. But yes, I did it and you bet I achieved a sense of accomplishment thereafter. What's more, the interview was conducted in Mandarin and I think I made my mum proud to watch me that morning and see that I have not forgotten about my mother tongue.

For those of you who have not heard of it, the Jubilee Baby Gift is a small yet meaningful gift to welcome Singaporean babies born in 2015 in conjunction with the SG50 celebrations. It will contain a set of 5-10 items that the newborns can use in their early years and symbolises our wishes, hopes and aspirations for our future generation.

The National Population and Talent Division (NPTD), which is leading the Jubilee Baby Gift drive, has been gathering gift ideas online and at road shows and as of two days ago, which was the submission deadline, around 6,500 suggestions had been received.

Some were practical items, for instance baby stroller, diapers, bibs, clothes and so on. Some were commemorative, like gold coins, medals and ornaments. Some were more creative, like lifetime free admission to Gardens by the Bay. Others I heard of were more preposterous, for example lifelong free education, $20K cash gift etc.

I am not saying that the gift pack should not be special, it should be an unique offering but there must be a limit to how special it can be. Let's say if education is free for babies born in 2015 up till tertiary or even university level, how fair is it to be babies who are born on say 31 Dec, 2014 or 1 Jan, 2016, or those in the same generation? Fine, you might say that there has to be a line drawn somewhere and fairness is always a vague term. So, if the government gives away such a lucrative package next year and sets a precedent, what happens when our nation turns 60? 75? 100? What are Singaporeans going to ask for in order to give birth? Will they stage a strike and refuse to have babies altogether in that year if the package does not meet their expectations?

In the first place, having babies should never be a direct result of incentives, it should always be out of a love for kids and for having a family. I wrote a heartfelt post titled "Through the eyes of my child" on this issue previously and shared the reasons that compelled me to decide to be a SAHM. The post went viral for a period of time and garnered over 2,000 likes on Facebook, which made me realise that there are people who think like me but at the same time wonder, why then is our total fertility rate standing at merely 1.19?

If the government is to help to boost fertility, then they will have to think for the long term and continue to roll out more polices to encourage parenthood and marriage. That will, however, not be through the Jubilee Baby Gift which is more of a celebratory gift and a symbolism. It wouldn't be logical to hope for fertility rates to hit a peak in just the year 2015 and then drop to a new low in subsequent years when there are no more incentives and privileges.

I can talk about this all day long but I think that having a low fertility rate is an ingrained issue and reasons for young couples not wanting kids span from lifestyle habits, societal norms, career-driven mindsets and in many cases, a lack of a strong love for kids. In my humble opinion, having a kid doesn't mean you need to be filthy rich, have a car or a big house. Having four kids, yes, but not one, or maybe even two. I see people living in three-room HDBs with four kids while I see couples living in condos with none. To me, it's about the willingness to make lifestyle changes once you have a family and in order to have this willingness, you must first have that love for children I spoke about.

It was my honour to meet up with the hosts of Good Morning Singapore, Qiqi and Junwei, as well as Jim Lim, founder of REAL Academy and Dr Fong, a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist. Me? *cough* Just a plain, normal mum of two who occasionally likes to blog.

I particularly liked Jim's idea of a portable changing station for dads and Dr Fong's idea of having a publication with the names of the parents and Jubilee Babies. I am not sure if I shared anything useful from a mum's perspective but I am glad I managed to talk about a point I felt strongly about.

As we celebrate Singapore turning 50 and honour the hard work of our pioneers, we must at the same time remind ourselves that we have a responsibility to raise and educate our next generation so that our country can continue to grow and prosper. Our people are Singapore's biggest resources and we must not forget that our children will be the pillars of the nation in decades to come.

A child today will be a hope for tomorrow. Don't you agree?

******

For those of you who expressed interest in watching the entire interview segment, here you go.



If you have to choose ONE item to go into the Jubilee Baby Gift, what will it be? 

Starting from 18 April 2014, the public will be able to vote for their favourite items and play a part in determining what the Jubilee Baby Gift will consist of. Visit www.nptd.gov.sg/jubilee for more details.

Comfort for the feet {Review and giveaway of SmartKnitKIDS Seamless Socks and Rileyroos shoes}

Posted by ~Summer~ on 16.4.14
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I will always remember the moments when my children took their first steps. To me, there are many precious developmental milestones in their growing up years but the first time they walked over to me with those shaky, wobbly steps, gave me a tight embrace and let me hear that sweet laughter, that is enough to melt any mummy's heart with joy.

Since those precious feet will be their pillars for life and support them along their life journey, it is only fair that as parents, we start taking care of them from young. For me, when it comes to buying socks and shoes for my girls, my utmost priority is not so much about design or looks - it is always about comfort.

******

SmartKnitKIDS Socks

Have you ever worn socks and just got so annoyed by the wrinkles and bumps that just seemed to keep forming no matter how hard you tried to straighten them? If it feels uncomfortable for you, imagine how your lively, high-spirited child will feel running around in those.

For Angel, the moment she feels any discomfort when she is wearing her socks, she sits down and says "Mummy, there is one lump here" and I have to pull the socks tight so that the lumps go away and the seams are perfectly in place. More often than not, I end up wearing socks which are close-fitting and have elastic bands at the top so that they don't slip down her legs.

When we first heard of SmartKnitKIDS socks, they gave me a simple solution without having to let my girl wear overly tight socks or suffer from marks and irritation - Seamless socks.

These are some of the things I love about SmartKnitKIDS socks:

1) No more seams
As a patented product, these socks have not a single seam and provide much needed comfort and relief for those tiny feet.

2) No heel design
You know how socks usually come with the 'heels' and you have to fit them correctly so as to keep them in place? SmartKnitKIDS socks have a special 'no heel' design which means your kids can put the socks on easily and will not grow out of them so quickly.



3) No elastic bands
The elastic bands that come with most regular socks can often pinch, bind or irritate.

 SmartKnitKIDS socks come with non-binding Halo Top™ that ensure a snug fit and ease of wear without letting the socks slip down.

4) No more wrinkles
These socks are spun of of stretchy Corespun and Lycra yarns which result in a form-fitting design that 
fit comfortably on the little feet. Which means that you no longer need to worry about wrinkles, bunching, bumps and lumps.

SmartKnitKIDS socks are available in four colours; Pink, Purple, Navy and White and come in sizes to fit children from 0 up to 12 years of age (EUR 16-17 to EUR 40). For a more accurate measurement of your child's feet sizing, download their printable sizing guide.

When the weather gets cold or when the kids are sick, I like to keep those tiny feet as warm and as cosy as possible. Oh, and you know what is the best part in letting my girls wear these socks? Well, as a matter of fact, due to the unique no heel and seamless design, it actually means the two of them can share the same pair of socks! Ok, sounds stinky but I always wash their socks after every wear, yeah? For instance a pair of ankle socks for Angel can also act as crew socks for Ariel and a pair of crew socks for Angel can be knee-high socks for Ariel. Yippee!

Ultimately, I just need to know if they feel comfortable in the socks and judging from how Angel did not complain once but instead refused to take them off, I guess that sums it all up.

SmartKnitKIDS seamless socks is distributed in Singapore by Little Soles and Mount Alvernia Hospital Retail Pharmacy and has a retail selling price of SGD13.80 per pair (inclusive of GST). For more information, please visit www.littlesoles.com.sg

******

RileyRoos Shoes

Since Ariel turned 14 months and had been taking steady, big, quick steps and even attempted to run after the big sister, I knew it was high time to get a good pair of rubber soled shoes for her. 

Doesn't this pair of Rileyroos shoes look cute yet stylish? Yes, I said my first criteria is comfort but wouldn't it be great if the shoes are comfortable and chic at the same time? I love how this pair of Rileyroos Carley - Blush shoes looked like ballet shoes from far, has criss-cross leather straps and a floral embellishment to complete the whole sweet, pink look.

What we loved about Rileyroos shoes:

1) Handmade using soft, high quality materials
The stylish accents are hand stitched onto the shoes where leather is used, it is child-safe, genuine leather with the use of non-toxic dyes.

2) Easy to put on and take off
The shoes have a very simple closure which makes it easy to wear and remove but stay fastened most of the time.


3) Flexibility 
Designed with a child's foot development in mind, these shoes are flexible and it is said that the sole of a Rileyroos shoe is so flexible that it can be curled into a ball in the palm of your hand.

4) Strong grip
The rubber soles provide a strong foothold and ensure that slipping does not take place.

5) Lightweight and lasting
With a toddler that weighs barely over 10kg, you wouldn't want to hold her back from exploring the world with a pair of heavy shoes. Rileyroos shoes are soft, light and have rubber inserts beneath the leather for better durability.


I totally mean it when I say that this is Ariel's favourite pair of shoes for now and whenever I say the magic words "Gai gai", she walks over to the shoe rack area, finds her Rileyroos, sits down and puts them on. Or tries to.


For me, I love that they match well with most of her oufits and it makes me feel good knowing that she is rocking these cute shoes and feeling comfortable enough to keep walking for one whole day.

Rileyroos shoes is distributed in Singapore by Little Soles and Mums and Babes at United Square and has a retail selling price of SGD63 per pair (inclusive of GST). For more information, please visit www.littlesoles.com.sg

*****

Now, how would you like to win a bundle giveaway for your little one's feet too?


We are now giving away a pair of Rileyroos shoes and a pair of SmartknitKIDS seamless socks, both of your choice, to a lucky reader. This giveaway is targeted for those with babies or toddlers below age of two only and are currently residing in Singapore. To take part, leave a comment in this blog post with your name, email address and age of your child.

Remember to click on the widget to indicate that you have commented and to increase your chances of winning, feel free to carry out the rest of the options. Best of luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclosure: We received complimentary pairs of SmartKnitKIDS seamless socks and a pair of Rileyroos shoes from Little Soles for the purpose of writing this review. All opinions are my own. 

Bento-making and healthy eating with AIA Vitality

Posted by ~Summer~ on 14.4.14
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It was only when I was staying in Europe that I started learning how to cook. Staying in a town where there were only two Asian restaurants and a plate of fried rice could easily cost S$20 meant that we did not have the luxury of eating out every day.

On hindsight, it was probably for the better because under those circumstances, I was left with no choice but to depend on homecooked food and make healthy eating a habit for my family. For the record, Angel has always been a great eater as a toddler. She would gulp down not one, but three, bowls of porridge for every meal with no problem at all. However, as she grew older, she started to be picky about what she ate, taking over an hour to finish her meal, and at times, even refusing to eat altogether.

It was a problem then and continues to be a problem now. We have tried the soft approach by teaching her the importance of eating a wholesome meal so as to stay healthy and avoid falling sick. We have also tried the hard approach by reprimanding and taking away her privileges. But nothing seemed to work!

So one day, when I was still staying in Sweden, I was surfing the internet, looking for ideas on how to improve my daughter’s eating habits, and chanced upon pictures of Japanese bentos. It suddenly inspired me to give it a try in the hope that Angel would be more excited about mealtimes if I could make food look more appealing and attractive. I placed my order for some bento-making tools online and upon its delivery, we were all set to explore! Angel was thrilled to see her ham, cheese and rice transforming into animal shapes and to my relief, finally started to show a keener interest in her food.

******

AIA Vitality Bento Making Challenge

So when I was approached to be one of the five mummy bloggers to take part in the AIA Vitality Bento-Making Challenge, it certainly brought back memories of those experimental days but quite honestly, did freak me out a little at first as well! I don't make bentos every day and even when I do, they don't end up looking as exquisite or imaginative. Nonetheless, I knew it was the perfect opportunity to motivate myself to start making visually appealing and healthy bentos for the kids again.

The first thing on my agenda was to pay a visit to Cold Storage in search of healthy food items for my bento set.



Shopping with my AIA Vitality card, I found myself to be spoilt for choice. I was amazed that there are actually over 6,000 items in the HealthyFood™ list at Cold Storage, which are not that hard to spot in the stores. Most of them were clearly marked with a printed 'V' on the shelf price tags.

To enjoy cashbacks at Cold Storage, all you have to do as an AIA Vitality member is to complete the following: 

- AIA Vitality Health Review and get 5% cashback on HealthyFood™ purchases OR 
- AIA Vitality Health Check at Guardian and get 15% cashback on HealthyFood™ purchases OR 
- Both the AIA Vitality Health Review and AIA Vitality Health Check and get 15% cashback on HealthyFood™ purchases 

On your receipt, the letter “V” will also be reflected next to the HealthyFood™ items. For every $4 spent on HealthyFood™, you get to earn 10 AIA Vitality Points and enjoy the cashback. Remember to present your AIA Vitality card to the cashier when you make the purchase and with a swipe, the amount spent will be added into your account. 

Your total points might take up to two weeks to be reflected in your Vitality Points statement and after you receive your cashback in the form of vouchers by email, print them out and bring them along on your next visit to Cold Storage. 

When we got home, I decided to involve Angel in the process. We made funny shapes, laughed over uneven eyes, placed whiskers in the wrong places and while the end product was important, we made sure we had plenty of fun and laughter in the process as well.

Proof that preparing a bento or homecooked meal need not only be healthy, but fun as well!
Even though I had prepared some of the ingredients the night before, it was still a rushed affair on the morning of the event as I scampered around the kitchen trying to get all the things ready. With the hubby overseas and no one else at home, it didn't help that I had a pre-schooler who kept asking me questions and a toddler who hugged my feet as I did the frying. So, it was not a surprise that I was kept busy till the very last minute and was the only one who arrived on scene without makeup. Well, at least we made it in good time!

With fellow mummy bloggers. From left: Adora of The Gingerbread Mum, Dominique of Dominique's Desk, Regina of MummyMoo, me, Shermeen of Meeningfully

My goal that day was to complete the challenge and make a bento arrangement that my girls would love. With a stroke of luck, we surprisingly managed to emerge champion and win the first prize, much to Angel's delight. Yippee! A big thank you to my parents, in-laws, friends and readers who showed up to support, and kudos to all the fellow mummy bloggers for a job well done! I also wish to thank AIA Vitality for inspiring me to cultivate the habit of healthy eating for my family and reminding me that small lifestyle changes go a long way.
 
This was the end result!




A strong factor that has urged me to cultivate a habit of healthy eating is that I did a blood test recently and to my dismay, the results showed that I have borderline high cholesterol levels. The healthy range is between 140-200 and currently, my cholesterol level stands at 195. Therefore, in order to know more about my eating habits and find ways to improve my well-being, I did the Vitality Online Nutrition Assessment.

All it took was ten minutes for me to fill up a questionnaire about my dietary intake and once that was completed, I received a brief summary about my healthy indicators and lifestyle habits. For completing this assessment which can be taken every six months, I also get to earn 250 Vitality points.

The Vitality Online Nutrition Assessment results provide me with informative advice and a helpful list of food to avoid or to take in more. For example, I should avoid frequent intake of high-fat meat which contribute significant amounts of saturated fats, cholesterol and calories but eat more wholegrains which are high in fibre and can lower risks of chronic diseases.

I think bentos are a great start to a healthier way of eating for myself and my family. For the challenge, I made a korokke (Japanese croquette) bento and added rice, egg, vegetables and fruits. I think the cute factor of the animal moulds played a big part in appealing to my kids and garnering votes from the audience.

All our recipes will be turned into recipe cards for distribution at Cold Storage stores so stay tuned! But if you’re eager to try out what I’d prepared, here is a quick look at how it was done.

Korokke (Japanese croquette) Bento 
Serves 3-4

Ingredients:
2 potatoes, peeled and halved
200g minced pork
1 tsp corn starch
1 baby carrot, finely diced
1 Swiss brown mushroom, finely diced
½ large onion, finely diced
1 egg
2 tbsp oil
Salt and pepper to taste

For coating:
2 eggs
1½ cup Panko bread crumbs
½ cup flour
Oil for frying



1) Put the potatoes to boil in a large pot. Once they are soft enough for a skewer to pass through, drain the water and leave the potatoes as dry as possible. Turn off heat and mash the potatoes, leaving small chunks, and leave aside.

2) In a pan, heat up the oil and sauté the onion. Add carrot and mushroom and cook till they are soft.

3) Add corn starch to the minced meat and mix well. Next, add the meat to the pan and break it up into small bits. When the meat is nearly cooked, add salt and pepper to taste.

4) Combine the mashed potato and meat mixture in a large bowl, leaving any liquid behind. Add an egg and mix till well combined.

5) Start rolling into Korroke balls, using 1 tbsp of mixture for each ball. Coat the balls one by one in flour, followed by egg and then Panko. Once all the balls are coated, fry them in a pan on high heat. Since the inside is already cooked, you do not need to deep fry but ensure that the outside turns to a nice golden brown. If you prefer, you can coat the balls with oats or cornflakes instead of Panko.

 6) Arrange the rest of the bento ingredients, including the rice, pre-blanched vegetables, fresh fruits and garnishes as you desire. Serve with tonkatsu sauce, ketchup or sauce of your choice.



 ******

CHOICE VOUCHERS GIVEAWAY

To help you get started on a healthier lifestyle, we are now giving away 5 x S$20 Choice vouchers which can be redeemed at any Cold Storage, Giant, Market Place, Guardian or 7-Eleven outlet. Just leave a comment in this blog post and answer the following question: How many AIA Vitality Points can you earn for completing the AIA Vitality Online Nutrition Assessment? (Tip: Visit https://www.aiavitality.com.sg/memberportal/points_and_status) and leave behind your name and email address. Click on the widget to indicate that you have commented and follow the rest of the options to increase your chances of winning.

a Rafflecopter giveaway Best of luck and let's make healthy eating a way of life!


Website: AIAVitality.com.sg 
Facebook: www.facebook.com/AIASingapore 

Disclosure: This is part of a series of sponsored conversations between AIA and A Happy Mum. All information is correct at the time of post and AIA reserves all rights to amend existing clauses at its sole discretion without prior notice. In no event shall A Happy Mum be held liable for disagreements arising between AIA and any party. Neither shall I be held responsible for any indirect, consequential, incidental, special or punitive damages or losses of any kind. For more details, please visit AIAvitality.com.sg.

Turning 31 as a SAHM

Posted by ~Summer~ on 10.4.14
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I thought that my 31st birthday would be just like any other day, especially since the hubby had said that he would be out of town. Instead, it turned out that his schedule got delayed and not only did we enjoy a fun family celebration, he also took the effort to arrange a surprise gathering with my closest buddies.

We had a good chat, which was mainly about the girls updating on their current job statuses. One had just quit her current bank job and was on the search for better prospects, one just returned from being a stay-at-home mum in London and found a job here shortly, and a couple of others who were busy manning companies as directors and marketing managers.

Me? Of course, I kept quiet most of the time. I didn't really think that they would be interested to know about Ariel's recent hives outbreak or that Angel is learning the lyrics of "Let it go". For some reason, while these sounded like engaging topics to blog about or talk to fellow SAHMs, they didn't really seem like appropriate ones to bring up at the dinner table.



As it turned out, on that evening when I blew out the candles, there were many thoughts running through my mind. Many of which were unexpected.

Perhaps it was a realisation that out of all of us, I was the only one who chose to go down the path of being a SAHM. I thought the one who stayed overseas with two kids might have followed suit, but it turns out that she is happier to have a life outside of the kids and they are now in full day childcare and infant care.

Perhaps it was a feeling of inferiority and unjust because *ahem*, I was the one who passed all my exams in school with flying colours. No, I was neither a nerd nor the most hardworking student around, but I was really lucky and managed to ace all my exams. 3A* and 1A at PSLE, 7A1 and 2A2 at GCE 'O' Level, 4A at GCE 'A' Level and A1 in General Paper, a Bachelor degree with second upper honours from NTU and a Masters degree obtained in Sweden. Not bad, right? Bragging rights? Now, look at where the grades got me - a stay-at-home mum.

Perhaps it was a moment of truth when I discovered that even though we all grew up together and have been through thick and thin in our two decades of friendship, it was undeniable that we had different priorities and different mindsets in our very different lives.

You see, I could jolly well be whipping up excel charts and powerpoint decks instead of steamed cod fish and sesame oil chicken. I could be slinging on a handbag instead of a 10-kg baby. I could be changing office suits and heels instead of soiled diapers and pyjamas. I could be reading up on new projects instead of Gruffalo's Child. I could be writing proposal plans instead of alphabet revision sheets.

I could be all dolled up sitting in a meeting room instead of looking like a hag in the kitchen. I could be tuning in to YES93.3FM in the office and tuning out of incessant whining and wailing at home. I could be packing lipsticks and PDA into my bag instead of baby biscuits and wet wipes. I could be comfortably seated alone on the train as I commute to work instead of having to hold onto a baby, a kid and a stroller every time I take a bus.

I could. I really could.

But, do I want to?

The answer has all along been there, right? N-O, No.

I can only remind myself that it has always been my choice and in the first place, I am lucky to even have a choice because I know of fellow mums who would trade anything to be in my shoes. I can only take one look at the girls every time my heart desires to do something more with my life and be thankful that I am there by their side, each day every day, in their growing up years. I can only be glad to have a hubby who supports my decision and a mum who does not think that I am wasting her efforts of raising me through 18 years of formal education.

It's not that I don't get weary or that I have extraordinary powers to push me on. There are really days when I question myself and times when I wonder if I will ever regret my decision, especially when the kids drive me up the wall or break my heart. I am not saying that life as a full-time working mum will be easier or more fulfilling, which in any case it might turn out twice as hard and not even half as rewarding, I am just confessing to the fact that sometimes, I just doubt myself and ponder about my life.

Yes, I am human after all. Just so you know, especially those of you who write in to say that I am an inspiring and super mum, it is a fact that I scream, I break down, I go crazy, I get stressed, I feel like banging my head just like how some of you do at times. It has never been easy being a SAHM and it never will be, right?

Then again, we can always go back to find work when the kids are a little older. We might not aspire to join in the rat race, climb up the corporate ladder or crave for high-paying jobs anymore. Instead, it is that sense of achievement, that satisfaction, that feeling of being a useful member of society that we might be seeking. In that case, we do have a lifetime to work.

But our kids? They only grow up once. Miss it and those days are gone forever.

So, for now, I am happy to remain as a stay-at-home mum, to watch my girls grow up day by day, to mend heartaches, chase fears and kiss boo-boos, to relish the wonders of motherhood, to know that this is a very precious phase of my life which I will look back in my twilight years and have absolutely no regrets.

Happy birthday to me.

******
Linking up with
SANses.com's Talkative Thursdays





Spread L-o-v-e #8 - Build, spell and learn with LEGO Duplo

Posted by ~Summer~ on 9.4.14
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Yes, we're back from a weekend getaway to LEGOLAND Malaysia and I can't wait to share more pictures and updates with you!

But before that, as you might know, I just turned 31 and with all the goodness that has happened in my life recently, it is only high time that I pay it forward. So, guess what? My Spread L-o-ve project is finally back!



Since we have been surrounded by the colourful bricks recently and considering that my Creativity 521 post on spelling with building bricks and the glow-in-the-dark idea was quite well received, I thought it might be nice to give away a set of LEGO Duplo with written alphabets so that more parents and kids can have fun playing, bonding, spelling and learning at the same time.


Ta-dah! Wait, this is a brand new LEGO Duplo set, yeah? I bought it from Thomson Plaza after searching around for a set that had more of the 2 x 2 bricks because these were the ones I would be using to stick the labels and write on.

Here is a breakdown of the pieces contained in the set.

I had to remove the plastic bags just so I could gather the square bricks and label them with the luminous and normal sticker labels. Subsequently, I wrote lower case letters onto each of the labels, including more of vowels and commonly used consonants. The rest of the Lego bricks will also be given to the winner and rest assured that I will wrap and pack all of the bricks neatly back into the box.

There will be a total of 27 bricks for you and your child to engage in spelling games! 15 of these have glow-in-the-dark labels while the remaining 12 have normal sticker labels. All four sides of every brick are labelled so that makes 27 x 4 = 108 letters.  I sure hope you will be able to spell the words that you wish to teach your child! Note: The glow-in-the-dark labels are a little yellowish in colour and slightly bigger, have fun with these during bedtime! Click here to see how they look like in the dark.

This learning set is targeted at kids between 2 and 6 years of age, so kindly do participate only if you have a child/niece/nephew in this age range. This is by no means a sponsored post and since the parcel is bulky, I am opening this giveaway to readers residing in Singapore only.

To join in the giveaway, simply leave a comment in this blog post and tell me something you like about A Happy Mum. Remember to click on the Rafflecopter widget to indicate that you have commented and you can follow the rest of the options to increase your chances of winning.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Let's spread some L-o-v-e!

Disclaimer: The letters are written using a black permanent marker and the labels can be peeled away. Kindly supervise and exercise caution when the kids are playing. Remember to laugh and have fun!

Creativity 521 #43 - "Let it go" {DIY lift-the-flap lyrics poster}

Posted by ~Summer~ on 4.4.14
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Let it go, let it go, can't hold it back anymore...

I am not kidding when I say I have heard this song 3187 times and I still hear it 29 times a day. At least. For some reason, we watched Frozen last year but the fever is at an all time high recently. Yes, my girls are totally in love and smitten with this Disney animated film. I'm not sure if it was a wise move to purchase the DVD when it was released, but we did and it now serves excellently as a reward for good behaviour.

Before I go on, I have to admit that I love the show too. Every bit of it, from the Scandinavian setting, the effects, the cast, the plot to the values and the humour. In particular, I love how it tells about the love between the two sisters, Elsa and Anna, and how an act of true love can have the power to melt ice and mend hearts. It teaches us about family ties, about perseverance, about sacrifice, about the power of love and of course, about how you shouldn't trust boys that you've met only for a day.

When we talked about the show, I came to realise that Angel didn't fully understand the story, for instance on why Elsa had to be kept in her room, why Elsa hurt Anna, why Anna didn't die, why Prince Hans turned evil and so on. So, we have been chatting about Frozen under the blankets at night and subtly, I try to instill those important values of love and family in her.

Back to my point, yes, that song. That chart-topping, Oscar-winning Best Original Song with over 168 million views on YouTube. It's amazing how all Angel's classmates can sing it and how we keep hearing it on the radio, in the MRT and in the lifts. Well, that is because the whole world, or my whole world, is singing it.

There was one day when I got so annoyed listening to it for the umpteenth time that I told Angel to stop singing it and change to another song, only to regret it after when I saw her dismayed look. Since then, I have been trying to have as much patience as I can and always listen to her earnestly when she showcases her vocals. It was when I realised she was singing many of the words wrongly that an idea popped to my mind.

Well, as the saying goes, if you can't beat them, join them. And join them I did. We decided to make a "Let it go" DIY lift-the-flap lyrics poster and combine singing with fun learning, reading and spelling.

What we used:

1) Drawing block
2) Lyrics from "Let it go"
3) Pictures from Frozen (Printed on matt photo paper)
4) Matching pictures of selected words (Printed on matt photo paper)
5) Crayons
6) Scissors
7) Glue

Firstly, I went through the lyrics of the song, highlighting words that I think would be great to teach the four-year-old Angel. You can choose easier words for younger kids or harder, and more, words for the older ones. I achieved a total of 28 words, including snow, mountain, footprint, wind, storm, see, light, day, good, girl, small, door, queen, cold, care, time and so on.

Next, I used different coloured crayons to write out the lyrics line by line on the drawing paper. I wanted it to be colourful, easy to read and yet handwritten instead of printed so as to have a more sincere and personal feel. Plus, it's not often that she gets to see so much of Mummy's handwriting and I want her to know how handwritten alphabets can vary.


After that, I cut out the pictures neatly, folded a flap on top of each picture and glued them down to the matching words so as to form flaps as shown.




When cutting, trim the picture to the correct size and when sticking, make sure that the flap covers the entire word but can be opened up to reveal it completely. I chose to use photo paper because they are thicker than plain paper and thus the flaps will be more sturdy.



To jazz up the poster and make it into something more Frozen, I pasted on pictures of the cast. I specially went to search for more pictures of the two sisters having fun as kids or holding hands because they just seemed so befitting for my girls.

As much as I could, I also used pictures from Frozen for the matching words, for instance the word 'queen' had a picture of Elsa wearing the crown, the word 'girl' showed a picture of Elsa as a child, the word 'cry' had Elsa sobbing on the ice and the word 'see' was done using a picture of Elsa's beautiful blue eye, much to Angel's delight.


Lastly, since I used up four pieces of drawing paper, I used sticky tape to secure them at the back so that they combine to form a large, beautiful handmade poster.

Voila! Of course, Angel requested for it to be displayed in her room and there, her wall seems so much brighter and vibrant now! The good thing is this poster actually makes her happy to go to bed and even take her afternoon naps on her own.

So nowadays, we don't just sing the song but we learn the words as we go along and have fun lifting the flaps. I've a good mind to let her learn to spell and also teach her these words in Chinese as we progress. Good idea? No?

ALL HAIL THE QUEEN

You know, this girl not only loves to sing the songs, she also loves to dress up as Queen Elsa, loves to pretend she has powers and loves to do rhythmic knocking on every surface she sees. Once, I caught her re-enacting a whole scene by herself, knocking on my bedroom door singing "Do you wanna build a snowman?", then she replied to herself "Go away, Anna", walked away with a forlorn look and mournful voice saying "Okay, bye", before she sat down in a corner, buried her face in her arms and tried to sob. No joke. I would have given her an Oscar award.

Anyway, I really don't wish to dampen her enthusiasm in this matter so besides doing the lyrics poster for her, we also let her dress up as the queen.

Meet Queen Elsa-Angel.

Well, the crown looks a little too childish for the cool queen but it was the best we could find. She was in love with her shiny blue cape and her sideways plaits. As for the *cough* orb and sceptre, well, we tried.



Was she happy? Well, ecstatic is the word. In fact, she wore this the whole evening, even when we went out for supper late at night.

Wait? Something, or someone, seems to be missing?

Why, of course, the little one wanted to be part of the action too. At her petite size and height, she was best suited to play the part of Olaf but hey, we wouldn't bear to separate this pair of loving sisters, right?

So here she is, Princess Anna-Ariel. Don't be surprised, but she can hum to the tune of "Let it go" pretty well. It is that catchy and addictive, even for a 15-month-old.

SISTERS WE'LL ALWAYS BE



This last picture of Angel holding onto Ariel's hand was my favourite of all. I'm guessing I wouldn't love Frozen half as much if it didn't talk about sisterly love but the fact that it did, I think I am willing to let these girls carry on their infatuation for a while.

Now tell me, are your kids simply in love with Frozen too?

******



To fellow bloggers who have a fun craft session, DIY tip or creative idea to share, come join in the party! Highlight and press Ctrl + C to copy my button above, include it in your post/sidebar and add your link below. I will be hosting Creativity 521 on the 5th and 21st of every month, do hop over for more inspiration. Remember: The sky's the limit when it comes to creativity!

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