Me and my Mini-Mes {Review and Giveaway of MidouCeur}

Posted by ~Summer~ on 25.7.14
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As a mum, especially being one with two daughters, I keep telling myself to respect their individualities and celebrate their differences instead of subconsciously trying to turn them into smaller versions of me or make them take on my character traits. No, I am not a bad person and I guess I do have a sunny persona, or so people tell me, but I wish for my kids to find their light in life and shine in their own unique ways.

However, there are times when I absolutely don't mind them being my mini-mes and when it comes to fashion, I'd say let's rock it together as mum and daughters!

Yes, it's time to get all matchy-matchy again! You know, I highly doubt the girls will be so enthusiastic about wearing clothes in the same design as Mummy's when they turn 14, so while they are still young, exceedingly naive and totally happy about being dressed that way, I am so going to cherish this feeling.

Thanks to MidouCeur, which means “my gentle touch” in a mix of Spanish and French, we got to relish that joy of being dressed in matching wear and it somehow reflected our mother-daughter bond that only grows stronger day after day.

******

Rose Douceur






When I first laid eyes on this design, I was thinking "Maybe this looks a little too mature for Ariel?" I mean, she is only 18 months old and I wasn't sure if she could pull off ruffles, lace and an elastic band at the waist. I was also wondering if the elastic band would make her feel uncomfortable since she already had on a diaper underneath and her tummy tends to bulge easily after every meal.





It turned out that she felt really at ease in this sweet-looking dress made of cotton and even though we were out the whole day and did plenty of walking, jumping and playing, she never did tug at the band and surprisingly, the dress stayed snug on her the whole time.





I definitely love how this dress makes her look more mature and on the other hand, it makes me look much younger. Or am I overthinking it?

******

Rainbow Candy



When Angel and I were looking through MidouCeur's apparel collection, I asked her to pick out her favourite design and told her we would get that for the three of us The moment she saw this striking, rainbow-hued dress, she pointed ecstatically "I want this one!" And I knew this was it, she wasn't even going to give the rest a chance.





That said, I do think she made the perfect choice because the design of the dress seemed to reflect our personalities well. Positive, cheery, vibrant, hopeful. I absolutely loved the choice of colours on the dress and the A-line design - narrow at the top and flaring wider towards the bottom - makes it a very comfortable and flattering style.

The only shortcoming about this dress is that the adjustable straps tend to fall off easily and the clips do not stay in place, especially for the kids. Since we can't really expect the young ones to sit around and not be lively for more than ten seconds, I think it would be better for me to put a couple of stitches to keep the straps in place for now.




I think the vivid colours will brighten up a gloomy day and they also make you stand out among the crowd, leaving behind a lasting impression. These being our first matchy-matchy dresses as mum and not one, but two daughters, need I say more on how much I am in love with them?
 
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For mummies who have girls at home and are keen on matching apparel too, GOOD NEWS! Thanks to MidouCeur, A Happy Mum is now giving away 1 set of matching mother and daughter apparel and 2 sets of S$40 store vouchers to THREE readers.

To take part in the giveaway, you have to
1) Like MidouCeur on Facebook here.
2) Leave a comment in this post with your name, email address and complete the sentence
"I like to be matchy-matchy with my girl because..."
3) Indicate on the Rafflecopter that you have done the above steps and to increase your chances of winning, follow the rest of the options.

**Note: Winners will need to submit a picture of them and the kids wearing the dresses to MidouCeur for verification and these will be posted in their Facebook album for congratulatory purposes.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Best of luck!

Disclosure: We received the above complimentary outfits from MidouCeur for review purposes. All opinions are our own.

Round the Moon, Blue the Sky

Posted by ~Summer~ on 23.7.14
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Alliance Francaise Theatre.

I have set foot in this place at least four times in my life. Not as a director, producer, actress or performer because those are so not up my alley, but as a ardent supporter of the annual hall productions back in NTU Hall 6.

Yesterday was the first time I returned to this place after becoming a mum. After having watched productions like Gruffalo's Child and Rapunzel, I realised that the girls enjoyed theatrical shows immensely and even gain new insights from them. So, it was definitely a delight for us when we were invited to watch Round the Moon, Blue the Sky - a special collaborative project between I Theatre and Asian Alliance of Theatre Festivals for Young Audiences (ATYA) which features a cast from Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan.

With the cast of the show - Meri Otoshi (Japan) as Leaf, Isabella Chiam (Singapore) as Smallest Dragon and Cherry Tiffany (Hong Kong) as Twiglet
Our favourite character is Smallest Dragon, the main protagonist of the show, who is always on the go, asking questions, poking her nose into things and is curious about the world. Her world is a world of wonder where everything seems a little magical - you can find magic in colour, shapes, behaviour, geometry and all the different meanings behind them. For instance, she discovers that leaves are not always green, they can be red or brown too. The moon is not the only thing that is round, so are bubbles, circles and many other things we can see around us.

One thing I love about such productions is that they always feel very lively, engaging and interactive. The cast will ask questions, let the audience help them to spot things and even get volunteers to go on stage - which is something really enjoyable and fun for the little ones. My favourite part of the show was the black light magic when the lights went out and you could see the moon, stars, fishes and birds that could seemingly glow in the dark.

As for the kids, Angel was a little shy initially and was totally scared when Smallest Dragon jumped down the stage and touched her golden shiny shoes. Not to mention that we were seated right in the first row. However, she soon warmed up and enjoyed shouting out the answers with the rest of the kids whenever the cast posed a question. As for Ariel, she freaked out a little when we first went into the dim theatre and she saw the colourful stage setup - and a dragon. Luckily, she calmed down within seconds and although she had to hold onto my hair for assurance, her eyes were glued to the stage from start to end and she had an absolutely awesome time too. 

Why is the moon round? Why is the sky blue? My dears, I hope you will never stop asking why, how and what.
A show which encourages kids to look, see, explore and discover the world around them, to be receptive to new knowledge and findings, to not solely depend on books or school for the answers to everything but to instead seek and uncover on their own, I think this positive underlying message is great for the young ones. For me, I do wish for my kids to never lose their sense of curiosity, their courage to explore and their ability to discover. 

Although the show is targeted at children from 2 to 8 years old, I do think it might be a little slow-moving and straightforward for the older kids but for those who have kids below the age of 6, this will definitely be a great show to watch as a family.


Date: 21-27 July

Time: Mon - Wed: 10am & 2pm, Thu - Fri: 10am, 2pm & 4pm, Sat & Sun: 10.30am & 2pm

Venue: Alliance Francaise Theatre (near Newton MRT)

Pricing: $30 per person, $114 for family package of 4. Infants are allowed but require a valid ticket. Booking fees are not included in the prices.

Tickets are sold at all Sistic outlets and at www.sistic.com.sg.

Disclosure: We were invited iTheatre to watch Round the Moon, Blue the Sky for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

Creativity 521 #50 - Rainbow flower crowns

Posted by ~Summer~ on 21.7.14
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I'm not a fan of flowers, especially real ones. To me, they wilt, die, take up space and are a waste of money. That said, when it comes to girly stuff like dresses and hair accessories, I do think that floral designs can look very beautiful and help to bring out our delicate feminine side.

We were looking through our stash of craft supplies at home and found some things that would make simple and pretty accessories for the girls - DIY Rainbow flower crowns.

Materials:

1) Crepe paper
2) Pipe cleaners
3) Scissors
4) Pencil and ruler


Firstly, join two or more pipe cleaners to form a ring that fits the head perfectly.


Next, fold the crepe paper such that it forms six layers and draw a 4.5" x 4.5" square on the top. Pressing the layers together, cut them neatly to form six squares. I used 3" x 3" squares for Ariel's crown and personally, I prefer the smaller flowers because they look more dainty.

Tip: The layers might start to separate halfway through the cutting so to make it easier for the child, you can ask him/her to rest the crepe paper on the table and use it as a support while cutting. Be extra careful when turning at the corners.
   
After that, while making sure the layers are neatly on top of each other, make three accordion folds to form six sides as shown.

Cut a pipe cleaner into half and use one of it to securely the middle, leaving a tail at the end. Open up to flatten the sides and round the edges. You can even cut petal like shapes if you prefer.

Tip: It does not matter if the crepe paper gets a little torn or move out of place. Flowers are not supposed to be too neat or perfect looking too!

Fold the sides together to form a V-shape and start separating the layers one by one. I find that this step really helps to train up patience, something that my girl can definitely do more of!

Adjust the petals and final look of the flower till you are satisfied. Tighten the pipe cleaner and give it some additional twists below the flower to hold the shape in place.

Repeat the steps using a different coloured crepe paper until you achieve your desired number of flowers. Attach the flowers to the ring using the loose ends of the pipe cleaners, ensuring that there are no sharp ends sticking out.

Voila! We are all done! =) You know, I was the first to try on the flower crown and I looked a tad silly in it. Then Angel put it on and I thought she rocked it. Oh well. The most important thing is that she loves wearing it!

Yay! Now we have flower crowns for the girls that didn't cost us a cent!

P.S. I love the bright, colourful flowers because they remind me of summer, joy, positivity and all the simple but beautiful things in life.Things that we sometimes take for granted.

******



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!

Still as beautiful

Posted by ~Summer~ on 17.7.14
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Being the one who faces my kids 24/7, I like to think that I would be the first to know if they have any rashes, cuts, wounds or insect bites. 

The other day, I brought Ariel to the PD for her vaccination and since Angel was with me, I casually asked the doctor about this red mole that has appeared on her lower lip. I didn't expect it to be anything serious and honestly, I had assumed that it might be a pimple or something and would go away soon.

She examined it for a while and then determined it to be a case of granuloma - which is a red or brown raised mark caused by excessive growth of capillaries and swelling, usually post trauma or injury. I can't really remember when was the last time she fell and hurt her lips but it must have been a long time ago. It kind of shocked me when the doctor said that the mark would likely be permanent and if we wish to remove it, we would have to do it surgically.

Her selfie taken in August 2013, you can't really see the spot from here but yes, it had started to form.


Oh my gosh. 

Yes, that was my first reaction. Then, I started to text the hubby frantically and asked if he had noticed the red mark and he said "Yes". And I subsequently dug through all my photos and then realised that the mark had already started to develop since last year, just that it has been becoming even more protruding and obvious recently.

What kind of a mum was I to not notice it? In case I forget, I had already let this girl suffer the agony of five stitches on her ear when she was two. Why am I not doing more to protect her? She is my girl, my precious girl after all and I don't deny it, I wish for her to be beautiful, both inside and out. 

Mirror reflection shot taken in January, 2014. Slowly but surely, the mark was becoming clearer.
So, even though it was not the end of the world, I started blaming myself and wondered if there was anything I could do. I did some research online and read that someone tried to scratch the granuloma until there was a new wound and when it recovered, the red mark vanished. I spoke to the hubby who was in disbelief that it would never go away and suggested getting something sharp to burst it. Oh my. Who's more extreme?

A big part of me wanted to leave things to fate and accept what has been given to us. I wanted to assure her that she was still my princess and nothing would ever change that. I wanted to maintain a positive outlook and be thankful that it is just a small dot and considering how many worse things are happening to children around the world, we are so, so, very blessed. Yet, a small part of me would keep eyeing that spot from time to time, especially when she looked at me in the eye and smiled, and yes, my itchy fingers even tried to help her scratch it and see if that could work wonders. It was useless as I only did it lightly with my nails, not bearing to use anything else sharper. Not surprisingly, she didn't really like it and would prefer that for now, we leave everything the way it is.

Her portrait taken in June 2014. The red spot now rests below her lower lip, slightly towards the right. For good or for bad, it is more obvious in real life than in pictures.
Anyway, though I didn't want to scare her with the thought of marks that don't go away, I didn't wish to hide the truth from her too and so, this conversation followed.

Angel: Mummy, so what did the doctor say?

Me: She said the red spot is something like a scar, likely left after an injury.

Angel: So it will stay here forever?

Me: I'm afraid it might be so, according to the doctor.

Angel: *thinks for a while* Mummy, do you have any scars too?

Me: Yes, darling. I have a scar on my right knee after a bad fall in primary school. I have a chicken pox scar, I have stretch marks after giving birth and *points all over face* see Mummy's face, I have a lot of pimple scars too.

Angel: *without hesitation* Mummy, it's okay. I think you still look very beautiful.

******

I could have cried at that last comment. Here I was, wondering about how a small, tiny bump could possibly affect my daughter's life and there she was, teaching me what it means to love and accept someone for who he/she is. Wholeheartedly.
 
Sometimes, I really wonder who is the child and who needs to learn more about life. I definitely have a long, long way to go and whatever happens to us, I am just glad to have this girl beside me and reminding me just how beautiful life is and how we should always learn to look on the bright side.

My dear Angel, as long as you are healthy and safe, that is all that should matter. Thank you for being willing to love me for who I am and I promise to work harder in loving you, nurturing you, and accepting you without trying to change who you are in life. 

That said, you must remember what we taught you - to use your hands to cushion your fall every time, okay? I don't wish to stop you from running, jumping and exploring the wonders of life but I hope you will have less severe injuries and learn to pick yourself up when you fall. It really pains me when you are in pain, you know?

I love you so much and please know that you will always be a very beautiful girl in my eyes. Remember that it is more important to be beautiful on the inside than out because that is what will carry you through your life and last for a lifetime.

Lots of love, 
Mummy.

All set for "big girl" pants

Posted by ~Summer~ on 15.7.14
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Nowadays, Ariel has been pointing to her diapers and saying "Poo poo" right after she actually does it. You know what that means? I think it's a sign that she's moving onto the next stage and that she might actually be ready for potty training at the age of 18 months.

While Angel only started her potty training at 22 months and I am still in a stage of denial and procrastination, at least I have done the first two steps in the potty training process:  1) Find a good potty and place it in a prominent position, and 2) Stock up pants diapers in the house.

While it can be an option to let your child run bottom naked in the house, I actually prefer to do that for only the first two days, deal with just a few pools of pee in the house, let her understand that all poo and pee should go into the potty, teach her to make her way to the potty and subsequently, train her to pull down her pants diapers on her own. For that, we turn to our trustworthy pants diapers brand - Drypers Drypantz.
 


I have to first tell you that Ariel has been rather prone to diaper rash and red marks on her waist and bottom, so that makes me extremely fussy when it comes to finding a good pants diapers that will provide softness, air circulation and comfort for my baby.


The new Drypers Drypantz now comes with Comfort Fit™ which comprises of a 100% breathable cloth-like cover and added breathability in the diaper, especially around the waistband which helps to avoid red marks and reduce pressure on baby’s tummy. Just a word of advice, when you buy a pants diapers, don't just decide on the size based on the recommended weight. Try it on your child and if the waistband feels even a little tight and leaves marks, go for a bigger size and find one that provides the most comfort.



Just the other day, I was having this conversation with a good friend who is also a mum to two young kids. We have both stayed in Europe for a few years and gone through winters with our kids where we had to dress them up in over three layers of clothes every time we go out. It was interesting to know that while she thinks that wrap round diapers are more convenient for travel, if you were to ask the hubby and I on which we prefer, our answer will be the pants diaper anytime.

Here are some reasons why.

1) Pants diapers are easy to put on and take off
This is crucial when you have a baby who is not particularly fond of diaper changing.

2) Diaper changing tables are not always available
In this instance, I am just glad I can change her in any toilet and put on a pants diapers properly even though she is standing up.

3) More time for outdoor
With an active child who loves to spend time out of home, having a pants diapers with a well-fitted waistband makes it less prone to sagging and thus more time for play.

Apart from meeting my needs for the above, Drypers Drypantz also provides greater absorbency which means my baby can stay dry and comfortable for a longer time. With Comfort Fit™ and an improved elastic, the pants diapers stay snug on her, allow her to move freely and be the happy, lively child that she is.


As unreal as it sounds, I am actually looking forward to potty training my girl and I jolly well know that she is in good hands, or pants, whenever we are out. That allows me to breathe easy, stay positive and smile when she smiles.

******



Breathe Easy with Drypers Drypantz today!

Sampling
Log on to www.facebook.com.sg/DrypersSingapore to request for FREE samples, or look out for it in-stores!

Promotional Offering (July 2014) 
Specially for the month of July, Drypers Drypantz can be purchased for a special trial of $10.95 per pack at participating supermarkets and hypermarkets. This works out to be only 29-35 cents per piece (depending on pack count). Sizes available: M44, L36, XL32, XXL28

Facebook Contest 
From mid July onwards, Drypers will also have a “Breathe Easy Breeze” game and every week, the top scorers stand a chance to walk away with fantastic prizes! Prizes include tickets (worth $88 each) to Lunchbox Theatrical Production’s “Bubble Magic” show, happening in early September 2014.

Disclosure: This is part of a series of sponsored conversations between Drypers and A Happy Mum. All opinions are my own.

Family day out at Science Centre Singapore

Posted by ~Summer~ on 15.7.14
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If I have to choose my most dreaded subject back in school days, that would be easy. I was more of a Chinese and Maths student and that was evident, as well as consistent, from primary school all the way till university. So although I did not particularly embrace English, it didn't come close to my most feared subject of all - Science.

Bearing that in mind, I have been trying to get Angel to be more curious about how the world works, about why things happen the way they do, about why there are actions and reactions - all in the hope of arousing her interest in Science and not letting my own fear of the subject pass on to her in any sense.

Over the weekend, we had a perfect opportunity to do that at Science Ahoy! which was held at the Science Centre Singapore. If you remember how we used to be Young Scientists when we were kids and went around collecting stamps and badges, well, this is similar except decades have past, wrinkles have formed, and it's now time for our little ones to play the part of the enthusiastic scientist instead.

As part of the Singapore Science Festival 2014, Science Ahoy! is being held for the first time where kids get to learn about Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics through a series of fun experiments and activities. Although it is targeted at primary school students, if you have a curious preschooler who is keen to try, I think this would be a great opportunity for you to come together as parent and child. For me, while trying to simplify some concepts in layman's terms for my big girl, we had fun bonding and learning new things together. Here are the four stations we tried out that day.

1) Avast Ye, Captains!

We made a boat out of cardboard, learnt about water tension and how to propel a boat using just a drop of soap. Next, we were also taught buoyancy and how a bigger surface area will enable a piece of plasticine to stay afloat.


2) Gooey Marmalade 

All kids like jelly, right? Ok, at least mine do. In this station, kids get to make a gooey jelly-like substance using just food colouring and psyllium husk - a natural source of soluble fiber, and they get to take it home too!


3) The Earth In Your Hands

This is definitely Angel's favourite station of all - likely because she got to be crafty! Kids get to learn about the different layers of the Earth, why earthquakes occur, as well as use plasticine, marble, scrap paper and plastic bowls to make their own model of the Earth as a keepsake. 


4) What Say Ye, Sailors?

In this last station, the kids were each given a leaf and tasked to find its perimeter and area. By using a piece of string and counting the number of squares on a paper, they learnt about creative ways to measure irregular shapes and also encrypt messages.

Upon completing every station, they will also receive a part of a treasure map and once the puzzle is solved, every kid will get to receive a 'treasure'. At end of the day, it's not about getting the treasure, it's about the process of finding it, right?

Science Ahoy! happens from now till 18 July at Science Centre Singapore, Annexe Hall 1. It takes approximately 1.5 hours to complete and fees are at $5 per participant, not inclusive of Science Centre admission. For more details, go here.

I think my girl was absolutely thrilled to be a young scientist for a day! Will your kid be too?

Oh wait, that is not all we did in a day at the Science Centre. Here are some other fun and family-friendly activities you can consider too!

******

Human Body Experience (HBX)

This unique larger-than-life 3D interactive exhibit allows a multi-sensory journey through the human anatomy for visitors to learn about the workings of the circulatory, digestive, immune, nervous and respiratory systems. You will enter through the mouth of a 6-metre tall human face and pass through a twisting maze of tunnels through the throat and stomach.

It might sound bizarre but we actually loved sliding down the throat, crawling through the arteries, bouncing in the stomach, getting sprayed by 'acid', feeling the air in the lungs and squeezing through intestines. I would say it was definitely the most fun and innovative way for families to come together and learn about the amazing functions of the human body.


HBX exhibition runs from now till 31 May 2016 at Science Centre Singapore, Hall B. Tickets are priced at S$20 per adult and S$15 per child, inclusive of admission to Science Centre. For more information, go here.

Note: Visitors are advised to come in something comfortable and required to have a basic level of physical flexibility and balance. The attraction contains enclosed spaces, strobe lighting and special effects that might be uncomfortable for some and are recommended for children above five. But just so you know, Ariel enjoyed every part of the journey too because it was not an exhibit but a theme park to her!

KidsSTOP

Occupying over 3,000 square meters within the Omni Theatre building, KidsSTOP is an unique edutainment centre that allows children to step into an imaginary world and embark on an exciting journey of discovery. Through hands-on activities and programs in the four thematic zones - Imagine, Experience, Discover, Dream, young children will be engaged and inspired to find out more about the world in a fun, interactive way.

The girls learnt to be builders and worked with nuts and bolts, became cashiers in the supermarket, treated a sick baby, drove airplanes, became world class musicians, whipped up delicacies, fed gerbils and touched chicks (real ones! we happened to be there at the perfect timing!), and even did their first live band performance. Imagination can be so powerful, isn't it?



For admission charges and operating hours of KidsSTOP, go here.

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Well, I guess learning Science can involve a lot of laughter, play and family bonding after all! It's not hard to tell but we'll definitely be back for more fun learning soon!

Disclosure: We were invited to a bloggers' event to experience Science Ahoy!, Human Body Experience and KidsSTOP. All opinions are our own.

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