Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Wishing for a White Christmas...

How's your Christmas? We spent a nice, quiet Christmas with loved ones. We didn't even attempt to make our way to town because crowds are not what we generally fancy. We did take the little boy to see the lightings in Orchard Road a few weeks ago and he thoroughly enjoyed himself. So we thought that would be good enough.

But if there's one thing I really wish for, it is to experience a white Christmas. It's something I've been dreaming of since I was a little girl, so hopefully someday in the near future, I'll get that wish fulfilled.

In the mean time, I decided to have our own version of a 'white Christmas'.

On Christmas eve, I was doing some cleaning up around the house and had a stack of documents to be discarded. I got the helper to tear them into small pieces. The little boy decided to join in the 'fun'. When it was all done, we had a big bag of shredded paper and I suddenly had an idea to let my boy enjoy a bit of 'snowing' (thanks to inspiration from fellow mom blogger).

Too bad I didn't manage to capture any nice pictures of the 'snowing', but it's not too hard to imagine ya? *smile* Kenan was having so much fun that he even refused to let us throw the paper away...

Anyway, hope I'm not too late to send you my holiday wishes:

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Don't Sue Me for Having an Under-Aged Helper (and Why You Should Get Your Kids to Do Housework)

Recently, the little boy's been getting quite interested in house chores. In the beginning, he was content to just watch what we do, but now he wants to have a go at it as well, which I'm happy to indulge him as long as he doesn't create more mess than before. After all, who doesn't like some extra help around the house ya?

Kenan helps with the laundry: My boy sat outside the bathroom and watched the maid washed his clothes. Then when it was done, he lifted the basin and ran away with it to the yard and waited for the maid to come and hang up the clothes. Of course, he couldn't wait to lend a hand with that as well!

Kenan mops the floor: One morning, Kenan had just woken up and walked out of his room when he spotted the mop standing at one corner. He immediately grabbed it and started mopping the floor!

For us, it's been real fun watching the little boy, who thinks it's all a game.

But seriously, I would want him to help out around the house when he's older. I see it as a life skill which helps reinforce independence. Plus I'm sure his future wife would appreciate having a husband who does the chores (so she better treats this mom-in-law well *laughs*). 

This also reminded me of something interesting I heard on radio some time ago. The DJ was interviewing his guest for some parenting tips and asked how can parents better motivate their kids to study. The answer was real simple: get the kids to do housework. Yes, you read it right - do housework!

He noted that many parents often spare their kids from the house chores and say all they need to do is concentrate on their studies. Yet the kids end up complaining that sitting at their desk studying is "hard work". However, when parents start getting their children to do the chores, they would likely come to appreciate that studying is probably not such hard work anymore.

Sounds like a good idea, doesn't it? So if you know of a parent who has problem getting their kids to study, why not share this and see what's the outcome. (do share with me, I would love to know!)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

How to Plan the Perfect Party with Disney Junior's microsite

My son's birthday is round the corner and the thought of planning a party for him had me almost losing  sleep, until I discovered a treasure trove of ideas from Disney Junior.

Last week, I was invited by the really nice people from Disney Junior to a media luncheon at La Nonna, an Italian restaurant in Holland Village.

There, we were introduced to "For Grown Ups", a microsite on the Disney Junior website that "provides all-you-need-to-know guides for parents to create Disney-themed celebrations".

To show us what can be achieved with the ideas and materials found on the microsite, the event venue was decorated in the 'Jake and the Never Land Pirates' theme.

Pic 1: Treasure chest, rainbow wand, Jake's Forever Sword, Pic 2: Doubloons, Jake and the Never Land Pirates playset, pirate's eye-patch, Pic 3: Name tag (printed on sticky label), Pic 4: Pirate hat

Pics left: Kenan playing with paper figurines from the Jake and Never Land Pirates playset, Pic right: Biscuits given to us in the goodie bag (he's actually afraid of the skull)

Once home, I couldn't wait to check out the site. The resources on the site are organised according to holiday themes, such as Halloween, Christmas and New Year, whereas birthday parties are organised by characters and shows.

Whether you're celebrating a birthday or a festive event, these are what you'll find:

  • Designs for invites
  • Decoration and favours
  • Food ideas and recipes
  • Activities and games 

Since the new year is coming, I decided to explore what they have for New Year celebration and found some really cool stuff:

Great decor and craft ideas like Mickey Mouse Clubhouse streamers, mobile centrepiece, tiaras etc. In fact, some of the ideas here can also be used for birthday celebration. For example, the streamers can be used for decorating a Mickey Mouse-themed birthday party.

For some of the themes, like this one for New Year celebration, there's a 'Try This!' box at the bottom of the page which has some really cool stuff and ideas (see the next pic).

For example, I found the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse New Year calendar which has some cute pictures that will be adored by children and adults alike.

With a great resource like 'For Grown Ups', planning that perfect party is now easy peasy!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Happy Call Pan - The Latest Rave in Singapore Homes

If you are living opposite my apartment, you would have noticed something different going in our kitchen the last few weeks. Instead of the helper doing the cooking, this mistress of the house has taken over!

Thanks (or no thanks) to my latest kitchen 'toy' - the Happy Call Pan (a Korean innovation), I'm now possibly on my way to becoming a domestic goddess, at least in the culinary department.

I was first introduced to the pan through a review on my friend Pauline's blog.

Then I watched its TV ad on Channel U and was so amazed by what I saw that I immediately went online to order one (you can also watch a video about the pan here).

So what are the advantages of cooking with the Happy Call Pan?

  • Cooks faster than normal wok or pan because of its patented heat retention technology as well as the fact that it's coated with titanium and ceramic (making it a non-stick pan as well)
  • Because you cover the pan when cooking (there's a magnetic clip at the end of the handle that keeps the pan tightly closed), there's not the usual smoke and odor, thus leaving the kitchen almost grease-free
  • Healthier cooking because you only need to use minimal amount of oil, or none at all if you prefer
  • You can also cook on both sides with an easy flip of the pan, so some thing like frying fish becomes much easier
  • Cleaning the pan is easier because of its non-stick property

When I ordered the pan, their newest product, the Ocher Deeper Pan has just been launched. Since I originally wanted a deeper pan, I went ahead and bought the Ocher pan.

My Ocher pan - came with a pack of free sealer and manuals (original manual in Korean, and a translated English version)

So how was my experience with the pan? I'm happy with the shorter cooking time; more importantly, I'm pleased with having a cleaner kitchen since there's no spattering oil and the pan doesn't emit any smoke like the wok does.

Here's a small sampling of what I've cooked over the weeks...

Top: Grilled BBQ ribs (doesn't look that appealing but it tastes good) - this was such a chore to prepare previously because when the caramelised ribs are finally cooked, the wok would be so sticky that it's hard to wash; what's worse was the strong odor lingering in the air and the kitchen left in a greasy state. But with the Happy Call Pan, I no longer have such problems! Bottom: Making french toast is a real breeze now! It takes no more than five minutes to get them all done.

Pic 1: Stir-fried green marrow (or 'hairy melon' as some call it) with carrots, prawns and eggs, Pic 2: Stir-fried cauliflower with carrots, tomatoes and beancurd, Pic 3: Fried rice - cooked the ingredients using Happy Call then transferred to wok and fried together with rice (too much rice to be cooked in the pan), Pic 4: Stir-fried broccoli with prawns

One thing I've yet to master is frying a whole fish. I couldn't really make the skin crispy, guess I'll just have to keep experimenting till I get it right. But I could make teriyaki cod fish easily with the pan:

By the way, I also make muah chee with the pan. Yes, you heard it right - muah chee! But we were so excited with eating it that I forgot to take a picture. Oh well, the next time.

And there's now also a Facebook page for sharing of Happy Call recipes, which even include creations like cakes and breads - yes, you can bake using the Happy Call pan! 

So are you tempted to get one as well?

More about Happy Call pans:

Update (21 Feb 2012):
Check out the Munch Ministry website and Facebook page for more Happy Call recipes and more!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Shopping My Way

When it comes to shopping, my son has his own way of doing it.

At the toy stores:

  1. Let me walk around and try out every single toy I find interesting.
  2. *Target locked on* This is what I would like to have, let me carry it around while I shop a bit more.
  3. I'm heading to the cashier, dad/mom, get ready the money! (Yes, it's true! He seems to understand about the having to pay money bit!)

When dad/mom tells him "no" to buying his choice item, depending on his mood, he may be sweet enough to hand us the toy so we can return it to the shelf, or we'll end up in a wrestling match trying to get the toy out of his tight grip.

But when shopping has nothing to do with toys, this is what he does:

*Sorry for the blur photo* The look of delight on his face when he finally found the ONE (haha... yes, in this case, it's men's brief!!)

When daddy, mommy say it's time to go, he dashes out faster than either of us could catch him (if you're wondering, nope, we didn't buy the brief!)

Then, it's off to 'window-shopping'!

Does your little one enjoy 'shopping'? Do you often succumb at the toy stores and end up buying stuff for him or her?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Matter of Perspective

Beauty is around us all the time. But often, we live such hurried lives, get so caught up with the 'important' things, that we miss seeing the abundance of beauty that is there.

Yesterday, I was at the supermarket and wanted to buy some radish to make soup.


After getting what I needed, I moved on quickly. But when I was at the opposite aisle and by chance took a glance at the radish, I was surprised by what I saw:

Have you ever seen radish from this perspective? I have not, and I can't help but to marvel at the pretty 'flowers' that I'm seeing. It has never occurred to me to see a radish from that angle. If I didn't see this by chance, I won't have known the beauty that's available from that perspective.

But that's how life often is. We usually only see things from one angle and forgot that we can pick another lens and find new perspectives to seeing the same thing. 

Do you have a problem that's been bugging you for a long time? Sometimes, all it takes to overcome the challenge is just a change of perspective. 

It makes me think too, that as we rush through life, just how much beauty we are missing out on what's around us - the beauty that can only be seen with a quiet heart and a still mind

So today, even if it's just for five minutes, consciously slow down your pace. Take in a deep breath and begin to be aware of what's around you. Take in the sights, the sounds, the smells; see what new things you can discover. I hope that you will find something extraordinary in the mundane, and to see the beauty within YOU.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

How Five Cents Can Help a Child

Do you have a five-cent coin with you now? Please take it out and have a good look at it.

What do you see?

Well, it’s very small and light, it’s gold, and it has the image of the fruit salad plant on one side and the coat of arms of Singapore on the other.

But beyond what you can see physically, have you ever pondered its worth?

Like me, you probably never did. In this affluent country we live in, a five-cent coin is almost of no value. After all, what can it buy us?

Yet somewhere else in the world, five cents can do much.

What five cents can be worth

According to Children's Hunger Fund, US$0.05 is enough to provide a hungry child a meal (see CHF gift catalog). 

Ok, so US$0.05 is about S$0.065, I’ve stretched that a little.

But my purpose is to get you to see that what appears of little or no value to us can make a big difference to someone else - sometimes, a difference as huge abetween life and death. 

Image source: CHF

And last month, the world’s total population has hit the 7 billion people mark. Yet it's estimated that this year, a startling 6 million children will die from hunger related causes. Just think, 6 million children - that's more than the whole population of Singapore! 

Image source: CHF

The problem may seem overwhelming, but if each of us contribute just US$5, we can make a huge enough impact. 

"If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one." Mother Theresa

What two mom bloggers are doing

Alternatively, here's how you can help - through what many Singaporeans do best - shopping. 

Two mom bloggers Pauline and Rachel have come together to do a fund-raising for CHF (in fact, Rachel is the one who initiated this awareness campaign about CHF and the two of them are so humble that they initially didn't want to make known their identities). Together with another friend, they will be setting up stall to sell exquisite and unique hand-made crafts.

Here are the details:

Date: Saturday, 3 December
Time: 2 - 9pm

All proceeds from this bazaar event will go to CHF. Look out for a signage that indicates it's a fund-raising activity for CHF.

So if you're in Orchard area this Saturday, swing by  *SCAPE to support these wonderful ladies in their effort. 

And if you are inspired enough, you can organise a fund-raising activity for CHF too!

Here are some suggestions:
  • Bake sale
  • Make and sell a product
  • Skip a meal (you get to lose some weight by doing good) or a Starbucks coffee and donate the money to CHF

Or if you have a child who has learnt to save some money, talk to him/her to give a little of his savings to help hungry children.

What else can you do? 

You can also help create awareness about CHF. 

Simply share on your blog any of the information you've read here (or from Rachel and Pauline's blogs), together with the logo above (just right click and save image in your hard drive).

Appeal for friends and readers to go directly to this page to make a contribution. All it takes is US $5.00 for 100 meals for the children. Of course, it will be great if you can contribute more. 

Or you can also go to this page to make a donation to other areas of needs, such as disaster relief and orphan care. 

If you blog about this or plan to organise a fund-raising activity, please drop me a note here. Let's encourage one another to make a difference to those who are in need.

 I'll leave you with this quote that I find so meaningful:

"How wonderful it is that nobody needs wait a single moment before starting to improve the world." Anne Frank

About Children's Hunger Fund

Children's Hunger Fund is a Christian nonprofit organization that works to alleviate the suffering of children in impoverished regions across America and around the world. Through strategic partnerships in targeted communities, CHF works to improve the lives of poor children and their families comprehensively, meeting their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs.

Since CHF began in 1991, the organisation has distributed more than $927 million in food and other resources to serve the needs of more than 10 million children in thirty-five U.S. states and seventy-two countries worldwide.

Since CHF's inception, an average of 99% of its total contributions have been used for programs serving the needs of children.

If you are one of those who scrutinises a charity's financial statements before making a contribution, examine the figures here.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Look Mom, I Can Fit in Here!

I must be a bad mom. Unlike many parents, grandparents (and even the maids) who bring the little ones out for  grocery shopping, window shopping or at least to the playground EVERYDAY, I don't. From Mondays to Fridays, he gets out of the house about thrice on average. Perhaps because of this, my boy is bored. So bored is he that he has resorted to some unconventional idea of play.

It started a few months back with this....

Then this....

And in the past two weeks, it has been this....

(when he thought no one was looking)

Emptied a book basket...

... and cramped himself into that small space and finding out it ain't comfortable

Then he started emptying the toy baskets and found that they worked really well...

Anyway, I call this the 'See Where I Can Fit In' game. It makes me feel kinda guilty - guilty that I haven't bought him more toys, guilty that I haven't taken him out more often (but it's been raining a lot too!), guilty that I've been too caught up with work and whatever else.

BUT... looking at the bright side of things, I must say he's getting more creative, and he's definitely learning how to make the best out of a situation. Which don't you think is an important life skill to acquire?

So hey, maybe I'm not such a bad mom after all?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Latest Love Affair

At different phases, my boy has been fascinated by different things. Guess what's caught his attention now?

Yes, it's the washing machine. Don't ask me why. I cannot fathom.

He loves watching the clothes gets spun around and would even point out which garment belongs to who (dad-dad, mama, por-por - which means grandma, or jie-jie, our domestic helper).

Recently, he has a new watch-the-machine-spin ritual.

He would take a stool, plonk it down in front of the machine and stick his butts on it for at least the next five to 10 minutes. Then he'll get up and start pressing the buttons or try opening the door. Or worse, he starts exploring the many bottles of detergents nearby and a battle ensues, with us (the helper and I) trying to stop him from grabbing (or worse, opening) any of the said bottles. Ah.. this is what keeps me the WAHM busy.

How about your little ones? What's their latest fascination? Please do share, so I can know what might potentially be up ahead!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Letter to My Son

You are almost two now and everyday, you never fail to amaze us by how much you’re learning and how quickly you learn.

Just last week, you started climbing the metal gate (and how adept you’re at it!) and the first thing that came to my mind was – who in the world taught you that?! And when you climbed high enough, you pressed the door bell and flashed your sweetest smile.

Ahh... yes son, you can now reach the bell without having any of us carry you – and well done for finding your solution to the challenge! I’m proud that you’re able to do that, but be careful alright? Choose a safer solution if you can help it and not make mommy’s heart miss a beat!

 Meanwhile, your good observation skills and superb memory is certainly a great help to mommy, who seems to be getting more forgetful these days. You can remember things that I’ve taught you just once, like the colour grey or what a spade is, and you know where some things are kept, even when I thought you’ve never noticed them. Like the other day when I said I needed to take your temperature, you ran to your room to get the thermometer and I thought you didn’t see where I’ve placed it.

Mommy can see that you’re becoming more sociable too. Remember our recent trip to the library? At the entrance, you went up to one slightly older boy and shook hands with him. After that, both of you went into the library together and even introduced books to each other. I hope that when you start school, you will enjoy learning and playing together with your new friends.

But for now, rabbit and teddy bear remain your best friends, who together with mommy, daddy and jie-jie, are your ‘guinea pigs’ for all your culinary creations – usually rather ‘exotic’ ones, like a one-pot dish comprising sausage, orange, eggs, banana and fries.

When your soft toy friends are sick, you will put on the stethoscope and try to find out what’s wrong with them and then feed them medicine. Would “doctor” be your answer when asked what you want to be when you grow up? It will be interesting to find out what your dreams and passion are. Whatever they may be, I hope that you will pursue your passion and put your talents to good use.

These days, whenever you misbehaved and I get angry, you would apologise by signing ‘sorry’. Seeing you ‘say’ sorry, and sometimes so profusely, makes my anger dissipates almost immediately. You know, the truth is, mommy won’t be angry with you for long. I love you too much for that. I just hope that when you’re older, you can understand why sometimes I need to discipline you and not allow you to do certain things.

It’s been raining more frequently, not surprising since it’s the year end. It means you can’t go to the parks as often as before. Now that the weather is turning cooler, you also don’t ask for the air-con anymore. Do you remember how you would go to mommy and daddy’s room, take the remote control and switch on the air-con yourself? Daddy and I were amused and laughed at how you know about enjoying creature comforts at such a tender age. Not only that, you’ve also learnt how to switch on the TV and surf channels with the remote control! We are proud of the skills you’ve picked up, though sometimes we wish you could wait a while longer on some of them!

But today, as I watched you put the toys into the basket and carried it to your room and placed it back on the shelf, my heart swelled with pride. You’re gaining greater independence and you sometimes act like an adult, like how you now prefer to sit on the dining chair instead of the highchair.

Thankfully, one thing that has not changed yet is how you still prefer to be carried by me, bathed by me, fed by me and on one else but mommy to accompany you at bedtime. I know someday this will all change, perhaps it will come sooner than I expected. I can’t imagine how it will be when you are bigger and start dating. I hope I won’t get too jealous of your girlfriends, and eventually wife. 

But till then, I relish in being the centre of your world, and I am so thankful for all the joys you’ve brought me. I hope that when you’re all grown up, you would still see me as a wonderful mom, as just I think you’re the sweetest little boy in the whole world. Mommy loves you. Forever.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Not Sure Where to Go this Weekend? Try the Animal Resort

Do you know that besides the zoo and bird park, there are other places in Singapore where children can have a close encounter with animals? Well, I surely didn't, not until friends started sharing with me about them. The latest that we've discovered is The Animal Resort.

The Animal Resort, whose core business is actually pet business, is located at Seletar West, near Jalan Kayu which is famous for its prata shops, otah and durian/chocolate cake from Jane's Cake Station). 

What You Can See and Do

Stepping into the resort, we were immediately greeted by smell of animal dung - now, how much more 'kampong' can it get? 

While some animals like chicken, peacock, horse and goat were behind fence, there were others roaming freely on the sprawling grounds. We spent about an hour there feeding small animals and exploring the place.

The goat and the horse - I wish they have their own kind for company, they looked so lonely!

Getting to know some feathered friends... as you can see, some of them were roaming freely!

Top pic: Kenan feeding the rabbits. Bottom pic: We put the carrot at the cage and the guinea pig happily gnawed away at it.

Top pic: There were a variety of feeds for the different animals; we bought carrots ($1/pack), which can feed the horse, goat, rabbit and guinea pig. Bottom pic: The shed which holds the rabbits and guinea pigs.

Top pic: Kenan was amused by the talking parrot, which said "hello" to us. Bottom pic: Looking at fishes in the pond.

Our verdict: The resort is rustic but some people may find it run down. Overall quite a good place for young children to be introduced to animals and have close encounters with them. After you're done, you can hop over to Jalan Kayu for some prata and otah! 

The Animal Resort
T81 Seletar West Farmway 5 
Singapore 798061
Tel: 6338 7665
Email: ricted@singnet.com.sg
Free admission

Another similar place that you may like to visit is the Pasir Ris Kid's Kampong. Read about it here

Hope your little ones will have a fun weekend!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Packing for a Holiday and Other Tips for Travelling with Tots

When we were preparing for our trip, the biggest headache was in packing for Kenan. It being our first family holiday, I decided to ask friends who had travelled to Hong Kong with their young children for some tips. Here's sharing with you the tips I've picked up, as well as what we learnt from our trip.

Packing for the little one

Besides bringing along the essential items like clothes, diapers and formula milk, we brought along the following:

Part 1 Items

  • Medicine – for fever, cough, running nose and diarrhoea (happened to be at the PD a few weeks before our trip and I asked her for the medicine. Otherwise, I'm sure you could also go to a GP and ask to buy the medicine, explaining that it's for a holiday) 
  • Syringe/measuring cup for the medicine
  • Thermometer
  • Nail clipper
  • Face and bath towel for the little boy
  • Detergent and sponge for cleaning cutlery and milk bottle

Part 2 Items
  • Spoon and fork with a small scissors for cutting food – I don't bring scissors out when in Singapore as I’ll use fork and knife to slowly cut the food into smaller pieces. But when we were on holiday, I rather use scissors to speed things up. Didn’t bring bowl or plate; fed Kenan food direct from whatever utensil I was using.

Bought the cutlery set and a pair of small scissors from Daiso. I took out the pair of chopsticks and managed to put the scissors in, so everything was stored neatly and easy for travel.

  • Bottle of drinking water from Singapore - no problem with the customs at all! Just say it’s for the child. We mixed that with the water in Hong Kong for Kenan on the first day, in case of "水土不服" (we rather trust the old folks' belief than have him fall ill while overseas!).
  • Box of plasters
  • Antiseptic cream that works for both insect bites and cuts (bought from pharmacy, just ask pharmacist which can be used for toddlers)
  • Biscuits and raisins - for the plane rides and when we are out and about (sometimes meals get delayed and he can snack)
  • Some small toys – for the plane rides and for entertaining him at restaurants
  • Pigeon’s antibacterial wet wipes (“formulated with 100 per cent food grade ingredients”)  - which can be used to clean feeding utensils, pacifiers and teethers. I used it to clean the utensils before use, since I'm feeding my boy from it
  • Antibacterial wet tissue and disinfecting hand gel
  • Hot water flask (for making formula milk) - in the end, like what fellow mom blogger PC did, we ended up asking for hot water from restaurants (I asked her for some tips as she went HK recently, which she did generously. Read her posts on her HK trip here, here and here) .
  • Plastic bags - in case of soiled diapers and clothes etc.
  • Water bottle (Kenan's)
  • Milk bottle
  • Foldable umbrella
  • Small container for milk powder
  • Baby carrier

All the Part 2 items were what we took with us everyday, all squeezed into a single haversack. The hot water flask was the only thing that we left in the hotel after the first day.

Other tips we learnt:

When we were travelling without our little boy, we didn't notice if the roads were stroller-friendly or if restaurants have highchairs. But things are different when you travel with a tot. Since we never noticed these details in our previous travelling, we decided to ask friends.

The first thing I asked was if it was a good idea to bring along an umbrella stroller to HK and most of the answers I got were negative. So in the end, we brought along our Ergo baby carrier (I also bought a new haversack that was big enough to put in the baby carrier - which has a thick waist band that makes it a bit bulky even after folding).

We also chose flight timings which coincided with our boy's nap hours. True enough, shortly after he boarded the plane, he slept. It happened both times. So we didn't worry about the possible discomfort in his ears due to air pressure changes when the plane took off. 

For Hong Kong hotels, we picked those that were near MTR stations and the city area. This worked really well because on some days we were so tired that we actually returned to the hotel to rest and gave Kenan his afternoon milk before we ventured out again.

When eating at restaurants, we tried to go a bit earlier/later to avoid the peak-hour crowd. The staff were usually more attentive/helpful. And in case my boy throws a fuss, we won't cause too much of an irk to too many diners!

I hope you find these tips useful. If you have other great tips for travelling with young children, please do share, thanks!

Hong Kong Trip - A Note on Highchairs

During our Hong Kong trip, we ate often at restaurants, just so to spare ourselves the potential hazards (and damages incurred) from the curious-toddler-examining-everything-on-table syndrome by having bigger tables and more space around so he couldn't grab things easily.

It was interesting to note that unlike in Singapore where majority of restaurants use the white plastic Ikea highchair, quite a number of Hong Kong restaurants actually went the to the trouble of making highchairs that match the rest of the chairs in their restaurant. Even then, not all restaurants have highchairs, only the bigger/more expensive ones do.

The highchair Kenan sits in matches the rest of the chairs in the restaurant. It even has a foot rest, very thoughtful!

Highchair from the Crystal Lotus chinese restaurant in Disneyland Hotel

This other restaurant offers booster seats like this one, which is strapped onto the adult chair. I've never encountered this in Singapore, not a bad option.

I know I've taken for granted how family-friendly the restaurants and eateries in Singapore are. I must really applaud the business culture here and it makes me feel how fortunate we are to be living in Singapore, with all the conveniences and comforts we enjoy!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Hong Kong Trip - Who Says Young Children Don't Know How to Enjoy Disneyland?

When we first decided to bring Kenan to Disneyland Hong Kong, we were a bit apprehensive. We weren't sure if a less than two-year-old toddler would know how to appreciate the rides and other attractions that the park has to offer. But all our concerns vanished and we soon learnt that the magic of Disney knows no age boundaries.

If you're contemplating a trip to Disneyland Hong Kong with your family, especially if you have young children, I would say it's a good choice of destination.

Comparing to other Disneyland parks, the one in Hong Kong is relatively small. This means the little ones will less likely be overwhelmed and the pace will be more leisurely for the whole family.

Here are some tips I've learnt to better enjoy Disneyland HK:
  • You can probably finish all the rides and shows in a day but if you prefer to enjoy the fun at a leisurely pace, then make it one-and-a-half day. That way, you can even head to the hotel for a nap before returning for more.
  • Go during the weekdays and it will likely be less crowded (translating to shorter waiting time at each attraction). We were there on a Tuesday and the crowd was bearable (we've experienced a much bigger crowd when we went to Japan's Disney Sea some years back).
  • Take note of all the show times and then plan the rides around it. From our experience, all the shows were great, though Kenan cried a little at start of the Lion King musical ('Festival of the Lion King', Adventureland), probably a bit overwhelmed by the sounds and lights. For each of the shows, you probably want to go there and queue at least 30 minutes before show starts.
  • Make use of your FASTPASS at designated attractions to minimise waiting time (read more about it here).
  • You can skip the shops lining the Main Street and come back for them later. Anyway, there's also shops at the hotel where you can continue the shopping experience.
  • You might want to save some of the popular rides for later in the day when the queues seem to be shorter.
  • Rent a stroller at the Fire Department on Town Square.
  • Don't miss the Flights of Fantasy Parade and fireworks!
  • Check out the Disneyland Hong Kong website for promotions and special offers.
By the way, the park will be having a new attraction - Toy Story Land, which opens 18 Nov. If you do visit then, please let me know if it's good.

I'll end off with some photos from our Disney trip!

Kenan enjoying the Flights of Fantasy Parade where there were lots of amazing floats and dancing characters. Crowds already gathered at both sides of the road about half an hour before show starts. Being the kiasu Singaporeans, we found a nice spot and sat down to wait.

The musicals were great! Kenan especially loved the Golden Mickeys show (top pic) and strangely, two days after we returned home, he suddenly asked me to play his music CD - and it's a first! He's never seem to be interested in music before this.

The Fire Dept - where visitors can rent strollers (in blue as seen in photo above). They even put a nice big name tag with your child's name on the back of the stroller for easy identification. You are required to park the strollers at designated area at each attraction.

Enjoying the Tinkle Bell Castle Illumination - a great show of lights and music


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