Sunday, January 30, 2011

We Need More Family-Oriented Businesses!

Since the last time we went to Petit Bowl, we've been back there twice to get more frozen meals - to help tide over this period where I'm training the new helper and in preparation for the Lunar New Year. I must say this cafe is really a god-send and I wish there are more such truly family-oriented businesses in Singapore.

Even as the government scratched their heads for ideas to coax and entice Singaporeans to procreate, I strongly feel that giving monetary rewards is not the only way to go.

What else then?

For me, I am definitely looking forward to having more services that can help families cope with the care of our littles ones - from caregiving related services such as infant-care centres, childcare centres and babysitters, to something less critical, though not any less important, like Petit Bowl that takes care of the dietary needs and make the parenting process an easier one for first-time parents. In the case of Petit Bowl, it's a great service for parents who are too busy to cook, have run out of ideas of what to cook or are just not good cooks - like myself!

I feel that the government should do more to encourage the growth of businesses that are geared towards serving the families. If there are more support and services available to help parents cope with the responsibilities and tasks of looking after their children, then I believe more people will be willing to have kids.

Consider this - the extended family is shrinking in size. This means that young parents are getting lesser help and social support from their family members and relatives. It is also getting more common that many grandparents these days are not keen to help take care of their grandchildren, either because they are working, or they hope to spend their golden years pursuing their hobbies and interests or spending more time with friends. After all, they have slogged for decades to bring up their children, isn't it time they enjoy life? And looking after a newborn is no easy task, I shudder at the thought of going through the cycle again, what more them, when they are already in their 50s, 60s or even 70s?

As a result, more young families are depending on maids to look after their offsprings. But we are now facing a maid crunch and to make matter worse, their salaries are rising (17 major maid agencies have recently announced that the monthly salary for Indonesian helpers will be raised to $450), thus having a maid may no longer be a viable option for some.

So what's the alternative? Infant-care? However, from what I understand, places in infant-care centres are limited, and often, there are long waiting lists in some of the centres. With limited social support and the lack of services, it's little wonder that many Singaporeans are not keen to have children or to simply stop at one.

So even as the issue of declining fertility rate is being debated here (it's fallen to all time low of 1.16 for 2010), I would love to see what the government will come up with the encourage Singaporeans to give birth.

Back to Petit Bowl - it's been nominated for the 'We Welcome Families' Award by the Businesses for Families Council and they asked me if I'd like to vote for them. Needless to say, they've got my vote!

Thursday, January 20, 2011









我想,人生在每个阶段都有不同的重点。我选择了当个WAHM (Work-at-home-mom 在家工作的母亲) ,因为我希望在孩子成长的每个阶段,在他所经历的每个最初,我都在他身边。我也许不是最称职的妈妈,但我愿意努力,只因我希望能给孩子最好的。这就是所谓的天下父母心吧!




Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I Can Brush My Teeth!

Kenan has seven teeth since he was close to 11 months old and many people were often amazed by the number of teeth he has.

However, it hasn't been easy for us to clean his teeth. He used to allow us to clean his teeth but these days, he struggles every time I attempt to put the toothbrush into his mouth. I got really worried that he may end up with tooth decay.

The toothbrush that Kenan was using

Then I chanced upon Brush-Baby's "soft chewable toothbrush" at Kiddy Palace recently (S$8.90).

Meant for children from 10 months to 3 years ago, it is made of BPA-free silicone and uses babies' innate tendency to chew to clean their top and bottom teeth. According to the text on the packaging, the soft, chewable bristles can also help massage babies' gums or be cooled in the fridge to soothe teething gums (you can apply teething gel on it too).

A view from the front: The toothbrush has upper and lower bristles,
as well as bristles on both sides

I am quite happy ever since I started letting Kenan use this toothbrush as he is quite ready to 'brush' his teeth with it. My only complaint is that the length of the toothbrush is a bit too long and it isn't easy to fit it fully into Kenan's mouth. And because of that, I only apply toothpaste at one end instead of the centre, which was how I used to do.

For more information on Brush-Baby's toothbrush, visit their website at:

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Petit Bowl - Solution for a Quick Meal

Recently I discovered a solution to quickly and easily prepare my boy's meals - Petit Bowl at United Square.

Petit Bowl is a cafe that sells frozen meals for babies (four months onwards) and children. The food are "without added salt, sugar or artificial flavourings".

I first came across the cafe some months back but never thought of getting anything there as our old helper was still around and she cooked Kenan's meals for me.

But now that the new helper has yet to arrive and I'm getting really tired from doing all the housework, I thought why not get the frozen meals and make cooking for Kenan easier? But before that, we decided to let Kenan try out the food first.

Kenan playing with some of the toys in the cafe

As we've not cooked much red meat for him so far, we thought it would be great to give him either beef or lamb. We chose the pumpkin stewed beef (beef, pumpkin, apple) as suggested by the staff; it was marked as 'Chef's Recommendation' and smells really yummy. By the way, the cafe also let us tried two items and if I'm not wrong, different items are available for sampling everyday.

While Kenan doesn't particularly like beef, the stewed beef and the two samplings smell so irresistably good that we just decided to go ahead and buy something for our boy. We bought the following:
  • Lamb casserole (4oz for $6.90) - includes lamb, potato, carrot and tomato
  • Chicken with tomato and rice (4oz for $5.90) - includes chicken, tomato, carrot, potato and brown rice
  • Cod fish spinach and alphabet pasta (4oz for $6.90) - includes cod fish, spinach, milk, cheese and gulten-free pasta
  • Buttenut risotto (4oz for $4.90) - includes butternut, tomato, brown rice and cheese
The frozen meals are packed neatly into a plastic box for taking away

The 4oz meals we bought were split into two 2oz cups (so you can use either half the portion of the full amount).  To heat up the food, remove the cover and either steam (recommended) or microwave the plastic cup. The frozen meals can be kept in the freezer compartment of the fridge for up to a month.

For the complete menu, see here. The options include baby starter pack (for babies four months onwards) that comes in a pack of nine capsules (can choose three flavours- mainly pureed fruits and vegetables) and blended/pureed meals like those we purchased. There are also desserts for babies nine months and older, and meals for children three years onwards.

The owner was very friendly and came to find out about Kenan's eating preferences to make appropriate recommendations. I mentioned that it appears that Kenan doesn't really seem to like chewing his food. So he suggested that we use the frozen meals as ingredients for the porridge.

And that was exactly what I did for the past few days where I steamed the frozen meals, add it to plain porridge, mix well and a wholesome, healthy meal is done. Sometimes, this kiasu mom would even put in additional ingredients.

By the way, the food Petit Bowl sells are more 'western' style; you can make it more Chinese or Asian by adding to porridge like the way we do.

However, it isn't a solution that is as easy on the pocket as it is to cook. Yet in desperate times as these, I'm more than happy to fork out the money!

Petit Bowl
101 Thomson Road, United Square #01-77/78
Tel: 6256 5359

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Wicked Oven - Wickedly Good Creations

A while back, I was at a networking event and got to try some really delectable creations by mumpreneur Sam Leong, who runs a pastry business call Wicked Oven.

Being a new entrepreneur, Sam was there to let participants try out her yummy food in exchange for feedback. She sponsored four items for the event:

- Broccoli frittata bites
- Chocolate cream cheese muffins
- Chocolate ganache cupcakes
- Ham and cheese muffins

Of these, the chocolate cream cheese muffins were definitely my favourite! Rich, chocolatey and moist, the moment I sank my teeth into the muffin, I was smittened. The sweetness of the chocolate (just sweet enough) blended perfectly with the savoury cheese to offer a totally delightful bite.

I also like the size, it’s smaller than most cupcakes and muffins you find elsewhere and can be finished in a bite or two. They make wonderful snacks for networking events because you can eat gracefully and not have to open you mouth wide when taking a bite. Some other participants also said the food was great because they can eat more and try out different flavours, unlike the normal bigger cupcakes or muffins where they might be quite full after eating just one.

After the event, few of us even bought some of the cupcakes and muffins from Sam as they were so irresistably yummy!

I bought these home for my family and they enjoyed it

For Wicked Oven's full menu, click here. Sam doesn't have a shop yet. So if you want to order, please contact her via email or mobile.

Wicked Oven
email :
mobile : +65 9663 3051

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Thank God for Down Times

Hi everyone, I'm back!

Amazing that it's already into the second week of 2011! Yet somehow, I can't help feeling as if I'm still stuck in 2010.

In November, after sending the problematic maid packing,  I had to manage the household without a helper. As if God thought it wasn't challenging enough for me, my husband actually got hospitalised. He had gallbladder stones and due to some complications, had to have the whole gallbladder removed. It's supposed to be quite a major operation and he has been recuperating at home for the past two weeks (he didn't have a laparoscopic op like some other patients, that would have been so much easier on him and the recovery period would be much shorter).

So to sum up life for the past few weeks? Just one word - exhausting.

Besides caring for Kenan, my hubby and my mom and doing the house chores, I had to rush out some assignments. I've stopped taking on new projects for the time being, but there were some outstanding jobs I needed to complete. So I worked for a few consecutive days from late night until about 4am in the morning, managing to clock only about three, four hours of sleep each day.

I felt utterly drained.

There were many times I thought I've reached my limit and was about to collapse. But God is good and had sustained me through those times.

Nevertheless, we missed our first family holiday abroad, didn't have any Christmas or New Year celebrations either, and plans for Kenan's birthday party also have to be scraped too as husband doesn't feel he's up to doing any entertaining, even though he is much better now. So we are settling for a cosy celebration on our own - "Just the three of us!" - said the spouse cheerfully (he's trying to make me feel better).

Through all of that, I couldn't help feeling frustrated, upset and sad.

I was frustrated with the lack of help, upset that I have to sacrifice my work, and sad that we didn't get to go on our holiday and Kenan won't be having his birthday party. I feel especially sad about the latter, as after all it's my precious boy's first birthday and I so wanted to have our close friends and relatives share in the joy. I also thought it would be a nice way to mark the end of one year of breastfeeding (it was a painful journey - literally).. haha!

But I'm learning to see the positive side of things.

I thank God that I have my loved ones with me.

I thank God for friends. One even surprised us by bringing us really yummy home-cooked food!

I thank God that I get to work as a freelancer - I can't imagine how I could have managed if I was holding a full-time job, either my boss would have asked me to resign or I'll be forced by circumstances to quit anyway.

I thank God that my husband has learnt to appreciate good health and promised to eat more healthily from now on.

Above all, I thank God for the one big lesson in sacrifice.

If you've read my earlier posts, you'd know that I really love and enjoy my work. But since Kenan came along, I've started to push work further down my priority list.

I know in my head that that's what love is - to put the needs of our loved ones before our own. Yet the doing can be tough, especially where work is concerned. There were many times when I begrudged the opportunities I had to give up because I'm now a mommy. But I know I need to work out a good balance between family and career and God has given me this opportunity to look at it now.

So yes, as tough as this period might, easily one of the most trying times of my life to date, I would like to look at the circumstances in a positive light and give thanks regardless of the situation.

And as Albert Camus said, "What doesn't kill me makes me stronger."


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