Seoul Travel Flash Cards

For countries where I don’t speak their language and have minimal understanding, I create words cards like this.

When I was younger, I travelled without much planning. But with kids now, it’s a totally complete different story. These simple word cards I created have been proven to be useful in Seoul. Locals understand me. I got to my destination and my requests fulfilled!

In South Korea, my family and I take the taxi everywhere because of our young children and the bitter winter air. It is affordable and saves the hassle of going up and down the escalators, figuring out the exits. We tried taking the train once overseas but the transfers and dealing with 2 cranky kids wore us out.

Tip!

  • Check the address on different websites. A location can have different addresses.
  • Copy that address (the one you most commonly find) on Google Map to check. It’s good to have an idea of the distance from your accommodation, or what’s around the place.
  • When you are heading to a country like South Korea where they are amazingly tech savvy, you have to download NAVER. It’s available in English, which is great for tourists! Naver is much more accurate than Google Maps for Seoul because the addresses, images are more frequently updated.
  • Make use of your T-money cards. Top it up frequently so you can just tap and go when you alight. No more fumbling with loose notes or coins.

(Right click to save!)

For food

These are grill restaurants in Seoul with fantastic reviews online.

Maple Tree House

I’ll just do a quick review of the place since I didn’t plan on writing a full food review. I only managed to head to Maple Tree House and the meat was excellent. Location’s a little hard to find because the road is narrow. Actually I wouldn’t even call it a road, it’s more like a lane. What I found out is that the entrance to the restaurant is on this narrow lane. It’s located on the second or third floor of a building. When you get to the first floor, you actually find yourself in the lobby of Hamilton Hotel, facing the main road! So maybe you can just cab to the hotel and walk up?

Si Wha Dam

Saw this place featured on a vlogger’s channel and thought of trying it out. But couldn’t fit into our itinerary.

Daedo Sikdang

This is one place I’m definitely going to try when I visit Seoul again. I made the terrible mistake of not making a reservation. It had long snaking queues. This outlet on the card is their main store and looks the most authentic, rustic. Other outlets had more modern interiors. There are other outlets around Seoul so I should have opted for them instead of this main branch.

For shopping

Mangwon Market

Mangwon market is very local. There are few English signs there so you’re pretty much on your own! One thing great about this is that it’s not very crowded and the street food is delicious. I has my first Isaac toast there. The owner was sweet to offer us seats inside his tiny cafe because it was getting so tough to feed two young kids sandwiches in the wintery cold.

Namdaemun Market exit 5

(Say Namdaemun chul go 5 – chul go refers to 出口)

I didn’t go to Namdaemun in the end because it was too cold to be outdoors for a long time. If you plan to head to the complexes within Namdaemun, it’s probably still fine. But because we merely wanted to get new spectacles and have local street food, we headed to Mangwon market instead. Mangwon is a better market to explore because it is partially covered and has lesser tourists. However do take note its scale is much smaller than Namdaemun market.

Mario Outlet
Shinsegae
Garosugil
Gwangjang Market
Hongdae

(Say Hongdae chul go 9. Pronounced choooo goool. Chul go refers to 出口)

Again this refers to Hongdae exit 9 which is the start of the more exciting shopping belt. To be super precise, you should be saying Hongik station instead of Hongdae, but the drivers all understand Hongdae.

Simple Requests

These word cards would help getting meals easier.

This is very important. Because hubby loves to get supper after the boys go to bed. If budget allows, we will always get a room with a separate seating area where we can enjoy some snacks after the kids knock out.

To my boys, a meal is not complete without a bowl of rice, or noodles.

Bokkeum Bap - Fry rice after bbq
Pronounced Bork-key-yum Barp

You know how some restaurants will help to fry rice after dak galbi or grill? Here’s what you should tell them if they aren’t responding to you

Hope these word cards would be useful for you in navigating around Seoul and make travelling with your family a little easier.

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Staycation Review – Grand Mercure Roxy Hotel

We picked Grand Mercure Roxy Hotel for our family staycation since Keane’s birthday falls on a Saturday this year. Keane loves to stay at hotels. Big beds for him to bounce on, bath tubs to soak in bubble baths and nice cool swimming pools to splash around.

Grand Mercure Roxy Hotel was pretty much an easy choice in terms of price and location. We wanted to go to the beach and pool. So we narrowed down to a few choices which Grand Mercure Roxy Hotel stood out at the end of the day. They also offer shuttle service to the airport so you can go to Jewel (the IT mall of the moment) for shopping.

A Great Pick For Family Staycation

Location

Grand Mercure Roxy Hotel is located opposite Parkway Parade, which has a wide variety of food and shopping options. However, because of the train line construction works in the area, it can get noisy. Construction continues from as early as 8am to 10.30pm. Also, getting a taxi can be a challenge. Trying to flag a taxi by the roadside is almost impossible since there are few taxis on the roads. If there are, they are usually already occupied.

Also the hotel is situated in walking distance to East Coast Park. Unlike the pricey beachfront hotels at Sentosa, this is a good affordable alternative.

Staff

Jenny at Grand Mercure Roxy Hotel Front Desk is undoubtedly one of the best I’ve met in my recent travels. She took the initiative to provide me with a poolside room when I told her I’d booked this room to celebrate my son’s birthday and we are looking forward to a swim. She was careful to check if I was alright with having a door that led to the pool and if a rollaway bed would suffice for the kids – Rooms by the pool only had a king sized bed. I had booked a twin room initially.

Child-friendly Pool

Grand Mercure Roxy Hotel’s pool was quiet during most times we were there. There was a really small baby pool of about 50cm depth, and another deeper pool of 80cm to 1.2m depth. The pool didn’t reek of nauseating chlorine. Kids’ skin weren’t extremely dry after swimming thrice in two days. Keane has eczema so chlorinated water isn’t too kind to his sensitive skin.

Room

It looked great at first glance. Grand Mercure Roxy Hotel was decent for its star rating of 4 stars, although there were definitely some room for improvement. I felt that the duvet was on the thin side and the bed was hard – not firm. Aircon worked as it should. No weird whirring sounds nor did it stop in the middle of the night.

Maybe I didn’t snoop around for the power points. I saw only two power points in my room. The one on the table worked but the one on the wall didn’t. It also looked very worn and unsafe. There were no plugs near the bedside table.

But I like how the room had expansive shelves which is perfect for families since we have so much to unpack. Wet wipes, tissue, diapers, milk, snacks blah blah. Everything needs to be easy to reach even if it’s just a night stay.

Grand Mercure Roxy Hotel’s pool rooms are located on the fourth floor. The good bit is that you are literally steps away from the pool. Quite like the Crowne Plaza pool rooms which open up to the pool, but it’s also twice the price of Grand Mercure Roxy Hotel.

And on the downside, Grand Mercure Roxy Hotel has its pool and function rooms located on the fourth floor. This means it’s common access by the public and no need to tap key card to access our room. So husband was very wary each time we get back to the room.

Bathroom

Every room has a bathtub which is the main reason I booked Grand Mercure Roxy Hotel. My boys love to soak and in Keane’s words “flop around the tub”. But goodness, each time anyone took a shower, the water pools all around the ledge. Also, the ledge seems to be covered in laminated wood instead of tiles. I’m puzzled with their choice of material.

The spacious bathroom had a reasonably sized vanity table which makes up for the lack of mirror in the bedroom.

Breakfast

Their international spread at Feast@East Buffet Restaurant had a decent variety of international and local food. Fruits were fresh and service was quick.

We celebrated Keane’s birthday with a slice of cake at Wave Cafe. Staff were considerate to include a complimentary Happy Birthday Chocolate decoration. Greatly appreciate such gesture!

There were two other restaurants – Breez Bistro Bar located by the pool and Jia Wei Restaurants which serves Cantonese Cuisine.

Fax: (+65)63448010

Would we stay there again?

Yes! There were some problems with Grand Mercure Roxy Hotel’s hardware like the beds and the furnishings, but it may be because we didn’t stay in their superior rooms perhaps? Check in and check out was a breeze. Their staff were friendly and service was definitely on par with 5 star hotels. Besides, it was only a 2d1n staycation. The poolside rooms were great for the price.

Grand Mercure Singapore Roxy

50 East Coast Road 
Roxy Square 
Marine Parade Rd 
428769 
SINGAPORE 

Website

Tel: +6563448000

Why I Subscribed To KiwiCo

Keane is interesting in building and learning about how things work. As a dutiful mommy, I’m always on the lookout for something that’ll interest Keane. Coincidentally, Hubby came across KiwiCo in a FaceBook Ad – Yes all these ad targetting do work to a certain degree.

Picking KiwiCo

Finally, we decided to just buy it,  knowing full well that we might end up being the ones who build it while the boys just look on. It’s supposed to encourage them to follow instructions and work on it step by step. Not too sure how it would work with Keane because while he’s interested, he’s also impatient to follow instructions.

Some key reasons why we chose KiwiCo

  • Lesser TV time

Anything that gets the kids off the TV is good stuff. The theme in previous crates would be hits with the kids so we hoped future crates would continue to pique their interest.

  • Teaching Points & Activities

Lots of suggested teaching points and additional spinoff activities from the crate. I’ve gotten some science kits from the malls but there isn’t any teaching points or follow up activities we could do. So basically I spent about SGD$20 to occupy the kids for less than hour.

What I intend to do with these crates is that I plan to make it my learning theme for that month. For example since my first crate is about my body, I’ll teach Math, English, Science and even Mandarin all based on the human body. This way, it also solved my problem to find suitable themes.

  • Affordably priced and low delivery fee.

Reasonably priced at about SGD30. I was a little confused at the payment page, because I just didn’t understand their promotions very well. Another friend had the same issue as well. In the end I just picked the monthly subscription. It may cost more in the end, but I’d rather have the flexibility to stop the subscription I want.

  • Wide range of projects that’s designed to suit each age group.

Kiwico grouped their series for each group according to lines.

While they designed themes for different age groups, we could also choose the line we wanted which was great. Because Keane wouldn’t like the line, and would much prefer the which is mean for slightly older kids. Also, loved the flexibility to swap lines so that way we can try different projects.

  • Great customer support.

Big shout out to KiwiCo’s customer service team for dealing with my lost crates.

While I’m absolutely ecstatic that such an awesome product could ship to Singapore and at such a great price of USD$6.95, I soon realised that it’s due to the fact they are using USPS and locally in Singapore – SingPost. Both didn’t have great reputations. When I was still doing my online business, I’ve had countless lost parcels to US.

I made the first order on 11 Sep 2018. They estimated 7-14 business days transit time on international shipments with additional delays possible due to customs. But shortly after the crate left US, it was lost in transit in Japan. On 2 Oct, KiwiCo took the initiative to send a replacement crate together next with month’s edition since it’s been more than 14 business days after the first crate was sent out. I appreciate this action because not many companies react this fast to lost parcels. They even offered the flexibility to pause the subscription till I get my first crate.

 

 

 

 

Stick To Your Parenting Style

My husband and I are very thankful that people think our boys are well-behaved. But they do not know the hard work that goes behind developing our parenting style and the doubts we have on ourselves too. On a day where we usually scream and discipline the kids, we will always talk it out late at night after the boys sleep if we had been too tough. What could we have done better? What should we do next time? Are the boys displaying any odd behaviour?

So when we get these compliments, again we wonder if our parenting style is really on the right track. We did not read any books. If we do read, it’s usually some viral parenting articles on FaceBook. Our parenting style is purely based on values that my hub and I believe in. We are not trying to raise goody-two shoes, or yes man. I would never want my boys to feel repressed. I’ve seen far too many friends with controlling parents and ended up making the stupidest decisions after they gain freedom in adulthood.

Then I start to question myself. Do they behave well in public because I’m an assertive mom who believes in schedules and discipline. Are they feeling stressed? Are the boys happy? Would they think back to their childhood days and remember happy memories or sad ones.

So, I think back to what I want my boys to be and also what I want to achieve. This formed the basis of my parenting style. Definitely, I want the boys to be happy and enjoy their childhood. After all this is probably their most carefree days.

In order for them (and myself) to be happy, I need a system. This system is not a rigid, step-by-step guide to raising children. Instead, my parenting style is something I designed with my husband to train my boys to expect what they should do and what would happen if they did not do it.

Everyone has a different way of raising children, and this just so happens to work best for my family at the moment. I’ve no help from the boys’ grandparents and no helper. I’m usually handling the kids alone since my husband is overseas for a few days every two weeks. The boys attend a 3 hour pre-school everyday and I’ve to fetch them back and forth daily. When I’m alone with them, all kind of things can happen. Hence, it’s very important that my kids listen to me well and focus on their tasks.

I’ll pre-empt the boys what we are going to do when we leave the house or just about anything that we are going to do. For example, I’ll tell them. “Ok, we will take a small train to the school” ” When the train door opens, I need you to take a big step across to the platform.” I don’t sugar coat my words. No baby talk. I talk to them like young adults.

If the boys start to misbehave, we put them in the corner, squat down to their eye level and talk to them – at home, outside and even when at parties with friends. When the boys are naughty in front of their grandparents, I’ll scold them. Even if the grandparents try to interfere, I continue to discipline. To the grandparents, I’m harsh and fierce to the kids. But they feel proud when other relatives compliment on how well-behaved the kids are. Honestly, I don’t get them. They want well-behaved kids but without setting rules and boundaries.

I do fear that the way I bring up my children will cause me to become a Tiger Mom. It’s such a fine line. I’m constantly asking my husband to tell me if I am.

While we seek discipline, I also want play for my boys. The boys have no enrichment classes in the weekends. It’s just pure family bonding time. Whenever we are at a park, we always tell the kids to run as much as they can, swing as long as they want, and climb as high as they can. Weekly, I bring them to my parents’ place where they do sandplay. (Yes I bought sand from Mothercare. Awesome stuff). Whatever toys or books that the kids want and we find value in it, we usually get it for them either immediately or at a later date.

I think at the end of the day, there’s no perfect parenting style. You got to look at your kids’ character. Travis is the cheeky one and he needs someone to kick his tiny butt to get him to listen. Whereas emotional and sensitive Keane needs lots of explanation and you got to win him over when he starts a challenge. And how we behave as a parent changes as our kids grow up too, so again no one style fits all kids!

 

Tips To Survive 10 Days in Seoul With 2 Kids Below 5 yo

Seoul has a special place in my heart. It was the last place I went to before I got pregnant with Keane. I hoped for a son at Jeju Island (I’m not sure if it’s effective but oh well, I did get pregnant three months later). Also, I had to cancel a Seoul trip because I was pregnant with Travis and I couldn’t take a plane on doc’s orders.

By some strange coincidence, my Krisflyer miles were expiring. We figured it’s a sign that it’s time to bring the kids out to experience winter. Besides, Keane kept bugging us that it’s not Christmas without snow.

This is the first time that we are going away as a family of four. Planning took about six months because we wanted to make it as easy and fuss free as possible. Itinerary, scheduling, car transfers etc. Thankfully, we had a friend who’s living in South Korea to help us out with the language. She was our translator on WhatsApp! Read my post about the Seoul travel flash cards that I made with her help.

By our standards, we had an amazingly great time in South Korea. We didn’t cover a lot of places but it was perfect in its slow, chill manner. My cousin, who opted for a tour package, was so surprised that I could do a 10 day Free and easy trip in Seoul. She has two kids in primary and secondary school.

Now if I can do it with two kids under 5 years old, anyone can do it. To make sure you could enjoy such happiness too, these are my notes I’ll like to share with you.

Air tickets

Hubby only has time for a long holiday over Christmas which means incredibly expensive air tickets. Therefore, we usually claim miles or book at least half a year in advance. Note that if you claim miles, there are limited seats reserved for redemption. This is the case for SingaporeAir. I usually fly with SingaporeAir not because I’m a diehard fan but because so far they offer better service when I travel with kids. They don’t charge me for choosing seats as a family. Cathay Airways charged me for seat selection even though I’m with kids.

T-Money For Transportation

If you’re thinking of bringing your family to Seoul on a free and easy tour, make sure there’s plenty of money in your T-Money. It’s so useful to tap for payment when you take the taxi. We took the taxi a lot because it was more convenient. I give up on taking trains because it can get very crowded in the station. Remember our aim is to enjoy the trip and I am willing to make these small investments for a great experience. Our hotels are steps away from train stations, but we decided to just take the taxi for convenience. They are inexpensive as compared to Singapore.

You can use T-Money at the convenience stores too.

Itinerary

I’ll list out the places we would like to visit. If the place is kids friendly, then great. If it’s not like an outlet mall, we would try to make that visit short or make a trip to somewhere exciting before or after the location. And if all else fails, we bribe the kid with a small token toy, or a yummy treat.

When we travel, I’ll usually skip indoor playgrounds or kids cafe. I don’t want them to feel that the trip is planned around their whims and fancy. A trip means everyone has to accommodate to each other’s interests.

I insist on a nap time everyday. Even if they nap only for an hour, it’s fine. I think this hour of rest is essential to recharge.

Make many lists

Be prepared for changes in the itinerary. So keep a list of places that open late, kid friendly meals, etc

Make phrase cards

This is especially useful in countries where they don’t speak your language. It should list places you want to visit and the addresses. Especially if you’re going to be taking lots of taxis, prepare the address in the local language. Double check with the hotel reception before heading out.

Accommodation

We don’t do AirBnB. We prefer hotels because we would like someone to clean daily. I’m a SAHM, I clean daily! (Give me a break please)

Read plenty of reviews and check out the location. Look for supermarkets, convenience stores. Book decent hotels that has a king bed and a rollaway bed for the kids. In dire situations, make do with two twins. Need bathtub so the boys can play bubbles. This can be a highlight especially if the hubby has to go off to work. A separate living area is preferred. Hubby and I want to chill and eat supper after the kids go to bed. Breakfast is ideal but not a necessity. Although having breakfast in hotel is good if you’ve planned a long day tour somewhere, and food options aren’t open this early.

Opt for hotels with a proper driveway (and with staff) if you need help with directions in a country where you don’t speak the language. It’s insane to be negotiating with cabbies, with two kids in the freezing cold. Or, you could get the reception  to write the address in Hangeul for you.

Clothing

We didn’t have enough clothes when we went to Hong Kong. The kids fell ill on the day we arrived and were puking for the rest of the trip. For Seoul, I went on fanatic mommy mode and packed more than I needed. On hindsight, maybe I should have used the laundry service. My fear that the clothes would not dry in time were unfounded. I washed some tees in the bathroom and it was dry the next day! Another tip is to put it on the heated floor if your room has this facility.

While I brought along plenty of clothes, I didn’t set a brand new outfit each day. I survived on 4 sweat shirts and 5 pants for each kid during the 10 day trip. I kept some clean clothes on standby. I made a wardrobe list indicating what the kids would wear each day. Printed it and brought along tape to paste it on the wall. This way, hubby would know what to dress the kids in if I’m busy.

After the first day, I set aside a big paper bag and got the kids to put in all their gloves, scarfs and hats. Told them that when we are going out, they are to pick out their accessories from the bag.

Personally, I like to travel with as little luggage as possible when I board the plane. Usually, we have a trunki filled with toys and books that the kids picked out, his sling bag and my handbag. But for winter countries, I set aside a duffel bag to check in winter jackets. To make sure the kids are comfortable on the flight, they will be in sandals and shorts/ tights as they board the plane. When we are reaching, I would change them to long sleeve tees, pants and shoes. Similarly, when we are coming home, I would change the boys out of their winter clothes at the airport. Yes I’ve had stares when the boys were in shorts and sandals at Incheon airport. Who cares! The kids were the happiest since they were no longer bogged down by their heavy garb. Most importantly, I didn’t have to lug around heavy winter jackets on the plane. I checked them in using the same duffel bag.

Meals

We packed disposable spoons and collapsible bowls in our luggage. Each time we leave the hotel, we’ll also pack spoons and scissors in our bag just in case the kids need them.

We trained the kids to eat a wide variety of food in Singapore. So the trip to South Korea was pretty fuss free since they could just have rice and soup as a meal. We had Andong Chicken once. Although we ordered the non-spicy one, they used a little pepper which Travis hated. So in the end, both boys had cheese with rice.

Medicine

I had a big bag of medicine for the boys. For fever, flu, allergies, stomach pain, wheezing coughs, phlegm.

Water

“Boil bottled water if you need warm water to make milk” as told by my friend. She just had a baby so I’ll take her words. Korean tap water has small quantities of sediments which is fine for adult consumption. For children, let’s just take bottled water to be on the safe side of things.

Milk

Now for milk. On top of 8 feeds of powdered milk, I carted 36 small packets of UHT milk to Seoul. I thought long and hard about this. It sounds incredibly neurotic but I want to reduce the chances of tummy upset. I’ve read some online forums that milk in Seoul tastes a little different from Australian milk. Don’t take my words. I just want to ensure that they don’t suffer from tummy upsets because of the diet.

I’ll be updating this list as we continue with our travels. Even if it’s not to Seoul specifically, I think our trip planning is going to include many tips here!

Choosing A Personal Trainer For Mommies

Fitness for mommies - lose weight with a personal trainer

I’m never an active person. In secondary school, I’m that kid who dreads physical education classes and detests any exercises that makes me perspire. Yes, you can call me princess in that aspect. And it doesn’t help that my mother didn’t allow me to do sports since I was a young kid. She caught me learning rollerblading from a friend and the earful I got from her is enough to stop me from trying to do anything sporty after this episode.

However, I did do ballet and tap dancing for 6 years so that’s all the exercise I had. (My mom says ballet is indoor and is girly. I believe that’s quite sexist too, isn’t it?)

My attitude towards exercising changed after I gave birth to my second born Travis. I’ve never felt this sluggish, and tired. I also had put on about 17kg. I didn’t lose the weight from my first pregnancy before having Travis. So essentially the pounds were just piling on and on.

I tried following YouTube videos but was so breathless after just the first 5 min. Because of my disastis rectis diagnosis, I wasn’t exactly comfortable with doing crunches. Dr google and physiotherapist said I should avoid it. The gap might widen. The physiotherapy helped but results were slow to show and I was anxious. After each session, I didn’t have the adrenaline rush I wanted.

So I chose to stop physiotherapy and dived into looking for a good gym personal trainer.

For a non-sporty person, I was fearful of the gym. I didn’t know what to do or how to start. Working the machines scare me.

I found a couple of PT options online but it was only until I saw Anytime Fitness Kovan at my mom’s place that I decided this might be it. Unlike some other gyms that I’ve visited, Anytime Fitness Kovan was spacious and quiet. The L-shaped layout meant that the heavy weight lifters are away from the casual gym goers. That’s me! And what’s more, the gym manager was also preggers and understood the postnatal issues I was facing. I signed a 1 year gym membership package ($98 monthly) and 24x 1 hour sessions (about $2000).

For mommies who are keen to sign up for personal trainer (PT), here are some tips to guide you along

1. Find someone who is there when you need him

Before I stuck with my current PT, I was assigned to another who had certificates dealing with post natal issues etc. In fact, that’s a huge reason why I signed up also. But he wasn’t replying to my messages to confirm my training sessions, so the gym manager offered to change my PT after my first session.

My schedule is really tight. I’ve only that 2-3 hrs a day that I get to do my own stuff so I really need a Trainer who is willing to accommodate to my timing. So new PT was flexible enough when I had to make last minute cancellations, and yet committed to my training schedule.

On a side note, for anyone who is signing up for PT sessions at Anytime Fitness, it seems that the gym would not know your training schedule. It’s a private arrangement between you and your trainer.

2. Find a trainer who understands your difficulties

So my first trainer wanted me to count my calories and eat in small portions throughout the day. This is a little difficult for me because as a mom, I don’t exactly have the luxury to eat healthy all the time and in fact, I don’t have much time to eat. Unless I choose to simply steam everything I suppose. I’m guilty of slipping quick bites of choc bars, potato chips or peanut butter sandwich when I just need a sugar fix.

I was soooo happy when my second trainer told me to eat everything I want but cut out sugar, oily, processed food as much as possible. His explanation was that my goal is to keep fit and reduce body fats. And if I make such a drastic diet change, I probably wouldn’t be able to keep up since my lifestyle won’t allow it.

The first trainer wasn’t wrong in his ways. It’s merely a different objective for me.

3. Find a trainer who designs your exercises according to your lifestyle

I made it very clear that I’m not a gym person and completely clueless. Heck. I don’t even know how to do a proper squat then. Part of a good reason why I choose PT instead of following YouTube videos is because I want to make sure my form is correct and I’m applying pressure at the right places.

My PT taught me plenty of exercises with kettle bell, dumb bells and other gears. He gave me an introduction on machines but my main exercises were doing different sets. All these I could do it at home which is fantastic! With his recommendation, I bought the foam roller, kettle bell and dumb bells of varying weight.

After every session, I would type out all the exercises I did on my memo. At the end of the 24 sessions, I’ve accumulated a huge list of exercises that I would do at home!

4. Look see the space

As I mentioned earlier, I went to a couple of gyms to check out the space, vibe and packages etc. If you’re a first timer like me, make sure the place puts you completely at ease. Look out for the amenities, lockers, washroom, and whether they offer classes with additional fee.

Ask to speak to the trainer who might be working with you. It’s especially important for those with specific conditions like me. When I was going about my search, I spoke to a trainer who gave me such an incredulous look that made me feel like I was a joke to her. She completely didn’t believe or understand me. Of course I didn’t get back to her.

Get a gym that’s located near your kids’ school or your home, so if there’s an emergency you can get back asap.

What about you? Do you have any specific criteria when you are looking for a trainer too? My PT sessions have ended but who knows, maybe years later I would get one again. Leave some comments!

 

{Lessons} B-I-N-G-O

Bought this a while back when I was shopping at Daiso because I was planning to use them to teach Keane numbers. He’s a smart boy but he tends to forget when he plays too much. So school holidays and holidays are a nightmare for me sometimes.

These Bingo cards are a great way to teach numbers to children. There are 60 cards in each pack, so you can play as many times as you want and the cards don’t repeat. It’s all serialised.

The numbers are actually perforated. You can tear them out. But I wanted the boy to practice holding and writing with his pencil so I made all the players use a pencil. After the game, I kept all the used Bingo cards and I’m planning to reuse them for another game. It’s such a waste to throw away such perfectly clean and new number cards, isn’t it! Wait for my update. I’ve a new game teach numbers to children with these used cards in mind.

How To Play Bingo? 

  • The aim of the game is to make a line by crossing out the numbers called.
  • You just need more than one player to take turns.
  • So Player A calls out a number and if Player B has it, he can cross it out on his card. If he doesn’t, he’ll just have to pass. Essentially he loses one chance to cancel out a number to make a line when he doesn’t have the number.
  • Once Player A has his turn, the next Player goes. And so forth.
  • Whoever makes a line by connecting five numbers wins the game!

I’m probably going Daiso to grab more packets of this. It’s the size of my palm which makes it small to pack into my bag and absolutely a joy to play when we’re travelling. Teaching numbers to children could be this easy 🙂

This is also a great bonding family activity for everyone including grandparents to little toddlers.

My Day

Helloyin.com Boys getting ready for their afternoon nap

How do I spend my day?

What do I do each day?

I get a lot of these questions from many people.

Sometimes I ask myself this question too. What did I do that makes me so tired by the end of each day??

There’s a schedule each day that we don’t exactly stick to. Things just fall into a pattern. But one thing I insist is that the kids must have their afternoon naps.

A typical school day

8am or earlier – Wake up to make milk. While they finish up their milk, complete some work if there’s any to be done.

Hubby is sweet. If he’s at home, he would help to make the milk, cook rice and lastly make coffee. Getting the coffee machine is the biggest joy in his life so he really enjoys making coffee. He loves it so I’m not complaining if someone makes it!

815am – Start cooking for lunch. Make bread for hubby and myself.

820am – Kids should have finished their milk. Start entertaining their breakfast demands that come fast and furious every 5 minutes. “I want vitamins/ jam bread/ crackers/ cereal/ corn flakes/ cheese) Seriously kids, I wish there’s some automated hygienic food dispenser where you can just press whatever snacks you want. And it won’t attract pests to the house.

Hubby is floor obsessed. At this point, he would be vacuuming the floor. I could write another long post about his obsession with clean floor. At one point in time, I had three vacuums. A wired plug in dyson for weekly cleaning, a handheld vacuum for daily cleaning and a robot vacuum to clean mop the place when we are out. When he got introduced for the rainbow vacuum (yes, the insanely expensive $3000 one), I told him he has to get rid of one vacuum before we can even consider it. Excuse me, I live in a 4 room flat. I don’t think I need four kinds of vacuum right? Besides, its $3,000!!! By the way, we got rid of the robot one if you’re curious and got the rainbow

845am– Kids breakfast game going on strong. Finish cooking lunch.

9- 915am– Change tv channel from mommy daddy channel to whatever the kids want to watch. Hubby leaves home for work. And I do all the chores I can possibly squeeze in – laundry, wiping surface, packing

10am – Brunch or lunch time part 1. The kids eat a small bowl of rice before they go sch cos sch’s at a really odd timing

1030am – change to uniform

1045am-leave home. The kids really take their time to stroll to the train station when it’s just a quick 5 min walk for an adult.

11am – reach LRT station

1110am – reach school

1120am– send both kids in. FREEDOM

Then I do whatever I want. I go shopping, gym whatever.

2pm – pick up Travis. Give him some snacks before Keane comes out later

215pm– Keane comes out and we walk to our ride

225pm – ride arrives

235pm– reach my blk and my mom arrives

245pm– reach home. The kids go to bathe and I’ll start heating up the food for lunch part 2

3pm– Dry and dress the kids. Give them food and I’ll go bathe. Keane eats on his own but my mom would feed Travis

320pm– finish showering and start to heat up Keane’s fresh milk. Kids should be finishing their meal now. After meal, they play

4pm – nap time for all. I’ll start on my work

530pm – kids wake up and I’ll be trying to pacify them. Super whiny when they wake up especially Travis. Turn on tv for them

615pm – start to make dinner

645pm – finish cooking

7pm– hubby comes home. Serves dinner for all.

730pm– finish dinner and play / TV time till they sleep

745pm – wash dishes

830pm – wash up. Drink milk and get ready for bed

9pm – lights off. If hubby’s home, he puts them to bed while I can continue on with my work.

1030pm – Hubby comes out from their room and we finish up the chores. We eat snacks (supper) and just have our super short couple time.

12pm – good night.

A note about Death

pexels-photo-247195

Death always has a way to keep us grounded. Just when we are fantasizing of the impossible, of big dreams, death always creeps up to surprise us and throw us back to reality.

It is a harsh reminder. It’s cliche but really, we just can’t help wonder how short life is and how sudden things can change.

I sobbed at sad stories that are in the news. But I didn’t shed a single tear when it happened to someone around me. It’s not because I’m not sad. (I’m affected!) but it’s because I know it’s a reminder about what are the things that really mattered in life.

To me, she was always about family love, sacrificial love and making it work against all odds. And I know each time I think of her, I’ll remember all our interactions and the lessons from her life stories.

I will always remember her funny liners.
人在天堂,钱在银行
吃agar agar, 考试一百分!

Goodbye…

Insured for assurance, or not

 

pexels-photo-164474_opt (1)Buying insurance is like buying a piece of mind. At least this is the usual spiel from most insurance agents.

This month, hubby and I made a decision to ditch our planner of 8 years and opt for someone new. Our planner (not yet informed that he’s out of the door, so he’s still our planner) is in the million dollar table, has lots of clients with big bucks and  I think that’s where the problem started. We already saw cracks in communication, not proactive in his advise and etc, but we still stuck to him because we are just too lazy to move.

Recently, I’ve been reading up a lot on policies, and I realised that our investment linked plans are not as fab as it initially sounded. So, to check on things, we naturally scheduled for a review. Things seem to be looking a little more bright and clear after the meet up until…two days later, I felt a need to log into the AIA system to look at my surrender values and how’s the plan doing in general. To my absolute horror, I found out that our policy went on Premium Holiday for almost 14 months! Omg. We are losing our cash value! AIA, the insurer, insisted that they sent tons of letters to us, but my planner said he also received no notification. I was mortified. In fact, my agent’s name is not on my plan. It’s another dude. OK this is probably some underground backhand, unethical thing he’s doing. We’ve closed our eyes all the while as we assumed our polices are in order. But now….. no way.. enough is enough.

The new planner comes in. We surrendered 80% of our plans which didn’t even break even. But I figured we just want to start afresh on a clean slate, and I’ll just take the lost money as insurance paid. Look towards the future.

So the lesson from this episode is really to monitor, check and be proactive with your money. No one is going to deal and bother it as much as you.