Thursday, August 30, 2012

Memories are made of these

(Daddy shoots)

As you would probably know... thanks to SONY Singapore, I have been fiddling with the SONY HDR-GW77 Handycam in my hands since last month and I have been loving it so far! It has made the journey to Amsterdam with us and the 2 boys took turns to capture various videos during our time there.


I had written a blog post about the specifications of the Handycam last month and you can read all about it HERE. Essentially, it is a video camera with a huge difference - it is waterproof, dust-resistant and shockproof. 

And you can't imagine how thankful I was for the last feature as Ayd accidentally let slip the Handycam while he got too engrossed in filming the cows on the Friso farm in Amsterdam! Luckily for the Handycam, he is still under the height of 1.5m.

There are 2 features of the Handycam that I adore, with the first being its Swing Panorama function that records the whole sweep of the landscape with a single press of the shutter button.


The other feature that I love is when I am recording a video, the Handycam automatically snaps a photo whenever it detects a person smiling! No wonder SONY proclaims it to be a gadget which would never miss a moment.

But enough of wordy techinical extolments, here's a video compilation of our wonderful time on the Friso Farm in Amsterdam.



Now all that is left is for me to test out the waterproof function bit of the HDR-GW77 Handycam!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Furby gets a reboot

Sponsored post

(Daddy talks furbish)

Batman did it. Spider-man did it. Even the X-Men did it. And now, Furby joins the league of reboots.

That's right. He's bacckkkkkk...


That animatronic must-have toy of 1998 that looked like a cyborg Mogwai has signaled its return. This was the one toy that had kids tugging on their parents' sleeves in epidemic numbers back then and this year, the furry character comes back in the digital age, complete with apps, new sensors and more.

Truth be told, I never did own one of these owl Terminators. I think it was due to those creepy clock-cat eyes. But now, in place of those familiar plastic spheres are two big, white and glowing digital eyes that get you immediately. These new eyes significantly contribute to Furby's range of emotions, allowing it to showcase different moods like anger and love. 


At the launch, the Furbies were presented in six colours, with that number jumping to ten by the time Christmas comes around.


The media was then given an opportunity to interact freely with them - the Furbies, not the models - and I have to admit that it was terribly fun playing with these furballs.

But don't take it from me.

Because something tells me that my 3 monkies will be a better judge of that.


And their first impressions? They couldn't get enough of it.


Furby is certainly a fascination. They were immediately transfixed, as they clamoured to pet and tickle him non-stop. Thanks to the capacitive sensors in its head, stomach, back and sides, it reacts to touching such as tickling and cuddling. Play music to it and it will start to boogie while pulling its tail will make it yelp in pain. These sort of interactions will help determine and shape Furby's character.


Furby doesn't talk English though, rather it rattles off in Furby language - or Furbish - and for those who need help in understanding their Furbies, there's an app for that. The free Furby iOS app has a translator that will listen to its speech and spit out its English equivalent. One can even prepare meals for Furby and feed it by flicking the food towards it.


BE WARNED THOUGH - the new Furby, just like the old one, has no on/off switch. The only way to turn the new Furby off is to smash it with a sledgehammer remove its batteries. The other way is to just leave it alone and it will eventually start snoring and fall asleep.


But getting it to fall sleep in my household is little bit difficult, all because Ayd & Ale are the ones practically hogging it all the time! Actually I am secretly habouring a desire to turn our Furby into one with a fiery and mischievous demeanor. But seeing how the monkies are doting on it, I think I can kiss my dream goodbye.

Furby will hit stores island-wide from 16 September 2012 and will retail for S$119.90. Public pre-order sales begins from 30 August till 9 September 2012 at all Toys”R”Us outlets. An exclusive Furby free gift for all pre-orders and a Furby goodie bag for both pre-orders & purchases made at all Toys”R”Us outlets on 16 September 2012 will be given away.

Members of the public are also welcome to join in the festivities on 16 September 2012  at Toys 'R' US VivoCity as the launch of Furby will be celebrated with a day of fun-filled activities.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Fostering Volunteerism

(Daddy volunteers)

The 2 boys had their first taste of volunteering back in December last year when we were one of the Official Bloggers for the Marina Bay Countdown 2012. Then, they mingled around with the elderly folks from the Ang Mo Kio Family Service Centre and they thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

So when I received an email from the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre, inviting my family down for a Volunteer Drive experience on 1st September, I was totally game. Only problem was, we already had something on.

But I was determined to expose my Ash & Ayd to the world of volunteerism as I always believe that everyone has the ability to make a difference in someone else’s life.

And so, I scoured the sgcares.org website for volunteer opportunites and I finally settled on a Music Performance at the Blue Cross Thong Kheng Home.

The volunteering brief sounded easy enough: Come join us to share the joy of music to residents of Blue Cross Thong Kheng Home. We welcome anyone who would like to spend a morning to befriend the residents! There will be a series of bands and ensembles to woo the residents with english and chinese oldies.


But the elderly at the Home are somewhat different from the normal elderly folks that the boys are familiar with - most of the folks there are with disabilities, either physically or mentally.

So Ash & Ayd were initially quite taken aback when a few of them would suddenly wail or scream loudly. In fact, they were getting all jittery as we entered the hall compound where most of the elderly folks were gathered to watch the performance.

But I don't blame them. It is after all their first ever experience coming into close contact with these folks and even the wifey was a tad apprehensive as well.

As the band performance wore on, the 2 boys eventually grew a little more comfortable and assisted the other volunteers in distributing packet drinks and ice cream to the elderly folks.


And for that, I am immensely proud of them!

The fear in them didn't totally dissipate but considering it was their first time, I thought they performed brilliantly.

I think it was an eye-opening experience for them. They had the chance to interact with people who are quite different from the people they are used to and I believe the encounter had made them appreciate the people around them a little better.

The performing Band and the entire gang of Volunteers

The wifey thought it was a fantastic session for the entire family, and we think it might just be the start of a regular activity for the entire family. :)

And if you are thinking of volunteering your time but do not know where to start, here's a piece of good news! On 1st September (Saturday), 50 Non Profit Organisations will be opening their doors and inviting the public to visit and learn more about what they do, and hopefully be able to interest them volunteer thereafter.



As part of an expanded focus of The President's Challenge this year, Volunteerism Xperience (VX) on 1 September 2012 is the highlight of the Volunteer Drive which seeks to encourage everyone to be more involved in the community and promote volunteerism as a way of life.

On this day, the public will have the chance to visit non-profit organisations which will open their doors to showcase their day-to-day work and how they engage volunteers in furthering the good causes they do. During VX, members of the public can also sign up as volunteers in a range of activities hosted by these organisations or within the community.


Over 300 volunteer activities will be organised by various organisations and through these volunteer activities, 5000 volunteers are required. On 1 Sept 2012, there are over 2500 vacancies under the NPO Open House which are available for the public to sign up.

If you want to sign up and be a part of the Volunteerism Xperience, click HERE for more details!

For more information visit www.sgcares.org

Monday, August 27, 2012

WINNERS of the great Zespri Kiwifruit Giveaway!

Remember our Great Zespri Kiwifruit Giveaway about 1.5 weeks ago?

The response has been nothing short of overwhelming, with 103 entries on both our blog post and Facebook page! And because of such a fantastic response, we had managed to secure MORE premiums from Zespri for our giveaway!


So instead of the original 3 Grand Prizes and 3 Consolation Prizes, we now have 5 Grand Prizes and 5 Consolation Prizes for 10 lucky people!

And here are the Winners!!!


Grand Prize Winners

1. Geraldine Gigi Guo
2. Ng Lay Lay
3. Kai Ching
4. Jasmine Chua
5. Colin Lim

Consolation Prize Winners

1. Canice Pang
2. Grace
3. Laura Kho
4. Carolyn Low
5. Wenli

If you are one of the winners, please email me at kelvin@cheekiemonkie.net to arrange to claim your prize.

Congratulations to the 10 winners, and thanks to one and all for your support and participation. Stay tuned for more giveaways! :)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Previewing ParaNorman

(Daddy reviews)

Thanks to Nuffnang, we got a chance to preview ParaNorman, a stop-motion animated adventure horror film. Yes, note the 'horror' bit. After all, it's about a small town that is besieged by zombies.

So while it isn't exactly cotton candy fare for younger kids, Ash & Ayd were looking forward to the screening rather expectantly. No thanks to their current fascination with zombies, ghosts and ghouls. Don't ask.


It was a good thing too that Ale slept through almost three-quarters of the movie because it got a tad frightening mid-way through it. But still the boys lapped it up.

Frankly, I would say that the movie is more suitable for older children - perhaps aged 6 and above - and as for me, I thoroughly enjoyed it. The writing was hilarious & fantastic and the story was captivating. I was glad that it provided some surprisingly thoughtful fare for us parents as well - how we adults sometimes hate or fear things that we don't understand or people who are different than ourselves.

In case you're wondering, Ayd was busy with his popcorn.

ParaNorman opens in cinemas on 30th August and here is the brief synopsis:

In ParaNorman, a small town comes under siege by zombies. Who can it call? Only misunderstood local boy Norman, who is able to speak with the dead. In addition to the zombies, he’ll have to take on ghosts, witches and, worst of all, moronic grown-ups, to save his town from a centuries-old curse. But this young ghoul whisperer may find his paranormal activities pushed to their otherworldly limits. Following LAIKA’s groundbreaking Academy Award-nominated animated feature Coraline, ParaNorman is only the second stop-motion animated feature to be made in 3D.

Check out the trailer too!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Ahoy, Mateys!

Sponsored post

Here's an interesting fact - do you know that September 19 is International Talk Like A Pirate Day?

Hmmm... although we monkies can't really see the point of having such a day, there's no denying that it would be rather fun (and silly) going 'Arrrr!' and 'Ahoy!' with our friends! Hee hee...

So in order to prepare us for that all-important date, the kind folks at Lollibox.sg sent us a surprise.


It's called a, well, LolliBox which is a self-contained art & craft box with a theme. It has all the materials and contents included in the box which adhere to a theme, and it was all things Pirate as we began to unbox ours!


Besides learning the actual lingo that a pirate actually spouts, pirates gesture with their hands frequently. We reckon that's because pirates do most of their talking on the deck of a ship - out on the ocean, where wind, waves, and bird calls make it tough to hear. So yes, we got to learn that too.


I guess we have already got the hang of gesturing huh?

And blistering barnacles, the box really do pack a punch! There are loads of activities inside our treasure box - 4, if you really want to count - and we were itching to get started.


Each Lollibox has 4 major components; Create, Discover, Enrich and Award.

The Create bit is a hands-on project which had us making our very own pirate hat and eye patch with all materials provided for.

And when we were done with our pirate gear, the Discover part had us colouring and decorating our own treasure chest! Arrr! We like!


There were tiny gems that we could stick onto our treasure chest, as well as markers for us to express our creativity. And when we were done, we got Daddy to hide the chest in the house and draw a treasure map for us to locate it! 

No matter if we can't find it, we can always make him walk the plank to scare him into telling us we figured. Hee.


But we still couldn't get enough of being a pirate... luckily the Enrich part had us making our own pirate hook with just a disposable cup and aluminium foil! And with the completion of all the activities, we were Awarded the 'Little Pirate' badge for all our hard work!


As you can see, di-di & me are all prepared when September 19 rolls along. Now all we need is to have a parrot perched on our shoulders.

Well if pirate isn't exactly your kind of thing, no worries matey... there are other themes available at Lollibox.sg. Check them out HERE! Or suss out their Facebook page!

And what did the adults think of it? Mummy loved the concept and the fact that all the materials that were needed for the theme had been included in the box. Daddy lamented that there wasn't an adult version of a Lollibox for him. 

For us? We just want to thank LolliBox for the utterly fun handicrafts! :)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Kids Activities for September School Holidays 2012

(Daddy compiles)

Yet another school term down and before we know it, Christmas will be round the corner! But first, there is just the tiny business of getting through the 1-week long September School Holidays.

And even though the length of the break is in a single digit, there are no lack of holiday activities for families. In fact, some of the activities are already beginning from this weekend!

Presenting my - it's a recycled line and you can be sure to hear it one more time before the year is up - September School Holidays 2012 KIDS Activities List... Hope that you will find it useful too! :)

NIGHT FESTIVAL 2012
24 & 25 Aug, 31 Aug & 1 Sep 2012; 7pm - 2am
Various locations around Bras Basah & Bugis areas
Free admission


A nocturnal extravaganza of spectacular aerial performances, music, dance and installation artworks at the heart of Bras Basah.Bugis precinct, Singapore’s arts and heritage district. The main events will take place on the public green spaces of the Singapore Management University, with late night openings and special events at cultural venues like the National Museum of Singapore, Singapore Art Museum, the Peranakan Museum, The Substation, and more.

To download a copy of the Festival Guide, click HERE.
For more information, visit the Night Festival 2012 website.

Alice in Wonderland - The Musical Show
29 Aug - 9 Sep 2012; 1pm, 4pm & 7pm (No shows on Tues)
United Square, B1 Atrium


Embark on an adventure with Alice, The Crazy Hatter, The Queen of Hearts, The Cheshire Cat and the ever impatient White Rabbit in this LIVE musical!

More details HERE.

Sentosa Big 40th Anniversary Special: Fiesta!
1 Sep 2012, 10am - 11pm
Merlion Plaza, Sentosa
Free (excludes transportation charges)


Sentosa is turning 40! A carnival of fun is in store on as Sentosa celebrates her birthday with you. Join in the Carnival festivities with a host of entertainments like a marching band, face-painting, balloon-sculpting and many more! After the night falls, the fun continues with an awe-inspiring display of cutting-edge video-mapping technology that brings the Merlion to life, synchronised with a fireworks extravaganza.

Also, head on down to Palawan Beach between 10am to 7pm for the first-ever outdoor Ice Playground by the Beach! At 8 metres tall, it is the longest (and coolest) in Singapore!

Sentosa Buskers Festival 2012
1 - 8 Sep 2012; 4 - 10pm
Free (Island admission and car park charges apply)


Be entertained by a mesmerizing mix of international comedy, circus and juggling acts, guaranteed to bring a smile to your face! Be generous and place a token of appreciation in the busker’s hat after each performance for charity! All funds raised go towards supporting Community Chest.

For more information, visit the Sentosa Buskers Festival 2012 website.

NPO Open House
as part of Volunteerism Xperience
1 Sep 2012; 10-11.30am or 12-1.30pm


The President's Challenge will take place this year with an expanded focus that includes promoting volunteerism. The Volunteer Drive seeks to encourage everyone to be more involved in the community and promote volunteerism as a way of life.

The highlight of the Volunteer Drive is the Volunteerism Xperience (VX) on 1 September 2012. On this day, the public will have the chance to visit non-profit organisations which will open their doors to showcase their day-to-day work and how they engage volunteers in furthering the good causes they do. During VX, members of the public can also sign up as volunteers in a range of activities hosted by these organisations or within the community.

Our family has gone for our first-ever Volunteer session last weekend and I must say it went pretty well. Stay tuned for our field report soon!

If you want to sign up and be a part of the Volunteerism Xperience, click HERE for more details!

Pasir Ris Mangrove Boardwalk tour
1 Sep 2012; 5-6.30pm
Pasir Ris Park (Carpark C); Free

Join the Naked Hermit Crabs for an evening stroll along the Pasir Ris Mangrove Boardwalk as they take you through a journey of exploration of crazy tree climbing crabs, delightful giant mudskippers and cool monitor lizards. If you are lucky, you may catch a glimpse of the rare Mangrove pitta or the family of otters too!

Register through this online form HERE.

Plant Parts (free workshop for kids)
1 Sep 2012; 2-3pm
Queenstown Public Library; Free

Join in for a fun indoor activity where children can ‘create’ their own plant, while recognising the mains parts of plants and understanding their different functions. Just as each of the organs of our body performs a specific role, each part of a plant, such as roots, stem, leaves, flowers and fruits, has its special function too! For kids 5-12 years old.

F1 for Everyone by SingTel
1 & 2 Sep 2012; 10am - 10pm
Big Splash, East Coast Park; Free


Race down to the 'F1 for Everyone' Roadshow Finale and revel in the power-packed race-inspired activities - including the first-ever electric go-kart race, and crowd-favourite fast feats; like the fastest person to suit up like a race car driver and the person who can mimic the sound of an F1™ engine longest. There will also be carnival-style activities to bring the joy and excitement of the races to Singaporeans of all ages and walks of life, including fun-filled activities with race-inspired balloon sculptures, stilt-walkers, caricature artists, winning race photo moments and giveaways!

Also, catch the Live Screening of 2012 Formula 1™ Shell Belgian Grand Prix from 5pm onwards. From more information, click HERE.

The Trash Pack Meet & Greet
1 & 2 Sep 2012; Various Timings
Various Locations


Meet the Gross Gang LIVE at the various locations and timings below:

1st Sept (Sat)
12:00 PM Takashimaya
1:30 PM OG Albert
3:00 PM TRU Paragon
4:30 PM Metro Paragon
6:00 PM OG Orchard Point
7:30 PM Robinson's Raffles City

2nd Sept (Sun)
12:00 PM TRU Forum
1:30 PM BHG Bugis
3:00 PM OG People's Park
4:30 PM TRU Suntec
6:00 PM Metro City Square
7:30 PM Planet Toy Airport Terminal 3

Gardens by the Bay School Holiday Programmes
1, 2, 4 & 6 Sep 2012; 10.30am & 2pm
$18 per child (excludes conservatories ticket)

Kids at the Conservatories is a series of guided conservatory tours specially curated for children between the ages of 4-9. Each tour is followed by an interactive activity that reinforces important lessons learnt during the tour.

There are 2 Tours for different age groups: Talented Plants for 4-6 year olds and How Clever... for 7-9 year olds. Pre-registration is required. To register and for more information regarding the 2 Tours, please click HERE.

Alice in Wonderland Tea Party
1, 6 & & Sep 2012; 4-5.30pm
United Square, B1 Atrium


Dr Seuss' The Cat in the Hat Cast Appearance @ Forum
1 Sep 2012; 4.15pm
Forum the Shopping Mall


Meet the cast of The Singapore Repertory Theatre's upcoming production "The Cat in the Hat" when they make an appearance at Forum The Shopping Mall.

Dr. Seuss' The Cat in the Hat 
22 Aug - 30 Sep 2012
Tue - Fri, 10am & 2pm*  (*Only for show date on 4 Sep, 5 Sep & 7 Sep 2012)
Sat - 11am, 2pm & 5pm; Sun/Public Holiday - 11am & 2pm; Thur, 27 Sep - 12.30pm
DBS Arts Centre


Based on the all-time favourite book by Dr. Seuss, The Cat in the Hat has been developed into a magically witty play by Britain’s National Theatre which will be faithfully reproduced by SRT’s The Little Company.


Sally and her brother get a surprise visit from the Cat in the Hat. With his endless tricks and whacky ideas, he certainly turned a dull rainy afternoon into one amazing adventure. Joined by the twin mischief-makers, Thing 1 and Thing 2, The Cat in the Hat promises to be a purr-fect day out for both children and adults alike!

For more information and to purchase tickets, click HERE.

Concerts for Children: Symphonic Sorcery - The Music of Harry Potter (SSO)
31 Aug (3pm) & 1 Sep (11am & 1pm) 2012
Esplanade Concert Hall 



Take a ride on Harry Potter's flying broom, and race across the night skies to Hogwarts Academy, reliving the intrigue, magic and wonder of the first six Harry Potter stories… all on the wings of music. Enjoy the magical compositions of John Williams and Nicholas Hooper as they create a world filled with witches, wizards, warlocks and muggles. Your host is a delightful old wizard, assisted by his loyal servant Igor. They will guide you through Harry's thrilling years at Hogwarts Academy. You'll meet giant spiders, learn about potions, and fly on a Nimbus 2000.

Each concert lasts one hour and is suitable for ages 4 to 14. For more information and to purchase tickets, click HERE. Note: Tickets for both shows on 1 Sep 2012 is SOLD OUT.

Harry Potter - The Exhibition
2 June - 30 September 2012; 10am - 10pm
ArtScience Museum 


The ArtScience Museum transforms into the magical world of Harry Potter featuring items and settings from the popular film series. Get up close and personal with your favourite costumes and props such as Harry’s wand and eyeglasses, Hermione’s Yule Ball gown, the Golden Snitch - all displayed in settings inspired by locations like Hogswarts, the Gryffindor common room and the majestic Great Hall! For more information and ticketing, click HERE.

Hi-5 Holiday!
4 - 9 Sep 2012
Tues - Fri: 11am & 2.15pm; Sat & Sun: 11am, 2.15pm & 5pm
Grand Theater, Marina Bay Sands Singapore 


All aboard for a Hi-Seas Adventure as Hi-5 embark on the holiday of a lifetime to the most fun filled place in the world - “Hi-5 Island”!

In Hi-5’s latest stage extravaganza you’re invited to go on a fantastical, magical trip full of fun, music and laughter with your favourite Hi-5 friends. The whole gang - Stevie, Casey, Lauren, Tim and newest Hi-5 friend Dayen, are waiting for you to come on the journey with them.

For more information and to purchase tickets, click HERE.

HeART for Nature
8 Sep 2012; 9.30-10.30am
Dairy Farm Nature Park - Wallace Education Centre; Free

This FREE art workshop helps children to delve deep into their hearts to express nature in various themed art activities like drawing, fingerprinting, origami, puppet making. The children will also learn about our natural heritage. Suitable for children aged 5 to 8 (with parental supervision). Limited spaces available. Register online or email vanessa_chang@nparks.gov.sg

Young Naturalists Passport Camp at Sungei Buloh
8 Sep 2012; 9am - 5pm
Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve

This 1 day camp encompasses a series of fun-filled and educational indoor and outdoor learning of the wetlands and nature conservation issues through worksheets, nature walks and hands-on activities. Children will earn a stamp for every completed activity, and a full collection of stamps will earn them a series of cloth badges. Limited to 40 children between the age of 6-10 years old. Registration is required.

Each participant needs to purchase a young naturalist passport from the Visitor Services Counter at 50 cents. Registration of $5 is applicable, and cheques will be returned upon attendance and completion of the camp. Admission charges (50 cents per child) apply.

For more information on the programme and the online registration form, please click HERE.

NTUC Income Kite Festival Singapore 2012
8 & 9 Sep 2012; 4pm - 8pm
The Promontory @ Marina Bay; Free Admission


The Kite Festival invites all kite-lovers to join in for some of kite-flying fun! Enjoy beautiful kite performances by experienced kiters and kitemasters from Singapore and Malaysia as they showcase their talents and stunning pieces including the 'teddy bear' and 'squid' kites. If you are new to the sport, be sure to stop by and check out the workshops on kite flying and kite making.

M.A.D. (Make A Difference) for Wild Pigs
9 Sep 2012; 4-6pm
Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park Pond Gardens; Free

Where do wild pigs live in Singapore? Are there wild pigs that live in other parts of the world? What do wild pigs look like? What do they eat? What may eat them? How many piglets do they usually have? What dangers do they face? How can we live with them? What can we do to conserve them? If we should meet a with a wild pig, what should we do? If you're a kid between the ages of 5 and 10 years, and would like to learn more about wild pigs, then join us for an evening of fun and learning. Take home with you a better idea about wild pigs that live in our midst. Note: This workshop will not bring you into close contact with wild pigs.

For pre-registration and more details, email Celine Low at contact@cicadatree.org.sg giving participants' names, ages & a mobile no.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

When I grow up, I want to be...

(Daddy blogs)

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Over the years, I have come to realise that this question is a bad one.

On one hand, it’s a fun and harmless question. And kids do come up with some pretty funny answers. When Ash was 3 he said he wanted to be a policeman and a cooker (he meant chef), in that order. At 6, he proclaimed an air steward was what he wanted because 'it's more fun than being a pilot'. Now, he's not so sure.


But seriously, how do kids usually answer this question?

Most children already have a pre-conceived notion to conjure up an answer that will be acceptable to the questioner. They think career. They think cool. They think job. They think awesomeness. Without any thought as to their unique strengths or style.

Heck, if early inclinations are any measure, Ayd - who is so comfortable in removing his clothes in any place - has a future as an exotic dancer.


When I was a kid, I thought the perfect job in the world was to be the guy who works at 7-11. My logic was pretty solid, because I figured that would mean I’d get all the free candies, chocolates, chips and Slurpees that my heart could ever desire. Funny how life turned out, no?

In this age of parenting, where everything our kids somehow do reflect on us, how are we going to allow our kids to make mistakes? To suit up wearing a gun? To toil in a greasy kitchen?

I think it’s funny that just because most of us adults are obsessed with what people do for a living, we project that onto our kids.

Just the other day, Ayd offered, "Why not be a garbage collector? It's such a cool job!" He’s got a point. Garbage men get to ride around on the back of a truck and don’t have to wear seatbelts.


But seriously, I worry because we all have such high expectations of our kids that we would not be satisfied with anything less than whatever our neurotic parental desires dictate us. Our kids bask under such intense heat of expectations - our own, and now theirs by extrapolation as well.

No matter what my monkies decide to do with their life, I am sure it will be difficult and full of obstacles and hopefully, rewards as well. And on my part, I do hope that I must not get too overly-invested in their decisions and allow them the freedom to succeed and to fail.

So the next time I ask a child, I will try asking this instead:

Who are you becoming?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Article Alert!

(Daddy blogs)

Remember my regular blogging stint with maybebaby.sg

My new article is already up! It's titled 'The joys of Parenting' and you can read the full article here: http://www.maybebaby.sg/blog/2012/08/21/the-joys-of-parenting/

maybebaby.sg is a parenthood website managed by I Love Children, a Voluntary Welfare Organisation which seeks to celebrate children and the joy they bring. Through the website, they hope to inculcate the value and importance of parenthood and family among Singaporeans, as well as encourage a children–friendly environment in Singapore.

In other news, our family was fortunate to be featured in 8 Days magazine not once, but twice in consecutive issues!


The first one (above photo) was in last week's issue of 8 Days, and was featured as part of SingTel's 'Home Without Walls' photo contest. And we have Danny Santos to thank for the amazing family portrait! You can see more of our Outdoor Photoshoot with him HERE.

The second one (below photo) is in this week's 8 Days, and is related to our Amsterdam Farm visit with Friso Singapore.


Cavin Soh, the MediaCorp artiste, was invited along for the farm visit as well and he was interviewed by 8 Days under the Travel section.

Thanks 8 Days! :)

Monday, August 20, 2012

Cheekiemonkies in Netherlands: Day 7

Parting is such sweet sorrow.

(Daddy recounts)

Our FINAL day in Amsterdam. 

Since our flight was in the night, we had most part of the day to explore some more. And we did - we headed down to Rijksmuseum once we had checked out of our hotel and stowed away our luggage.



The Rijksmuseum - literally, 'national museum' - features one of Europe's top collections of art and historical items and the world's largest group of Dutch Master paintings.


Besides paintings, there were lots of artifacts on display too.


But the true reason as to why people flock to the Rijksmuseum is THIS.


Rembrandt's The Night Watch, one of the world's most famous paintings in the world.

The painting is renowned for three elements: its colossal size, the effective use of light and shadow and the perception of motion: a group of militiamen have just moved into action and are about to march off.

The boys were rather fascinated with the painting as they pored over the detailed guides, which gave them more insights into the painting... while Ale, erm, didn't have a clue what was going on. Haha.


We only managed to visit two museums during our time in Amsterdam - the Van Gogh Museum and Rijksmuseum. Of the two, I think the boys enjoyed Van Gogh Museum more, possibly because the nature of the exhibits was more focused and it was more intriguing for them to follow Vincent van Gogh's works of art throughout his life.

There was still time to spare after our museum visit, so we trooped down to the adjacent Vondelpark for some fresh air.


Vondelpark is central Amsterdam's biggest park. And it is essentially is a combination of large, grassy fields; landscaped gardens; ponds and canals; miles of paved paths and wooded trails; children's wading pool and playgrounds.


Much like our Botanical Gardens, but larger. Much much larger in fact!

And in a nod to the fact that Summer has truly arrived, there were lots of people suntanning on the open grass fields. On a weekday. Don't these people have to work?

Ditto for the wading pools. They were teeming with children as well!


I think the playground would make a better choice of leisure for the boys.


And they did revel in the entire play structures.


When they were sick of climbing structures, they turned to trees.


All those climbing definitely made tummies rumble at a faster rate, so we went searching for lunch next. There were no shortage of meal options within Vondelpark, but we made one incredible find just outside the park. It was this quaint little cafe for kids called Kinderkookkafé.


Kinderkookkafé means 'Children's Cook Cafe', and it is exactly what its name implies.



Kids suit up in aprons and chef hats to whip up all sorts of creations, from pizzas and sandwiches to chocolate croissants and cookies. And they get to serve their parents too after the food is done!



The boys chose to make their own pizza, and so they had to look for the correct ingredients from the chiller.


Once they gathered the required ingredients, it was off to their cook table!

The dough was already prepared beforehand, so all they had to do was to flatten it into a circular shape.


After the dough was done, it was time to smear the tomato paste and pile on the toppings.


TA-DAH! All done!


The lady boss assisted by placing the pizzas into the oven.


And while the pizzas were in the oven, there were other distractions for the boys.


The oven went 'DING' soon enough, and the pizzas were ready to be eaten!


Not too shabby an effort eh?

And with that, it marked the end of our Amsterdam Adventures as we headed to the airport after this. We definitely enjoyed the entire trip, more so for the boys I think especially since they had skipped school for this! :p

Once again, we would like to thank Friso Singapore for this awesome opportunity and hopefully, we would be able to pay a visit to Amsterdam again next time. :)

Read our entire Amsterdam Travelogue here: http://www.cheekiemonkie.net/search/label/Amsterdam

See MORE photos of our Day 7 Adventures in our Awesome Amsterdam album on our Cheekiemonkies' Facebook page here: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.349364561810486.80573.110845722329039&type=1

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