Happy Birthday Xuan!

14Oct17
Another week, another family gathering to celebrate the birthday of a niece. Xuan Xuan turned 5! And she’s super hyper and talkative at her own party!

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Kidzania Singapore

Kidz1
We arrived bright and early at Kidzania Singapore at 10.15am! That was the day before T turned 8. The queue was so short because the early birds already made their way in at 10am sharp. Yeah, we took less than 5 minutes to check in!

Kidz2 (1)
Consistent with their character, K went to check his bank account ever so often. He also found delivering money so fun that he did it twice. And T picked many many many jobs from the food industry. So predictable!

Kidz3
This was the most boring station ever. The station is meant for really young kids (the cars crawl along like snails) but because T really wanted to drive, so they went to do so many things before actually driving – got their eyes checked, queued to get a license, queued to drive. So much time waiting around for the slow car ride to happen, yawnz.

Kidz4
Ooooo I loved this station! So many challenging obstacles to go through! And it’s designed in a way that the child can only go forward and up. No chance to chicken out. K was just rushing through the whole thing because he wanted to challenge himself. He was happy that he took 6 min to complete it. As for T, he was moving really cautiously by the time he got to the top tier, so I think all the tight rope walking must have been quite scary for him. He took 14 min plus to complete it.

Kidz5
Birthday boy’s favourite job of the day was to be a fire fighter! That was a popular job – there were always so many people queuing up at the fire station to get in throughout the day. And that was also T’s last job for the day before we said bye to Kidzania Singapore at 6pm!

Happy 8th Birthday!

24Sep17
T turned 8 today! For his birthday activity, he chose to go to Kidzania Singapore. That was mighty fun – he rated it 10 out of 10. Problem was that Kidzania was one day before his actual birthday, and the things he did on his actual birthday weren’t as terrific as he imagined. He bawled at bedtime when he realized that the day has come to an end, he didn’t do anything much, and he’ll have to wait for another year before the birthday comes around again.

It actually wasn’t that bad a birthday, but this boy had high expectations. He received many gifts in the morning from his family – vouchers, ang pow, magnets, pencil case, sparkles, paper toy, chocolates. He also got to choose where the whole family ate over the weekend (a lot of pasta of course). He didn’t want to do ANY work that required thinking so we allowed him to skip all of that over the weekend. He watched two movies and had some game time. But he disliked the first movie (cried after the movie). And he also disliked the fact that his brother kept disturbing him even though it was his special day. Anyway, these two things made him grouchy at bedtime … oh well, I can only say that some birthdays are better than others and its not possible to always have “the best birthday” every year.

Optical illusions

Science1
The Singapore Science Centre recently revamped it’s exhibits. It was so fun that we went TWICE in September. The second time was with cousins and they enjoyed the visit very much too. When you enter the Centre now, you will encounter many exhibits that try to trick your perception.

Science2
Quite near the entrance there’s also a really cool mirror maze that tricks you to go round and round in circles. And wires aren’t from the maze. They’re from an activity booth manned by really enthusiastic volunteers.

Science0
Highlight for the boys and their cousins was definitely trying out all the virtual reality rides. For some reason, everyone was not good at flying a plane. They did much better pretending to fly like a bird. And the younger boys enjoyed the roller coaster rides very much.

Holiday Art Camp

8Sep17
Boys attended a holiday art camp in September. It was organized by the CC downstairs. Although it was a really short camp (2 half days), they came back with lots of things – batik tees, lanterns, photo frames, fancy colour pencils etc. Both said the came was fun!

Adventure Zone

Penang11Our second time staying at Golden Sands Resort in Batu Feringgi, and boys don’t remember their previous stay here. Then, they were too young to try the fast slides at Adventure Zone. Now that they’re so big, they had a really good time zooming down non stop! 15 minutes before they were at Adventure Zone, they caught American Ninja on TV and T was trying pretend he was a ninja going through all the obstacle courses at the indoor playground. His antics were hilarious! They had a good 2.5 hours workout at the Adventure Zone!

Penang12The rest of Golden Sands Resort was nice too, but now that the boys are older, they seem to be less interested in swimming. There was even once that KL went swimming himself without them!

 

Made in Penang

Penang7Made in Penang is a newish 3D interactive museum. Again it’s one of the many attractions in Penang that is styled as a musuem, but it’s really not quite.

Penang8Like Dark Mansion, there were plenty of good photo opportunities here. The place was cheerier and boys had more fun here than at Dark Mansion.

Penang9Tickets were bundled together with Dark Mansion, so it was a buy-1-get-1-free deal. Good, because this one was also quite low in its educational value. A pity, because there were so many visuals on Penang’s culture and history but museum didn’t go the extra effort to organize and explain these visuals.

Penang10Oh well, at least visitors get to learn quite a bit about perspectives and perception. And all my photos turned out cute too!

Dark Mansion

Penang4Penang is home to a number of small eclectic attractions scattered around the UNESCO World Heritage Buffer Zone. They’ve all called themselves museums but they’re really not quite.

Penang5We went to the 3D glow-in-the-dark museum that has zero educational value. Plenty of photo opp in the place. So photos were nice! It’s a fun 45 minutes respite from the scorching sun! But still, zero educational value.

Penang6To survive the scorching day, we ate ice cream and drank plenty of cold drinks on our way to and from the museum!

Hello Penang!

Penang1Singapore and Malaysia are both having a really loooong weekend now. There’s Merdeka Day, Teacher’s Day, Hari Raya Haji, Sep School Hols, ASEAN games hol … perfect time to visit Penang to meet up with cousins whom I’ve not seen in a long while. Between me and my cousins, we have EIGHT boys from 2 – 10 years old! So many, lol!

Penang2Dinner was awesome local food – hokkien mee, curry mee, wanton mee, kway teow tng, char keow teow, satay! So oily and so yummy!

Penang3BONUS! On our 2nd day in Penang, we were walking along a random small street past a random small shop when I met my 2nd auntie (dad’s older sis). OMG, what are the chances of that happening?! She just happened to be at that shop, happened to be looking outside the shop, just as we happened to be walking past it! My 2nd uncle (dad’s older brother) said we’re lucky enough to strike lottery. I think so too!

And T bought a little toy camera on the trip. He was happy to “snap” pics of people and food!

Happy Birthday Singapore!

9Aug17We went to catch the National Day fireworks today. We jogged a bit at Gardens by the Bay before parking ourselves in front of Marina Bay Sands to catch the fireworks. T was upset because he didn’t think the fireworks was worth the crowd, waiting time, parking fee, jam on the way home. We were not in a good spot because part of the fireworks was blocked by the Art Science Museum. But we were near enough to hear the National Anthem from the crowd at the parade.

Looking through my photos, T even looked upset when he was eating potato chips, lol!

Pasir Ris Park

29Jul17
Extended family gathered for 2 nights at a chalet in Pasir Ris. Cousins had fun chasing each other around the huge chalet, hanging out together to play their mobile phones, and sweating it out at Pasir Ris Park. They especially loved this spinning thing at the Park and would not get off to play other things. Except for T, who would get off for a rest every few minutes or so because spinning too much gives him a tummy ache, i.e. motion sickness, or so he says.

Shanghai

Shanghai1
Visited a girlfriend in Shanghai last month. Lots of eating. I love their dumplings!

Shanghai2
Shanghai is such an eclectic city. Between the foreigners’ enclave that we were mostly in, and the surburb that my girlfriend stayed – it feels like we’re in different countries. Air quality was okay, above hazardous levels for half of the trip. Which is normal for a big Chinese city, I guess.

Learning Forest

30Jun17
We checked out the new Learning Forest within the Singapore Botanic Gardens! I thought it’ll be huge, but it’s actually small enough to finish on foot within an hour. It’s nice though, so we might just come back another weekend!

Bits and Pieces of June 2017

27Jun17We drank LiHo so many times this month! I really like their guanyin milk tea with grass jelly. Boys prefer Gong Cha. Their usual order is honey green tea but LiHo’s version comes with lemon, which they find too sour.

We went to the gym together twice this month. They’re happier to be jogging on a threadmill than outdoors because they get to jog at their own pace and more importantly there’s TV to watch. Their average distance is about 1.5km before they want to get off and do other things.

On one extremely wet weekend, they decided that walking alone was too hazardous so they joined shoulders to walk stable-y across the wet floor.

T likes to wear his shirt like that. Or sometimes he pulls it over his knees. Just because.

June Holidays

22Jun17
June Holidays are coming to an end! Boys spent the first week of their holiday in Melbourne, second week at home, third week at Science Camp, fourth week at home. Nothing too spectacular. T had no school homework, so we made him do Chinese tuition homework and Kumon sums on weekdays. K had a lot of school homework, which he managed to complete by the third week. I was impressed by the checklist he made for himself.

Boys had a friend who came over to play on some weekday mornings. The three of the went for Science Camp together.

Boys also learnt a new travel route. Their Chinese tuition teacher moved house so instead of walking to her place in Ghim Moh, they now have to take a bus to Clementi to reach her.

Golden Mile

16Jun17
Dinner with grandparents at Golden Mile.  爷爷 is in between his chemo cycles now. I’ve lost track of which cycle and how many more to go. He’s losing a lot of weight, but was well enough to head out for dinner last weekend. I haven’t seen him in such good spirits for a while, so I can only hope that it means his health is making a turn for the better 🙂

Point Nepean National Park

Bushes. Bushes. More bushes.M33

We did an 8km walking trail at Point Nepean today, of which 7km was just walking through bushes. Gosh, so much bushes! Boys amused themselves with sticks (“wands”) on the first half of the bush walk …M34… and then endless rounds of scissors, paper, stone on second half.M35

Was the walk worth it? Definitely! The stunning views of Port Phillip Bay right smack at the middle of the walk made everything worth it!M36

And T is the champion of photo bombing. He’s always pottering in front of the camera whenever the rest of us are posing for photos. M37

The Park also has some other sights of interest. At one end of the Park was a quarantine settlement which was used in the early 1900s to isolate diseased patients. There were buildings to handle new arrivals, burn contaminated items, hospitals, etc … morbid to imagine what happened here in the past. M38

At the other end of the Park, there was a fort with tunnels and gun emplacements to explore. So there was plenty to see once we got out of the bushes.

M39

Boys coaxed KL to buy them ice cream even though the temperature was 10 degrees! And T was the grand winner of scissors, paper, stone today … he’s the first to win 100 rounds, lol!

1000 Steps Track

Dandenong Ranges National Park is huge! We had to drive from one part of the Park to the other. After we finished Rhododendron Garden, we went to the popular 1000 Steps Track.M29

The Track was very steep. There’s a bit of history with the trail, it commemorates the Australian soldiers who fought in Papua New Guinea in WWII. Boys were not in the history for obvious reasons. They were more concerned about how long they had to actually walk. M30

And they were chattering non-stop – asking us what’s the point (ie have to go 1000 steps up and then have to come down again), why can’t they just stay at the base and wait for us, how loooooong more to go, yadda yadda yaddda. It was irritating because my advice to them stop talking and conserve their energy just went unheeded. It was doubly irritating because they were acting tired but obviously were not very tired out by the walking. Tired folks can’t be chattering non-stop. And they were panting very little when we got to the top. In fact, the only person panting a lot was KL.M31

To further prove the point that the boys were not tired, they scuttled away from me like monkeys when they saw a playground at the very end of the track. They were playing hide-and-seek with so much gusto and energy!M32For today’s hike, we covered 7km on foot at Dandenong Ranges National Park. 4km at easy peasy Rhododendron Garden and 3km at the 1000 Steps Track. Good workout for everyone!

Rhododendron Garden

We picked up our rental car and were so much more mobile today.M25

We headed to the Dandenong Ranges National Park to hike. We started with an easy peasy walk around the Rhododendron Garden.M26

The foliage was nice even though in its Autumn-ish garb. And I can totally imagine how colourful and beautiful it would be in spring. KL found a large Christmasy tree and asked me to take a picture for him …M27

Families with young children will definitely enjoy this Garden. It is dotted with lots of ladybirds for children “to find”. Of course we competed to find the most ladybirds. T was the most enthusiastic. So he also got the most disappointed whenever any of us spotted a ladybird before him (which was like most of the time).M28

We only spotted ten ladybirds in our walk but apparently we were not even half as close!

 

ScienceWorks

We visited ScienceWorks today. It’s a small place with just two main galleries. We got in free with our Singapore Science Centre pass because this is a partner centre. We spent the most of our time at “Think Ahead”, an area that imagined the future. Boys designed jet powered sneakers, flying cars, and even superpowered themselves!M23

Flying cars anyone?M24

We also spent some time at “Sportsworks” to test our speed, strength, flexibility, balance, reaction in all sorts of sports! And then we were 90% done. The other main exhibition was an itty bitty world meant for 3 – 8 year olds. Only T found that fun. 2.5 hours was more than enough for us to finish trying everything at ScienceWorks.

After that we Uber-ed to Melbourne Central to eat and shop. There was even enough time to go to Chinatown to pick up bubble tea 🙂

Main Yarra Trail

Second day of cycling in Melbourne! This time round we went on a proper trail – Main Yarra Trail – that didn’t have too many attractions along the way. We actually spent more time cycling than stopping today. Distance covered was about 24 km.M17

T was on the tag along bike again. He didn’t even want to consider the other bike at all. And he says his role is important because he sometimes “cycles his father”, lol!M18

Snack break at Loy’s Paddock. Sunny morning, perfect for an outdoorsy day!M19

Lunch break at Victoria Gardens mall. Boys kept complaining about their frozen fingers from riding against the wind so we got cheap gloves (from Daiso!) from the mall for all of them!M20

It rained after lunch, so we turned back to the city. Snack break at a random bench along the trail. Lucky us, we caught a really nice rainbow! I was spewing rubbish to T about how rainbows came from unicorns. He was very serious about wanting to correct that idea of mine!M21

We still had a lot biscuits by the time we went back to the city centre. So we made a quite stop at the Royal Botanic Gardens to feed ducks before returning our bikes. Fun day!M22