Chubby Anecdotes | Singapore Parenting and Kids' Art Blog: June 2013

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Cardboard Storyboard - Explaining the haze to little children

Learning about the haze and re-telling a story with story board.

"Mommy, why can't we go out and play?"
I kept the kids at home for most of the past weekend as the haze was bad (above PSI 300). I did what I thought was the best for the kids. The kids however, didn't quite understand what was going on - after all, they have not experienced such high PSI since they were born.

Me: Well Darlings, we can't go out today 'cos it's hazy outside.
Jiejie: What is hazy?

Meimei was looking at us blankly

Me: You see the blur outside? *pointing to the window*

The kids ran over to the window and looked outside.

Jiejie: No *puzzled*
Meimei: NO *parroting her sister, confidently*

Wondering if I used the wrong description...

Me: I mean, you can't see those further away blocks clearly, right?
Jiejie: Ooo!
Meimei: OOOO! *echoing her sister*
Jiejie: Why liddat?
Me: It's the haze. Dirty air covering those blocks from our sight.

By now, I can see questions marks popping out all over their heads.

To help the kids understand the haze better, I made a little story board for them.
Using old cardboard, I cut out little shapes of tree trunks, green canopy and fire then got the kids to help painting them. I explained to them what is haze and how it came about with the storyboard then got the kids to re-tell the story.

movable cut-outs and cotton wool haze
Rearranging the items on the board as the story goes.

Disclaimer: The conversation didn't occur, I put it together in my imagination. ;p
I'd keep the kids busy before they could ask anything (much) and assume they understood what they need to know (as they didn't ask much about the haze) after our little "craft and tell" story time. ;D

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Setting up our very own Art Studio

It has always been my dream to have the master bedroom to ourselves. It may seem too humble a dream, but living in Singapore where land is scarce, having a home of our own would mean anything from S$150,000 to infinity (yes, I am kinda exaggerating). Having once lived with my inlaws for the first few years of my marriage, I especially looked forward to moving into my master bedroom last year, when we moved into a home of our own. 

I must be the only person looking forward to this, apart from the husband. The majority (we are talking about 3 kids versus 2 parents) would prefer to have their mom bunking in with them (much to the husband's despair). We have 2 common rooms in the house, 1 for the kids while the other was left empty for my inlaws to stay over when they want to. To save electricity (common rooms are smaller thus, requires lesser electricity to cool the room with air-con), hubby usually sleeps in that room. That leaves the master bedroom rarely used, while the kids toys and books and crafts were all over the living room and their bedroom as we didn't have enough space to put everything together in either rooms. It seem to make perfect sense to give up my master bedroom for a Study cum Art room for the kids - It wasn't an easy decision, but I went ahead anyway.

We moved the king size mattress out and moved in the tiny book shelf and other kids' furniture.
Jiejie helping to put the books back to the shelf in their new home...

While the baby brother removes them from the shelf again -.-!
Nice and neat. Not for long though. Tidying the bookshelf is a daily affair.
Got the SMART TV up too! Now the kids can play some games and read audio books in the room.
Moved these little tables and chair in from the living room. Now Jiejie can do her homework while the little boy play in the living room. The room makes an excellent place for Art and Craft activities too! Which is excellent!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Brian is 4! - hand painted balloons wall decor

Hello there! 
How was your weekend? 
We stayed home for most of the past weekend as the haze was bad and the kids wont wear their mask *having a headache just thinking about it* 

Having spent most of the weekend among ourselves, we were super glad that Annie and Brian visited us on Sunday evening with a small painting project for Brian's birthday party! Here's what we did:

Pretty Balloons Wall Decor
Here's sharing with you how it's done:

Draw the outline with pencil on an A1 size paper
Get the kids to help with painting the balloons. Here's Annie guiding the kids with painting. Brian, our Birthday Boy to-be is on the right of the picture.
Add outlines and wordings and we are done!
 
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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Top Tips to beat the Haze - For families with little children

“How can I protect my children from this haze craze?” I hear many mommy friends asking.
Last night, outside Serangoon MRT.
With the haze looming over our little island, it’s no wonder parents are worried for their little ones.  But before you head to the pharmacy and start stocking up on healthcare supplies, here’s a list of tips and advices curated from all over the World Wide Web (with some ideas of my own) to help you make better choices for you, and you little ones.

1. Mask up!
Ideally, keep the kids indoor as much as possible, but if you have to bring the child out, be sure they are wearing a mask. If you are wondering what type of mask to purchase, go for respiratory masks like N95*. Surgical masks and paper masks do not provide adequate protection from fine pollutants in the air.

Added below on 21 June
* Please be careful when using respiratory masks (ie N95) on children. If child experience difficulty in breathing. Please remove immediately. I was told by my child's daycare teacher to check with the doctor before using N95 on children. 

According to MOH.gov.sg, "N95 masks are not designed for use on children or people with facial hair (e.g. beards), because it is difficult to achieve a proper fit, since these masks are designed to seal to the wearer’s face. Children should therefore minimize outdoor activity at PSI levels above 100, and avoid all outdoor activity if PSI levels reach higher than 300."
 
I've ordered children N95 grade masks and Nexcare kids masks from qoo100(pending delivery), meanwhile they are kept indoors (as much as possible) and given surgical mask when we need to bring them out for short periods (ie from home to childcare or from home to our car in the carpark).

2. Drink (lots of) water
Children need about five and eight cups of water each day. Be sure to keep the children well-hydrated. Toxins in the air are absorbed into our body through our lungs and skin, this put extra load on our kidneys. Staying hydrated will help our kidneys to excrete these toxins

3. Keep the kids indoors
Put your outing plans aside, instead, work on some fun activities for your little ones at home.

If your child goes to a daycare, check with the school on their preventive measures and inform the school should your child has asthma, sensitive airways, skin allergy or history of bronchitis.

Added below on 21 June 
According to MOH.gov.sg with reference to children - outdoor activities should be minimised at PSI levels above 100, and totally avoided if PSI levels reach higher than 300.

4. Keep indoor air clean
Ideally, keep doors and windows closed and turn on air-conditioner and air-purifier. Clean the air-con filters regularly to keep proper filtration in place*. If you do not have an air-purifier, try clearing the air with steam by boiling water. Good house-keeping such as keeping the floors and cabinets clean also helps to improve indoor air quality.

Added below on 21 June
* I added a 3M Filtrete Air Cleaning Filters to my air conditioners.
They are available in DIY stores (if not already wiped up). Here's more information on the product if you are interested: 
http://solutions.3m.com.sg/wps/portal/3M/en_SG/Air_Water_Filtration/Filtrete/Products/Air/AirconFilter/

5. Wash hands and face regularly

Clean little hands, feet and faces regularly and shower immediately after going outdoors to wash away the toxin residues.

6. Pump up on the right nutrients

A well balanced diet is key to good immunity. Ensure that your child is having enough vitamin C, E, and Omega-3.

Singapore General Hospital advises the following:

Eat more
  • Green leafy vegetables and fruit
  • Oily fish like sardines
  • Nuts

Consume less
  • Dairy products 
  • Sugar
  • Red meat
  • Coffee and Alcohol

7. When should I head to the doctor’s?

Be prepared with medical solutions should your child have pre-existing respiratory and skin problems (eg. asthma, bronchitis , eczema, etc). See a doctor immediately if you observe tell-tales signs of breathing difficulty and asthma in children. Hold your horse if your child is having a runny nose – our bodies produce more mucus to get rid of toxins.

References taken from (Useful reads!):
 http://www.moh.gov.sg/content/moh_web/home/pressRoom/Current_Issues/2013/haze/frequently-asked-questions--faqs--on-haze-and-your-health.html
http://yourhealth.asiaone.com/content/6-ways-beat-haze
https://www.facebook.com/notes/singapore-general-hospital/health-tips-dealing-with-the-haze/452151394300
http://www.babycenter.com.sg/a1029128/haze-protecting-your-baby
http://www.webmd.com/lung/features/12-ways-to-improve-indoor-air-quality
http://www.myhealth.gov.my/v2/index.php/en/prime-years/environmental-health/haze-a-our-health
http://www.asiaone.com/News/Latest%2BNews/Health/Story/A1Story20130618-430417.html
http://www.venusbuzz.com/archives/24524/survival-kit-hazardous-haze-kuala-lumpur/
http://www.livestrong.com/article/274633-how-much-water-should-a-child-drink-a-day/
http://english.sina.com/china/2013/0114/548563.html

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

How to make a snow globe

Here's a simple and fun activity we did over the past weekend. It was Fathers' Day last Sunday and we were all set to impress Daddy. With some inspiration from RedTedArt.com, we made our own snow globes for our dearest Daddy and the Grandpas. We hope Daddy would bring us to Sweden (or any where that snows during winter) for some real snowing fun someday! Daddy, pleassssseeeee! *executes puppy eyes*

Here are the snow globes we mad. Ain't they beautiful?
Here's a simple step-by-step to making snow globes at home.

You will need: 
  • Used glass bottles with lids
  • Little figurines (that can fit into the glass bottle)
  • Glitters
  • Buttons
  • Ribbons
  • Craft Glue 
  • Glycerin 
We gathered little "strayed" figurines (that were otherwise laying down somewhere collecting dust)
and used glass bottles for this activity.
Build a base for the the figurine by stacking buttons to you desired height,
then stick them together onto the bottle lid with craft glue.
Once you are done with the base, stick the figurine of your choice onto the base, then leave it to dry.

Sparkle some glitters into the glass bottles then fill it up with water and a few drops of glycerin.
Line the circumference of the glass bottle with craft glue and screw down the lid. 
Fill the grab between bottle and lid, then stick ribbon around the bottle to cover up the gap.  Leave it to dry and
tah-dahhhh! Turn it around and there you are, your very own homemade snow globe! 
Good to know:
If you are wondering what type of craft glue to buy, go for water-proof glue that dries up clear.  I would recommend Crafters Choice Craft Glue. You can go for hot glue gun or super glue. I won't recommend super glue through, they don't stick so well and it's a pain to remove them from my fingers. 
Very important note to parents: Never (with the capital "N") leave young children alone to work with craft glue. Always keep the room well ventilated.

Where to buy Craft Glue in Singapore?
Spotlight or any scrapbook shop should have a good range of craft glue for selection. 


Where to buy Glycerin in Singapore?
Any pharmacy should carry glycerin. I got mine from Guardian at about S$6.00.

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Monday, June 17, 2013

My Children, My Inspiration

My children are my greatest inspiration to lead a healthier life.
Becoming a mother pretty much turned my life upside-down and around. Since the birth of my eldest child, I've made many little and huge changes to my lifestyle. From putting down the beer bottle during pregnancy to changing the dinner menu from whatever-goes to what's-good-for-you to carter to the children's growing needs. I've sinced bid the dance floor goodbye and instead walted to countless lullabies with my babies in my arms.

Recently, my doctor told me that I should look into watching my weight. "You want to be there for your children, right?" he appealed. YEAH! so right! I've yet to loss a good 30kg gained over 3 pregnancies, and that's definitely not good for me. When I shared this with my preschooler, she said to me, "I love you mommy, no matter what. But I want to see you as pretty as the princess", she was pointing to my wedding portrait.

I was encouraged, my little girl fueled me like no other. I have since started working on losing weight and I am happy to report that I am on a slow but steady track to a healthier (and prettier) me - for myself and my little ones that mean more than the world to me ;D


Me and my brood ;D
 The above is my submission to Raffles Medical's Inspirational Photo Contest on their FaceBook Fanpage
Please support my entry by liking and sharing my submission, link here: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=647702765257765&set=o.183583558353851&type=1&theater

 Have a story to share? Post it with a good photo on Raffles Medical's Inspirational Photo Contest Facebook Fanpage and stand a chance to win the following prizes: 
More information on the contest here: https://www.facebook.com/RafflesMedGrp/app_160430850678443

Happy Fathers' Day 2013

Fathers' Day before my kids were born, was fun and fuzzy but very predicable - we'd always have dinner with my dad as a family.

Fathers' Day after my kids were born, has been fun and fuzzy but never predicable - we'd play by ear and see what the kids came up with. Of course, there were still dinners... and lunches and tea to celebrate the day with the grandfathers too! This year, Jiejie designed a shirt for daddy while Meimei brought home a paper crown from school! We'd got the very shy daddy to wear his party suite!
Strike a pose! (Hum... too much KPOP)
Awwwww. Let's try to get a better picture of all four of you...

.... o well, never mind. ;)

I want to wear it too!
Oppps! 
I here by crown you....Prince C....(No, not Charming) Chubby. Lolx 
His Royal Highness, Prince Chubby of Cradle is wearing the latest fashion designed by
Her Royal Sweetness, Princess Jiejie Shanice Tou-fu and Princess Meimei Renee Tau-Hway 
In case you are wondering, Daddy is a Prince 'cos the kids has got a Princess Mommy *grinning shamelessly*.

Apart from dressing daddy up for the occasion, we...
... made pretty snow globes and gave them away to daddy and granddads,

and Mommy baked cheesy muffins. 
What a fun-filled and activities packed weekend for us! Mommy's flat and is going to catch some sleep, now. Please stay tuned for Snow Globe's Step-by-Step and Muffin's recipe, coming up very soon on your favourite blog ;D

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Attention Please - AdTech Singapore 2013

It was my first time at AdTech and Suntec Convention Center after it's renovation. There was a tinge of fresh paint and glue in the atmosphere that was otherwise filled with pure anticipation. "I made it! and it better be worth it" I can almost hear myself say. So glad to be there after all - I almost couldn't make it.
Awe-inspiring digital screen mural
While I was moving up on the escalator, the digital mural opened up, spreading from the center of the screen to the sides, images of inspiring speakers and brands. I thought to myself then "If I could, one day be there too...". Yes, it's a lofty thought, but if I were to think anyway, I must as well think BIG. ;p

Jotting down, my takeaway from the 4 keynotes session I've attended. They were conducted by folks from FaceBook, Yahoo, Samsung , Proximity and Financial Times.

The following pretty much sums it all up:
Taken from Richard Fraser's (BBDO Proximity) presentation.
Capturing attention through relevant platforms but sustaining relationship to prevent a "1 hit wonder" result.

Content Strategy then, focus on sustaining conversations between brand and people.

A good content strategy focus on people (and not product) getting people to participate and co-create content.
Case study : Campell
http://www.campbellskitchen.com/
A platform that provides useful information, helps with meals planning and encourages sharing while gaining insights into consumers behaviour

Keep the conversation going.
Customer need and interest based products and technology that integrates  into digital marketing.
Case study: Nike Plus
Spanning out from 1 interest, a conversation and relationship beyond point of purchase. Also leading to brand loyalty

Engagement through content. Content is to be treated as a tool, conversation, choice and currency.
Case study: http://www.pgeveryday.com/
P&G cleverly place multiple brands into 1 lifestyle platform, 1 story that brings on multiple conversations.

Digital Ecosystem needs an anchoring point.
All shared content thru SNS networks and beyond stems out from the single story on the single platform that anchors ppl back to the brand.

Ultimately, it's about social CRM. being social, empowering social to gain insights which translate into marketing plans, product design and beyond.

The highlight of all would be the session by Nicki Kenyon(Facebook) and Nicholas Wodtke (Samsung)
Nicholas made a point on having a 'Point of View'. Which resonates with Fraser's emphasis for Attention.
Brands need to have a 'Point of View' to stand out.
'Point of View'. helps discoverability and  curation- 2 key to bring a message through.

Knowing who you are and who you are not helps brands to decide what to focus on and what to do without to prevent overdoing the necessary.

Focusing on the few things that the brand do well while expanding through partnership with the best in class in other fields.
ie Samsung collaboration with Facebook

Nicki then shared on the basis of human behaviour and how social media functions (Super cool!).

Collaboration between Samsung and Facebook helps bring out the best of both and conquer new territories for both.
ie Samsung TV, allows "Like" hand gestures for users to recommend channels to friends, which aids curation and channel surfing.

"Loyalty is never a 1 off experience, it is a virtual cycle (of constant engagement)" - Nicki Kenyon

The keynotes were mostly content-centric - They covered various topics but all pivoted to the importance of  content; customer-centric content, brand message positioning and engaging conversations between brand and people. Content Marketing is indeed the new black. ;D
Content beyond Art