Fun with Water Beads

On days that we are stuck indoors, I would think of ideas for the little one to still have fun even without going out. In fact, I try even harder now in order to minimise screen time. We told Isaac we will bring him out for a swim today but who would have expected the sun to go into hiding and it started to rain. After some time, the rain continued despite Isaac’s loud singing of Rain Rain Go Away. So here’s what I did to keep his spirits up – we had fun with water beads!

I purchased a water beads kit from Tickle Your Senses and got additional dehydrated water beads so Isaac can watch them grow.

It is amazing how something so simple can be of so much fun for the little one. The moment I showed him what was in the box, his face lit up and pointed immediately at the colourful water beads instead of the dinosaurs (he is a huge fan of dinos to the point that he tells me we are a dino family). I can totally understand because personally, I am just so in love with how pretty the colours are!

We had fun growing our own water beads. I told Isaac we will have to soak those tiny beads overnight so it will expand after soaking up the water to become pretty water beads. He agreed to play with the small container of water beads first until the lot we were soaking were ready for play. And… he asked me quite an amusing question – “will become a butterfly?”. Probably because of the colours, or the fact that he knows he has to wait for the caterpillar to become a butterfly. Ha!

Growing our beads

I put in only a small amount of the beads because the husband told me that they should be able to grow up to quite big. Based on the instructions, it will be ready to play if we soaked it up to 6hrs. So I took his word for it, and imagined it to become fishball sized kinda big if I soaked it overnight (no judging please). Of cos they did not grow to that size. Anyway, we still had quite a decent number of water beads despite that little amount that I had soaked. Look, a jar full of rainbow. Gummy rainbow in Isaac’s words.

I cannot get over how pretty they are! <3

When we started to play with them, the first thing Isaac asked was if he could touch them. He claimed how slippery and gummy-like they felt to him. Then he went on to have tons of fun transferring his water beads from one container to the other with his handy scoopers.

“oh so squishy and slimy and slippery the gummy”

To make things more interesting, we increased the number of water beads and played in the bathtub today. I let him put in his dinosaur figurines to stimulate imaginative play and perhaps, language skills. Besides the pterodactyl and t-rex, he learnt about the brachiosaurus today.

can you spot the brachiosaurus?

I enjoy watching him at play especially when he starts making up his own stories and questions. Whenever he asks me something, I’d throw the question back to him and it is interesting to see what he comes up with. For example, he asked me why does the brachiosaurus have such a long neck. To be honest, I did not know the answer. So I just said “I am not sure, what do you think?” Then he replied “maybe to eat the the leaves from the tall tall trees.”. There you go, that might just be the right answer.

Canon EOS M5 Review

Got my hands on the Canon EOS M5 recently and I must say this has got to be one of the best EOS cameras I’ve tried so far. I own a point and shoot camera which I like a lot because of its convenience. That being said, I also had a lot of fun with the EOS M5 as I can play around with the settings of my photos. Here are some of its features that I like.

The Way it Looks

Grip : The rubberised hand grip is something which I truly appreciate. It improves the stability when taking photos and its deep contour provides a firmer grip of the camera. In fact, the grip is secure enough for me to hold the camera stably with one hand.

Front of camera, flash not shown here

Dials and Buttons : The EOS M5 has 4 dials – Main Dial, Dial Function Button, Exposure Compensation Dial, Quick Control Dials (top and rear). With the number of dials and buttons, it is no surprise the number of functions this camera has. I’ll be totally honest, I have customised my preferred settings such that I mainly toggle between the A+ (scene intelligent auto) mode and the C1 (custom) mode. You can either programme the dial functions to be of different functions or limit it to a specific set of functions you prefer. Just like how I set my preferred shooting mode to the C1 / C2 functions on the mode dial. I only use the top quick control dial to adjust the ISO setting (rarely though).

LCD screen:  The M5 has a 3.2-inch touchscreen LCD with 1620K dots of resolution. My favourite part of it is the flexibility of viewing the image because it can tilt 85° up and 180° down.

Electronic View Finder: The electronic viewfinder comes in handy when it is hard to see the image you are about to capture on the LCD display. This is especially so when taking photos with bright backgrounds, for me usually the sunlight when I am outdoors. This is a function I hardly use because my master eye is the eft eye. With M5’s compact body, I find my face pressing against my right hand while I snap away. So you can imagine how ridiculous I look.

Key Features

  • 24MP Dual Pixel APS-C CMOS Sensor
  • ISO 100 – 25600
  • 2.36M-dot electronic viewfinder
  • 1.62M-dot tilting rear touchscreen
  • Electronic video stabilization
  • 9 fps continuous shooting
  • Wi-Fi / Bluetooth

As most of the functions of M5 are somewhat similar to that of the M6’s which I have reviewed before here, I shall share what I really like about the M5.

Image Quality

I like how clear my photos look even without any customized settings. I started out using the Scene Intelligent Auto mode. By pressing the button halfway down, it allows the camera to achieve its focus and you will see a frame around the objects detected.

Shot indoor under natural light
Shot under indoor lighting

After configuring it to my preferred settings, I absolutely love the way my photos turned out. The EOS M5 is capable of producing sharp and low noise images. Here, I tested out my portrait shots.

Portrait Shot 1/3
Portrait Shot 2/3
Portrait Shot 3/3

** point to note : One thing to point out is, the quality of the images in this post are not as clear as the original ones that I have so I am sure it is due to the file compression by wordpress.

With a maximum iso of 25600, pictures taken under low-light scenes also turned out pretty decent.

Low light shot

Equipped with the mighty DIGIC 7 Image Processor, the M5 is able to keep its focus locked onto a subject and continuously shoot up to 7 frames per second. This is definitely a plus point to me since I capture mostly my kid who is always on the move. This way, I will surely get a shot that I want. I actually have a love hate relationship with this function because it stays ‘busy’ for quite some time after continuously shooting. Apart from that, I have no other complaints. See how clear the images are despite his movements?

With the built in wifi & bluetooth technology, we can also shoot remotely  without having to touch the camera. All I need is the Canon camera connect application and I can start snapping away from my mobile phone. Instead of setting the timer and rushing to fit into the frame, I can now set the camera on the table or tripod the click away from where I am. Put this to good use the other day when I was trying to video the boys at home and take photos at the same time.

taken with the remote shoot function

The other part to the Canon camera connect app is where I transfer my photos into my phones. All I need to do is have the wifi set up and the transfer will be completed in seconds. It is very easy to use.

There are many more functions which I am still exploring and slowly getting the use of, if you use the Manual (M) mode, you will find the different settings for picture styles :

  • Standard – general photography
  • Portrait  – ideal for close ups of people, smoothes the skin tone and hair.
  • Landscape – ideal for landscape shots like blue skies and green foliages.
  • Fine detail – For fairly vivid images with sharp edges and detailed textures
  • Creative filters – Monochrome, sepia etc.

You can also adjust the metering depending on what you are shooting.  Evaluative Metering where the settings are ideal for most scenes and useful for backlit subjects, Partial Metering for bright backgrounds such as backlit subjects, Spot Metering for specific small subject area.

Evaluative Metering
Spot metering (specific small subject area)
Monochrome

I had quite a good time using this camera so far and will continue to explore functions that I have yet to use. In my opinion, the greatest strengths of the EOS M5 are its overall design, the LCD touchscreen  and strong autofocus performance. This camera is relatively easy to use, which is important for me since I am more of a point and shoot person. The image sensor works very well too, which allows versatility and flexibility in  different shooting scenes. The EOS M5 is definitely a camera I would recommend if anyone is thinking of getting a Canon mirrorless camera.


Disclaimer: This is a personal blog. The opinions expressed here are solely my own

 

Conversations with Mister I – Episode 1

As Mister I continues to grow ever so quickly, there are things he’d say that sometimes catch me by surprise. By that, I am not referring to the “naughty words” he had picked up mostly from his dad and myself (yes, we are not saints. We sometimes forget his presence and make exclamations like “oh Sxxxt!” which he immediately picks up). What I am referring to, are moments that he’d tell me what he thinks about certain things that makes me go “WOW! where did that come from?!” Hence, I decided perhaps I should jot down the things he says, that has somewhat created an impact on me. This could also be one of the ways for me to learn to be a better parent.

28th May 2018, Thursday

The husband was expected to be at work earlier than usual and we were rushing to get out of the house. I remember we were running late that day because Mister I could not wake up in time and was reluctant to get out of bed. On usual days like these, I tend to be a lot more patient with the flexibility of time I get at work. However on that particular day, I had a meeting at 9am which I cannot be late for. I started to get pretty annoyed at how slowly he was getting about with the teeth brushing and changing. I kept telling him to stand properly so I can put on this pants but he kept fidgeting. Then I lost it. I raised my voice and told him to stand properly or I am walking out of the room. The boy was calm. He obeyed immediately but what he said next stunned me.

“ok, I will stand properly. Can you stop being angry? Like daddy, always angry me?”

This. The action which I took to get him to stand properly actually meant more to him than I had imagined. In his response, the keywords that caught my attention were “always angry”. Was this true? Is this really what he felt?

This got me thinking and honestly, that pang of guilt that hit me right away was beyond description. I explained to him in a nicer tone that I am not really mad at him. I just needed to get things done at a quicker pace so we can all go to work/school on time. Before we sent him to school, we made sure he knew we loved him more than anything else in this world and we’re sorry if he feels like we are constantly mad at him. We will try to work on this as long as he promises to behave as well.

While on the way to work, I thought about the series of events and how it could have been avoided. I realised that actually the way things were done that morning was exactly the same as the other days when we were not in a rush to get to work. There was only a change which led to this unfortunate event in the morning just because we needed to be at work earlier that particular morning. How could I have expected Mister I to have known if we did not tell him prior that we needed to leave earlier? His actions were consistent throughout, ours weren’t. He probably did not even know what that fuss was all about in the first place.

Ah well, lesson learnt.

 

Net Fishing for Kids

Last night after dinner, we had this impromptu idea to bring Isaac fishing at Fish@Bugis+. Who would have thought that there’d be a place to catch prawns and small fishes on the roof-garden of a shopping mall?

For $15, we are given and small tank and a fishing net to fish for an hour. Children are allowed to go remove their shoes to go into the pond and catch the fishes.

Rules of fishing

  1. Children have to be below 12 years old and able to fish without assistance
  2. Children can only use the net to catch the fishes
  3. Parents are not allowed to help with the fishing
  4. Parents cannot help the children to catch the fish
  5. No sharing of nets

As expected, in Isaac’s excitement to catch the fish, he squat and got his shorts and t-shirt wet. Fortunately, we have the habit of bringing spare clothes when ever we go out.

I had thought that it would be quite easy to catch the fishes but I was so wrong. Hence, I was so happy and proud when the little one caught his very first fish. At the end of the day, we went home with 8 fishes and a happy boy who got to keep them as pets.

some of the fishes

Isaac is Three-rific!

In the blink of an eye, Isaac is now three!

The little man requested to give his classmates presents on his birthday because he has been receiving goody bags on their birthdays. He even told me that he wanted to have a Catboy (pj mask) themed party.  I think it is great that he is opinionated and can express himself instead of us trying to figure out what he will like.

Unfortunately, I did not manage to get a PJ mask cake from the halal certified cake shops at waterway point and Isaac decided to go for a paw patrol cake in the end. We celebrated his birthday in advance and here’s what we prepared.

items in our goody bags

No candies at all. I’ve received PMs in IG asking me where I got those projection watches, I got them from qoo10. I saw the same ones on sale at the shopping mall and they were selling them at $12 each – 3 times of what I paid.

party favours

His favourite part of the party in school was probably distributing cake and good bags to his friends. It was also apparent who his favourite buddies in class are because he gave the first few slices to them. Even his teacher told me, those were his best friends.


29-31 March 2018

We did a staycation for Isaac’s birthday this year at Amara Sanctuary Resort Sentosa. It was a surprise for him and he loved it. We blindfolded him and brought him into the room as he went “Wow!” when he saw the room, the patio (more like the bathtub) and when we opened the back door, it was the pool and jacuzzi.  He was so happy that he reenacted that a few more times kept going “wow!” over and over again.

He was too excited that we had to make sure from time to time that he wasn’t peeping
The bedroom – 1 king sized bed
The day bed – Where i spend most of my time when they go for a swim

As our room had direct pool access, it was really convenient for us. Especially when Isaac can spend many hours in the pool. I just chill and watch him from the day bed while he goes to play. One of the most amazing thing about this place, is just how close we are to nature. In the mornings, we wake up to the sound of the birds. A peacock on our roof even!

“It’s my Birthday today!”

That was what Isaac kept saying from time to time after his papa and I wished him on the actual day.

Good morning birthday boy

He spent some time in the bathtub without knowing what awaits him that day.

Ding-Dong went the door bell and he was pleasantly surprised to see his mamagonggonguguguzhangjiejies all here!

The kids had a lot of fun in the pool and bathtub while the Isaac’s papa went to collect the cake and get lunch.

We only managed to drag all the kids out of the tub when we said they can open presents and cut the cake. Time to suit up kiddos !

PJ Mask cake

We all had such a great time that day and this is why birthdays are awesome! Happy 3rd birthday my forever baby boy. May you continue to have the purest of heart and always remember that you are loved by so many!

Party Venues in Punggol

As the little one at home is turning 3 soon, I started looking around for ideas to hold a cosy celebration. Although we eventually settled for a staycation, here’s a list of party venues that I have found in Punggol. So if you are thinking of holding a party in Punggol, I hope this helps a little.

Splash @ Kidz Amaze, SAFRA Punggol

Location : 9 Sentul Crescent, Singapore 828654

There are 3 types of party rooms at Kidz Amaze – Under the Sea, Pirate’s Cave and Penguin’s Paradise. The kids can play to their hearts content in the water play area while the adults help themselves to the food in the party room. The rooms at Kidz Amaze can accommodate up to 20kids and 40 adults. Room rates (3hr per booking) starts from $800. For more information, you can check them out here.

Orchid Bowl

Location : 9 Sentul Crescent #05-03 Singapore 828654

Bumper bowling for kids ! If you have never been to this bowling alley, you really have to check this place out. The UV lights, upbeat music and the kiddy animated scoring system are some of the things I l like about this place. They do have party celebrations but unfortunately, I did not find much information on their website.

Whisk & Paddle

Location : 10 Tebing Lane, #01-01, Singapore 828836

I love how spacious this cafe is. It has both indoor (air conditioned) and outdoor seatings which can hold up to 200 people.

I checked with Whisk & Paddle on their birthday party package 2 years ago when I was looking for a venue to hold my son’s 1st birthday party and this is what I was quoted back then.

Minimum of 40 pax for event bookings and they can sit up to 200 pax. There is a 3 hour slots for all events. The price varies depending on which time slot you decide on. 2pm-5pm slot is the cheapest, it starts from $45 per pax. The price quoted is for the venue space, buffet food line, free flow of drinks and a dessert table.

Again, I enquired 2 years ago. So there may be changes to the price / party package. For more information, you can contact them.

Cravings

Location : 6 Tebing Lane, #01-05, Singapore 828835

If you are a fan of waffles and pastries, this is probably the place for you. They have party packages too. Information can be found on their website.

Inspirit House

Location : 3 Punggol Point Road, #01-05, The Punggol Settlement, S(828694)

Inspirit House is a kids-friendly and family oriented restaurant. They have a kids play area and an alfresco area that overlooks the sea. I have not made any enquiries here personally, but there are so many positive feedbacks on how helpful the crew is. Definitely worth checking them out.

Party Room at Waterway Point

Location : 83 Punggol Central, #02-24 (West Wing), Waterway Point, Singapore 828761

The party room can hold up to 30 people. They have sound system, television and fridge. Enjoy birthday party exclusive discounts from selected Waterway Point’s shops if you order the food or party items from selected shops in the same mall. More information here.

Starker Q

Location :Punngol Waterway Point, 85 Punggol Central #01-01, Singapore 828726

I did not notice this place until recently when I went to check out the outdoor area at Waterway Point. This Starker Q outlet is spacious and serves a range of food like pizzas, seafood, chicken wings…etc. You will get good natural lighting for photographs if your party is in the day.

The Tinker Hub

Location : 11 Northshore Drive, #01-J (by the pier), Marina Country Club. Singapore 828670

One of the things i strongly believe in is that kids learn through play. The Tinker Hub has different themed rooms equipped with interesting kits for kids to play around with. Probably more suitable if you have a small scale party with children 3 years and above.

List is consolidated up to here for now. With the number of kids living in our young estate, I certainly hope there are more party venues. If you know anywhere else that has birthday packages, feel free to comment. 🙂


Disclaimer: This is a personal blog. The opinions expressed here are solely my own

Raising an Independent Child

In just a month’s time, Isaac will be turning 3. At this point in his life, I know that if there is a competition in getting things done independently regardless of time taken, he’d be winning in spades. For this strong-willed child, his desire to be independent takes precedence over everything else.

At times when he takes a long time getting something done, we’d just complete it for him so we can move on to the next activity. This would upset him and we end up waiting for him to redo what was done all over again. For example, every morning before leaving for school, he’d take his bag down from the bench at home before putting on his shoes. Previously on days that he overslept, we will bring down his bag for him so he only has to put on his shoes and we can leave. When he noticed that, he’d put his bag right back where it should be (on the bench) and take it down again. This only means we end up having to wait a longer time for him to get out of the house. Now that we have come to terms with this, we no longer try to complete tasks for him unless he wants us to.

There was a point in time when I wondered if there was such a thing as too independent? But to think of it, I personally feel that it is one of my parenting goals to raise a self-sufficient child. Even if it means having to spend more time for something to get done.

Just yesterday, when I was dressing him up for school, he told me he wanted to button his shirt by himself. I said OK,  I will show him how and he can do it himself thereafter. After he struggled with the button for approximately 10mins, he let out an exclamation “Why, Oli can do it you know?”. Oli is his classmate. After some guidance, he finally managed it himself and he was really proud of himself. Well, I did mention he is very strong-willed.

Honestly though, I think there are more pros than cons to him being (too) independent. Although I have heard comments by numerous parents like “I wish my kids would stop growing“, or “don’t grow up so fast“, quite on the contrary,  I don’t feel that way. I think it’s not all that bad. I love it that he is independent because I have so much freedom now YAY! everything’s just more fun now! I can’t wait to bring him on more holidays, make memories together and for him to experience life!

Isaac at 2y10m