6th Birthday Party at The Rock School

The Rock School, rock climbing

Love the low walls and the super comfy floor padding. And of course it helps that there is AC too.

For Mittens’s 6th birthday, I wanted to do something different and fun for the kids. I’m not partial to magicians, entertainers, balloonists, etc. although there’s no denying that the kids love it. He is an adventurous and outgoing boy, currently enrolled in soccer and ping pong (?) class and would be in Aikido if not for a clash of schedule. After a rock climbing session with some friends at another venue, I decided to check The Rock School out. Their birthday parties are reasonably priced, and we went down for a Hire-an-instructor session to get a feel of the place. We liked it so much and were so happy we’d found a great birthday venue!

First let me tell you what I didn’t like about the party. It was warm outside that day, and so many of us were feeling the heat. The indoor area is rather small, so the catering and seating area has to be set up outside near the larger wall. The outside area is spacious enough for a small party, we had close to 20 adults and another 10+ kids. It’s a nice cosy space, it’s just that it was super warm that day! Maybe some of those power wall mounted fans would be good for the area.

The Rock School, rock climbing

I need to find her some nice comfy bean bags like these!

Now here are all the good bits – they do have an indoor aircon climbing area where even toddlers will enjoy jumping up and down or relaxing on the bean bag. For kids who aren’t that keen on climbing, the indoor area is perfect because it’s not intimidating, and who wouldn’t enjoy jumping down onto those plushy floor padding? Abacus got suited up but didn’t get far up on the outside larger wall, but inside the room he was much more at ease.

The Rock School, rock climbing


Party-wise, some things to note: I liked that you can get your own caterer. They provide goodie bags. For the party there were 3 instructors who were on hand to organise the party and help the kids climb. They are experienced in parties and were well organised. They even provided decor, and I really had hardly anything to worry about. You can book the venue in 2-hour blocks, which at first I thought might be a little short, but with the heat outside, and all the climbing, the kids are pretty beat after 2 hours anyway! We chose the 1-3pm session, and I got the caterers to set up by noon and asked our friends to come at noon for lunch before the party.

I’m so not the hostess with the most-ess, so I forgot a lot of things, including plates and cutlery for the cake, extra napkins, and..I forgot what else I forgot. Luckily grandma and Yiyi were able to turn back and pick up all the things we needed! You could probably bring your own table decorations, but they do decorate the inside climbing area with the theme that you choose – Superheroes or Pirates. Sorry, no Princess themes here :D I am really glad we held a birthday there, and the staff were really great in making sure that everything went smoothly on the day.

The venue was a little out of the way for us, but it was a great party. There is ample parking, and is a fantastic venue for a small group. Even the adults enjoyed themselves! If you aren’t looking for a party venue but looking for a place for your child to climb, I’d also recommend The Rock School. They also have parent-child climbing sessions, which would make for great quality time together.


The Rock School
850 New Upper Changi Road
#01-06 Singapore 467352
T: 62422016

This was not a sponsored post.


Koko Krunch – Great Chocolatey Taste!

Abacus was SO scared!!

Abacus was SO scared!!

What a lovely breakfast spread!

What a lovely breakfast spread!

Last week, we were invited to a Koko Krunch cooking workshop at My Private Pantry (are you loving all that alliteration?) hosted Nestlé, taught by Chefs Nicole Loh and her husband Julian, and we also got to meet Love 97.2′s Violet Fen Ying who together with her son are ambassadors for Koko Krunch. We loved working in the amazing kitchen and with good quality produce like Koko Krunch.

Nestle KOKO Krunch with Healthier Choice SymbolI was delighted to know that Koko Krunch has the Health Promotion Board’s Healthier Choice Award. Take a look on the supermarket shelves and you’ll see that not many cereals have the bragging rights to this award. According to Nestlé, “Products carrying the HCS are lower in total fat, saturated fat, sodium and sugar. Some are also higher in dietary fibre and calcium compared to similar products within the same food category.” Koko Krunch uses whole grain wheat, and although they do have chocolate, cocoa has many health benefits and I’d much rather my kids eat chocolate than something sugar laden, right? My husband is particularly weary of cereals, but I think with the Healthier Choice Symbol (HCS), he is somewhat appeased. I don’t know about him but it is definitely one of the kids’ favourites!

My little chef at work. I was really proud of him because at home he is often overshadowed by the others.

My little chef at work. I was really proud of him because at home he is often overshadowed by the others.

Now I’m sure we’ll all also agree that breakfast is really important, but often skipped or overlooked, especially when you come from a family of owls who can never wake up in the morning. I can definitely do better in this aspect!

At the cooking workshop we were invited to try 2 recipes, which were developed to break the monotony of plain cereal + milk every morning and perhaps entice those less picky eaters to eat more. They were so innovative! I especially liked the Crispy Grilled Cheese with Nestlé Koko Krunch sandwiches, although I think I would put the Koko Krunch on the inside so it’s less messy. I wasn’t as fond of the Chicken Nuggets with Nestlé Koko Krunch crust as much, maybe because I couldn’t get my mind to accept sweet instead of savoury nuggets, but with the recipe I am so going to make regular nuggets with perhaps plain cornflakes! You can find the recipes below.

The finished sandwiches with the chef.

The finished sandwiches with the chef.

HANDS-ON COOKING CLASS WITH NESTLÉ KOKO KRUNCH, The Healthier Choice Cereal By Chef Nicole Loh
Crispy Grilled Cheese with NESTLÉ KOKO KRUNCH Sandwiches
8 slices wholemeal bread
10 ounces cheddar, divided (4 ounces grated, 6 ounces sliced)
Whole grain mustard, optional
8 slices ham, optional
4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter

Working 2 slices of bread at a time, lightly toast in toaster. While toast is still hot, immediately sprinkle ¼ of the grated cheddar evenly over the toast. As cheese begins to melt, evenly sprinkle ¼ cup of NESTLÉ KOKO KRUNCH over cheese, pressing firmly to adhere. Repeat with remaining slices of bread.

Assemble sandwiches with mustard and ham (if using), and sliced cheddar. Heat 2 tablespoons butter in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until foaming subsides. Add sandwiches to skillet and reduce heat to medium low. Press sandwiches gently with spatula and cook until bottom side is deep golden brown and crispy, about 5 minutes. Adjust heat as necessary to keep sandwiches from burning.

Transfer sandwiches to large plate and melt remaining butter in skillet. Cook
second side of sandwich to deep golden brown and crispy, pressing gently with spatula, about 5 minutes more. Serve immediately.

Now, on to the nuggets! Abacus did very well beating the eggs, and marinating the chicken.

Now, on to the nuggets! Abacus did very well beating the eggs, and marinating the chicken.

Healthy Chicken Nuggets in crusted NESTLÉ KOKO KRUNCH

12 chicken tenders
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon mixed herbs
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon olive oil spray or canola oil spray
Ketchup or ranch dressing, to serve

Adjust rack of your oven to the middle level and preheat oven to 200.
In a large ziplock bag, add NESTLÉ KOKO KRUNCH. Squeeze out as much air as possible and then seal bag. Using a rolling pin, roll over cereal, crushing the NESTLÉ KOKO KRUNCH into small uniform pieces for coating chicken tenders (try *not* to pulverize cereal into a fine powder). You should end up with about 2 cups of crushed cereal. In a large deep dish, mix crushed cereal with garlic powder, salt, black pepper until thoroughly combined. In another deep dish, whisk together eggs and 1 tablespoon of water until evenly mixed.

Working with about 4 chicken strips at a time, dip chicken in egg mixture,
shaking off excess, then coat with seasoned cornflakes, pressing mixture to help them adhere to chicken. Shake off excess coating. Place coated chicken strips on baking sheet, leaving about 2 centimeters of space between each strip.
Bake chicken tenders for about 6 minutes, and then flip over on other side using tongs. Bake for another 6-9 minutes (for a total cooking time of 12 to 15 minutes) until golden brown, crisp, and cooked through. Sprinkle with a little salt before serving, if desired. Serve with ketchup or ranch for dipping.


All the aspiring chefs. Photo courtesy of PR Werkz

All the aspiring chefs. Photo courtesy of PR Werkz

Thank you Nestlé Singapore for the invitation to this enjoyable event and for being committed to healthier food choices!

Wordless Wednesday: Mini golfers



Last week, we went to Lilliputt on a weekday mid-afternoon. It was great fun for the kids, and all three of them enjoyed it very much! The boys tried their hand at putting, and Scout was just happy to walk around and explore. The place looks very dated, but in a way it feels kinda nostalgic.


Lots of space to run about and explore, also some seats (on the left) for those who are tired out from walking 18 holes. Ha!!


It’s actually not a very large area, so the kids can run about and you don’t have to worry about losing sight of them like in a theme park.

You are supposed to have a maximum of eight strokes at each of the 18 stations, but which young kid is going to be bothered by the rules? So go on a weekday and you can have as many tries as you like and keep going back to your favourite holes. Perfect for kids!


The MRT hole features a moving train. Cute!


Waiting for the ball


Boat Quay


Young and old can try their hand at it! Great motor skills exercise.


Haw Par Villa. Luckily they left out the gory bits.

Children 12 and below are $12.80 each, before any discounts, so we paid for 2 kids. There is no time limit. After having some fun we headed to Crab in da Bag for dinner!



902 East Coast Parkway
Block B #03-05 Big Splash (Just above Sushi Tei)
Singapore 449874
Tel: 6348 9606

Monday Closed (except Public Holidays)
Tuesday to Sunday and Public Holidays – 10.00 am to 8.00 pm
Last game commence at 7.00 pm



Coping with Children #3: Support in Society


One of my last posts was on how each family has different child care arrangements in Coping with Children #2: Support in the home. Today I would like to share with you some of my very humble ideas for what Singapore can do more for families. They may not be fantastic ideas, nor is the list exhaustive, but the more all of us dialogue about such issues, the more we can help mould the future of our country.


1. More affordable quality child care.

It’s good news that the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) have announced another 17 new centres. The affordable child care centres are over subscribed (see my story a while ago), and the premium ones are almost daylight robbery. Every time the government increases their subsidies the child care fees also increase (see the March 24, 2014 report from ST on Childcare fee hike last year highest in at least 8 years).

Between hiring full-time domestic help and sending a child to child care, the latter is usually the better option, but when families have more than 1 child, it doesn’t make economic sense to do so unless the fees are a lot more affordable.


2. Remove the distinction between subsidies for working and non working mothers.

I feel like the G views mothers in extreme – either you work full time, or you don’t. In reality, many mothers at home have started their own businesses or dabble in part time work, so they are still contributing to the economy. And I also think that the role of mothers in the home need to be recognized as being more important than at work when the kids are young. Laying a solid foundation in shaping our future generation is not an easy task, which we should not casually toss to hired caregivers.

Mothers need to be valued for their “work” at home, and it is at home where they are irreplaceable. It also does not mean that they will never go back into the work force, but the first six years are the most important, and often the most demanding years of a child’s life.


3. Push for greater work flexibility for all and better work life balance.

We need to change the cultural and social norms so that everyone has a better work life balance, as opposed to organisations just paying lip service. It’s easy for an organisation to say they support working from home, or a healthy work-life balance, but please, we all know how dependent this can be on the individual bosses.

As a marketeer I can think if several ways to do this APART from just passing legislations – highlighting good and bad examples of both employers and employees in the media, brainwashing workshops for HR and bosses, etc. Maybe even LHL needs to support the cause and tweet or IG a photo of himself winding down for the day? :)

It needs to get to the point where people will respect you enough not to bat an eyelid if you need to leave the office at say 3pm to attend to your child with high fever, and not demand that you apply for half day leave if you left at 3pm to visit your dying father in ICU. And yes, that last scenario did happen to yours truly. Certainly no Employer of the Year Award for them!


4. More flexible domestic help

It is becoming more and more expensive to have hired help and employers now have to fork out something like over $4k when they first hire a new helper. Perhaps if there is a more ready pool of part time helpers, or if somehow helpers could be shared amicably and legally amongst a few households – perhaps in one household every other day, or a few hours a day. It could possibly mean higher income for the helper, lower costs for the households, and as mothers like myself who are weary of raising another strawberry generation – the added social benefits of families not becoming overly dependent on hired help. This would also reduce the nation-wide reliance on domestic help and Singapore can be less threatened by the ever-changing demands and requirements from the home countries of the domestic workers. Win for everyone right?

For my family, and of course every family’s needs are different, if not a live in, we would probably prefer some assistance more than just once a week. Some days the kids can go through a mountain of clothes! And bedsheets! I would seriously consider it if I could find a part time helper to come several days a week and also help to prep some of the meals.


These are just a few of the thoughts swirling around in my head. What else can be done to make it better or easier for your family? I would love to hear differing opinions too.


You might like to check out my other posts in the Coping with Children series:
Coping with Children #1: Somebody needs you
Coping with Children #2: Support in the home



Dr. Mummy Ed


The last few months have been particularly difficult for us health-wise. Since November we’ve all been taking turns to be sick in and off, and I really don’t remember ever having such a long spell of being under the weather.

As I mentioned in a previous post on Recovering Naturally, I usually try to remedy at home ourselves first. If it’s the usual flu or cough, I won’t visit the GP (even though the clinic is just in my block) unless I think the viruses are getting out of hand or if there’s something else that I’m concerned about. On recent occasions I’ve consulted him because Scout is under 2 years old, so I have to be more careful about which medications we give her.

Most recently, after more than a week of occasional low grade fevers for both Scout and Abacus, I decided to finally go to the PD, who also did a nose swab to check if she was suffering from a bacterial attack (which would then require antibiotics), or if it was just viral. It turned out to be just viral, so thankfully we didn’t start her on antibiotics.

As our families have a history of allergic rhinitis, I also try to administer saline nasal sprays, which is tough for the younger ones since they don’t like the sensation. If you have any ideas on how to get kids to love their nasal sprays I’d love to hear them!

Recently I’ve also added essential oils to our repertoire. We use a variety if Young Living oils such as Lavender, Lemon, Thieves, Eucalyptus, RC, etc. Unfortunately I’m highly allergic to some of the oils, which trigger my eczema, so most of the time I diffuse the oils or I get the kids to rub it on themselves. It seems does like Thieves has helped us keep the germs in check or at bay though!

Also after so many falls and cuts, etc., I have a well-stocked first aid kit, and I even wrote a post on What to do when your child has a fall.

Do click on the link below to read about other ways my mummy friends have had to play doctor to their kids.


SANses.com's Talkative Thursdays

Coping with Children #2: Support in the home

How did I end up with so many of these little things?

How did I end up with so many of these little things?

I often get asked, “How do you cope (with 3 kids)?”. That’s quite a loaded question, and most of the time rather small talk, so I don’t usually launch into the full details.

When I was a new parent, I’ll admit that I used to be a lot more judgemental than I am now. Now that I’m stretched to the limits (or rather my limits) with three monsters, I’ve come to realise that not every parent has the same ability or affinity. Some parents are great at organizing activities, or teaching art and craft, or playing sports together, or teaching music. Some parents are super chill, have an endless amount of patience. Others are more particular, have OCD (me included), some are self-professed parents who don’t like to be hands-on, and there are even those who say they’d rather be at work than with their kids.

But everyone who has kids needs to find a way to look after them. After I had Mittens I volunteered for retrenchment, and stayed at home with him (with my ILs) for a good 10 months. After that, when I reluctantly went back to work my mother looked after him for 3-4 days a week while my ILs took the other days as they were also looking after my nephew.

After I had Abacus I was more than happy to resign and stay home with the kids since it made more sense with 2 to look after, and also helping the husband with his work (but no, you will not see me sitting behind the counter!). When Abacus was around 10 months we moved out to our own place and decided we’d need a helper.

Now I have 3 kids and a live-in helper whom I am so thankful for. I would have a questionable level of sanity without her. As I am a WAHM, she takes a large load off me, providing support and backup in case I need to zip off to run errands, attend a meeting, go to the bathroom without being interrupted, or just answer the darn phone without having a wailing baby or shouting boy in the background, even though that still happens. Although I would love to, realistically I don’t think I would be able to do everything on my own!

The boys go to school for 3 or 4 hours, so the rest of the time they’re at home with me, tearing the house down. They are quite homely kids, who don’t mind staying home to play with their toys, but I do try to get them out for as much as possible. We often go to the playgrounds in our estate, and some afternoons we will go further, to wherever the action takes us.  Also as I get more and more weary of “outside” food and processed food, I am so thankful there is someone to make most of our meals (and clean up after!). On some Sundays if hubby is at soccer or has to work, I do look after the three as well as cook for them, but the helper will help with the cleaning after she returns.

On normal days, I almost never leave all 3 kids with my helper alone, unless the boys are watching TV and I’m just going to the supermarket a 3 minute walk away, or if 1 or 2 are napping. It’s nice to have someone available at home, e.g. if I brought Scout out in the morning I don’t have to rush back to pick up the boys from school.

If I do need a few hours on my own just to cut my hair or something like that or if I know I’ll need more time at an appointment, I’ll arrange it at a time that’s convenient for one of the grandparents to pop over or I’ll drop the kids off at my ILs. If the husband and I have a dinner to go to, my MIL will come over and stay to jagar the kids with the help from the helper. I’m so thankful that we have extra support when we need it! Last week there was a parent-teacher curriculum talk I needed to attend, so the MIL came over, and I made appointments for a haircut and massage before the talk. I really have to make full use of my time!

I often wonder if I could do it all myself. Maybe if I was a full SAHM with part time help coming a few times a week, maybe if kids who weren’t insanely sticky or vying for my attention all the time, went down easily for regular naps (Scout is a horrible napper!!), maybe if the boys went to schools at different times of the day (one in the morning and one in the afternoon), maybe…. Well there are plenty of maybes. I’m pretty sure I’d spend a lot of my time cooking or cleaning up (just a tinge of OCD), instead of spending time with the kids, which I feel kinda defeats the purpose of my staying at home with them. The husband typically works 10-8pm, sometimes later, and often he gets back just when the kids are getting ready for bed or already in bed. Since his work is rather labour intensive, I also don’t feel like he should have to be mopping or something when he gets home.

To give you an idea of the different permutations and combinations of different families, here are just a few examples I know of (where most of the kids are K2 and below):

  • 1 kid, SAHM, kid in childcare (envy!)
  • 2 kids, SAHM, no help, kids in childcare. Or kids in school and partially farmed out to grandparents.
  • 2 kids, SAHM, part time help weekly.
  • 2 kids, 2 helpers, 1 granny – and if the parents are home that means there are 5 adults and 2 kids
  • 2 kids, FTWM, 2 helpers.
  • 2 kids, SAHM, 2 helpers.
  • 1 to 3 kids, FTWMs with no help
  • 3 kids, PTWM, 1 helper, and grandparents to help out during work hours.
  • 3 kids, PTWM, 2 helpers
  • 3 kids, SAHM, no help, kids in school, 1 YO to 6 YO. Part time help comes like twice a year. WOW!
  • 4 kids, SAHM, 2 are in their teens, and 2 preschoolers, with the husband available during lunch times with flexible work hours.
  • 4 kids, FTWM, 1 helper, 2 are in their teens, and 2 preschoolers.
  • And not to mention those who also live with the grandparents

As you can see, so many different arrangements for different families. So how and where do you find the support to make your family work? Every parent tries his or her best, and there is no one-size fits every family. There will always be those comments, even as well-meaning as they might be, those “Why don’t you hire help?”, or “Why you need a helper but my other friend doesn’t?” (Well, because your friend’s kids all go to child care lor). What’s most important is that it works for you and keeps everyone in the family as happy as possible. I would love to hear how your family does it!

You might like to read Coping with Children #1: Somebody needs you

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Lucky Baby Avenue 2 Buggy – Review


When we had our first child, we had a big ass stroller, and loved it tremendously. But soon we found it too heavy for travel so we bought a lightweight umbrella stroller. Then we had 2 kids so I went out and got myself one that had a toddler step integrated. Along the way I also had 3 others passed down or gifted which I had to return or give away because they just weren’t that suitable for our needs.

How do we look? (Photo courtesy of Mabel)

Last month, we were gifted the Lucky Baby AvenueTM Buggy to review. I know you’re probably either thinking, “What brand is Lucky Baby®?”. Or, something along the lines of “Seriously??” Anyhow, being the open minded person that I am (true what!), I went along, with several other lovely mummies, to indulge ourselves in some yummilicious ice cream as well as learn more about the Lucky Baby Avenue 2 buggy.

I-scream at what good value for money the buggy is!

I-scream at what good value for money the buggy is!

Princess PANTONEDid you know that Lucky Baby is a home-grown Singaporean brand owned by Taime Pte Ltd, which was established in 1967? That’s way older than I am! :D


At first glance


I went to the briefing not knowing what to expect, and also expecting very little. But let me tell you, the Avenue is quite an impressive little thing. At first glance, I liked the classiness of the colour options and the fabric prints. It comes fully padded up to the leg rests, and with an infant head cushion, padded straps, 5-point safety harness, as well as a full canopy, so it really looks quite luxurious.



Photo courtesy of Taime Pte Ltd.



The back rest is adjustable between 3 positions, using 1 hand, which is great when your royal highness wants to have his or her royal nap.  The leg rest is adjustable making it even more comfortable and can cater to a sleeping or growing child. The front bumper is removable and when it is removed you don’t see any gaping holes, nor do you need any silly plastic pieces to fit in when you’re not using the bumper and will probably lose the pieces in the abyss of your home (I’m looking at you, Peg Perego).

I was surprised at how keen the girl was to sit in the buggy.

I was surprised at how keen the girl was to sit in the buggy. Photo courtesy of Taime Pte Ltd.

It also has so many pockets, which is always handy for parents. You can also add on options like cup holders, etc. I also like that the canopy has a little peek-a-boo which is a mesh instead of just a plastic window, because in our kind of weather, it can get pretty hot, and any extra ventilation is good! The flap for the little window can also be secured by velcro and won’t keep flipping back due to wind (Quinny, are you taking notes?).

Photo courtesy of Taime Pte Ltd

Photo courtesy of Taime Pte Ltd

The fabric is also easy to remove to wash, which is very important! One of my strollers requires a screwdriver in removing the seat padding for a wash. Who has time for that kind of thing?

At 7.6kgkg, the Avenue is very sturdy, and unlikely to tip over easily. It has 6 wheels, and is a smooth ride. The sturdy frame and the wheels really make it glide along effortlessly. The specifications say that the stroller is for kids 6 months to 15kg, but to prove its sturdiness, here is the different weights that it can carry.


What you don’t see in the photos is the 2 boys sitting on the buggy TOGETHER, meaning a combined weight of 45kg not including all our random baby gear, but of course, folks, please don’t try this at home :D

After owning a stroller which does not require you to bend down in order to fold the buggy together, I’m less inclined on the buggies that do. But at least the Avenue 2 can be folded easily with one hand. You can check out the video by Irene of SingaporeMomBlogs who demonstrates how to do so. I find the brakes so easy to apply, and you might think this is a given, but I hardly use the brakes on my longest lasting stroller because it is SO difficult to use. But don’t worry, it’s a rather hefty one, so no real chance of it running away.

Lucky Baby Avenue Buggy

See, the wheels don’t touch the canopy. Trust me, you won’t like having a dirty canopy!! Photo courtesy of Taime Pte Ltd.

One other thing that I like about the Avenue 2 is that when folded, the wheels does not touch the canopy at all, which is my pet peeve of our other umbrella stroller. However, that means that the Avenue 2 takes up a wee bit more space, which is not a bad trade-off unless you’re really strapped for space.

1800040_688808784505457_444899165_oUnbeatable value for money

Now, with all the features that I’ve described above, imagine my surprise when I heard the price that the Avenue 2 retails at $149 (UP $199), and you have to admit that that is undeniably FANTASTIC value!

The Lucky Baby Avenue 2 Baby Buggy will be available at $149 (Usual price $199) at OG and Metro. If you’re looking for a stroller, I would highly recommend this one! Not only is it value for money, you’d also be supporting a local enterprise.

You can find more information on the Lucky Baby International Facebook Page.


Disclaimer: We were gifted a Avenue 2 Baby Buggy, no other monetary compensation was received. All opinions and comments are 100% my own.