The Boys’ Brigade Share-a-Gift 2016

December 6, 2016 in Kids / Lifestyle / Media

The season of giving is upon us! Have been meaning to bring the kids along to do charity work now that they are finally at the stage where they are more of help than hindrance, hence  I was most excited to participate in The Boys’ Brigade Share-a-Gift (BBSG) project this year.

The BBSG project is a national community service project organised annually by The Boys’ Brigade, with support from the National Council of Social Service (NCSS) and the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF).

Since 1988, The Boys’ Brigade has been seeking to bring cheer to the less fortunate by collecting food items and fulfilling Christmas wishes of the beneficiaries through The BBSG project.

This is a unique project as donors are encouraged to go beyond purely financial giving and are instead, challenged to actively join in this community project to bring cheer to the less privileged in our society.

BBSG fulfills two types of wishes: General Wishes & Specific Wishes.

General Wishes

  • General Wishes beneficiaries are provided aid in the form of essential household items and consumables. 

  • General Wishes will take care of beneficiaries who fall under two categories:
    • Government-funded ComCare programmes 

    • Voluntary Welfare Organisations 

  • BBSG will prepare signature food hampers that will consist of 25 items, put together from donations gathered from the public. Each hamper is estimated to last beneficiaries for four months or more.
  • Do check out the items required by beneficiaries on the site –  or at the various collection locations.

Specific Wishes

  • Specific Wishes are defined as specific items beneficiaries wish for. These range from adult diapers, a school bag, to an oven. 

  • BBSG aims to find help to fulfill these wishes, and bring cheer and festive joy to the underprivileged. Members of the public will play a very crucial role in this, as they can personally select the specific wish they want to help fulfill. 


Ways we can help: 

DONATION & COLLECTION OF GIFTS

From 25 November till 19 December 2016, gifts donated will be collected through the Gift Boxes (for General Wishes) and Wish Trees (for Specific Wishes) at various FairPrice outlets island-wide from 11am to 9pm daily. The public would be able to deposit their general food and household items in the Gift Boxes, and fulfill specific wishes of the beneficiaries that are placed on tags on the Wish Trees. Please see below for the list of collection locations.

Donors can also contribute by purchasing general food and household hampers valued at $20, $30, and $50 via NTUC FairPrice’s online portal (www.fairprice.com.sg) or donate cash at any AXS station.

DELIVERY OF FOOD HAMPERS

Besides contributing a gift to beneficiaries, members of the public will be able to take part in the project by delivering the gifts to beneficiaries from 5 to 31 December 2016 (excluding eve of and on Public Holidays). They can register at www.bbshare.sg from 10 November and come down to The Boys’ Brigade Headquarters to help out in daily food hamper deliveries.

The uniqueness about the BBSG deliveries is such that the food hampers will be delivered right to the doorsteps of beneficiaries, which means we get to meet the beneficiaries. It was heartening to watch the kids helping out enthusiastically, and getting excited to pass the hampers to those beneficiaries who were at home. My usually-more-reserved dragonlady was uncharacteristically chirpy and smiley to the beneficiaries, and even helped to knock and call out to the residents to check if he/she is inside.

We are extremely grateful for the opportunity to give back to the society by helping the less fortunate, while the kids got to learn more about compassion and kindness to others, and to be thankful for what they have.

Do chip in to help if you are available! Every bit counts.

Owl Readers Club – Giveaway

November 19, 2016 in Good Things Must Share / Kids / Media / Parenting

The Auntie and Mommy in me is happy to share with fellow parents about a new readers club with REWARDS programme!

Introducing the Owl Readers Club – a club specially designed to encourage families to cultivate good reading habits. With these beliefs in mind, they created an array of features to allow families to embark on an engaging and exciting reading journey.

To join the club, you can either sign up as a basic member or paid member. Basic and Paid members earn reward points which can be redeemed for purchases. 5 points are awarded for every $1 spent, redemption begins at 500 points which can be exchanged for $5 credit.

Sign up as a basic member for free and start earning reward points – 200 points for sign-up!

Upgrade to paid membership at current promo price $68 for 6 months (usual $98), or current introductory price $98 for 1-year Owl Star Membership (usual $188) to enjoy discounts and exclusive offers with their preferred partners. A 6-month membership earns you 1000 points while a 1-year membership earns you 2500 points instantly! What’s more? Being a paid member earns you double points when you make any purchases – 10 points for every $1 spent!

So what are the benefits of being an Owl Readers Club member?

Books for Kids

To begin with, you can get quality children’s titles at reasonable prices on the site. They have a good variety of books categorised by age and language.

Besides classics like “The Gruffalo”, I got the kids books to pick up Mommy’s and Daddy’s dialect language and 励志 books like Courage – a bilingual book!

Alternatively, you can do a search based on specific topics to see what comes up! For example, I keyed “manners” into the search bar when I wanted to look for books on manners for the kids and tadah!

You can earn 50 points for writing a book review!

Reading-Related Events

The club organizes story-telling sessions time to time, with priority given to members of Owl Readers Club. Thought this is a pretty good idea to let kids/families who love reading together to get to know each other.

There’s one coming up on 26 November 16 @ 3.15pm, at Giggles (87 Marine Parade Central). 200 points for attending and writing a review for Book Club event! You can RSVP here. 😉

Shopping Discounts

Owl Readers Club has tied up with some merchants to provide members with discounts when they shop with selected merchants. Stay tuned for more!

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A burning question you may have – Why pay to join as a member?

Your membership fees ensure that the Team @ Owl Readers Club will be able to organise events and dedicate time and effort to secure more exclusive benefits for you. It also ensures that they are able to maintain and service our website and mobile applications to give Owl Star members the best user experience possible.

Yes, you read right – there will be apps available for Android and iOS! Apart from sale of books through the apps, Owl star members can also use the apps to connect with other members to exchange books or organize book related activities together.

You even get to earn points while enjoying these activities!

GOOD THINGS MUST SHARE!

Thanks to the lovely people at Owl Readers Club, we have a complimentary 6-month membership (worth $98!) and $25 credit in the form of points to be redeemed from their site to give away to ONE lucky reader!

All you have to do is :

  1. Like and Follow Missus Tay on Facebook
  2. Like and Follow Owl Readers Club on Facebook

and complete the following for more chances to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway ends at 11.59pm on Sunday, 27 November 2016 and is open to readers in Singapore only. Winners will be contacted using the contact particulars provided when entering this giveaway and will have 24 hours to respond, failing which a new winner will be drawn. All incomplete entries will be disqualified. All entries will be verified before the winners are announced. To be fair to our sponsors, please note that all fake social media accounts (eg. Facebook accounts set up purely to take part in contests with no or very few real friends) will be deemed ineligible to win. By participating, readers acknowledge that this giveaway is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook and Instagram.

Klarity

November 14, 2016 in Lifestyle / Media

I hardly do reviews on beauty products cos I personally feel that they are not effective unless you are very conscientious about using them over a period of time. And I’m kinda lazy when it comes to looking after my skin – unlike my husband, I don’t wake to complete my skincare routine if I doze off.

So this time, I decided to give it a try after reading that KLARITY offers fuss-free functional treatments for targeted concerns.

The three products I got to try are:

OXYMUD – Cacao Duo Cleanse and Renewal Mask

A highly effective mask specifically formulated for skin in need for deep cleansing and nutrient hydration. The unique formula utilizes Theobromo Cacao (Cocoa) fruit powder for their ability to enhance skin vitality while encourages the production of natural emollients. A natural exfoliation enzyme technology smoothens, softens and improves your skin in as little as one application. As a result, the skin remains hydrated with improved elasticity for a youthful radiant complexion.

I’m not a fan of chocolate and the smell got to me a little, so I didn’t use this as often. But I quite like how it feels on the skin when the chocolate mud changes to oxygen foam upon application.

DIAMOND GLOW EYE Nano treatment

An instant and intense boost of clarity around the delicate eye areas and also provides a revolutionary infusion of hydration, offering 24 hours of continuous moisturizing benefits, instantly awaken your eye areas and glowing with radiance. The diamond powder infused in the eye cream is also the key to brightening under eye instantly, helping to diminish dark eye circles.

Skincare products for eyes typically feel rich and heavy, but this is nothing like that. In fact, it feels so light I find myself applying a bit more than my usual.

My dark eye circles are accumulated from years of insufficient sleep, so I won’t expect miracles. But the area around  the eyes does look somewhat brighter after consistent use of the EYE Nano treatment over two weeks.

DIAMOND GLOW Overnight Masque

A rich overnight mask that recalls your skin’s original DNA and restores to its best condition. It activates your skin’s natural moisture defence and promotes your skin’s collagen production. The luxurious textured formula glides on and melts into the skin where it works its magic overnight.

Like I said, I’m pretty lazy when it comes to my skincare routine, so I rely a lot on masks to have my skin look decent on most days. This has gotta be one of my favourites because not only can it be left overnight, I don’t have to worry about it getting onto my pillows since it gets absorbed into the skin pretty quickly!

I feel that the skin does look brighter after using it for almost every other night over the two weeks. Sorry I don’t have before-and-after pictures to share cos to be honest, I don’t know how to take to show the difference I can see for myself. Personally, I feel that you can buy the best products out there but if you don’t use them regularly, you won’t see results. So yes, consistency is key!

KLARITY products are available island-wide at retails stores at BHG, Sasa, and Pink Beauty, and online at Zalora, Sephora, and Secretive.sg.

Charlotte’s Web

November 6, 2016 in Media

Charlotte’s Web may be a beautiful story on friendship, but there’s always a tinge of sadness to it because we all know Charlotte’s going to die towards the end of the story. Personally I love my fairytales and happily-ever-afters. However, the brilliant and hilarious performance by The Little Company alleviated the melancholy.

The cast, especially, are an amazing lot! Except for Wilbur, who appeared in pretty much all the scenes, the others played at least two to five roles!

There’s a lot more dialogue than singing and dancing as compared to ‘Three Little Pigs’. Fortunately, the kids know the story from the movie and could keep up! Probably a good idea to either watch or read the story before watching the performance, if you’re bringing the littler ones.

Charlotte’s Web
Dates: 28 October – 11 December 2016
Venue: KC Arts Centre – Home of SRT
Book tickets here.

Pictures credit: Singapore Repertory Theatre

The Little Executive

October 24, 2016 in Kids

LONG POST AHEAD! Can’t be helped as I have much to share about the newest class, which the kids asked to signed up for after the trial session with The Little Executive (TLE)

About the TLE Approach

All information can be found here but I wanted to highlight some points that were our push factors for giving up a portion of our weekend.

TLE Approach is built on 3 strong pillars – Essential Skills, Learning Habits and Growth Mindset.

Essential skills include Executive Functioning Skills, which consists of working memory, impulse and emotional control, flexibility, planning and prioritizing, self-monitoring, and task initiation. These skills are necessary to ensure tasks are followed through from the beginning to the final stages, enable us to make decisions, see the big picture as well as details, switch gears from one activity to another, incorporate feedback, and use information and experience from the past to solve current problems.

To be able to follow through tasks from the beginning to the final stages – 有始有终 is one skill I really hope the kids can pick up.

The 5 Step Learning Process aims to develop a well-rounded approach towards learning with these habits:

1. Observe
2.
Process/Think
3.
Act/Speak
4.
Self-Monitor
5.
Self-Correct

By framing this as a systematic approach for the children to be more aware of, it would be easier to guide them along and have them develop these learning habits with practice.

These habits are going to help them are not only going to come in handy when they start primary school, but for anything new challenges as they grow older.

Based on the movement and findings of Dr Carol Dweck, the Growth Mindset explains why intelligence and talent alone often do not bring success but may even get in the way of it. It explains how praising these traits, or praising results alone, can jeopardize self-esteem and accomplishments instead of fostering them. What all great CEOs, parents, teachers, and athletes know and have, is recognised as a Growth Mindset. A mindset that allows insight to emerge from failure, resilience to be built from mistakes, and that every misstep holds an opportunity to become better.

Most of us have read articles from the know-it-all-Internet about how best to teach our kids, not praising traits or results, or not being positively encouraging enough to nurture our children, etc. Really, parenting these days seem to be do-or-don’t-do-also-wrong. So what I’ve decided for myself as a parent is to, within our means, equip our kids with the skills to help themselves in good or bad times. Hence, I think it’s important that the kids have this mindset that allows them to know it’s okay to fail, to build resilience from mistakes they make, and to see failures (big or small) as opportunities to improve themselves.

These seem to be really deep stuff – Executive Functioning Skills for preschoolers?! Self-monitor and self-check their own work?! But hey, if there’s any good time to cultivate good habits, I’d say the younger the better. With any luck, I might save on tuition fees when they go primary school if they can put these learning habits to good use!

Of course, it helps that lessons at TLE appear to be extremely enjoyable for the kids! They have been going to TLE for some weeks now. Bobo bear class, as they call it affectionately. I have days when the kids would rant that they don’t want to go for Berries or piano lessons (in the case of the cub), but so far, none for Bobo bear class. In fact, when we had to miss one session due to school events, the kids kept asking me “how Mommy?? We cannot go Bobo bear class!” If only the enthusiasm stretches across all enrichment classes.

Had the opportunity to sit in for one of the sessions to see for myself what exactly do they do that made the kids look forward to classes every week, and for me to start seeing positive results in the Cub after 4 sessions!

Before I get to my thoughts based on my observation, here’s sharing some of the activities the cub did during the session and rationales behind them provided by TLE:

Activity: Number Hunt

Teacher recalls last week’s lesson: “We called out apple whenever we saw the number 3. You did well last week, do you want to be challenged this week?”

Teacher steps up the activity from last lesson, and demonstrates replacing 2 numbers with 2 fruits, without giving explicit instructions, then proceeds to ask “What happened here? What did I do?”

After the children understand the requirements, they take turns to do the exercise to the beat of the metronome.

Rationale: It is an important skill to develop selective attention and to be able to block out distractions (metronome) and information you do not need. Distractions in a school setting could be having to block out external noises e.g. construction noise, or a classmate’s incessant cough during an exam, or noisy classmates/other distractions in day to day situations. It is also the best way to develop processing speed, executive functioning and improve the ability to manage multiple instructions. By not giving them explicit instructions, it develops their observation, deduction and inference skills.

When we tell our children to ‘concentrate’ or ‘pay more attention’, they may not know how to do that. By making them aware of which senses they need to use, and what they need to focus on, we are equipping them with strategies which they can use in other areas of learning as well.

Benefits: Improves visual and auditory processing, working memory, concentration, and training the brain to persist and perform under pressure. When a number is replaced by a fruit, flexible thinking is being enhanced as past information (number) is being replaced by new information (fruit).

Growth mindset: The children are asked if they find it difficult or easy. Children are given time to reflect and respond, and guided to the conclusion that “It was hard at first but it gets easier when we keep paying attention. We learn that paying attention is important and that practice helps us to do our work faster and better.” This growth mindset can be encouraged by the parents in home/school setting. Praise them for taking on something more difficult and asking them how it makes them feel after being able to accomplish it after a few tries. Children become empowered to face challenges and take ownership of their own learning.

Activity: Help Bobo find his things!

Description: Children to find objects around the room, using complex directional phrases, and giving each other instructions to find objects. This introduces them to the concept that everyone sees things from a different perspective.

Rationale: Spatial awareness is how a child senses his body in relation to his physical surroundings. It may look simple, but this skill relies on a complex interaction between the body’s sensory systems. It helps them to pay attention to details, and strengthens their ability to give and receive directions to their peers.

It also requires communication skills like providing enough accurate details in a description instead of vague instructions such as “Go there” or “Over here”. They become aware of seeing things from the angle of their friends (your left is my right), and learning to clarify when they are unsure.

Benefits: Communication skills, social perspective taking skills, increased body and spatial awareness, the ability to mentally imagine or visualise the direction and orientation which is what we use when we give directions.

Learning Habit: The ability to plan and visualise an action before doing it. Checking understanding before carrying out an instruction and clarifying the segment they are unsure of instead of asking for the entire instruction to be repeated.

Finally, my thoughts!

Things that I like:

The teacher shares the schedule for the session with the children before starting. I like that this helps the cub to know what to expect.

There’s a sense of achievement as they get to check off activities after they completed them.

They have the kids to walk on the line (follow the tape marked on the floor!) with different instructions as a physical activity to help calm them and focus on the upcoming session. Thought this is really good cos sometimes we are all flustered when we rush to class in the morning.

During the session, I noticed how the teacher gave immediate feedback on what was not done correctly. When the Cub works on it and still doesn’t get it all right, the teacher’s focus is on what was done better than before and the improvements the Cub made in comparison to his previous attempt. This is something I’d personally need to work on!

There were plenty of positive reinforcement during the session – the teacher was encouraging with specific praise of effort, e.g. when the Cub takes initiative to go first (he used to prefer to go last).

In our case, the cub’s goals are to listen better and become more positive towards new challenges. As he is somewhat averse to new challenges and things that he’s not familiar with, the teacher sets little challenges during the session to train positive attitude towards accepting challenges.

The goal was narrowed down to becoming more positive towards piano practice. He struggles with new pieces, knows that he needs to practise more to become better and does it. BUT he whines a lot about having to do it all the time.

What the teacher did in class to work on his attitude was to keep reminding him to smile and say yes to challenges, instead of going “againnnnn??” and encouraging “practicing makes it better” instead of saying “I don’t know”.

This is one attitude the Husb and I have been trying to correct for ages. Am glad to update that with some practice at TLE classes and reinforcement at home, we are beginning to see a positive shift in attitude. He would stop himself halfway while whining and say, “ok, I will try!” when he practises the new piano pieces.

He seems to be getting better with the listening as well. I noticed small successes at home with his listening, with lesser need for me to repeat myself. During the chemistry workshop we went to recently, I observed the cub paying attention to what the facilitator was saying instead of fiddling with his notebook or apparatus and was able to ask questions!

YAY! Now to keep these going!

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