(Not quite) Madagascar Live!

April 24, 2016 in Media

Madagascar Live! was unfortunately, not what I had expected.  I enjoy watching musicals and theatrical productions because not only do I get to listen to the performers perform live, watch them manage the different (and sometimes difficult) situations that may arise at any shows, I love to see the creativity and imagination come alive through the stage set up and costumes as well.

Hence, I was dismayed to learn that the performers were lip-syncing because that made the whole show unnatural. (Especially when a wrong recording pops out of nowhere!) Such a pity ‘cos we do like the songs! The cub was still singing to Alex’s and Marty’s ‘Best Friend’ song throughout the weekend.

The show itself followed the storyline of Madagascar 1 movie pretty closely. I’m not sure if that made it worse for them ‘cos it seems like some scenes are better conveyed through the movie version and made the show longer than necessary. I was somewhat disappointed that the stage set up didn’t impress too. Thankfully, there were some action with a few dance scenes to engage the kids a little.

On the whole, there’s obviously great effort put together by the performers, but I believe it would have made a whole world of difference if they had live singing for Madagascar Live!

Catch Madagascar Live!

April 19, 2016 in Good Things Must Share / Kids / Media

Madagascar Live! has finally reached the shores of Marina Bay Sands!

Remember Madagascar 1? If you don’t (!!!), here’s a little recap for you –

Alex the lion, Melman the giraffe, Marty the zebra, Gloria the hippo and the trio of penguins escaped from their home at New York’s Central Park Zoo and find themselves on an exciting journey to the madcap world of King Julien’s Madagascar.

The show is now brilliantly recreated in a stage production of lively story-telling, dance and music, including the smash hit song “I Like to Move It, Move It!”

Relive the hilarious moments with the whole gang and look forward to a vivid showcase of imaginative sets and costumes, peppy dance numbers and spectacular new songs!

Event Details

Dates: Thursday, 21 April – Sunday, 24 April 2016

Time: Thursday & Friday – 6pm, Saturday & Sunday – 11am, 2.30pm & 6pm

Venue: Grand Theatre, MasterCard Theatres at Marina Bay Sands

Ticket Price: From $40

Bookings: Marina Bay Sands or SISTIC

GOOD THINGS MUST SHARE: FLASH GIVEAWAY!

Thanks to BASE Entertainment Asia, we have a family pack of 4 tickets to give away to our readers! The tickets are for the 6pm show on Friday, 22 April ’16. Please ensure you can go for this show before participating. Here’s how:

  1. Like and Follow Missus Tay on Facebook
  2. Like and Follow BASE Entertainment Asia on Facebook

and complete the following for more chances to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The giveaway ends at 11.59pm on Wednesday, 20 April 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 12 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.
Please note that this giveaway is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by, or associated with Facebook and Instagram. By taking part in this giveaway, the participant agree to provide their information to the owner of the blog and sponsor.

Rise & Shine Funanza

April 13, 2016 in Good Things Must Share / Kids / Media

Hear, hear! Rise & Shine is holding a Fit & Fun Indoor Carnival!

Date: Saturday, 7 May 2016
Time: 11 am – 9pm (registration starts at 10.30am)
Venue: Marina Square Atrium

Look forward to a variety of exciting and enriching sports & fitness activities that are suitable for families with children aged 3-8:

Meet & Greet with Pororo!

Inter-Family Matches

Competitions to find the Skipping Rope King / Queen or Hula King / Queen!

Try-outs for different sports, including mini golf for our mini-mes!

WII dance-off for kids with swag

Take part in a mass workout

To slow things down a little, get the kids to busy themselves at the art & craft stations

Don’t forget to get a family fun shot at the photobooth!

Pic credits: Rise & Shine

GOOD THINGS MUST SHARE:

I have THREE PAIRS of Rise & Shine Funanza tickets to give away to 3 readers of the blog!

All you have to do is to:

  1. Like and Follow Missus Tay on Facebook
  2. Like and Follow Rise and Shine on Facebook

and complete the following for more chances to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

For those looking to get your own tickets, I’m pleased to share that readers of MissusTay’s Journal can get a 25% discount off their ticket prices when you enter MISSUSTAY25 during purchase! Code is valid till 26 April 2016.

The giveaway ends at 11.59pm on Tuesday, 26 April 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.
Please note that this giveaway is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by, or associated with Facebook and Instagram. By taking part in this giveaway, the participant agree to provide their information to the owner of the blog and sponsor.

Sustainable Living with IKEA

April 9, 2016 in Lifestyle / Media

This month’s task with IKEA is on sustainable living, so I did a little reading up on this topic. Do you know the severity of over-consumption in Singapore?

“According to Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR),796,000 tonnes of food waste was generated in Singapore last year – equivalent to the weight of about 145,000 full grown elephants!

There’s much we can do to reduce food waste – sharing extra food with our friends, not over-ordering and packing extra portions back home.”

Source: Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources

One simple way is to bring your own storage containers when you get takeaways (aka 打包 dabao).

Because we are limited by the size of the food containers, we will not over-order the portions and minimize food wastage.

Packaging for takeaways is cost to the hawkers and they would be most glad to help pack your food into your own container. I love that the lunch box from the 365+ series has a thoughtful vent to let the heat out a little should your dabao-ed food need some ventilation. 😉

If you need to heat up the food, the vent helps ensure your food is warmed evenly and effectively in the microwave. This size I bought has a grid in the bottom to keep stored food from getting soggy!

Want to dabao hot drinks only to have them lukewarm by the time you get home? Use a thermal flask and problem’s solved!

Prefer soupy food like prawn soup noodle? There’s the EFTERFRÅGAD food vacuum flask you may like to use.

Make recycling a way of life! Everyone who goes shopping at IKEA knows they either have to bring their own bags or buy the IKEA bag for purchases if they need one.

Because of this collaboration with IKEA, I’ve been making many more trips to IKEA store on my own. With no extra pairs of hands to help carry all my purchases, I bought the IKEA FRAKTA large bag so that it’s easier to haul the stuff to my car. (Trolleys can’t get to the cars at the Tampines store.)

After the first use, I was like “WHAT TOOK ME SO LONG TO BUY THIS $0.90 BAG?!!” It’s been an essential in my car boot ever since.

It’s super hardy and can hold heaps of stuff. LV’s NeverFull is not even close. I love how durable the material is and bought a smaller version that we can use when we have lesser stuff to lug.

Excellent companion when you want to head to the market to get groceries and dabao food.

Instead of using plastic bags to hold our wet and heavy swimming clothes, we use the BRATTBY bag since it’s waterproof!

The effort may seem tiny in the big picture. But if every one of us contributes in our seemingly miniscule ways, we can help reduce unnecessary waste and hopefully, improve the world for our children to grow up in. 积少成多!

Note: This post is part of a collaboration project with IKEA Singapore. We were sponsored with a gift card for items we will require for our tasks. Ideas and opinions are our own!

A week in the life of MissusTay

April 6, 2016 in Kids / Lifestyle / Musings / Parenting

Now that a quarter of 2016 has passed, we have more or less settled into our daily routines. A blog train came along in our Singapore Parent Bloggers group and I thought this is an excellent opportunity to shed some light on how some of us parent bloggers with our various commitments, squeeze time out to share reviews and bits of our lives with you.

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Just to recap a little for those who don’t know, I’m on a part-time work arrangement at my organization and I solo-parent quite often because of my husband’s frequent work travels at short notices. As luck would have it, I am able to share a fine example of how the highlighted week went for me as a parent and a blogger when:

  1. The Husb left for a work trip a few days ago
  2. The helper is away on a month-long home leave (!!!)
  3. I need to churn out a post to share for this blog train
  4. I have to work on the last project for IKEA and share the post by this weekend

I work 3.5 days a week under the current arrangement so that I can keep most of the enrichment classes to weekdays and save our weekends for some quality family time, especially when the Husb doesn’t have to travel. Thankfully, the kids don’t have that many classes for now, and I hope it stays that way!

As a blogger, I have not been posting as much as I would like to and you can probably empathize after reading this lengthy post. But you can get more frequent updates from me on Instagram!

Here’s sharing how a week of mine goes!

On my 3 working days:

Never thought the days of sleeping in would come 3 years ago ‘cos our babies were such early-risers, but it did. My preschoolers LOVE sleeping in on days I have to go work. It’s pretty amazing how they developed a knack for knowing which days are the best to sleep in.

I wake around 7am to prepare for work and give gentle motherly morning calls at regular intervals from 7.30am onwards, should they STILL be sleeping. The not-so-gentle morning calls will start from 7.45am.

Some days, one or both will have some 起床气 and need more coaxing to change into his/her uniform. But no matter the mood, they always ask for goodbye hugs and kisses before we step out of the door. Best way to get the day going, I say!

I drive myself to work on days when the Husb has morning training at the gym or when he’s away on his work trips. Used to hate having to drive during rush hours because I could get more to-dos done on the phone and catch up on the news and social media updates as a passenger! Now, I relish the drive to/from work as my “me-time”. Just that I tend to end up reflecting on how to be a better parent, or where to bring the kids to over the weekend instead!

On days the Husb sends me to work, I try to resist the temptation to post on Instagram or get my social media update fix and spend the limited time during the car ride catching up with him. Most of the time, we discuss about how to maximize our weekend without overtiring the kids and ourselves. I will update on how the kids are coping with their classes since he doesn’t have the luxury of spending as much time with them. Dads have very different perspectives on parenting, so this is excellent opportunity to get his feedback on my (grand) plans for the kids.

When I get to the office, I check with the grandparents whether the kids have taken their breakfast and have been sent to school on time. Thankful for reliable caregivers and a school environment the kids enjoy so I can work with a peace of mind.

Kinda scary how the mind never stops thinking about the kids eh!

About half an hour before knock off time, I find out from the folks if the kids are home and going to have dinner soon. It’s a gentle reminder for them to help make sure the kids are done with or at least finishing dinner by the time I get home around 630pm.

Perks of having own parents to look after your kids – they KNOW why I’m asking and send picture messages to assure that things are going well at home. 😉

I grab a few mouthfuls for dinner while waiting for the cub to settle down and start piano practice with him. The lil’ dragonlady would either get some extra playtime or hang around with her Dad munching on fruits while we practise.

A few nights into this week however, I realized that piano practice is increasingly challenging for the cub not because the pieces are getting harder but because he’s finding it difficult to constantly battle the distraction of TV and cousins playing around him. There was too much tears!

The good news is both seem to be doing well with their learning at Berries, so we get to finish on an encouraging note.

Still, the guilt from scolding him harshly during practice every night was eating at me. We would return to our room after practice with a sobbing kid and a depleted mother who has not much energy left for revision with the other kid.

Every day during my drives to and from work, I thought of how I can do better and how I can help him. I came up with a new schedule two nights ago after much pondering and tried it out yesterday. Instead of practising piano after dinner, we returned to our room to wash up and revise Berries first. It is our cue to start on piano practice when their cousins go back to their room to prepare for school next day.

This arrangement worked excellent on our first trial! The cub was able to focus better and played more fluently.

Without any distractions, the lil’ dragonlady clocked in some writing practice as well while waiting by the table next to us.

I trained the kids to pack their own school bags, and that is what they do before they wash up and prepare for bed. If the Husb is around, he would instinctively take up the responsibility to wash up and brush teeth for the kids. It’s his bonding time with the kids and he will give pep talks as he brush their teeth should the situation calls for it. On nights when he’s not around, I will bao-ga-liao (do everything myself)!

After bags are packed, I declare playtime for them so as to buy myself some time for a shower.

9.00pm – official bedtime! We have shifted our bedtime later by 30 minutes because we simply have too much to do after I get home from work. And no kid really follows the official bedtime right? Sigh, they end up sleeping so much later now.

“Mommy, I want to read book!”

“Mommy, I want to tell you what happened in school!” “No, Mommy! I tell you first!”

Every thing becomes 10x more fun before bedtime. They become BFFs and go crazy laughing over something silly, and whatnots.

Sometimes, blood is shed to delay bedtime. All in a day’s work of a mom!

I count it my lucky night if I don’t fall asleep together with them eventually. Unfortunately, dozing off with the kids is a frequent occurrence. Usually I get woken up when the Husb is home. Then it’s time for administrative work – paying bills, rescheduling classes and appointments (cos the Husb is going to be away for two weeks!), responding to emails and invites, and spending time on the blog!

But when he’s away, I will most likely sleep through the night with the kids (due to exhaustion) and get all flustered with my outstanding to-dos in the morning! Which was what happened for the past two nights, hence the rush to complete this post the night before it’s due.

When I complete a post, I usually schedule them to be published either in the morning during rush hour for fellow commuters to read on the way to work, noon time for leisure scrolling through social media feeds over your lunch, or at night after the kids go to sleep.

On my 0.5-working day:

I have just about 2 hours after I finish work before I’m due to fetch the cub for piano class. I get myself lunch and some bread for the siu-ye (少爷) from the neighborhood, finish up the lunch at home and change into something comfortable ‘cos I need to sit (literally!) in with the cub during lesson.

This week, we are supposed to have our overdue parent-teacher meeting (PTM) as well. I scheduled the PTM with the cub’s teachers about 30 minutes before naptime is over so that I can leave with the cub for piano class after we were done. I find it so cute that he always asks what I buy for his afternoon snack and no matter what it is, he would tell me excitedly, “YAY, I like it! Thank you, Mommy!” Sure makes all the shuttling about for them worthwhile.

I look forward to this precious one-on-one time with the cub every week as we learn together in class, and have silly good ol’ chats with each other during the car rides.

Now I’m hoping to find something of interest to the lil’ dragonlady and get to spend some one-on-one time with her as well when we go to classes together!

On my 1 day-off:

Whee, I get to do school drop-off and pick-up for both kids!

There’s something special about being there to drop off and pick up your kids at school. It’s a privilege to me. I love getting to know their friends, their teachers, the staff at school, and get random updates about the kids from these people who see the different sides of my children I might not have seen myself.

This is my designated me-day as well since I hardly have time to spend on myself on other days. I love that I can get my errands done at off-peak hours, and indulge in frivolous things like manicures guilt-free!

But for this week’s off-day, I had something most serious to attend to – an interview to be a parent volunteer. I was a bunch of nerves in the days that led up to the interview. The stress is much more intense than my own job interview years ago, from what I can recall. Not going to share anything more here for now to avoid unnecessary unsolicited advice that adds on to my anxiety levels, which is already at an all-time high.

Anyway! That was done and I headed to IKEA. As I’m currently working on the IKEA project, I have been visiting their store on my off-days in the past four months to either get inspiration or get the products for my posts. I love walking slowly through the different showrooms and market hall at IKEA. It gets my creative juices flowing again as I think of the possibilities I can come up with for home and friends.

Then it’s back to mommy duties as I fetched the kids from school for Berries class.

In the past, I would work on my blog posts while waiting for the kids’ classes to end. Yes, I can stand there for almost 2 hours just drafting posts, responding to emails and working on our schedules for the week ahead.

But recently, I have found a better way to spend my waiting time!

Weekend

The only class we have on weekends is swimming because the Husb loves doing sports with the kids and prefers that we each take one kid for lessons at the same timing to well, save time. The arrangement is both efficient and effective as the cub picks up swimming faster when he’s paired with his Dad.

Because the Husb is away, I rescheduled the cub’s class to another day and made two trips to the swim school over the weekend.

With the folks helping to babysit the lil’ dragonlady while we were out, I brought the cub for a haircut as well to get another to-do checked!

It was the hottest day of the year in Singapore and I dread going out unnecessarily in the sweltering heat. Plus, we needed extra pairs of hands (no matter how small) to help out with the chores since our helper is away!

Definitely feeling the absence of our helper more keenly with the Husb away as well.

Besides these daily happenings and more, I try to fit into our schedules interesting events that the kids and/or Husb might like, and then figure out how to stay awake at night while they are asleep to share about our experiences on the blog and/or Instagram. I hope readers will appreciate the time and effort we parent bloggers put in for our posts. 请多多支持我们! 🙂

Next on the blog train is Cynthia from B.C.D.E. That’s Us. A FTWM with 2 boys who are 7 and 5, she blogs about her parenting journey, simple cooking “hacks” and fun activities the family enjoys – basically the  forgettable and unforgettable moments as the boys grow up and the adults grow old.

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