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ShopaholicMin&Co.

Braving the World with Our Mini-Me(s)

Zagg Slim Book (Keyboard for iPad Mini)

Being a light traveler (by necessity! Imagine lugging around a gadget to work on during pockets of time, while bringing three children/monkeys and their peripheral junk out for the day), I have always hated the thought of lugging around clunky gadgets that aren’t fully utilized. Perhaps as I am not really a gadget sort of person (much to my geek husband’s chagrin), I’ve always contentedly made-do with the single iPad Mini we own as a family. When I needed to do more word processing on-the-go, what irked me was the possibility of having to buy and/or lug around additional gadgets with similar functions. Why have both the iPad AND a netbook/MacbookAir when all I really needed was the physical keyboard to get stuff done more efficiently?

The iPad Mini has so much to offer, beyond just being a lightweight device for entertainment. I needed something that could convert my existing iPad Mini into a platform to work on some word processing; at the same time easily detachable, so that family members could use the iPad Mini on its own when the keyboard was not required. It also needed to be not too cumbersome (or expensive!).

There were SO MANY on the market when I did a preliminary search though. Trying to figure it all out was pretty confusing! I eventually decided based on price point and reviews on robustness (in Hokkien: “Ai Pee Ai Chee”), and chose the Zagg Slim Book to try out.

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The Zagg Slim Book acts as a case for my iPad mini, as well as provides a separate physical qwerty keyboard with backlighting. It protects my iPad Mini without adding too much bulk, and converts my iPad Mini into a ‘mini-laptop’ with a simple magnetic connector. It even allows me to adjust the viewing angle of the securely attached iPad Mini screen. This virtually turns my iPad Mini into a cute laptop! Yay! No need to lug around extra gadgetry/weight! I could almost hear my weary back groaning in gratitude.
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It has four different view modes catered to your needs – Keyboard, Case, Video & Book modes. The Video mode has been awesome for the times when we want to watch videos (read: current dramas) hands free! I honestly don’t see the difference between the Case and Book modes; however the Keyboard and Case modes are already adequate for my needs! Typing on the keyboard is comfortable and intuitive, and its keys are well-spaced and actually come with backlighting if you need to do some work in dim lighting conditions. It connects by Bluetooth, and has so far proven to be an fuss-free and stable connection during all the times I’ve used it. It lasts for pretty long on a single charge too! Charged once with the provided micro USB port, I have been using it lightly for close to six months, and it hasn’t needed another charge yet! Zagg actually promises “2 years on a single charge”… it would be awesome if that actually happens!

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Case Mode

Back of casing (Pardon the scuff marks, I’ve been using this for a while!)

Slot into the magnetic clip

Clip into place

Voila! Good to go! (Keyboard Mode)

Video Mode
This is perfect for anybody who is usually on-the-go, while keeping things lean and fuss-free. The Zagg Slim Book allows the user to have a more comfortable word processing experience with their iPad Mini, maximizing their use of this power packed little gadget. It struck me that this would also be perfect for students, where tech can complement their day without adding too much load to their backs! Would definitely consider this as a cost- and weight-friendly option in the future when my kids are older. In the meantime, I will be happily clicking away on my ‘new’ laptop!

 

-Love, Germy


 

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Traveling With Kids in Tokyo (Part 2)

In our previous post, we recommended 3 wonderful sights for those of you with kids. Want more? Here are 3 more tried and tested options for those heading over to Tokyo!

TOKYO STATION

One of Japan’s busiest railway station, and terminal of multiple Shinkansen lines, it is both beautiful on the outside and fascinating underground. We spent so many hours just exploring the underground, and there is a good reason why: Character Street.

Character Street is linked to Tokyo Station underground. It is home to many many character stores and cafes! My kids were like in heaven. πŸ˜‚ They were especially captured by the PokΓ©mon store (I wonder why πŸ™„) The amount of merchandise available was mind boggling. My kids took a while to scan through all the shelves. We had to limit them on what they can buy in that store, or we would spend the entire holiday expenses in 1 store. Haha.

Fans of Thomas the Train and vehicles would be delighted to know that Tomica has a store on the street too. In the store, the kids can purchase a vehicle and watch staff assemble it right before their eyes! There is also a little section for kiddies to play with vehicles in a safe space. I am sure any boy would be stuck in that shop for quite some time.

There are so so so many character stores on this street, catering for all the different types of interests, not only kiddies! Warning: Parents, you may leave the street with an empty wallet, with purchases not only for your kids, but also for yourselves.

If you’re not keen on characters, you would be happy to know that the variety of food available here is amazing too! Sushi bars, cafes, ramen shops etc. Some cafes are so popular, that there are long queues for a table! We arrived at Tokyo Station, had lunch, walked through Character Street, had tea break, and started exploring Daimaru that is linked to the Station, before heading for dinner. We did not leave Tokyo Station till 9pm! Definitely a place to keep the young, old and hungry entertained. And it is also weatherproofed! This is a must visit place, especially during bad weather!

SAMURAI MUSEUM

Located in Shinjuku, and about 10 minutes walk from the station, you can find the Samurai Museum. We arrived, not knowing what to expect, but it totally blew us over. Each and every one of us were entertained right from the start. It was definitely touristy, but it was informative and entertaining all at the same time. If you are keen to know what went on during the years of Samurai warriors and to have a hands on experience at the same time, this is the place for you.

On the first floor, there is a gift shop and a counter for entrance payments, as well as a row of Samurai armour from the different eras.

Charges are:
Adult – 1800Β₯
Child (under 12 years) – 800Β₯
Child (under 3 years) – Free

Fee includes a guided tour of the museum. Our guide helped us understand the Samurais better and provided answers to all questions.

On the second floor, most of the exhibits are separated into different rooms, showing armour and weaponry from the different eras and clans. Within each room, the guide would explain about the particular clan and would provide armour and/or weaponry for us to see and touch. It was a very hands on experience and kept our 2 active boys interested.

At the end of the guided tour, there is a dress up section, for participants to dress up in the costumes of the different eras and clans, and provided a photo opportunity. All sizes were available. The kids had much fun!

Thereafter, we managed to watch a performance of a Samurai! It lasted for about 15 minutes. This performance is only available at certain timings. Do ensure that you are there at the right time! Everyone sits on the floor to watch the performance. Our boys were totally captivated by the performance and ended our visit on a high! E even managed to participate in the performance. What a privilege!

Do visit their websites for details and schedules:
http://www.samuraimuseum.jp

NISSIN CUP NOODLES MUSEUM

Our last recommendation for Tokyo with Kids has to be the Nissin Cup Noodles Museum in Yokohama, Tokyo! The museum exhibits all the different kinds of cup noodle packages, and has a super impressive store selling cup noodles, snacks and merchandise! We went to the museum to experience the “My Cup Noodle Factory”.

At “My Cup Noodle Factory”, we could decorate our own packaging and also select condiments for our own pack of cup noodles. It was an eye opener for the kids, who saw the process of assembling and sealing of a pack of cup noodles! They were all super proud of having their personal pack of cup noodles and were asking when they could tuck into their cup!

After obtaining our empty cups, we were guided to a section filled with small round tables, filled with marker pens, to personalize our cups. After personalizing our cups, we joined a queue, where we could pick condiments to put into our cups. The kids were thrilled that they could choose whatever they wanted. “Crab meat! Egg! Fish cake! NO vegetables!” πŸ™„

Thereafter, we proceeded to the sealing section, where all our cups were sealed one at a time. We could then pack our cups in a specially designed bag, to keep our cups safe! How clever!

The 2 boys even had an indoor playground experience at the “Cup Noodles Park”, situated in the same building. The playground was designed in a way for kids to understand the process of the manufacturing of cup noodles. I am not sure how much they understood cup noodles manufacturing. But one thing for sure, they had a ball of a time running and climbing around. M and I were treated to a fabulous view of the area.

We had such a great time in Nissin Cup Noodles Museum! Definitely quite something experiencing the manufacturing process of the little cups we see in supermarkets here.

Do visit their website for more details and schedules:
https://www.cupnoodles-museum.jp/en/yokohama/

Simply Life – Bamboo Clothing for Infants & Children

A relative recently gifted us with a set of bamboo fabric clothing for the kids and OH MY… it’s a whisper of heaven on their skins! They raved about it the next morning, saying how they slept super well as there weren’t any sweaty moments in bed! Kids sleeping well through the night?! 😱😍 #FamilyGoals

I’d had known about bamboo clothing for a while now, having fallen in love with maternity wear made with this gloriously smooth and breathable material when I was pregnant with no.2. Bamboo fabric is a naturally anti-fungal, hypoallergenic and antibacterial material. Super breathable, it absorbs moisture from our bodies up to four times faster than cotton, and doesn’t stick to our skins. Bamboo clothing is perfect for our local hot and humid weather, especially for those with more sensitive skin! It came at a rather hefty price tag though, and wasn’t easily available in retail stores then. Imagine my joy when we were gifted with some of these sets for the kiddies!

Oddly, I had not encountered this brand before, despite being perpetually on the lookout for comfy casual clothing for the kids to hang out in. Izzy (no.1) and Boo (no.3) have sensitive, eczema-prone skin that break out in rash pretty easily, so breathable wear is very important to us. For Boo, it’s especially sensitive at his joint creases and privates, the poor bugger! I am on a constant search for breathable underwear that won’t break the bank, for him. The best discovery was that these bamboo underwear sets are quite affordable ($19.95 for a set of 5), given the premium material used!  They also have attractive character prints for those kids who are so inclined!



After the kids tried the clothing on and fell in love, I felt I HAD to do more research into this brand. Simply Life is actually a home-grown brand, set up by a local couple! They manufacture basic-wear, bedding and towels from bamboo fibre; and cater mainly to children from infancy up to 13 years old (They do offer some adult-wear in their online store; however that is limited to female sleepwear). The folks at Simply Life claim that their bamboo material has a higher composition of bamboo than most other brands, at 95% bamboo! Other brands would typically have 70% bamboo composites, it seems. They retail at Takashimaya Departmental Store, in the baby and children’s section. There are other stores that carry some items from this brand (e.g. BHG, Robinsons, Kiddy Palace, Isetan, OG, Mothercare, Precious Thots, etc… their website has the detailed list of retailers); however Takashimaya and Metro Centrepoint supposedly carry the widest range in-store.

After savoring my Tai Cheong egg tart and Ya Kun Teh-C β˜•οΈπŸ’• at the Taka basement food hall, I made my way up to find out exactly how much this brand had to offer.


At first glance, it was apparent how the brand tried to keep things simple. Their designs are classic, the focus being on material and workmanship quality. At their Takashimaya display shelf, they offer onesies and footed rompers for babies, as well as toddler tees and pyjama sets to keep our darlings cool and comfy in the humid climate! Baby bedding sets and toddler pillow cases were also available there.

My kids are way past this stage though (where did my babies go?! 😱); and to my dismay, their display offering was very limited when it came to the ages beyond 4 years old! I could only find ONE gondola with some pj sets on sale, and a rack with their underwear selection, but that was it! 😩

After checking with the sales staff at Takashimaya, it seems they only allow the brand to display clothing up to ages 4-5, with the exception of underwear for up to ages 10 years. The clothing for the older children only come out for display during specific sale periods! Bahhhhh. πŸ˜•  I was asked to check out the brand’s online store (http://simplylife.com.sg/). What a bummer, as I was hoping to be able to have a look at physical pieces and and score a few casual wear tees, singlets and shorts! I found the pj sets a tad beyond my budget for sleepwear. Thankfully they at least had the underwear sets, which I bagged a few! I will have to turn online for the shorts and singlet sets I was hoping to get.

It would still be worth a trip to have a feel of the actual material though, for those who have yet to caress the luxurious feel of 95% bamboo material! Feeling the gloriously soft baby wear made me feel like having another baby again! For those with older children (5 years and older), I would go for the plain tees and shorts, as well as the singlet and underwear sets. They were having some discounts on their website, the last time i peeked! Awesome stuff for the kids to wear for a casual hang out, or even to bed! My monkeys love their Simply Life bamboo wear, for sure!

-by germy πŸ’•

Traveling with Kids in Tokyo (Part 1)

Japan is such a fabulous country to take kids on holidays! Great service, fantastic food and being amazingly clean are all plus factors for having children along. If you’re heading to Tokyo and unsure of how to entertain the kids, come read about how we kept our little brood entertained on our trips!
Disneyland

Our No. 1 recommendation for families with kids is definitely Tokyo Disneyland! We have taken our kids there twice and each time, we were reveling for more after! A full Disney experience is guaranteed in this park. The infamous Japanese service is displayed throughout the park by all members of the staff. To top it off, the local Japanese enhanced the entire Disney experience with their dress ups and enthusiasm! We were transported into a whole new world. We just had to join in with the dress up too!

In Tokyo, they have 2 parks. Disneyland and DisneySea. In my opinion, Disneyland is suitable for families with younger children, while DisneySea is suitable for older ones. M (my 2 year old) was able to join in on most rides in Disneyland! She had so much fun going on all the rides! If you ask her about Disneyland today, she would tell you that her favourite ride was Monsters Inc. We all enjoyed ourselves regardless of the ride we were on. 

DisneySea, on the other hand, had more rides requiring a minimum height of 130cm. When we were there, DisneySea also had longer queue times. This may be due to the fact that it is the smaller of the two parks and there are fewer rides in it. Z and M had to wait around for quite a bit during our time there. Ariel’s Playground in DisneySea was a great area for the little ones though. It was completely sheltered with rides that all of us could enjoy. We also kept the 2 younger ones entertained in there while we took turns to ride the rides with height restrictions with E. 

Disney had impressed us with their awesome baby facilities too. The baby facilities were so clean and immaculate. They were also well-heated (we went in winter).  We had to hide in there a few times from the winter chill. In each baby facility, there were changing stations, where staff was on site to lay a disposable liner on each changing station before you laid your baby down and would sanitise the station when you were done with changing the baby. There were also dining areas for babies, complete with tables and high chairs. In the event that you ran out of diapers or baby food, there was a counter selling them. Staff were always around to lend a helping hand, whenever needed. They were all able to understand and communicate in basic English. It was also a safe area, where we could park the stroller and enable the older kids to take a toilet break safely. 

We all had a fantastically wild time in Disney. The 3 days flew by and my kids are asking when we can go again!

Odaiba

The 2nd recommended destination is Odaiba. Odaiba is a district on a man-made island in Tokyo Bay. It is a beautiful and spacious area for families with kids. There was so much space in the different malls and a very large, open and beautiful area to walk around in the day! Loads of entertainment made available for all ages and an unending amount of dining options throughout. We took our boys (5 years and 3 years then) to Odaiba and we had such a great and unforgettable day out there! Try to take the train into Odaiba via the Rainbow Bridge on your way to Odaiba!

We visited the Legoland Discovery Centre, as it was perfect for their age then. It is an indoor play centre located in Decks Tokyo Beach. There were lego models on display and an indoor play area. There were also a couple of rides within the centre. It was well-maintained, clean and fun for the boys! However, in our recent trip (8 years and 6 years), they would have outgrown it. 

Within Decks Tokyo Beach, there is also the Tokyo Joypolis, Madam Tssusards Wax Museum and a Trick Art Museum. We wished we had time to visit them all! 

For children who love cars or vehicles, the Toyota Mega Web is a must go! It is a giant Toyota showroom that features all of Toyota’s latest models, car accessories and technologies and a museum exhibiting cars of past decades. With a license (valid in Japan), test driving is available too! It was impressive. 

During our time there, we took the kids to DiverCity Tokyo Plaza too. The boys were ecstatic to meet a “life-sized” Gundam robot! We were also lucky to have caught a screening of the anime on the walls of the shopping centre during the night. Some of the actions of the huge Gundam was coordinated with the anime screened. Boys were mesmerized (including the father πŸ˜‰) (According to online sources, the Gundam robot was removed in March 2017 and a new one would replace it in autumn 2017)

After night fell upon us, we took the kids onto the Ferries Wheel. The view was spectacular, though, the boys were more amazed at how high we were going and how the wind was howling if we opened the window. Well, I have a fear of heights and was glad to be back on solid ground at the end of that 15 minutes.

There was so much that could be done in Odaiba with kids and we felt that we were just scrapping the surface in that 1 day. We wished we had another day there to do it all! 
More places of fun for kids in Tokyo coming up in Part 2! 

Mifold – The Grab and Go Booster Seat

Are you lovin’ the convenience of taxis, but yet apprehensive about the lack of safety for kids traveling in them? Or do you want to take your kids along in Grab or Uber rides without having to lug chunky boosters along? The law in Singapore requires children under the height of 1.35m to be belted up in a car seat while traveling in a private vehicle (including GrabCar and Uber vehicles). The answer might be right here. 

As most of you would have read from our previous blogpost that my family (Min) has gone car(e)-free for the past year. We have taken quite a number of taxi rides with the kids through this time. I absolutely love not having a car and zipping around in taxis, buses and trains instead. Though it is legal in Singapore to take kids in taxis without carseats, we know it is not the safest option. We have also read recently that it is illegal to be in a Grab or Uber type of service without proper car seats.  A friend told us about the Mifold recently and I just had to try it out.

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WHAT IS THE MIFOLD?

It’s basically a very very compact and foldable booster seat for ages 4 – 12 years and catering for children 15kg and up. It it literally the size of some purses. Have a look:

It weighs 750g, light enough to be carried everywhere.

 It’s even the ideal booster seat to take on overseas trips! No more booster seat rentals to pay for. And it is great for Uber and Grab cars too! It’s also very convenient for carpooling and can be transferred easily across vehicles. Having the grandparents to pick up the kids last minute is no longer a logistical challenge with regards to car seats. If you own a car, you can slip the Mifold into the seats’ back pockets when kids are not in the car. No more transferring of car seats or boosters into the boot when giving others a ride. 

HOW DOES IT WORK?

Seat belts in cars are built for an average adult’s height. When my kids are belted up with the normal seat belt, the bottom belt usually wraps around their stomach and they would instinctively place the strap behind them for comfort, as the strap tends to cut into their neck. In an accident, the safety belts can actually inflict injuries on a child. 

Traditional booster seats lift the child up into a regular adult position, thereby providing safety in the event of an impact. However, I’ve also noticed that traditional booster seats may slip during a ride. There were a couple of times where I had to push the booster back into position while Z was on it.

Instead of lifting a child, Mifold does the complete opposite. It brings the belt down to the child’s height. My boys no longer lift the belt behind them and have reported that the Mifold provides a comfortable ride. 

Mifold1


Here is Z belted up:

IS IT SAFE?

I am happy to learn that Mifold has gained all regulatory approval in the European Union, United States of America and Cananda.

Have a read here on all the relavant regulatory approvals obtained:

http://www.mifold.com/regulatory-approval/

OUR EXPERIENCE WITH THE MIFOLD:

– Remembering the Mifold

At the start, I had to keep reminding myself to pack the Mifold into our bags. There were times where I realized that we had forgotten the Mifolds after we’ve embarked on our trip. It is forming a new routine and habit and I am sure it would become more instinctive as we go along. It dawned on me that it may be much easier to get the older kids to carry a backpack each, with their Mifold packed inside, together with their water bottle, before each day out.

– Setting up the Mifold

Setting up the Mifold is not difficult at all and it will get easier with every practice. If it is your first time heading out with it, I would advise you to practice setting it up with your child on, at home, before heading out. Most taxi drivers in Singapore do not wait for the kids to be fully buckled before moving off. Therefore, getting more practice in and having the belt guide and clip adjusted before its maiden trip will help everyone get settled quickly and help you feel less frazzled in the cab. I had E and Z shouting “Mummy, help me!” and M screaming “Mummy, carry me!”all at the same time.

Also, measure the size of your kids’ bums against the Mifold lap belt guides before embarking on your first trip (size I, II or III). It will save you loads of pain trying to figure the right size in a moving car. My kids know their sizes now and they would adjust the belt guides to the exact size before boarding. All they have to do when they get in is to open it up, sit on it and belt up.

Belt guide on the Mifold
Belt guide on the Mifold

Be prepared that your kids may need to your help to belt up, at least at the start. It will take some practice for them to get to the level of proficiency in the Mifold promotional video. There’s some level of fine motor skills needed to slip the seat belt into the guide and kids need to get used to trying to clip the chest strap down on their own. They may also need help to get the belt out of the guide at the end of the ride.

However, once they’re strapped in, they look perfect. And I’m glad they’re safe too. 😊

WHERE TO GET THIS?

I bought the Mifold brand new from Carousell. There are some stock available there. If you would like to buy direct, please visit http://www.mifold.com and it will redirect you to their indiegogo campaign site. They do ship internationally, though it is chargeable.

If you have bought one and need some help with setting it up, you may want to refer to this YouTube video:

OverDrive app – Our library’s ebooks at our fingertips!

I ❀️ reading. It opens the door to to a different world of endless possibilities, a world I love getting sucked into.

Nothing feels better than turning the pages of an intriguing book, and sniffing and turning the crisp pages of a brand new book (okay yes, I have issues 😝) With three kids and a dog however, finding sufficient storage space for my books had become quite a challenge. πŸ™ˆ

“Borrow from the library then…It’s FREE too!”, some may say. Unfortunately, I tend to bring my books to bed with me, and always shudder when I think of where that library book might have been (Think poo-time readingπŸš½πŸ’©), in other hands πŸ˜–.

Then i discovered the OVERDRIVE app. 😁😍

Have you guys used this app yet?! With a simple download of this app to your smartphone, tablet or Kindle Fire HD, as well as signing up for a National Library Board Singapore (NLB) account (Link on how to sign up here), it allows you easy (and free!) access to all the ebooks our local libraries have to offer!!! (Link on how to set up the connection between NLB and OverDrive is here)

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I found it hard getting used to reading on my iPad at first, as the screen’s own backlighting drove my eyes crazy. Light reflections on my iPad’s screen also made me wanna scream. I also missed holding a physical book copy and turning those pages. In the name of being earth-friendly and reclaiming my home storage space however; I found making the switch worthwhile.


Taking these measures made my reader experience MUCH more pleasant though:

  1. Change your Overdrive screen settings to make your eyes happy!
  2. Install an anti-glare, matt surface screen protector for your screen 😎. THIS helps a great deal! 

Now you are all set to browse for, and settle down with your newly borrowed library ebook! πŸ“– So far, I have found the library’s range of ebooks diverse enough for my needs. I have gone through books like “Girl with Seven Names, by Hyeonseo Lee”, “Life of Pi, by Yann Martel”, and I’m now reliving my teen years by going through Terry Pratchett’s collection of books! 😜 I was particularly pleased to find the ebook “Girl with Seven Names”, as I had repeatedly sought the physical copy in our libraries, however it was perpetually loaned out!

I only wish the ebooks were available for download into a Kindle PaperWhite (with electronic-ink technology and a built-in external light for the screen). Definitely better for our eyes. NATIONAL LIBRARY BOARD SINGAPORE, PLEASE HEAR MY PLEA!!! πŸ˜©

Anyhow, now that the school holidays are over and we might have a peaceful morning or two…it’s time to dive into your favourite read!!! ❀️❀️❀️

-by germy

Safeguarding Our Children with Sex Education

Have you thought about sex education for your kids? Often, people think that sex education should only be covered as kids’ ages hit 2 digits. However, I feel that sex ed. in various degrees should be covered from a young age. Prevention is really better than cure.

E is in Primary 2 (8 years old) this year. He has been in an all boys school for 2 years now. Before he started Primary 1, we went through the basic type of sex education with him, i.e. appropriate and inappropriate touches, who can or cannot see your privates. Through this year, I felt a pressing need to cover “the birds and the bees” with him. Firstly, the seemingly increasing number of sexual predators in schools, as covered in the news. Predators come in all shapes and sizes and I wanted to be sure that he would be well-equipped to identify one and to know what to do should he be exposed an inappropriate situation. Sometimes, the people we trust are the ones hurting them πŸ˜₯. Secondly, he was also increasingly exposed to different “colourful” words in school and was curious about each word. Thirdly, I wanted him to feel safe that we could chat about stuff like that together and never be worried that I would be angry. 

Every child is different and one could always wait for a “teachable moment” when they ask a question. However, there’s a possibility that you may wait forever.

I found a webpage that covered a general age-by-age guide on when to cover what for sex ed: http://www.todaysparent.com/family/parenting/age-by-age-guide-to-talking-to-kids-about-sex/

Do have a read. It’s a pretty good guide.

With all these in mind, I went in search of books that could help me cover age-appropriate sex ed for E and Z (starting Primary 1). Knowing what to say and finding the right words to say is sometimes so hard. I wanted to find a couple of books that we could read together factually, instead of me stumbling for words and running for the nearest quilt for cover. 😜

I would like to recommend 2 books that I have bought and read through with the boys. They have been such a great help in covering the topic with the right words and the right facts.  If you’re looking for somewhere to start, these 2 are great to begin with.

1. I Said No!     by Zack and Kimberly King

An awesome resource, especially for younger boys. It uses a very simple and structured approach to explain different social situations and people that the child might come across. It uses Red and Green Flags people to help children process and identify if the person is potentially dangerous to be with. Predators can even be living in our homes 😱! And what I like about it is, it gives the child a step-by-step on what to say and do in such a situation.

As adults, we think that our children will be able to stand up for themselves, as long as we have told them what to do. But, as children, filled with fear and uncertainty in such situations, they may find themselves lost and confused. Haven’t they all been taught to follow adults’ instructions? This book covers many different situations and people, helping children to understand that, sometimes, people they trust may betray them. Role-playing these situations will increase the likelihood of the child following these advices should something similar occur.

I also like how the book emphasizes to the children at the end to always tell someone. Tell a parent, a relative, a teacher, or even to call the police. Children should not feel ashamed, and should not hide, in such situations. Only then, can they get help. 

2. “Where Did I Come From?”     by Peter Mayle

This book has been in print from 1987, and it has remained to be one of the better books to explain “the birds and the bees” with children. The cover says it all: The facts of life without nonsense and with illustrations.

It starts with listing the physical differences between a man and a woman and all the proper names of the different anatomy. Be prepared for detailed pictures. However, they are all in cartoon form and I personally found it both humorous and honest. It then proceeds to making love and I find the description honest, but yet appropriate for children.  If your child has asked you, “What is sex?”, I found that the description in this book is as factual as it gets, without any embarrassment.

The book goes on to describe quite generally how a foetus develops in the womb across 9 months and how our real birthday came about.

And I like how it ends.

All children are blessings, to be treasured and valued, and I hope everyone who reads this would be motivated and able to equip their children with skills to identify and prevent any unwanted situations. 😊

Milk Kefir Overnight Oats Recipe

Now that you have read about how awesome milk kefir is, in Min’s earlier post; here’s my (germy) kids’ favourite kefir breakfast – Milk Kefir Overnight Oats! πŸ˜‹

It’s the easiest recipe ever, power packed with healthy goodness, and super yummy! My kids always give me a huge grin when they find out it’s milk kefir oats for breakfast! That’s pretty amazing, considering how they previously always rejected oats when I tried serving warm oats with honey and raisins. This breakfast is also pretty filling and keeps their tummies happy until lunchtime! (Tee Hee…Mummy’s happy as she can sleep in 😴 while the kids help themselves to the kefir oats, all ready in the fridge for them in the morning! 😁)


Milk Kefir Overnight Oats (2-3 servings)

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Ingredients

1 1/2 cups cultured kefir

4 1/2 tbsp (add more if you prefer a thicker consistency) of instant/baby oats

Fresh blueberries*

Fresh raspberries*

Honey, to taste

*use whichever is your favourite fruit, or use dried/frozen fruit!

 

Method

1. Pour the cultured kefir into the prepared cups or containers.

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2. Add instant/baby oats and honey. Give it all a good stir!

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3. Add blueberries and raspberries on top (or whatever other fruit!)

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4. Cover and keep in refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight.

5. Wake up in the morning to a delicious breakfast!

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Pssst..Sometimes, I sprinkle some granola on top just before serving the Milk Kefir Oats, it adds a yummy crunch!

Enjoy Folks!

Kefir: Elixir for the gut

Do you and your family take probiotics supplement? We all know that probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are good for our digestive system. These organisms help stem the growth of harmful bacteria and also helps keep our general immunity levels up! 

Our family was on probiotics supplement until we were introduced to kefir a few years ago by a family friend. We have not looked back since! Do read on to find out how we have benefitted from kefir. 

WHAT IS KEFIR?

Kefir is a cultured milk product drink. It is similar to yogurt, in that it is also tart and has a sour taste (depending on how long it has been cultured for). It originates from the Caucasus Mountains in Eastern Europe. 

The drink is cultured using kefir “grains”. These grains are not the typical wheat or rice grains that we know. It is whitish in colour and looks like cauliflower. 

– kefir grains

These grains act like a “starter” in yogurt. The grains feed on milk sugars and grow with every culture! They are sieved out after kefir is cultured and can be reused for a new batch. All you really need is your first batch of “grains” and you can keep culturing kefir at home! This is a very affordable way of supplementing probiotics. 

KEFIR VS YOGURT

Most of us are more familiar with yogurt, as they are more readily available. However, yogurts only have about a handful of strains of good bacteria while kefir has 10-20 strains! A wide variety of strains produces more probiotics and the drink becomes even more effective in keeping our gut healthy. 

I have one of the weakest guts I know. I get diarrhea easily compared to others. With every bout of diarrhea, it takes my stomach a few hours to resettle. But with a cup of kefir, my stomach resettles in an hour and I will be back to normal. 

MY KIDS AND KEFIR

My kids are now big fans of kefir. I started M (my no. 3) when she turned 1. She took to it so quickly! Now, she gets upset when I do not have kefir in the mornings. If you are worried about the tart or sour taste, you can flavour your kefir! You can add honey or fruit purees and kefir can be used to make yummilious smoothies! 

I am a very lazy mummy in the mornings. I can’t seem to get out of bed, often till it’s too late. 😜 To assemble a cup of flavoured kefir quickly, I add in half a bottle of Yakult into the kids’ cups and top up with kefir! Very quick and easy. 

To help the older kids get accustomed to it, I add in a whole bottle of Yakult in the beginning and reduced the amount of Yakult as they got used to it. They took to it really quickly!


– thumbs up for kefir!

CHEAP TO CULTURE!

With 3 kids, it can be so expensive to provide them with supplements. Kefir is so cheap to culture! After the first batch of “starter”, you only need to keep buying fresh milk. 

GOODNESS OF KEFIR

Not only is kefir high in probiotics, it also provides protein, calcium and vitamin B! As the good bacteria and yeast in kefir provides lactase, most of the lactose in the full cream milk would have been consumed. It can be a good alternative for lactose intolerant individuals! 

If you are worried about the high fat content in milk, you would be glad to know that the milk sugars are eaten up in the culturing process, leaving only 1/3 to 1/2 of calories left (depending on duration of culture).

We have been so happy with kefir that a few of our friends have joined us in culturing! Good things must share right? πŸ˜‰


– kefir culturing on my kitchen counter

WANT SOME?

Would you want to give kefir a try? Germy, Jo and I are all culturing our own in South, East and Central Singapore! We would be very happy to share kefir “grains” so others can benefit from it too!  However, grains may take time to grow, depending on the type and how much milk we use.

To help us cover some costs in constantly growing our kefir grains, a bottle of kefir consisting of 1 tablespoon of grains (can culture 1-2 cups of milk each time!) and some milk will be $15. It will also come with a full set of instructions on how to culture it at home! 

Try it today! Have a happy gut! 

If you are interested, do drop us a message via Facebook!  (Only meet ups in Singapore)

https://m.facebook.com/shopaholicminco/

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