New Year, New School

It’s a brand new year, and we have landed back in Singapore. After 18 months living in Sydney, we are thrust back to the hustle and bustle of Singapore once again.

It’s been a hectic month – we’ve had to move from my in-laws’ place (in the West of the island) to my parents’ place (in the East of the island). We’ve had friends to meet, food to eat, family to catch up with. We’ve had chilli crabs and kaya toast, we’ve had kopi-c and teh tariks, we’ve had bak chor mee and Hokkien mee.

All in all, a very fulfilling (and FULL) month of December.

And now, it’s January. And time for a very sobering truth. SCHOOL.

Oh, I miss Australia especially in this respect – there, school only resumes mid-January, so Christmas and the New Year can be spent leisurely and enjoyed thoroughly. With the first day of school being 2 January here, it’s a flurry of activity to get the school bag packed and the uniforms ironed and the books bought and sorted out!

first day in p1

So proud of my little man – he breezed through Day 1, and even managed to get to know the canteen stalls well enough to enjoy a pack of keropok (crackers) for lunch!

It was a bit of a nonevent. I had friends up all night fretting, I had friends awake bright and early packing lunches,  I had friends who took leave on that Friday, and hovered around their kids at recess time.

Me? I stayed up the night before trying to pack everything – then decided it was too much and only gave him the bare minimum. Oops – someone forgot to give me the memo that Primary One kids were SUPPOSED to cart ALL the books (and the kitchen sink) and the teachers would take them and store them in the lockers in the classroom. Oh really? Yup – I missed the Orientation Day briefing and no one told me anything. Nor did I bother to ask (but that’s beside the point). The morning itself, my boy was up bright and early, all excited to get to school. This excitement died off in the week after – where I had to LITERALLY drag him out of bed. And he would wriggle back into position, mumbling “I don’t want to go school.” And then I had to drag him again… and again. Oh, and the first recess? Well, I knew it was okay for parents to visit, but I decided it was too tiring, and besides, the early start to the day meant that there were two very tired parents and two sleepy siblings. And while his classmates’ parents helicopter-hovered over them at recess, Jayvon had the pleasure of knowing his family was busy… having a nap back home.

It’s been a busy busy busy time.

And I’ve had many people asking, “Are you guys back for good?” “Why is Jayvon in P1?” “What happens when you go back?”  “MOE allow, meh?”

To which, let me answer – No; Because I chose to; And of course he will go back to Sydney with us; I think the choice is mine to make.

So why oh why did I choose to put him through Primary One? And by extension, me? Dragging myself out of bed at 6.30 a.m. is a surefire way of making me moody, grumpy and did I mention moody? Well, we were back in town for three months. He was enrolled in the primary school (as all to-be-7-year-olds must), and when I explained to the Ministry of Education our special circumstance of being overseas Singaporeans and yet back for the first two months of school, I asked if it was a requirement for Jayvon to be attending Primary School. To which, the reply was it was up to the school policy. Which I thought didn’t make sense. Could the school INSIST? I don’t think so – he was officially going to be on a Leave of Absense anyhow. Could the school REJECT if I wanted to? I don’t think so – how could they since he is officially an enrolled student? So I reckon… the choice lay with US. And so I decided, rather than have Jayvon laze around and play Minecraft all day long, that an experience (albeit short one) in the Singapore school system might do him some good. So has it? In many ways yes. So different from his past 18 months in a Sydney public school. A world of difference (that is a blog post in itself), but altogether a rewarding experience.

Oh, and he found a good friend in school.

Another Minecraft-loving classmate.

Boys! Haha!

The unChinese Boy

Warning: This may give some of you uncontrollable giggles or endless finger-wagging. Consider this an inside joke, and really REALLY funny if you speak Chinese!

These English/Chinese animal flash cards were found in my in-laws house, and is a few years old. Jay used to love animals, and those pictures used to entertain him for a while.

Two years in Australia with zero training in hanyu pinyin has made him quite the unChinese.

The hubby and I were tickled – so much so I videotaped this down, and Jay was also very amused! We also sent this to some close friends and family, and got two separate reactions:

The “WAHAHAHA SO FUNNY!!!” group.

And the “Oh my God, here’s some instructions/apps/books/blah blah blah you should teach him from!” group.

It might be the Aussie laidback-ness in me, but I don’t really see the fuss. Yeah, he can’t pronounce properly to save his life, but well, he HAS been away for 2 years. And he is a smart boy, and I am sure he will pick it up. In due time. Eventually.

dish’d – A Review & Giveaway

This is a product talk brought to you by Nuffnang and dish’d

As a blogger, I get approached a lot by various companies, to review products, attend launches (though as a mom of three, product launches are hardly on the top of my oooh-got-to-do list), write advertorials and more.

This review was one which got me excited.

Have you heard of dish’d?

Well, in a short sentence, they sell yummy, delicious frozen meals. So that is yummy, delicious, frozen meals that I can whip together in minutes? I was cynical – but hey, it would at least mean I could have a lot more time outside the kitchen.

Coming into this, I had a few reservations about using frozen meals. Would it taste all weird and “plasticky”? (Eww! I hate the fake plastic taste that microwaving sometimes causes) Would it be healthy? And most importantly, is it delicious and palatable enough for the three picky eaters in the family?

The dish’d website was simple enough to navigate.

dishd dishd1

It was simple, user-friendly – and I loved the way they have a “Chef’s Special”, so if you need some ideas, that is a good place to start to check out the offers and bundles. Use the “Inspiration” tab to get ideas on how to whip up a complete meal with dish’d, and you can even see the best sellers (under “Menu”).

The servings and the method of preparation are all pretty easy and well written out. I had a blast and ordered TOO much stuff – but the great thing is, I can keep and there isn’t any wastage!

dishd2

Here’s a sneak peek at my (very messy) freezer, packed to the brim with the items I bought – and more out of shot! The packaging stated clearly how many servings each item had, the cooking times (which is anything from 4 minutes in the microwave to 40 minutes to pan fry), and various methods available (microwave, pan fry or oven bake). I ordered a variety of dishes, to be able to do a proper review. (Plus I get to get away with not making dinner for the week!)

One of the very first things I cooked was the Five Cheese Pizza. Jayvon LOVES pizza and is always begging/bugging us to bring him to a nice pizzeria, but Xavier dislikes the taste of dough, so we aren’t able to eat that as often as Jayvon would love.

dishd4 pizza

Yum! My almost 7-year-old finished up ¾ of the pizza all by himself!

And the rest of the frozen dishes didn’t disappoint – though of all the meals, my personal favourite were the marinated scallops.

dishd5

Fresh, yummy marinated scallops – from the freezer to your mouth in just 4 minutes!

GIVEAWAY I have a $50 dish’d voucher to giveaway to one of you. To enter, answer the following question by leaving a comment below:

“What about the dish’d service appeals to you?”

Terms and Conditions apply. Giveaway ends Tuesday 16 December, open to NSW and VIC Metro residents only.

Update: The winner’s been picked! Congrats to Michelle! <3 An email has been sent to you.

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Sydney for Kids: Wattamolla Beach

Wattamolla 1

I first got to know about the Wattamolla beach from a Facebook group, as some mummies were asking about a good beach that is under an hour’s drive from Sydney – and this popped up a few times, highly recommended by a few of the mummies!

And so obviously I had to show the hubby. Cos he is the cab driver. *cough*

The mummies were raving about the gorgeous beach, the mini lagoon which was kid-friendly, the lush surroundings.

And they weren’t exaggerating.

wattamolla 2

The frantic Mummy in me means that I get very uptight when the boys are near the water. Especially when the tide is rising or when the undercurrent is strong, I will not take my eyes off them. At. All.

And if you are like me, this beach will be right up your alley. There is a gorgeous little lagoon area, shallow enough for kids to walk a distance away!

Wattamolla 3

As you can see, practically the whole area is shallow enough even for Xavier to wander a few meters in, and the still waters make it very safe for the kids. There are deeper parts, but there is enough shallow for my two boys to enjoy without wandering too far in.

wattamolla 4

And boy oh boy, did they enjoy themselves. Rolling around in the shallow waters, practicing some swimming moves, watching the sand twirl and swirl as they walked and walked and jumped and hopped. Splashing and splishing.

It was such a perfect Saturday…

That we went back on Sunday.

Yes. Same beach. Two days in a row.

Liberal sloshes of sunscreen, a tent and loads of liquids sustained us through.

wattamolla 6 wattamolla 7

But as this was our final weekend in Sydney (for the next three months at least), this was probably the perfect ending note for us all!

And Zoie? My little princess, who normally loves a spot of water play, was feeling a little under the weather, so after  taking these quick shots on my iPhone, I had to retire to a shady spot with her!

Address: The Wattamolla Beach is located with the Royal National Park. An $11 entrance fee is payable (cash only), and there is plenty of car park – though you can expect a crowd especially on weekends. Once you get there, it is a good 250-300 metre walk down to the beach, and pram access is not possible – so carry your tots.

Tips If You’re Planning A Trip To This Beach:

– Like everywhere else in Sydney, don’t forgot your hat & sunscreen! Swimwear, towels and a change of clothes would also be useful so you don’t drip water all the way home. Changing rooms available near the car parks, so you can wash up there.

– For the older kids or more adventurous, there are even cliff jumps, and the two days we were there, there were a LOT of young kids (and young at hearts) jumping off a cliff edge that looks to be about 2 1/2 storeys high (and also some shorter 1 metre high ones).

– There is no handphone reception. I repeat. No handphone reception. The moment you enter the park gates, and the 20 minutes or so it takes you to drive in to the beach area (about 17 km away) – you can wave goodbye to civilization and get ready to “tough” it out! But this makes this area even more surreal as you are very literally cut off from the rest of the world and can take in the gorgeous scenery around.

– We bought a cheap tent, and use that as a means to escape the relentless sun. Bring food & drinks too, though there is a small mobile cafe near the car park.

This is part of my ongoing blog series on Our Sydney Adventures – as we call this gorgeous city “home” for the next year or so. Come and Sydney like a local (almost) with us!

Sydney Adventures Badge

30 days to go

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Well, to our trip back to Singapore, of course!

I am so looking forward to going back, catching up with family and friends, good food galore and no housework to do for three months. Okay, the order might be a bit topsy-turvy but needless to say, I am HAPPY to be back.

Can.
Not.
Wait!

We don’t have much stuff planned yet, though there will be some major change. One major change to be exact.

Jayvon will be attending Primary One!

Now, he’s already attended almost two years worth of formal school here in Sydney, so he’s used to the whole school system (of bells ringing to signal the end of class, of ordering his own food, of getting himself ready for school) – so I know in many ways, he is more than prepared for his P1 journey, possibly more so that his peers. He is outspoken, fearless, intelligent, inquisitive – and did I mention outspoken yet? He reads well, writes well, is great in his Maths, and has a natural curiosity for science and nature.

Oh, but I got to admit I have butterflies in my stomach.

How he would take to learning Mandarin all over again. Sitting in a rigid classroom of so many children (compared to his class of 20, and a more relaxed table arrangement which is geared towards group work). Homework, homework, homework.

But we’re taking things one step at a time, and now we look set to have the busiest month of the year yet, as I get my business(es) in order, market stalls to set up, Jayvon pre-birthday-party-cum-farewell for his friends, and cleaning the house and packing our luggage. Oh, it’s going to be a month to remember, alright!

Well, to my Singaporean friends – I’ll be seeing you all soon. And yeah – any Aussie yummies you’d like me to cart home? ;)

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