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Friday, October 31, 2014

Preschool Kindergarten 1 Second Parent-Teacher Conference

We met up with Lil Pumpkin's Kindergarten 1 {K1} class teachers last weekend for our 2nd Parent-Teacher Conference {PTC}. In about 2 months time, she'll be leaving them to be promoted up to Kindergarten 2 {K2} - her final year in preschool. Oh goodness, pass me a box of tissues now!!

Our meeting was at 3.30pm so we rushed there straight after Lil Pumpkin's short afternoon nap. Had to wait a while as the previous meeting had not ended yet, so I took the opportunity to take some photos of Lil Pumpkin outside her class and to see the rest of her classroom.

It's a rare opportunity to be up at her classroom to look at where they learn, eat, sleep and bathe. The last time I went was 5 months ago for her birthday. About 2 years back, there was a bad outbreak of HFMD cases in her preschool, and they limited parents from entering beyond the reception area to prevent the spread of infections and diseases. Only exceptions were during their kids' birthday parties, for special celebrations like Mother's Day, or like today for the PTCs.

Lil Pumpkin played with the classroom toys while we chatted with Teacher Wailing and Gao Laoshi. Teacher Wailing had spent about 4 months with the kids since she joined and was able to provide more feedback since the last time we saw her at the K1 first PTC. Her teachers shared that Lil Pumpkin:
  • is helpful and empathetic. She helps her friend actively if they are faced with difficulties in their work
  • is able to express her needs and feelings clearly
  • writes confidently in upper and lower case letters
  • understands numeracy concepts like counting with one to one correspondence and uses objects to represent quantities up to 10.
  • enjoys participating in music experience and exploring musical instruments with her peers {yup, she loves to dance like nobody's watching!}
  • has excellent gross motor skills as she's able to maintain balance while bending, twisting and stretching
  • shows curiosity and interest in how things work 
  • asks a lot of questions 
  • still needs to work on speaking Chinese confidently, although she is able to read a lot of characters
  • needs to work on English words recognition, but no problem expressing herself in English :P
  • is self-conscious sometimes and afraid to make mistakes {need to remind her about the 10 Things about Mistakes again} 
  • takes pride in doing her work properly, even if it is a bit slower than the rest.. but will still finish on time 
As usual.. our main questions were if she ate well, slept during nap-time and whether she was happy. They answered yes {although rather slowly!}, yes and yes :) It's good to know that she is progressing well academically, but her happiness and well-being are also important to us.

On the way back we told Lil Pumpkin that she's going to K2 soon.. so she should treasure the time she has now with her K1 friends and teachers. She seemed kinda sad and said "so fast..". Yes it is my dear, yes it is.

Can you believe another school year just ended?
What's your plans for the coming holidays?


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Wordless Wednesday {linky}: Family Obento Ideas - Rainbow Butterflies & Flowers | Week 44 + {GIVEAWAY}

What's in my obento this week?
Banana & Honey Yoghurt Drops, Rainbow Bread, Flower Marshmallows
& Dried Apple Crisps with PediaSure Milk.

Made some pretty snacks for Lil Pumpkin :) If you're wondering if your kid is getting enough nutrition, have a go at PediaSure Nutritac. It's a free online tool designed with the local diet in mind and will help Singaporean parents get a realistic picture of how well their child is eating.

Just for my special blog readers and friends only, I have THREE PediaSure Obento Sets {worth S$50} up for grabs! Yummy nutritional drinks & easy tools to make happy family obentos :)

Each prize includes
* 1 x PediaSure tote bag
* 1 x Sistema BPA-free plastic lunchbox {microwave, dishwasher & freezer safe}
* 1 x fun food shape cutters {set of 2}
* PediaSure kids nutritional drinks
* PediaSure discount vouchers

Do also note the other terms & conditions details stated below!

Giveaway Method: Random Draw  

3. Leave a comment on the same Facebook photo with your email add + tag a friend. If you prefer to send me your email add privately, tag a friend in your comment then contact me at sakuraharuka {at} live {dot} com.

THREE random winners will be chosen. Just complete all 3 simple steps!


Obento {お弁当} is a home-packed meal common in Japanese cuisine and doesn't always need to be complicated or time-consuming. I hope to inspire you to create delicious, everyday obento meals for your family with these simple ideas and tools.

These photos are part of the 52 Weeks Family Obento Ideas series.


Sakura Haruka's wordless wednesday
Note: Highlight the code & press Ctrl + C buttons to copy. 
You are not able to just highlight and right click to copy any text on my blog.
  1. Grab my button & place it in your post or sidebar, or text link back to my party.
  2. Add me on Google Friend Connect or Facebook before you link up.
  3. Come back every Wednesday!! :)

* Open to Singapore residents only.
* Ends Wednesday, 5 November 2014 2359hrs {Singapore time}     
* Incomplete or inappropriate entries will be deemed invalid and will not be included.  
* Winners will be announced by Sunday, 9 Nov 2014 on this blog post and notified via email. Winners has 2 days to reply, or the prize will be redrawn.    
* Lunchbox & food cutter designs and colours may differ, depending on stock availability.


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Bee Towers Tablet Floor Stand

The boy uses his tablet a lot for reading, research and work. He’s been complaining about his arm aching and I guess it’s because he’s been holding it up to use for long period and it’s straining his muscles. I understand since my lower right arm aches when I use my mobile for too long as well.

I read that it’s not uncommon and a lot of tablet users complain of aches and pains in the hand they hold the device with and in the fingers they use to type or swipe the screen. Some even complain about arm, back and neck problems because really, there’s no comfortable way to hold/ look at it unless you put it on a stand or something. Of course, taking frequent breaks is recommended too.

A table stand is definitely useful and I have that for Lil Pumpkin when she uses it at home. However, for the boy, sometimes there’s actually no table space to put a stand when he has his books /papers around, and especially if he’s doing surgery!

I’d hate for his arm aches to turn into a chronic pain condition and was happy to get him the Bee Towers Tablet Floor Stand to use instead. It is fully adjustable with a telescoping arm & body that adjusts with the push of a button. It also rotate 360 degrees horizontally & 180 degrees vertically, and secures easily with a push–and-pull back gear system. Very adaptable to suit his needs whether sitting or standing.

The tablet holder is also rotatable and can accommodate any tablet from 5” to 11” so it will easily fit any iPad, Kindle or Android tablets… even with the cover on. A good thing when we're sharing because I’m an iPad user while the boy uses a Samsung Galaxy Tab. :P There’s a flip spring locking mechanism that easily locks the tablet securely in and prevents it from shifting or slipping.

I saw that there’s a lot of uses for Bee Tower actually. Some people use it for during presentations, in the kitchen when cooking, when reading in bed etc… basically anywhere in the home or office to read, stream videos, watch movies or just surf. Pretty useful for anyone that uses a tablet and wants to cut down on the strains on their body.

The boy set it up easily within minutes and didn’t need any extra tools. When he’s not using it,  he just folds the arm and stores it compactly under his desk. Such a space saver especially in his small work room! The steel base is sturdy  but overall, the Bee Tower is pretty light and easy to move around since the top part is plastic.

See this video for more information on its functions and how to use it effectively. There are 2 models for Bee Towers. One is the 100 Series with the round, plastic sand-filled base {S$199} and the other one is what we’re currently using – the 200 Series with the flat, steel base {S$299}. I prefer the flat, steel base as it looks sleeker and slimmer. It's only available with yellow or black accents now but if it came in white or pink.. I wouldn't mind getting one for myself at home.

I’ve recently caught the K-drama bug and have a lot of shows that I want to watch! I’ve been streaming them from an online site and watching on my iPad while lazing on our daybed hehe.. would be great to have this stand hold the iPad so my hands won't tire :P Over the weekend I finished Empress Ki and am now going through the Secret Garden. Will start on My Love from the Star when I’m done. I’m so slow I know!! :P

Bee Towers Tablet Floor Stands is designed by XAR Motion and can be purchased from the Lucky Store webstore, or at their physical stores in 19 Lorong Liput {Holland Village} and 310 & 312 Tanjong Katong Road. The 200 series needs to be pre-ordered and will require 2-3 days for local deliveries. There’s a 1-year local warranty too.

* Disclosure: XAR Motion provided the Bee Towers 200 series tablet floor stand for review. All opinions are my own.


Sunday, October 26, 2014

Home Living | More Vintage Kitchen Enamelware from Mama

After Aki's wedding in Japan last year, I visited her new home and was surprised that her kitchen cupboard was already almost full! She said that her mum gave her everything there haha. I guess it's the same for mothers all over the world :)

When my sisters and I moved out to start new families, mummy dearest gave us things from her precious kitchen to set up our homes too. Crockery, cutlery, linen, unused kitchen appliances... she let us bring bits of memories from our childhood home to our new ones.

If the boy {and our interior designer!!} thought I was bad for hoarding buying so much kitchenware, my mum is pretty much worst. Other than an enviable collection of obento boxes, she has pretty collection of Tupperware, Pyrex, Corningware, porcelain China, lacquer pieces and even enamelware.

Knowing that I'm trying to build my own collection of this, she recently dug into her treasure trove of a kitchen and found me these 4 lovely pieces.

A vintage traditional Chinese wedding enamel tray that my grandma bought her wedding! That's at least 40 years old but still in good mint condition! It's too late to use for our wedding now but I'll keep it safely for Lil Pumpkin to use during her wedding tea ceremony :) I still have my traditional Chinese wedding tea set which will go very well with this.

I'll probably be tearing when I tell her that the wedding tray was passed on from her great-grandmother, to her grandmother, then to me and finally to her for her own kids.

Mummy said she also has the wedding enamel spittoon as part of her bridal dowry too :P

She also found her retro enamel cooking pot with Westernised vegetable prints. It's pretty heavy so I'm thinking that it's really solid stainless steel with an enamel coating. Mum remembers it to be from a Japanese brand so maybe Sanko Ware? That was one of the famous enamelware brand from Japan. Not too sure, if you know please contact me!

When I posted it on Instagram and Facebook, some commented that their mothers had this in their kitchen too heh. Mum said it was very popular during that era and actually came from a set of 2 but the bigger pot rusted so she threw it away. Bummer!! If only she knew how valuable it is worth now hahahah.

I still have vague memories of watching her cook with this in the kitchen. It's hard to imagine that soooo many years have passed already and now, I've a daughter of my own to watch me cook in my own kitchen.

This isn't a vintage enamel tingkat {tiffin carrier} but still so lovely. My sister gave it to mum but she never used it and seeing how much I love enamel now, passed it on to me. You can find this range at Tangs, but for the other vintage enamelware, really not so easily available anymore.

This one was passed on by my grandmother too I think. These kind of delicate, traditional Asian prints are the ones I really like best.

Receiving these pieces from mum makes me wonder why I should be searching high and low in the shops and markets, when I should really be raiding my mum's kitchen for more! haha.. I definitely need the open shelves in my new kitchen. They are too beautiful to be kept inside the kitchen cabinets :)