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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Looming for Charity :: Rainbow Loom Dolls, Bracelets or Charms to Sell?

One of my ongoing blog goals is to step-out more with heart.. to bless others just as I have received blessings and to use what little "blog influence" I have to help make the world a better place.

A few local mummy bloggers and I are getting together to make full use of our social media presence, and skills in Rainbow Looming to raise funds for charity. I've never been really good in sewing, crocheting, painting etc. but found that hey, I can actually create pretty cool stuff with Rainbow Loom!! :P I started with Lil Pumpkin about 3-4 months back and it really is a fun way for me to relax, and let out some creative steam away from the computer... while Lil Pumpkin enjoyed making simple bracelets and imaginative patterns {that may or may not work heh} on the loom. Win-win situation :)

For our little charity project {will share more about it in another post}, the total sales proceeds with go fully to a children's charity and we will be be donating the cost, labour and time to make Rainbow Loom creations for sale. Considering that all of us have kids & households to take care of, and a few of us are even working full-time, the time put in is definitely our most precious contribution.

I'll be starting to make the Rainbow Loom creations for sale this week. Previously all my Loom creations were made just for ourselves, family and friends so I've never sold any of them before and was just wondering - what would you buy?

I mentioned before that time is a costly factor, so I want to utilise it wisely {since I'll probably be working late into the night for this}. It'll be a waste to spend too much time and effort on something that someone wouldn't want to buy and would be great if I can get some sensing on what's good to sell, and how much you would pay for it. I checked out Etsy and Carousell for reference, and the price ranges are pretty large! For example, I saw Disney Princess Loom dolls selling for S$6-9 and bracelets from S$3- S$15.

Do note that we will be using only original Rainbow Loom products which have been tested to be free of phthalates, lead and harmful substances and meet US ASTM and CPSIA toy industry standards so it will be safe for the kids' health.

I'm thinking of selling mainly character bracelets, loom dolls and charm rings. Would you be interested in that? Or something else? Do you want to preorder something {you can refer to some things I've made before in the photo above}? Price range for sales is S$3-10 per item.

Let me know in the comments below! :)

I Blog on Tues with Essentially Jess.

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Sunday, September 21, 2014

New Swimming Beginnings~!

One of the things I love to do is to look at Lil Pumpkin's baby photos {and get all clucky all over again haha}. Some people frown upon looking back on the past and emphasize on looking forward to the future but I'm pretty sure this is an exception...

Seeing her as a baby makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, and reminds me how far we've come in this parenting journey :) Lil Pumpkin has certainly grown and come so far from a wee little baby!!

Just look at her here!! So adorable in her first swim suit *grins* If I'm not wrong, mine was actually a polka-dotted Minnie Mouse swimsuit heh.

We started bringing Lil Pumpkin to the pool since when was about 1+ year old... didn't want to start too early because I was scared she'd get sick easily swimming in public pools, plus she had bad cases of eczema outbreak and sensitive skin {see how we handle her eczema here}.

She took to swimming like a fish to water and loves water play of any kind! She's not afraid to get wet, make a big splash or even open her eyes underwater.

When we were in Australia, we went swimming or playing at the beach almost everyday. She was so excited whenever she was in the water and I thought it was about time she started on proper swim classes. Since her Saturday morning Speech & Drama classes was ending its term, I asked her if she wanted to continue or start swimming lessons.

Without a hint of hesitation, she asked to start swimming lessons! Well, that's that!

After we came back to Singapore, we checked on the swimming class schedule at our country club and found a suitable slot on Saturday mornings.

Yesterday Lil Pumpkin went for an assessment to see which level she should start at. The coach said she should start from the lowest beginner's level {no surprises there} but she has potential to progress to the next soon since she has some basic skills down.

I'm really excited for her new classes too!! Not expecting her to swim competitively in the future, unless she wants to, but we'd really want her to learn to swim properly as a water safety precaution. Swimming is a lot of fun, but drowning is a real danger. Even kids who know how to swim can drown, so what more one who doesn't?

Here's to new swimming beginnings for our little water baby!!

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Friday, September 19, 2014

Go Local :: Singapore Southern Islands {St John's, Lazarus & Seringat} Heritage Tour

Other than Sentosa, it has been years since I visited our Southern Islands. Been wanting to go on a family trip to St John's this year, but never got down to it.

Since Singapore Heritage Festival {SHF} 2014 is themed "Our Islands, Our Home" {they've a different theme every year - 2013 was "Memories of Tomorrow" which had an aviation feel}, there were some excursions to our offshore islands and I signed up for the one to visit St John's, Lazarus & Seringat islands.

It's only for participants aged 16 years and up, so obviously Lil Pumpkin can't go but I thought I can recce the place first for our family trip haha. Like the Singapore Lighthouse Trail, the Island-Hop Trail was fully booked within the first few hours and I was put on waiting list.

I only got to go for it last Sunday morning, a few days after we returned from our Gold Coast trip. I had some holiday fatigue but still glad I managed to wake up early for the 7.30am trail to learn more about our Southern islands and marine life.

The special tour focused on the social and natural histories of three Southern islands - St John's, Lazurus and Seringat. We set off again from Marina South Pier on a small ferry, which took us for a 20 minutes ride to reach St John's Island {previously known as Pulau Sakijang Bendera} first.

At St John's Island, where time seems to have stood still, former quarantine quarters are a reminder of the island's past.

Did you know that the island used to be a quarantine station for cholera cases detected among immigrants in the late 19th century? It was later used to quarantine patients with other diseases e.g. leprosy as well as to house a penal settlement for political prisoners & triad members, and a drug rehabilitation centre.

It was also on St John's Island that Sir Stamford Raffles anchored on 28 January 1819, the eve of his historic meeting with Temenggong Abdul Rahman!

Later on the government redeveloped it as a getaway location with swimming lagoons, beaches, picnic grounds, trekking routes and soccer fields. It is still very popular now with people who want a quick day-trip from our bustling city. If you want to stay over, you'll need to get permission from Sentosa Leisure Group {more info on that below}.

Unofficially, St John's Island is also known as "Cat Island" due to the large population of stray cats. There's about 80-100 stray cats there cared for by the island's residents who are mostly {all?} Malay Muslims and hence don't keep dogs. They definitely outnumber the island's human population and live a rather carefree life with no fear of getting run over by cars or plenty of free space to roam about.

The cats seem pretty tame too and will come straight up to you for food. The guides said that these cats are genetically different from the main Singapore island cats. Not too sure about that as I'm not really a cat fan :P

Since we arrived around low tide, we had the opportunity to walk at the shore line and explore the many interesting living organisms there. Spotted some interested worms and crabs.

After that we took a walk in towards the Tropical Marine Science Institute {TMSI} on the hilltop, but couldn't enter since it was closed for the weekend. Learnt more about the interesting research work they did and also found out that it will be closing for good in 2015 as they move back to Kent Ridge, NUS. Such a pity! It's so convenient to obtain seawater for experiments on the island but now they have to move inland and make sea water on their own {again}.

The Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority {AVA} also has a research facility there to develop and harness technology to facilitate the development and expansion of large-scale hatchery and fish farming production in Singapore and the region.

Then we went walked towards the causeway to cross to Lazarus Island {Pulau Sakijang}... passed by some of the island caretakers' houses. Most of them have lived there for many generations.

I really like seeing such "kampong" houses. My mum used to stay in something similar when she was younger.. I also spotted a white chicken!! Ok, maybe they aren't very rare but to a city girl like me, they do seem pretty fascinating ;p

The mangrove swamp on the way there was interesting too. Learnt that mangroves actually helped to save some of the villages in Sumatra during the 2004 Asian tsunami disaster as they acted as barriers to prevent or at least soften the damage caused by the tsunami and high tidal waves.

The causeway linking St John's to Lazarus Island was built in 2000 to make the islands more accessible and to attract more visitors.

Saw a few people fishing along the causeway. Was quite nice to actually just sit down here and enjoy the cool breeze and scenery too :)

The natural, rocky shore of Lazarus Island. We didn't explore much of this island but I heard there's a pretty beach here.

Seringat Island is actually a man-made island extended from Lazarus Island, which we walked to as well. There was a lot of walking that day!

Thousands of cubic metres of sand was imported from Indonesia to make the beach, which actually looks pristine and beautiful. The island was completed in 2000 and built by reclaiming the 2 submerged reefs and joining these to the existing Lazarus Island.

Singapore Tourism Board {STB} had a plan then to develop the Southern Islands into a tourist attraction. Over the years, there has been suggestions to turn them into a centre for water sports, place to promote eco-tourism, retirement village or even another integrated resort with casinos but none of these plans have materialised so far.

In STB's grand plan, they wanted to promote Seringat Island to visitors as a Mediterranean resort-like setting a short ride away from Singapore, patterned after Italy's renowned vacation spot, Capri. It was also supposed to include a luxurious hotels and waterfront homes. However, these plans have been shelved too. Possibly due to lack of funding.

Personally, I'd like to have the islands developed into a culture site to promote our local history and heritage. Keep the natural greenery and lush foliage, and just add more ways for people to find out more and experience our past island-life.

Tips:
  • To get to the 3 islands, take a ferry {return trip fee: adults S$18, child aged 1-12 years old S$12} or hire a private boat from Marina South Pier to St John's Island.
  • Wear proper walking shoes and clothing.
  • Bring insecticide, sunblock, water, food, extra clothing, camera etc.
  • You can stay overnight at the Holiday Bungalow on St John's {only 1 available!!}, which comes with a fully furnished kitchen and sleeps up to 10 pax. Prices start from S$53.30/period of stay, and book personally at Sentosa Station {VivoCity, Level 3}.
  • Bigger groups up to 60 pax can book a Holiday Camp accommodation at St John's. Prices start from S$64.20/day, and book personally at Sentosa Station or call Mr Eddy Bin Ali on 9138 5029 {Mon-Fri, 8am-5pm}.
  • Overnight camping is not allowed on all 3 islands.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Wordless Wednesday {linky}: Family Obento Ideas - "Oreo" LunchBox Snacks | Week 38


What's in my obento this week?
Happy Face Sponge Cake, Rabbit & Checkerboard Apples,
and Cheese Cubes.

Didn't have time to prepare any this week since we just came back from Australia
so Mum made these as snacks! How cute are her "Oreo" lunchboxes??! かわい~い!

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.

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Sakura Haruka's wordless wednesday
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