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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Christmas 2014 | 20 Kids Toys & Accessories X'mas Gift Ideas... ON SALE! + {Promo}

Last year I wrote a list on 10 Kids Toys & Accessories Christmas Gift Ideas On SALE for the parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles who weren't able to get their Christmas presents until the last minute. This year, I'm going to give you another list.. but one month in advance so that you have PLENTY of time to prepare, and not get all jittery! I've also included not just 10, but 20 discounted toys and accessories that caught my eye as gift ideas for your kids because as usual, I reckon that if you can get something great at a cheaper price, why not? :)

And oh, don't forget to get your promo codes for more discounts at the end of the post!

This year's list is from Agape Babies and The Sunshine Kids online departmental store. A relatively new concept in Asia, this means that customers can shop between both stores and check-out in 1 shopping cart. So convenient and such a time-saver since I don't have to go to various sites to purchase different items. Also, since they don't have a physical store, they pass on these cost savings to the customers and I see that some of the items sold there are cheaper than those found in brick-and-mortar stores like Takashimaya or Isetan.

We got some items from them for Lil Pumpkin, my friends & their kids as well and was really amazed at how fast they delivered! We ordered late on Friday night, the next morning we received an email that the items were sent out.. and we received them on Saturday evening all packed securely in one box. ZOMGGG! I didn't even realise they work the weekends and was expecting it just a week later haha.

Agape Babies currently carries over 150 premium brands and retails over 3000 products {!!!} in store for mums and bubs. These include baby necessities like diapers & milk formula, playmats, toys, English & Chinese books, bags and even strollers. At The Sunshine kids, they specialise in party dresses from their very own apparel line {going to add a casual line soon}, shoes from Pediped & Shupeas and other kids accessories.

The shops offer free courier delivery to Singapore addresses with S$80 spent and a free gift with every S$120 purchase. Overseas delivery and gift cards are available.

There's really a lot to choose from both stores so I've narrowed my gift ideas list down to the sale sections in Agape Babies and The Sunshine Kids. The kids get a meaningful gift from the parents while the parents get to save money? Win-win situation :) 

1. Thermos Hello Kitty FUNtainer Food Jar 10oz {S$29.90, U.P. S$49.90}
Who can resist kawaii Hello Kitty in Pink?? Nyaaan~! When Lil Pumpkin just started on solids, I often made porridge for her to bring out and eat in similar containers to these. This food jar's leak-proof lid lets you bring hot or cold foods anywhere and with the large mouth opening, kids can eat directly from the container as well as making filling and cleaning super easy. Food is kept hot for up to 5 hours or cold up to 7 hours while remaining condensation-free.

2. Shupeas Baby Shoes 0-24m {S$29.90, S$39.90}
Even if babies can't walk yet, they still need comfy shoes. Shupeas allows maximum ease of entry with the adjustable velcro closures for a secure, customised fit. They are made from 100% soft leather and have slip-resistant suede soles. Made for indoor and light outdoor use. Wide range of designs available.

3. Skip Hop Alphabet Zoo Musical Crib Mobile {S$89.10, S$99}
So soft and adorable! The mobile rotates to “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” for extended play, has all the alphabets printed on carousel with character accents and soft hanging toys include zebra, elephant, monkey and lion.

4. Sophie Set - Soft toy + Sophie the Giraffe {S$50.99, S$59.99}
Sophie the giraffe is a hugely popular baby toy! Made of soft and flexible natural rubber {BPA & phthalates-free}, babies love to squeeze and chew her! Lovable and amusing, she laughs when her body is squeezed with a bell sound inside. Ideal for 0 months and up.

5. Mini Squids Sunglasses for Kids Aged 0-2 Years {S$40.40, S$44.90}
It can be a big tricky finding sunglasses for the smaller kids but eye protection during childhood is critical as eye damage from UV radiation is cumulative and overexposure to sunlight can result in chronic eye disease from an early age. These sunglasses are suitable for babies aged 6 months and up, and aree designed to wrap snugly around small faces. Comes in dark blue, light blue, red, pink and turquoise too.

1. Trunki PaddlePak Lobster {S$44.90, S$49.90}
These are super-cute and handy! I got a Whale for myself {yes, I can fit in haha} and another Pink Fish design for Lil Pumpkin. PaddlePak is a water resistant backpack that's perfect for fun-filled days out and trips to the pool or beach. Made from lightweight and durable material, it's designed to stop wet stuff getting in, or leaking out!

2. Baby Zoo Momo SleepTrainer {S$49.40, U.P.$54.90}
Wish I had this when Lil Pumpkin kept waking up in the middle of the night :P This sleep trainer is an alarm clock for children showing them in an intuitive way when they are allowed to get out of bed or still need to catch some sleep. Like a regular alarm clock it displays time digital time as well analogue, teaching them how to read time both ways.It also features a temporary nightlight that switches off automatically after 30 seconds.

3. Richard Scarry Early Words Sticker Book {S$6.20, 6.90}
A fun book for the young ones just learning to read :) With more than 200 early words to discover and 101 stickers, children will gain vocabulary and literacy skills as they build Busytown scenes with their stickers!

4. Krooom Trinny Princess Castle Playset {S$58.40, U.P. S$64.90}
If you don't have much space at home for a big dollhouse, this is a good alternative. The Trinny princess palace is made of corrugated cardboard and folds easily. It will provide hours of interactive palace play with fun figures and delightful colors.

5. Bibetta Neoprene UltraBib with Sleeves {S$34.10, U.P. S$37.90}
Toddlerhood is that period of time when the kids love to be in-charge of feeding themselves at mealtimes. This bib with sleeves that are soft, waterproof and machine washable will make cleaning them so much easier!

1. Holly Rose Flower Girl Dress in Pink 3-7 years old {S$39.90, U.P. S$45}
If Lil Pumpkin didn't have so many dresses and clothes already, we would have gotten her one of these dresses for the upcoming year-end parties! We love the absolutely sweet rose detail on the bodice of this piece. It also features ruffled flower petals that is soft and pretty.

2. Pediped Flex - Giselle Silver Mary Jane Shoes {S$71.93, U.P. S$95.90}
Pediped shoes are very sturdy yet stylish shoes for kids. They all come with cushioned arch support and soft soles that provide excellent comfort, flexibility, and promote healthy foot development. These silver Mary Janes have a scruff-resistant toe guard and a velcro strap that preschoolers can wear easily on their own. Wide range of other designs available for boys and girls, even the Pediped shoes that Lil Pumpkin got previously.

3. Trunki Luggage - Bernard the Bee {S$80.40, S$89.90}
With the world's first ride-on kid's suitcase, family travel gets even more fun and you can now wave goodbye to tiring travel, tears & tantrums :P Designed specially for family holidays, children can pack, sit-on and ride their own luggage {carry-on hand luggage size}, whilst parents can keep them in tow. Available in other animal designs like Tiger, Cow, Ladybug etc.

4. Fisher Price Floor Puzzle: Litle People On The Farm {S$13.40, U.P. S$14.90}
Have some fun on the farm and bond together as a family by working on this this giant floor puzzle. With 24 large, kid-friendly pieces, the children will enjoy putting together this bright and colourful scene!

5. Krooom Dylan Fire Station Playset {S$39.99, S$44.90}
For the little ones that want to be a firemen, this play set can make their dreams come alive. Made with strong and sturdy cardboard that can be folded flat, this is an adorable activity play set that includes a fire station, fire truck, fire fighters and all other essential elements for a complete fire station play set.

1. Rainbow Loom Kit with Metal Hook {S$23.90, U.P. S$29.90}
This kit contains the original Rainbow Loom and everything else you need to start looming. You can read about my Rainbow Loom Kit review here and see most of the loom creations we've made here. It is a really fun and creative hobby to start!

2. Stuck On Stories: Disney Pixar Cars 2 {S$16.10, S$17.90}
A fun gift for all Pixars Cars fan - the kids can use the suction cup characters and their imagination to bring these Stuck On Stories to life in the games and stories. They can also create their very own adventures by decorating each scene with their favourite characters.

3. Tiger Tribe Super Clay 3 Robots Pack {S$31.40, S$34.90}
It has everything a kid needs to make three awesome robots, including coloured clay, robot parts and stickers. Easy to mould, the clay can be air-dried {i.e. no baking required} and the whole portable kit makes it idea for traveling or home-visiting during the holiday season.

4. My Busy Books: Frozen {S$17.90, S$19.90}
We got this for Lil Pumpkin to add to her Frozen collection and think it will be a great gift for all Disney Frozen fans too! An engaging storybook and toy in one activity kit, the set offer full-page illustrations, a story, 12 figurines, and a playmat that bring the characters to life and ignite your child's imagination.

5. Skip Hop Too Cool for School Set - Monkey {67.70, U.P. S$75.30}
Have someone starting school next year? This perfect gift set features a backpack, straw bottle & umbrella, to get your kid all ready for school. Comes in Owl and Ladybug designs too.

Look out for more great valued presents in an upcoming Christmas mega sale!

Promo: Quote "AB-sakura" for 5% OFF purchases at Agape Babies. These exclude sale category items, diapers, milk & breast pumps. Quote "SK-sakura" for 15% OFF all regular-priced dresses from The Sunshine Kids. Both codes are valid until Mon 15 Dec 2014.

Happy Christmas shopping! :) Gift-wrapping service is available at S$5/parcel but if you need some inspiration in wrapping your presents, check out my 10 Favourite Christmas Gift-Wrapping Ideas

* Disclosure: Shopping credits were provided by Agape Babies and The Sunshine Kids for this store promotion. All opinions are my own.


Friday, November 21, 2014

What If A Kid Raised A Chair Against Your Child?? #saynotobullying

I was pretty riled up on Monday night. Still am thinking about it, but not so angry now, just rather taken aback at the way some parents let their kids run amok. I try my best not to judge or comment on other people's parenting styles since each family is different, and nobody knows their kids better than themselves but this time... urgh. 

That day we were at the club for our usual swimming session but since it was raining, Lil Pumpkin went to play inside the indoor playground instead. There were two boys there and Lil Pumpkin wanted to play with them so being her sociable self, went to chat with them and even took a stool to sit next to them. I was watching from outside and no way did I see her push her way into their game of playing on the seesaw.

Suddenly, the older boy {likely 6 or 7 years old} got up, took her stool and raised it above his head like he was going to hit her!!!!!!!!!!

Of course I immediately went and stopped him, and told Lil Pumpkin to go and play somewhere else. She was startled, but thankfully didn't cry. I was the cool, collected adult {although to be honest I was raging mad inside!!} and talked calmly to him that he should not have done that, and he should play nicely etc. He was barely remorseful, glared at me and even have the audacity to say why should he apologise since Lil Pumpkin was disturbing him and his brother so he's not in the wrong. Obviously talking to him wasn't going to work, so I asked for his mum. He kept quiet but I didn't relent and he said she was in Bangkok.

Ok fine, so I asked who was the adult that brought him there and he finally said it was his helper, who was not around at all.

I waited around and he kept glaring at me and saying why should I speak to his mum when she's in Bangkok and after a while the helper came back. She immediately sensed something was wrong and I briefly told her about that boy's behaviour and confirmed that the mum wasn't around. However, his dad was coming to pick them up so I told her to inform me when he arrives. The helper gave a sorry face and said that he's always been a naughty boy.

The boy's friend's mum came in to take her kid away for dinner and saw that I was standing there upset. She asked what happened and I told her. She was upset at his behaviour too and wanted him to apologise but the boy was rude to her as well!! Goodness! She too gave me an apologetic look and admitted he's always like that.

His dad finally arrived and we talked but he did not even get his son to apologise to Lil Pumpkin or admit his fault. When the boy was obnoxious to me in front of his dad, he did not stop the boy and said "oh, he talks like that do everybody". He even said that kids play rough in playgrounds, and he understands how the boy can be because he is like that with his brother too.

Suddenly, a light bulb went off in my head and I realised that there's no point talking further to his dad. If raising a chair to threaten another younger kid is just "playing", if speaking rudely to an elder is not worth stopping, if having consistent bad bahaviour {as affirmed by those around him} is acceptable, then I've nothing to say already. I reckon parenting, or lack of it, plays a large part in how our kids act. If the parents see no wrong in this matter, or makes little of it, then there's no reason to continue that conversation.

I spoke to some mummy friends about it and as far as rational adults go, they agree the boy's AND the father's behaviour and attitude were unacceptable. They even shared some of the bullying incidents their kids went through as well which were quite shocking. I don't live in la-la land where all kids are angels, but I'm really perturbed how mean they can be.

Yes, kids play rough sometimes, and I know Lil Pumpkin is no saint at the playground too, but that should not be used as an excuse to condone violent behaviours or bullying, which is exactly what this was. Boundaries have to be drawn, and wrong behaviours need to be corrected. There is a thin line between rough kids play and bullying, and we should never accept bullying from other kids, or even our own.

We are the parents for a reason, and we have a responsibility to teach our kids right from wrong. We cannot deny there's a problem or shrug it off when we see them make such awful mistakes. 

I can't do anything about that family and I'm certainly not going to parent that boy for his own parents... but I'm just glad I was there to intervene. If I wasn't there, the boy might have even thrown the chair at Lil Pumpkin, even though he claimed he just wanted to move it away. Oh please, if you just wanted to move the chair you would have raised it up slightly, not lift it over your head like you were going to throw it!!!

Previously I just reminded Lil Pumpkin each time we were at the playground not to mind if kids don't want to play with her, as sometimes she doesn't feel like playing with others too. After that incident, I had a good talk with her about bullying and how to stand up for herself and call for help. And also to stay away from that boy, and to not let him near her, if they are ever in the same playground again.

Bullying, the act of willfully causing harm to others through verbal harassment {teasing and name-calling}, physical assault {hitting, kicking, and biting}, or social exclusion {intentionally rejecting a child from a group} is a real problem all around, even up to adulthood. Our kids need that life skill to deal with it. I just hope that all parents reading this will remind their kids not to bully, and to correct them immediately if they see that they do #saynotobullying

Here's some other resources on bullying if you want to read up more on it:

1. Coalition Against Bullying for Children & Youth - Bullying in Singapore
2. Singapore Children's Society - Bullying in Singapore Schools
3. Focus on the Family - How to Deal with Bullying
4. Ministry of Education {Singapore} - Zero Tolerance Towards Bullying in Schools
5. StopBullying.gov - Anti-bullying Education Materials
6. National Crime Prevention Centre {U.S.A.} - What to Teach Kids about Bullying
7. Kids Against Bullying - Anti-bullying Education Materials for Kids
8. BBC - Understanding Bullying

Have your kids been bullied before?
How do you teach them about bullying or deal with the bullies' parents?

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Wordless Wednesday {linky}: Family Obento Ideas - Spaghetti Beef Bolognese | Week 47

What's in my obento this week?
Spaghetti Beef Bolognese.

Lil Pumpkin asked for pasta last night, and that's what she got :)
With a little extra for my lunch today too. 

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
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Monday, November 17, 2014

A Time for Everything

This weekend has been eventful, but not exactly in a good way. Someone's close family member passed away, someone lost a child, and someone got her heart broken.

It's not often that we have to deal with such sorrow but life is not just about the ups, but downs too. Was just a bit harder having to face it all in the same weekend too. Made me think about this Bible verse from Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8, 

" There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace."

I'm not too good with words in these situations and felt pretty helpless. Words don't mean much in times like these and if you say too much, it may make them feel worst, but if you say too little, you may sound aloof or insincere.

A friend told me that no words can ease their pain but just being there, in presence and thoughts, is comforting enough. That's true indeed. I can't turn back time and make the bad situations go away, but I can at least be there for them.

And I hope they know it.