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Working out – family edition

If there’s one thing I’d like to do more of as a family, it’d be to exercise. Good old heart-pumping, sweat-inducing, endorphin-raising kind of workout.

The husband and I used to be rather sporty back when we were younger and we’ve always wanted to inculcate a love for sports and exercise in the kids. We’d talk about how cool it would be if Truett turned out to be the next Jeremy Lin or if Kirsten became the next Sharapova. Or even if they don’t turn pro, it’d still be pretty cool to just hang out with them over a game of basketball as a family. I just need to have 1 more kid and we can do 3-on-3s.

When they were younger, we used to just bring them to the park to run around and get some fresh air but in the past year or so, we’ve introduced sporty activities like cycling and inline skating.

It’s been a little tough to get in a regular exercise routing ever since Finn was born, so our plan these days is to take whatever little pockets of spare time we have and head on down to the park nearby for a quick skating session.

The kids love it, we get to spend quality time as a family and we stay strong by maintaining an active lifestyle. It’s basically a win-win-win situation.

kids exercise

The older I get, the more I realize the importance of staying strong and cultivating healthy habits. So in addition to the exercise routines, I also supplement with Anlene, which helps by providing the necessary calcium for strong bones. With just 2 packs a day, I don’t have to worry about insufficient calcium or losing bone mass. I think that counts as another win.

anlene

anlene packs

This is part 2 of a series of sponsored conversations on behalf of Anlene Singapore. All opinions and text are my own.

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Staying Strong

I have a love-hate relationship with milk. In that I’ve always been rather fond of drinking it, but it’s one of those things that make me gain weight rapidly. Especially since I only drink the full fat ones because low fat milk? Those taste really weird.

When I was pregnant with Truett, I was very diligent about maintaining my calcium intake. Believe it or not, I drank 2 glasses of milk every day almost throughout the entire pregnancy. And believe it or not, I also gained a whopping 30kg in 9 months. I might also have eaten most of the husband’s food (and then some) those few months but I’m certain all that extra milk made it a lot worse.

Truth be told, I’ve been slacking off on the calcium intake this time around but I recently read some articles on bone health during pregnancy and nursing that got me a little concerned. For example, if there’s insufficient calcium during this critical period, the baby takes it from my bones and I’ll lose bone mass, which might lead to problems like osteoporosis later on.

So recently, I’ve been trying out Anlene as a calcium supplement. The new Anlene tiny packs (110 ml each) contain 4 times the amount of calcium found in regular milk and it’s actually quite convenient as a grab and go drink. That’s more calcium and less fats in every pack. I thought the taste would be really weird at first but I’ve tried it and coming from a picky milk drinker, it’s not bad at all. Or if you’re not a fan of the milky taste, they have a chocolate version which is more palate-friendly. And for the lactose-intolerant, there’s even a yoghurt version available.

Now even if you’re not pregnant or breastfeeding, it’s good to monitor your calcium intake because most people start losing bone mass in their 30s. If you’ve never done a bone health check, you’ll be able to get one done for free at the Anlene Bone Health roadshows coming up – stay tuned for details on the Anlene Facebook page.

Also, as part of the Anlene Stay Strong campaign, I’ll be sharing about my source of strength on the Facebook page so that’s another reason to go check it out.

Anlene

*Finally, from now till 31 December 2012, Anlene is working with the Lions Befrienders on a charity drive. For every page like till 31 Dec 2012, they will donate 1 glass of Anlene to senior citizens who aren’t getting enough nutrition to stay strong. They’ll also donate an additional 500 glasses for every 2,500 likes.

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This is part 1 of a series of sponsored conversations on behalf of Anlene Singapore. All opinions and text are my own.

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Shop & Ship

Speaking of Christmas shopping, every year, I make a mental note to do my Christmas shopping early but every year, I find myself panicking and making a mad dash down to town the week before Christmas to fight off the other 3.2 million Singaporeans who are also scrambling for last-minute Christmas presents.

We all know that panic shopping leads to gifts that look half-arsed or perfunctory, which is only marginally better than not getting any gifts at all.

This year, I’ve been good.

I’ve made lists, checked them twice and even prepared back up plans in case they’re out of stock since the start of November. And I’ve done it all without having to step out of the house. In two weeks time, while everyone else is fighting it out over last minute presents down at the stores, I’m going to be sipping my latte and admiring the boxes of presents all wrapped up and arranged neatly under my Christmas tree.

I’ve come to realize that the secret to getting thoughtful gifts is to get stuff that aren’t sold everywhere, or better yet, stuff that aren’t even retailing here. So when they open their gifts, they’ll be like “Wow thanks, this is really cool, where did you get it from?” and you can be all like “Oh, it’s one of a kind. I had it shipped all the way from this charming little store in Sausalito, California.” Then they’ll be like OMG, best gift ever in their heads.

Two words: Online shopping.

Ok, three more words: With vPOST shipping.

With vPOST, you can shop from anywhere in USA, Europe, Japan and China and have it delivered to your doorstep via a personalized vPOST address. It even allows you to consolidate the purchases from different merchants and enjoy lower shipping charges.

I’ve curated a list of awesome gift ideas from really cool stores and in the spirit of Christmas, I’m sharing them with you guys.
Christmas 2012 vpost

1. Monkey Hat – $35 USD

2. Forest Babies Puzzle – $13 USD

3. Star Wars Tee – $68 USD

4. 2 Tone Check Bow Tie – $25 USD

5. Lil Shopper Play Set – $24.95 USD

6. Flora Fest Twirly Dress $39 USD

7. Foxy Fox Organic Onesie $28 USD

8. Plaid Blazer $69 USD

9. Swoop Bag $48 USD

10. Playsilks $14.95 USD

What’s more – I couldn’t find these items in the Singapore retail stores, so they’ll be one of a kind.

*From now till 31 December, ship with vPOST for a chance to win a dream holiday in the lucky draw. Customers who pay their vPOST shipping invoice using their DBS/POSB Credit or Debit cards get double the chances and those using the DBS Woman’s card get 5 x chances.

1st Prize: A pair of Air Tickets to New York OR London

2nd Prize: A pair of Air Tickets to Tokyo

3rd Prize: A pair of Air Tickets to Beijing

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The Best Bricks for Tiny Hands

We don’t get a lot of toys for the kids because we’ve come to realize that the lifespan of most toys isn’t very long. I’ll admit that we did splurge on some stuffed animals, figurines and even those fancy developmental toys with lots of buttons that beeped, talked or sang when Truett was much younger. But they never lasted very long and once the novelty of the beepy sounds wore off, they all got relegated to the Box Where Toys Go To Die one by one.

So far the only toys that have some sort of longevity are those that require some creative thinking on their part and are versatile enough for different role-play scenarios.

Like Lego bricks.

The kids have been playing with Lego Duplo since they were like 1.5 years old and till this day, they’re still playing with the same bricks. They’ve just advanced from building unidentifiable blobs to slightly more advanced creations.

The awesome thing is that they’re not limited to building rational objects. They can literally make anything they want, like a flying treehouse or a helicopter rocket ship or an angry moustached man with six and a half limbs. Half the fun is having them explain exactly what they’ve built and seeing the world through their eyes.

Naturally, the kids were thrilled to be invited to attend a Lego Duplo event at Hokey Pokey, an indoor playground. We told them that they’d have access to a giant box of Lego bricks and they were like “is it really really huge, like 1 million Legos?” 1 million is their default large number of choice, which in their heads, is basically anything more than 25.

Unfortunately, Kirsten came down with a bug on that day so only Truett got to play with his 1 million Lego bricks. Which he enjoyed tremendously. Most of the kids were running around the different play areas before the programme started but Truett was like a homing device who immediately located the Lego stash and went to town with it.

During the event, the kids were all given Lego bricks and tasked to build 2 items: their dream home and their favorite animal.

Turns out my son’s dream home is the equivalent of a JTC flatted factory and his favorite animal is a turtle-snail-duck with a hump. I think another trip to the zoo is in order.

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No more panic shopping

It’s almost Christmas and if you haven’t done your shopping yet, now’s the perfect time to panic. Except you won’t have to because I have just the thing to make the last-minute scrambling a little less scrambly.

Usually, when I’m in my panic-shopping mode, I start wandering the malls along Orchard Road (starting from ION Orchard and making my way down to Plaza Singapura), hoping that I’ll stumble upon the perfect gift somewhere along the way. It usually doesn’t work because I’ll start to get tired and irritable from having to jostle with the maddening crowd after 25 minutes.

No, Christmas shopping requires stamina, determination, lots of focus and most importantly, a PLAN.

Which is what the folks at CapitaMalls have come up with. A solid shopping plan.

1. Download the CapitaMalls Wishlist app on your iPhone.

It’s an app that features more than 500 gift ideas from over 90 participating retailers across 16 CapitaMalls in Singapore, allowing you to browse catalogues and get inspiration for gift ideas. Instead of having to roam the shops aimlessly for ideas, do it with the swipe of a finger.

2. Start browsing for gift ideas. 

The items are catalogued according to categories so you can search for stuff under Fashion & Accessories, Housewares & Furnishings, etc. Or you can browse Popular Gifts according to Age & Gender. Or check out curated Gift Idea lists like this one which I did “For Kids”.

3. Plan your route.

Once you’ve decided on the items to get, make use of the Shopping Planner function to locate them at the nearest CapitaMall. This way, you know exactly where to go to pick up the stuff.

4. Save with Mobile eCoupon Deals. 

When you’re out and about, make use of the app to enjoy more than 40 exclusive Mobile eCoupon deals at participating retailers.

5. Create your own Wishlist.

With this app, you can also form your own wishlist of gifts you’d like to receive and share the list with your friends. Or better yet, browse your friends’ wishlists to find out what they want for Christmas so you can surprise them with something you know they’ll definitely like.

*From now till 31 December, create a wishlist to stand a chance to be one of 10 to win $500 worth of CapitaVouchers in the Grand Draw. The first 250 shoppers every week who share their wishlists with 10 friends will receive $20 worth of CapitaVouchers to fulfill their wishes. Check out http://wishlist.capitamallsasia.com for more.

And finally, download CapitaMalls Wishlist iPhone App from the App Store and start your Christmas shopping now!

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What’s cookin’?

For someone who doesn’t like to cook, I’m surprisingly quite a fan of cooking shows, especially the Junior MasterChef series. And I absolutely adore Nigella Lawson. I think it’s got to do with how they make everything look so delicious and easy and I’m like “hey that 8-year-old boy just made that vincotto glazed pheasant parsnip mash roasted carrots and beetroot salad. I bet I could too.”

Until I try it and realize that no, I can’t. Then I’m all like “ok go ahead and make your high-class food with many syllables, I’m going to be right here stirring my fish porridge.”

But it hasn’t stopped me from watching because I’m convinced that one day, I’ll come across an episode and go “Oh, you’re making that today? Guess what? Nailed it.” And I’ll go into my kitchen, whip up the same dish so that I can purr with delight the way Nigella does.

Hopefully that’ll happen with this new show called The Bosch Dream Kitchen Cookoff. It’s a locally produced web-based reality cooking show  – sort of like MasterChef, but done in pairs to compete and cook their way to a dream kitchen containing Bosch cooking appliances. It aims to give food lovers an insight to working in a well-designed, modern and functional kitchen, a hallmark of Bosch home appliances.

Each webisode revolves around the creation of different components of a meal under the observation of a group of Mentoring Master Chefs, which include celebrity chefs John See of The Food Dot; Andrea Scarpa, Executive Chef of Da Paolo Bistro Bar; Heather Barrie of Fine Palate; and Tim Ross-Watson of The Garden of Eden Restaurant. Adding sizzle to the show is host and local funny boy Hossan Leong, who will add his signature brand of tongue-in-cheek humour to the show as he “slices and dices” his critique of the contestants.

The competition will culminate in a finale cookoff on 14 December as contestants try to out-cook each other for a shot at winning the Bosch Dream Kitchen Makeover with Bosch appliances including domino gas hobs, chimney hood, built-in oven, built-in microwave oven, built-in espresso machine, built-in dishwasher, and a kitchen machine.

If you’re a cooking enthusiast, head on over to check out the webisodes and you’ll have a chance to win a Bosch Juice Extractor worth S$239 in a Weekly Quiz. Or vote for your favorite team to win the People’s Choice Award and stand to win a Bosch Classic Edition Fridge worth S$2,399.

 

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3M Nexcare™ First Aid Solutions

When Truett was first born, we didn’t think of putting together a first aid kit. I mean, when you’re already swamped with taking care of a small but needy human being, it’s not the kind of thing you think about until an accident happens.

So the first time Tru fell and grazed his knees badly, we did the only thing we could think of – PANIC. He was scuh-reaming his head off in pain and we were scrambling around the house looking for some antiseptic cream and a bandage. Of course there was none to be found because we didn’t buy any for an emergency like this.

The husband had to rush to the store and I was tasked to clean the wound while Tru shrieked and flailed like an angry bobcat. After washing, he refused to let me stop the bleeding with a cloth so he just sat on his little chair and bled everywhere while waiting for the husband to come back with supplies.

Ok, it might have just been a few drops of blood but when your baby is bleeding, all perspective goes out the window.

These days, we have a pretty decent first aid kit on hand because we ain’t taking any chances the next time an accident happens. And now thanks to 3M Nexcare™, our first collection is quite impressive.

First of all, they have bandages and dressings in every size you can think of. Whether you have a tiny cut or your injury is shaped like the African continent, they have a solution for you. Unlike regular bandages, these come with a unique 360o diamond shaped seal for all-round protection. And it’s ultra-thin and comfortable to wear so it’s great for kids. Especially my kids, who have the itchy-finger syndrome and will scratch and peel off anything that’s too uncomfortable.

But most importantly, it’s waterproof yet breathable, providing excellent protection from water, dirt and germs. The kids have a special ability to seek out germs like a homing device so this gives us peace of mind that they’ll be protected even when they’re out at germ-infested areas like the beach or the playground. It also means that I won’t have to tie up the infected area with a plastic bag when they bathe or change the bandage after every bath.

Speaking of dressing changes, the kids really hate it. They won’t allow us to go near the bandage even when it’s oozing with pus and they’ll put up such a fight you’d think I was trying to amputate a limb. It’s nice that these bandages are easy to apply and release with virtually no residue so they don’t feel like we’re yanking off their skin together with the bandage.

Nexcare™ has also just launched a range of large dressings that are great for the larger scrapes and cuts that kids sometimes get themselves into. What’s interesting is the transparent film dressing that allows me to monitor healing of the wound without having to peel away at the sides for a peek. If there is something wrong with the wound, I’d be able to tell immediately and give my kids the medical care they need.

Obviously the best thing to do is be careful and try to prevent them from getting hurt but accidents do happen and when they do, it’s always good to be prepared.

With that, it’s time for a giveaway.

Nexcare™ is having a contest to give away 10 product hampers worth $20 each! All you have to do to take part is answer the following question.

3M Nexcare™ has the widest range of bandages and dressings. I can get superior protection against water, dirt and germs with Nexcare™ waterproof bandages and dressings.
a) Only the first statement is correct.
b) Only the second statement is correct.
c) Both statements are correct.

Send your answer (along with your full name, NRIC, mobile number and email address) with the subject title “Mother Inc: Nexcare Waterproof Bandages Contest” to consumer-healthcare.sg@mmm.com by 10 December 2012. Contest open to Singapore residents only.

* 3M Nexcare™ first aid solutions are available at Guardian, Watsons, Unity and other leading stores.