My iHerb Haul


I have been ordering frequently on iHerb.com and guess who has been playing with the packaging my orders come in? I forgot about these photos taken last month and when I re-discovered them I just melted all over again. How adorable is my little one? :)

And since I found these photos, I thought it is a good time to share that I have signed up as an iHerb affiliate. I wasn't sure if I wanted to at first, but now that I have shopped from that site several times and am really happy with my buys, I am confident to recommend it to others. I will therefore be sharing some of my buys here, and if you click through my links or use my code FLV421 (you can also see this on the sidebar) when making your purchases, iHerb.com will pay me a small commission.

Here is a recent order that I received, which includes some things that a friend wanted:

If you are like me, you may find that iHerb.com has so many products that at first glance it is difficult to know what to look for. I was intimidated initially too, although I heard so many good things about the site. What made the push for me to try out the site were the prices. Most of the products are considerably cheaper than what I could find in Singapore. (For example these HappyPuffs cost S$4+, about $2-3 less than in Singapore) Since I was already spending so much buying things like gluten free pastas, coconut oils, "healthy" kiddy snacks and health supplements, I thought it would definitely be worth my while to try to save some money by buying online.

My experience so far has been that my orders get shipped to me within the week and in great condition. I love it that what I want get to me so quickly. I have also found the customer reviews on the site useful in deciding on my purchases. So far the reviews do reflect my experiences with the products I have ordered.

For my family's health, I am now a lot more mindful in choosing products that we use daily. Besides food, I am looking also at bath, beauty and cleaning products. As much as I can, I choose to use products with as natural ingredients as possible, so that our bodies and our environment are kept safe. I am still in the process of slowly making all these changes, and the sheer variety of products on iHerb.com has helped me a lot in making this change.

I hope that by sharing some of my favourite iHerb.com buys, I could also be helping others like myself. (If you prefer to shop at local shops however, check out my post on where to buy natural, organic and health foods in Singapore - the list currently includes a section on Home and Beauty products too.)

Here are 5 of my current favourite iHerb.com buys:
1. Lundberg Organic Brown Rice Pasta, Spaghetti - iHerb sells a good range of gluten-free foods, including pastas and baking products. Lundberg is one of our favourite brands of gluten-free pasta as it has a good bite and does not get mushy.

2. Aubrey Organics, Silken Earth Powder Blush, Warmed Rose - This was a surprise buy and I only did it out of sheer necessity. I am one of those people who looks pale/sleepy/sick when I do not have some blush on. I broke my blush and needed a new one, and so I clicked to purchase this after reading the good reviews. Absolutely love it! A little goes a long way. I love the texture and the colour and will definitely be buying this again. I hope to try out more of this brand's cosmetics once I run out of my current ones! Organic/natural cosmetics can cost an arm and a leg in Singapore, and I was glad this was affordable.

3. Navitas Naturals, Organic, Cacao Powder, Raw Chocolate Powder - Raw cacao is one of nature's superfoods and it is very rich in antioxidants. I use this in my chocolate bakes and to make chocolate sauces for my children.

4. Eden Foods, Sea Salt - I am trying to rotate the type of salt we use at home so that we can reap the benefits of a variety of minerals from salt sourced from different places. This sea salt is one of my favourites. I like the flavour as it has a mellow saltiness that lifts the taste of foods without being overpowering. Another plus for me is that it comes in a glass jar. Great for re-purposing.

5. BabyGanics, Tub Time, Extra Gentle Bubble Bath and Body Wash, Fragrance Free - My children love bubble baths but they had to go without for a long time as I searched for one that I felt was safe to use. (Their previous one was a generic bubble bath solution that was given to me. It was fun to use but it dried out Bubbles' already naturally dry skin.) We all really like this BabyGanics Bubble Bath! Just two squirts under running water can produce a large mound of super fun bubbles in a large bath-tub. I need to find time to take a soak myself!

If you are keen to see more of what I have bought, have a look at my shopping cart here. There are lots of lovely products in there that I am happy with.

I hope you will find these recommendations useful! If you are new to shopping on iHerb.com, using my code FLV421 will get you up to $10 off your first order. 

Happy exploring and here's to better health!

Going Barefoot


There is something liberating about going barefoot outdoors. My children readily kick off their shoes when they are out playing and it is only recently that I have done so more frequently. When my bare feet are on the ground, something changes inside of me even if only for a little while. A deeper sense of awareness of my being and surroundings is evoked, and the sensations from my soles pull me towards the here and now.

A quarter of the year has gone by and the deadline of returning to work is getting closer. I have started putting some things in place in preparation for new routines and logistical arrangements for when I return to The Office.

Bubbles was as usual hesitant about me going back to work. She thought long and hard about it, and came up with a solution:

"Mummy, I have an idea! How about you work for one month and Daddy be a stay-at-home-Dad, then Daddy works for another month and you be a stay-at-home-Mum? You can take turns! Isn't that a great idea?" She beamed brightly, convinced that she came up with The Solution...

By now, she is used to me going to fits of laughter because of something she has said, and skipped off merrily as I chuckled.

As always, all three of us (Bubbles, Bun and I), kick off our shoes at the playground and do our thing. What joy it is to play barefoot, surrounded by the laughter of my children and enjoying their antics. Knowing in my heart that we are here together, right at this moment called "now", is enough for me to celebrate today and leave the tomorrow to God.

Drawing with the ALEX Desk To Go


We have been having a drawing fever in the house, and I can't be more pleased about it. Bubbles took a long time to grasp a pen correctly, as her doctor predicted, due to her overly loose joints and subsequently eczema-ed skin. Now that she has caught up with pen-holding, she spends so much of her time doodling - drawing all sorts of interesting pictures and stories from her 4yo imagination.

The picture above shows them doodling during a visitation during Chinese New Year, on notebooks given by the hostess.

Being a second child who absolutely loves to imitate her sister, Bun took to drawing like fish to water. She favours the skinny regular pens and pencils, as opposed to their fatter cousins made for small hands like hers!

Given this drawing bug, I am so happy with my discovery of the ALEX Desk to Go. I bought two some time ago and only took them out quite recently.






The Desk to Go is a little portable desk that is cushioned at the bottom for a comfortable rest on a child's lap. It comes with two handy zippered pouches for pens, crayons and markers, and four elastic bands to hold paper in place.

We love it especially for car-rides, and have also taken them for outdoor outings as it is lightweight and easy to wipe clean.

A gift idea for little doodlers!


The 40th Birthday

March has always been a month of celebrations for us. It is a month that holds our wedding date, and the birthdays of both Roboman and myself.

This year was a little more special because Roboman just turned 40! I was all prepared to organize a big do, as it is a milestone year in many people's books. However, being the practical fellow he is, he said no to any sort of lavish celebration, and told me that he just wanted to spend a day with just me (read: no kids).

I planned a simple dinner celebration with our girls and my sister-in-law on his actual birthday, and made arrangements so that I could spend the whole of the next day just to be with him. We are truly thankful to my sister-in-law and a family friend, who helped to babysit our children for the day.

It has been so long since Roboman and I have gone out as a couple, so having three uninterrupted meals, a spa session, and a day of continuous conversation felt beautifully unreal and so wonderful. We talked, laughed, held hands, and enjoyed all the "just us" moments that we so miss. It was an epic date and I was reminded all over again why we chose each other, and what a gem he is.

Happy Birthday Roboman! Thank you for being you. I love you. 




15% off Children's Books at The Groovy Giraffe


You may remember that I first wrote about The Groovy Giraffe here. I am so happy that this little online bookshop has come a long way since then.

They have hit and gone beyond 1000 likes on their Facebook Page, and would like to celebrate by offering you a 15% discount for books in the Children category! Yes, this means all your favourite books from Pop-up, Picture, Early Reader, Activity, Chapter, Non-fiction to Audio books categories. I'm going to be shopping for advanced birthday presents!
 
Use coupon code 
dollop15
to enjoy the 15% discount. 
Valid from now till 19 March 2014!

Toddler Classes at Gymnademics

Bun has started Pre-Fellow classes at Gymnademics!

I wrote about Gymnademics here and here. Since those earlier posts and the Gymnademics' website include good descriptions about the school's philosophy, approach and curriculum, this write-up will be about what goes on in a class.

The questions I have been asked revealed to me that many people think Gymnademics is primarily a gym class. I myself had this misconception when I first knew about this school.

Here are a few things that stood out for me after attending two sessions:
  • There is a good mix of physical activities and quiet sit-down ones (including intellectual work).
  • Activities are kept short and the transitions quick.
  • Music is used effectively during each activity, and to signal change.
  • Good guidance and tips are shared with parents/guardians during the classes.
  • Emails are sent after each session with information about complementary exercises parents can do with their children.

The photos above show a mix of physical movements that a child goes through during a class. These are interspaced with intellectual, often sit-down activities that you see in the photos below.

At the start of a class, a 'circuit' is set-up to allow children to engage in physical movements such as climbing, balancing, crawling and sliding. From the teachers, I learned how best to support Bun during this time by holding her the correct way and at the right angle. During each class, children will also get a opportunities to swing on a trapeze bar, and do shuttle runs by transporting toys from one container to another.

So what were the 'intellectual'/sit-down activities included in a class?

Where to Buy Natural, Organic and Health Food in Singapore

When we first knew about Bubbles' intolerance to certain foods, dealing with it was like having to learn a new language. Having to cut out gluten, chicken, eggs and milk, most of our meal staples had to be eliminated. I went on a mini rampage, seeking out resources and looking for places to buy suitable food. I was familiar with some of the usual places to get organic food, but needed more information about specialized items. I scanned magazines, websites and forums, kept my eyes peeled whenever we were out shopping, and made mental notes about where to get what.

Below is a list of shops in Singapore where you can purchase health and natural products for various dietary needs. It includes both online websites and brick and mortar shops (many have both options!). Products you can buy include organic foods, quality meats, foods made from healthier, more natural sources, and foods free from dairy, gluten, eggs, or other common allergenic ingredients. Although this list is primarily about food, I included a small category on home and beauty products for now.

I hope some of you will find this list useful! Although I have not bought from all of these places, they do come recommended, and I hope to update and refine this list over time. If you have any shops to recommend, do drop me an email!


If you are looking for a certain product, I always recommend first checking out NTUC Finest or Cold Storage Supermarkets. They are big chains that carry a large variety of food, including dedicated segments for natural, organic and health foods. If you rather not make a trip down, you could search their online stores (limited products) or give them a call. My personal favourite outlets are NTUC Finest at Bukit Timah Plaza, and Cold Storage at Great World City.

Another popular source to purchase natural products is iHerb.com. While this is not a Singapore-based website, many of the prices are lower than what you can find in Singapore, even with regular shipping costs. This is a to-go site for many people I know. 

Dried Goods, Supplements, Oils, Sauces, Dairy


Meats and Seafood

Vegetables and Fruits

Home and Beauty

My Art Studio

Now that the Chinese New Year festivities are over, and my mother is increasingly getting stronger, I am trying to get our lives back to some normalcy. This means prodding the household engine back to cruise mode, weaving in some social life, working on this blog, and plunging into projects that have been put on hold.

Sometime last year, I was invited by My Art Studio to take Bubbles to try out their school holiday programme. As we were unable to make it, we were offered a regular art session to try out. The lovely people at the studio extended the invitation to a number of my blogging friends too, and made it one fun arty gathering.



Celebrating Chinese New Year in KL, Malaysia


We are back from KL!

This trip turned out to be a blessing in many ways. We managed to attend the yearly Chinese New Year Day 7 dinner hosted by an uncle. We usually miss this as we would have returned to Singapore by Day 3 or 4. It was really nice to meet so many relations in one place. The food was also exceptionally good, and my girls collected quite a haul of red packets from people we hardly knew, including the uncle's business associates! We did our usual round of visitations, and even managed to catch up with old friends for a meal. What we missed, going up on the second weekend of CNY instead of the first, were the regular Day 1 open houses, where the aunts will cook delicacies like Kueh Pie Tee, Pig Stomach Soup, and various noodles and vegetarian dishes.

Our Chinese New Year celebrations are not complete without some shooting of fireworks and playing with sparklers. This year was no different, although we fired off a lot less, as our young nieces and nephews were not around, having gone back home the week before.

I was thrilled that besides having time to eat out, some shopping happened during this trip too! My sister-in-law bought me a gorgeous handmade ring that has pretty seashells sewn on it, and I got myself a sturdy camel-coloured handmade bag. We also picked up matching cotton dresses for the girls, and some clothing for Roboman. All at fantastic prices. Very, very pleased :)

Hope you enjoy these photos. We forgot to bring our camera, so I had to rely on my old phone to take all of these shots!


A Different Chinese New Year


Chinese New Year since my marriage has always been the busiest festival in the year for me. We usually head up to KL on the eve of Chinese New Year, complete festivities there, and return in time for another round of visitations in Singapore the following weekend. It is good for us that traditionally, the Spring Festival lasts for 15 days!

This year, for the first time since Roboman and I got married, we decided to do a switch and stay in Singapore for the beginning of the holidays, and head to KL the following weekend instead. I was excited about this because I have not had the chance to see many of my distant relatives for a long while, and my children have never experienced CNY in my parents' place on the first two days where most of the festivities take place.

In addition, my mother was granted a couple of hours of home leave (from the hospital) on CNY Day 1! It was a time of rejoicing indeed. After visiting my grandmother in the morning, we spent the rest of the day at my parents' place, where troops of relsatives came to visit. I enjoyed the endless chatter, tiring as it was to host so many people throughout the day. It was also very heartening to see my mother, although sitting on a wheelchair, immersed in the interactions with those who love her most. I was on my feet most of the day, and cooked dinner for the family that evening. I was physically tired but in my heart, I truly rejoiced.

My two girls received a lot of attention, being the youngest, and busied themselves either banging on the piano, playing with rubber ducks in a basin of water, or doing (a lot) of drawing. We let all diet restrictions go for Bubbles go that day, and believe me, she had a grand time snacking!

We spent the rest of the next two days visiting relatives and two other households. We did 8 homes in all, and it was wonderful because we bumped into other people visiting the same homes as we did. In previous years, we will usually be the only visitors as most people would have made their rounds the week before!

Roboman lamented about the quietness of the celebrations here, being used to the endless bangs of fireworks being shot from gardens of neighbours in KL. I had to agree, that some festive cheer seems missing when one is used to that noise. Still, the cheer for this year's CNY came very much from within, fired by the warmth of family and familiarity.

Do you celebrate Chinese New Year too? How was yours?