Learning Value of Money is More Than Being Able to Touch Dollar Notes and Coins

I’m really bad at managing money, no one really taught me the importance of savings when I was little. I was never told that I should split my daily pocket money so that I have some to spend, to save and to donate. Being the eldest in the family also means I got a lot of TLC from my parents, relatives and gramps. When I needed more money to buy books, and the many erasers, pens, highlighters because I could never had enough of them in my overspilling stationery box, I just had to ask from my gong gong and he will give it to me.

I recall there were many times when I had to call home during recess for extra pocket money so that I can buy more things/ food after school, and then I would run to the other end of my huge school field to “catch” the extra money being thrown out from my grandmother’s house window; yup the school and home were THAT close I could be “thrown” more money!

In those days, I was given every opportunity to touch the notes and coins, but never truly understood the value of money and how important it is! If you ask me, the teaching of life values, differentiating needs and wants and learning about delayed gratification are much more important than learning to count the notes and coins.

I could have been as rich as him IF I had been taught the value of saving and investing from young.

Imagine if someone HAD told me I could have hundreds of thousands of dollars in my savings account IF I had saved from my youngers days, I would have been able to afford a decent car or even upgraded our family to a more desirable house! Oh well… at least I’m starting to plan ahead for my girls and is slowly exposing them to the importance and value of money. The POSB Smart Buddy programme is one of the many ways I am going to use to show and pave them to become a wiser spender and better saver.

Never too early to start!

Personally, I’ve tried several different ways to teach my little girls the value of money. But none were quite followed through for more than a month, because this Mum is too lazy lah! Here’s the list of ways I tried over the last couple of years:

Rewarded $1 for each day they attend school – because two years ago, they REALLY hated going to school. So I give them each $1 after dinner when they behave well in the morning and go to school willingly. This stopped when I ran out of $1 coins!

Complete a well-behave card to redeem reward of their choice – each “chop” was for a 50-cents reward. They get a chore when they completed a chore or task well. When they complete the card which comes up to about $10 of value, they get to use the $10 to get something they want. Again this kinda died a silent death because it was too troublesome to dig out the card and give them a stamp… the cards couldn’t be found after the first few days.

Zara with her collection during CNY earlier this year

Putting % of their Ang Bao Collection for their use – this year, I decided to put aside some cold hard cash in a purse each for the girls to use them whenever they want to buy something for themselves. So for the first shopping trip we had together, we remembered to bring along their purses so they each got to pay for their own toys at the cashier. I learned that they actually take  A LOT MORE TIME to decide which toy to get when they are using their own money. I thought this was an excellent way to teach them… alas, after that first trip, subsequent trips out to the mall, we forgot their purses and all purchases were made by Mum! And because no one was keeping taps of these purchases, the money set aside were eventually just put back into their savings account and spending money all came from Mummy’s wallet.

If only there was a more efficient way to do all the above! And I think the new POSB Smart Buddy watch could be my solution. But… it’s not available to just anyone who walked in to the bank to apply! Only students from the primary schools onboard the programme get to receive the watch. But thanks to the good folks at POSB who invited us to check out the watch, I gladly accepted!

After the brief session with POSB team to learn more about the feature of the watch and the accompanying app, I was very excited to try it out with my girls.

We did an unboxing video live on Facebook the next day and they were rather excited at first to reveal what was inside the packages. Little sister Zara was really happy to see the watch and was quick to figure out how the different parts work, while Ayra was a little disappointed the watch comes only in one color. She wasn’t as enthusiastic as her little sister after she saw the watch. LOL!

When I told them they could use the watch to pay for things at the bookshop, it got their interests again. And so on Sunday, I let them wear the watch out and they started pressing the button. After 101 questions, they figured out what the footprint icon and number next to it represented, they learned to see the time and discovered their names are on the screen too. Things got really fun when they started competing the number of steps recorded on their watch – which kinda puzzled me because after Ayra’s ballet class (while Zara was sitting and chilling to wait for her) Zara had as many steps as Ayra?! We jokingly assumed that the watch also counted Zara’s hand movement while feeding herself with the snacks she got from the vending machine and the many swinging around while she sat to watch others play at the bowling alley. After investigating and trying out, we concluded the steps count isn’t as accurate as any kind of movement is counted as steps too! Oh well… it is still fun for the girls to want to walk more so they can win one another.

Zara with her POSB Smart Buddy Watch, deciding if this book is going to be in her purchase.

Ok I diverted… you see this POSB Smart Buddy watch is really more than just a payment wearable, there’s quite a lot of features too! I think what I really like most of the many functions is the ability to control and track my girls’ spending with the app. I can go on and on about how this works and why I love it, but that will require another 3-4 pages of experience sharing!

Here’s a quick start guide video from POSB if you’re keen to find out how it works.

In short, I’m really excited about the possibilities of this programme and really hope to see it improve and enhanced over the years. Ayra is going to P1 next year, and I hope her school will implement the programme so that we can make full use of the watch we received. For now, we will enjoy the functions of these watches over weekends and hope I can get some good teaching of money values and management with my girls.

Ayra making her first payment with the POSB Smart Buddy watch at the bookstore. She was super pleased with her new smart wearable.

Sydney 2017: We Tried Uncle Tetsu Cheese Tarts

It was right below our hotel when we were in Sydney and we had totally no idea that it is the only one in Australia and probably one of the must-eats while you spot one kinda food. Uncle Tetsu is from Japan and this store is located at Regent Place, George Street. We chanced upon it while hunting for dinner on our first night in Sydney, and due to the rain, we could only roam near our stay. With Regent Place right next to our hotel (like literally just step out, turn right and we’re in!), we settled few of our meals here.

So we had Uncle Tetsu cheese tarts for our dinner and Ayra gave it double thumbs up right after she tried the sample when we were in the queue. But when we returned back to the hotel with our box of freshly baked tarts with oozing cheese, she did not like it. Ayra ate the fragrance tart crust while I lick off the melted cheese from her tart. Mummy loves cheese tarts no matter how it’s served, while Ayra prefers hers chilled (with solidified cheese). So she had cheese tarts for breakfast over the next couple of days since we bought a box of 6.

Famous for spreading the uniquely soft & fluffy Japanese Cheesecake throughout Asia and now western countries, Uncle Tetsu opened the largest Cheesecake Factory in the world and also Uncle Tetsu’s Triple-baked Cheese Tart Factory in Sydney.  There is also the Uncle Tetsu’s Japanese Angel Garden where you can dine-in or take away the Angel Hat Japanese Cheesecake, as well as other special flavours of Japanese Cheesecake, Crepes & Galettes, and speciality barista creations.

We didn’t have time to try out the cafe this time round, but the menu sure looked interesting. There were just too many food options at Regent Place!

The next time you are in Sydney, don’t forget to get yourself some freshly baked yummy and oozing cheese tarts from Uncle Tetsu Australia!

“Best Pool Ever at SAFRA Yishun!” said The Little Ones

We spent our weekend at the newly revamped pool at SAFRA Yishun and we had a terribly hard time getting the girls out of the water! The pool at SAFRA Yishun Country Club has new and lots of fun upgrade and I think we will be using more of our SAFRA membership soon. Why the pool not at SAFRA Punggol leh? Splash@KidsAmaze is fun, but the Mummy me don’t get to swim nor even dip into the pool. As SAFRA members we get to enter the new pool at Yishun for free some more wor!

New Pirate Theme Wet Play Wading Pool

SAFRA Yishun Country Club offers family-friendly amenities in a resort-like setting. The newly renovated swimming pool opened its doors to members and guest in March 2017 and features enhanced waterfall and slides, an expanded patio, new changing rooms and a brand new pirate-theme wet playground.

When the girls saw the pool on Saturday, they couldn’t wait to jump right into it! And once they’re in, no one can pull them out of the water…

The pirate theme wet playground that’s suitable for all ages
Adventurous and never say never, Zara had too much time that day at SAFRA Yishun!
The duo can just lazed like that forever…
The waterfall and rainbow slides that got everyone excited! One slide is not enough please, good thing they’ve got two!

First Swim Class with FINS Swim School

Children and adults of all ages are guided by dedicated coaches who strive to bring out the best in their students. Swim lessons are well-structured and designed to be comprehensive and safe, helping students gain proficiency as independent swimmers.

Ayra had her first swim class experience with one of the coaches at FINS Swim School, and the shy girl exclaimed it was fun! The 45 minutes passed too quickly and she wants to go back for more. Maybe I should register both the girls for their July intake.

Shy girl hiding behind at start of lesson, but eventually eased and got comfortable with the coach.

SAFRA Facebook Page Contest

To celebrate the opening of the new pirate adventure wet play wading pool, SAFRA Yishun Country Club is giving away 10 sets of FINS Arena Kids Swimmers Starter Kits to 10 lucky winners. Find the missing puzzle on SAFRA Facebook page here and share a treasured #SAFRApools moment to participate in the contest.

Check out the video of this new swimming pool on our Facebook page.

Photos in this post taken with the Canon Powershot EOS M5 camera.

Our 5 Year Old First Forest Adventure in Genting

In February, together with the little ones and my mum, we headed up to Genting for the first time after more than two decades. I have zero recollection of how the place looks like and did not have any expectation for the trip besides the awesome meals we were going to try at the newly renovated Sky Avenue at Resorts World Genting.

More than Casino and Food

When we signed up for a Fashion Forest walk, in my mind I was ready for a stroll in air-conditioned indoor somewhere inside the newly renovated Resorts World Genting. Oh boy I was SOOOOOO wrong! One day before the trip we were told to pack our sports shoes and attire, I knew things were going to be as easy as I’d thought.

We were going into a REAL FOREST! 

I didn’t know they have such places and adventures in Genting! The day before the adventure in a real forest, I was chickening out and had planned to skip it. But Ayra was super enthusiastic and insisted she wants to do it.

Ayra's first forest adventure in Genting with Treks Events

Our Adventure Begins

So off we went on our very first forest walk with the very friendly husband and wife team from Treks Genting.

To minimise the walking for the little one, and lucky for me; Ayra and I were driven up (and down) in this jeep with Pat. It was Ayra’s first 4-wheel jeep ride and up a rocky road. It sure was quite an adventure even before we set our feet onto the natural land in the Fashion Forest.

Ayra's first forest adventure in Genting with Treks Events
While waiting for the rest of the group to hike up the meeting point, Pat set up small flame and smoke to keep mozzies away, but sadly we still got bitten quite badly! The insect repellent Zara made in school wasn’t very effective for these combat trained mosquitoes!

Ayra's first forest adventure in Genting with Treks Events
This is Uncle Eddie who is super enthusiastic and passionate about nature, forest and everything that you can find and do in the forest. His sharing and fun sharing of the forest had definitely attracted Ayra to want to go on this adventure. Together with his team at Treks Genting, they set up the forest to make it more interesting and engaging for their hikers. You’ll see QR code, frames to guide you on what to see and shoot around the forest, and even provides you with complimentary Wifi from their mobile phone if you need to stay connected in the forest.

Ayra's first forest adventure in Genting with Treks Events
The walk into the forest started with a 10 minutes climb down a very steep and long set of stairs. This wasn’t our usual flats of stairs, every step was an adventure for the little one! But Ayra shocked me when she walked down the stairs without complaint and was very enthusiastic throughout our time in the forest. She walked into the forest with the help of a walking stick.

This experience has shown me the other side of Ayra which I didn’t know she was capable of. At one point she turned back, looked at me and said “Mummy faster!”; while I tried to catch my breathe after 1/4 climb back up from the forest. She was many steps ahead of me and show no sign of exhaustion! I was simply speechless.

Ayra's first forest adventure in Genting with Treks Events

If only the weather in Singapore was less humid and hot, I’ll gladly bring her for walks at Bukit Timah Hill anyday. Perhaps it’s time I start planning for our first mother-daughter trip before she enters Primary school next year. Where shall we go?


If you are heading to Fashion Forest, try spotting our names on the welcome banner at the start of the forest walk!

If you would like to experience a different side of Genting too, go check out treks.events or their Facebook page.

Tsum Tsum Fever Hits CapitaLand Malls Around Singapore

Tsum Tsum (pronounced “soom soom”) hits malls around Singapore this month and fans of these adorable stacking characters are in for a treat! We checked out the installation at Plaza Singapura at the launch and we couldn’t stop squealing at the cuteness of all things Tsum Tsum.

The month-long Tsum Tsum carnival at CapitaLand malls in Singaporere creates scenes from the popular Disney Tsum Tsum short series, and features specially curated activities. Catch Tsum Tsums spring to life when the clock tower strikes Tsum o’clock on the hour at Plaza Singapura, test their agility clearing a ninja-inspired mini obstacle course at Junction 8 and Sembawang Shopping Centre, and get an adrenaline rush whilst racing Tsum Tsums atop robotic cars at Tampines Mall.

How fast can you swipe across this huge screen with a game of Tsum Tsum? I tried it once and hit 200K+ points only.

Play and earn rewards

From 3 March to 2 April 2017, shoppers can enjoy an immersive offline-and-online Tsum Tsum experience by launching an event-exclusive Mission Bingo in the CapitaStar app to win prizes by completing simple and fun missions. Some of these missions include:

  • taking a selfie with the giant Tsum Tsum inflatables at Bugis Junction and Raffles City Singapore,
  • finding the treasure in the ninja castle at Junction 8 and Sembawang Shopping Centre,
  • lighting up the Tsum Tsum display using pedal power at The Star Vista,
  • finding hidden Tsum Tsums at Westgate, IMM Outlet Mall and JCube based on clues given out by Sparkle, CapitaStar’s chatbot.

The first 10 CapitaStar members to complete their Mission Bingo will be rewarded with 250,000 STAR$ and other attractive prizes.

Unite‘Em for Earth Hour

To raise awareness of climate change and promote the use of alternative energy in conjunction with Earth Hour celebrations taking place in March, shoppers are invited to light up the Tsum Tsum display at The Star Vista every evening from 20 to 26 March by pedalling the stationary bikes docked in the mall. The mileage clocked by shoppers at The Star Vista will be combined with that contributed by shoppers in other CapitaLand malls across Singapore, China, Malaysia, Japan and India, which are holding different cycling-related events. The target is to unite the efforts of shoppers across these five countries and collectively clock a total distance of 40,075 kilometres, equivalent to the Earth’s equatorial circumference.

Huggable Tsum Tsums You Gotta Collect ‘Em All

CapitaStar members can redeem an exclusive Disney Tsum Tsum huggable with a daily minimum spend of S$180 at participating malls. American Express®CapitaCard members need only charge a minimum spend of S$160 to their card to redeem one. The premium Disney Tsum Tsum huggables featuring popular Disney characters Olaf & Elsa, Chip & Dale and Stitch & Lilo are available from 3 March, while sets of Eeyore & Piglet, Mickey & Minnie and Winnie & Tigger will launch on 17 March.

These huggables are soooooo cute!!!
These huggables are soooooo cute!!!

Shoppers who collect all six pairs of plush toys stand a chance to win return air tickets for four persons to Japan – the birthplace of Tsum Tsum – and a five-night stay at Citadines Central Shinjuku Tokyo. These huggables are all so adorable we can’t decide which to collect! One thing for sure is I’ll be shopping a lot at CapitaLand malls this month, good thing I’ve got the American Express®CapitaCard.

Tsum Tsum collectors can also shop for fashionable Disney Tsum Tsum gold jewellery and other official merchandise at participating retailers across CapitaLand malls.

This looks like a fun game for some rolling good times with the girls!
Was tempted to buy this cute Tsum Tsum pouch, but I resisted. I’ve too many of such pouches!
Auntie Caren posing with the fun installation at Plaza Singapura.

 

Finding more space in small places

The task given for this post was a very challenging one. One that we kinda already covered in our previous refurnishing of our living room, creating more space for everyone in the house. When I received the third tasks from IKEA, my mind went blank. How can I create even more space in the places which I’ve already filled up with things or one which I’ve only recently decluttered?

I paced around my 5-room HDB flat at least 6 times that day and tried to find new places to create even more space. First, it was the walls, we have plenty of empty walls around the house, but my hub will be so so mad if I were to drill holes into the walls to create more storage places. He likes to keep things simple and minimum, which is a total opposite of me!

Then I thought, there must be something I can do in our toilets! It is one of those places we use more often every day but spent the least effort to take care. But… there’s just that much space in there and we can’t possibly fit in any more storage in there with our built-in cabinets. I can’t be knocking those cabinets down and fit in new ones right?

See I’m stuck. Nothing much I can do to complete my challenge!

After a few days, while brushing my teeth staring into the built in cabinet, I finally saw the mess I can work on. THIS!

There’s only one face in the family that needed all the beauty treatments and care… and I have no idea why there are so many bottles of products in there! Have I been slapping THAT many things on my face every day? And there are many items in there which I’ve not touched for a very long time… time to clear this mess up!

So off I went to IKEA Tampines with this photo on my phone. Determined to find some small storage solutions to make more space in this small place. Here’s what I did…

Throw Unused Stuff

This was the first step and a very important one. By dumping away things that I no longer use makes the small place look more spacious already. I was then able to reposition the remaining items and sort them out according to our frequency of use in our daily routine.

Box Up Small Items

The slightest “mess” we see in small places make the space look overly cluttered and messy. But when you hide them into boxes, everything somehow looks neater and magically more space are created. In our toilet cabinet, I’ve added DRAGAN 2-piece bathroom set made of bamboo, in there I store my facial masks, cotton pads, make-up accessories and other tiny pieces that I rarely use. I also bought a set of GODMORGON box with lid to hold the tall bottles which tend to shake/fall easily when touched, and also for the smaller bottles.

And in the lowest shelf in there, I’ve used STUGVIK Toothbrush holder with suction cup to hold our toothbrushes and toothpaste. This we should have done it long ago! Using those containers to hold toothbrushes is just so wrong because water tends to be collected at the bottom causing algae and bacteria to grow.

And with just few simple steps, my small place inside this cabinet is now looking much neater and there’s even extra space for ermm… few more new beauty products perhaps? LOL!

More Small Storages for Kids

I am not one who walks out of IKEA with just a few items in my shopping bag. New ideas are always sprouting as I stroll down the store. With something here and another thing there, I came back home with a few additional stuff to create more and better storage ideas for my little ones.

See those red and white boxes in our bookshelves? These boxes help hold the random pieces which the girls started filling up these shelves with since I set it up. There’s the random piece of drawing from school, the new art & craft pieces, small toys from egg surprises and even small baby books which they still takes out to see them once a while. We’ve already gotten the FLYTTBAR Trunk for toys for the girls some time back, and now I bought two more for the living room. I love how these boxes can hold all the toys and books etc and is able to flatten when not in use. Ideal for small places.

Besides these red trunks, I also found these white KUGGIS Box with lid very useful. The lid can be used as tray when there are guests in the house and we use them to serve them drinks and snacks. And the box can hold papers and even CNY goodies on our STUVA benches. I love multi-purpose storage solutions.

These pretty white KVISSLE Letter tray is my favourite buy from that shopping trip at IKEA. I use this to hold papers, colouring sheets, flash cards and the girls’ completed drawings in folders. I like how the girls can see where the things are and they have learned to not come to me whenever they need paper for drawings or want something to colour.

Happy and busy kids, make a very happy and relax Mummy. Ha!

I am glad I managed to squeeze more space in the toilet and in the living room. Are you inspired to go shopping at IKEA too? How are you planning to supercharge your living space?

This post is brought to you in collaboration with IKEA Singapore.

Never a Dull Moment at Kidsfest 2017 with Gruffalos, Ladybirds and Other Beasts with Julia Donaldson

What a fun evening it was with Julia Donaldson and her awesome casts at Gruffalos, Ladybirds and Other Beasts! It was a mad rush down to the Victoria Theatre but totally worth it. The girls (including the 2 not-so-young ones) enjoyed the performance very much. Here’s why.

Never a dull moment! From the moment we got to our seats till the very end of the show, our eyes, ears and mind were fixed on stage. Even the changing of set from one story to the next, the casts did a funtasitic job making it look so seamless and fun. My mum and the girls were amazed at the different scenes from the five stories, transformed out from the few sets of boxes and shelves. So fun they said.

Lots of energy from the crew and Julia Donaldson. An hour of storytelling is seriously not easy furthermore they were actively engaging the audience. I was panting in my seat as I watched them bring the story and their characters alive. So much enthusiasm and energy!

Photo from Kidsfest 2017

So fun and engaging! To be the world-class theatre for young people is surely not an easy task. Kids get restless and distracted so easily, it takes a lot of effort to keep them focused even for just a few minutes. Gruffalos, Ladybirds and Other Beasts with Julia Donaldson was like a magic carpet right into the five popular stories written and told by Julia Donaldson. Kids were kept entertained and engaged, with mass audience participation and groups of kids were also invited up on stage to be part of the show.

That night we were sharks in Jack and the Flumflum Tree, entertained by the farm animals from What the Ladybird Heard, felt the squeeze inside the house that was A Squash and a Squeeze, pretended to be dragons with ZOG, and finally treated to a smart adventure with the tiny mouse in the forest with The Gruffalo; and what an adorable Gruffalo it was!

Photo from Kidsfest 2017

If you adore the stories by Julia Donaldson you cannot miss this five-star performance at Kidsfest 2017! Show is on this week only till Sunday 22 January at the Victoria Theatre. Get your tickets from SISTIC now.

Photo from Kidsfest 2017

Showtime schedule for Gruffalos, Ladybirds and Other Beasts with Julia Donaldson at Kidsfest 2017
Kidsfest-Gruffalos__Ladybirds_and_Other_Beasts_with_Julia_Donaldson