Reasons why we rather pay more for toys

I am a shopaholic, especially when buying things for my girls. I used to buy something new (big or small) for Ayra every week, when we had only one child. And we ended up with many different types of toys, books, stationery etc around the house.

When Zara came along, I felt that the purpose and value of play has changed. I tend to think more before buying something for the girls.

When Ayra shown interests in playing with pots and pans, we bought her small packs of toy utensils and food, then we had a tiny plastic kitchen, followed by a bigger play kitchen from her Uncle. Right from the beginning, when I’d wanted to set up her playroom, the wooden IKEA play kitchen was what I wanted to get. But tagged at more than $100, we didn’t. And look at her kitchen play area now…

Sep 2014 - Play @ Home

Yes! We should have gotten that right from the beginning, and would have saved more money from buying the other plastic none durable play kitchen!

Continue reading “Reasons why we rather pay more for toys”

We Made Ice-Cream!

Do you know what is ice-cream?

Well, it is simply a frozen dessert made from milk and/or cream, sweeteners with combined flavoursome ingredients such as vanilla beans, nuts, chocolate sauce or coconut milk. Besides all the above, the most important components of ice-cream is (if I remember correctly) it’s salt! Or was it not? LOL! Obviously I wasn’t paying attention during the workshop!

Well, we had our first family hands-on ice-cream making workshop at U.D.D.E.R.S with FOX Kids & Baby. The process is so simple and fun, even Baby Zara was able to help out during the process.

While waiting for the instructions for the ice-cream making process, Zara was all ready to dig into some yummy desserts, but all she had in her mouth that day was the wooden spoon. Seriously, she’s too young for ice-cream lah!

Ayra was trying her best to listen and understand what the lady was trying to tell us. I guess instructions from Mummy is much easier for her to catch lah.

The place was packed with families from FOX Kids & Baby club a.k.a FOX-C. This is one of the many other activities they planned for their members, anyone with sufficient FOX points can redeem for these activities via their FOX-C Social app on Facebook. For this workshop, it was 150 FOX points + $15 cash for a Parent + Kid session.

After a long wait (in Ayra’s time space), finally she got to get her hands on the ingredients and cutleries.

We made Chocolate Ice-cream that day, steps as follow:

  1. Pour the 200ml milk and 200ml cream into a bowl. Mix.
  2. Pour in chocolate sauce till the mixture turns brown and to preferred taste.
  3. Split the bowl of mixture into freezable zip lock bags (the more you pour, the longer it’ll take to freeze it, so we split the mixture to three parts). Remove as much air as possible from the bag and seal the bag tight.
  4. Fill up half of a big freezable zip lock bag with ice cubes.
  5. Pour in 6 heaped tablespoons of coarse salt. Rub and massage the salt into the ice cubes.
  6. Once a layer of ice water is formed in the bag, put the ice-cream mixture bag into the ice-cubes, push it right into the bottom.
  7. Now SHAKE! Get as much air into the bag of ice so that the ice-cream mixture will get frozen. Shakes approximately 10-20 minutes.
  8. When the ice-cream mixture hardens, your ice-cream is ready! Remember to wipe clean the small ziplock bag before unsealing it to remove any traces of salt and salty water! Else you will end up with salty ice-cream!

Zara helping to massage in the salt into the ice-cubes. She was giggling and enjoying it!

Ayra attempted to shake the bag of ice, but gave up after a few seconds. “Ayra tired!” she told me.

While Mummy used one hand to shake the bag to freeze the ice-cream, Mummy used the other to snap photos of the girls while waiting for our ice-cream to be served…

After not sure how long, shake-till-when-I-couldn’t-feel-my-arms was the timing I remembered, our chocolate ice-cream was ready to be consumed! Ayra couldn’t wait to dig into the bag of her handmade ice-cream.

Just look at that delighted face! She is too cute lah! For the record, she was barred from cold drinks and food for more than a month prior to this workshop due to a prolonged cough. Just only got better and she got to indulge in ice-cream! Which kid wouldn’t be smirking at this opportunity?

“Can eat better eat more!”

Thank you FOX Kids & Baby for this opportunity for our family to attend this fun workshop!

Family Craft and Fun Time with the New and Bigger PIXMA town

The school holiday is around the corner, though Ayra isn’t going to stop going to childcare in June cos the Mummy me still needs to go to work, I am planning to spend a little more time and effort to make it a fun month for my family. Hopefully with some help from the Father who is the only one who’s going to be (finally) taking a break from school.

Last year, we created some stationery and games from Canon PIXMA town. This year, I am excited to see so many new stationeries, crafts, games and even story books that we can print and create from the new PIXMA town!

Love this colorful and cheerful introductory video of PIXMA town…

With so many new things to do in PIXMA town, it will keep you and your kids occupied throughout the entire June school holiday for sure! For us, we started off with our first “snake-and-ladder” like game by the Doooodolls – Doooo Game.

Ayra watching over the pieces of printouts I made from PIXMA town and deciding which we should embark on first.

In the meantime, check to make sure we have enough sticky tapes to use for the craft.

While Ayra drinks her milk on the sofa, I went on to cut and paste to put the game together and this is what we got…

It took me less than 10 minutes to finish this, and it also took just 10 minutes for Ayra to fall asleep…

The Doooo Game and her Playmobil friends will have to wait till she wakes up to play with them the next day.

And she did! Ayra deciding which of her friends she should pick for the game.

We had a mini game of Dooo with her toys and shortly after, she invented her own version to play on her own.

The Dooo Game became a great play mat too for Ayra and her playmobil friends! Can’t stop her from using her imagination to use things around her for different purposes, and with such colorful sheet of printout from the Canon Pixma printer, it makes role-playing even more fun!

[box]Head over to the PIXMA town to download this fun game and more to do with your family this weekend![/box]

This post was also published on OMY x Canon Pixma blog.

Snap Happy with Canon G1X Mark II at Fidgets World, The Grandstand

Phew! What a lengthy title! But that’s exactly what happened over one of the weekends in May, I was snapping the entire time we were at Fidgets World. Too many photos and action shots were taken, no thanks to the super fast shutter (able to take 12 shots per second) and flippable LCD screen for selfies and wefies on the Canon PowerShot G1X Mark II camera!

First let’s take a quick look around Fidgets World!

The main play area, which we didn’t spend much time at since Ayra is still afraid of climbing and Zara is well, too small for this. Bigger kids that day went wild climbing and crawling in this huge maze! I wished I was smaller so that I can maneuver through it with ease to get some thrill out of it. #nochildhood

There’s a crafting corner where you can walk-in, pick what you would like to create and swipe your Fidgets World “credit card” for it. Payment for all purchases inside Fidgets World will be done when you check-out from the place.

Love the colorful drawers in the crafting corner!

There’s even a room with studio lighting for your kids’ makeover! First of its kind for an indoor playground I believe.

For those who would like to try modeling down the runway, you can do so in front of real audiences at the Fidgets Cafe.

Cafe area is next to the toddler play area, perfect for those playdates! Kids play with daddies and mummies can catch up over tea! *heehee*

We spent most of our time hanging out at the toddlers area that day. Riding cars, bikes, sitting on rocking chairs, and well, just hanging around to pass time.

The touchscreen on the G1X Mark II is great for touch focusing, especially great for kids moving shots!

Wefies time with Zara while Ayra was napping. With the flippable LCD screen, taking selfies with kids is so much more interactive. They just love seeing themselves in the screen, and the faces they make is so much fun! As you can see, the Mummy joined in the fun too. LOL!

After snapping away with Zara, this girl just wanted to get out of her chair and get moving! She couldn’t wait to go again to the play area so that she can conquer that giant maze in the above 3 years old area! I have a strong feeling this girl is going to be more adventurous than her elder sister.

The one essential feature I like about the Canon PowerShot G1X Mark II is the super high ISO, up to 12800! This is great for low light shots, especially at such indoor playgrounds, with kids moving constantly. Not all the shots were sharp due to the fast motion, but at least I can still see the kids clearly in these shots. The following shots are taken at ISO6400 at f/2.0.

Not bad ah? Considering the lighting condition with us inside the play area, covered by nets, pools and partitions. After a week with the Canon PowerShot G1X Mark II, I am putting it into my to-consider-upgrading list. Waiting till July to see if anything better and more compact is coming up, so that I can get a new camera (again!) for my own birthday!

We Caught Barney Live on Stage – World of Imagination

Our favorite purple friend and his gang is in town again! When Ayra saw the posters and decals around City Square Mall a week earlier, she has been pestering me to bring her to watch Barney. This girl remembers all the shows we caught at City Square Mall since her first a year ago, and every time we are there, she will ask to bring her to the atrium to see if any friends are performing that day. So the day finally came, we brought her to watch Barney’s World of Imagination on their first day of performance.

We reached at 2.30pm for the 4.00pm show, planning to get some food before it starts, but Ayra insisted we wait around the stage cause there were already families seated down waiting for the show which was 1.5hr away! I hesitated, but when I saw the crowd forming rapidly, I followed suit. So we settled down at 3.00pm, and were seated at the last row!

Ayra the only one who was contented and happy that we were seated down. This girl still unaware of the meaning of “waiting time” was losing her temper 30 minutes into waiting. I tried to explain to her that she has got to wait as Barney was still sleeping, but she kept asking “Where is Barney?” “Barney where?”… Tried all I could to keep her occupied, and even attempted a wefie, and this was what I got…

Sitting on the floor with two girls who were getting impatient and grouchy as the clock ticked, was NO JOKE! I couldn’t feel my legs nor my butt by the time Barney came on stage. And by then, Ayra was already super tired, didn’t quite enjoy the show as much as she would have. Instead, Zara was the one who enjoyed the performances. After our first attempt with Live shows, we learned that we shouldn’t sit too close to the stage and speaker. This time, seated right at the back, though she was slightly weary of those big dinosaurs on stage at first, but once she is warmed up, she was clapping and bouncing to the rhythm!

Barney’s World of Imagination was very enjoyable. The music was groovy, dance moves were fresh and the kids all loved all the songs and dance! There were some familiar tunes for Ayra from Barney’s show, but all the dancing songs weren’t that familiar to her. Still she managed to move a little and lip sing a few together with the gang.

If you are planning to catch the show at City Square Mall, here are a few tips for you! Don’t say you are not told ah!

  1. If you are driving, go EARLY! At least 2 hours before the show on weekends.
  2. If you want to be seated to enjoy the show, go chop your butt down at least 1 hour before each show.
  3. Don’t sit too close to the stage, you get better view of the whole performance from the middle onwards.
  4. Bring a selfie stick or monopod if planning to take video, use it to support and rest the stick on the floor. Holding up your camera throughout the performance is going to break your arm.
  5. Pack snacks or activity to occupy your little one, not just mine, there were a few kids who got very grouchy after waiting for too long.

Barney 2014 - City Square Mall
[box]Catch Barney, Baby Bop and BJ live on stage daily from 7-22 June (except Mon) and redeem a Meet & Greet pass with just $50 spent! More details here.[/box]

Created Our Own Playhouse

I wanted to get a playhouse for Ayra as she loves watching kids role-playing with their Barbies and dolls on YouTube, but I didn’t want to spend too much money on a solid one that will stand through serious rough playing by toddlers (aka Playmobil). Not sure whether or not Ayra will want to continue playing with a playhouse and the things she will do with one, I thought why not make one myself and “test the market” first? Here’s what we did… materials I used for the simple DIY Playhouse as follow:

  1. Chipboards – 2 pieces of 6in x 12in and 1 piece of 12in x 12in
  2. Pattern paper printouts from Canon Creative Park
  3. Pattern paper of 12in x 12in for the base
  4. Some washi tapes
  5. Cutting board and pen knife
  6. Scissors and sticky tapes

First I cut two slim openings in the 2 pieces of chipboards to make a groove for them to slide into one another. Then just make sure all your chipboards are covered with the pattern papers. I used washi tapes to go around all the sides to cover up the chipboards. Final product as shown below… Right after I’m done with the DIY Playhouse, Ayra is 100% focused on imaginary play on her own! Helped her set up some of her toys and tried playing with her. But she rather I just sit and watch. So I just sat there and watch her story unfolds. Story telling is the most difficult thing to excel in my opinion. If the kid is able to start mumbling and do her own imaginary play, I will fully support and encourage it. From the video below, looks like soon I may just need to get a proper playhouse for her to start creating more adventures of her own. Find more fun and easy activities to do with your kids over at OMY Crafty Ideas by fellow bloggers, or read more of what we had done with our girls.