Goodbye 2014! Hello 2015!

I was glad to see the end of 2014 and looking forward eagerly to the coming of 2015! I am holding on tightly to Pastor’s declaration that 2015 would be a year of His restoration!

To celebrate the end of the year, we were invited to Gina’s place for dinner. We were so impressed with what was whipped up by the helper. Apparently, before joining Gina’s household, she worked for a family from Hong Kong. Right after dinner, the children had a great time playing with David’s massive collection of lego!

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We did not plan to stay late but the children were having so much fun and we realised right where we were overlooking the Bishan Park, we would literally view the fireworks right in front of us! Too tempting to resist so we imposed on Gina and David’s hospitality just a tad longer!

As part of the Countdown festivities, apparently the Prime Minister would also appear downstairs at the park and join in to help to set a record in the most number of people wearing balloons hats at the same time! So when the husband went down to repark the car since we were staying longer, he trooped over to see what was happening and came back with all these “chicken heads” for the children to wear!

So hilarious looking! Imagine the PM also wearing this! aigoo!

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I must say the “chicken head” looked so much better on my son’s head compared to the PM’s!

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The fireworks came on at midnight and for first time, we were viewing the fireworks from a angle higher than it! It was beautiful. And from our height, we could also see fireworks going off in Danga Bay, JB Central, maybe somewhere in Pasir Ris! We could also walked to the other side and see a wee bit of the fireworks going off in Marina Bay!

Just realised I was so busy ooh-ing and aah-ing at the fireworks that I did not have a single shot of them!

Spent the New Year’s Day resting at home and busy labelling all the children’s books in preparation for the first day of school the next day!

First day!
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See the cute contrast 4 years ago when the little guy started nursery!

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If we were to put him in a school bus to go to school in the morning, the bus would come at 6.10am which meant he would need to get up at 5.45am. That is really way too early in our books so we decided we would attempt to send him in the mornings. The journey there was pretty fast, took us only 20 mins but that was just to get into queue to drop the boys which was a whopping 15 mins! *Sweat*

And the school had a “strictly-no-parents” rule for the first few days! I guess I could understand where the school was coming from. But surely given that the first day was week zero, the school should not deprive the parents of just being paparazzi for a day, stalking the kids, taking a look at the classroom, at the classmates, capturing a shot of the chap buying his first bowl of food from the canteen?!? Anyway…

Could only take a shot of him waiting for the older boys to bring him to the classroom and that was the last I saw of him that morning!

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Instead I made my way to the little girl’s school and watched in regret how the other P1 parents were enjoying their little pursuits of stalking their children! The perk of the morning was when I spotted my little P3 girl on her way to the canteen, which after her initial surprise of seeing me, promptly waved goodbye and ran off with her bestie! *sulks*

I went home and vegetated until the children came home respectively. All in all, a rather uneventful first day of school I must say!

West coast of USA- June 2014

During the June holidays, the whole family went to the West Coast of US for three weeks. The plan is to get in at LA and get out from San Francisco. We transited at Narita Airport and were glad to be able to get out and walk for a bit. Snowy the doll got the privilege of being the travel companion for the little girl 20140531_142437

Almost 24 hrs later we touched down at LA airport sometime before noon. The kids and the husband all managed to get maybe 5-6 hrs of sleep? As for me? I perhaps watched 7-8 movies back to back? @_@ The Jeep that is going to get us around! 20140601_033714

We put up at the hotel near Hollywood and headed out to Hollywood Boulevard to feel the buzz and erm shop? Shopping not quite his thing I guess? DSCF0917 Out in the streets! and spotted Bug Bunny in the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the children promptly announced he is their idol? hmm… DSCF0919

Chanced upon these obese Spiderman and Ironman toys and the little guy took a long time to decide that he will have Spidey to be his travel companion for the rest of the trip! and that roly-poly fella caused Thaddeus much distress because Spidey is so fat and kept rolling away from him especially when we are in a hurry while on the road! DSCF0920

It says “The road to Hollywood”, to us it’s the “stairs to see the TINY Hollywood sign”! DSCF0924

The sign was so small it can’t really be seen in this picture even! DSCF0925 and it was pizzas for dinner! one of many pizzas we will end up eating throughout the trip! DSCF0931 The next day was a Sunday and the plan was to enroute visit the California Science Centre while heading towards Anaheim. Drove past the famous shopping districts, movie studios etc. DSCF0933 We had all our luggages with us and while exiting from the car, one of the children actually accidentally lowered one of the windows in the back but we were not aware of it. We spent the entire afternoon in the Science Centre and only realised that when we were about to leave. And purely by God’s grace, nothing was missing in the car! Amazing divine protection! Ok! Back to the Science Centre, right at the entrance was already an interesting exhibit on the power of the pulleys! The children has lots of fun trying to lift up the truck! DSCF0935 Fascinated by frogs’ brains……

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microscopic organisms…

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A highlight at the Science Centre was the space shuttle Endeavour! DSCF0943 We watched vids of how the entire city came to a standstill so as to transport the space shuttle to the Science Centre. Talia was especially fascinated by the toilet bowl in the space shuttle! The contraption to allow you to do gravity-defying erm poo-poo! DSCF0940 We left when the Science Centre closed its doors at 5pm and headed towards Anaheim. Reached Hotel Indigo which is going to be our base camp while we spent the next 2 days at Disneyland! Spidey, Thaddie and Cheekie in a row! DSCF0951

Walked out to look for dinner and found The Cheesecake factory! Just looked at all the types of cheesecake they have! DSCF0956 and somebody ate a plate of pasta with a plate bigger than the size of his face! but seriously, the portions are really enormous! We learnt our lessons and downsized our orders from 3 mains to 2 mains perhaps coupled with a appetizer. DSCF0958 The next day, its DISNEYLAND! A shot with Minnie Mouse first! DSCF0959

The girl went on the Indiana Jones ride which the boy either was too short or didn’t want to go. So he went up and down the Tarzan tree house at least 3 times! DSCF0966 Couple of rides later, the children posed with some props (because I didn’t want to buy them! hahaha!) in the shops. DSCF0964 Then it’s lunch time! The good thing about restaurants in the US is that they have activities for the children to do all the time! DSCF0969 Followed by Pooh Bear ride and a pic with Pooh Bear! DSCF0977

We came to the Frozen hut and oh my goodness! the queue was almost 2 hours long to get inside to take a pic with Elsa! Decided we shall just take a pic with the hut with Olaf on the roof!

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The buzz lightyear ride was exactly how I remembered it when we went to HK Disneyland when the kiddos were younger, unfortunately none of the children could recall it! DSCF0984 Taking a pic of the hubs taking a pic of the children! DSCF0985

It was sunny yet windy. Very warm when you are out there in the sun yet can get chilly when you are under the shade. We had fun until the park closed at 10pm! The next day we headed to the park next door, the Disney California Adventure and made a beeline for Cars Land. DSCF0998 Lightning Mcqueen! DSCF1008 We loved Cars Land. It was as though we stepped into the cartoon! So many picture moments! The children admiring the Frozen merchandise I bought for their cousin. There were almost nothing left of the merchandise when we were at Disneyland the day before and we did not even see this set of Frozen figurines there. DSCF1017 There was this really cute caterpillar ride where even though it was real slow, when we passed by foods like watermelon and cookies, you actually can smell them! We didn’t expect that so cheap thrills for a while! DSCF1021 Muppet*Vision 3D was the 3D show that was immensely entertaining! DSCF1027 The next ride was perhaps one of the most fun rides according to the children. It’s arcade style shooting over and over again! DSCF1035

It is no wonder this is the happiest place on earth! Just look at how happy the children are!

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And we experienced God’s grace afresh again when we reached Soarin’ Over California. The ride was only opened to people who have a ticket pre-booked earlier. We didn’t know and were just queuing there when the couple behind us asked us if we could like the 4 tickets they have in their hands. I can’t quite remember now why they wanted to give up the tickets and we happily thanked them and jumped queue to the front and got in! It’s a simulated airborne ride where you sit elevated in a gondola and treated to 3D scenes (4D actually as we feel breeze on our faces) of California underneath you! Amazing ride! and with that we ended our two days at Disneyland! DSCF1054 The next day we are headed out to San Diego and to visit the USS Midway, a naval ship museum. And before that, we had lunch again at The cheesecake factory and this time managed to finally enjoy some cheesecake! On our way to lunch and check out the Frozen tee on the little girl! She was mighty pleased with it! DSCF1056 Drove off after lunch and took a break halfway when the little guy turned a little green in the face due to carsickness! Cutest little wild squirrel! DSCF1060 Made it to San Diego and USS Midway! The USS Midway is a naval aviation museum right in an ex-aircraft carrier. DSCF1061

Thaddeus the fighter jet pilot! DSCF1065 Saw so many fighter jets and planes that I lost count! DSCF1069 we were able to climb in most of them to take a look too! DSCF1088 We also took a guided tour around the naval ship and it was already an eye-opener for the adults, what more the kids! We spent the night in San Diego and were at Sea World bright and early the next day! San Diego Sea World will always be memorable to me because the little guy had an upset tummy that day and I wiped backside 7 times that day in the park and also because Talia lost her second front teeth there and got a huge ice cream as a treat to remember that! Funny how sometimes we remember places we go to with unforgetable events like these? Needless to say, we enjoyed the dolphin and whale shows, little girl took rides, we ogled at penguins and flamingos and spent a wonderful and sunny day at Sea World. DSCF1099 We set off the next day towards Las Vegas. Drove 5 hours and it was amazing when we were nearing LV, how out of the desert a gleaming and bustling city just come into sight! 20140606_172640

Spent the night at The Venetian! and the children’s verdict was that it was the best room they stayed in during the whole trip! It has got to be considering how much we had to pay for it!DSCF1117 It was a split level unit and has its own whole spacious living area! DSCF1119 Spent half an hour fooling the kids that we had supernatural powers in controlling how the binds go up and down *chuckles* (it had a remote control which we hid in our hands), we left the room to explore the rest of the hotel! DSCF1122 This was an oxygen bar where you can have yourself a dose of different types of oxygen! Little girl could only content herself with a pose in front of it! DSCF1125 Dinner was at the Grand Lux Café from the people behind The Cheesecake factory. It was cosy and had great food plus little knickknacks to entertain the kids to boot! We had food ranging from miso-glazed salmon to pastas and after our tummies were filled. It was time to venture out! DSCF1129 Within minutes of stepping out, all their jackets were dumped onto me!  It sure felt sweltering hot, I cannot imagine how it would be like during the day! We trooped down the main street and were amazed at the spectacle that greeted us!  Neon-lights, swanky hotels, fountains and music, people dressed as Bumble-bee/spider-man/Iron-man you name it, or girls wearing so little clothes I feel embarrassed for them. It was really sin city at its decadent seediest! Worth one trip to just see for yourself and for me, no reason to come back again!

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We headed back to the hotel about 10-ish in the night and the next morning, after a Chinese lunch (voted erm top 3 in Las Vegas but was really quite bleh), ready to head towards Mammoth Lakes, a ski resort in the mountains except we are going there in summer! It was a 6-hrs drive from Vegas to Mammoth. We started the journey with some serious looking desert outside the car windows. We passed by scrubby bushes, cactuses in the distance and dusty mountains in the even further distance. But eventually as we began to climb higher, the landscape turned a little greener and we finally reached our hotel for 2 nights, the Sierra Nevada at around 6pm. The children wasted no time to play at the playground! DSCF1141 Dinner was at Rafters, right next to the hotel! DSCF1147 The next morning we set off to explore around the Mammoth Lakes area. First stop was Convict Lake. It was so named because apparently in the 1800s, a group of convict escaped here! Anyway, it was serene. A beautiful lake set on a backdrop of rugged alpine peaks. It is also popular for fishing and we encountered quite a few chaps doing that. DSCF1152 We packed a picnic lunch of bread, ham, salads, ice cream (Can you believe that Ben and Jerry’s only costs US$2.99 there! hnnng!) and enjoyed an outdoor lunch in the gorgeous mountain air, breath taking mountain scenery. After lunch, we took a trek to see Devil’s Postpile! What a name! DSCF1167 Devils Postpile is a unique geologic feature, formed 100,000 years ago by an eruption of lava. The lava cooled uniformly, leaving surface cracks, resulting in six-sided basalt vertical columns.

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We then took a drive to Minaret Vista which offers breath taking views of the Ansel Adams and John Muir Wilderness Areas. It has the 2 tallest peaks in the range, all at an elevation of about 12,000-13,000 feet. DSCF1174 The Minaret Vista is a popular spot for star gazing but alas since we were there during the day, we only feasted our eyes on peaks gazing instead. DSCF1178 The little girl even joined the father in trying to follow a wild deer which was roaming nearby! The next day we were ready to head to Yosemite via the tioga pass. 20140610_112940

Before we even came to the pass, we just had to stop at this spot to check it out because it was so pretty!

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After many a winding turns in the scenic drive of mountain pine forest, alpine meadows and granite rocks, we are finally at the Tioga pass! DSCF1201 Stopped at this beautiful spot for lunch! DSCF1203 and yes you can see! Ben and Jerry’s again! It was so cold eating in the shade that the children had to sit in the sun to really enjoy the food. DSCF1207 Finally reached Yosemite Valley and decided we shall take a little trek out to see the lake/waterfalls. DSCF1226 Somebody made sure he had a lot of snacks along the way! DSCF1230 Halfway through the trek, we were informed by people heading back that there was nothing much to see as there has been a severe drought and not enough water for a nice lake or waterfall. We promptly turned around as well and headed to the store. Kids made a beeline for the books. DSCF1234 The destination to spend the night was 2 hrs away at Oakdale. We reached about 8-ish at night and had a junk food dinner at Jack in a box! Yumz by the way! Thought we will check out the K-mart before checking into the hotel and the entire store was virtually deserted! All the toys were so cheap but no luggage space to cart back! *weeps* DSCF1237 We set off early next morning towards San Francisco. First stop was UC Berkeley. We drove around the campus, soaked in the atmosphere and had Japanese ramen within campus. Also bought the girl’s first rainbow loom set in an art and craft shop there. We headed to Fisherman’s wharf afterwards. DSCF1242

Alcatraz in the distance but we were not planning to visit. We walked around,  browsed the shops, enjoyed clam chowder and seafood and headed to our friend’s house where we were going to stay for the next 2 nights just for the experience of staying in a house in the US. DSCF1247 The children were really glad to meet their new friends. Played with them until late into the night and we headed out for a pancake breakfast the next day. DSCF1255 After breakfast we headed to the California Academy of Sciences. The children’s new friends were not able to join us as they are actually in the midst of a shift to their new house. We were actually privileged to spend the last couple of days together with them in their old one! We spent an amazing day there! There are so much to see and experience what with an enclosed tropical rainforest to walk through, a planetarium where we watched a show on dark matter which was absolutely mind boggling, an aquarium, an interactive earthquake exhibit. DSCF1286

The little girl very carefully going through the exhibits on the earthquake. 20140612_162830

We took a nice stroll in the Golden Gate Park where the Academy of Sciences was situated and had fun in the playground there! DSCF1302 We went home, caught up with our friends for dinner at a shopping cluster in Foster City and went shopping at Costco where our friend is a member. It was unbelievably cheap and I could only weep some more for not being able to bring more stuff home even though we bought ourselves 2 more luggage there! DSCF1311 In the night, the kids had another wonderful night of playing together The next morning, we were off to see the Golden Gate Bridge. Oh the wonderful breeze! DSCF1274 The very beautiful bridge! DSCF1279 Children having a snack in the car, away from the very chilly and strong wind!DSCF1285 We spent the rest of the day exploring Fisherman’s wharf again! Before that we went to San Francisco Cable Car Museum where we saw historic cable cars, photographs, mechanical displays and a rather nice gift shop run by the Friends of the Cable Car Museum.

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On our way walking to the wharf, we saw a naked brigade of men and women on bicycles cycling by. The children were too slow to realise what was going on and asked what’s happening! Thank goodness they were cycling by rather fast!

Our first stop was the San Francisco Maritime Museum.DSCF1385Here we boarded the Balclutha and made our way below deck to experience where this ship has sailed to and carried what kind of cargo in the past

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and explored the insides of the ship.

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After a Ben and Jerry’s ice cream break, the little guy refused to let go of the B&J cow he saw outside!

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Someone was very interested in the shopping!

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The number of sea lions at Pier 39 apparently has shrunk!

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The hustle and bustle at Pier 39. We had the most yummy seafood dinner and had an enjoyable night shopping, people watching and snacking on clam chowder.

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In the morning, we said our goodbyes to our friends, did farewell shots and hugs around and we are off to Stanford University.DSCF1312

We visited the Hoover Tower on campus.

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In the lobby, we viewed the Herbert Hoover and Lou Henry Hoover exhibits, which feature memorabilia from the careers and lives of the thirty-first U.S. president and his wife, both of whom were Stanford alumni. DSCF1323

The observation platform is on the 14th floor and we were treated to a panoramic view of Stanford’s campus. Told the children Daddy and Mummy is not every going to come back here again unless one of them made good and study here so we can come again for the graduation ceremony *grin*

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Then we made our merry way to Silicon Valley to pay homage to Google and Apple.

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The next morning we went shopping at DSW before starting our journey back to Los Angeles for the flight home. The plan was to travel by the coast to see Monterey, Santa Cruz and Santa Barbara etc.

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We were greeted by the beautiful Pacific coast.

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Lovely quaint shopping along the way.

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The rugged coastline set amidst the blue skies and the even bluer waters. We stopped to see wild seals whilst on the 17-Mile Drive.DSCF1449Reached Monterey and visited the Presidio Museum where the exhibits lead visitors through Monterey’s various stages of military development from the indigenous period which highlights the area’s native populations; through the Spanish and Mexican periods; and up to present day.

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A life-size horse and lieutenant depicts the Presidio that is clearest in the memories of long-time residents of Monterey.

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Stopped for lunch at Cannery Row at Monterey Bay and enjoyed this lovely coastal scene.

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I could have spent all day just staring at the waters!

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Arrived at Pismo Beach about dinner time and this is the hotel where we will be spending the night. Chose to have our dinner indoors as the temperatures really starts to dip when the sun goes down.

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It’s really lovely when it gets dark.

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The next morning we had our breakfast in the park facing the sea. It was actually kind of chilly even under the sun as the sea breeze was just so strong

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and so we set off, continuing our southward journey towards Santa Barbara. There were lots of opportunity to play at the beach. We were so overdressed for the beach but really it was so chilly. How did the rest manage to lounge around just in their bathing suits?

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One of the places we visited in Santa Barbara was the Old Mission Santa Barbara.

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It was established by the Spanish Franciscans almost 200 years ago. It was serene just walking around the grounds. It has a beautiful church apparently with an active parish. On site there is also a cemetery and mausoleum and a huge beautifully landscaped gardens. There is also a museum with information about the early days of the Mission and Santa Barbara.

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We had a Chinese lunch, one of the few we had during the trip, in town and continued driving towards Los Angeles.

We reached Santa Monica sometime in the late afternoon.

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And the kids had a great time playing at the sand. And as usual we were overdressed! Brrrrr!

DSCF1530 We just sat at the beach and watched the sun go down.

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As the evening progressed and the light slowly waned, the kiddos were still reluctant to leave.

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Dinner was at Bubba Gump. The food was nothing to shout about really.

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Back in LA, We decided to spend the last morning with some last minute shopping and end the day at the Griffith Observatory. The observatory is set on top of a hill and offers great views of downtown LA. And apparently the best time to visit would be at sunset as the night view is spectacular as well.DSCF1560

The front lawn of the observatory is full of green spaces. Beautiful historic building from the 1930s and a wonderful place to experience astronomy.

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There are some amazing and interactive exhibits inside. We were treated to an interesting presentation on the Tesla coil and viewed Saturn on one of the massive telescopes

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Fun and engaging exhibits!

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and with that we ended our almost 3 weeks holiday to the West Coast of the US. It was an unforgettable experience and one of many family memories that we will always cherish!

Bali again, this time nice and slow…

We are no strangers to Bali, even for the kids. But this time round we wanted to spend more time chilling out, exploring and which is why we gave this trip a good 9 days to do all that. Decided to skip all the usual spots of Nusa Dua and Kuta and headed straight to Ubud in Central Bali right after we arrived.

We stayed at the Komaneka Rasa Sayang at Ubud. http://www.komaneka.com/komaneka-at-rasa-sayang.php The hotel is surrounded by lush vegetation and retained the flavour of traditional Balinese architecture yet complemented with modern amenities. And when we arrived, they were just serving afternoon tea which we were happy to enjoy after a 1 plus hour drive from the airport.

The room was cosy and comfortable! We found to our surprise that the TV in the room is plugged into a cloud of movie titles and song albums which we enjoyed for free during our stay

We took a little stroll out and had ourselves a nice foot massage (children as well) before having dinner at Ibu Rai. I had one of the tastiest beef curry I have ever eaten there! I tried the little girl’s nasi goreng and it was fabulous as well.

Yummy fried rice!

The next morning we set off towards the art market and on the way there, we signed up for a cooking class at Bumibali for the morning on the next day.

And so the shopping starts..

…while men wait outside the shops?

We trooped back to the hotel and after I have sanitised the bathtub twice with boiling water *Grin* I allowed the kids some time in the tub!

Breakfast was really great! We get to order all sorts of fresh juices, pancakes, Indonesian type breakfast. Needless to say, Ms Foodie was very happy!

It’s about a 15 mins stroll to the Ubud Arts Market and more shopping ensues…

Lunch was at Lotus Café which is right next to a huge lotus pond. We went for traditional Balinese fare and was not disappointed!

It was a lovely, quiet spot to spend some time exploring after lunch.

Children taking peeps into the temple.

We took a nice slow stroll back to the hotel, enjoying the little quaint shops along the way and decided to spend some time in the pool.

It’s an infinity pool of sorts as the edge of the pool overlooks a tiny valley amid the lush vegetation.

We chilled out for a bit in the room and headed out to dinner! Didn’t I tell ya! this trip is all about shopping and eating! 🙂 Eating by the candlelight and hearing sounds of insects of the night is another experience altogether!

And before we knew it, its Sunday morning and time for our cooking class! Turns out there were just us in the class!

For the first part of the lesson, we took a walk to the market to see and smell the food and spices on sale. and because it was so hot, the children got their first ride back to the kitchen on a motorbike!

We were then introduced to the spices the Balinese people use in their cooking.

Getting our spices all blended together in preparation for the cooking proper to start!

The first dish was salad/veggie dish of sorts where boiled cabbage/greens/beansprouts were mixed together with Balinese spices to serve as an appetizer. That wasn’t a crowd pleaser to say the least!

Next up, we mixed in spices with minced meat and did “satay”. Children were given the opportunity to mix with their hands (they loved that!) and to grill them subsequently!

We did 2 other dishes after that and got out of the kitchen (which really is part of a restaurant) about 3 hrs later. After that we decided to stroll towards Monkey Forest which is a big tourist attraction in Ubud but our purpose was not to go there

Just next to Monkey forest, there is a little café that overlooks lovely padi fields! We chilled out for a while here before heading back to the hotel to check out and prepare to head northern towards Lovina.

Enroute, we stopped at this lovely spot for lunch overlooking huge padi terraces!

We also visited Lake Bratan which really is a lake formed by a volcanic eruption in the past. Way too crowded for our liking so we took a quick look and quickly left the place.

Despite the rain, somebody wanted a picture with the misty mountains so we obliged him!

And so we went on our merry way towards Lovina, without first stopping several times in Singaraja while attempting to find a doctor for the little boy who had 2 nosebleeds and had a running nose! One doctor we located told us he was washing his car and so, sorry he can’t attend to us!?! We finally found a ENT specialist who looked like he’s 100 years old with a set of equipment almost as old as him as I thought I wanted to really just check the little boy’s nose. Well he said all is ok and gave us a prescription and we had to find a pharmacy to find the medicine. After all the running around, we finally arrived at our hotel in Lovina – The Lovina!

We were given a room with an outdoor toilet area! ermmm…To be very honest, I really didn’t relish having to shower and do my “businesses” like right out there in the open!

There was even a pool in our own backyard which we could have a dip in. I supposed it is for people who loves to skinny-dip? 😛

Anyway we headed out to dinner, to this little local eating place called Warung Apple. Apparently it is one of the best-raved eatery in Lovina on Tripadvisor. Apple actually is the name of the owner of the place which by the way is a man! It’s a nondescript place but served this really amazing grilled fish!

We went home and had an early night because the place was to get up at 5am the next morning, get out on a canoe-thingy and try to go chase wild dolphins. And at midnight, the boy woke up crying and when I touched his forehead, it was burning. I have sort of anticipated this and had already gotten myself some amoxicillin from the local pharmacy the day before. But still it was a sleepless night for me with measurement and sponging to be done. The father and the daughter went off on a wild dolphin chase while the rest of us took a snooze till late morning as the fever broke. The duo came back unsatisfied, claiming that their boat was too slow! and they have went to sign up with the fastest boat to attempt this again the next morning so that the whole family could experience this together.

We spent the rest of the day really just relaxing! The adults took turns to go for a spa while the little girl spent some time at the kid’s club. The little man rested in the room, watching cartoons and napping. And by evening, he was well enough that we decided to walk out along the beach to try and find some food.

Quite a nice stroll we took, listening to the waters and watching the villagers go about their chores.

All these canoes/boats were for dolphin watching!

We had an early night and by 6 am, we were out at sea!

It was a soothing ride out. I have expected to get a bit seasick but I was surprised I wasn’t at all. I think the fact that we were in a bay of sorts made the water very calm. We enjoyed looking at how the colours of the sky changed and how quiet it was!

About 1.5 hrs later, we were told by our boatman that we are close and should start to look out for any dolphin activities! W

When we spotted the first dolphin and subsequently saw the whole school swimming by, the excitement was indescribable! and true to her reputation to being the first boat the day before, “The Blue Pearl” was really one of the fastest boat around and we kept pace with the dolphins!

The little girl wanted a pic with the boat to remember how wonderful the experience it has been!

After that wonderful encounter with the dolphins, we left Lovina and headed south all the way to the beach area of Seminyak! Reached Seminyak almost during the evening and had a traditional Balinese meal somewhere near the villa.

The next morning, after breakfast that was served in the villa, everybody wasted no time to jump into our own private pool!

Seminyak is supposed to be a happening beach with lots of interesting shops and good dining. We shopped (bought quaint lamps, hip accessories, cute tees). Found ourselves a conveyor belt sushi place and had a great Japanese lunch!

Spent time just lazing by the beach!

Ate at many great restaurants but one of the more unforgettable one was the Italian dinner on the last night at Ultimo! Great food, great ambience at really reasonable prices!

We came back rested and fed! 🙂 and Bali will remain as one of our favourite getaway spots!

Forest Adventure at Bedok Reservoir

Late last year in 2013, we also took a trip to Bedok Reservoir to try out this outdoor adventure course done perhaps 3 metres off the ground! We went with a small group of Talia Ann’s classmates and the little girl was all raring to go while the little guy was a little apprehensive!

It took a good 5-7 minutes to get the protective gear on them and they were briefed as to how to handle the hook that will prevent them from plunging to the ground *gasp*! and off they went, climbing the stairs up to begin the course.

Barely 5 minutes after they started, the little boy slipped and got his leg stuck in between the planks! It was panic big time, both for him and for us watching him from the ground (that explained why there was no pic of that!). He couldn’t stop crying for a while and held up the group of children behind him. But with our encouragement, he gingerly extracted his leg and slowly stood up and continued, all the while choking back his tears, even before the instructor could make his way to him to help him! I was so very proud of him at the moment!

Being shorter, he could only hang on to the hook and in a way, I would imagine feel a lot more unsteady compared to his sister who was tall enough to hold on to the line instead.

and that made me all the more prouder of him as he was able to manoeuvre his way through all the obstacles.

Talia Ann was just as good as she confidently conquer one obstacle after another!

Crossing the log.

More logs. Swinging ones this time.

At this point, we were all starting to develop a strained neck of sorts!

As the children gained more confidence, the progress was also faster!

At the end of the course, they will all do a flying fox and land in a sand pit. That, I have been told, by the kids no less, was the highlight of the entire forest adventure!

Really an excellent opportunity for children to build confidence, to rely on themselves to solve problems and ultimately feeling proud that they have yet conquer another obstacle! If you have not brought your children to try this out yet, what are you still waiting for?

Fun December 2013!

The school holidays of December 2013 was packed with fun! We went for 2 staycations, a 5-day trip to KL and a 9-day trip to Bali. I shall save the Bali trip for another post.

We have been to the Changi Village hotel many times for staycation. We like the rustic charm and laid-back pace of the place. The rooftop pool is a favourite of the kids but since we decided we are not going to go to Ubin this time round, we had time to check out the pool on the ground floor which has a fish-tank concept.

The gleeful boy took many trips up and down the “tank” for me to take pics and videos which he had big laughs after when admiring them!

We also spent a whole lazy morning at the beach just chilling out!

There were folks fishing, whole families camping out, joggers, but it looks like we are the only family there on the sand!

The little man looking introspective!

We went back to the hotel to wash up and could even make it for 3rd service at church! ha!

The next weekend we were at RWS Sentosa for a 3-day staycation to celebrate the little girl’s birthday, along with all her Dec-babies friends, actually for a mass Dec-babies birthday celebration!

The first day we spent the whole day at Universal studios.

The mummies could even sneak out for a girls’ night out that night! Even went shopping at Victoria Secrets together! Hilarious event! Woohoo!

The next day we were at Sentosa Cove! It started raining at 2 plus in the afternoon so the day was cut short! but still my two little ones could go do snorkelling again for a second time! That was to them the highlights of the day!

The third day which was also Talia Ann’s actual birthday (and also Audrey’s), we had a birthday celebration at breakfast!

Oh! just look at them! just look at how much they have grown!

Some of the mummies even prepared nice pressies for the birthday boys and girls and goodie bags for the rest of the children! Sure made every kid a happy kid that morning!

After breakfast, it was to the S.E.A aquarium. We trooped along with those who had the RWS Invites Cards and could walk through the Maritime Museum, enjoy the Typhoon Theatre again to get into the aquarium.

Mine are always fascinated with these interactive games!

and then it was fish galore!

And just 4 days later, we took a road trip up to KL. This is our third time to Kidzania but the first time that we are going with so many friends! 5 families to be exact!

This time we spent 3 whole different sessions at Kidzania over 3 days and even at the end of the third session, the kids were reluctant to leave the place. Just poor us parents who literally vegetated over that 3 days!

They had fun staging a musical where the girl played Dora and the boy was dressed up as a monkey.

And also tried their hands at being news casters. Forgetful mummy forgot to buy a CD of the recording though! oops!

We also spent one whole Saturday shopping at Sungei Wang (while some of the rest of the families continue their 4th or 5th sessions at Kidzania! *grins*).

The boy met Ironman in one of the malls!

We also ate lots of good food and I told the kids this will be our last time at KL Kidzania (I think 3 times is more than enough?) and should we go again, it would either be to the one that is going to be opened in Singapore or we go to the one at Bangkok!

Thaddeus Aaron at 5.5 years old

And so the little boy is about five and a half years old now.

If he has a choice, he would rather be home playing all day rather than to go to school, which he exclaims to me that “it’s boring!” *sweat*

There is nothing he likes more than mentally challenging games like Rush Hour and he can be at it for hours!

or IQ gaming, which he is now at erm level 103?

He also enjoys craft like his sister and we sewed some really nifty dolls for ourselves that time!

We switched him to another kindergarten in K1 just for distance’s sake and visited the open house end-2013 for some of the art projects he did!

Another favourite hobby of his is reading! and most favourite books? The comics The Young Scientist and Science adventures! He has read up all the Level 2s and I think I would have to buy Level 3s for him soon! Just got him hooked to Geronimo Stilton recently! Yeah!

I finally got them a swimming coach and hopefully can pick up swimming again and the other sports he really likes is blading! I just wish we have more time to do it though!

He is at a point where he seems to have info overload in his head and dying to spill everything he knows to me the minute he sees me! and the way he explains things in his logic right now is interesting yet hilarious! I am just so enjoying him right now!

Star Cruise

I, for one, have never been on a cruise. So in June, for the first time for me and the kids, we went for a 4D3N cruise to Penang and Phuket on the Star Virgo. It was a very last minute decision to escape the haze. Remember the PSI 400+ week?

Erm, some very tackily-clad people waiting to receive us…

and since we decided to go so last minute, we paid good money for lousy rooms, but those were the last 2 rooms available, not much of a choice but big lessons to learn from! STOP going on impromptu holidays!!!

Went around the ship to explore and it is HUGE inside! The little man doing his boogie-ing in the cabaret room.

The little girl with the model of the ship she is on.

and pretending she is having a go at all these games machines!

The best part of the cruise, as I was later told by them, was the little (and I mean TINY) playgym at the kids’ club. With the money I paid, I could have send them to fidgets for erm like 50 times! grrrrr..!

Monkey at work!

There were group activities as well. Bunch of people doing the “horse-gallop” ala PSY on the decks!

More tacky décor!

We reached Penang and dashed around the Island looking for good food – Penang Cha Kueh Tiao and chendol!

The ship really looked pretty in the dusk!

The next day we reached Phuket. The boy loved this robot and no I told him we can’t buy it home!

The little girl went shopping again, whaddya expect? *grins*

To escape the heat, we chose to shop in aircon comfort!

The last night on board was actually a gala dinner and we had to pack dresses and shirts! It was all very silly actually because the dinner was like any other dinner apart from getting 2 staff to do a little mc-ing at the beginning of the dinner and the staff putting up a rather tacky walk-in with the first dish!

For me, the best part was enjoying the sea breeze on the deck and looking out at the limitless horizon! Therapeutic!

Cons of going during school hols (and I have been told it’s the Indian school hols as well) was that it’s really very crowded! Did not even bother to get into the pool! *sweat*

It was a quick getaway for my sisters and my mum and since my mum enjoys a little casino now and then, it’s great in that sense. It was good also that we get to land in Penang and Phuket, if not it would have been soooo boring! It would also have been better if we did not go during the school holidays too!

A really busy June holidays 2013!

It was a busy busy month of June for the kids. The first June holidays for the girl and I wanted to just keep a snapshot of what we did.

The bunch did a trip to LEGOLAND. It doesn’t matter how many times they have been there, the kids would always exclaim with delight as though it was the first time they have seen Miniland! Oh, the eyes of the world through a child’s eyes!

We spend a great deal (and I meant a GREAT deal) of time hiding away in the air-con comfort of the lego-building room! Not that the children are complaining, they were all happily building their own little masterpieces of art!

We also inviting the bunch for a swim date at our place. We have already shifted in for about 4 months but still nothing beats the school hols where there are no bedtime curfews to keep and homework to be completed!

We also headed to Kidzania, our second time! This is the boy trying out his hand at being a magician!

…CSI investigators,

…burger joint chefs,

…getting a college degree.

As part of College education, dabble in IT,

and project work! (They were training to be architects!)

The boy tried his hand at being a producer,

…a surgeon,

…a courier boy,

…a pump attendant,

and the girl gave it a shot at being a radio deejay!

We also went to try the food at this Forest Gump franchise,

…played in these gigantic balls afloat in water,

…ate lotsa food,

…did lotsa shopping,

…admired beautiful fountains,

and made momentos for the trip!

Sand art in a bottle!

The last week of June we hopped onto Star Cruise for a 4D3N trip to Penang and Phuket, another post on that perhaps! and what do ya know! It’s going to be the Dec hols soon! Stay tuned to where we would be heading tooooooooo again!