Tuesday, November 29, 2016

ZooMoo December Specials


Previously I shared about how I cope managing the household chores and the children at home using the ZooMoo channel on Starhub Cable Channel 306, the first children's TV Network devoted entirely to the Animal World. You can learn more about this channel by clicking on the link, and best of all, it's doesn't costs you additional money as long as you sign up for Starhub Cable TV since this channel is included in one of its basic pack!


It's school holidays and all the more i depended on quality screen time to help me cope with the children 24 by 7, so I am glad that ZooMoo rolled out some specially curated ZooMoo programmes to get us and the family in the festive mood!

  • POP SAFARI
    (Thursday and Sundays at 1.15pm, 5.15pm and 9.15pm)

    Double your Ninja Gorilla fun in December when ZooMoo brings you Ninja November! Every Saturday you can catch a brand new episode of Pop Fiction with a brand new episode of Pop Safari! See Ninjy use his amazing ninja super powers to twist, turn and shape ballons into animals to help him tell fascinating animal stories and share super fun animal facts. Check out his colourful creations on Ninja November! 
  • LUDOVIC
    (2pm daily; repeats at 6pm, 10pm and 10am)

    In December ZooMoo welcomes Ludovic! Ludovic is a happy, lovable little teddy bear who loves to play with his duck friend Walla and his bear friends Violet and George. Every day they explore the world around them, solving problems and learning exciting new things. Follow their adventures on ZooMoo!

  • THE HIVE SPECIAL CHRISTMAS
    (25 December 2016 at 11am; repeats 3pm, 7pm and 7am)

    Happy Holidays from ZooMoo! Head on down to The Hive for Christmas fun with Buzzbee and friends. ZooMoo has three special Christmas themed episodes to get you in the Christmas spirit: Babee’s First Christmas, The Night Before Christmas and Buzzbee and the Snowbee. Join us for special holiday fun. On ZooMoo!

  • WORLD WATCH CALENDAR COUNTDOWN
    (Premieres Sunday 4 December 2016 at 5pm; repeats throughout December)

    It’s the World Watch Calendar Countdown! Douglas O and Clawdia count down the 12 months of the year, taking a look at what our favourite animals from around the world get up to during all the months of the year. Amazing! Fun! Strange! From beetles that only eat once a year, to a bird that can turn itself into a sun umbrella! A crocodile pool party and a massive sardine feast! The wildlife of the world are a busy bunch and something fascinating is always happening somewhere in the world!


Enjoy and have a great holidays everyone!

More Information
Website: http://asia.zoomoo.tv
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ZooMooAsia

It’s all animals, all the time! ZooMoo's mission is to explore the animal world in ways that are entertaining, interactive and enriching; creating a safe environment to stimulate young minds and bodies. A cast of funny, furry characters help preschoolers develop a knowledge and affection for animals, leading to a lifelong love of conservation. ZooMoo is a collaboration between some of the world’s foremost wildlife filmmakers and world renowned early childhood educationalists from the University of Otago, New Zealand’s premier university. Together, they have created a powerful package: a catalyst for learning that engages both children and their parents.


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Wednesday, November 02, 2016

The Things Little Brother Says

One day, when i was bathing Little Brother...

Me: DD, is your nose for seeing things?

Dd: Noooooooo!!

Me: Then, is your nose for talking?

Dd: Noooooooo!!

Me: Then what is your nose for?

Dd: (without hesitation) for digging!!

(I almost got choke by the candy in my mouth! I was expecting him to give me the correct answer!)

Me: OMG! Ya la! You always dig your nose!! But your nose is for smelling la!!

Dd: ohhhhhh... haha!!

Haha!! Kids! They always say the least expected things! 

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Friday, October 28, 2016

Miki Has Left

[25 December 2000 - September 30 2016]

Received a text on Wednesday morning on 30 Sept that Miki has passed away.

I had adopted Miki, a silky terrier, when he was 2+ years old.

I couldn't remember when I brought him home, except for the year 2003, until my mum reminded me. It was my 21st birthday and I brought him home one night, a few days past my birthday. It's quite funny now I think about it, I wasn't exactly a dog lover. And I didn't wish to have a dog when i was young too. But other than fate, I don't know which is a better reason to explain why I simply badly wanted to adopt Miki.

His previous owner had two silky terriers (a male and female), and together, Miki and Miko became parents twice too. It's fate that made me choose to adopt Miki and Miko was given to a pet shop. My father doesn't even allow me to bring home one dog, so I didn't even think of adopting two at the same time.

Prior to bringing Miki home, i was diligently printing pictures of a silky terrier off the internet and wrote letters to my father about why it will be great and wonderful to adopt Miki. I even told him this will be the best 21st birthday present I can have. I must be quite insanely bend on bringing Miki home that time. I remembered waking up in the mornings and seeing the letters & pictures torn and thrown into the bin. -_-"" haha.

But i still wilfully brought him home one night. I didn't expect him to be so smelly and i was frantically asking around my friends if i can get some dog shampoo from them, so that I can wash away his smell. Then i was sleeping in the living room with him and waiting for my dad to come home from his midnight taxi shift. I was so afraid that he might throw me and the dog out but was surprised my dad gave me one killer stare and then told me to return to my room to sleep! :D

That's the beginning of our journey with Miki and how he became a part of our family.. Thank you Miki. Thank you for the past 13+ years with us, thank you for being a healthy and fuss free dog.

Our fate together has ended today, but I know we will meet again someday. I can only shed happy tears, knowing that you are peacefully gone. And that everyone of us went to send you off, including my father.

Sister and I were googling for pet cremation services but there were not much reviews available. Basically we only read some bad reviews online with almost every single provided. I guess people only write when they want to complain, and we always keep quiet when we received expected good service? Sister and I were saddened and lost.

Eventually we went for Tenguko Pet Cremation Service because

  1. They only provide single and private pet cremation service.
    We really like the fact that they only provide single & private pet cremation service. There are no other options available like mass cremation. This goes to show that they have the same philosophy as us, to treat our pet like our own family member and with respect even after his passing.
  2. They offer sea scattering service
    While I am not sure if other providers can offer sea scattering of the pet's ashes. This is the only provider that stated they can help us to do it at no extra charges. Sea scattering is scheduled once or twice a month and we can choose to tag along the boat ride with them (at an additional cost of S$30/pax) to do the scattering ourselves.
    Do note that Singapore has laws in place for sea scattering, one cannot do it anywhere we like, but only in the designated sea areas by the NEA


While they offer pick up service, we chose to bring Miki to the cremation centre ourselves. I was very impressed when I got there.  It was not what we expected, having read about this complain online. We were lead to a wooden hut with private room. A man took Miki away from us while we wait in a waiting area. Then, he opened the door and lead us into the private room.



By then, Miki was already lying down peacefully with white roses surrounding him. We were left in the room with Miki for some private moments. We scattered and surround Miki with more flowers that we bought ourselves prior to bringing him to the cremation centre. An assistant came in to chat with us, and she asked our religion for she can help us to turn on some music for playing in the background. We opted for Buddhist mantra to send Miki off to the better place.



After 30 minutes or so, the assistant came in again. This time, we are ready to send Miki off. A blind in the room was rolled up to reveal the cremation chamber, we stood around and a man pushed the big metal bed that Miki was on into the cremation chamber. The female assistant explained to us that the door will open the other side and miki will be further push over to the other side for cremation. Then the blind was rolled down and we left this room to go back to the waiting area.



The assistant explained to us that total time needed is 1.5 hours. 1 hour for cremation and 30 minutes for cooling. She also explained that this is a new cremation technology from japan, using gas instead of kerosene, so it will burn better and faster. We then settle the administrative and payment. As we opt for sea scattering, so she also told us when was the next sea scattering date.

I then left, as I need to fetch Big Brother from school and Sister sent me the photo of miki remains. It was put in a cloth bag so that it will be easier for sea scattering when the time come. And my sister went for the sea scattering service to personally send Miki away to the greater horizon. I am glad we were able to send Miki off dignifiedly for he is a family to us.

When i had adopted Miki, it never crossed my mind about his death. I am very thankful for the 13+ years he was with us, he would have turned 16 years old this December! Miki had provided me and my sister much company and love.

Till then, we will meet again!

Love!

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Monday, October 24, 2016

Easy Homecook Recipe: Rice Cooker Pasta

When Hubby started travelling for work again, I was in a depressive state. If you ever tried solo-parenting before, you will know it's so dreaded! There is simply no rest! 

The most difficult thing is to cook! It's too elaborative to cook full meals (3 dishes and 1 soup) for 1 adult, 1 child and 1 toddler right? We are all small eaters some more! And it's so not justifiable to do the washing up!! 

So i started exploring cooking using the rice cooker, and wondered WHY I didn't look into this sooner! The rice cooker is a godsend invention that all Mamas must learn to exploit and use it to our advantage!

Here's sharing an Easy Peasy Rice Cooker Pasta Recipe, that you simply pour everything in, press the button and tadah~ A yummy meal is can be served within 30 minutes! My sons, they didn't know how easy it was to cook this and they always thought that their mummy is a great cook! They said unanimously that this is the best thing eaten! ;p

Yummy and Healthy Pasta served within 30 mins, all done by the rice cooker!

Ingredients Required
  1. 1 Cup Pasta (my kids love the elbow or seashell pasta!) 
  2. 1 Cup water or chicken stock 
  3. Half Cup pasta sauce
  4. Sliced Salmon pieces (or other meat as your desired)
  5. Cut Broccoli or carrots (or other vegetables as desired)
  6. Cut Sausages (or any other ingredients as desired)
  7. Some mozzarella cheese and some parmesan cheese
P/S: The above portion is just nice for my 2 children and myself as we are small eaters. The ratio for cooking this pasta in rice cooker is 1 Cup pasta to 1 Cup water and Half Cup pasta sauce. So increase them accordingly. :) There is enough liquid to cook the pasta and the ingredients (be careful not to put too much ingredients) so do not try to put too much water if not you will get mushy pasta to eat! :) 

Method
  1. Pour in Pasta and water into Rice Cooker
  2. Add and stir in the Pasta Sauce
  3. Add in the rest of the ingredients and stir lightly
  4. Top with some mozzarella cheese
  5. Close the lid of rice cooker and press the cook rice button
  6. Just rest or go about doing other chores!
  7. The pasta is done when the light turns to "Keep Warm"!
  8. Served and top with some parmesan cheese if desired! Enjoy!


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Friday, October 21, 2016

Review: Recording Memories with Ashley Low's Outdoor Photography

Back when we only have one child, we used to take family photo shoots very often, like 3 to 4 times a year? This is because we realised the little one grew so fast! Even though we took a photo shoot every few months, but the photos from each photo shoot revealed how rapidly the boy was growing, his milestones and how our family was evolving! And I love looking through those photos, every pictures reminds me of a moment or stories of Big Brother's younger days! 

A Photo from our photoshoot at Fort Canning, back when Big Brother was the only child

This tradition of ours stopped when Little Brother arrived though. I am guilty to say that since Little Brother was born, we only have two family photo shoots taken and we really don't have many full family portraits. You know how it is like when you have two active boys. :/

Photos from our Studio Photoshoot when Little Brother was 7 months old

We only managed one studio photo shoot when Little Brother was 7 months old and another outdoor photo shoot when Little Brother was 2 years old. And that's when Hubby threw in the white flag and told me he doesn't want anymore photo shoots. :( I admit too, it's physically and mentally very draining after each photography session, especially for outdoor photography. The outdoor photographers that took pictures for us, were usually young men with little experience with children. When we had one child, it was easy for me to distract the boy and attract him to look at the camera. But when we had two, it took much longer for us to have everyone looking or facing the camera! 

So, this year, when I had the opportunity to work together with Ashley Low Photography, I was ecstatic and at the same time worried if Hubby would agree to another family photo shoot again. I pestered and he reluctantly agreed, :D. And I am glad we took on the opportunity! If you are not aware, Ashley's newborn baby photos are amazing! You can see the beautiful newborns photos at their Facebook!

We made an appointment with Ashley Low Photography one month prior to the photography date. We preferred outdoor photography because my children has more room to move and be themselves and I like nature and natural shots than studio photography. Stacey, the Studio's assistant, was helpful in replying my queries and pointed me to the list of outdoor location recommendations for our considerations as well as the preparation guideline for the photoshoot day.  

We settled for a weekday early evening shoot at 5pm and met Ashley Low herself, as well as her assistant, in front of Popeyes at the Punggol Promenade.  It was the first time we have an evening photo shoot, usually we always go for mornings shoot as I was afraid the boys may be cranky and tired by evening time. I also wondered if the sun will go down rather quickly, if there is enough lights for photo taking? Turned out, it was quite a good time. It wasn't too sunny, but we sweated buckets of sweat! So can you imagine how we would have melted (and how cranky the boys will be) if the photo shoot was earlier? 

Luckily, my boys warmed up quickly to Ashley and her photography assistant. I myself had brought along candies and some bubbles for the boys to blow, but I was surprised when Ashley and her assistant had their own barangs for attracting children to the camera! Ashley had a squeaky toy attached to her camera and her assistant was always standing behind her to help us attract the boys' attention. This is the first time Hubby and I heard "Daddy and Mummy! Just look and smiled at the camera! When the boys turned I will snap the picture! Look here! Look here!" I didn't have to "threaten" the boys too much to look at the camera! Haha! ;p 

Ashley's assistant even brought along a bubble machine that blows bubbles! 

For the first time, Hubby & I can relax at a side and not act like clowns to gain the boy's attention. I can even take pictures of the behind the scene! 

I tell you, my boys are very active. I was impressed Ashley even ran together with the boys to take photos of them!

It was the first time I could sit at the side and idle when the photographer was taking pictures of my boys. I used to be acting like a clown, making funny sounds or resort to commanding the boys to look at the camera etc. A photography session should really feels like this!  

I took the below pictures for Little Brother and was feeling worried about how Ashley's photos will turn out, as you can see from my photos. The sun was setting and there was not much light. 


So when i was able to view my photos, my worries were unfounded and I super love the pictures! What do you think? 

Our family shots where Hubby & I only need to look at the camera and Ashley & her assistant will do the rest

I love actions shots like theses too! It's difficult and unnatural to ask a child to pose stiffly ya know? 

My solo shots with my baby boys (they are forever my babies ma!)

I love Little Brother's pictures taken with Hubby too!

Loving their smiles in this photo!

Just to share, Ashley Low Photography also provide products packages where you can turn your photoshoot into prints, canvas, frames or coffee table photo books to keep! The best part, the photo books are fully personalised and designed by Ashley Low Photography and clients can view for approval before printing! That saved me hours of sitting down in front of the laptop late at night to design and print a photo book by myself! Here's a peek at our photo book! 

Our 11x8.5" landscape photobook designed by ALP

Top: The front and back cover
Bottom: I love how the pictures turn out!

I must give credit to Ashley and her assistant! They were by far, the only photographers whom I met that I can leave it totally to them to engage my children! Usually Hubby and I had to act like clowns just to take smiley pictures of our boys. But with Ashley, I will let the pictures do the talking! I SUPER LOVE the pictures of the boys!! And all theses pictures are through interactions with the photographer and her assistant alone!





{Discount Code}

I am happy to share that Ashley is very generous to provide a $50 off discount for any of their photoshoot sessions for Miracule's readers!  

For those who are keen to make your own memories, please contact them directly via Phone: 6702 4252 / 9640 3774 / 9848 8522 or Email to info@ashleylowphotography.com! Remember to quote "Miracule" to get the S$50 discount! 


Note:
  • Ashley Low Photography Outdoor Family photoshoot session starts from S$250. 
  • Additional charges applies for products.
  • This discount s valid until 30th June 2017 only. 
  • Other Terms & Conditions applies. 


About Ashley Low Photography


Ashley Low Photography was started about 5 years ago by Ashley, our photographer. Ashley Low, the only Photographer in Ashley Low Photography (ALP). She started off as a Family Photographer doing loads of outdoor photoshoots for families with babies/children of all ages. Her photoshoots are full of energy and fun. Her shoot involves different combinations of your family for the photos, from entire family to parent with child(ren), siblings, to solo children shots. For outdoor shoot, it will be a location of your choice or we can recommend. Whichever location you like, trust that you will have a great and fun session with Ashley. We also do photography for maternity, newborn and baby (3-12 months old).

Disclaimer: Our family was invited by Ashley Low Photography to try Outdoor Family Session. We were given some edited digital copies and a 11x8.5" coffee table photo book for review purposes. No other form of compensation is involved and all opinions and images are my own, unless otherwise stated. No part is to be copied or reproduced without permission.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Things Little Brother Says

It's been awhile since i last recorded down conversations with my little ones!

This, i had to jot it down, as i didn't expect 3.5 years old Little Brother to reply me like this.

One night, I was cuddling Little Brother in the living room and

Me: DD!!! I love you!!!

Dd: (looks at me ernestly) then do you love me when I am Notti?

Me: (stunned for a moment) ..... what do you think?

Dd: you love me when I am Notti right?

Haha!! Kids! They always say the least expected things! 

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Sunday, October 09, 2016

Easy Homecook Recipe: Clams in Homemade Broth

I love clams, my hubby love clams! Too bad my children do not dare to try clams at all... but there's no reason why I cannot cook it myself to enjoy at home! One thing about having clams outside is, I feel they are usually very overcharged, especially given that they are so easy to prepare! I bet once you started cooking clams yourself, you will not want to pay for it outside ever again! ;p

So the other day I shared on social media the clams that I prepared for dinner and when Angeline asked me for the recipe, i was a little stumped, haha! Because I am really just an amateur lazy cook who only attempt simple dishes (simple as in, minimal cleaning up to do!) Then i think it will be good to share my so simple recipe with others who may be interested to whip up nice to eat dishes in a short time frame, as well as with minimal cleaning up too! (I hate cleaning up oily kitchen!)

The photo of clams in homemade broth (it's without chinese wine)

So here I go, sharing this super simple clams in homemade broth (which you can just add in cooked pasta to turn it into Vongole!)

I have tried to cook it two ways - with just water (it tastes superb!) and another version with chinese wine (and it's tastes good as well too!) You can try alternating for different versions to see which you like better. :)

And here's the version with the chinese wine (it has a slight tinge of bitterness of the wine)

Ingredients Required
  1. Fresh Clams 
    • I always buy mine at Sheng Siong Supermarket, around $4 to $6 will get you quite a big pack!
    • Bring the clams home as soon as you can after you purchased them so that they can be kept alive
    • Add a few teaspoons of salt into a pot of clean water
    • Pour in the clams
    • Cut a piece of aluminium foil and cover the top of the pot, leaving only a small gap. This will help the clams to open and remove the sand in the clams
    • When you are ready to cook, simply rinse and scrub the clams and drain dry for use
  2. Minced Garlic (amount as you desired)
  3. Minced Ginger (amount as you desired)
    • I love ginger so i minced them for more flavor, you can put sliced gingers instead if you do not like to eat ginger
  4. Sliced Chilli Padi (or you can omit)
  5. Some Oil 
    • I used olive oil over low heat because it's less oily ;p
  6. Some oyster sauce
    • I used vegetarian mushroom oyster sauce cause that's what i have in the fridge
  7. Some water or Shao Xing Hua Diao Wine (as desired)
The ingredients and sauces that I used


Method
  1. Heat up some olive oil in a pot, over low heat  
  2. Next, add in minced garlic, ginger and chilli and saute for about 1.5 minutes
  3. Then, add in the oyster sauce and mix well
  4. Add in about a bowl of water (or lesser) and mix well 
    • You can replace this step with the Shao Xing Hua Diao Wine if you desired the chinese wine version
  5. Add in clams and cover the pot
  6. Turn the fire up to medium low and cook for around 3 minutes (or when the clams have all open up if you have more clams). By the way, listen up for the clams opening symphony! ;) 
  7. Turn off the fire
  8. Discard the clams that did not open at all, they are dead long ago and stinks! 
  9. Serve hot and enjoy! 

Hopefully you enjoy this dish as much as we did! :)

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