Cleaning where the sun don’t shine

[Sponsored Reivew]

Warning! Reading this post may scare you as it sure scared us after we put the Oven Cleaner from Our Lifestyle Shop to the test.

When Sulin passed me the Oven Cleaner to test and review, I was skeptical. I mean we tried many ways to clean our oven. We’ve googled best ways to clean your oven without chemicals and those tried and tested methods of using vinegar, baking soda and even ammonia did not work. Gosh, I even bought a huge bottle of ammonia once only to have it spilled on me and I went home smelling like a drowned animal. It was not pleasant at all!

I put Oven Cleaner aside for a while because cleaning the oven was not the top of priority in the list of household chores to do. But we do use the oven occasionally when the Man feels like he wants to cook and my poor helper would be the one cleaning the oven up when he’s done with the cooking.

Unfortunately, over the years (almost 5 now), the layer of grease that gets piled up in the oven is really quite disgusting. Yup, you read right, disgusting! No matter how hard we tried to scrub the bits that we could see, nothing would remove the black bits.

So one afternoon, I decided to finally put the Oven Cleaner to the test. I had that 10% of skepticism and wondered if the product would work its magic on our oven.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAInstructions for using the Oven Cleaner:

  1. Pre-heat oven (we set our temperature to about 100 Degree Celsius for about 3-5 minutes).
  2. Thereafter switch off the oven and wait for it to cool slightly.
  3. Spray the Oven Cleaner quite liberally around the oven. [Note: Fumes are quite strong so either cover your nose, wear a mask and make sure your kiddos are not around when you are cleaning out your oven.]
  4. Close oven door, wait for about 20 – 30 minutes.
  5. Clean with damp cloth or kitchen towels. [Note: make sure you wear kitchen gloves when you are cleaning out the oven. Even though the product is said to environmentally friendly, I found that it dried my hands out. Nothing too serious that hand-cream couldn’t resolve.] 
  6. Once you are satisfied with how your clean oven now looks, it’s recommended that you pre-heat the oven again before putting any food in it.

IMG_1330Oven Cleaner when sprayed on surfaces develops immediately into a thick, bubbling foam that penetrates and lifts away black carbon deposits and crusty, baked on food. It is safe to use on any metal kitchen appliance and utensils making it the ideal cleaner for both institutional and home kitchens. Cleans both warm and cold ovens.

IMG_1332Oven Cleaner uses a thick, gel formula to penetrate & lift away baked-on food & carbon deposits from the surface.

IMG_1339You can use Oven Cleaner safely on ovens, stainless steel products and bakeware.

IMG_1347We were all very surprised at how quick and effective Oven Cleaner really is in removing the dirt/ grime/ grease from our stainless steel bakeware.

IMG_1338 Okay, I don’t mean to gross you out, but check out, I mean check out the thick layer of grease that was removed in just a couple of swipes. Minimal effort used in removing the dirt. We don’t have to scrub the surfaces, just a couple of wipes and viola, the dirt is removed. This reminds me of those infor-mericals that you see on TV, yup, the ones that probably got you thinking ‘Can’t be real?’ I’m telling you now, IT IS REAL!

IMG_1348Our almost good as new oven and all it took us was under 1 hour to have this cleaned! Super impressed! In fact, the helper is so pleased with this product that she proceeded to use it on our toaster over which also looked quite dirty on the inside. Now it looks almost as new again.

I’ve put together a short clip on how we used the Oven Cleaner, check it out!🙂

Special offer for readers of Lady J’s Musings:

Enjoy a 5% discount on Oven Cleaner (Usual Price: $42.90) when you use the promo code:ladyjhasacleanover to place your order on Our Lifestyle Shop .  Hurry, hurry for promo will run from 26 August to 25 September 2016.

Like Our Lifestyle Shop’s Facebook page, or follow them on their Instagram or Twitter to find out more about their products and special offers.

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Disclaimer : lady J’s musings received a can of Oven Cleaner from Our Lifestyle Shop to test and review.  No additional monetary rewards were given.  All views expressed are purely of my own and written according to my experience in using the products/services. Any queries on the product  should be verified with the manufacturer, provider or party in question.

Bubba’s play area at 2 years old

The kid came after we moved into our place for about 3 years so she doesn’t have a room to call of her own for now. She’s a permanent resident in our room but we did manage to evict her out of our bed and into her cot for now.

As for a play-area, we converted our guest-room to house most of Bubba’s play stuff. On evenings on weekdays and on weekends, she spends most of her time there. The Man is also a really neat person, so he would either complain that she has too many toys or would tell me to pack her toys neatly. Anyway, regardless on how messy it becomes, her entire play-area must be ‘restored’ to a somewhat neat condition by the time Bubba leaves the play-area to sleep. The Man is strict like that, so we tell Bubba to clean up and pack up her toys before she leaves her room.

Given the somewhat limitations that we have of her play-are, we end up moving her toy furniture around her play-area and I’m finally happy enough with what we have done up. Nothing too fancy but here are some of her favourite toys which are fixtures to her play-area.

The fire-red vintage kitchen set from Kid Kraft. I was lemming a pink set initially but the price-tag on this was rather prohibitive at about S$399 for this whole set. So when the red one went on a sale, I decided to just get it. Colour-wise, the Man was more accepting of this colour as though striking, it would fit the theme of the room without it being overly girly. So we got this for the Bub as her first birthday present. It took a while for her to get used to playing with the set but now she loves playing ‘chef’ in her little kitchen. Her fave past-time is opening those cabinet doors which reveal more pretend food underneath those doors. Even though assembling this whole kitchen took a while but it’s a very sturdy kitchen and we are thankful for that as it can withstand Bubba’s tiny but mighty strength.

For the cooking utensils and pretend food items, we love the ones that we got from Mother Garden. I first got acquainted with the toy brand from Pebsicle even before I had a child. They looked so sweet and cute that I made a mental note that if I were to ever have a girl, I need to get the cooking set from the brand. Looks like my wish came true!

Price-wise, they cost a little more but they are very well-made and sturdy. Just one point, they are made of wood and the paint will get chipped if the child drops the item on the floor repeatedly so that’s to be expected and not a fault of the manufacturer. Other brands to consider for pretend food and groceries are Melissa & Doug as well as Kid Kraft. We just got the Pastel Smoothie Set and the Coffee Machine from Kid Kraft after seeing the set shared by her fellow name-twin (Sophie-Rose / Mama Libby).

I got Bubba a tee-pee previously but the Man rolled his eyes when he saw the item so I ended up giving that away. He eventually settled for this make-shift play tent that I got from qoo10 when he saw the little one having a fun time running in and out of the tent at one of the play-dates that we attended.

This play-tent was not too expensive either and really easy to set-up and keep away when we don’t need it. The Bub loves playing in the play-tent usually either playing hide-and-seek with us or dragging her toys and sometimes us adults inside it. We would make up stories and it’s pretty fascinating to see the Bub’s imagination grow with her make-believe stories when we hide out in the tent.

Of course, it can’t be just any ordinary play-tent. We had ours dressed up with this special name plaque that was gifted by lovely Mama R over at Urban Lil. I chose the phrase as stars always hold a special place in my heart and I wanted to put my own hand-print into the decor so since I can’t dress up her room, will just have to play with the little pieces of toy furniture when I can.

Bubba’s play-room is actually brightly lighted. It was built as mainly a library so we house most of our books there. We kept those built-in furniture of course but added more of her stuff to be featured alongside with it.

She has taken a keen interest in sitting down and quietly either playing with her Play-Doh or puzzles (if she’s in the mood). So we decided to get her a table from Ikea to store her junior writing materials, it will also come in handy for future writing lessons. The easel was a new addition to her play area to encourage her to express herself creatively.

There you have it, our simple playroom for the Bub. This layout probably won’t last very long as this Mama is lemming on another project. More to unfold in time to come!🙂

 

DIY Empathy Booklet

The school has specific themes that they impart to the students every month, from establishing good eating habits, hygiene and then developing a sense of empathy towards others. They also encourage the parents to take the opportunity to reinforce these themes with our child back home which will culminate in an assignment and a show-and-tell by the child to the rest of the class at the end of the month.

img_7598It’s not meant to be stressful for the child nor the parent and the show-and-tell activity is not an elaborate show to put a spotlight on the kid. I’ve not been in one of these sessions personally but from the pictures, the environment looks very encouraging. Bubba simply sits at the table and her little friends will crowd around her while she tells her friends what she’s doing in the pictures (usually prompted by her teacher). We usually get a a summary of what are some of the words she could articulate during the session.

So while surfing online for inspiration on how we should do up Bubba’s empathy poster, I came across this idea on a DIY empathy book recycling your child’s old board book. I took to the idea almost immediately for we had a board book that I didn’t want to give away as it had her name on it but I felt that the Bub had already outgrown the contents of the book. This way, I could keep the book and this also served as a keepsake for the Bub.

DIY Empathy Book

What you will need:

  • An old boardbook
  • Photographs of your child displaying different emotions (we picked Happy, Sad, Thinking, Playful and Surprised)
  • Some tags to display the emotions clearly on the pictures (I had some alphabet stamps and craft paper on hand)
  • Double-sided tape or glue

The board book that I selected had flaps so I stuck Bubba’s photos on the side which had no words along with a tag that displayed the emotion. Using my stamps, I then stamped the emotion on a sticker and then ‘prettified’ it using craft paper and stuck it as a caption for the pictures.

Quite pleased with how the book turned out and with the pictures of Bubba displaying the different emotions! Thank goodness for the many pictures that I snapped of her that really came in handy for this project as well. Phew!

And how did Bubba fare for her show-and-tell for this theme?

img_7597I think she did ok, managed to share with the teacher a couple of phrases as she pointed at the different pictures. That’s not all, she also ended up being slightly distracted by the contents of the book and ended up telling parts of that story as well. Haha!

 

Visiting Hoi An

IMG_7215Hội An is a city on Vietnam’s central coast known for its well-preserved Ancient Town, cut through with canals. The former port city’s melting-pot history is reflected in its architecture, a mix of eras and styles from wooden Chinese shophouses and temples to colorful French colonial buildings, ornate Vietnamese tube houses and the iconic Japanese Covered Bridge with its pagoda.

Well, we couldn’t quite leave Danang without visiting Hoi An also listed as the World UNESCO Heritage Site. The Man booked as a tour which started at 3pm for Hoi An and off in a mini-bus, we scooted off to Hoi An with the troops.

Vehicles are prohibited in Hoi An so most get around by foot. Put on good walking shoes and be prepared to walk the little streets which are steeped in culture and history. Our guide brought us to visit this silk shop which harvested silk-worms for silk products mainly.

The poor Bub had a mild fever earlier in the day so we gave her a dosage of Progesic and it went down so we thought it would be okay for us to make the trip down to Hoi An. Turned out that it was probably best to just stay in. More to come on that.

Hoi An is also famed for its tailoring and as much as I was tempted to tailor some new outfits, I didn’t in the end. But we had fun going through the different materials available for selection and I picked out a little Vietnamese costume for Bubba for fun. Prices here are way more expensive than the little shops that you could find inside the town. So if you have time, do some market research before dishing out your wallet to pay for the item.

img_7452After the short tour, we walked a little further and found ourselves at the start of the village where the real walking started. Bubba was passed round from adult to adult but the Man did most of the heavy-lifting.

It was a really hot day that we went (think the temperature was almost 40 degrees), so we made a quick pit-stop to refuel on some light drinks before walking further.

img_7453Thankful for older friends who can readily helped out to babysit the Bub. We relied quite heavily on the iPad this trip as we wanted to travel light so some of the games are pre-loaded or downloaded in the iPad. Also am on a look-out for  Toddler Games that are educational, so if you have any to recommend, please share them with me. Again, please don’t mom-shame if you are not into using technology, we only resort to this when we travel as we don’t want the Bub to be running around and really to be honest, just need something to keep her occupied while we finish our food and drinks.  

img_7041Well, if you wish to know if Hoi An is ideal for Pokemon hunting. It’s really not too bad. They have gyms and the streets are also Poke stops. The men were pleased with this discovery!

By about 5pm plus, we were all drained out of energy. The heat was really getting into us and poor Bubba was just flustered. But she was still such a trooper. Willing to walk on her own and also to explore the surroundings.

IMG_7035Hats off to this fantastic sibling-duo who really took turns to entertain Bubba when she was feeling bored.

img_7454And thankfully, Bubba warmed up to them so quickly. The short bonding time in Geneva last year did work.🙂

The streets of Hoi An are also peppered with some stalls selling knick-knacks. We stopped at one for Bubba to choose some small toys that will act as pretend food for her dolls in her doll-house before adjourning for a quick dinner at Morning Glory. Again, great Vietnamese fare at Morning Glory. Reservations are highly recommended as the restaurant is often packed. If you wish to escape from the sweltering heat, do ask for a table on the second floor where there is proper air-conditioning.

Okay, now on our dramatic twist of events after our dinner. Bubba’s temperature started to rise at about dinner time and this was when we decided to skip the night market and head home as the effects of her fever medication was probably wearing off. On the walk back to our car, our friend saw Bubba fall backwards despite the Man carrying her. This was when I told the Man to let me carry her and I saw her drooling. I knew something was amiss and I hoped that it wasn’t fits again. During that time, we also called out to Bubba but she felt dead-weight and was not responding to my words.

Alarm bells started ringing! We asked our guide to bring us to the nearest doctor and hoped for the best. On the ride there, I held on to Bubba and asked repeatedly if she was ok. She started nodding subsequently but was too weak to gesture any further. I took note of her lips which thankfully were not blue (unlike her first febrile fits incident).

The doctor was already present in the clinic when we arrived some 5-8 minutes later and checked on Bubba. He assured us that she’s fine and is down with a throat infection that probably was aggravated by the pollution as well as the heat. He told us that it will be best to keep her indoors and keep her hydrated.

IMG_7167So that’s basically what we did for the rest of the trip. Nursing Bubba to health and keeping her fever away. It was really quite scary being sick in a foreign country as her fever of 40 degrees took 1 day to break. We were extremely worried and the Man had wanted to book us the next flight out of Danang but I decided otherwise as I was hoping for the best . Plus, it would take a tow on Bubba’s health if she was running that high a temperature on the flight.

IMG_7155Thankfully, on Day 4, she felt better to be outdoors for a little while and on Day 5, we packed our bags and headed home.

IMG_6660What an eventful trip this has been and how different it was compared to our other trips without a kid. But I’m not complaining for we did create some awesome family moments! Danang for now will be in the adult zone radar till Bubba is much older to be able to enjoy the sun fully.

Getaway to Danang with our BEST pals

IMG_6534BEST friends since 2010 (or rather since we got to know then in Geneva) and it does feel kind of special seeing their little ones become not so little ones and now for them to be part of the family with Bubba around. They only come back to Singapore once a year and their schedules are usually quite tight to meet with family and friends. So we thought it would be nice to catch up on a leisurely pace with a little getaway to Danang. Been meaning to check it out but never quite got to it and I’ve heard good reviews about the place so we were all raring to go.

img_7451Silk Air flys direct to Danang and this was the first time since turning two that we had to pay for Bubba’s seat. For most of the flight, she fared pretty well. We relied on the iPad that was loaded with her fave cartoons and some games to keep her occupied during the 3hr+ flight. That worked pretty well. Downside to travelling with an active toddler is that we don’t get to sleep on the flight as one of us had to literally keep an eye on her throughout the flight and hope that she doesn’t get into any mischief.

The Man chose the Ocean Villas for our stay. Not quite sure what to expect but I was hoping for lots of sun and swim-time in the pool so I spared no expense in prepping all the floats for the big kids and little ones. This huge Unicorn pool float was something I had been looking forward to play with and boy were we all excited when we inflated it. Yup, even Bubba had to join in the excitement. After a short trip to the nearest supermarket to load up on our supplies and groceries, the BESTPokemon Squad was all ready to hit the pool!

IMG_6948We gave ourselves the nick because Pokemon Go! was officially launched in Asia on 6 August and when we managed to download the game in Danang, that became the topic for majority of the trip. Haha… I didn’t quite hit the pool for it was meant to be a quite dip before we head out to dinner. The Bub was thrilled with her new flamingo float and her newfound friends who were all ready to shower the attention on her.

IMG_6558Our first Vietnamese meal was at Madame Lan and it was sooo good! Restaurant was accessible by cab which was approximately a 15 minute ride from our hotel. Reservations are highly recommended even though the seating capacity of the restaurant is rather huge. The last thing you want is to be turned away in a big group and this was what I witnessed when a group of about 8 pax had no reservations.

They have an English menu with pictures so it’s easy to place your meal order. We had so much food the first night from Vietnamese hand-rolls, fried rice, grilled sotong, grilled clams with garlic, grilled prawns, oyster porridge and much more. In fact, we were pretty stuffed that we decided to exercise a little by going round the vicinity after dinner to catch – you guess it! – Pokemon.

Curveballs in parenting

Having a child does throw a curveball in our marriage and if we thought we had it easy, managing a sick toddler can be challenging . Case in point, recently, the Bub was ill and we had to force her to take her antibiotics which she simply refused to do so. We thought how difficult could this powder form of antibiotics that didn’t render any kind of smell nor taste mixed with 20ml of juice be?

Turned out the Bub was way smarter! She obviously knew the mixture was doctored and immediately she clammed her mouth. What would normally take like less than 1 minute of force-feeding her meds took us almost an hour trying to spoon-feed her watered down medication via the syringe. It was simply mind-boggling to say the least.

One evening while we were out dinner, I thought why not mix the antibiotics with watermelon juice and get the Bub to drink it? Again, Bub was ahead of one step and refused to drink the meds. Worse thing about antibiotics is that once you start, you’ve gotta follow-through the course.

So said child was upset, threw a fit in the restaurant and REFUSED to drink her doctored juice. As much as I was exasperated, I knew the best thing we could possibly do is to bring the juice back and then use the syringe to ‘force-feed’ her. The Man, on the other hand, frowned, threw napkin on the table in despair. When I asked ‘What’s wrong?‘ The Man shook his head violently in anger.

Here you go! Child: 1, Parentals: O

This is only the start of what other curveballs Bubba may throw us along the way and well, we all learn to deal with our emotions differently. Openness, having the courage to face challenges and perhaps accepting that you may not always have the upper hand in it all is  also one way to get through parenting. What say you?

If you are wondering whatever happened to the watered down watermelon juice with antibiotics. 15 minutes was what it took and a whole lot of cajoling before Bub drank it (unwillingly, of course).

 

We heart our burgers!

We love our steaks and our burgers so one day, the Man ‘chio’ (asked) me out for lunch on a work-day. Apparently, Burger Joint New York has made its way to our little island and he had wanted to check it out.

img_0599Burger Joint brought back memories of our trip to New York 3 years ago when we first learned that we were pregnant. I felt sick most of the trip with the dreaded morning sickness that plagued most women generally. All I wanted was sinful fries and chips that made me very happy.

This time round, we don’t have to worry about the morning sickness but more of the lunch crowd in general. Located at 115 Amoy Street, the entrance is actually at the back of the restaurant along Gemmill Lane.

The Man ordered the Cheeseburger for me while he went for the Bacon Cheeseburger. We shared a fries and a bottle of sparkling water. The bill came up to nearly $50 if my memory doesn’t fail me. Rather expensive for a simple burger lunch with no additional frills thrown in. Compared with other burger joints, the experience was underwhelming.

img_4912Next, the Man brought me to try the beefburger from The Butchers Club. This was a recent discovery which he went with another friend and he thought the burgers were by far one of the better ones that he has eaten in Singapore as the beef patty is made with aged-dried beef which apparently means less fat in the burger. So expect one really meaty burger that’s protein-packed.

My burger turned out to to be a whopping tower of beef patty adorned with cheese, pulled pork, crispy bacon and onions as a garnish. The Man, feeling famished, went for the double beef patty which was really huge and that suited his raging appetite. As for sides, definitely get the Duck Fat Fries which is good to be shared among 2 people. Trust me, you will want to do that for the burgers served here are rather huge and at some point, I was struggling a little. The cajun fries, on the other hand, I would say give it a miss.

That’s all I have on burgers today. If you have a fab burger place that you love sinking your teeth into, do share this with me.🙂