Learning fun with Fiddle & Doodle

[Review]

We first chanced upon Fiddle & Doodle several months back when I was looking for educational material to enhance the Bub’s learning journey at home. I don’t think I would call myself a Tiger Mom. I don’t need her to be constantly learning for I believe that she already spends majority of the week in school. Weekends and public holidays are meant more for play. But play can also be purposeful; to instill a sense of curiosity and creativity when the child explore play.

I am guilty of not letting the Bub play more for sometimes when I’m just too tired to come up with exciting, fun ways to entertain her, I cop-out and reach out for the remote control knowing that her fave cartoons on television will definitely keep her occupied. So I guess my search on the educational and fun material for the Bub is my way of spending time with her as I help her navigate the different activities.

Ada from Fiddle & Doodle sent us their newly launched Match and Learn puzzles as well as their popular Dabber Dot Markers Starter Kit. The little one could not wait to get started immediately on her new learning toys. I was excited to receive these items from Fiddle & Doodle and I had to deliberately hide them from her for the moment she sees them, she would badger me to allow her to open her “present”.

Carved out some time over the National Day holiday for her to play with her new learning toys. First up, the Dabber Dot Markers Starter Kit comes with a box of Dabber Dot Markers as well as an activity pad with over 30 activity sheets consisting of alphabets, numbers and colouring fun.

The markers come in a set of eight bold and vibrant colours for toddlers to identify the different primary colours. Love that they are ergonomically designed for the little hands. What’s good to also know is that these markers are certified non-toxic and safe for use on little one’s hands and skin. She got some of the ink transferred on her little fingers when she was enthusiastic about

The Bub has not fully mastered the grip of holding a pencil/ crayon tightly so to interest her in writing (which will come next in her developmental milestone), these ergonomically designed markers set the stage to allow her to recognise the letter/ number as well as the association with the alphabet.

We turn the dabbing of the dots into a little game where I would dot a circle with a marker and the Bub dot another circle with the same marker or another marker of her choice. We dab the dot “gently” and it would leave a light mark or with a “loud thud” on the paper where a splatter of colour would show up on the paper. We turn the dabbing of dots into a fun game where I try my best to introduce other adjectives into her vocabulary. Most of the time, we managed to complete one activity sheet before the Bub flips the rest of the book to choose another letter. Her attention span is still very short. I wonder what other activities I can do at home to get her to stay still longer. Any advice?

Ada also sent over their latest item under Fiddle & Doodle which is the Match and Learn Self Correcting Puzzles. It was timely for the Bub showed a sudden interest in doing puzzles. To be honest, I was worried when some of our friend’s kids of her age could already do up an entire puzzle (between 24 – 48 pieces) on their own. We have a couple of puzzles that we received as gifts and that I had bulk-purchased but she wasn’t interested in sitting down to complete a puzzle on her own. One day when I came into our room and saw the Bub sitting down with the Man doing a puzzle, I was kind of surprised. The Man later told me that his little girl actually helped with putting the puzzle together and could even identify which pieces to stick together with some help from the father. I was surprised to learn this.

The Match and Learn Self Correcting Puzzles are designed to help pre-schoolers in alphabet recognition. Each set of puzzle card features an uppercase alphabet, a pic of an object that begins with the alphabet and the lowercase of the alphabet. The set also comes with six sets of blank jigsaw cards and over 45 stickers for Bub to personalise her alphabet learning journey. I’m keeping the stickers away from her for now as I prefer to focus one thing at a time if I can help it.

As to how we put the puzzle cards together? I basically poured out the contents of the puzzles from the box, jumbled them up and picked up a picture card first to show the Bub. Once she identified the object, I will tell her what letter the object is spelt with and we will attempt to find the letter.

The Bub is able to recognise majority of the letters in the alphabet but it is quite challenging for her to rummage through the puzzles to look for the particular alphabet so I do help her along.

Thanks Fiddle & Doodle for sending these items to us. As a Mom who is often on the look-out for toys that incorporate education and play, these items are just the right tools to do that. Grateful that the Bub actually spent 40 minutes playing with the dabber dots on the activity sheets as well as some of the puzzles and that to me is quality time well-spent.

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There’s no expiry date for the coupon code but this code is applicable for one-time usage only per customer.

Note : We received the above-mentioned products from Fiddle and Doodle for a review on this blog. No additional monetary rewards were given.  All views expressed are purely of my own and written according to my experience in using this product. Any queries on the product  should be verified with the manufacturer, provider or party in question.

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Show and tell: Caring for your teeth

This post is super overdue but I thought it would still be nice to share as a fun craft project that you can do with your child when it comes to getting the young ones to pay attention on caring for their teeth.

Let me tell you, it ain’t easy at all. We started the Bub on brushing of her teeth when she was about one but we are still not very diligent about brushing of her teeth in the morning when she wakes up and the no milk rule after she has brushed her teeth in the night. Maybe we are not ‘strict’ enough when it comes to enforcing rules.

The school does a good job of introducing proper dental hygiene as part of their learning journey. This is usually coupled with craft work, story-reading and of course, getting the child to actually brush their teeth after their meals in school. Ending the month-long feature on dental hygiene would be a home project that parents should work with their child to showcase why proper dental habbits are important.

Well, the topic was hard and I was kind of scratching my head, wondering how we will be able to pull this off. But a quick trip to Daiso with my fellow Mama pal, Libby, one evening sorted my dilemma.

I got these sponges that resembled pink healthy gums and the mouth as well as black/ white glass tiles that I stuck on the sponge using craft glue. I would say apply a generous layer of craft glue on the sponges and then leave it overnight for the glue to dry.

To show the difference between a set of healthy teeth and a set of “rotten” teeth, I stuck some black glass tiles alongside some white ones on the other side of the sponge also using craft glue.

Before the Bub did her Show-and-Tell segment, we let her watch this particular episode of Storybots “Why do I need to brush my teeth?” (Season 1, Episode 3) where the Storybots travel into a stinky mouth infected by bacteria to showcase the importance of brushing and flossing your teeth. It does help the Bub with adding of some keywords that she could share with her friends during the segment.

Armed with her toothbrush, this was what she did for her segment of Show-and-Tell to her little friends. Her teacher also captured the words/ phrases that she used and it’s nice to see what she could articulate and share:

  • I brush my teeth in the night time
  • Brush teeth.
  • Mummy and Daddy (help) to make it.
  • Barbie doll (referring to toothbrush).
  • Never mind! I brush it (referring to the black spot) away.
  • I need some toothpaste.

 Hope you found this post useful!

What drives you…

We all go through struggles in life. Some smaller, some larger and some just takes a longer time for us to overcome.

Holding dearly to these words as a reminder that I can overcome these struggles. Maybe not today but eventually I will be able to do so.

And it’s actually kind of therapeutic to watch this quote come to life with this letter board from Letter Soiree.

Home-made ice-cream with Bruno Dual Ice-Cream Maker

Took advantage of the National Day holiday to use our new ice-cream maker from the Bruno family. I guess one of the perks of being on the Cote Maison team is testing out the equipment/ appliances before we actually sell them online. My better biz-ness other half, Libby, does more of the heavy-lifting in this area which is good for me as I am totally undomesticated! Haha…

When I told the Bub that we are going to be making ice-cream on Singapore’s birthday, she was beyond thrilled. And just like that, I scored myself a little elf in the kitchen who willingly helped to mix all the ingredients. Well, a girl’s gotta work for her own food (ice-cream in this case).

If you are wondering if it’s going to be difficult to make the ice-cream and whether getting another device would end up being a white elephant in the kitchen. Well, hopefully this post would put your worries to rest. The Bruno Dual Ice-Cream Maker is actually a compact device. Making ice-cream with this is also quite a breeze. The basic ingredients for a vanilla ice-cream only comprises of just four ingredients that are readily available in the supermarket. It’s that simple!

Thought I better list the recipe here (in case I forget us well).

Recipe for Vanilla Ice-cream
Serving size: makes 1 scoop, pls increase proportions for double/ triple scoops of ice-cream

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons of whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons of full cream milk (we use Hokkaido full cream milk)
  • 1 tablespoon of brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla essence

Method:

  1. Before making ice-cream, ensure that you freeze the Bruno ice-cream cups 12 – 18 hours prior in the freezer (ideal temperature between -18 to -20 degree Celsius)
  2. Place ingredients in refrigerator first before mixing. Alternatively, you could mix the ingredients together and then place the mixture into the refrigerator for 15 – 20 minutes to chill the mix.
  3. Set up the Bruno Dual Ice-cream maker. Take chilled mix out of the refrigerator and then take the frozen Bruno jugs out.
  4. Set paddle whisk in the Bruno jugs and then slowly pour in the chilled mix into the jugs.
  5. Wait for 15 – 20 minutes for the ice-cream to be ready. It should be of a soft serve consistency. If you wish for it to be harder, remove the ice-cream from jug, place it into a container and then pop it back into the freezer for another 30 minutes.
  6. As the ice-cream has no preservatives, best to consume it within 3 days.

Some tips we learned:

  • The maximum of liquid in each jug should not be more than 200 ml. Please do not pour more as it will overload the jug.
  • Also important to note that you should turn on the device and then slowly pour in the mixture into the jugs. Do not pour in the mixture prior and then turn on the device as the mixture will ‘pop’ out of the jugs when the air is incorporated during the whisking and the ice-cream expands with insufficient room in the jug.
  • Do not use a metal spoon to scoop ice-cream out of the jug as it will scratch the jug. Use a spatula or a wooden spoon if possible.
  • Once the cup is used, please wash and dry and let the cup return to room temperature before putting it back into the freezer again. Reason being if the cold insulated liquid is not thawed completely and put in the freezer, the cold insoluble liquid may settle hard and the ice cream may not work well.

Okay the pic of the ice-cream sure doesn’t look pretty but it really does taste great. It’s fresh and we are looking at really limited preservatives.

Here’s a short video that we did of how simple it is to operate the Bruno Dual Ice-Cream Maker. Best part? If your child is an ice-cream monster like mine, you can even get your child interested in making his/her very own ice-cream.

Can’t wait to make our next batch of ice-cream and to experiment with other flavours!

Signing off – your Undomestic Goddess:
j0anne

Fresher skin awaits

I first met the youthful-looking Charlene (aka Ms Clak) virtually via Instagram and bumped into her at a couple of events. One thing that really struck me and left a deep impression on me when I scroll her IG feed as well as meeting her face-to-face is her glowing skin. Like seriously, this mom of 2 has really awesome skin that is dewy and glowy. I was super envious! It never really dawned upon to me to ask her beauty secrets, well, it could be her diet, the products she use or maybe she’s just born with really good skin.

I later discovered that it’s a combination of all the factors above and also the regular use of Co2 masks plus skincare from eFresh Singapore that gave her skin this awesome glow. How is it possible that just by using a leave-on gel mask, the effects are that immediate and lasting? But I was willing to try anything to give my skin a much-needed boost. Hey, am inching closer to the big FOUR-ZERO and I am willing to do whatever it takes to shave off a couple of years off my actual age physically. Time is often what I don’t have on hand. I used to be able to indulge in monthly facials and trust me, it does wonders for the skin. My pores are smaller and my skin appearance would look much better after the treatments. But I don’t have the luxury of lying down for a few hours on a monthly basis and apart from my usual daily skincare routine, I was simply too lazy to go the extra mile. The only thing I would possibly try to do if I’m free in the night is to place on a gel mask from Sulwasoo as an added facial boost to my tired skin.

I shared all the above concerns with Charlene and she very kindly offered to send me a box of one of her best-selling products – the Stem Cell Co2 masks to try out. I have to add that there is more work involved in the actual usage of the mask rather than those you can find off-the-shelf which are a lot more convenient for ladies starved of time. But I figured, I needed to try and carve out the time to do this for my skin and I would be able to multi-task after applying the mask so honestly, no big deal.

I had a quick look on the different types of Co2 masks on the eFresh Singapore site and here’s my pick of what I got eventually and the reasons why:

[Premium] Stem Cell Co2 Mask- 5 pieces per box (S$120):

  • The Apple Stem Cell ingredient found in the mask will help accelerate skin cell renewal and reveals newer, more youthful skin.
  • Reduces fine lines; wrinkles with instant effect, improves skin texture.
  • Boosts up collage, restores skin elasticity.
  • Controls the activation of melanin, results in whitening & acne spots diminishing.
  • Acts as a high anti-oxidant, retains skin moisture.
  • Strengthens oxygen circulation of skin cell, improves skin tone.
  • Improves drainage effect, results in skin firmness as well as shapes up face contours.

Though it’s a lot more expensive than the rest of the other types found within the same range ($24 per pack), but I really did see and feel the effects after one usage. As I had a series of events to attend the same weekend, I decided to be a lot more hardworking and apply a mask 3 times in a span of 4 days. Result? My skin looked tighter, pores looked smaller too; and even though I was physically really tired, my skin did not look dull. Instead, it looked hydrated, with a slight glow and that to me is result that the stem cell Co2 mask is indeed working its magic on my skin.

Aqua Co2 Mask- 5 pieces per box (S$80):

  • Attracts and binds water molecules, provides intensive level of hydration to skin.
  • Helps to speed up water permeation to the skin and results in long lasting moisturizing effect up to 24 hours.
  • Ultimately solving the problem of bottom layer of cell and hence achieves the function of skin brightening, revitalizing and restoring.

Used my coupon code to get another box of these masks to alternate between the Stem Cell masks. I have yet to use the mask from this range yet but if you wish to try out the masks but not willing to splurge on the premium range, this might be the range you wish to consider.

Ta-dah, moi with my Stem Cell Co2 mask and waiting it out for 30 to 45 mins. Hope I didn’t scare you! I have to add that the gel in one pack of the mask is actually quite generous. So spread it thick on your face, I use it both on my face and neck. Hey, a woman’s gotta protect your neck too! Very important as those age lines on the neck are irreversible and they tell of a woman’s age.

I’ve done up an amateur instructional video of how to use the mask so please do check it out and follow the steps if you would like to find out more.

SpecialLY for my readers!

Quote “joanne10” and enjoy 10% off your purchase at eFresh Singapore.

Offer valid till 31 August 2017 only so don’t miss out on this deal to try out these amazing masks! I stocked up on two boxes because now that the best kept secret is out on how glowy skin can be achieved, these masks are literally flying off the shelves!

Note : We received a box of Stem Cell Co2 Masks from eFresh Singapore for a review on our Instagram account. No additional monetary rewards were given.  I was not obligated to review this on my blog but I enjoyed using the masks so much and ended up purchasing more on my own accord, so I wanted to do an in-depth review of this. All views expressed are purely of my own and written according to my experience in using this product. Any queries on the product  should be verified with the manufacturer, provider or party in question.

Zipping in and out of Bali

The Man was invited to Bali for a golf trip and other halves were included as part of the invite, so I decided to tag along with him on this quick 3D/2N trip. Of course the hardest part of going on a couple holiday now is leaving the kid behind, but we know that she will be dearly cared for back home and it was nice just to relax and not worry about running after a child while on holiday. Yeah, holidays with kids don’t quite count, in fact, it’s a round-the-clock job when you go on holiday with a child. But we wouldn’t quite give that up yet as the amount of bonding time we get with Bub is priceless.

The Man and I mused about when was the last couple trip we took and it was probably 1.5 years ago when we went on our ski/snowboard holiday for about 1 week sans Bubba. This was a much shorter trip with different agendas – golf for the Man and for me, it’s purely to rest and relax. I’ve been so tired and basically feeling so burnt out that I was really looking forward to doing nothing at all.Our hosts booked us into the very swanky W Hotel situated at Seminyak. The location was perfect, close to several popular eateries, cool cafes and a stone’s throw away from quaint spas (highly recommend Spring Spa – we spent 3 hours doing various treatments there!). My plan of reading, chilling by the pool with a bottle of beer in hand literally went out of the window. I spent more than half the time lying horizontally on the spa bed. Yes, I take my spa massages very seriously! I also spent a couple of hours exploring the different eclectic shops around Seminyak Square. The Man and I certainly did not plan on shopping much but I was pleasantly surprised by the finds and managed to bag home some outfits for both the Bub and myself and two really cute bags that would be perfect for our upcoming Summer vacation in Corsica.

This is a kid’s straw bag with the cutest pom pom bag charm found at Kidsagogo! My new-found fave Australian/ Balinese brand. Prices are slightly more than what you can find from the street stalls but I assure for the price and the quality that you are paying, it’s really worth paying.

I also bagged two super comfy and soft Summer Kaftans for our upcoming Summer vacation. The prints on these were quite fun and I loved the tassel accessory that came with the outfit. The price was even more attractive at about $15 a piece.

On places to eat, our event hosts booked the group for dinner at Merah Putih Restaurant (serving modern fusion Indonesian food) as well as Kudeta during our stay. The food at both places were divine. In fact, we loved Merah Putih loads that we ditched our lunch reservation at Fat Turtle the last day and headed back to the restaurant again. Well, the men in our group were not going to be satisfied with pancakes and lattes.

Speaking of coffee. The coffee culture in Bali has gained quite a stronghold. There were so many cafes (big and small) scattered around Seminyak. Sisterfields, Fat Turtle, Revolver Coffee all came highly recommended by friends. We only managed to fit in a spot of coffee at Revolver Coffee – a hole in the wall joint walking distance from our hotel. It made for a good afternoon break watching the cars go by.

And when the Man played golf, I signed myself up for a mixologist class hosted by the W Hotel as part of our trip. I learned how to make three cocktails that very afternoon. The group that attended the cocktail session was also pretty small but I guess alcohol does loosen people up a little and we started chatted candidly when our lesson ended. All I can say after learning how to make these three cocktails is that I better stick to my day job!

Our trip ended with an All White Summer Party but we obviously didn’t make it past midnight, preferring to retreat back to our hotel to head back to sleep. Yes, sleep is a precious commodity when you become a parent!

The trip wasn’t a specific couple trip per se for we had friends along with us most times but it was a good break from being parents (for a few days). For me, actually it was important for me to recharge, calibrate and to think about what the future holds. I had a lot going on my plate of late and juggling them was challenging. Of course, it’s nice to be able to just sit with the Man and do the things we enjoy very much quietly. We do hold onto our phones tightly too to wait for messages and photo updates from my Mom about what the Bub is doing at home. So thank you Mummy (I know you are reading this) for taking such good care of Sophie when we are away.

Thank you Boo for insisting that I go along the trip and thank you for your many attempts to take nice photos for me! Hehe.. I sure had fun on this short but restful break!

Bedtime convo with the Bub

Last night, I tucked the Bub into bed, laid down beside her, hugged her as she chatted about what happened during the day. She’s getting bigger for sure and her weight on my arm is not something I can probably take much longer, worse when she wriggled around,  adding more weight on to my arm.

Me: Sophie, stop moving please. Mama’s arm hurts.
Bub: Why, Mama?
Me: Cos Mama is old already, I can’t take so much pain these days.
Bub: <whimpers> I don’t want Mama to grow old!

Well, neither do I, Sophie, neither do I.

At that moment when I heard my child say she doesn’t want me to grow old, I wished I had the power to stop time so that she will remain as my little girl as well.

Time indeed is so very precious.