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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Learning to write ABC with Aqua Doodle

The hubby, knowing that Julien is an ABC fanatic, purchased a new toy for him - the Aqua Doodle from Toys ‘R’ Us.

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Inside this box, there is a doodle mat and a doodle pen.

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^The doodle map with A-Z.

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^Julien focused on writing… Keep up the good work!

With this, Julien is learning to write his ABCs.

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^Julien tracing the alphabets with the doodle pen.

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^The traced letters vs the not-yet-traced letters.

The best part is that Julien can keep on tracing and retracing, doodling and re-doodling on the doodle mat because the ink is actually water!

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This means no more ink stains around in the house!

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^This is the actual state of my sofa! Jensen doodled on it with a REAL pen…

Clean, fun, long-lasting learning… We all love it!

Really glad that Julien is loving his alphabets now. I hope he continues to love learning in every area! :)

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Learning ABC through Leapfrog DVDs

I first stumbled upon Leapfrog last year. I was searching for educational videos for Julien to watch and came across this Letter Factory 4 parter series on youtube.

It was so captivating I actually watched all 4 parts with Julien! He was enjoying it as well because he was swaying and smiling as he watched the youtube videos. We had heard of Leapfrog brand from our friends and relatives who are parents but had not bothered to check it out. After watching it for myself, I got very impressed with it!

The hubby then went to ebay and found some of these second hand DVDs on sale.

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We found a new hobby for Julien. Smile

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Julien loves his ABCs now, thanks to Leapfrog! He even hums or sings some of the alphabets while bathing or playing.

Here’s the youtube video of part 1 of the Letter Factory series. Do take a look!

*This is NOT a paid review for Leapfrog.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Taiwan Day 3: Taipei to Yilan (宜蘭) & Yilan Minsu

Early morning of Taiwan Day 3, we met up with our friends who just arrived from SG to travel out of Taipei to Yilan.

Yes we left half of our luggage in our hotel in Taipei and left for Yilan and Hualien for the next 3 days.

Yilan unlike Taipei, is more rural and a great place to visit for families actually. We took a Kamalan (葛瑪蘭) bus from Taipei Bus Station.

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If you had not eaten breakfast before your journey, fret not. Get yours at the bus station itself. There is a bakery selling a rather wide selection of warm, yummy breads.

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The bus journey was under 2 hours. And a peaceful countryside greeted our eyes as we reached Yilan.

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Upon alighting, we took a cab to our accommodation. Not a hotel but a homestay a.k.a minsu, called Jin Ri Lin B&B. There are really many minsus you can choose from in Yilan. This was recommended by another blogger so we went for it. No regrets!

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Here’s the exterior of our minsu.

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There was a small rather unkempt garden and pool, as well as a windmill built by the minsu owner’s husband!

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I must say the rooms were tidier than the exterior of this minsu. There are couple/honeymoon rooms as well as a family ‘suite’. Different rooms have different theme, carefully designed by the owner herself.

Here was Keith’s sweetheart (HAHA!) themed room.

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Here was our cutesy and flowery room.

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^Bedside decor.

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Toilets were clean and very spacious.

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Even the switches were flowery.

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There is also a balcony in the room.

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Beware of the mosquitoes! The owner provides a mozzie repellent pot and she kindly lent me a lemongrass mozzie repellent lotion during our 2 days 1 night stay there.

And, here’s the best (in my opinion) part of our stay. The scenery outside our room…

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The minsu provides home-cooked breakfast. However, we had wanted to cycle out to the beach nearby to watch the sunrise. The owner offered to bring us out to cycle and to even ‘treat’ us for breakfast outside since she is unable to cook breakfast.

We were so excited we went to test out the bikes in the rental shop next door straight after we put down our luggages.

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^So handsome! ;)

The hubby was supposed to rent this motorized double bike.

HOWEVER, it rained heavily the next morning. What a pity, what a pity! We were greatly disappointed but the nice minsu owner cooked a sumptous breakfast and our moods were lifted. We also striked up a conversation with her husband who was also a very nice man. When he heard we wanted to see the Pacific Ocean, he offered to drive us to the train station (for our trip to Hualien next up) and drop us at the beach to take a look on the way. Awesome!

By the time we reached the beach, it was still drizzling and gloomy but we managed a few pictures.

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^Black sand beach.

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What wonderful fresh air here!

We will definitely bring our family here to Yilan again next time!

I will be blogging about the Dongshan River Water Park and the National Centre of Traditional Arts that we visited in Yilan next.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Day Off

Sometimes, I do feel I work all the time. Don’t you mothers feel this way?

After working hours, it’s work too, looking after the kiddos.

Sometimes I wish I could just do my thing, and not worry about the work in the office or what to cook or think of places to bring the kids.

Today, it was that good day. A day some of my friends decided to come together just to relax, enjoy and do brainless things together.. Like eat and watch tv and play card games... 

And boy was I mighty glad that some of these friends are fantastic cooks! Lunch was whipped up by them!

After some real life episodes from Hell's Kitchen, a sumptuous lunch was finally ready!

^ Japanese cucumber and kim chi salad for starters.

^ Eggplant starters

^ Soya sauced beansprouts.

^ The most natural and healthy dish of the day – greens with lemon dressing.

^ Potato salad with fried egg in honey mustard dressing.

^ Korean pancakes. The ingredients were ham, kim chi and spring onions. To be eaten with Korean red peppers dipping sauce!

^ Minestrone soup.

^ Beef patties made lovingly from scratch!

^ Yummilicious sirloin beef.

Desserts coming up!

^caramelized bananas with rum and raisin ice-cream... Madness!

^ Can you see the satisfaction written all over our faces??

And we ended off with a brainless game of UNO...

It was a good good day for my soul..  Every mummy deserves a day like this. :) Good Friday everyone!