Mother’s Day Weekend 2014

The Thursday before Mother’s Day Ellie had her first over night field trip to the Dairy Farm Adventure Center here in Singapore. It was only about 20 min from their school but they went on a bus and had to have everything for camping out overnight.  There were dorms for them to sleep in but no cots or beds just wooden floors.  Lots of “risk taking” adventures were had and she made it home Friday afternoon full of stories.  The only down point was the rain and thunderstorms caused a few activities to be cut short so instead of doing four things Ellie was only able to do one.

While Ellie was risk taking I was at Sadie’s school for a Mother’s Day celebration.  The kiddos sung to us in Chinese and in English presented us with a paper rose, a necklace they made and a picture they drew of us.

Saturday was spent with Ellie at a birthday party at Snow CIty sledding and Ken, Sadie and I enjoying the Chinese Gardens and the Live Turtle Museum.

Sunday was a beautiful day in every sense of the word.  It started with me sleeping in until 7:45 and then getting up and going to breakfast. Ken found a very neat French bakery and cafe not far from us.  We had a lovely breakfast at Choupinette complete with French toast and chocolate donuts.

After breakfast we went to Sentosa to Palawan Beach.  We hung out at the Bora Bora Beach Club, laid on beach chairs, had frosty tropical drinks, played in the sand and surf and just enjoyed being together.

Late afternoon,  sun kissed and high on vitamin D,  we went to friends for Mother’s Day drinks and socializing.

It was pretty much a prefect Mother’s Day.  I’m a very lucky lady and I couldn’t have asked for more from my two girls and husband.

YUM

I had heard that Jaime Oliver had a restaurant here in Singapore but had yet to try it.  I think he is a pretty interesting and cool person with recipes that aren’t extremely hard do do.

So last weekend we decided to finally give Jaime’s Italian at Vivocity a try.  It was truly worth the wait. The food from start to finish was so good.  The atmosphere was also very interesting. Laid back but still nice with very cool lighting and tables.  It was right on the water so the view of Sentosa was amazing. There were neat added features like a view finders for the kids that had pictures of the kids meals on it and planks of meats and desserts.

I had truffle pasta that I didn’t want to end and even the kiddos pastas were amazing.

We will for sure be going back for more.

After dinner we went for a stroll along the Sentosa Boardwalk to help walk off our dinner, enjoy the stalls of shopping and the sunset.

Sometimes living in Singapore is like being on vacation.  Wonderful places to eat and views for a evening stroll.

Tulipmania

My favorite flower of all time is the Tulip. The many different colors the beautiful smell.  I love that they have a season when they bloom.  Its like you can’t take them for granted because soon they will be gone.  The stems seem so thick and sturdy but if you don’t treat them well they will droop.  I had them in my wedding and Ken and I did a babymoon  to the Keukenhof when we lived in England right before Ellie was born to see the tulip fields in all their glory.

When I found out that Gardens By The Bay was doing a tulipmania with more than 50,000 tulip bulbs so excited.

I made everyone pack into the car to go see the splendor.  We started the adventure with Satay by the Bay. 

We filled our bellies before the visual feast. Then walked over to the Flower Dome.

There were arts and craft tables before we entered the Flower Dome where the girls made paper windmills.

The first thing that hit you when you entered the flower dome was the smell.  The perfume of 50,000 tulips is beautiful and unforgettable. Then you actually see it.  The site is truly  breathtaking. The colors and textures almost over whelming.

I was in my glory and could have stayed there all day even with all the crazy crowds.

I’m so glad we are luckily enough to live in a city that once a year imports tulips half way around the world so that Asia can enjoy the splendor of tulip season.  Sigh…

Neko Case

Ken and I were given tickets to the Singapore Symphony a few months back.  We were so impressed with them as well as the space where they performed in the Esplanade.  In true Singapore fashion it is amazing. On the way out of the hall,  we saw a poster for the Mosaic Music Festival that would be there in March.  We glanced at who would be there and quickly did a double take, the headliner was Neko Case.

You might recognize the name as a member of the group the New Pornographers but in the past few years she has made a name for herself as an amazing solo artist as well. We have all of her solo albums and they are on heavy rotation around here.  Ellie loves everything about her.  Loves her voice and her whole look and style.  Ellie’s favorite song by her is hard to say but I know Deep Red Bells is right at the top of her list.

As soon as we got home that night, we were getting tickets for us all to see the show.  The girls were so excited, especially Ellie, to see her in concert.

She didn’t disappoint playing a full set and even some requests she sounded amazing!  I’m so glad the girls love music and going to concerts as much as their Dad and I do.

IMG_4973 IMG_4974 IMG_4976Ellie even scored her guitar pick!  It was such a great night with amazing music.  Thank you Neko Case for really delivering!

The Dengue done got us

From my travels to India, I had heard of Dengue fever.  I wasn’t really sure what it was but I knew you got it from a mosquito bite like malaria and that I didn’t want to get it, ever. That was about the extent of my knowledge.

The middle of December Ken and I got a full education on Dengue fever the bad way.  We both got it.

We have seen posters all around the island on how to help prevent the spread of Dengue.  They are on buses and billboards everywhere.  I have read about not allowing standing water and to be careful of plants. I have seen all of those things, heard of sites you can visit to seen where confirmed cases where on the island but didn’t really think it would get us.  We used bug spray if we went out in the evening and we are on the fifth floor of our complex and have many little lizards who live around our flat so we rarely see bugs or mosquitoes.

What we learned is that there is only one type of mosquito Aedes mosquito-that carries dengue.  It is only carried by the female and she has to have bitten someone with dengue to pass it on to someone else.  The thing is they only bite during the day.  Usually within a couple of hours of sun rise and dusk.  So evening we are usually prepared but not sunrise.  We really hadn’t thought of that one.  The other thing is that it can take 7-14 days to show up after you are bit.  Many times the bite is long gone so you aren’t even sure when it happened.

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The middle of December Ken woke up with a high fever, a horrible headache, and all over ache.  We were a bit worried and sent him to the doctor and was told that they thought he had picked up some sort of bug while he was on business the week before in Jakarta.  His fever remained and so did the pain so after two days we took him back.  It was recommend he go to the emergency room to be tested for malaria.  After testing he was confirmed with Dengue or break bone fever.  He had the fever and the aches and pains but didn’t develop the rash that many get that’s why dengue wasn’t the first thing the doctor thought.

Everyone can have a few different ailments with Dengue.  The fever is there, some cases more serve and lasts longer, tummy upset, the pain is intense (you feel as if your bones are actually breaking), rash, headache.  The other thing it effects is your blood platelets and that’s the thing they look at when you go to the doctors.

One of the big problems with Dengue is there is no vaccine and no antibotic.  The only thing you can have is pain killers and rest to bring your platelet count back up.  They even have to watch what they give you because anything that effects your blood you can’t take. So you lay there in pain and misery knowing that the worse of it takes 7-10 days till you feel half way normal.  It really is miserable.

Ken suffered for five days (his platelet count dropped very low) when I started with the fever.  Since you can’t catch it from another person directly, we hadn’t been worried the girls or I would get it.  Apparently we were both bitten around the same time but mine took longer to come out. Luckily Ken was well on the way to recovery by the time I started.  Boy did I start.  I got it all.  The super high fever that lasted for days, the rash that looked as if I had been burned even on my hands and feet, the upset tummy, the pain all of it.  My platelets didn’t fall as much as Ken’s but my symptoms were so much worse.  In fact, I wasn’t able to fly back with Ken and the girls for Christmas.  I had to wait four days before I could follow but luckily made before Christmas day.

Now that we have had it we do have a little immunity towards that strand but there are four different strands of dengue and we can get any of the other three and have been told the symptoms would be much worse the next time.

I can honestly say it was the most miserable sickness I have ever had, one I wouldn’t wish on anyone, ever. We are both much better now with a little lingering tiredness and aches but so much better.

So spray up and protect yourselves out there especially if you are anywhere near a dengue area!

Turning into Foodies

One of the many things Singapore is know for is it’s food.  Lots of it and lots of different kinds.  In the last two weeks we have experienced two new food adventures.

The first was Fatboy’s Burger Bar (at Pasir Panjang).  It’s a build your own burger bar.  You choose what bread, meat, fixings with all the regular things like cheese, onion, mushrooms as well as a few strange things like nutella, peanut butter, and bananas.

It’s been awhile since we have all had a big fat burger so it was fun to chop into one.  The mix and spices in the meat itself was a bit different, not your traditional American burger, but it was family friendly, the girls liked it with Ellie giving it a two thumbs up.  Not too bad for a Singapore burger joint.

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Our second adventure was Slappy Cakes at the Grand Stand / Turf City.  The Grand Stand is a converted dog racing park.  It’s very interesting.  Inside you forget that you are in a racing stadium.  There are lots of food counters, coffee and tea, wine and beer shops and places to sit to eat.  Neat little shops to explore.  Then you walk outside and there is the track and stadiums.  The center green is now used to football matches and you can still sit in the stands.  It’s a really neat place to walk around and visit.

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Now back to the real reason we went there – SLAPPY CAKES, a make your own pancake place.  Really?!?!?  What more can you ask for? You get to choose your batter and fillings and then actually make your own pancakes at your table.  As big or as small, whatever shape you want with as much stuff as you can imagine in them.  Ahhh heaven.  The girls and I went with traditional buttermilk but Ken went with zucchini batter.  All of it was yummy and so much fun.

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It was so much fun and I know we will be going back for more.

 

It’s here

A little slice of heaven in my mouth.

One of the things I have been missing are little tastes of home.  While we were down on Orchard Road the other day doing some shopping, look what I found! Krispy Kreme! In Singapore!!!!

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It’s only been open since the beginning of October and the line is crazy if you just want to buy single donuts.  If you buy a dozen, it’s only a 5-10 min wait so, we had no choice but to spring for a dozen, right?

A Mystical Picnic

Last Saturday we headed down to West Coast park for a really fun event.  The tickets where $40 per family but somehow I entered a contest and won free tickets.  The fact that it was so close to home was an added bonus.  The girls dressed up and actually kept the dress up dresses on for about a hour before they got too hot.

There was a picnic basket with a few treats handed to you when you first checked in, but we brought our own stuff to add to it.  There was live music as well as dance and acting shows. It was all free once you had tickets.

Loads of stalls with cotton candy and balloons but the by far the girls favorite was the “Unicorn” rides.  The only problem was that the line that didn’t seem really long was in fact a 2 1/2 hour wait.  Which I did, with a smile on my face most of the time, while the girls ran around and had fun dancing and watching the entertainment.  At the end of the wait the sun had set but the girls still say it was worth it to ride the unicorns (which Sadie whispered to me were actually horses and ponies with horns tied on their fore heads).

Nothing like a high five from a fairy

Nothing like a high five from one fairy to another

Another one of the park fairies

Another one of the park fairies

Ellie catching bubles

Ellie catching bubbles

Ken chillin' and Sadie doing no one knows what

Ken chillin’ and Sadie doing no one knows what

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Cotton Candy

Cotton Candy

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Unicormn rides

Unicorn rides

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They even talked Sadie into letting go

They even talked Sadie into letting go

Things I miss and the not so much

The first question get asked is “How are you all settling into life in Singapore?” The second is often” Are you missing anything?”

The second is much easier to answer.

I miss:

My family and friends

Target, T.J. Maxx/ Marshals, Jo Ann’s/ Micheals

Crystal light

Fall – the smell, crunch and colors

Pumpkin patches, pumpkin hunting, pumpkin lattes, pretty much pumpkin everything

A cool crisp night- the weather is never different always the same so it’s hard to track the passage of time

Rain storms that actually make the day feel cooler and better not steamer and hotter

Being able to jump in a car to go where you want to go and not relay on buses and cabs

Shopping for clothes where ever I want and not just the few shops that carry over a size 3.

What I don’t miss:

Raking leaves and shoveling snow

Cold weather

Driving

This is just the beginning of the list I’m sure it will grow and grow…

 

 

I Want To Go There – or at least that school

When we were looking at school for Ellie, one of the things we were looking for was an international school that taught with the International Baccalaureate – IB Program.  Most of the international schools here use it.  I liked the concept of teaching to learn instead of teaching so that the children can pass standard tests.

That said it has been a bit of an adjustment for all of us.  In an IB program the children drive the learning.  They do more hands on and fun things to learn and don’t really have lots of tests or homework.  This is all very different coming from the States.

Ellie has already done some interesting things.  She has studied the way the brain learns and for that unit they learned a dance, first by being told, then by being shown and then by both ways.  They discussed that different people learn different ways.  This is what it looks like when a bunch of 3rd and 4th years feel this moment and learn.

They started a unit on explorers and they dressed like pirates and went to Sentosa on their first field trip to explore, make home made compasses and lets face it play at the Port of Lost Wonder water park.

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They have also celebrated Roald Dahl Day.  Since they were reading Charlie and the Chocolate factory, they all dress up like characters from the book.  They also found out what they needed, ordered and cooked things to have a chocolate shop in their classroom.  On Friday the 13th – Roald Dahl day- they sold all of their goodies to the other classes.  Ellie decided she wanted to be Veruca Salt so I did my best to complete the outfit, the attitude was all Ellie.

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We are still adjusting to this new way of learning.  Ellie loves it and I do believe she is learning and exploring in a whole new way.  If I am truthful, I wish I could have gone to a school like this…