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.

Easter in Asia

The holidays that are made a big deal are a wee bit different when you live in Asia.  For example, Valentines Day not a big deal, Chinese New Year off the hook.  Easter falls in between.

You get good Friday off of work and can find a few things for Easter baskets.  There was an Easter egg hunt in our complex and many places did special Easter brunches.

The girls awoke to baskets from the Easter bunny (at 5:15 a.m.) and went to the Easter egg hunts.  We had a birthday party in the middle of the day but we did watch a video on Easter and why we celebrate it.  I think our first Asian Easter wasn’t too shabby.

FIVE!!!

On March 30 our Sadie turned 5.  Really?!?  Five!!!  How is she that old already?

We celebrated with a pancake breakfast and party with a few of the friends she has made since we got here.

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She wanted a Frozen party complete with a Frozen themed cake so I did my best and it didn’t turn out half bad.

IMG_0272 IMG_0283 IMG_0286 Not many pictures from the actual party we were all so busy having fun but I think I can say she brought in 5 in style.

 

 

 

First Adventure

The day after we got the car Sadie had teacher work day .  I asked her what she wanted to do and she said go to the beach.  I packed up the CAR and off we went to Sentosa beach!

IMG_4905We played in the water and the sand.

IMG_4908Leave it to Sadie to want to built a volcano with lava flow instead of a castle.

IMG_4909We ate fish and chips on the beach and drank fresh squeezed juice.

IMG_4913I even succeed in backing into my first Singaporean parking place (see previous post)!

IMG_4917All in all a very good first adventure out in the car.

 

Explorers

While we were exploring the A & E of NUH Ken and Sadie were exploring Bukit Timah Nature reserve.

Bukit means hill or mountain and Bukit Timah is the highest point in Singapore.  We have been wanting to go exploring there for awhile and it seemed like a good day for Ken and Sadie to go for a hike.

They had tons of fun looking at plants and trees. They saw some interesting cridders, like a giant ant, and made tree log faces.

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With a leaf as a fan and a stick in her hand, Ken said Sadie ran all the way up the mountain and back.  All in all I would say it was a successful exploration.

Chinese New Year Part I – Sadie’s School

We came home to an explosion of decorations and events for the Lunar / Chinese New Year that rival any I’ve ever seen in the States for Christmas.  It is a huge celebration here in Singapore.

The first big event I got to see was at Sadie’s school. The children were asked to dress in Chinese dress or in the color red.  It was very cool to see all the kiddos all dressed up.

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They had a lion dance that is done this time of year.  There are usually two people that make up each lion and there are loud drums and cymbals to which they perform.  Each movement they make is so life like and actually has a meaning.  It was amazing to see and I loved that my first real lion dance was at Sadie’s school.

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The children all preformed a Chinese New Year song.  Sadie being one of the tallest was in the back row. I was very impressed that they learned the song and motions in only two weeks of school.

They also did a traditional prosperity toss called yusheng or lo hei.  All the vegetables and other ingredients are placed on a platter and everyone uses chop sticks to toss them up and mix them together. The higher you toss them, the more prosperous you will be.  It is a way of getting everyone involved to create the dish together.  Sadie had a blast mixing and eating the dish.

IMG_4537It was a wonderful way to begin our celebrations for the New Year.

Frist day of Kindergarten

We made it back to Singapore just in time for Sadie’s first day of Kindergarten. Singapore local schools follow the January to December format.  In January of the year you turn 5, you start Kindergarten I.

In December, just before returning to the States, Sadie was offered a place at the school in our complex.  It’s a short five minute walk away!  We really liked the school where she was going but it was two bus rides and 30-40 minutes in the morning and afternoon.  The new school seems just as good, follows the local school system, has an hour and a half of Chinese a day and…did I mention is only a 5-MINUTE walk away!  Sadie has an extra hour at home in the morning.  It’s so nice. She was so excited on the first day she ran all the way there.

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Since we didn’t find out until the middle of December, she didn’t have her new uniform for the first two weeks of school.  She does now and she looks so cute in it.

After the first few days excitement wore off it’s been a bit of an adjustment, but she tells me everyday she had a great day at school.

School Fair

Last week Sadie’s school put on a fun fair.  Well actually the sr. kindergarten class put on the fair.  Every year, the sr. kindergarten class is responsible for doing a community help project.  They help organize and run the project to raise money for a cause.  They collect count and give the money every year. Since the school year runs from January to January at Sadie’s school like the public school system here in Singapore the project is usually done in the Fall nearer to the end of the school year.

This year they chose to do a fun fair at the school and the money raised went to help children battling cancer.  When we asked what to expect we were told “oh all the normal fun fair stuff.”  This was funny to us because we had no idea what the normal fun fair stuff really was.

The children had food stalls and arts and crafts they had made and sold.  They manned all the tables and took the money as well.  There was a bounce house, finger nail and face painting, henna tattoos, photo booths and fun games like bowling and ring toss with little prizes to be won.

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Bounce House

Bounce House

Nail painting

Nail painting

Ms. Nadine Sadie's teacher

Ms. Nadine Sadie’s teacher

Sadie getting a Henna tattoo from her teacher Ms. Nadine

Sadie getting a Henna tattoo from her teacher Ms. Nadine

Fun on the playground outside

Fun on the playground outside

Play ground fun

Play ground fun

We had a great time and so did Sadie.  They also raised $1386for the Arc Children’s Centre (in aid of children with cancer or other life-threatening illnesses).  Very impressive for a group of 6 year olds.

 

 

The Night Safrari

Saturday we ventured out to the Singapore Night Safrari.

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It was amazing to say the least.

Ellie wasn't so sure at first

Ellie wasn’t so sure at first

Then she decided to go for it

Then she decided to go for it

 

Sadie walked right up to it

Sadie walked right up to it

Front entrance

Front entrance

 

We started with dinner there at the park.

Mapping out the park at dinner

Mapping out the park at dinner

 

Then watched the Thumbuakar Performance which was very cool the way they spit fire into the air.

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We then checked out the Creatures of the Night show.  This introduced us to a few of the animals in the park and it was fun to see them on stage.

Then came the tram ride.  I wish I could have taken pictures but none of the pictures came out.  They ask for no flash photos because the flashes can scare or even blind the animals.  The tram was so interesting.  You got very close up and personal with many of the animals only the really dangerous – the tigers, lions, elephants had cages, fences or things to keep you away from them.  We saw Hippos and Rhinos and a whole herd of elephants.  We were lucky enough to be there when they fed the tigers.

Most of the pictures turned out like this

Most of the pictures turned out like this

After the tram we walked a few of the trails.  This I think might have been my favorite.  It was so spooky and cool to be walking around at night in the park.  It was so quiet except for the sounds of the animals at night.  Since there are so many trails and there wasn’t a lot of people so we felt like we were the only ones in the park with the animals on parts of the trails.

The girls loved it and it really was an awesome experience.  I’m sure we will be going back there again and again.

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Moon Cake Festival

Not long after we got here we started hearing about the Mid-Autumn moon cake festival.  All of the local bakeries and hotels have there own version of the moon cake and they only make them in September for this festival.  Its like a dense pastry filled with a solid paste made out of many different things like lotus flower and egg yolk.  I always expect them to be sweeter then they actually are.

The moon cake is used to help celebrate the full moon on the 15th day of the 8th month in the Chinese calendar.  This year that day feel on September 19th.  This festival is very important to the Chinese culture.  It is a time to get together and reunite with family and friends, to eat moon cakes, and  to celebrate.

There are many stories including this one about the actual moon cake:

During the Yuan dynasty (A.D.1280-1368) China was ruled by the Mongolian people. Leaders from the preceding Sung dynasty (A.D.960-1280) were unhappy at submitting to foreign rule, and set how to coordinate the rebellion without it being discovered. The leaders of the rebellion, knowing that the Moon Festival was drawing near, ordered the making of special cakes. Backed into each moon cake was a message with the outline of the attack. On the night of the Moon Festival, the rebels successfully attacked and overthrew the government. What followed was the establishment of the Ming dynasty (A.D. 1368-1644). Today, moon cakes are eaten to commemorate this legend.

This one about that explains the importance of the moon:

The time of this story is around 2170 B.C. The earth once had ten suns circling over it, each took its turn to illuminate to the earth. But one day all ten suns appeared together, scorching the earth with their heat. The earth was saved by a strong and tyrannical archer Hou Yi. He succeeded in shooting down nine of the suns. One day, Hou Yi stole the elixir of life from a goddess. However his beautiful wife Chang Er drank the elixir of life in order to save the people from her husband’s tyrannical rule. After drinking it, she found herself floating and flew to the moon. Hou Yi loved his divinely beautiful wife so much, he didn’t shoot down the moon.

(I found these stories and to see more legends please check out this site)

Another important part of the festival is the lighting and carrying of lanterns.

To celebrate this year, both Ellie and Sadie made moon cakes and lanterns at school and discussed the traditions of the festival.  We also gathered up moon cakes and lanterns and headed out looking for the moon.  We made it as far as the 25th floor of the building next door at Kent Vale II.  Unfortunately. it was a cloudy night and we didn’t get to see the full moon but that didn’t stop us from toasting it with our moon cakes.

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