Thursday, April 18, 2013

Inside-out baked salmon sushi, Octopus paper craft

Bento No. 297
I trained my son to count the notes and coins and learn to pay at the cashier but I did not teach him to shop.  He did one evening whilst I was shopping at Daiso for a mini siew mai tray together.  Just when I was about to leave with empty handed as I could not find any siew mai tray at the Tampines outlet, my boy grapped a packet of transportation foodpicks from the shelves and said "I want to buy this.  I like it, Mommy!".  Using the foodpicks he has chosen, I made inside-out baked salmon sushi roll with cucumber and packed some oranges to go with his lunch.  "Planes on the runway and MRT at the sides." which was my boy's order.

We made a octopus out of coloured paper this morning.  Writing number is still a challenge for my boy.  After he cut the shape of tentacles, I asked him to write the numbers 1 to 8 on each of it. Among which, he wrote the reverse of 2 and 6.  With encouragement, I corrected him.  He then finished the octopus by drawing the mouth, eyes and spots on its tentacles.  It's really easy and a quick craft.  Materials you need :-

  • A4 coloured paper of your choice cut into half
  • Black marker
  • Stick glue

 Hope you like the red octopus!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A Safari theme 5th Birthday @ Art Speaks Studio, Serangoon Gardens

For the last three years, my boy had celebrated his big day in his preschool for convenience and simplicity. However, this year I decided to throw a party at Art Speaks Studio for my son's 5th birthday.  This would be his first birthday bash outside his kindergarten.  It was so apt at his age I thought because he understood the meaning and was able to relate since he had attended a few of his good friends' birthday parties and read numerous story books about it. Another reason was I would like him to 'experience' it since the last big birthday bash was during his first year birthday which apparently he has no impression at all.. Last but not least, he missed some of his old friends from his previous preschool and therefore, I took the opportunity to invite them for gathering and catch up. 
Why I choose Art studio?  I first saw it in one of the Mom's blogger and instantly I knew this was the kind of party I wanted i.e. to give my son and other kids to try on canvas painting besides the usual party flavours.  He has mentioned many times he would like to learn to paint but Papa was not keen to let him go for formal painting lessons.  Hence, I killed two birds with one stone by holding a party in an art studio and also, fullfilling his desire to paint.  So I started to search for different art studios and had shortlisted two i.e. Wow Art Studio at Thomson and Art Speaks Studio at Serangoon Gardens.  Unfortunately, Wow Art studio did not response to my written enquiry, neither did they bother to attend to my queries when I made a call directly.   I was really disappointed and unhappy about it because my request was totally ignored.  On the other hand, the person incharge, Patrick, at the Art Speaks Studio welcomed me to check out the premises before booking. We did on one Sunday afternoon! Patrick even sat down with us to discuss the party details in great length.  Both hubby and son like the place and immediately, we placed a deposit confirming the booking on 7 Apr 2013 from 2 to 4pm.
We took up the party package which comprised of face painting, canvas painting, food, cake-cutting, photo taking and pinata (optional but I paid for it).  I ordered a 1.5kg animal safari theme cake from Smiling Orchid because my baking skill is not up to a standard to make with such elaborate details.  And I heard reviews from other Mommy that their cake is nice and not too sweet.  Best of all, my son loves buttercream and so do I!  It was a perfect cake for the animal safari theme party.  And the children went "ooh" and "aah".  There was shovering and pushing when kids gathered around the cake for the birthday song.  Luckily, the cake remained intact despite a little commotion. 
I was pleased with the decorations and party setup.  They even accomodated my hubby's request to have the owl painting to be displayed in the party. I have selected food like fried mee hoon, fried chicken wings, fishballs and fruit punch for beverage.  The latter tasted really bad (I will not recommend it.  Bring your own.  And I did brought Marigold apple and orange jucie which we kept in their mini fridge.  However, we had forgotten about it when the party started).  My little boy's feedback on the food was good but Granny commented that it was not nice except for the fishball.  Bearing in mind, my boy was not a fussy eater.  He ate almost everything!
Children had a blast at the party; from the quiet moment of animal canvas painting and, singing the birthday song in harmony, to the grand finale of bashing up the blue elephant pinatas where the kids became rowdy after it was being ripped off releasing all the candies/goodies.  At the end of the party, each and every kids were given a goodie bag with a mini-blank canvas, paint pots, a brush and a safari theme eye-mask in addition to individual's animal canvas painting and a group photo.
It was truly a fun-tastic and memorable day. 
Birthday Cake from Smiling Orchid
Party setup
Safari theme party

Elephant Pinatas

Goodie Bags and party flavours

Animal canvas painting - my boy's favourite leopard


Friday, April 12, 2013


Bento No. 296
This was brown rice porridge with a pigeon perched on a broken branch (chinese vegetable - kailan).  The pigeon was made of carrots for its head and wings.  Body was steamed egg with minced meat, eyes and claws were nori.  Brown rice porridge, however, did not has silky smooth and soft texture like white rice. Not his favourite lunch either!  Untill we had consumed all the brown rice, my boy would still has his regular brown rice porridge in his daily menu :P  I like variety for preparation of daily meals.  Therefore, besides brown rice, I also keep stock of long grain rice like the jasmine fragrant rice from Thailand, short grain rice like the Australia calrose rice and red brown rice.
Below was one of the meals I prepared when I did not make any charaben bento -  soba noodles, pan-fried threadfin with egg and blanched broccoli/star carrots.  Plus a bowl of nutritious soup.  Frankly, I have devoted more time for my son to practice his writing skills (hoping to correct any of his reverse or mirror writing) in the morning rather than just concentrate preparing his charaben bento (which I did in the past).  On the other hand, I lacked inspiration too.  
On a lighter note, I could see some improvements in letters/numbers such as a, c, 3 and 5.  Another alphabet he has been struggling lately was 'y'.
I am going to digress a little from here to share one of the hilarious and funny conversation I had with my little man. I told my son that he was borned in the year of Rat according to the Chinese zodiac. He got really angry and rebutted that he was borned in the year of Panda instead.  His reason was he has the same name as the Panda Kai Kai in the Singapore Zoo. ;))

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Birthday cake, balloons

Bento No. 295

My boy's second, third, fourth birthdays were all celebrated in his preschool. His 5th birthday, this year, however, we decided to throw a birthday bash outside the school.  Reason being, his new kindergarten does not allow parents to bring cakes, chocolate or sweets to the school.  My son had a fun-tastic time at his party which I will blog later.  Hence, I made a bento lunch with the same theme - a birthday cake made from tamagoyaki which I added imitation crabstick.  Five candles made from spaghetti and corn kernels.  Grapes for balloons and party animals foodpicks.  He has tuna mayo sushi for his lunch.

Although his new kindergarten has strict rules prohibiting all sort of 'sinful' goodies, his Form (Chinese) and English teachers gave him a little present - a handmade felt puppy.  It was indeed a nice gesture from the teachers.  In fact my boy was expecting it yesterday, 8th April which was his actual birthday.  Apparently, his teachers had forgotten his birthday according to my son.  Together with the rest of the kids whose birthday fell on the same day, they sang the birthday song today. It was never too late and, he was happy and excited to show off the cute puppy.

Birthday gift from teachers 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Cheeky tiger brothers

Bento No. 294

My husband commented that it looked like 'mouse' more than tiger.  These are chicken wraps that I cut into halves, stuffed with pan-fried chicken breast, green pepper, tomatoes, Japanese cucumber and drizzled with honey mustard sauce.  I began to explore new food to add to his daily lunch and chicken wrap was a hit in the house.  Best of all, he ate all the vegetables! Grapes for the ears and nori for the rest of the details.  What do you think?  Mouse or cheeky tigers?  I made a pair as brothers since he often mentioned about his 'imaginary brother'. 

Here is a piece of drawing my boy did in the evening.  His drawing has always been very 'abstract' previously.  We were pleasantly surprised when he showed off his masterpiece to me.  It is a city with tall buildings, a library, a bank, bus, bullet train, swimming pools, toy cars in the playground, boat, garden planted with flowers/oranges, a house for mommy. I think there are many more...which I could not remember :P Mommy has to be more listening and pay attention as he narrated his storyline next time ;)

5 years old drawing

Monday, April 1, 2013

Baby, toy giraffe and balloons

Bento No. 293
Remember I made a batch of dumplings earlier, I pan-fried it today and packed four inside this panda lunchbox together with soba and shanghai green stir-fried with carrot flowers.  I bought the taiwan dumpling skin from NTUC finest which was a lot thicker and chewy in texture.  But I prefer the the lighter and thinner wanton skin.   Here, I made a baby using honey baked ham and seaweed for his hair and facial expression.   Heart shape cutter for the baby's body.  Saturn (space) shape cookie cutter for his big head.  Oval shape cut into half for his chubby feets and freehand cut out the shape of hands. Then, I thinly sliced a piece of carrot and freehand cut out the giraffe's tail, body, neck and head and decorated with nori.  Balloons were none other than the green grapes.

In October last year, I discovered my boy began reverse/backwards writing (mirror image) and had raised my concern with his ex-teachers.  At that time, I was assured it was part of his brain developments.  Todate, after 6 months, he is still having difficulty in writing correctly and even copying it the right way.  Worried and feeling unsettled, I searched the internet for answer to help in his learning process.  And here are some methods I found and had started with him:-

1) Put a sticker at the left hand corner of the page or on each line to remind him where to start
2) If there is a particular letter that often written wrongly for instance c and s, help him to remember c is like a moon and s looks like a snake
3) Tracing using stencils
4) Build the letters with blocks using legos

Hopefully, he would be able to figure out how to write 'S', '3' and '5' eventually.  These are some of the numbers and letters he got confused and would literally tell me he does not know how to write recently.