Our Maiden OCBC Cycle 2015

As a mum with a daughter, you would have thought that I wouldn’t know a thing about kissing boo boos on bumps, scrapped knees or cuts and brusies. But turns out that I have a sporty or rather very sporty daughter. After learning how to swim and roller blade last year, little Sophie mastered how to cycle a few months back and traded her balance bike for a bicycle. And of course, all credit goes to her Daddy who’s ever ready to let her try new things.

Seeing how confident she is on her new set of wheels, when the OCBC Cycle event opened for registration, Sophie gamely took up my suggestion to cycle with Daddy in the Mighty Savers Family Ride .

Our Maiden OCBC Cycle event 

This year the OCBC Cycle took place at a new venue – the Singapore Sports Hub, and getting there is so  convenient with the Circle Line just at its’ doorstep.

Thank God we had really fabulous weather that day even though the skies looked a little gray that morning. The flag off for our category was at 10am, so we didn’t have to get up too early and have to deal with grouchy faces. I’m sure parents know what I mean.

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Always time for selfie!

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Another photo spot with the National Stadium backdrop

There was a roaming photographer who asked if we wanted to get a family photo and I never say no to such opportunity since I’m always the one behind the camera. So we posed for a few shots, from happy smiling faces to don’t smile and act cool.

But as you can see, I just can’t do cool at all…

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A family photo for our first OCBC Cycle experience!

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While they nailed the act cool racers look, I completely failed :(

It was time to make our way for the flag off and we followed the directional signs which provided clear directions to the starting point.  By now, the sun was up and hot and I was worried that Sophie will get uncomfortable by the heat as she gets heat rash easily due to her sensitive skin.

I was relieved that the holding area was in a sheltered carpark which showed that the organisers did their planning since such things do often get overlooked.

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Waiting to get flagged off

Before they got flagged off, we heard the MCs reminding the parents not to dismount their bikes or stop to take photos or selfies or even try to attempt to balance their bikes with one hand to take photos.

Of course it sounded like a joke, but some parents who were standing around me said that it really happened in previous years where parents would  rush in front of their child to take photos, causing the kids or those beside them to lose their balance and even get into  accidents. Guess they really added a lot more safety precautions this year.

Another observation I had was that each category kept the participants to a very comfortable number so there is sufficient space for everyone which minimises collisions and accidents which is very assuring to us parents.

For the kids route, they had an easy track and were given 20 minutes to cycle as many rounds as they can. Not the most exciting or scenic route but according to Alexis, it helped to keep the kids focus on their cycling

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One of the mummies who rode beside her kid

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Sporting a very cool helmet

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We spotted Dana and David

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Alexis and Sophie

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And while the MCs kept emphasising that this is NOT a race, there are bound to be some with more fire in the belly trying to  out race the guy next to you (Haha, see the disapproving look from the safety officer in green)

After a whole 20 minutes of non-stop cycling, Sophie got her medal for completing the event! And when I asked if she enjoyed it, she said , “Yes, but so hot!” Well at least she’s truthful about it. Hubby added that while it was just round the track, she did push on and gave it her best. Way to go there!

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That’s my little champ!

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The very proud daddies and their girls

We headed to the carnival after the event where there were food stalls for a little refuel.  Some of the stalls were selling old school snacks like kachang puteh, ding ding candy and kueh tu tu, how nostalgic.

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All snacks were going for 50 cent and sales proceeds went to charity. And being an OCBC 365 credit card holder, all I had was to flash my credit card to enjoy my snacks for free :)

We also went to check out some of the other activities around from games to trial sports sessions.

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Trial with Ready Steady Go Kids

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Before we left, we made sure to pick up our Instagram prints that has been hastagged with #OCBCCycle for the event. These are definitely into my Project Life and scrapbook layouts to remember this fun and special day!

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I’m glad that Sophie enjoyed her first cycling event at the OCBC Cycle with Daddy dearest and it’s always so heart warming to see these two sharing new experiences together. Doing a  common sport is one way where Alexis and Sophie find opportunity to bond and in the process, she also learns that having a healthy lifestyle can be a fun things in itself. And it’s not simply just for this event, but also for the times when he takes her to practice on her bike around the neighbourhood, where they share laughs and sweat together :)

I’m so proud of my little champ and can see that she’s even more confident on her bicycle now. I guess you can call that an #achievementunlocked !

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See you next year at OCBC Cycle 2016? :)

 

 

Krabi with the Family – Hong Islands Tour

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Following my first post on where we stayed during our 5 day vacation in Krabi, here’s Part Two where n our virgin island hopping adventure.

 

Island hopping to Hong Islands

When you think of Krabi, the first MUST DO is no doubt island hopping. Before we left, I did a little research on the island tours available and there are so many options to choose from. There’s Phi Phi island (made famous by the movie, The Beach), Maya beach, Railay Beach, the 4 islands and Hong islands.

We finally settled on Hong Islands as I heard that it’s one of the most pristine islands of Krabi. And most importantly, you wouldn’t get swamps of tourists like they do on Phi Phi and Maya islands. From the forums recommendations, we hunted down this company Barracudas Tour in Ao Nang and located it in a conspicuous corner, a mere 5 minutes from McDonalds.

Our final offer for a longtail boat tour to Hong Islands was 1,300 baht (S$52) for two adults and a child which included lunch, entrance to the National Park, drinking water and snorkeling  gear.

 

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Ao Nang Beach

The next day, we were picked up from the hotel to Ao Nang Beach for the tour at 8:45am. The tour was slated to be from 9-3pm and we slapped on crazy amount of sun block as we didn’t want to get roasted under the sun.

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Can’t wait to go explore Hong Islands

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It’s a good day for island-hopping

It’s supposed to be the Monsoon season in Krabi (August) and we were very lucky that it didn’t rain at all the day we were out!

After a 40 minutes boat ride on our longtail boat, we finally arrived at Hong Island Bay where we were welcomed by the spectacular limestone cliffs at the floating pier that led us to the beach. As we walked on, we came to a sheltered lagoon where the breath taking view completely wowed us and made us felt like we found paradise. The sand was so fine that Sophie’s face lit up as she dug her toes in and wiggled them free again and again. Oh to see such pure joy warms my heart.

After dropping our belongings on a towel on the beach, we jumped right in with our snorkel and was thrilled to see school of fish swimming around us. Thankfully, we were not the only ones embarrassing ourselves silly with excitement as many tourists were also trying to spot them. What’s even more amazing is that you didn’t have to swim too deep to see the fishes and you can see them swimming nonchalently and carefreely around you.

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Where sky and sea collide

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In the sheltered lagoon at Hong Island

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Hong Island

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Oh fishy, fishy, fishy …

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The water here is so clear that you can easily spot the fishes while swimming. There were easily 6,7 species of fishes and the most common species were these yellow and black strip fish above as well as silver fish but they didn’t really turn up well in my photos. And the most incredible was seeing a flying fish leap out of the water that I actually shrieked when I saw it from the corner of my eye causing me to swallow some water!

It was a good idea to bring along Sophie’s arm float as she could float around in the lagoon safely with no danger of currents to worry about. Plus the water here is relatively shallow, so it’s safe for younger kids to explore freely too.

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Kayaks available for rental

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This is pretty much how crowded it got when we were there

At our next destination, Pak Bia island, we spent about 50 minutes there and had our lunch by the beach.

Lunch was a simple fare with plain rice,  stir fried veg, chicken drumlets and stir fried chicken with onions. I was initially worried that Sophie might have problems with the food but she woofed it all down as we took in the sights of the calm waters and clear blue sky before us.

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It wasn’t much to do here and we were tired from all the swimming earlier so we just hung around the beach until we noticed this swing made from a branch. Sophie was initially reluctant to get on it as she was worried that it will give away.

But after seeing a few kids having so much fun, she went on it but quickly asked to be carried down once mummy was done taking photos. Haha, not as brave as I thought she’ll be.

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The last spot were were taken was Lading Island and according to the guide, it’s also call it Paradise Island. In the past, tourist were not allowed on Lading island as it was a swallow nest collectors camp with people living there but now they have opened it up.

And while it’s termed Paradise Island and had the loveliest emerald hue water, I still preferred the first Hong’s Island Bay where it has a much cleaner beach. But it didn’t deter us from going swimming again. I swam out to check out the coral reef but it’s not as spectacular as I imagined but I did see many fishes.
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The speed boat and longtailed boat

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After being under the sun for 6 hours, Sophie was knocked out on the way back. I’m glad that we went ahead with the island tour even though we had our initial reservations on how suitable it would be for Sophie. Turns out our worries were unfound as she enjoyed it so much and she even said, “You know, this is the first time I swim in the sea!” which I think is a first for us too!

And of course, we can finally tick it off our check list as we missed going for any island tours the last time we went to Phukett which was a real pity. I’ve always heard that Krabi’s beaches are the best and now I know why.

 

If you’re planning to go island hopping, don’t forget to pack these essentials along.

  • Sunblock (A MUST)
  • Swim wear
  • Goggles and floats
  • Towel or mat
  • Waterproof pouch for mobile phones
  • Snacks and waterbottle

That’s pretty much what we did on Day 2 in Krabi. Do stay tuned for Part 3, where I’ll share about our elephant trekking experience and all the noteworthy places we ate in Krabi!

 

The Way Back Home by I Theatre {Giveaway}

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You may have read and loved this inter-galactic tale by Oliver Jeffers – now see THE WAY BACK HOME brought to life on stage!

Created and performed by UK company Big Wooden Horse and Theatre Royal Winchester, this heartwarming production with an unlikely friendship between an alien and a boy lost in space is sure to be a hit with families.

 

One day a boy finds a plane in his cupboard.He flies his plane higher and higher until he runs out of petrol and lands on the moon.

He is frightened, lost and alone until a passing friendly Martian lands there too! Who is the strange alien? Can they be friends? And how will they find their way back home?

 

This exciting new production for families and young children has been created by the team behind the hit shows Don’t Let The Pigeon Drive The Bus and The Night Before Christmas

Writer and director Adam Bampton-Smith said: “Oliver Jeffers’ fantastic picture book is perfect for adapting into a live stage version. The story of friendship between the boy and alien is one that everyone can relate to, coupled with those wonderful images which we have incorporated into the stage design.

Way Back Home by Oliver Jeffers Produced by Big Wooden Horse, Adapted by Adam Bampton-Smith. Photos by Stuart Slavicky

Way Back Home by Oliver Jeffers. Photo credited to Stuart Slavicky

Way Back Home by Oliver Jeffers Produced by Big Wooden Horse, Adapted by Adam Bampton-Smith. Photos by Stuart Slavicky

Photo credited to Stuart Slavicky

About The Way Back Home
Date: 12 to 20 September 2015
Venue: Alliance Française Theatre, Sarkies Road
Recommended for: Anyone 3 years old and above
Duration: 50 minutes with no interval

 

Ticket Prices
Standard tickets are priced at S$32 and is available via SISTIC website, SISTIC Hotline (65) 6348 5555 and SISTIC Authorised Agents islandwide.

Way Back Home Giveaway
– – – – – – – -– – – – –  GIVEAWAY FOR A JUGGLING MUM READERS – – – – – – – – – – – –

Thanks to the sponsors, I have 2 sets of tickets to “The Way Back Home” to be won by 2 lucky readers (1 set each).

When: 12th of September Saturday) at 2:30pm

Where: Alliance Française Theatre, Sarkies Road

To qualify for the giveaway, simply follow the steps in the Rafflecopter widget.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Please note:
  • Only readers residing in Singapore is eligible for this giveaway
  • Winners will be notified via email.
  • All false FB accounts will be disqualified from the giveaway
  • Tickets are to be collected by 8 September at I Theatre’s office: 27 Kerbau Road on weekdays from 10am-12pm or 2pm-5pm
  • Winners who wish to purchase additional tickets on the spot will enjoy a 20% discount ($25.60 + $3.00 SISTIC booking fee).

 

Krabi with the family – Our stay at Holiday Inn Resort Krabi

After being away for two girly holidays with my colleagues in Bangkok, it’s finally time for a family holiday. And our travel destination-Krabi, Thailand!

I’ve never been much of a beach vacation traveler and would rather head to cities like Taipei and Hong Kong where there is never a shortage of activities and places to visit. But after we had family holidays to Bali and Phuket last year and the year before, I’m pretty much a convert and like how we can simply kick back and take it easy.

It was the Monsoon season in Krabi (August) when we visited so we were prepared for some rain and even had wet weather plans like our coloring books, games and books. But thankfully, we had fantastic weather on the days that we were out island hopping and elephant trekking, which I will share about in my next post.

But first a post on where we stayed for our family vacation in Krabi.

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Airport to Hotel

Due to the lack of flight on Air Asia to Krabi, we took the 3pm flight and arrived in Krabi at 3:45pm after a 1 hour 45 minutes flight ( Singapore is one hour ahead of Thailand). From the airport, it took us another half an hour to get to our hotel at Holiday Inn Resort Krabi in Ao Nang which you can easily book at the airport for a fixed fee of 600 bhat to Ao Nang.

For those wondering where to stay in Krabi, there are basically two options. If you prefer to be near the beach and intend to do some island hopping, then I’ll recommend staying in Ao Nang. But if you prefer to do more shopping and plan to go to the night markets for shopping and street food, then stay at Krabi Town which is about half an hour drive from Ao Nang.

Holiday Inn Resort Krabi Ao Nang Beach

For us, we opted for Holiday Inn Resort Krabi in Ao Nang and couldn’t ask for a more family friendly hotel as kids get to stay and eat for free.

Situated off the more crowded stretch of Ao Nang, it takes about 10 -15 minutes to walk to the main Ao Nang Beach stretch and a mere 5 minutes by Tuk Tuk (Thailand local taxi service mainly targeted at tourists). Right beside of the resort was the Ao Nang beach front with a pharmacy, 24-hour Family Mart, some eateries and shops conveniently located next door.

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The Holiday Inn Resort Krabi and the nearby amenities

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Main lobby at Holiday Inn Resort Krabi

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Sophie couldn’t resist going on the swing at the reception area.

Accommodation

Check in was prompt and we were ushered to our room, the Premier Garden View room on level 3 (the top level of the hotel) which gave us a vantage point as it overlooked the rest of the resort. Our room was very spacious with a king size bed and the high ceiling made it extra roomy.

The deco had a rustic feel with bare cement screed walls and flooring, accompanied by clean and understated wooden furnishing.

I always like my room  bright and airy, and here we had lots of natural lighting with glass panel sliding doors from the hotel room to the balcony.

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Our room for the next 4 nights – the Premier Garden View room

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Basic toiletries provided by the hotel

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These two were giggling when they checked out the bathroom. And when I entered, I saw them already posing beside the bathtub >.< They sure know mummy well.

Just beside the bath tub is a separate standing shower area as well.

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View of the pool access rooms from our room

If you’re going with kids, you may want to check out out their family suite which is in the newer wing that was renovated back in 2013.

Too bad, we didn’t get a chance to stay in it as it was so popular and were all fully booked. The room at this wing faces the main pool as well as the kids pool area which you can see from the photos below.

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Newer wing that overlooks the main pool

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Another block that overlooks the kids pool

Swimming Pools

Speaking of pools, there are 3 pools on the hotel grounds but we were most impressed by the kids pool that had 4 slides! Now that’s raising the bar to please their little guests!

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Can you spot the 3 slides in this photo?

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Spending time with daddy dearest at the pool

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The children play under the watchful eye of a hotel staff on duty

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Sophie attempting a surfer babe pose!

Going by the shrills of delight as the kids zoom down the water slides,  I bet it must have been super fun and Sophie even attempted a few stunts as she slid down her knees.

Too bad, adults are not allowed on the slides so for me, it’s off to the Island Bar for a piña colda! #mykindofholiday

Beside the pool, there was also a playground and a trampoline for kids to bounce around and expend their boundless energy, while parents can relax by the pool.

 

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Kids and Teens Club

The main draw for staying at the Holiday Inn is their Kids Club. Besides daily program for the kids, they can also watch movies, read or simply have fun with the many toy options available.

And yes, they even have a mini playground within the Kids Club too! You can imagine how hard it was for me to get Sophie out of the kids club to head out for meals.

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Fun with lego and playing dress up

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But my only grouse is that while there are staff at the Kids Club, we find that they didn’t make much effort to engage the children.  Or maybe it’s because they didn’t see the need to since most of the parents were around with their kids. But still I would have liked if they carried out the activity that was stated on the program and interacted with the kids instead of leaving them to their own device.

Dining Options

We had our daily breakfast at InnAsia Restaurant, the main resturant at Holiday Inn on level 2. It boasts a view of the Ao Nang Beach infront of the hotel.  I would say that the offering is pretty decent with both Asian and Western choices, so no complains there.

In fact, hubby said we’re eating more fruits that we usually do, so that’s a BIG plus point :)

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A mascot dropped by at breakfast

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InnAsia also offers themed dining on selected nights and we choose to dine in for their Thai Night on Friday evening. We were hoping to catch the sunset from the restaurant but somehow it was disappointing as Krabi just doesn’t have spectacular sunsets like they do in Bali.

We had local dishes like Thai seafood salad, green curry with beef, deep fried fish with sweet chili sauce, stir fried chicken with cashew nut, mango salad, and many much more. But I was wondering where’s the authentic Thai desserts like mango sticky rice or red ruby?


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We felt totally rejuvenated about our 4 nights here at Holiday Inn Resort Krabi. But of course, we did more than just enjoy the hotel’s facilities as we discovered that Krabi was quite a family friendly travel destination. I’ll be sharing more about the activities we did and food we ate in another post, so do look out for that!

Thanks Holiday Inn Resort Krabi for our wonderful stay!

 

Holiday Inn Resort Krabi Ao Nang Beach
123 Moo3 Ao Nang Beach Muang,
Krabi 81000 Thailand
E-mail: info@holidayinnkrabi.com

 

* A Juggling Mom received a complimentary stay at Holiday Inn Resort Krabi to write this review. No monetary compensation was received. All opinions are honest and are my own..

Time Capsule – Starting a New Birthday Tradition

Being a National Day baby, I always tell Sophie how incredibly blessed she is to have the whole nation celebrate her special day with fireworks. And this year, we certainly spared no expenses to make it a grand one to mark our 50th year of independence with lots of festivities around the celebration.

Since this is such a momentous year, I decided to start a new birthday tradition and make a time capsule for Sophie’s 6th birthday. After all this is our Golden Jubilee and so much of our Nation’s history has been brought up and it’s extra meaningful to include some of these into our time capsule as well.

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Time Capsule for kids

Making a checklist for our Time Capsule

Here’s a list of some of the 10 items that are going into our time capsule to remember the year 2015 and one when Sophie turned 6.

 

1. Front page of the newspapers on Sophie’s birthday

The 9th of August  is an extra significant date for Singapore as we mark our Golden Jubilee. On this date, the Straits Times republished the news from 1965 with the headline “Singapore is out” declaring our separation from Malaysia to be an independent nation that changed the course of our future as a country.

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I also cut out another page from the papers on the transformation of Singapore over the years. Would be interesting to revisit these places in 10, 20 years to see the transformation.

 

2. A mini album of birthday interview questions 

I made this mini album with a few Project Life cards from the Becky Higgins Daydreamer edition. I simply adore how sweet the illustrations are especially the cover with the words, Never Grow Up!

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Sophie filling up the questions I wrote for her that includes her height and weight to see how much she’s grown and some of her favourite things.


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When I grow up, I want to be a …

You can easily google or head over to Pinterest for birthday interview questions if you’re stuck for ideas.

 

3. Photograph of our family

This was taken on our recent staycation over the long Jubilee weekend.

Sophie requested for a staycation and we headed to the far east over to Village Hotel Changi and even got adventurous and took a bum boat to Pulau Ubin. What a great way to discover a different side of Singapore to get a glimpse of what our early Kampong days look like.

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4. Memories from her birthday

I intend to include the deflated My Little Pony and number 6 balloon to remember the birthday theme that she choose for her 6th birthday.

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But boy are these balloons going strong! So I’ll probably wait another 2 weeks or so to include them in.

5. Birthday card 

I used to pen letters to Sophie on the blog like this one last year. But as she grows older, these personal notes to her are better kept off the blog for our privacy as I do want to record her quirks and funny habits for memory sake.

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This year, I  made her a card too and this is definitely going into the time capsule too.

6. Special keepsake from 2015

Since I’m no stamp or coin collector, I didn’t think I would go out and buy a special edition of either that are issued this year.


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But being such a big Hello Kitty fan, we’ll be including this limited edition SG50 Hello Kitty from MacDonalds into the time capsule! Let’s see if she still likes Hello Kitty by the time she’s 16!

7. Sophie’s artwork

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This is a 2-in-1 piece that I added into the time capsule as it is an artwork done by Sophie and at the same time has her hand prints so we can see how much she’s grown over the years.

 

8. EZ Link card

Since this is the last year that she’ll be using the pre-schooler’s EZ link card, I thought it would be nice to include it into the time capsule when the year ends.

A reminder that she’ll be going to Primary one and needs to start paying for child fare. 😛

9. Travel memories of 2015

This year, instead of travelling out the country, we mostly did staycations as a family.

But very glad that we’ll be jetting off for more holidays in the second half of the year to Krabi (Today in fact!) and to Bangkok in October where I’ll add those photos in!

I certainly hope we’ll have a longer and further one maybe in November before we gear up for the new school term for Sophie.

10. Toy of the year

I’m including this inside as I’m mighty proud of the story behind how Sophie learnt the Rubik’s Cube from papa when I traveled without them and Daddy had to take over. Plus it’s really not easy to master it and I’m glad it’s Daddy who taught Sophie how to do it.

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I reckon, we’ll be adding in some more things before we wrap up 2015. It was fun putting this time capsule together and we intend to open this when Sophie turns 16. That’s a grand 10 years later because she says she can’t wait so long till she’s 21 years old.

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Do you also have a birthday tradition in your family that meaningful and brings joy for the whole family too? I’ll love to hear from you :)

Looking for more ideas for your time capsule, do check out these links too.