Life of Significance as a Stay Home Mom

 

“Now that you’re a stay home mum, you can’t call yourself a juggling mom anymore.”

 

Now if you’re a mum, and a stay home mum at that, I can anticipate that you’ll either want to

  1. Roll your eyes and snigger before jumping to your defence or
  2. Smack the daylights out of that person

Well, that came from someone who’s neither married nor has kids.

Kinda reminds you of the same know-it-alls who dishes out parenting advice when they are not parents themselves, don’t you think?

How did I react?

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Austin Heights Water Park in JB

The Legoland Water Park has always been our family’s favourite water theme park in Johor. Though we are not Legoland annual pass holders, it’s not uncommon for us to go there twice a year since we take short trips to JB very often.

For our recent trip to JB during the National Day weekend, we decided to check out Austin Heights Water Park. As the name suggests, Austin Heights Water Park is located at Mount Austin which is a 30 minute drive away from JB Sentral.

I’ve shared about this water and adventure park where they have a Water Park, Forest Adventure Rope Course, Trampoline Park, Ice Skating Rink and Drift Karting all conveniently under one roof.

So how does it compare to Legoland Water Park and is it worth visiting? Read on to find out

Various attraction prices in Austin Heights Water & Adventure Park

READ ALSO: Review of Legoland Water Park in Johor

Splashing good time in Austin Heights Water Park JB

Once we entered the water park, Sophie made a beeline for the water playground, Splash World. It’s always such a thrill to wait in anticipation of the big splash by the bucket of water above the water playground and we did exactly that.

Here kids can look forward to a splashing fun time zipping down the various mini slides. I didn’t think much of the mini slides and was caught by surprised at how fast I slid down.

Next we went for a more exhilarating ride, the Supersurf. The height of the slide didn’t intimidate Sophie the least bit and she was racing us up the 3 storey slide with her mat.

I have to admit that my legs started to tremble as I climbed higher and higher. But on second thoughts, it could be stairs too.

Once we reached the top, we’ve reached the point of no return!

After bracing myself, I screamed my way down as I clung on tightly to my mat. I regretted it immediately as I was lying face down and had water in my eyes and mouth. But that didn’t stop us from going again and again.

We went on to try the Double Racer Bowl with single and double floats respectively. Once again, I underestimated the slide and started screaming my way down.

After going down the covered slide, we were spun round in the “bowl” before emerging for the big splash.

Since it’s a double racer slide, we would compete to see who would slide down first and often get a good laugh if one of our floats overturn.

Next was conquering G Force Alley and Uphill Battle – two steep slides where one starts with an almost 90 degrees drop. It was crazy fast and while I was screaming my head off (It’s embarrassing that I’m such a screamer), Sophie was laughing from the rush of adrenaline.

The lifeguards were quite cheeky and even pushed us off backwards which made the experience even more thrilling.

Last was conquering the Yellow Wall and I kid you not when I said I had major regrets agreeing to take this with Alexis once I got to the top of the stairs.

This double float slide sends you into a tunnel slide and before you know it, you’ll be rudely greeted with a steep dip which gives the needed momentum to send you straight up the almost vertical yellow wall!

Sophie who sat on this ride out told me afterwards that she could hear my curling screams and concluded that this must be the scariest ride of all. She got that right alright.

Not wanting to give myself a further heart attack, we rested at the Wave Pool before going for lunch.

We were famished from the whole morning of action and digged right into lunch. The cafe offered items such as fish and chips, spaghetti, nasi lemak, chicken wings and even had kids meals.

Sophie ordered the popcorn chicken set which came with a can drink for RM 15.95 while my fish and chips meal was RM18.95.

Our review of Austin Heights Water Park

Overall, we liked that Austin Heights Water Park was not as crowded as Legoland Water Park which means a much shorter waiting time. When we were there on a Saturday, the crowd only slowly streamed in after 11am and even then we never had to wait more than 5 mins for any rides.

As Sophie is already 1.25m, she could take most of the rides with the exception of the yellow wall. However, we noticed that they didn’t have any life vests for toddlers. Also, while most rides are manned, I noticed that there may not be a lifeguard at the end of some rides. This may be a safety concern if you have younger kids and here’s where Legoland Water Park may be more suitable.

READ ALSO: Review of Legoland Water Park in Johor

Their lazy river also pales in comparison to Legoland Water Park without the fun brick element. And for some strange reason, I question why they choose to have the ground in this almost algae like colour which can be a put off.

That said, we enjoyed a very good deal when they were having a promotion and paid RM170 for the 3 of us. And for the month of September, they are running a National Day promotion where you enjoy a special rate of RM 61 for 2 pax. Do check their Facebook page for details here.

 

If you’re driving, there’s ample parking lots available which are free. Right beside Austin Heights is the Midori hotel and there are a few restaurants and cafe around the area as well.

Austin Heights Water & Adventure Park
No. 71, Jalan Austin Heights 8/1,
Taman Mount Austin, 81100 Johor Bahru,
Johor, Malaysia

 

If you’re heading to JB, don’t miss these posts where I share some of my shopping finds and places to go cafe hopping across the causeway as well.

 

Enjoyed reading this post? Do like my Facebook page to get more family friendly travel updates. You can also follow me on Instagram (@ajugglingmom) for more travel and parenting posts. Follow us on all our travel adventure at #Taystraveldiary

Getting fit as a family with Fitbit

As the saying goes, health is better than wealth. So it makes perfect sense to start our kids on the right footing to develop good healthy habits when they are young.

However like most digital native kids, the allure of screen time is increasingly proving to be more enticing over outdoor play time and this is especially so after Sophie entered Primary School. Relaxation is almost synonymous with screen time and from what I hear from other parents, Sophie is not alone.

Developing healthy habits in kids with Fitbit Ace

Do you know that for kids aged 7 and above, it is recommended that they get at least 60 minutes of physical activity in a day?

 

To encourage Sophie to develop healthy habits and remind her to get active, her Fibit Ace is the perfect device for the job. The Fitbit Ace is a wearable activity tracker targeted at kids aged 8 and up just like her.

As an activity tracker, the Fitbit Ace not only monitors the number of steps she takes, it also sends Sophie a reminder to move if she’s been inactive for too long (like being glued to the TV or iPad) in order to hit her personal daily target of 10,000 steps.

Sophie gets a sense of accomplishment each time she hits her target as the Fitbit Ace will buzz and show a celebratory message with fireworks on her device.

In addition, the Fitbit Ace also tracks her sleep and her quality of sleep to ensure Sophie gets her 9 hours of eyeshut to be fully recharged encouraging better concentration in school.

 

Fitbit Versa – My favorite Fitbit to date

Sophie is not the only one who loves her Fitbit as my Fitbit Versa has been a trusty companion to support me in achieving my fitness goals too.

I’ve been a Fitbit user for years and owned the very first generation of Flex and subsequently the Charge as well. With the new Versa, I can see how the tracker has evolved both in terms of design and functionality with the incorporation of a lot more user friendly features. In comparison, the Versa model is also lighter and more sleek.

For one, its water resistant feature to 50 meters means that I can now hit the pool with ease while still tracking the laps I’ve swam

What I also like is the ability to personalise my desired screen display from the wide options available depending on the metrics I like to know. This gives me a good overview of my steps, heart rate and activity timing

Product family image of Fitbit Versa Family with Screens

Personally, I’m working towards a healthier lifestyle and have resumed running as a form of exercise. It’s one exercise that doesn’t require any gym membership and I enjoy how it gives me time to listen to my own thoughts as I take different routes to discover about my neighbourhood.

Knowing that I’m improving my timing and distance and exercising at my target heart rate gives me an added motivation to go further and faster so that I can beat my personal best.

Another notable feature of the Fitbit Versa is the new female health tracking feature.

Not only can I track my monthly cycle, and log down symptoms such as headaches cramps, flow, etc, it also creates a predictive predictive computation for my cycle overtime which can be easily accessed at a glance on my Fitbit app.

Getting fit the fun way as a family

Getting active with our Fitbits has been a rewarding journey on so many levels.

As an AIA Vitality member, tracking my steps with my Fitbit Versa has translated into monetary rewards with weekly Cold Storage or Starbucks vouchers in addition to rewards from the National Steps challenge. If you’re already active then I highly recommend you to check out these programs to get the most out of your healthy lifestyle.

But the greatest reward is having Sophie with me as we get healthier the fun way to achieve our fitness goals. She’s the reason why I want to lead a healthier life so that we can enjoy more activities together.  And the friendly competition between us nudges us to “outdo” each other as we work towards our badges and trophies.

Food may connect people but fitness takes it to a whole new level for us!

For more details on the Fitbit Ace and Fitbit Versa or to find out about other models, do check out Fitbit’s Facebook page here.

 

 

Read more about the fun activities we’ve done as a family to keep fit and healthy

 

*A Juggling Mom received the Fitbit Ace and Fitbit Versa to write this review. All opinions and photos are my own, unless credited otherwise. 

 

 

Sophie turns 9 – The last single digit birthday

Over the years, I’ve stopped blogging about Sophie’s birthday as I recognize that she’s slowly growing to be a young lady and may not want all her personal milestones documented on my blog. But I’m making an exception this year ( with her permission of course) as this will be her last single digit birthday before she’s 10.

Each birthday, we have a few traditions which we still do religiously, like marking her height on the height chart, doing a birthday count down and escaping for a staycation or overseas trip. While I was taking these series of photos, I suggested that she opens her eyes wider as all I see are two lines, but she retorted that her smile is what makes her unique.

 

I’m glad that she’s not allowing anyone to define what beauty has to look like and how body confident she is. I wanted to make sure this is on the blog so she never forgets that she can be her own kind of beautiful too.

The birthday celebration

Even though I was all excited about planning a birthday party for her with a few close friends, she declined having a party as she preferred a cozy celebration with the family.

In reality, I was heartened to hear how much we mean to her as we are the one she ultimately wants to spend her birthday with. No doubt this may change over the years when friends preceded family, but for now I’ll gladly savor these precious birthday memories with her.

We had two celebrations with both sides of the family and one was a combined celebration with my mum-in-law whose birthday is 2 days before Sophie’s at Spice World Hotpot.

Birthday Celebration 1 at Spice World Hotpot

For her actual day celebration on National Day, we had dinner at Scissors Paper Stove and she proves to still be a My Little Pony fan with her choice of cake from Bengawan Solo.

We had a couple of hits and misses for our dishes and the memorable ones were the baby back ribs, spring chicken, beef kebabs and mini burgers.

Happy 9th Birthday to the one who brings sunshine and rainbow wherever she goes!

Even though our family dinner was nothing fancy, I liked that it’s so down to earth and Sophie enjoyed every moment of it with those nearest and dearest to her.

We always joke that she’s one lucky girl to get fireworks on her birthday and every year it just gets grander and grander.

Extended birthday celebration in JB

Since there was a school holiday post National Day, we took a short trip to JB and continued the birthday celebration where she went ice skating as well as the water park in Austin Heights which we’ve been meaning to check out.

We got a shade darker and our tummies probably also got an inch thicker but our hearts are so full celebrating our darling’s birthday.

Thanks for making her birthday so special Doubletree

 

3 hours of ice skating with Daddy at Paradigm Mall in JB

 

As I look back over the years, I see how Sophie has grown to be an independent and confident young lady and her infectious belly loud slaughters always makes me smile. I cherish the time she ambushes me with a kiss and hug just because and feel so bad when I tell her that she’s leaning way too close for comfort or is squeezing my arms so tight it feels like she’s pinching me.

I hope she’ll never outgrows these display of affections for mama and papa or finds them embarrassing when she reaches her teens . It’s endearing to know that we are still her source of security and comfort and may nothing, not even the teenage years, keep her from showering us with affection and us likewise.

Happy 9th birthday darling Sophie. You may be 9, but you’ll always be mine-my baby, my darling, my 宝贝.

 

 

 

Beauty in The Pot at OneKM with children’s playground

There may be countless family-friendly restaurants in Singapore, but Beauty in The Pot just took it up a notch by having an amazing children’s playground within their hotpot restaurant premise.

Children’s playground in Beauty in The Pot, OneKM

Beauty in The Pot’s second and latest outlet at OneKM is the ultimate family restaurant for hotpot lovers with an outdoor children’s playground that caters to kids of all ages.

Sophie was ecstatic to see the 2-storey playground structure with a tunnel slide for older kids which is not a common sight you find in restaurants. She was so excited and even dragged daddy on it for some pre-dinner fun.

I lost count of the number of times she zipped down the slide and the squeals of delight as she said it was so fast and exciting!

For younger kids, there is a separate toddler playground with slides and even a small rock wall. Here they can run free as the ground is covered with thick rubber flooring to cushion any falls.

No kid will miss the bouncy trampoline that’s just too inviting. But the mum in me had to remind Sophie to bounce her heart out before and not after dinner, lest she throws up her meal afterwards.

 

Compared to their earlier outlet on the second level, this new Beauty in The Pot outlet on the third level is much bigger and seats up to 288 diners with 3 private rooms.

Pretty Pink Interior

And can I just take a moment to gush about how much I adore its interior which is in the most pretty shade of pastel pink?

The pink princess theme is inspired by the breath-taking cherry blossoms in spring and even its flooring symbolises cherry blossoms that have fallen on snow-clad land.

Image Credit : Beauty in The Pot

So much love for their pink interior that doesn’t border on being too excessively sweet and I’m sure it’s a hit with most ladies.

I even dressed to the occasion and went in pink with Sophie.

Eat your way to beauty

The highlight of Beauty in The Pot are their nourishing soup bases that promises rich flavours and health benefits. There are six options to choose from – Signature Beauty Collagen Broth (Shark’s Cartilage Soup), Signature Spicy Nourishing Soup (Pork Bone Soup), Herbal Drunken Chicken Broth, Cooling Coconut Broth, Longevity Wild Pine Mushroom Broth (Vegetarian), and Vitamin C Tomato Sweet Corn Broth.

Since this was our first visit, we chose 4 soup bases and I highly recommend the Signature Beauty Collagen. I call this the 吃美美soup base as  more than six hours of hard work go into the making of this dense and collagen-rich soup.

Another is the Herbal Drunken Chicken Broth. Although it’s cooked with a mixture of herbs, the taste is not overwhelming and it taste very nutritious.

We also had the Cooling Coconut Broth, which I find very unique and interesting as it also cooked with spare ribs, chicken, chicken feet and snow fungus. When I fished out the coconut flesh from the soup, it still tasted fresh and sweet!

The last was Sophie’s all-time favourite, Tomato Sweet Corn Broth that was slightly sourish and very appetising and I’m sure it will be a hit with all kids.

We have nothing but praises for all the dishes that evening, from meat to seafood and handmade specialties as they were very fresh and we were impressed by the extensive menu offered as well. But if I had to choose, these are the dishes I’ll order the next time I return.

Signature Homemade Fish Tofu – A must try at Beauty in The Pot

Noteworthy dishes that you must try are the Signature Homemade Fish Tofu ($2/piece) – made with yellowtail fish, soya bean and egg white all blended perfectly to melt in your mouth. Ebiko Prawn Paste ($18.80) shaped out of 100% prawn meat with a juicy crunch.

Fried Beancurd Skin ($4.90/half; $9.80/full) which you can dip into the soup for a few seconds to adsorb the richness of the broth or simply enjoy it crispy.

Their handmade balls were also very tasty and we had the Soft Bone Pork Meatballs ($5.90/ half portion; $10/full) which were very juicy and tender.

 

Don’t forget the condiments bar where you can mix and match your own dips to match your taste buds. And if you want to go for the fail proof choice, you can follow the suggested pairing which can’t go wrong.

Do note that there is a top up of S$3.80 per person to enjoy the condiments and selection of fresh fruits.

At the end of our meal, we enjoyed an iced yuzu slushie in a shotglass to cleanse our palate, just the kind of dessert that I love best.

We enjoyed our meal very much and their service staff were also very attentive to our every needs, coming to top up the various soup bases and even offering to deshell our prawns before cooking. It is evident why the restaurant is so and popular and I can see why many of my friends are huge fans of this place.

Their unique and nourishing soup bases were the star for me and their quality of food were top notch too. If you love hotpot then it’s definitely the place to bring the family, and I’m sure your kids will have a great time at the outdoor playground too.

Night owls will be pleased to know that Beauty in The Pot opens till 3am and if you dine after 10:30pm, you’ll enjoy 20% off too.

 

Beauty in The Pot at OneKM Level 3
11 Tanjong Katong Road
OneKM #03-38
Singapore 437157
Tel: +65 6284 8820
Open daily 11.30am – 3.00am (Last order at 2.15am)

 

 

*A Juggling Mom was invited to Beauty in The Pot at OneKM for this review , however all opinions and photos are my own, unless credited otherwise.