Tuesday, August 22, 2017

LEGO Ninjago Fever!

Leroy is a fan of LEGO and of course Ninjago as well and we are only missing the LEGOLAND Hotel Ninjago theme room experience for now! The whole family is so looking forward to The LEGO Ninjago Movie which will be coming to the big screen in next month but for now, they got to enjoy building a Toys "R" Us exclusive #70616 LEGO Ninjago Movie Ice Tank recently!
 
At the launch of LEGO Ninjago The Ride!
Unfortunately for this dad who overlooked the time and allowed the kiddos to start late in the evening, the entire build took us way past midnight! Leroy did the majority of the work but due to a lack of concentration, he missed out certain parts which resulted in many "extra" LEGO pieces and an unusually wobbly construction. I ended up having to take it apart to resolve the missing steps and experienced for myself, the thrill of building LEGO once again.
 
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Even though my body was wanting to rest, the brain must have been over-stimulated and I only knew I wanted to finish the build with the kiddos! It was great piece with axles that shows Leroy how moving the wheels also made the pole in cylindrical body rotate as well. You only need to remember one thing, DO NOT try fixing it late at night!
 
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And if you are interested in getting the set, there is no better time than now -
 

But that is not all for you Ninjago fans, because there will be a LEGO Ninjago Challenge (free and open to public) at Plaza Singapura atrium from 28th August to 10th September! Take part in three different battlegrounds – the dojo, jitsu, and mech area to defeat Lord Garmadon and his evil shark army at the at Plaza Singapura Atrium, . Completing all three challenges means you get to take home your very own “ultimate mech” built from LEGO bricks as well as a LEGO Ninjago minifigure!

Thank you LEGO Singapore for indulging the kiddos once again and we are all looking forward to the The LEGO Ninjago Movie really soon!

Monday, August 21, 2017

DIY Wonder Woman Costume

Ever since the debut of Wonder Woman earlier this year, my little girl Stacci had been telling me ever so gently that she may wish to discard her Spider Girl suit and opt for a Wonder Girl outfit instead. But as usual, this procrastinating father had only started asking around for quotes on making her one, less than one month before STGCC! I could have picked something cheap off the rack but then again, I would like her to look more authentic. And if I want her to look authentic, it would cost me a bomb since a lot of effort will have to go into making one.

Hence last weekend I decided to take the plunge, picked up a ton of stuff from Art Friend and ventured forth to the world of cosplay prop making together with my kiddos. So over the past weekend, I tried to google as much as possible on how to fabricate an authentic looking Wonder Woman outfit for Stacci. Try as I might, but I was unable to find any templates freely available for download. Hence I could only rely on YouTube videos for ideas, and then draw my own templates, right-sized just for her.





Only managed to do these as of now, bu they still requires a coat of paint and missing the body armour!
It was my first try at doing this and I definitely have a lot to learn! Took me an entire Sunday afternoon just to take her measurement, fine-tune templates, cut out the required foam pieces and put them together. And I only managed to do the accessories for now, with the major piece, the body armour untouched because I do not have the foam with the right thickness! It's tiring work, even though I kind of enjoyed crafting it with Stacci, for Stacci. I may not be a superhero, but I sure hope I can make her one in time and create wonderful memories together at the coming convention! When was the last time you did something new with your child, for your child? For me it was all worth it seeing her smile!

She is surely pleased with her tiara and bracelet, for now!
Note: This blog post is in collaboration with Friso. Kids learn from experiences whether big or small, good or bad. That’s why Friso provides the right nutrition for your child to be strong inside to take on challenges. For more information on Friso, follow them on their WebsiteFacebook or Instagram.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Cosentino: Anything Is Possible

[Media Invite]

Come on, be honest. As adults, we all know that there is really no such things as magic. With every magical trick performed, there has to be a way why it happened the way it did. Hence whenever I watch any tricks being performed, I will definitely try to look out for some from of slip-ups or tell-tale signs. With television programmes, I am even more skeptical because it is possible to edit the footages to show or not to show something. Watching magic performed live however, is a totally different experience altogether.

Getting excited for the big show!
I am not going to pretend to be a know-it-all, because I only got to know who he was yesterday. But watching his performance was really a treat for me, and the family as well. I hadn't watched many magic shows to date, but I can say his acts were all really well-choreographed and he is definitely a consummate performer. The magic tricks performed were variations of what you and I would have watched at some stage of our lives, be it card tricks, levitation etc but he does credit the great magicians these tricks originated from. 

There are lots of merchandise, including a box of over 100 magic tricks!
Despite the fact that these acts were not originals, watching them being performed live and in Cosentino's personal style was still exhilarating for all the audiences present, eliciting lots of wows and applause. Some acts where simply unbelievable to say the least and I can never figure out what sort of trickery was being used to teleport him to places or to change the money denomination under the watchful eye of the audiences and camera. I tried and failed to find any loopholes. And for the kiddos, how not to believe in magic after this show?


Since he is performing now in Singapore, it would be a good time to catch this great Australian illusionist and escape artiste in action before his last performance on Sun, 27 Aug 2017. His great escape finale will also make you hold your breath! In case you are still hesitating, note that there are only a few more shows left and prices go as low as $35 for NSF and Seniors! 


Useful Information

Performance Times (now till 27 Aug 2017):
Thursday - Friday 8.00pm
Saturday: 2.00pm and 8.00pm
Sunday: 1.00pm and 6.30pm

Ticket Bookings:
Internet - www.MarinaBaySands.com/ticketing or www.sistic.com.sg
Phone - +65 6688 8826
In Person - Marina Bay Sands Box Offices (Museum, Theatres, SkyPark, Retail Mall and Hotel Tower 1 Lobby). For more information please log onto - www.MarinaBaySands.com/ticketing

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Doodly Woods by ZOOMOOV

[Media Invite & Giveaway]

Do you know that there is a place in Westgate where your child can craft to his / her heart's content in 15mins - 45mins timeslots, with all the materials provided for at one fixed price? There is no need to worry about the cost of the acrylic paint, markers, decorations, cups or craft paper used because they are all included. But of course to prevent wastage, everything would have to be completed and done on site lah!




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We visited Doodly Woods last weekend and all the 4 kiddos thoroughly enjoyed themselves with the many crafting possibilities, and one is only limited by his / her creativity and imagination, or timing in this case! This is definitely a nice place to hang out for "westerners" and parents with children in childcare can seriously consider coming here whenever you need to help them with their crafting homework from childcare! Saves you trouble with sourcing the materials and cleaning up the house!







The kiddos' creations!
Thanks to ZOOMOOV, we have a pair of tickets (for 45mins sessions on 19, 20, 26 or 27 Aug) at Doodly Woods for 3 lucky readers who completes the following -

Giveaway Instructions

Ensure that you complete the following steps before end of Fri, 18 Aug 2017 -

1) Like and follow The "Perfect" Father Facebook page;
2) Like and follow ZOOMOOV Facebook page;
3) Like and Share this Facebook post publicly; and lastly
4) Comment in the Facebook post once done and tag your friends!

Useful Information 

Address: 3 Gateway Dr, Westgate, Singapore S608532 (Level 4, outside DBS Bank)


Monday, August 14, 2017

Canon Shootout (EOS M10)

[Media Invite]

We were invited to a Canon family shoot out session at South Beach a few weekends back and tried out their latest Canon EOS M10 camera, which in all honesty, I would not have tried, if not for this particular session. And the reason is simply because I am a procrastinator and a laggard who is resistant to change. I was glad I went for that session.

Steffi was really interested to try out the camera too!

I had been using a Sony NEX 5RL for years, and it was actually under the persuasion of my sister-in-law who thought that it was good. It sure was good and takes decent photographs. I especially loved the digital viewfinder and the screen which can be flipped for that easy wefie with the family. However till now, I had never progressed beyond the "auto" mode. So what good is a piece of equipment if the user doesn't improve? I had only been using its kit lens ever since too, even though the lens were inter-changeable!

A wefie but I definitely could use a selfie stick, or longer arms!

Loved the timing of this shot which capture our friend high up in the air! Still in focus some more!
I thought she looked cool!
It was just 5mins of basic instructions before each family got their respective EOS M10 loan sets to try out. Fiddling with the touch screen and the different menus were rather intuitive and even my little ones was able to grasp the concept of how they worked. Loving the different shooting modes and they even had the fishball effect without the need for special lens. I am pretty sure that this camera would serve my needs really well, and the other plus point is that the price of the basic set (comes with Pikachu shoulder plush now) is like only half of what I paid for my Sony NEX 5RL back then! I love the easy operation of this nifty set, and even though I know I would be most likely to be using the only the kit lens, I know for a fact that I can upgrade the lens for this mirrorless, interchangeable-lens camera when I feel like I am ready.

Steffi took this shot of her sister and you should click on the video below too!
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There is this function that takes a short clip of what happened before you clicked on the shutter button and we only found out after reviewing the memory card content. Quite funny lor!

It was sure a fun day out with the kiddos and their new found Pokemon friend, Squirtle as we roamed South Beach for some photography inspiration. Steffi also tried her hands at capturing fun shots of us too and handled it like a pro, although in my heart I was still a little scared that she might damage the camera lol! And just when we got to know Canon EOS M10 a little better, we had to return the loan camera with sadness. Well who knows? I might just get one for myself soon. Thank you for having us over for the fun weekend Canon Singapore! How how got discount some more boh?

Monday, August 7, 2017

Cooking With the Kiddos

To those who wonder how we survived this long having four kiddos, there is actually someone behind the (blogging) scene who helps take care of our household chores so that we can take "play" seriously. We do have a helper, and we are also lucky that ours came well-trained and we never had to tell her once what to cook and where to clean up. Maybe we are also easy-going lah but it sure beats fussing and over-worrying the little things. 

My helper was surprised when I told her to take a rest as I decided to take "play" into the kitchen this time round. Instead of only "play-cooking" with their favorite Play-Doh this time round, I decided to just "let it go" and experience cooking dinner with the kiddos, for real! All my entire married life, I had never ventured beyond the fried eggs or instant noodles, so this time round, it was also a challenge for me as well.



Meatballs and Spaghetti Dinner

Easy does it. Just throw the meatballs (KÖTTBULLAR) from freezer direct into the oven.
Next up, preparing the savoury sauce (GRÄDDSÅS) for the meatballs.
Getting the older ones to stir the sauces while I oversee their performances. Not too bad.
As you can see, Leroy is hard at work distributing the food amongst the sibling into the unmistakable children sets (KALAS)!
How can we not have mashed potato (POTATISMOS) with our meatballs? It just would not be complete without it! 
Aha! Finally we can tuck into a hearty dinner, complete with their KALAS cutlery and plates as well!
There were so many times when we shopped at IKEA, and thought of having a meal of meatballs, but only to be put off by the super long queues at the restaurant. This time round I noticed a promotion at the Swedish Food Market for the full set of ingredients for the meatballs, and it even came with the the Raspberry and Blueberry Jam!

Took a leap of faith and decided to replicate the dish back home. I was glad I did and it was really as easy as following the steps on the food packaging. Even kiddos can do it and the best part is, they tasted exactly like what they served at the IKEA restaurant! After going through this cooking with the kiddos, I am confident of whipping up the same meatball dish, anytime now! Spaghetti was kinda easy too, with ready-to-cook tomato-based sauce.

Oh by the way, we tried the new improved chicken wings at IKEA and they are as juicy as they were now!
 


Tea Party

With my confidence boosted by the success of the dinner, the kiddos were egging me to continue and try out baking some muffins for a tea party as well! So why not? After all, the instructions on the box of box of IKEA muffin mix seemed easy enough.

Steffi loved to help out and here is she pouring the mix into the baking cups. We only needed to add in water and shake VIGOROUSLY that's all! 
As much as I would like to report that everything went smoothly, unfortunately it didn't. The first batch of muffin we did, was a little HARD for us to swallow. If anyone (or anything) is to be blamed, it has to be my itchy fingers opening the door too often to check and also that the oven that we were using is probably not suitable for baking!

Yup, it was really HARD! But thankfully the second batch was much better before my confidence hit ROCK bottom!
The kiddos were not easily disappointed though, and we ended up having a fun time drinking tea and smoothies with the second batch of muffins looking pretty in the 2-tier GARNERA display stand on the MARIT table-runner. It was especially fun for the kiddos because they get to sip from their fun-sized DUKTIG coffee / tea set! To be honest, I found it kind of cute too and for some weird reasons, the drinks must have tasted exceptionally good in these cups. The same goes for the food that we prepared together! 


We had more snacks in the end and the kiddos also decorated the muffins with whipped cream and sprinkles before devouring them. We did end up with a rather nicely framed Instagram shot for the record but left a lot more dishes for the helper to wash! Sorry Yati!



This blog post is brought to you in collaboration with IKEA Singapore!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Miffy's Singapore Adventure

[Media Invite]

So Miffy had arrived at Junction 8 and you can have non-stop Miffy Fun from on Saturdays from 31 July - 8 October (2 pm and 5pm) or daily from 1-10 September, Daily (2 pm and 5pm) at Level 1, Junction 8.


You can redeem a workshop pass for Sand Art, Biscuit Decoration, Shrink Art, Lantern Making with a min. spend of $50 at Junction 8. Reserve your slot for $5 and receive tenant vouchers worth $20 when you turn up for it! Worth it right?


The kiddos had a fun bento making session with Sakae Sushi but it was only over the weekend 0f 5-6 Aug 17. It was super fun for the kiddos and sorry for not writing about this earlier! My bad!

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Get to redeem an exclusive Miffy premium when you spend a minimum of $180 ($240 for FairPrice Finest Receipts) at Junction 8. Redeem an exclusive colouring set with a minimum spend of $60 at Junction 8.


Go check out Junction 8 website for more information on the Meet and Greet and Picnic Party! Thank you for inviting the kiddos over!

Monday, July 31, 2017

Airbnb, is not for everybody!

I had been relying on Airbnb for my travels on many occasion simply because it is often the cheapest way to go. I had booked Airbnb in Tokyo, Taiwan, Thailand, Hong Kong and Australia. Thank goodness they were pretty uneventful and I was generally cool with the usual dirt in the apartment or even the occasional insects (but bedbugs are a NO NO of course!). However my recent Airbnb experience with Stacci in Perth, was truly quite an eye-opener even for me.

The listing had only one photo of a small portion of the living room, but because the person who listed the apartment was quite responsive and reasonably friendly, I took my chances. The apartment looked really nice from the outside and was located in a great location, just slightly beyond the free bus zone of Perth City. There were a total of 3 rooms on the second level of the apartment of which we took one, and there were crudely partitioned areas on the first level which housed another 2 tenants. I later learnt that this apartment was rented out to an entrepreneurial Thai national who then sublet out to other Thai students and even put up rooms on Airbnb to supplement her income. Well, being open to meeting new friends, I am still cool with that.

She told us upon check-in that nothing else will be provided, except for our room and I only found out the following day, that we had to put on the bedsheets and blanket covers on our own, after discovering the sheets in the wardrobe. That was how “bochup” I was, sleeping directly on the mattress without realizing it the night before!

Friendly cockroaches were around but we are still okay with it.
We had to share the bathroom, which had a bathtub. It was late night when we checked in and Stacci said she wanted to take a hot bath which I agreed, but only on the next day. When it was light the following day, we went to the bathroom and the plan was immediately aborted. 

Hmm, the amount of hair and grime in the bathroom really puts us off.
I wonder when was the last time anyone used the tub?
The wash basin didn't look that clean either but we will survive.
I was still okay to all the above, but it got really irritating when the students (of which numbers I lost count) started having late night booze parties at the backyard, directly below our room. I mean, listening to music and having fun past midnight is understandable at times but all the way till 3am-4am for a few nights is a little too much. Spoke to them nicely the first time it happened but it fell on deaf ears (not a surprising condition with the music volume they were playing). 

We were told that we are free to use the yard. Not that we would like to anyway.

The aftermath of the late night parties.
On the last night, someone knocked loudly at my door and when I opened it, I was surprised to see an angry Caucasian lady demanding to see a particular person but I had no idea who she as referring to. It then dawned on me that she was actually the neighbor who wanted to confront the main tenant on the ruckus that she had to deal with on the many noisy nights. Thank goodness I was only there for 9 days.

Airbnb had definitely changed the way how one travels these days, offering convenience and the much relished homestay feel at a reasonable price. But I am just sharing with you that not all listings accurate, with many homeowners none the wiser about what goes on in their properties and others out to just make some quick bucks in their otherwise underutilized space. It may be cheap, but you have to deal with whatever less than pleasant stuff that gets thrown at you and you MUST always be prepared to make alternative plans. Because it is not as if you can request to check-in into another room! Sure you can raise it up to Airbnb immediately but you are still pretty on your own there and then.

But in the end, it doesn't even matter. Because we had each other for the journey!
Having said all that, I was still glad that Stacci and I got through all the insects, filth and noise together. She is a pretty tough lady alright, sleeping through all that and we still had an enjoyable Perth bonding trip since we were mostly out and about during the day! I think many would have totally freaked out at the condition of the apartment, but we took that as bonding and beyond!

The reason for my posting is really to let all potential Airbnb customers better manage their expectations. I wasn't expecting much when I booked the really cheap apartment, hence I was still kind of okay with it. Did leave a remark in my feedback that went, "Location is great and walkable. However if you are a light sleeper or a cleanliness freak, it will not be suitable for you. Remember, you get what you paid for. :) Suitable for backpackers / budget travellers."  One really needs to be mentally prepared because there is really no other room you can check into, besides the one you had booked. But if it can be solved with money, it is also not a problem. The only problem is when you have no money. Dang...
 
Anyway, have fun travelling everyone!