Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Smartphone or Watchphone for Children? A review for myFirst Fone R1s watchphone

What would be a good age to let children have their first phone? It's a question that most parents would ask at some point. 

Gone were the days when the children get their first communication devices in their teenage years. These days, we are seeing children getting their devices like smartphone earlier as there is an increased needs for connectivity. 

Upon seeing her friends having their own smartphones, Emmalyn started asking us to give her one earlier this year. Her friends have been chatting on whatsapp and she reasoned that sometimes she needed to talk to us when she is not with us. She also noticed that we have extra smartphones lying around at home. However, we felt that she isn't ready for smartphone yet and it will be hard to control her usage and exposure to the social media & internet. At 9 years old, I think it is important to guard their cyber safety. Personally, I prefer her not to be on the internet without supervision. 

I got to know about myFirst Fone from my friends last year and found them a good alternative to smartphone for young children. Along with some useful features, myFirst Fone offers messages and calls function. I like that it doesn't allow children to go onto the web or download apps like instagram or tik tok. 

It has been a month since she starts wearing myFirst Fone R1s and she's really loving it. It gives her some form of independence and connectivity. It's great to be able to stay in contact with her throughout the day. She recently started a maths enrichment class at a centre near her student care and walks over with her friends without adult supervision. I felt more assured when she could communicate to us especially in times of emergency. It also helps to facilitate pick up especially after her CCA as Hubby sometimes end later and needed Emma to wait at school. 

So, what are the features of myFirst Fone R1s?

1. Message functions
This is one the most used features. Children can send messages via text (in the parents' phone app), voice messages, emojis and photos to people on the phone list. As time at home can be short and busy, being able to message with each other outside home help to improve our communication. It doesn't allow download for apps like whatapps or telegram so I don't need to worry about spam messages. 

2. Call and video call functions
Besides chatting through messages, we could also call or video call each other. It's nice to see her face on our app. It's really nice to be able to see her face on the phone in the middle of the day!

3. Camera function
It has a 2MP front camera and it gives her joy to be able to use it to capture little things throughout her day.

4. Customisable watch face
This is another features that Emma loves! She has a album of our family photos which we sent her via messages and use them as the background of the watch face. How nice is it for her to keep seeing us on their watch face. Her favourite backgrounds are our family photos and those of baby Ezra as he's so cute! 😅

5. Class mode
Myfirst fone has class mode which turns the smart watchphone into a simple watch. This way, we ensure that she won't be distracted by the watch during class.

6. GPS tracking and safe zone
It has real time GPS tracking so I know exactly where she is located. As an extra safety features, parents could also set safe zone on the app and get alerts when the child step out of the zone.

7. One-Touch SOS
All fun aside, myFirst fone has an one-touch SOS button that send distress signals. Once activated, parents will receive an emergency location alert with a 30 seconds live recording of surrounding sounds.

8. Other features
A month into usage, the watchphone is still in good condition. It has improved water resistance. In addition, it tracks steps and monitors heart rates. It also has alarm clock and songs to keep her accompany when she needs. 

Overall, it's a very functional and child friendly watchphone. It offers connectivity without compromising on safety. It also helps to maintain a greater level of closeness between Emma and I as she can message us when she miss us. She loves sending emojis to us!

If you are keen to get one for your child/children, you can choose to buy the watchphone (Quote "Ashlyn10 for 10% off the watchphone on myFirst website) and get a data plan (here) OR get the watchphone on lease with a monthly subscription fee of $28 and $40 upfront payment for R1s.

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Baby Ezra's Birth Story

We welcomed baby Ezra Ng on 02 June 2022!


38 weeks flew by and I just realised that I have not shared anything about my pregnancy on the blog! 

Long story short, we were happy with 2 girls but God has better plan for our family. He blessed us with a baby boy. It took us sometime to conceive Emmalyn, Baby M and Avalyn, and so it was a surprise to be able to conceive so easily this round. The entire pregnancy went pretty well with a few scare over tests and scans. Thankfully, all is well! It's nothing but God's blessing.



Having given birth to Emmalyn at Week 36+ and Avalyn at Week 35+, I was expecting to deliver earlier. However, Baby Ezra was baking very comfortably in my tummy until 38 weeks and 1 day. 


I was already 3cm dilated when I went for my 38 weeks check up. Hence, Gynae suggested schedule an induction the next morning. As it was my 3rd delivery and to avoid any drama, I decided to check into the hospital earlier at midnight. After quite a decent rest, it was finally time to offload!

At around 9.30am, I was 4cm dilated and Gyane broke my waterbag to move things along. Like before, I decided to do it without epidural again. As time passed, contraction got worst. I was relying on the laughing gas for quite a while until I was quite drowsy and decided to just manage the pain by controlling my breath. 

As it was dilating progressively, I wasn't given any oxytocin to speed up the process. I had them the last 2 rounds, so was surprised that I didn't need it this time. The nurse shared that while oxytocin speeds up the dilation, it will be more painful. 

By 1+pm, I was about 7-8cm dilated and the nurse started to ask me if I have feeling to pass motion/push. For previous pregnancy, I only started pushing when they found out that I was fully dilated and Emmalyn/Avalyn came out in a few pushes. However, for Ezra, I really had to push him out. After what seems like a countless push with the holding of breath, pulling up my thigh and pushing, I felt that my body were giving way and my legs were trembling. I asked Hubby to say a prayer. Thankfully, just before I wanted to shout out, I cannot. Hubby whispered "baby's head is out" and I gave a last big push with my remaining bits of strength. Baby came out and gave a wail. I broke into tears too. 

Gyane proceeded to deliver my placenta and sew up my tear. I managed to have some skin to skin moments and also to breastfeed him. 

It was a very different labour experience with a "new" Gyane as our previous Gyane left KKH for private practice. Thank God that everything went well and even the recovery seems faster. Perhaps the process wasn't too aggressive as before.


Baby Ezra's first night was a peaceful one. He drank and slept well. On the 2nd night, he was fussy due to gas (i think) as I forgot the importance of burping baby. After I managed to burp him, he was all calm again. 

After a series of routine checks on baby and me, we finally discharged on 4 June. It was a pity that the hospital doesn't allow visitors under 12 years so the girls only get to see him on video and meet him in person when we went home. Thankful that the grandparents were very helpful to take care of the girls while we were at the hospital and trying to settle down with our new addition.


While my hands are full with 3 babies, my heart is even fuller! Thank God for watching over the pregnancy, delivery and blessing us with this little bundle of joy. I don't know how I'm going to manage as a working mother to 3 but I know God will bring us through no matter what. We just need to surrender ourselves, trust him and walk closely with him. He will make things beautiful in his time. 



Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Shop for exquisite ingredients from Japan at RedManShop!

While we can't travel conveniently like before, we can certainly count on authentic cuisine to ease our wanderlust a little. It was such a delight to try out some specially curated and high quality Japanese ingredients that RedManShop has brought into Singapore from Okinawa, Ishikawa and Kochi! 

RedManShop

Each of the 3 Japanese prefectures is renowned for prized food exports distinctive to its geographical location. Ishikawa is renowned for fresh seafood from its abundant fishing grounds, Kochi boasts an exclusive variety of vegetables and Okinawa exports first-rate ingredients harvested from its nutrient-rich land and pristine seawater.

Chef Shunsuke Kusubashi has cleverly cooked us a 5 course meal to bring out the best of these fine ingredients that you can conveniently get from the RedManShop.

with Momboss Calista 
 

We started off with Umeshu sparkling wine from Ishikawa. It's a plum sparkling wine, a refreshing drink with 7% alcohol.  

The first course was Burrata cheese & Tomato caprese. The cheese was nicely paired with sweet sakura syrup and juicy cherry tomatoes from Kochi. It was so appetising!

The next course, Seafood Ceviche, looked so delicious! It's a pity that I couldn't get to taste it as I'm pregnant and refraining from raw food. It consisted a mix of flying squid/Todarodes from Ishikawa and Avocado. It's suitable for grilled and sashimi dishes. Chef used natural sea salt from Okinawa. It's a great alternative to table salt as it's rich in minerals and low in sodium.

Next up was a bowl of flavourful prawn bisque. The chef used sashimi grade prawns from Okinawa and eggplant from Kochi.

Here comes the main course - Japanese-styled chilled tomato pasta. It looked simple but tasted really good! I could take another plate of it. You got to give this angel hair pasta and juicy cherry tomatoes from Kochi a try. The recipe can be found on RedManShop website.

Finally, we ended the meal on a sweet note with mango macaroon and brown sugar coffee from Okinawa.

Thank you RedManShop and the 3 prefectures for the wonderful gastronomical experience! I enjoyed it so much!


If you are looking to whip up some delectable Japanese dishes at home, go check out the ingredients and recipes on https://www.redmanshop.com/okinawa-food-trip.html for some inspiration!


 

Thursday, November 18, 2021

1st Family Yatch Trip with Infinity Sails

Let's sail away!

Our family had our 1st yatch trip with Infinity Sails to celebrate Hubby's 40th birthday and the entire experience was mind (and hair) blowing! We enjoyed it thoroughly and it felt really like a real getaway in a long time. 


We were warmly received by the crew Ali at the 7-11 outlet at ONE°15 Marina Sentosa Cove. It was helpful that he came with a trolley to shuttle our bags as we brought along big bags of food and swimming stuff. After a short walk along the sea of yatchs, we arrived at Infinity Sail yatch! 

The girls were so excited to board the yatch and we had to constantly remind them to be extra careful about not falling off the yatch. We quickly sit ourselves down at the lounge area while Ali briefed us about the safety measures and Skipper Mario prepared the sail off. It was cool to watch the yatch sailed away!


After settling down, we went on to explore the interior of the yatch. 

"Bed!!!", the girls were so surprised to see a bed and hopped on it quickly. 


This yatch has 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, lounge area, kitchenette and dining area. The entire space is very clean and well maintained!


After an interior tour, it's finally time to head out. The view was breathtaking! 

It was slightly bumpy with strong wind but we got used to it quickly. We found a good spot on the deck and enjoyed the ride to Lazarus Island. So thankful for the lovely weather!




Time flew fast and we arrived at Lazarus Island in about 20 mins. The yatch stopped a short distance away from the beach and we were given few options to reach the beach - swim, kayak or take a speedboat. We took the easiest way. On hindsight, we should have tried kayaking around abit before hitting the beach. They also have big floating mat and life jackets (both adult and kids size) if we want to swim around the yatch. 



There were many groups of people at the beach but we were all nicely spaced out. The girls had so much fun playing with the sand and sea! I must say the sand were really soft!!



Towards the end of our time at the beach, the crowd slowly dispersed and we were left with almost the entire beach to ourselves. It was like a private island!



We went back, washed up and were surprised to see our dinner cooking already! We just brought marinated meat and the crew took care of the rest! It was really fuss free and the food was nicely cooked! The utensils were provided as well.



It was such an enjoyable experience to eat in the open sea.


We brought along our favourite yummy tarts from Wunderfolks too!


By the time we finished our dinner, the sun had set and it was time to head back. We spent our time lying on the deck and enjoying the night scenery. No photo as it was too dark. 


The 4 hours went by so fast and we had so much fun sailing, swimming, chilling and eating! Both crew Ali and Mario were very hospitable and had great service! Ours was a sunset sail (4pm to 8pm) and we get to see the sunset. It was nice to experience both day and night sail too! I love the night sail! 

It's definitely one of our highlight this year! Wish we could have another trip with our closed family and friends sometime soon!


Thank you Infinity Sails for the fun and memorable trip! 

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Adding colours to your home with Philip Hue outdoor lightstrips

Looking to add some colours to your stay-home pandemic days? 

Like many, our family has been staying home alot more than before. When I got to know about the Philip Hue outdoor lightstrips, I was intrigued! The outdoor lightstrips would definitely help to brighten our balcony and make our stay home days more colourful!


Few weeks back, we had a camping theme birthday party for Emmalyn's 8th birthday at home and took the chance to put the lightstrip to use! It was fun to see the lights switching from one colour to another!



We could easily achieve different feel with the different colours! The timing can also be set so that it gets switched on and off automatically. 



What's the Philip Hue outdoor lightstrip?

It's a smart LED lightstrip that can be used in outdoor setting. It is weatherproof with an IP67 rating, meaning it can withstand any weather conditions throughout the year.


The lightstrip lights up in colours of your choice and can be controlled by using a bridge and Hue app. 


It is flexible, bendable and comes in two length - 197 inches and 80 inches. Hence, it's easy to shape the light in bends or curves.



How's the installation like? 

Installation is a breeze! The lightstrip can simply be switched on by plugging to a power source. It can be laid on the ground or mounted to features. 



To maximise the lighting experience, it needs to be paired with a Hue bridge device that it connected to the WiFi router. After setting up the bridge, you will be able to control the brightness and colour of lightstrips through the Hue app. A revamped Hue 4.0 app was launched earlier this year which offers an even more user-friendly interface and greater customisation options. I found it very easy to use the app to change the lighting to whatever setting I wanted.

And what's more cool is that the Hue Bridge allows you to connect and control up to 50 lights and accessories in the house! You can then control all your lights from the Hue app. It's a great way to turn your home into a smart home!


Philip Hue lightstrips are really fun, easy and smart products to light up outdoor spaces like balcony, patio, carpark pouch or garden. Whether it is for a party, game or just chilling out, you can get the perfect lighting with a touch on the app. The possibilities are endless! 



Hop over to Philip Hue website to find out more!

Friday, July 9, 2021

Journey of Grace II

At 34 years old, I found out from Circledna test that I'm a carrier of pendred syndrome, a genetic disorder that causes early hearing loss in children. 

It wasn't a surprise since both of parents had lost their hearing on one side since young and it's very likely that at least one of my parents have Pendred Syndrome. We were told that they lost their hearing after they fell sick so it never cross my mind that it could be genetic. They rely on one hear and speak in limited dialect since it was obviously hard for them to get by school in the past. 

I always thought it wasn't a wise idea on my grandparents' part to matchmake both of them. They should get someone at least without hearing disabilities to make their life better right? How are they going to take care of 2 children? Whatever can go wrong, could go wrong. And now, we know that their children even have a risk to get pendred syndrome. It was challenging but they hold on to each other and pulled it through together. Looking back, they are made for each other. It's Him who brings my mother all the way from Indonesia to Singapore and matchmake them.  

When I was young, I wish that they could be "normal" and we were more well to do. I wish we would be able to communicate better. But as I grew up, I slowly see how they are fearfully and wonderfully made, and deeply loved by God despite their hearing disabilities. They can't express their love in beautiful words but I could hear their love loud and clear. Life wasn't easy and was very CRAZY at some point of time. But God has been extra gracious and watching over our family.  If it's not by God's protection, my brother and I wouldn't be what we are now.

 
After learning that I'm a carrier of pendred syndrome, I'm even more thankful for God's protection over my brother and I. His love is bigger than I had imagine. He didn't just watch over our family after I got to know him when I was 14 years old. He watched over us before we were born. He watched over my parents when they were young. He blessed me with a husband of good health (at least not another pendred syndrome carrier) and allowed me to bring 2 healthy girls to this world. He loves and watches after us generations after generations. 

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. - Psalms 139: 14  

 *******


We are all God's wonderful masterpiece. I thank God for loving us. He loves and walks with us through ups and downs even before we know him, when we didn't feel close to him or even run away from him. He will make things beautiful in his time. May the Lord continue to bless us and keep us. 
 
To you who finish this post, thank you for taking your precious time to read this. Before you leave this page, I want you to know that God loves you too and may you get to know him more.

For God so loved the world,
that he gave his only Son,
that whoever believes in him
should not perish but have eternal life.
- John 3:16

All in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Get Active This Summer with Gen Woo

Try spending a few hours with Emmalyn and you will definitely not miss out on some of her stunts. Born in the year of the snake, she's flexible and likes to move around. Whenever she could, she would squeeze in some splits, kicks and cartwheels. She even influenced Avalyn to move and roll around alot at home. During this holiday, she chanced on Jordan Matter, a creative photographer, on YouTube and was so impressed by his videos. He photographed gymnasts and dancers so beautifully. So, she asked me to bring her on a photoshoot. Though my skill is definitely nowhere near Jordan Matter, I happily obliged.

After changing into her sports wear from Gen Woo, she was even more hyped up! This latest launch at Gen Woo is her favourite set (crop top and leggings) and she wears it every other day! The material is really soft and comfortable for her to move about and do her stunts. I really love the pink camou prints and the colours really cheer up her active days.

Besides this set, Gen Woo also recently brought in a number of other stylish children sports and active wear.


At the start of the year, she came back one day from school and started to try to do a cartwheel. We kept stopping her as we were afraid that she would injure herself. I asked her PE teacher if he had taught her that and he replied no. Few months on, she managed to do quite a decent one. How did it happen? To our surprise, she secretly learnt how to do a cartwheel with her classmate in the school TOILET! I was speechless. Thankfully, no injury so far.


Over the past few months, we have noticed an increased interest in gymnastics in Emmalyn. Her school has gymnastics CCA and she was exposed to it during their PE lessons. She even told her ballet teacher that she's going to quit ballet after she gets into gymnastics. Oh my! I wonder how she said it and how did the teacher take it.


Few months back, she came back one day telling me that "She has been selected for gymnastics by her PE teacher" along with some other students. That sounds cool! After checking in with her teacher, I learnt that she was only shortlisted and the PE teacher will make the final decision at the end of the year.

I didn't want to raise her hopes as I've heard much about children not being able to get into their preferred choice. I told her about it and asked her to pray for her CCA next year. Her school doesn't have ballet so the next choice might be Chinese Dance. I shared with her my own CCA journey and asked her to keep her options opened. Regardless, I trust that God has a perfect CCA for her.

Meanwhile, I'm really glad that she's very active and enjoying herself in various activities. She even joined me at the gym. She's looking really sporty in this "Just Dance" outfit (crop top and shorts)! This rib fitted tank top goes well with anything - shorts, tulle skirts and even leggings!


Nonetheless, it makes me think more. I wonder how we parents can help our children discover their non-academic interests and build up their ability?

Some of us may be well aware of what excites our children but some might not have any clue. Sometimes these change for our children, as they do for us adults.

I’m not a parenting expert, but here's some ways that have been helpful to me along the way.
  • Expose them. I believe in the mantra "you never know until you try!". It's only until they try it, they will truly know whether they like it. And until they try more, they truly know what their hearts beat for.
  • Observe what they like and enjoy doing. It can sometimes be very obvious but it could also take a while for time to find out their interest.
  • Let them explore and experiment within safe boundaries. If they enjoy an activity, give them some freedom to do it.
  • Assess. There are so many factors to consider - their interest, potential, personality, family finances, academic performance and family lifestyle. To go for it or not? How far should we go?
  • Build their interest. I do it by showing them videos and photos of how others do it. Emmalyn is blessed to know 5 other gymnasts at church. A number of them even represent Singapore!
  • Build their ability through classes and home practice. Of course, it takes time, money, effort, perseverance and encouragements!
  • Look for opportunities to learn, perform or showcase or even compete.
  • Assess again. Eventually the children will grow up and make their own call.
 

Looking back, I don’t have much opportunities to explore much like the children these days. But, I’m thankful that schools offer CCA. I joined netball, girl brigade, library when I was in primary school. It was until when I was in Secondary 2, I started dancing while I was in Choir. Though I had only danced for 5 years and couldn’t dance much now, my years in performing arts built up my confidence and brought me lots of joy. I’m still not the most confident lady but I was rather insecure because of my family background and upbringing when I was younger. The journey was amazing and that’s also where I’ve made my lifelong friends.

Emmalyn started ballet in 2018 when she was 4 (turning 5) years old and it has been a very enriching journey. I don't know what it will lead to but I'm glad that she is enjoying herself and finding new interests. Gymnastics can be quite an investment so I am just praying that she could get to the school CCA if it's meant to be. Having known the 2 families who have gymnasts children, I know it is not an easy journey. I've unsure if I like her to take on that journey. They train almost everyday! By God's grace, their children are so outstanding!

Whatever interests, potential, ability or opportunities our children have, I'm reminded that every child is unique. Every family is different. God has his special plan and timings for each and every child. To some, it might be a childhood interests, others might be a lifelong passion. We parents, we do what we can and pray that our children will enjoy themselves, develop skills, build their character, make good friends and create precious memories.

Whether it is ballet, gymnastics or something else, I'm looking forward to supporting and seeing how the sisters grow and bloom in their special ways!!

Special thanks to Gen Woo for these lovely sets from their latest collection! Emmalyn loves these sets so much!


She is turning 8 and it is really getting harder to dress her up. No doubt, Tween is one of the most challenging groups to shop for because of the changing styles and trends they embrace. Gen Woo makes it easier than ever to find styles that girls will love at prices you can afford. It carries a wide range of apparels and masks for children up to 14 years old and ladies too!



Quote ASHLYNTHIA20 for 20% discount on all products, with a minimum spend of $20 (SGD) and cannot be combined with another promo code. It is open worldwide to everyone and can be used once by a customer.

Go check out their wide variety of styles now!! Happy shopping!