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Handling 3 young kids at IKEA

2014 December 22
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by MieVee @ MummysReviews.com

We usually don’t shop much when lugging the 3 little ones out. But this week, I’m updating our homeschool furniture, so a long trip to IKEA over the weekend was inevitable. Mega headache.

#3 El (1yo): by default, he is back-carried using our beloved Boba Carrier (reviewed here). After some walking, he dozed off. Great, one down.

Vee (5.5 yo) and Jae (3yo) are the challenging ones. No one agrees to sit on the stroller for long. We’ve our second beloved item — Peg Perego Pliko P3 stroller — on which one sits while the other stands on the small buggy board.

We decided that Jae was to sit first. Of course, he protested. Upon hearing that I’d be buying the deep fried salmon balls as snacks, he cooperated.

So I bought some peace with RM4.50.

Vee was getting bored and whiny during his turn to sit in the stroller. Jae had brought along a toy car to entertain himself while Vee didn’t have anything to do. Obviously, he wasn’t interested in looking around.

I quickly grabbed a survey form that sat above the paper measuring tapes. Oh yes, and a pencil too.

Hubby kept his eyes out for the items on our shopping list (love the IKEA app!) while I explained each item on the survey form to Vee.

“Poor, Satisfactory, Good, Excellent”
“Layout”
“Choices”
“Staff friendliness”
“Efficiency”

He must be having a darn lousy time because he marked “poor” for nearly all the items.

Interestingly, he rated “Excellent” for “Restaurant” even though we just sat down at the table.

As for suggestions, he wrote “Be excellent in all areas.”

Just then, a girl about 6 years old ran frantically past our table and cried for her family. There were loads of shoppers during the lunch peak. A group of diners asked her to stay put while hubby went to get the security guard. Even before help arrived, the girl’s family found her. Lucky girl.

Vee and Jae witnessed the entire episode and understood the importance of staying close to us at crowded places. A true case is worth more than a thousand nagging words.

After lunch and some more walking, Jae fell asleep for his nap. Great, another one down. (By now, El has woken up, taken his lunch, and still happy to be back carried, watching what everyone’s doing.)

At 3p.m., we finally ended our 3.5-hour high-tension shopping trip at IKEA. I’m glad we aren’t going to repeat such a long shopping trip anytime soon. Super looking forward to the furniture being installed on Christmas Eve.

Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones and have the best year ever in 2015!

Cheers,
MieVee


P.S. Check out our homeschooling updates at MummysHomeschool.com

Memorable playdate

2014 December 10
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by MieVee @ MummysReviews.com

For the first time ever, I found the courage to bring all three boys out to a dear friend’s house. Usually, I’d venture out with my entire “brood” only when hubby is around.

And we had a peaceful time! :)

Here’s how we did it:

- friend stays nearby and arranged to pick us up and drop us back

- prep talk with the older boys beforehand: if they behaved well, the host may invite them again next time. If they misbehaved, then probably no more playdate invitation for a long time

- going to another place means they need time to warm up (less hyper)

- going to a place with new toys keeps them entertained for a long time. Basically, they played with toy cars and a garage with slide for 2 hours while I chatted in complete peace!!!

- little El is nearly 14 months old and doesn’t need a mid-morning nap, so he was happy to play alongside the older kids

I’m so thankful to my friend for having us over. As little El becomes more independent, we’d probably have a lot more outdoor fun.

May you and your kids have fun too! :)

[Car Seat Review 2] Booster Seat with True Side Impact Protection – Britax Frontier 85

2014 November 28
by MieVee @ MummysReviews.com

Britax Frontier 85 booster car seat Amazon

Now that Vee has graduated into his third car seat, I’m reviewing Britax Frontier 85, purchased at a discount from Jingle Box (distributor of Britax in Malaysia). Britax is still our trusted brand, with the Frontier 85 being our second Britax car seat. (Toddler Jae is using the luxurious Britax Boulevard CS, which is reviewed here.)

First Impressions

Britax Frontier 85 is a combination booster car seat, meaning it can be used in harness mode for a younger child and seat-belt mode for an older child.

Britax Frontier 85 booster car seat adjustment

Although Vee is rather big and sturdy for his age, at 20+kg, he’s still very light compared to an adult. As mentioned in IIHS website, “…they should use boosters until adult belts fit properly, usually when a child reaches 4 feet 9 inches and 80 pounds” . That’s about 145cm and 36kg.

Our Detailed Review

Rating Guide: Oh no! ★★ Poor ★★★ Fair ★★★★ Good ★★★★★ Excellent!

(a) Safety: ★★★★★ I like the 5-point harness and true side impact protection.

Britax Frontier 85 booster car seat 2448x3264-002

 

Here’s how Britax describes True Side Impact Protection:

“True Side Impact Protection provides deep side walls and a head restraint with energy-absorbing EPP foam to distribute crash forces, shield from vehicle intrusion, and contain the head, neck and body while keeping them “in true” or aligned”

 

(b) Ease of Use: ★★★★★ Hubby was able to fit the car seat rather easily. Adjusting the shoulder strap to fit snugly is also easy.

5-year old Vee is able to climb in and buckle himself up independently. This is especially important since we go out with 3 young kids.

That sai, Vee is still too young to use it in booster mode, so we haven’t tried it out yet.

 

(c) Fit: ★★★★★ It has fitted Vee from 4 years old to 5 years 9 months old now. It still has lots of room to grow, for use in booster mode.

(d) Comfort: ★★The fabric is soft, but not as luxurious as Boulevard CS. Vee naps easily in this seat, but his head may tend to droop forward.

The arm rests and cup-holders are nice extras. With my boys, the cup-holders naturally become a trashcan for all kinds of junk — tissue paper, toy aeroplanes, bread crumps, just name it.

Britax Frontier 85 booster car seat 3264x2448

(e) Quality: ★★★★ So far so good after 1 year 9 months. Still need to withstand a longer test of time.

(f) Overall Value: ★★★★ The retail price was about RM1600. Again, though a bit on the high side, it’s definitely a great investment in our children’s safety. I feel very at ease when Vee is buckled up in it.

What we like about it:

  • 5-point harness
  • True side impact protection
  • Easy to install
  • Easy for preschooler to get in and out

What can be improved:

  • Use the same luxurious fabric as Boulevard (We’ve been so spoilt by it!)

Get Your Own (with Discount!)

We bought our Britax Frontier 85 from the distributor in Malaysia: Jingle Box.

Live outside Asia, you may also check the price of the latest Britax Frontier car seats at Amazon here: : Britax Frontier*

Image credits: Amazon Britax Frontier 85 Booster Car Seat*

Disclosure: I purchased the Britax Frontier 85 at a discount from Jingle Box. To ensure a fair review, Jingle Box received 3 months of free sidebar banner ad in return.

Mummy’s Reviews™ is a review site that receives compensation if readers make purchases from affiliate links (these are marked with an *). If we receive compensation from the companies whose products we review, this would be disclosed. These compensation help to maintain and grow Mummy’s Reviews™. We test each product thoroughly and give ratings according to our experience with it. We are independently owned and the opinions expressed here are our own.

[Car Seat Review 1] Safe & luxurious for toddler – Britax Boulevard CS

2014 November 26
by MieVee @ MummysReviews.com

Mummy's Reviews - Britax Boulevard car seat

Here’s a review of our trusted car seat Britax Boulevard CS, purchased 4 years ago. Jae is our second child to use it, and it’s still luxurious and provides solid support.

Our view on car seats

In our family, using a car seat is compulsory. From their infant days, each boy has been placed into a rear-facing infant car seat. I try to let them face backwards for as long as possible until their legs have insufficient place to stretch, or when they hate facing backwards and fuss throughout the trips. This is usually about 1+ year old, though ideally I’d prefer to let them face backwards for even longer.

The general guideline from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is:

“All infants and toddlers should ride in a Rear-Facing Car Seat until they are 2 years of age or until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their car seat’s manufacturer.”

This is a useful article: Car Seats: Information for Families for 2013

Since we drive between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur several times a year, it’s important for the boys to get used to sitting (and hopefully sleeping) in their car seats for at least 1-2 hours until we take a break. So we’re consistent in ensuring they’re buckled in their seats before moving off, and I arm myself with a bag of toys and activities during their babyhood days.

Of course, life isn’t always a bed of roses. There have been incidents when the baby is extremely fussy and unable to fall asleep in the car seat, so I’ve to nurse him or let him fall asleep in the baby carrier first before trying to transfer him into the car seat. I’m always thankful when these difficult episodes are over and we’ve travelled safely.

Coincidentally, when the boys turned 1.5 years old, they’re able to fall asleep easily in the seat or sit peacefully for long stretches simply watching the outside scenery. Phew!

About Britax

“BRITAX has been a leader in mobile safety for more than 70 years, with a legacy of leadership in developing innovations that enhance the safety of child car seats and improve their ease of installation and use.

Our uncompromising focus has made BRITAX the best-selling child car seat in Europe and one of the brands most trusted by American parents and caregivers since entering the U.S. market in 1996.

Our commitment to improving child safety is unparalleled, as evidenced by the fact that our products undergo the most rigorous testing in our industry at five BRITAX testing facilities worldwide.

We also work closely with vehicle manufacturers to encourage design improvements that enhance the performance of child car seats.

In addition, we maintain an ongoing dialogue with consumers, child passenger safety technicians and other child safety advocates to ensure proper installation and use of child seats and develop new ideas to improve their safety and ease of use.” (Source: Britax Singapore website)

First Impressions

Britax Boulevard car seat 2816x1880-005

When shopping for the toddler car seat, my priority was a 5-point harness. I’ve read about the high quality of Britax car seats, so it was rather easy to zoom down onto Britax Boulevard CS in the store we were at.

There were only 2 units left– we took the grey. The fabric felt soooo luxurious!

The entire side view:

Britax Boulevard car seat 2816x1880

Our Detailed Review

Rating Guide: Oh no! ★★ Poor ★★★ Fair ★★★★ Good ★★★★★ Excellent!

(a) Safety: ★★★★★ I like the 5-point harness and side impact protection:

Britax Boulevard car seat 2816x1880-007

(b) Ease of Use: ★★★★ A rather long seat belt is needed to fix the car seat. When we had to replace our car, we shopped for one that could accommodate this car seat.

Hubby spent only a short while installing it, no complaint. Somehow I’m lousy at figuring out how to install car seats, and he seems a natural. Hmm…

The easy-to-use adjustment knob:

Britax Boulevard car seat 2816x1880-001

The Click & Safe feature to know when the shoulder strap is tightened enough:

Britax Boulevard car seat 2816x1880-002

(c) Fit: ★★★★★ It fitted Vee from 1+ to 4 years old. Jae just turned 3 and is still using it.

(d) Comfort: ★★The fabric is soft and luxurious, like a cuddly teddy bear. The older boys nap well in this seat, and i like to rest against it.

(e) Quality: ★★★★★ The quality is excellent. After 4 years, it’s still in great condition, ready to be used with #3 El when he grows into it.

(f) Overall Value: ★★★★ The retail price 4 years ago was RM1999. We bought it at 20% member discount, that’s about RM1600. Though a bit on the high side, it’s definitely a great investment in our children’s safety. I feel very at ease when Jae is buckled up in it, and that is priceless.

What we like about it:

  • Quality made to last
  • 5-point harness
  • Side impact protection
  • Comfortable fabric

What can be improved:

  • Reduce the length of seat belt needed to install this car seat

Get Your Own

We bought our Britax Boulevard CS at The First Few Years (parallel import). The Britax distributor in Malaysia is Jingle Box.

Live outside Asia, you may also check the price of the latest Britax Boulevard car seats at Amazon here: Britax Boulevard*

Sharing time: What are your favourite car seats? Do share in the comments section or link up to your review post.

Disclosure: We bought our own Britax Boulevard CS car seat.

Mummy’s Reviews™ is a review site that receives compensation if readers make purchases from affiliate links (these are marked with an *). If we receive compensation from the companies whose products we review, this would be disclosed. These compensation help to maintain and grow Mummy’s Reviews™. We test each product thoroughly and give ratings according to our experience with it. We are independently owned and the opinions expressed here are our own.

Marriage above kids

2014 November 3
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by MieVee @ MummysReviews.com

Marriage over kids

The past weeks have been activity-filled, with two public holidays, and celebrating Baby El’s first birthday. Most importantly… *ah hem* celebrating my 1-year survival anniversary of being mum to three little boys.

It’s been a crazy year and over the recent months, I’ve finally achieved “enlightenment” that marriage comes above kids, money, housework, and whatever never-ending list of things.

At least for our case, when the marriage is sound and hard like a rock, other things fall into place. Simply because hubby and I work hand in hand to overcome the tonnes of obstacles along the way.

Some of the things we’ve been up to:

1. Daily conversations: every night, we’d spent some time chit-chatting after putting the kids to bed. Then after that, we get our individual dose of me-time. (When we started with me-time first, chances were we became too engaged or tired to chit chat.)

2. Monthly date: One Sunday every month, we’d drop the 2 older kids with a caregiver. Then we’d have a lunch date with baby El in tow. (Thankfully, he sleeps half the time we’re out and isn’t talking yet, at least for now!)

And one date a month is certainly better than none over the past few years.

3. Retirement planning: We’ve had long discussions and created a common long-term vision of retirement life, so we know where we’re heading, when the kids eventually grow up.

We’ve been exploring possible places as our retirement homes. Malaysia, Singapore, elsewhere? Small house, easy to clean but claustrophobic? Bigger house, spacious but harder for old folks to clean?

4. Savings & investment: with the above in mind, we talked lots on how to save up to meet our retirement goals. Life certainly seems more exciting when we know where we’re going, instead of rushing through each day like headless chickens.

Ok, that’s about it. Have a great day with your loved ones!

.

Cheers,
MieVee

Shichida flash cards, photographic memory games*

Mummy’s Reviews™ is a review site that receives compensation if readers make purchases from affiliate links (these are marked with an *). If we receive compensation from the companies whose products we review, this would be disclosed. These compensation help to maintain and grow Mummy’s Reviews™. We test each product thoroughly and give ratings according to our experience with it. We are independently owned and the opinions expressed here are our own.

Mummy, please smile!

2014 September 22
by MieVee @ MummysReviews.com

Mummy please smile

 

Have you smiled today, my fellow Mummy?

During dinner at an eatery on Saturday, I was waiting with Jae and Baby El while hubby and Vee went to get some things. My eyes wandered around other tables and landed on a family with 3 children. (I enjoy observing and learning how other parents manage multiple kids.) The mummy didn’t seem happy… Oops, perhaps she’d a bad day?

Coincidentally, the table in front of me was a family with 3 children too. The mummy was trying to coax the youngest toddler to have his dinner, and had to feed her #2 as well. The daddy talked to her for a while and then…. erm… dozed off. The mummy was soooo patient, yet looked tense.

Suddenly, it was like looking at myself in a mirror. Mum of 3 kids –> tense –> not smiling? What’s more, I’ve been ill for the past 6 days and certainly haven’t been very smiley.

Immediately, I made an effort to smile at my little boys and they smiled back in response. Children are such amazing people!

As mums, we’re often the emotional pillar of the family. It is important to keep our spirits high and cheer up each day, even if the day has been challenging. When we’re filled with good energy, everything seems more possible. When we’re filled with good energy, we become happier. When we’re filled with good energy, our children will feel it too.

Happy mummy –> happy children & happy family

My fellow Mummy, please smile yah?

 

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Smilingly yours,

MieVee

P.S. Please share this message with your mummy friends who need a little encouragement to keep smiling each day.

Shichida flash cards, photographic memory games*

Mummy’s Reviews™ is a review site that receives compensation if readers make purchases from affiliate links (these are marked with an *). If we receive compensation from the companies whose products we review, this would be disclosed. These compensation help to maintain and grow Mummy’s Reviews™. We test each product thoroughly and give ratings according to our experience with it. We are independently owned and the opinions expressed here are our own.

Where to get great books at low prices

2014 August 24
by MieVee @ MummysReviews.com

BookXcess title

Here’s a wonderful bookstore to share with you: BookXcess, a warehouse outlet where I get many children’s books at really low prices.

About BookXcess

These are the key information of BookXcess:

  • Physical stores: in Malaysia, at Amcorp Mall and farenheit88 (right opposite Pavilion Kuala Lumpur)
  • Online store: BookXcess
  • By the same people who organise the Big Bad Wolf Bookfairs

With 3 young kids in tow, I’ve been unable to visit the crazeeee Big Bag Wolf bookfairs where people actually lugged luggages to carry the super-affordable books they grabbed!

So going to BookXcess stores now is good enough for me. I’ve been to the store at Amcorp Mall a few years back but it was too out of the way for me. Imagine my delight when I discovered the new branch right opposite Pavilion!

My Shopping Spree…

Here are what I bought… Story books for the kids….

BookXcess4

  • My Very First Bible, RM29.90
  • Flora and Tiger by Eric Carle, RM17.90
  • Mister Seahorse by Eric Carle, RM14.90
  • We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, RM12.90

Nearly-3-year old Jae is going through a sticker-craze phase, blasting through 3 sticker activity books within 2 weeks. So I bought 2 more GIANT sticker books for him…

BookXcess3

  • My Giant Sticker First Words, RM17.90
  • My Giant Sticker Fun Book, RM17.90

Any Roald Dahl fans? This set is a beauty and I love books boxed sets…. bought it during my first visit to BookXcess and it’s still on sale now!

BookXcess8

  •  Roald Dahl Phizz Whizzing Collection (Boxed set of 15 books), RM219.90

5.5-year old Vee loves learning about skeletons, so I gathered these books for him…

BookXcess1

  • Human Body by DK, RM24.90
  • Human Body (DK Eyewitness Books), RM14.90
  • Human Body Encyclopedia by DK, RM17.90
  • Body Basics: Bones, RM12.90

I like reference books by DK, the illustrations are wonderful. The Body Basics: Bones book has a special layered pages like this…

BookXcess2

A dear friend once mentioned the importance of reading up on great historians. Then I found these two gems…

BookXcess5

  • The Treasures of Mozart by John Irving, RM49.90
  • Einstein: The Life of a Genius by Walter Isaacson, RM39.90

These aren’t just wordy books. Instead, there’re copies of the historian’s documents, score sheets, letters such as this…

BookXcess6

Now I need more bookshelves at home!

A Quick Review of the Store at farenheit88

Rating Guide: Oh no!     ★★ Poor     ★★★ Fair     ★★★★ Good     ★★★★★ Excellent!

(a) Range of books: ★★★ With limited time (and money!), I zoomed straight into kids’ educational books. The range is ok, since they’re from over-production. (That’s why the name is called BookXcess… meaning excess books.)

Don’t expect to find complete sets of individual books, unless they come in a boxed set. Examples of boxed sets sold are the Roald Dahl collection mentioned, Dr. Suess set, and Thomas Train set.

(b) Organisation: ★★★ There’s enough room for me to push a huge stroller around. It’s rather easy to get to the section I want since the store isn’t too huge.

(c) Service: ★★★★ Most books are in shrink-wrap. I requested to check some books / sets samples that are behind the cashier and the lady was most willing to help me.

There wasn’t any sample for The Treasures of Mozart, so she gladly opened a new copy for me to browse through. That copy was a bit squashed, so she got a completely new copy for me. Thumbs up!

(d) Quality: ★★★★ The books are in good condition. Some books (e.g. Eric Carle board books) may have a black marker mark across the top or bottom side, which I didn’t mind.

(f) Overall Value: ★★★★ There was a promotion for this trip on top of member discount. Overall, I find the books at attractive prices. (Of course, the cheapest is buying directly from books warehouse outlets such as in the UK.)

BookXcess offers value-for-money books.

What we like about it:

  • Quality books at reasonable prices
  • Convenient location (i.e. farenheit88 branch)
  • Good service

What can be improved:

  • Offer more boxed sets, please (I’m looking for Winnie-the-Pooh Complete 30-Book Set)

When you visit Kuala Lumpur, do drop by BookXcess. Happy shopping for books!

Get Your Own (with Discount!)

BookXcess is currently running this promotion:

  • Special Treat: 7% off + member discount (5% for above RM50; 10% for above RM150)
  • Validity Period: 8 August to 1 September 2014
  • For above RM170, you can get to a free copy of “Great Migrations” (with National Geographic’s iconic stunning photography!)

BookXcess7

You may also check the prices at Amazon here:

Disclosure: I paid for all my purchases at BookXcess and they have no idea I’m writing about them.

Shichida flash cards, photographic memory games*

Mummy’s Reviews™ is a review site that receives compensation if readers make purchases from affiliate links (these are marked with an *). If we receive compensation from the companies whose products we review, this would be disclosed. These compensation help to maintain and grow Mummy’s Reviews™. We test each product thoroughly and give ratings according to our experience with it. We are independently owned and the opinions expressed here are our own.

Help toddler learn swimming with these…

2014 August 12
by MieVee @ MummysReviews.com

Monkey Swimmers jae

Today, I’m reviewing MonkeySwimmers armbands, provided by SMT Distributors (based in Singapore). These armbands are super comfortable and need no blowing. Our whole family loves them…

About MonkeySwimmers

These are the main features of the swimming armbands:

  • Material: Super-soft foam free of nasty chemicals. Fully recyclable when kids are done using them.
  • What else are included: A swimming bag, a story book “Monkeys Can’t Swim”, and a fold out progress chart
  • Country of origin: Designed by Mummy Donna Heaton, MonkeySwimmers made in the UK; bag made in China
  • Complies with Australian swimming standards AS 1900 – 2002

Our Story

Swimming is an important life skill that I need my kids to master. 5-year old Vee has been taking swimming lessons for a while and is finally learning to swim without a float.

2+-year old Jae is much more confident in water. Since he was 1+, we’ve been bringing him to the pool and letting his head go underwater for a short while.

We’ve a toddler swimming vest, which is fine during babyhood but rather bulky for toddler Jae.

Inflatable armbands are out for us cos they could contain PVC and blowing them up is such a hassle and makes me giddy. Then MonkeySwimmers came along for review and I thought they were a great idea!

First Impressions

Monkey Swimmers contents

The MonkeySwimmers armbands are indeed made of super-soft and smooth foam.

They come with a bag, a book that motivates the child to learn swimming and a progress chart.

Our Detailed Review

Rating Guide: Oh no!     ★★ Poor     ★★★ Fair     ★★★★ Good     ★★★★★ Excellent!

(a) Ease of Use: ★★★★★ Clear instructions are provided. Quite a no-brainer here. Just remove the star-shaped inner support, open up the armhole and get toddler Jae to slide his arm inside.

After swimming, just remove the MonkeySwimmers, stuff back the “stars” and put them into the swimming bag.

When the child is more confident in water, remove one layer to reduce the buoyancy. There are 3 layers that can be removed.

The thing to note about removing layers: it isn’t recommended to add back the layers after removal, so can’t remove them too early and can’t reuse them for the next child.

(b) Fit: ★★★★★ The armhole size is stretchable and designed to fit children aged from age 1 onwards. They fit Jae wonderfully.

(c) Performance: ★★I love the slim design that allows Jae to move his arms freely in water. With these MonkeySwimmers, he has been growing even more confident in the pool. This video is taken a month back while he was still braving up to jump into the pool.

(Here’s the link: http://youtu.be/yIaPzk0WlcM)

Noawadays, he doesn’t want anyone to hold him and is happy to jump right in and paddle all by himself. Once, he forgot to wear the MonkeySwimmers, and simply jumped into the pool where Daddy was. He laughed it off with, “Hahaha… my face is sooooo wet!”

I think he’s ready to have the first layer removed!

(e) Quality: ★★★★ We’ve been using the MonkeySwimmers for several months and they’re still as good as new. Conservatively giving 4 stars here.

(f) Overall Value: ★★★ Each set of MonkeySwimmers retails at SGD55.90. Considering that this is a unique product that is even Daddy likes, and helps Jae swim confidently, it’s reasonable value-for-money.

In order to reuse the MonkeySwimmers for Baby #3 El, I’m hoping that Jae can transit straight to swimming without armbands.

A great tool for young children who are learning to swim.

What we like about it:

  • Free of PVC and nasty chemicals
  • Slim design that allows the child to move freely in water
  • Very comfortable on the child
  • Easy to use — no blowing or deflating needed

What can be improved:

  • Would be even better if the layers can be reused for the next child

Win Your Own

To thank supporters of Mummy’s Reviews™ Parents Club, this Giveaway is EXCLUSIVE to Parents Club members. THREE (3) lucky members will win one Monkey Swimmers worth SGD55.90 each!

How to Participate

1. Join Mummy’s Reviews™ Parents Club here or below (existing members counted)

2. Fill in the online form HERE

Other Information

  • This Giveaway is open to subscribers with a mailing address in Singapore.
  • If you’re a winner, the colour / design of your prize depends on the stock available.
  • It will run until 14 August 2014 (Friday) 2359hr (GMT +8).
  • The usual Giveaway Terms apply.

Submit your entry now and good luck! —

Get Your Own (with Discount!)

To get your own MonkeySwimmers, visit SMT Distributors (Singapore).

  • Special Treat: 10% discount
  • Discount Code: MS001
  • Validity Period: 3 months, until 11 November 2014

Residing out of Asia? You may also check the price at Amazon here: Monkey Swimmers Swimming Starter Kit*

Disclosure: I received a set of Monkey Swimmers from SMT Distributors for review.

Shichida flash cards, photographic memory games*

Mummy’s Reviews™ is a review site that receives compensation if readers make purchases from affiliate links (these are marked with an *). If we receive compensation from the companies whose products we review, this would be disclosed. These compensation help to maintain and grow Mummy’s Reviews™. We test each product thoroughly and give ratings according to our experience with it. We are independently owned and the opinions expressed here are our own.

[Tackling fussy eater] How to get more peaceful meal-time

2014 May 17
by MieVee @ MummysReviews.com

Fussy eater homemade baby food

Have a fussy eater who doesn’t like to chew? Doesn’t like vegetables? Yet loves crunchy snacks like crackers? Just wish to have more peaceful meal times without resorting to TV / iPad / i-anything?

Here’s a compilation of the various ways I’m using to “tackle” my 2 older boys (Vee and Jae), written in a Q & A style. Baby El just started eating solids, which is the best time to set good eating habits.

Q: I’ve a fussy eater who eats very little during meal times. After that, he’ll say he’s hungry. Should I feed him snacks?

A: If my kid is hungry after finishing his meal, he can have healthy snacks, even straight after meal is fine. In fact, I do that myself. They watch me start eating snacks such as wholemeal cereal flakes / wholemeal crackers / banana after lunch and rush to do the same.

But not finishing meal (and not ill), I’ll remind him during meal time that it seems like he isn’t hungry. Next meal time is X o’clock.

I may refrigerate leftover food (not contaminated with saliva) and heat it up 1-2 hours later. Hungry? Continue with previous portion. Else wait till the next meal.

Breakfast: I’d usually include healthy foods they like. For example, banana, yoghurt, sunflower seeds, a few raisins (only about 1 to each year of age to prevent sugar-rush and hyper kids). This way, he gets one proper meal and has less craving in the day.

Even if they finish their meal, official snack is only milk and no / a little bit of food. I like to let them be hungry by meal time, which makes them look forward to eating.

Q: I don’t wish to force feed during meal time. But if I disallow snacks when he says he’s hungry after meal time, will he starve?

A: I’m rather sure most of our kids won’t starve. They need to experience real hunger to appreciate food. Quite the opposite is happening in our modern society, our kids seldom feel real hunger so fussy eaters appear.

Q: What is considered finishing his meal? How much should I offer my child?

A: I give toddler Jae (2.5yo, 14+ kg) 1 kid’s size bowl of food and 1 bowl of soup, which I know he can finish. This is based on observing his appetite since young. And on how much he can finish favourite foods.

Vee (5yo, 19+ kg) can eat more, probably 1.5 to 2 times of Jae’s. It really depends on the child.

If you’re starting a routine, offer a small portion of food including some fruits first, something he can finish. Let him experience a sense of achievement. Then gradually increase the portion.

For a baby or toddler, I usually will prepare 2 bowls. 1 bowl containing his full portion of food. Another bowl for the feeding portion. I’ll scoop a bit of food into his feeding bowl and let him try self-feeding or with some assistance (such as holding my finger). When that’s done, then scoop more food into the feeding bowl.

  1. This way, the child will have a small and easy “target” to reach each time. Feels much easier than facing a bowl full of food.
  2. Also, there’s less frustration if he accidentally spills the food, and less wastage if he really doesn’t wish to eat anymore.

For a child who’s under-eating, you may experiment with a bigger bowl. Recent research shows kids with bigger bowls tend to want more, eat more and waste more. (View the article here)

Q: How much fluids or soup before and during meals?

A: I don’t offer fluids just before meals else it’ll fill tiny tummies. If he’s thirsty, I do allow sips of water near meal time.

For the same reason, discourage gulping down soup at the beginning of meal. I’d add some soup to his food if he likes. The rest of the soup is reserved till the end of the meal. I read in a Chinese book that drinking soup at the end of the meal helps “expand” the stomach, to increase appetite in future.

(So for someone who wish to reduce appetite, drink soup at the beginning of the meal.)

Q: She doesn’t like to eat vegetables. Help!

A: For some time, Jae didn’t like to see green vegetables in his bowl. He’d try to pick them out.

For his self-feeding bowl, I put other food except vegetables. I’ll feed him vegetables mixed with some food from another bowl.

He has a hard time chewing leafy vegetables and anything too tough, so these have to be cut very finely. When outdoors during weekends, I let him skip our vegetables and take packet vegetable purée* as a supplement. He’s happy to feed himself an entire meal of rice / noodles, tofu, egg, etc.

You may also offer vegetables blended into milk smoothie or minced meat / rice balls with vegetables.

Whatever he says, I’ve never stopped offering vegetables to him since babyhood. Keep trying and let him watch the family eat vegetables.

Let her learn from natural consequences: When Jae’s bums hurt from slightly hard stools, I’ll remind him that he needs to eat more green vegetables. The next time he says he doesn’t want vegetables, I’ll comment “Oh dear… what if your bums hurt again?”

Another way is to include her favourite healthy food/fruit in meals. For example, Jae loves eggs and cherry tomatoes. For a long time, there’s egg during every lunch and cherry tomato bits in every dinner. This way, he ate with less fuss. Sometimes, I include apple / pear bits in his food when the rest of us are already eating fruits. He likes the crunchiness and natural sweetness of fruits.

Q: My child is unable to chew vegetables and anything too tough. She can keep food in her mouth for a long time.

A: I don’t fight with Jae over this anymore. With 3 kids to settle at the dining table, there’s no time for helicopter parenting. If that mouthful is inside for longer than normal, I confirm with him “Can’t chew?”, then allow him to spit back into the bowl.

I’ll cut it even finer, or put aside if it’s really too tough, and offer another spoonful. And I try to be careful that nothing is too hard to chew onwards. Else, he may keep spitting out or refuse to eat anymore.

We usually only eat (non-fish) meat outdoors, so I make sure it’s the softer or minced type, else no need to bother. I simply offer him rice / noodles + tofu / egg.

Q: My kid loves fried and crispy stuff with his meals. How to avoid this unhealthy habit?

A: My kids love crispy stuff too. Which kid doesn’t?!?  Try using premium-quality coconut oil such as this* to occasionally pan-fry animal protein including eggs and meat. (Top 10 Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Coconut Oil). Coconut oil can withstand very high cooking temperature.

On the other hand, avoid frying and baking plant-based food such as potatoes: Acrylamide in Food and Cancer Risk

Apparently, breakfast cereal may produce acrylamide too. Yet during really fussy periods, I’ve added a few in the kids’ meals to eat with the proper food. As mentioned earlier, adding crunchy fruit bits does the trick too.

Q: What do you feed your children with?

Fussy eater lunch

Simple, wholesome, nutrient-dense food. Children’s tummies are small, so every mouthful of food (at home) has to be packed with nutrients. For lunch and dinner, these are our ingredients:

  • multi-grains such as brown rice mixed with pearl barley, millet and quinoa OR wholemeal pasta / noodles / bee hoon
  • lightly stir-fried organic vegetables (green leafy ones, broccoli, cauliflower, red capsicum, yellow capsicum, carrot)
  • beans such as French beans (combining beans with whole grains is an easy way to get complete protein,without relying on meat)
  • egg (usually hard-boiled), 1 for each lunch at home
  • fish high in omega fats, such as salmon and mackerel, during dinner at home
  • potato/carrot/tomato soup, 1 bowl per meal (boil 2 days’ worth and freeze extra portion for following day)
  • premium-quality olive oil and coconut oil
  • cherry tomatoes (cut / peeled into quarters) and Japanese cucumber slices as finger food during meal
  • super wide range of fruits — I started offering these since the boys were babies, so they eat lots of fruits, including guavas, passion fruits, dragon fruits, water apples, berries, and more

I do only a weekly rotation for the kids and myself:

  • Monday, Wednesday, Friday: multi-grains + gently stir-fried veges + egg / fish + soup
  • Tuesday: gently stir-fried wholemeal pasta with veges + egg / fish + soup
  • Thursday: gently stir-fried wholemeal noodles with veges + egg / fish + soup
  • Saturday: gently stir-fried wholemeal bee hoon with veges + egg + soup (Or fried rice with everything in)

It sounds boring yet the ingredients are full of natural flavours and textures. Keeping things simple is easy for whoever is cooking too.

In the picture above, Vee’s having fun using a mould to make his own “sushi”.

In the picture right at the top, it’s Baby El’s rice cereal with steamed sweet potatoes and a bit of extra virgin coconut oil. He gobbled it up, phew!

Tackling fussy eaters can be challenging. When Jae kicks up a fuss about food (again!), I laugh it off that it’s karma – I used to be a skinny fussy eater. Hated rice, hated veges, hated plain water, refused to eat bread with even 1 tiny hole, rejected half-boiled egg with the yolk burst, wary of new food, loved junk food, fell ill every 3 months.

Yet now, I can live on a meatless diet, drink lots of fluids, am healthy almost all year round, and no longer underweight. Some day, I grew up and learnt about eating a proper diet for long-term health. Have faith that kids can outgrow fussy eating!

Hope this article helps and may you have a peaceful meal time! :)

P.S. Wish to unleash your child’s potential in only 15 minutes a day? Check out my new web-store at:

http://owlissimo.com/landing/shichida-flash-cards-home-practice-workshop/*

owlissimo flash cards, memory games, workshop

Disclaimer: The above is sharing from my personal experiences with my children, and is not substitute for medical advice.

Disclosure: Mummy’s Reviews™ is a review site that receives compensation if readers make purchases from affiliate links (these are marked with an *). If we receive compensation from the companies whose products we review, this would be disclosed. These compensation help to maintain and grow Mummy’s Reviews™. We test each product thoroughly and give ratings according to our experience with it. We are independently owned and the opinions expressed here are our own.

[Style] Maternity / nursing dresses (discount + giveaway) [Ubermums]

2014 March 31
by MieVee @ MummysReviews.com

ubermums nursing dresses marseille_navy1

Need lovely maternity and nursing dresses? Check out today’s Ubermums review…

About Ubermums

ubermums logo

Here’s a little background on Ubermums:

  • Started by: Edwina Eng, mother to a toddler and a baby (from Singapore)
  • What’s HOT: DUO range that combines maternity apparel with nursing features — a practical and popular choice
  • Country of origin: Made all over the Asian region as different countries specialise in different fabrics

First Impressions

While breastfeeding Baby #3 (El), I’m still wearing Ubermums nursing clothes reviewed here and the nursing poncho is a must-have in my diaper bag.

This year, Ubermums provided me with 3 dresses to refresh my wardrobe during Lunar New Year. I chose Cadence DUO Maxi Dress in Plum, Marseille Tiered DUO Dress in Navy, and Issa Maternity & Nursing Dress in Fuchsia. (Left to right in the photos below)

Even during the peak Christmas week, the parcel arrived within a few days by normal mail. I was surprised! Still, I’d encourage registered mail unless you’re flying out of Singapore in a rush (like I was).

Once the package arrived, I eagerly tried them on to show my arty farty sister. She likes Issa dress (1st on the right) the most.
Mummy's Reviews - ubermums nursing dresses

I’m soooo short! When Baby El starts walking well, I’ll definitely be wearing high heels again!

Our Detailed Review – Ubermums Maternity / Nursing Dresses

Rating Guide: Oh no!     ★★ Poor     ★★★ Fair     ★★★★ Good     ★★★★★ Excellent!

(a) Laundry: ★★★ The care instructions recommend handwashing in warm water under 30°C. This is fine because I prefer handwashing my nice dresses anyway. However, I think the label should omit the word “warm” for clarity.

There’s no colour run after handwashing in cold water. I also hang them flat for drying to maintain their shape.

(b) Fit & Comfort: ★★★★★ Since size XS isn’t offered, I chose size S like the last time and all 3 dresses fit me perfectly!

The bad news: I’ve “grown” after giving birth to 3 babies.

The good news: Yeah, no need to send for alteration! *Must think positive* :)

The waistline is made of stretchy material. Marseille in Navy (the dress in the middle) should be able to accommodate a bigger pregnancy bump than the other 2 dresses.

All the dresses are comfortable in our hot and humid weather, thanks to the sleeveless design and thin material.

Going off-point a bit: I used to get cold easily in air-conditioned places. After my first confinement, my body changed and I get warm easily. Love sleeveless or short-sleeved clothes.

If I’m really cold, I use the Ubermums nursing poncho to keep warm.

The simple designs are versatile for different occasions. Just pair up with different shoes and accessories. Ok, now I need more shoes and accessories. Heh…

(c) Ease of Use:★★★★★ Nursing is a breeze in these dresses. Simply push aside the neckline to the access the nursing openings in the inner layer. When in public, I usually nurse with the nursing poncho as well.

(d) Quality: ★★★★ Sewing and workmanship are excellent. I’ve worn each dress several times, still not enough to judge the long-term quality though.

(e) Overall Value: ★★★★★ The dresses retail between SGD59 to SGD63.90, which is a reasonable range for lovely and multi-functional dresses.

I love Ubermums nursing dresses! More designs, please…

What we like about them:

  • Lovely, simple and versatile design
  • Multi-purpose — 2-in-1 for maternity and nursing
  • Comfortable in hot and humid weather

What can be improved:

  • Omit the word “warm” in care instructions
  • More designs for beautiful nursing dresses, please… – There’re many with floral prints. How about stripes? And more with slightly stiff fabric (instead of so many drape-types)?

Win Your Own

Mummy's Reviews - ubermums nursing tops giveaway
To thank supporters of Mummy’s Reviews™ Parents Club, this Giveaway is EXCLUSIVE to Parents Club members. There will be TWO (2) lucky winners:

  1. First Prize: Tulip Maternity and Nursing Top in Black worth SGD42.90
  2. Second Prize: Zest Maternity and Nursing Top in Aqua worth SGD35

How to Participate

1. Join Mummy’s Reviews™ Parents Club here or below (existing members counted)

2. Fill in the online form HERE

Other Information

  • This Giveaway is open to subscribers with a mailing address in Singapore. Otherwise, the winner may top up the shipping fee (for registered trackable mail via Singpost) via Paypal request.
  • If you’re a winner, the colour / design of your prize depends on the stock available.
  • It will run until 11 April 2014 (Friday) 2359hr (GMT +8).
  • The usual Giveaway Terms apply.

Submit your entry now and good luck!

Get Your Own (with Discount!)

To get your own stylish and wearable maternity and nursing wear, visit Ubermums.

  • Special Treat: 15% discount
  • Discount Code: Mummy15
  • Validity Period: For 2 weeks until 13 April 2014

Disclosure: I received a Cadence DUO Maxi Dress in Plum, Marseille Tiered DUO Dress in Navy, and Issa Maternity & Nursing Dress in Fuchsia from Ubermums for review.

Mummy’s Reviews™ is a review site that receives compensation if readers make purchases from affiliate links (these are marked with an *). If we receive compensation from the companies whose products we review, this would be disclosed. These compensation help to maintain and grow Mummy’s Reviews™. We test each product thoroughly and give ratings according to our experience with it. We are independently owned and the opinions expressed here are our own.