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Happy birthday to us!

2016 November 7
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by MieVee @ MummysReviews.com

 happy birthday 2016 
This week, my mum, Jae and I celebrate our birthdays again!

Years ago, on my mum’s birthday, she went to KKH (Singapore) to deliver me at only S$88.

Then 5 years ago, on my birthday eve and lunar birthday, I delivered #2 Jae.

On his 1-week check-up, he was diagnosed with 2 small holes in the heart and had 50% chance of requiring surgery. My dad recovered from open-heart valve repair surgery while a cousin recovered from heart surgeries as a baby, so I tried my best to be optimistic.

I prayed daily and took great care of Jae to minimise loud crying. I was paranoid of him turning blue.
He loved sleeping (and still do!), zzz-ing up to 4-5 hours stretch in the day, so I woke to feed him often and check that he breathed properly.

Thankfully, BOTH holes in his heart closed completely by 9 months old, so he was discharged from follow-up with the cardiologist. We were completely relieved.

Every year on this date, I’d recall the same story of my precious baby who recovered from holes in the heart. He’s such a miracle.

Every birthday we get to celebrate in good health is a blessing.

Good night!

~ MieVee

[Review & tips] Amazon free shipping programme

2016 October 27
by MieVee @ MummysReviews.com

amazon-free-shipping

If you’re near Singapore and have yet to enjoy FREE shipping from Amazon, this post is just for you. Today, I’m reviewing Amazon* and sharing my shopping tips.

After almost 6 years, I’m still a very satisfied customer. Here’s why…

Why I Shop at Amazon?

We reside in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) and visit my Singapore home several times a year. Moreover, we do homeschooling and after-schooling, and need a good stash of learning materials, many of which aren’t available locally.

About 1 month before each Singapore visit, I’d be sure to check out my Amazon wish list and order all the books, materials and toys that we need.

The product range is huge, prices are competitive, and the best part — FREE shipping to Singapore for eligible orders above USD125!

Our Detailed Review

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

(a) Ease of Use: ★★★★ Amazon offers a huge variety of books, toys and learning resources that a homeschooling mum like me needs. Look at this science experiment kit that I bought:

amazon-nancy-b-science-experiment-kit

(Nancy B Science Experiment Kit*, USD14.75)

Even with that large inventory listing, I’m able to navigate within the site easily, all the way to checkout.

I always read some reviews before purchases, and it’s great that Amazon has enough business volume for generating many reviews for most items.

Tip: Take the 1- and 5-star reviews with a pinch of salt. Usually the more genuine / balanced reviews are those in between.

(b) Pricing: ★★★★ For the items that are available at local stores, the prices at Amazon are often lower (after conversion).

For example, I bought The Code of the Extraordinary Mind at about USD15.51 (about SGD22 or RM64), while it’s sold locally at RM79.90. That’s a savings of 20%, provided I made use of the free shipping offer to Singapore.

amazon-magic-tree-house-boxed-set-books-1-28

One of our best purchases: This Magic Treehouse Boxed Set* with 28 amazing books at only USD80.55 Amazon. This works out to be USD2.88 (~SGD4 or RM12) per book.

(c) Shipping & Delivery: ★★★★ So far, all except one of my parcels have arrived within the estimated time frame, which is up to 14 working days for the AmazonGlobal Saver Shipping (Singapore).

From 2010 to now, I’ve made 16 orders!

  • 2010: 1
  • 2011: 1
  • 2012: 1
  • 2013: 2
  • 2014: 5
  • 2015: 4
  • 2016: 1

Delivery is straight to my Singapore home, and the items are professionally packaged with no damage so far.

(d) Customer Service: ★★★★★ For the two times that I remember approaching them, they had swiftly resolved the issues:

  • 1 order reached late. I emailed Amazon and got my shipping fee refunded.
  • 1 order was charged shipping even though it should be eligible for the free shipping programme. Sometimes the shipping calculator may not be accurate, so I learnt this from a good friend — just proceed with the order and email Amazon with your explanation. Indeed they refunded me the shipping charges.

(f) Overall Value: ★★★★ So far, Amazon has provided great value for its huge array of products, competitive pricing and free shipping offer to Singapore. I’m more than happy to continue buying from Amazon and recommend it to my friends.

What we like about it:

  • Wide variety of products
  • Lots of reviews to help in my purchase decision (take the extreme reviews with a pinch of salt)
  • Free shipping to Singapore available
  • Excellent customer service
  • Effective affiliate programme that helps fund my new purchases

The affiliate programme means when readers click on my blog links to Amazon and make purchases, I get a small commission of about 4%. Because Amazon is truly a great place to shop, readers are happy to shop there, so I receive referral commission to offset purchases for our homeschooling materials.

(If you’ve been supporting us by clicking our referral links, thank you very much!)

What can be improved:

  • Include free AmazonGlobal saver shipping for more countries, especially Malaysia (pleeeease!)

Get Your Own (try to get FREE shipping!)

To get your own books, toys, learning materials, etc., visit Amazon* here.

Check out details of the FREE AmazonGlobal Saver Shipping here*. To be eligible, I always check that the items are either “sold by Amazon” or “fulfilled by Amazon”. (Those fulfilled by third-party vendors are not eligible.)

P.S. Check out my list of recommended learning materials for 3 to 6 years old here: Mummy’s Homeschool materials list.

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.

Happy 3rd birthday, El!

2016 October 24
tags:
by MieVee @ MummysReviews.com

happy 3rd birthday el 
Finally, #3 El turns 3 years old and I’ve been a mummy of 3 for 3 years. It’s a day we’ve all been looking forward to.

The past 3 years passed in a whirlwind fashion. Just before delivering El, hubby injured his spine and was miserably in pain until he found the right chiropractor months later. This meant he almost didn’t carry El at all. Until now, El still refuses to let hubby make him sleep.

El is the baby I had to let our helper (aka Kakak) help out the most when my hands were full with the older two boys.

When he was 3+ months old, we had to make a trip to Australia at short notice. It was such a headache ensuring a smooth flight, and taking care of the logistics surrounding the 3 young kids, that I barely remember what went on during that trip. Except this: we were in long car ride when El did an explosive poo (common to breastfed baby). Thankfully we found a daycare centre to give him a quick shower.

When he was 6 months old, we had to move house. Oh… An even bigger headache! At that time, Vee was still being homeschooled, so I’d all 3 kids nearly 24×7. During naptime, I scrambled to pack everything. Sometimes El was fussy and I’d to backcarry him while packing. We ended up with 20+ boxes of stuff. Books and learning materials made up nearly 20 boxes!

When El was 10 months old, Vee joined a kindy for the last term of K1. I was finally forced to drive in KL, something I’d pushed off for years.

When he turned 14 months old, I got struck by dengue fever, just 1-2 days before a workshop. Gosh… I’d to suddenly postpone it while half knocked out. El was already day-weaned but still breastfeeding at night. With my 5-day admission in hospital, Kakak took care of him and he was completely weaned off. Just like that.

From Jan this year (El: 2y3m), Vee started P1 while Jae started K1. Ironically, life became more chaotic with driving 1 kid to school and 2 kids back at different times. I was spending 1.5 hours on the road or in jams. Add to that, before and after school tantrums, and rushing through homework when they returned. The positive was El finally had 1-to-1 time with me in the mornings.

After 4 months, Jae and the kindy were still not a good fit so I homeschooled him again. Less driving around (great!) but little slack at home since I’d to teach 2 kids every weekday morning.

I ensure El has 1-to-1 time before bed. We’d read stories, do Pilates stretches and chit-chat.

Years back, Vee kept asking when I’d bake snacks for him. I told him “When didi is 3 years old and more settled.” We all knew how chaotic it could be with 3 active boys (more like monkeys) in the house. How to bake in peace? Fortunately El is a happy boy, so I managed to start baking when he was 2+yo. 

 homeschool jae and el 
So now he turns 3yo… Very chatty (but regurgitating all those negative phrases that Vee picks up from school. Things that a 3yo should NOT be saying.) Loves music (he seems to like the violin more than piano), plays very well with Jae (they’re like best buddies), plays with hubby in the day yet still prefers only me (or Kakak) to make him sleep.

I’m confident the years ahead would be easier as he grows more independent. When he climbs into my bed at night, I let him be because he’s our last baby and won’t be little for long. He’s the one whom at 3 years old, mummy isn’t busy with another newborn baby. 

Happy birthday, El! Mummy loves you.

~ MieVee

[B&W Gratitude Challenge #7] On being alive

2015 October 9
by MieVee @ MummysReviews.com

day 7 being alive
It’s the last day of this challenge, which has made me reflect on those that/whom I’m thankful to:

a book and an inspiring friend

healthy children

my husband

my parents

dedicated teachers

my MIL

Coming to #7, the last of the challenge, I’m forced to choose just one more.

I started searching deeply… and finally, I’m just thankful to be alive…

To be here for my three young children…

To be here for my aging parents…

To be here to make a positive difference to this world.

Life is a finite journey, where we’d reach the end some day. Yet we don’t know how long we’d be around.

I’ve witnessed enough critical illnesses and deaths in the extended family and was in the insurance industry long enough to understand that such events can strike anyone at any age.

Though I do my best to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle, there’re many factors beyond control.

So yes, I’m just thankful to be alive today.

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” – Mahatma Gandhi

~ MieVee
MummysReviews.com
MummysHomeschool.com

P.S. You’re invited to start your own 7-day gratitude challenge series. It’s worthwhile soul-searching process. 😊

P.P.P. View this entire series at B&W Gratitude Challenge 2015 here.

Wish to unleash your child’s potential? Go to my other blog here:

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Believe you’re wonderful

2015 October 8
by MieVee @ MummysReviews.com

A mummy emailed to ask me the ingredients of a laundry detergents, ending her email with a pinge of guilt:

i have regretted buying a lot of unsafe product all this while. sigh, just to think that i have exposed my girl to so much chemical without knowing it makes me feel like such a bad mum. :(

Here’s my reply to her and to all who feel mummy-guilt:

“We’re all mums and are learning along the way. Put aside all guilty feelings. As long as you try to stay informed, it’s really fine.

There’s a lot of misinformation or articles trying to scare us on the Internet. Just try what’s within your means and reach… Believe that you’re a wonderful mum. All the very best!”

Thank you for reading this, wonderful mums (and dads)!

~ MieVee

[B&W Gratitude Challenge #6] On my mum-in-law

2015 October 8
by MieVee @ MummysReviews.com

day 6 mum in law

I’ve lived peacefully under the same roof with my mum-in-law (MIL) for 7 years, something worth celebrating and sharing.

Shortly after marriage, I went on a short trip with her and her friends. Yup, hubby didn’t go, just me and her as roomies.

That was a memorable trip because I wondered why all the senior citizens were energetic while I was struggling to climb the stairs. The day we returned, I saw a doctor and discovered my first pregnancy.

Over the years, she treated me like her own daughter. If she bought gifts, my SIL and I would get similar items. I never felt left out in the family.

When I was hospitalised for deliveries #2, #3 and dengue fever (with hubby by my side), she’d care for the kids, and I was 100% assured that they were in good hands.

Since I knew hubby from teenage years, I also knew that she set firm boundaries and tried her best to guide him well. In the same way, she loves without spoiling the grandchildren.

Though we live together, she gives us a lot of personal space to bring up the children our way.

Today, I’m grateful for a wonderful MIL. Looking forward to many more years of family peace and harmony.

~ MieVee
MummysReviews.com
MummysHomeschool.com

P.S. Feel free to start your own gratitude series too. 😊

P.P.P. View this entire series at B&W Gratitude Challenge 2015 here.

Wish to unleash your child’s potential? Go to my other blog here:

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[B&W Gratitude Challenge #5] On dedicated teachers

2015 October 7
by MieVee @ MummysReviews.com

day 5 teachers

I’m fortunate to have met excellent teachers and mentors over the years:

– Mdm. W: my P1 form teacher who adored me so much that she wrote me a personal letter, encouraging me to attend Uni in future. At 7, Uni was still a far away and abstract concept.
When I was in about P3, she knew from my teacher that I got 13/20 for a math test, “summoned” me and went through my corrections one by one.

She dedicated herself to teaching the EM3 classes, when students were streamed in those years, to help them progress. That certainly required tonnes of patience and commitment.

– Mdm. L: my upper Sec math teacher who was totally inspiring. She has the superhuman skill of designing questions on the spot, writing down the problems, we copied and she taught us how to solve them. We realised she had slightly different questions to suit the needs of different classes.

She didn’t use the textbooks, even though Singapore math books were of high standards. Instead, all her teachings had to be copied into a series exercise books. She also taught us beyond the syllabus to help us grasp the concepts better.

After my A-levels, I did relief teaching for Sec 3 math back in my alma mater, re-using her teachings from the exercise books. It was an amazing experience passing down knowledge from one generation to the next.

– Mr. K: my JC economics tutor who was so patient and popular that he’d a queue of students to consult until 8p.m., in the months leading to the A-levels.

And many of these students were NOT from his class. He’s hands-down one of the most dedicated teachers I’ve met.

– K.W.: my mentor who convinced me to take up an unconventional career path before graduation. Because of her sincerity and success as a working mother, I’d the courage to be self-employed right out of school, and learnt how to escape the rat race, prepare for life as a working mum and live my dreams.

If I hadn’t relocated, I’m rather sure I’d have continued working with her.

– Ms. H: Vee’s piano teacher. In the beginning, Vee was still little and often uncooperative in class (despite loving music). Yet she maintained this angelic-level of patience even when my boy was lying flat on the carpet and I simply wanted to hide my face as his mum.

Finally, Vee settled down and his skills have blossomed under her expert guidance.

Today, I’m truly grateful to all the dedicated teachers out there, who devote their time and energy to others’ children such that they may have little time and energy for their own. What an irony of life…

~ MieVee
MummysReviews.com
MummysHomeschool.com

P.S. Feel free to start your own gratitude series too. 😊

P.P.P. View this entire series at B&W Gratitude Challenge 2015 here.

Wish to unleash your child’s potential? Go to my other blog here:

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[B&W Gratitude Challenge #4] On my parents

2015 October 6
by MieVee @ MummysReviews.com

day 4 parents

Even though I relocated to KL shortly after marriage, I try my best to visit them every 3 months.

I’ve got amazing parents who provided my sisters and I with lots of fun family time through our growing up years.

My mum’s a stay-home mum who took great care of us daily. In the day, she did some sewing to help out with the family income. And I still rem her reading bedtime stories, with us rolling on the bed laughing. (She’s my first role model of a work-at-home mum.)

My dad worked as a night-shift taxi driver since I was in secondary school until a few years back. Perhaps because of that, we were a nocturnal family. It was a norm for anyone in the house to chit chat or study/work till past midnight.

During the school holidays, we’d go for supper, returning at 2a.m. Sometimes, mum & us girls would play board or card games until dad returned at 5a.m.!

They bothered more about our behaviour than our grades. And because resources were limited, we worked hard for scholarships, and eventually did well in our chosen fields of study (which were vastly different — finance, humanities, the arts). They respected our individuality.

They inspired me to be a hands-on parent, who spends lots of fun quality time with the kids. To create lasting memories and strong family relationships.

I’m grateful they’ve always trusted my decisions since my teenage years.

I’m grateful they’re supportive of me being a stay-home mum.

I’m grateful they welcome me (and my new family) with big arms whenever we visit (and fill up the HDB flat). They make the best team of babysitters I can rely on.

I’m grateful hubby and I managed to bring them on a Taiwan trip in March. The first time I’ve ever been on a flight with them.

I’m grateful they’re still relatively healthy despite going through some health scares over the past many years.

May they enjoy good health and happiness to a ripe old age.

~ MieVee
MummysReviews.com
MummysHomeschool.com

P.S. Feel free to start your own gratitude series too. 😊

P.P.P. View this entire series at B&W Gratitude Challenge 2015 here.

Wish to unleash your child’s potential? Go to my other blog here:

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[B&W Gratitude Challenge #3] On my husband

2015 October 2
by MieVee @ MummysReviews.com

day 3 husband rings

I met him at 16 years old. No, it wasn’t love at first sight. In fact, so far from it that I wouldn’t have believe we’d be married someday.

So it turned out that my first impression of him was totally wrong — not surprising given my low EQ as a teenager then. We became good friends and then best friends.

Ever since that friendship blossomed, we began chit-chatting a lot nearly every.single.day. When he was based in Europe for 1 year, I’d stay up till 1-2a.m. for a short chat after he knocked off. Sometimes, we’re amused at how much we can still talk to each other about.

Today, I’m grateful for having met him and being chosen as his lifelong partner.

He’s humorous, diligent, sensible, filial, intelligent and responsible. Oh yah, also a hands-on Dad who enjoys cooking more than me. What more can I ask for?

~ MieVee
MummysReviews.com
MummysHomeschool.com

~ MieVee

P.S. Feel free to start your own gratitude series too. 😊

P.P.P. View this entire series at B&W Gratitude Challenge 2015 here.

Wish to unleash your child’s potential? Go to my other blog here:

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[B&W Gratitude Challenge #2] On healthy children

2015 October 1
by MieVee @ MummysReviews.com

 

day 2 healthy children

Right from the start when we decided to have kids, we’ve wished for healthy children. To us, that’s the most important. The others can be worked out one way or another.

Today, I’m thankful to have 3 healthy children, though we had a bit of a rocky start…

#1 Vee: when he was 2 years old, a sudden high fever in the middle of the night sent him into febrile fits. Coincidentally, I read a detailed article on childhood fits 2 nights before, so could recognise the symptoms and react appropriately.

After that incident, he’d another 2 rounds of febrile fits. One event happened when he was sitting properly in a grocery cart. He fell to the side, hit his head hard and lost consciousness for about 30 minutes. He woke up after the doctor at the A&E department managed to inject him with the right medicine.

(The fever & fits came so suddenly there was no way to foresee it.)

Those were the most horrible 30 minutes of my life. For months, we were paranoid of going to the grocery store.

This is one reason why I homeschooled him until 5.5 years old, when I was sure he’d outgrown the fits; and his immunity was much stronger to avoid frequent fever and illnesses.

#2 Jae: at his one-week old check, he was diagnosed with 2 small holes in the heart. There was 50% chance he’d heal and 50% chance he’d need an open-heart surgery.

I spent my best efforts taking care of this baby day & night, avoiding letting him cry much to prevent strain on his little heart.

During his follow-up checks at the paediatric cardio’s, we’d to wait for many hours and it was difficult having to witness so many little children with heart conditions.

Thankfully, both the holes closed by themselves when he was 9 months old.

So today, I’m truly thankful for healthy children. I let them catch enough sleep, take in good nutrition, exercise lots and shower them with love. The rest is up to them and God.

~ MieVee
MummysReviews.com
MummysHomeschool.com

P.P.P. View this entire series at B&W Gratitude Challenge 2015 here.

Wish to unleash your child’s potential? Go to my other blog here:

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