Friday, 17 February 2017

Labels and Stuff from Bright Star Kids

You know how I love putting names on my stuff so I really like the customised name labels that we got from Bright Star Kids. They also came just in time to label my girl's school stuff for her first year at Primary School.

The set of labels and height charts that we choose

There were many labels to choose from so I'll share those that we liked and therefore ordered. There are other combinations of course so do browse and choose the ones you like.

[1] Pre-School & Daycare Labels Kit (170 Labels)

Although the name says "Pre-School", I found that the labels included in this kit was suitable for my girl's primary school needs. The 170 labels consisted of Large, Small, Tiny, Feet Shoe and Iron-On Clothing Labels.

The process was pretty simple. Just type in your child's name, choose the colour and font and a sample of the label will be displayed on the right.

Choosing a colour from the list of colours
I later changed the colour to baby pink because I thought it suited my girl better
It's added to the cart!

The actual product (Baby Pink) is a lot pinker than what I chose on the website.

The actual label kit consisting of Large, Small, Tiny and Feet Shoe labels

Large, Small and Tiny Labels

Labelling my girl's primary one textbooks
The tiny labels were perfect for her stationery
I also used the tiny labels to label her shoes as the insole was too bumpy for the shoe labels

Feet Shoe Labels

The shoe labels come with a transparent seal that provides an additional protection for the labels
We bought my girl's school shoes from her school's bookshop, which meant almost everyone in her school had the same pair. To differentiate hers from the rest, we stuck the Shoe Labels on her insoles.

Iron-On Clothing Labels

You can also choose the font and colour of the Iron-On labels. My girl chose purple =)
It takes a bit of practice trying to iron something so small but was still manageable for me. I ironed a label for all of her uniforms.

[2] Essential Label Kit (90 Labels)

This kit differs from the previous one in that it does not have the Shoe and Iron-On labels (my boy did not require them). We chose Baby Blue for my boy because this mama loves stereotypical colours for my kids (whatever, I'm the mother ^_^).

Typing the name and seeing how it looks on the labels
I like the Baby Blue of my boy's labels
Labelled his new bag and water bottle

Oh yeah, I didn't just get labels for my kids; I got a kit for me too! I've been labelling all my stuff since Secondary school and I still do it because let's face it, my stationery will not find its way back to me if it's not labelled (people won't know it's mine you see). Besides, I love to see my name on my things! *grin*

My labels in Dark Pink

I was hoping for it to be more fuschia (my favourite shade of pink) but it was darker than fuschia. I still love it though =)

Labelling my work laptop so that I can distinguish it from the rest of my colleagues who have the exact same laptop =)
The hubby and I have the exact same electric toothbrush and we always get them mixed up. My label ensures that we always know which one is MINE!!! *laughs*
The Tiny Labels are perfect for stationery like pens

Love my kit! Why should my kids get all the good stuff and not me? =)

[3] Personalised Height Charts

Although their main business is labels, Bright Star Kids also sells other personalised products such as bags, water bottles, wall stickers, etc. They also have personalised height charts, which I thought was perfect to track my kids' growth without drawing it on the wall like we used to do at our old house.

My kids' personalised height charts

Initially I thought it was sticky at the back like wallpaper but it wasn't. I had to use 3M tape to affix it to the wall. I thought it could have been better if it was a wall sticker.

Left: Putting up the height charts in my kids' room;
Right: I got the vehicles design for my car crazy boy and a fairy one for my girl.
Marked their heights from a previously used height chart

The height charts can measure up to 172cm, which meant that you can track their growth till adulthood (at least I think I can for my girl.. my boy will likely be taller..). They are a really cute addition to my kids' room.

Do note though that it used to be that you only need to spend S$150 to qualify for free shipping but now you have to spend S$250. Hence, try to spree with a few others if possible to save on shipping.

Overall, I'm pretty satisfied with the quality of the labels and height charts, although I feel there could be more variety in the label design. If you like personalised stuff, why not consider Bright Star Kids' extensive collection? I'm sure you'll find something that you like =)


Disclosure: A gift card was received from Bright Star Kids for the purposes of this review. No monetary compensation was received; all opinions are my own.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

My DIY Musical Boxes

If you know me, you'd know that I love musical boxes. I have a whole collection of them, which I have collected from all over the world!

Who can resist the tickling sound that always makes you feel like something special is going to happen? Not me =)

I was browsing through my favourite online store, Qoo10, one day and stumbled upon DIY musical box kits! Musical boxes that I can make myself? Hell yeah! =)

Obviously I bought the first one, loved it so much that I bought two more! I really enjoyed making them, even though I made a lot of mistakes along the way! I guess that's the fun of it. They're not perfect but they're all made by me =P

[1] Nordic Fairy Tale

The first one that I bought reminded me of Christmas and snow mountains, both of which I really love!

The things found in the box for you to put your musical box together

The instructions manual is in Chinese (see #2 below for an example) but there are lots of pictures to help you. You can also get creative and not follow the manual if you are feeling particularly adventurous =)

Glueing the main house together piece by piece;
This was relatively easy for me.

A photo posted by Madeline Heng (@madpsychmum) on

Adding the light was slightly harder as I needed to ensure that the wires do not move. I was also afraid that I might get the positive and negative wrong.

But I didn't =)

Whoots and it lights up!



Next, it was the furniture, which were soooo tiny that I had to hold some of them with my fingernail!


The level of detail for something so tiny is incredible


Add the finishing touch and it's done!



[2] Carousel Happy Garden

I decided to up my skills by working with moving parts, which proved to be harder than I expected. Do not try this if you are a beginner.

The parts included in the set except the scissors and penknife
Example of how the instruction manual looks like


It was super hard to get the horses to stay on the wire. I made a mistake in not securing it well to the lid and it ended up dropping *sigh*

Be sure to secure the top wire properly or else it will keep dropping like mine did

The surrounding pieces were much easier to work with in comparison.

The pizza place
How the funfair looks from the front view
It's not easy to get this lamp to stay upright!
View from the back
The final after everything was finished =)


I love this because I love carousels and ferris wheels and once again this one reminds me of Christmas at a theme park. So lovely =)


[3] Cinderella Castle & Carriage

I chose this last one because I love Cinderella. The main castle was by far the easiest to do although it was a challenge getting the carriage to orbit around the castle.

The castle up close

The lights can change from green to blue! Very cool!

It lights up!

I tried really hard but in the end the carriage could only move a really short distance. Ah well... =(


It's still really pretty though! =)

There's an acrylic transparent box cover for both #2 and #3, which, for some reason, I didn't take photos of. It'll help to protect your final creation from dust =)

Overall, if you're new to this, don't do those with moving parts as they're a lot harder. Try it! I'm sure you'll have fun like I did =)


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This post is part of my Mad-Made Art series that documents our artistic creations!


You can also see more of our creations on Instagram via the hashtag #madpsychmumart

Monday, 23 January 2017

Our First Home (6): Storeroom & Entryway

I really love our storeroom and entryway! Our previous house did not have a storeroom so it was a pain whenever we needed to store bulky stuff that we don't use very often (e.g. Christmas tree). It was one of the essentials that we looked out for when buying our house.

STOREROOM

[BEFORE] 

Our storeroom before renovation

We got rid of the very old doors but kept the rack because it was still very sturdy. We got the painters to paint the wall and the rack so that it would look like new.

[AFTER]

The key to a usable storeroom for me is a sturdy rack and organisation. And lots of it! I made sure that my storeroom is still very accessible and that I can reach every single thing in the storeroom as easily and quickly as possible.

Left: The racks help to ensure easy access to our stuff without needing to remove the stuff on top;
Right: Huge plastic containers for storage that we bought from the Toyogo warehouse.

I label each container very clearly so that I'll always know what's in them. If you have hula hoops like I do, stick a hook behind the door to hang them so as to save space =)

My family uses A LOT of tissue, as you can see!

The only thing that I would change about my storeroom is the door. We installed a normal full-sized door which swung inwards, which meant that we could not store that many things in the area near the door otherwise it wouldn't be able to open. We should have installed a half-opened door like our bathroom door, which takes up much less room when it opens and closes. The good thing though is that I'm forced to ensure the area near the door is always clear so that I can reach the things stored at the back.


ENTRYWAY

[BEFORE] 

Before the door and electrical box were painted

As with most flats, our entryway was plain with not much done to it. As you know, minimalist was never my style so I had to do something about it.

We basically did not change anything to the main structure such as the gate and door; it was all cosmetic changes such as painting and polishing. Nothing that a good coat of paint won't fix!

[AFTER]

Digital Door Lock

The hubby and I have always wanted a digital door lock so I bought the full system with door handle from Qoo10. Our Samsung door lock costs approximately S$450 including shipping (it was shipped directly from the warehouse in Korea).

Left: Before installation of our door lock;
Right: After installation =)

We paid an installation uncle who specialises in door lock installation S$150 to install the lock for us. We highly recommend that you pay someone to do it because it is not easy to do yourself! The specialist took about 1.5 hours to do it and he's a pro!

We were extremely pleased with his work! Overall, the cost of the lock and installation was about S$650, much cheaper than the $1100 that our ID quoted us!

Here's a short video of our door lock in action! =)


The benefits of an automatic door lock:

  • Recognises up to 100 finger prints
    • You'll never need to worry about forgetting to bring your keys! It's all on your fingers!
  • Also recognises Samsung keycards/ key stickers
    • The door lock that we bought comes with 2 keycards
    • You tap the keycard like you would an Ez-link card. The lock will sense it and unlock your door.
    • The keycard is tiny and super light unlike conventional keys. 
    • You can even buy sticker versions that you can stick on handphones and whatever you like. Those work the same way that the keycards do!
  • Emergency keys
    • Two regular steel keys are included as emergency keys in case your door lock runs out of batteries or if there's a problem with the system.
    • It is advised that these keys be kept outside the house (e.g. in the car or in your parents' house), to be used only in emergencies.
  • Anti-theft alarm system
    • An alarm will sound if the door is opened forcefully
  • Full lock down mode
    • If everyone is home or if you want to prevent someone else from entering the home (even if the person has a key), you can activate the full lock down mode.
    • Once activated, the door lock will not recognise any fingerprints or keycards. The door can only be opened from inside and not from outside.
  • Bluetooth connection to your phone
    • To be honest, I've not tried this. 
    • Apparently you can download an app which syncs with the lock such that the lock will send you information.
    • The app can even let you know who has returned home and if there's an intruder! Very cool! 
    • However, we are too lazy to figure out how to do it so we never did use the app *laughs*
  • Door handle is easy to push open
    • No more turning of handles to open the door. You can even do it with your elbows or body.

The only bad thing is that since we shipped the product directly from Korea, the welcome greeting is in Korean (which basically means 'welcome'). Also, the instruction manual is also in Korean, so you will need to refer to the one uploaded by the Qoo10 seller for the English version.

But the S$400+ savings was worth the small inconveniences in my opinion.

Metal Gate

Our metal gate was super rusty and dusty but the mum-in-law said that we can polish it back to its original shine.

The mum-in-law showing me how it is done
The tube of Autosol used for polishing the gate

It took us a few days of work, with the mum-in-law and I taking turns to flex our arm muscles (to the point that we needed Salon Pas to relax our sore muscles). When we were done however, the gate looked almost as good as new! =)

Exterior

I've always wanted the entrance to my house to be inviting, with a bench that can hold our shoes as well as allow people to sit and wear their shoes. We found a cheap IKEA TV console for S$19.90 which could work as a bench as well.

In addition, I also laid out IKEA outdoor plastic tiles to make sure that I don't have to step on the floor after I removed my shoes =P

IKEA bench and outdoor plastic tiles

To finish, I pasted a wall sticker of a tree (that I got for free) above the bench. Love how artistic it looks. So, so me! =)

Our lovely entryway
(with enough space for a bicycle at the side as well)
Boy showing you how it's supposed to be used
(you can also get a closer view of the wall sticker, which you can get quite cheaply from Qoo10)

I love how our entryway looks unique and unlike everyone else. Plus all it required was paint, polish, wall stickers and some cheap furniture. Simple and easy to do! =)


Continue to >> Our First Home (7): Living Room
<< Back to Our First Home (5): Kitchen

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This post is part of my series on Our First Home where I'll share our renovation and home decoration ideas and review our renovation company and various vendors.
Join us on our journey as we make a house our home =)


You can also follow me on Instagram via the hashtag #houseofkmjj! =)

Monday, 16 January 2017

Girl's Graduation & First Week at Primary School

I can't believe six and a half years passed by just like that. She started preschool four years ago and went through a transition from one preschool to another.

She adapted to her new school very well and made many friends. I was proud of her for being able to do well where ever she is. It was finally my girl's turn to graduate! We attended her graduation and final preschool concert at YMCA.

Tiger year doesn't have that many kids: only 2 kids were from my girl's school, the other two were from other branches.


Looking so cute in her graduation gown! My grown up and very beautiful girl =)
Accepting her scroll from her centre's director when her name was called

Definitely proud moment for us! I couldn't help but visualise that this is probably how she will look, albeit taller, when she graduates from university! What a day that will be for us! (#ifyoucanseeityoucanhaveit) =)

After the graduation ceremony, we watched the kids perform the routines that they had been practising for almost half of the year!

They were dancing to Elvis' rock and roll, hence the outfit
Enthusiastically waving the pom poms
Dancing and shaking
Rolling and swaying

My girl also got the chance to introduce herself and one dance to the audience. She had rehearsed it a few times and nailed it. No stage fright at all! #proudmama (^_^)

My girl with her whole school and her teachers
(it was a really small child care centre with low teacher-student ratio)
Great job girl! We are so proud of you!

A few weeks later, she had to say goodbye to her friends for good as it was truly her last day in preschool. It was just as sad for her to know that she will be leaving her friends to go to Primary One where she now needs to do "big girl stuff" like pee on her own, order food and count coins, all without the privilege of riding a stroller. She's probably thinking, "man, this Primary One thing does not sound fun at all.." I know right.. tell me about it..


I have come up with a longer list of Pros and Cons (couldn't squeeze all in an Instagram post) about how I feel about my girl going to Primary School just so that perhaps I can feel better about it. Well, here goes:

Pros

  • Paying ZERO school fees simply because we're Singapore Citizens 
    • Sorry to say this but we ain't like the rest of the non-SC who can run back to their home country if Singapore is ever in trouble. We're like stuck here for life so yah, we deserve this privilege! *laughs*
    • That's $700++ that we can save every month, which I can now use to send her for enrichment classes that she likes =)
  • Not having to send my girl to and from school
    • Yay for her $60/month school bus! =)
  • My girl learns how to be more independent
    • such as buying her own food, boarding the school bus, writing her homework in her notebook


Cons

  • When my girl has homework, it's like I have homework
    • her teachers send all the parents a message every time the kids have homework or spelling and I'll have to make sure that it is done
  • Having to give free tuition to my girl after I'm tired as hell from working the whole day
    • Granted, this does not change since I've been getting her to do Primary One assessment books since she started K2 but NOT because I wanted her to get a head start and be better than other people. No, I wanted her to start earlier so that this lazy mum can take it easy and not be stressed out so much when she actually starts Primary One.
    • It's really not easy being a Full-Time Working Mum, a Part-Time Blogger and a Part-Time Tuition Teacher *sigh*
  • Travels with my girl can only be done during school holidays
    • when everything is more expensive!
  • Having to wake up early
    • Ok scratch that. 
    • This one is only applicable to my girl and my mum-in-law as my mum-in-law is the one who sends my girl to take the school bus and fetch her back. She knows my girl will be late for her bus if I was the one who sends her to school. I'm a night owl and can't wake up before the sun is up! 
    • I know, I'm terribly spoilt (^_^)


Well, well, what do you know.. it's a tie! *laughs*

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Anyway, from here on, I'll be talking about our Primary One experience without any photos as I would like to protect the privacy of my girl so please bear with me.

On 3 January, my girl woke up at 6am for school for the first time in her 6.5 years of existence. She had worn part of her school uniform, comprising of a collared T-shirt and P.E. shorts, to sleep the night before so that the mum-in-law has one less thing to get my girl to do in the morning. The girl is exactly like me you see; our brains don't wake up until 9am and even then, they're not fully awake.

If you know what it's like to dress a drunk person, you will know what it's like to dress a half-asleep, almost-like-drunk 6.5 year old weighing 22 kilograms. It's so much easier to just get her to put on her skirt (yeah, I get her to wear shorts underneath like the rest of us chor lor girls did back in the day. Some of you girls know what I'm talkin' about..). And thankfully, she doesn't even need to wear the skirt on days when there's P.E., which also means less ironing for me! Woohoo! *fist pump*

I mean, how great is her school uniform?! Especially her BLACK school shoes. I mean, no need to do white polishing like ever? Yeeesssss!! *more fist pumps*

Possibly one of the main reasons why I chose this school over another more popular, all white uniform, top school in the vicinity (not like we could get in or bothered to try to get in anyway).

The mum-in-law walked my girl to board her school bus while the hubby and I drove to her school to meet her there. All parents were allowed to observe the kids going through the school assembly for the first time. There were cameras and flashes everywhere, even during the national anthem and the pledge! Like hello, what kind of example are you setting for your kids?!?! *shakes head*.

The Assistant Head of Primary One was this young but very stern teacher who looked very sweet but talked like she meant business. She called out instructions to all the students and they all looked genuinely frightened of her. It turns out that she was my girl's Form Teacher, which made me really happy because I know my girl does better with strict teachers =)

The kids were then led to their classrooms and parents were not allowed to follow. We were to attend parent workshops and wait till recess before we were allowed to observe the kids again.

My girl was paired with a Primary 3 buddy who helped her to buy food. My girl was munching on her slice of pizza when she spotted us and came over to say "hi". Seeing that she was doing well, we told her that we would be leaving and will see her later when she's back from school.

While all the parents were anxiously watching their kids, we left for our date (we're chill like that), just the two of us, in an almost empty JEM where we had free flow wagyu buffet lunch. It was the best lunch ever! =)

The girl came home from school still pretty cheerful that she managed to survive her first day. I didn't want to douse her excitement but I knew it was going to get less cheery as the days go by. But well, we'll just take one day at a time...

I have to say that I do appreciate that her two Form Teachers make it a point to communicate with us parents either via Whatsapp or the app ClassDojo. They send us regular announcements and updates on homework. One of the two even send us photos and videos of the kids enjoying the lessons in class. I enjoy and appreciate all the photos she had sent.

The school's Principal shared with us that she has approximately 30 years of experience in education and has four kids of her own, proving that she is more than capable to lead this school. I sensed that she has a genuine love for children, which was very reassuring.

I am quite happy with everything so far and felt beyond a doubt that I had picked the right Primary School for my girl. Let's hope that years down the road, we would not regret this choice =)
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