Monthly Archives: February 2007

Playing It Safe Can Be Risky

I’m now reading a book called The Medici Effect by Frans Johansson. It’s not a parenting book; rather a business book about creativity and innovation (and one of Amazon’s 10 Best Business Books of 2004). But one of the concepts in the book caught my attention as a parent, and I thought was worth sharing.

It’s called Continue reading


Bean There, Done That

A good friend of ours who’s a pre-school teacher shared this wonderfully simple and inexpensive activity with us some months back. It’s perfect for kids about 2-4 years old, and is one of Porthos’ favourite things to do.

What you need:

  • 1-2 kg of beans. The cheapest is yellow beans (about $1.50/kg), but you can also mix it with other kinds of beans if you want variety (green, red, barley).
  • An old bedsheet or plastic sheet. The bigger the better!
  • Things to scoop and stir with. We have a box full of plastic kitchenware like bowls, cups, basins, ladles and funnels

Lay the sheet on the ground, put everything in the middle and let the kids loose! Porthos loves to pour from one big bowl to another, and from as high up as he can manage. (He calls it “waterfall”….) We also got some clear plastic tubing from a hardware store and he just loves to put the beans in at one end and watch them slide to the other end.

The best part is that clean-up is really easy – use the sheet to pour all the beans back into a container – and the beans are reusable!

**Important: Do note that this should be a supervised activity until you’re 100% sure your child understands the meaning of “keep it all on the sheet” and “no putting in mouth/nose/ear/other orifice.”

Here’s a picture of Aramis with the beans. (He’s really a bit too young but what to do, he saw his brother at it and wanted some of the action too.)


Connect with Nature at Sungei Buloh

A dear friend left a comment on this blog which I felt was too generous to be left simply as a comment. So here it is in full:

Hi Pilgrim Mom,

Here’s some info on Sungei Buloh!

This is a great place to go if you want a bit of seabreeze without sand AND you live in the northwestern part of the island, otherwise, it’s a hike!

(a) You can use a stroller!
(b) There’s a bridge from which stones can be plonked into a wide river (and there are handy stones). This is my 2.5 year old’s fave activity at the moment. This is right in front of the visitor’s centre and already a nice place to hang out even if you go no further into the reserve.
(c) Some of Singapore’s bigger (hence more spottable by small eyes) birds reside here such as herons, egrets, eagles and kingfishers.
(d) There’s an activity/info centre with buttons to push.
(e) The Nasi Lemak at the cafe is pretty good!
(f) Entrance is 1 dollar for adults and 50 cents for kids. Free if you go before 7.30am.

Remember to:
(a) Use mosquito repellent
(b) Keep hold of the little ones especially on the boardwalks where railings are not childproof.
(c) Go early in the morning or in the late afternoon or it will be too hot.
(d) Best times to visit birdwise are between Oct and Feb.


Singapore birds that it’s fun and easy to get to know:
Oriole (flying banana bird), Koel (noisy oh-oh bird), Cattle Egret (stalks around at the end of the road), Mina (numerous), Sunbird (various, especially Crimson), Kingfisher (various).

Check out


NLB, My Library

The boys got their own library cards today. And Athos is absolutely thrilled because he can now bring home a ton of books. At least, that’s what it felt like carrying them home just now….


And here, I must pause once again to pay homage to the National Library Board. The whole process of applying and receiving each card took me 3 minutes tops, and the only physical document required was my IC. I was so impressed I walked to the counter just to tell the librarian-in-charge what a terrific service they had. The best part was, the cards came free! So easy, so fuss-free, and the Singaporean in me shouts hurray!

In My Father’s Arms

Some months back, I took this picture of Aramis asleep in Pilgrim Dad’s embrace.


“If I rise on the wings of the dawn,

if I settle on the far side of the sea,

even there your hand will guide me,

your right hand will hold me fast.”

– Psalm 139:9-10

Home-Made Volcano – Aiming for Realism!

OK, so this is the latest in our volcano series, the previous posts being:

  1. Home-Made Volcano – the first one, with basic ingredients and how-to.
  2. Home-Made Volcano Extreme – where I post about discovering the Coke and Mentos effect
  3. Home-Made Volcano The Experiment – where we attempt a small version of the Coke and Mentos effect

Over the weekend, we made another home-made volcano, this time going back to good old vinegar and baking soda (see first post above). But this time, we decided to aim for realism! We filled the bottle with vinegar and orange colouring, then buried it in a mound of sand. Athos and Porthos decorated the hill with little plastic dinosaurs and some weeds. Then they spooned in the soda.






We probably did 4 or 5 rounds, and the boys had a blast refilling the vinegar, spooning in more baking soda, and generally watching their various dinosaurs get swallowed up. I should say that they didn’t enjoy the washing-up part as much 🙂

The Girl Next Door

 Our neighbour, a sweet little girl of 3 years, asked to come over and play. I asked Athos and Porthos if that was alright. Here is what they said:

A: Yes she can.

P: No she can’t.

A: Of course she can!

P: No!

A: She can come for 5 minutes.

P: Kor Kor, do you want her to come over because you love her?

Hahaha. Except I was quite embarassed at the time of utterance because her mother was standing right there!