Travel: One World Hotel (KL)

As mention in our previous post, we took the kids to Kuala Lumpur over the June holidays. To be exact, we were just at the outskirt of KL and we stayed at One World Hotel.

One World Hotel, was a recommended hotel at Kidzania KL website. Oh, I forgot to mention, our aim for this trip was to bring the kids to Kidzania and have a little staycation. Hence, that explain the short trip and why we are staying at One World Hotel.

Executive Deluxe Room (Two Queen Bed)

One thing for me when I’m looking for hotels, I always look for those that provide family suites or rooms big enough for our entire family this will reduce logistics issues. Hence, I was very surprise and happy to find out that One World Hotel offers Executive Deluxe Room that comes with two Queen-size bed.

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The executive deluxe room with 2 queen size bed.

Actually, I think the each bed is actually smaller than a queen size, probably a double bed, nonetheless, its big enough for one adult and one kid. No prize for guessing which kid went over to another room and sleep with the helper.

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Close-up of the bed to let you estimate the width. I think can put two pillows nicely side by side with no extra space. So definitely smaller than a queen.

The executive suite also comes with a decently size toilet, which has a bath tub and a standing shower. The kids had a good time doing their soak in the tub.

Free Shuttle Service

Another good thing about One World Hotel is the Free Shuttle Service. The shuttle service brings you to places like Kidzania, Sunway Lagoon, Petronas Twin Tower and KL Sentral Station. For those who didn’t drive up to KL or doesn’t like to brave the traffic yourself, can consider taking the free shuttle. However, there is only 1 time slot per day for most location. So do check out the timing and don’t miss the shuttle like us. We had to take a cab down to Kidszania. But it’s not expensive to take a cab, less than RM10.

Link to 1 Utama Shopping Centre

There is a direct link from the hotel to 1 Utama Shopping Center, which happens to be the world’s 4th largest mall according to CNN. So we just walk over to the mall for our meals and do our shopping. Though I must say they carry a lot of brands which are available in Singapore and after conversion is not much cheaper. But well, at least there isn’t a need to brave the heat, rain and traffic of KL.

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We spotted this very awesome indoor playground at 1 Utama on the last day. Fortunately (or unfortunately for the kids), the kids are happily chilling in the room and not with us.

Although the shopping wasn’t great, the entertainment were. Like the indoor playground we spotted (see above) and the cinema. Oh watching a show in Malaysia is so much cheaper than SG. It cost about RM13 for adults and only RM9 for kids! We are paying 3 times more in Singapore. There is supposedly an ice-skating rink too. But the mall is simply too huge, we didn’t cover enough ground to spot the rink.

Swimming Pool

Since it’s a “staycation”, we had to go to the pool right? I didn’t read up much about the pool when I was doing the booking. So I was pleasantly surprise that there is actually a slide at the pool!

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The staircase and slide at the pool. 

Though the pool is not big, but since there wasn’t many people, the kids have a good time going up and down the slide. The boy even mimic the pups in Paw Patrol sliding down to their cars. A smaller area also means its easier for us to manage the kids.

Verdict

Will I come back and stay at the hotel again? You bet. The location is good (next to shopping mall, coach stops at the basement and near to Kidszania) and the service staff are friendly. Even the littlest can recall his “holiday” at the hotel. So if you intend to bring your kids to Kidszania KL, do consider staying at One World Hotel.

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. We paid everything out of our own pocket to enjoy ourselves to the fullest. We are just sharing it for the benefit of anyone planning for a trip to KL. Information was accurate at time of post.

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Travel: Firstcoach

Over the June holidays, we brought the kids to Kuala Lumpur to have a short getaway. We had initially wanted to go back to Sunway Lagoon, but decided to forgo it as we did not have enough time.

This time round, we did not drive up as my SIL is not willing to drive for 5 hours so we took a coach instead. It was the kids first experience on the coach.

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At the recommendation of a relative who travels frequently between Singapore and KL, we decided to try out Firstcoach. And we are glad we made the right choice! Here are the reasons why:

  • Safe.  When travelling to KL, hubby got to take the first row of the coach and he monitored the coach driver throughout the ride (as much as he can). He noticed that the driver never exceeds 100km/hr. It may seem slow, but for such a big and heavy vehicle with so many passengers, I will rather be slow than not reaching my destination at all *Choy!*. We also noticed that there were 2 drivers each time on both our rides (to and fro). And they took turn to drive the coach ensuring they are not tire out from the long journey. (P.S. This is the first time we took this coach and this is what we noticed, we are not sure if it is the same for all the drivers and rides.)
  • Clean.  We also noticed that the coach was quite clean and neat, which is very important when you are trapped in that vehicle for so many hours.
  • Entertaining.  Each of the seat comes with their own entertainment system but you have to bring your own ear phones. Compared to airplanes, the selection were definitely lesser. There are about 6 shows in each category. And there is a category for “cartoon” and another for “family”, enough to keep my elder 2 entertained.
  • Thoughtful.  I noticed 3 pin power socket below the window for each row of seats. This means you can plug your charger in and charge up your devices anytime. No worries of running out of “juice”.
  • Friendly Drivers.  You know how you travel with young kids, a moment ago you asked them if they need to pee, they say no. And like an hour later, they told you they are very urgent. Well, it happened to my SIL and she had to asked the driver if he could pull over at the next resting point. Which they gladly did without much complains. But we feel bad for causing delay to other passengers.
  • Convenient.  It happens that this trip we are staying at the Bandar Utama area. The drop off point for the coach happens to be the hotel that we will be staying. So its really convenient for us.

Of course there are disadvantages:

  • Slow.  It took us a whopping 7 hours to reach KL! The bus left Novena at 8am, and we only reach KL like 3pm. There was queue at the Singapore and Malaysia customs but I think we manage to clear both within an hour. However, we probably chose a bad time to take the coach and was caught in heavy traffic along Singapore expressway while trying to get to Tuas Second Link. On our return leg, we left KL at 8am and cleared the Singapore custom by 12pm. That was really fast but unfortunately we waited at the custom for an hour because of an irresponsible passenger who left without informing the driver (another downside of taking coach).
  • No lunch break.  As our coach ride to KL was 8am, we had thought the coach will stop for a lunch break in between. We were wrong. The coach only stop for a short toilet break and there was no decent food for sale at the area. However, when we were coming back from KL, the coach did stop at an area with hawker and fast food. But we were given only 20 mins, which isn’t enough for us to go for toilet break and eat, especially with the kids. So Chubby actually da bao (packed) KFC on board. He wasn’t stopped by the driver but I felt a little pai seh because of the smell.
  • Reclining affects other passengers.  The chairs can be reclined to an angle where it will be diffcult for the passenger behind to get in and out of their seat. Fortunately for me, the kids were infront of us, so we are not affected. And I tried to be considerate and not recline my chair too much. I have taken a coach many years back to Genting, where the seat was really comfortable and the the reclining does not affect other passengers. Unfortunately, it wasn’t available in this coach.

At the end of the trip I asked the kids if they prefer to take a car or coach to KL. The answer was obviously coach as they can watch to their heart content. For me, I still prefer the car. Maybe because I’m not the driver. But I feel its easier to manage the kids, especially the littlest as he could be belted to the car seat. And the interaction while in the car is part of the family bonding for road trips. Besides, the time saved would mean we have more time to explore KL.

How about you? Do you prefer to drive up or take a coach? Share with us your views.

 

Book: The Littlest Dinosaur 小恐龙

I haven’t been blogging for about two months, as we were busy with the June holidays and the kids falling sick. But we didn’t stop reading this two months, there are many books that I wanted to share, but alas, time doesn’t allow as most books were returned to the library before I have time to take photo and blog about it. Luckily, I manage to “salvage” this book.

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I was trying to look for Chinese books to read to the littlest, when I saw this book on one of the shelves. The (English) book title was just shouting at me to borrowed it. I mean, I always call our youngest the littlest and he has a love for dinosaur, isn’t this book, just by the title, so suitable for him?

Storyline

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This story is about a Mummy Dinosaur who had laid a few eggs. And one day, the eggs began to hatch. However, there is just one egg that wouldn’t hatch. The Mummy Dinosaur took extra care of the egg, fanning it when its hot and keeping it warm when the weather is cold. Due to the extra care that the egg requires, Daddy Dinosaur have to take over the responsibilities of taking care of the other baby dinosaurs.

And one day, when Daddy Dinosaur cannot take it any longer, he wanted to crack the egg, but was obviously stopped by Mummy Dinosaur who feels that the egg should be given time to hatch by itself.

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Finally, one day, the egg hatched. But the dinosaur inside was so small. No bigger than the toe of an adult dinosaur (according to Daddy Dinosaur). And no matter how much Mummy fed the littlest dinosaur, he wouldn’t grow bigger. There were obviously many disadvantages of being such a small dinosaur. So the littlest dinosaur was often very sad. Until one day something happened, and as with most children books, our littlest dinosaur save the day.

What we like

  1. It’s a Chinese and English book combined into one! One book but yet we can teach both languages. And the kids can “read” how the English content is being translated to Chinese and vice versa. A good way to learn language I feel.
  2. It incorporates science and fiction! The littlest dinosaur will climb to the top of the mountain and stay there for a long time because everything seems small when he is at the top of the mountain. So I took the opportunity to ask the littlest to observe if that statement is true. I’m still looking for a way to explain the science behind it in a simple enough way for the kids to understand. Let me know if you have any idea.
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  3. The moral of the story is about accepting ourselves for who we are and we will be useful in our own way. There is no need to get upset for being different. I find this a good value to have, especially for the littlest who often felt that he is not “big” enough to do what his siblings are doing (though his context is a little different from this).
  4. A reflection of real life. I liked the part where Daddy Dinosaur got so tired of taking care of the siblings that he wanted to crack open the egg, so Mummy Dinosaur won’t be spending her time tending to it. It’s so real isn’t it? I think next time when I read this to the kids, I will bring up the analogy that if they fall ill, the same will happen to Daddy and Mummy. So they better keep themselves healthy by drinking more water and washing their hands more often! LOL!

All three kids love the book, though the littlest will not allow me to read every word and choose to look at the pictures. So it really train my skill to summarise it for him. LOL.

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Library Details:

  • Libraries: Ang Mo Kio, Bishan, Bukit Merah, Choa Chu Kang, Geylang East, Jurong, Jurong West, Queenstown, Sembawang, Toa Payoh and Woodlands
  • Call Number: Chinese FOR
  • Location: Junior Lending Picture Book
Growing with the Tans Friday Flips

Book: Beyond the Tiger Mom

I can’t believe it, I’m finally done with reading the 1st book of the year! I found myself so tired every night that I have no energy to pick up my Kindle to read. But I’m quite glad I have read this book and manage to finish it within 3 months (LOL, so slow).

Beyond the Tiger Mom: East-West Parenting for the Global Age is written by Maya Thiagarajan who was born and raise in India until her teens, where she moved to America to study and later on to teach. After 15 years in US, she moved to Singapore in 2010. Her kids were 5 y.o and 18 months when they moved over. So it is interesting to see how she compares the parenting style in the West and East, particularly for education, which she dedicated a large part of the book to.

I have never stayed in the “West” before, so I do not know the parenting culture “there”, though I have read some of the styles before while trying to be a better parent myself. So I was presently surprised to read in her book that in the West, adults (like teachers) are often held responsible for kids performance in school. Or parents will actually come out with excuses for kids that did not do well. This is really so unlike our Eastern culture. I also agree with some the observations she made on “Eastern” parents. Like our “love” for drilling in education (particularly math) and filling our kids time with enrichment or tuition classes. She went on to explain the pros and cons of both style in education (reading, math and exam preparation), playing and resiliency.

However, I think a lot of Eastern parents are also changing and adapting more Western style parenting as the world becomes more connected and parents get to learn more of different parenting style.

For example, she mentioned that Eastern parents and preschool are not focused on reading aloud and discussing stories but more on phonics and sounding out words. Parents are reading things like Ladybird and Oxford readers to their kids so as to teach reading rather than the letting the kids explore in the fantasy world.

I do not deny many parents are making their kids read the “Readers”, especially when they reach the “Kindergarten” age. However, I think there are also many parents who read freely interesting stories to their children. Even when I was young, my Mum will try within her means to read to me and bring me to the library. In fact, I think reading is quite a common hobby in the past before technology took away our time.

Besides, there are growing number of parents who are also letting their kids go the non-tuition way for their education. An example is Christy from Kids ‘R’ Simple (hop over to her blog to read on how she is doing it).

In short, if you want to get the “best of both worlds”, you can read up this book as she makes the comparison and provide useful tips to implement.

Disclaimer: We received this book for review purposes. No monetary compensation was received and all views are my own.

Book: 大卫,圣诞节到啦!

I know it seems weird to be introducing a book about Christmas when we are in March. However, we chance upon the book in the library and I’m afraid the book won’t be available when its near Christmas period (talking about kiasu, LOL). Besides, the Littlest (2 y.o.) really love the book. It’s the few book he allows me to read from page 1 till the end without pushing my hand away, flip to the last page and declare “The End”. So I think it’s really worth the mention here.

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See the little foot here. The Littlest was trying to snatch the book to “read” when I was trying to take photo for the post.

We are not new to 大卫. We read about him in the other book “大卫惹麻烦” (see pic above) and we know that 大卫 is not a really good boy. In this book, 大卫 continued with his “mischief” on the days leading to Christmas.

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大卫 trying to take a peek at the present.

I use the book to explain to the Littlest (the elder two should already know) what is the wrong thing to do. For example, it is very dangerous for 大卫 to stack the chairs so high and climb on top of it. He could fall off and hurt his head like “humpty dumpty”. The littlest seems to understand it and could say “humpty dumpty” whenever we are reading this page. And when I asked “可以把椅子叠这么高,然后爬上去吗?”, he could reply me “不可以”. But well, in reality, the boy still climbs up chairs around the house when we are not looking. So it’s really, knowing is one, doing is another thing. LOL.

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Another page showing a “mischief” act.

When we were reading this page, I actually asked the elder two, why 大卫 should not be eating the Christmas cookie. I was glad that they actually observed that the cookies were probably not baked yet and 大卫 will probably get a tummy ache from eating it (cause and effect). For the Littlest, he always exclaim “吃饼干” when we come to this page. LOL. He probably couldn’t understand the concept of “uncooked” food yet.

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This is the Littlest favourite page. He burst into laughter and exclaim “naked body” whenever we are at this page.

The kids obviously knows that they need to be clothed when they are out in the street (including the 2 y.o. understand this). Before proceeding to the next page, you can actually ask the kids “你觉得为什么大卫会光着身子出门去?”. This will simulate their creative thinking and helps in their 口语表达 and probably 看图说故事 next time. There is actually some clues in the written words, see if your kids manage to guess it. And I think it will be a joy listening to their answers.

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Oh.. 大卫 has been looking forward to Christmas and his present. But he is not going to receive any?

This is my favourite page. LOL. We use this page to describe about emotions and also to tell the kids that they are not going to get present if they misbehave, just like 大卫. So they better start behaving now. And that is the reason why we should be reading this book even before Christmas comes. LOL. As to whether 大卫 is really not getting any present, read the book to find out for yourself. 🙂

Overall, we love this book as it is (1) funny, (2) easy to read (only a few words per page) and (3) a lot of room for discussion. Like the few pages we showed above, there is so much to talk about in the illustrations that can expand the kids vocab in Chinese and also their creativity.

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This is actually the back cover of the book, but it’s equally funny. Like a “chocolate cow”? I asked the kids if a “chocolate cow” will give “chocolate milk”. Obviously, they are old enough to provide me the correct answer. But you may be surprise at what younger kids might think.

This book is available at our local libraries:

  • Libraries: Ang Mo Kio, Bedok, Bishan, Bukit Batok, Bukit Merah, Central, Cheng San, Choa Chu Kang, Clementi, Geylang East, Jurong, Jurong West, Marine Parade, Pasir Ris, Queenstown, Sembawang, Serangoon, Tampines, Toa Payoh, Woodlands
  • Call Number: Chinese SHA
  • Location: Junior Lending Picture Book
Growing with the Tans Friday Flips

Book: Maisy’s Plane and Maisy’s Tractor

Some people grew up watching Sesame Street or Mickey Mouse, my kids grew up watching and reading Maisy. Not so sure how many of you actually know of this mouse.

I learned about Maisy as it was one of the recommended books for young children. I borrowed Maisy from the library and chance upon a Maisy DVD when I was shopping at Popular one day, it complimented what we were reading, so I allowed the kids to watch it once they are above 1 y.o.

I think the kids love the simple drawing and storyline of Maisy. Even my elder two (7 y.o and 6 y.o) can watch Maisy with the littlest (2 y.o.) now and still enjoy it. There are many Maisy books in the library. Today, we are sharing two of the books meant for younger kids. There are other ranges for slightly older pre-schoolers, which I hope to share in the future.

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The pilot driving the aeroplane is (of course) Maisy, guess where is she going?

In “Maisy’s Plane”, Maisy is driving her aeroplane to Eddie’s (another main character) birthday party. But the emphasis on the book is definitely about transportation.

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This page exposes the kid to related vocab like ‘Engine’, ‘Vroom’ and ‘Propellers’.

At this age, the kids probably wouldn’t understand what each part of the vehicle is for, but we can still expose them to the vocab and do simple explanation.

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If you notice, the different characters came in different types of transport.

As you can see, the exposure on transportation is gently worked into something the kids know and can identify with, i.e. birthday party. Although there is not much words, again, there is a lot to discuss in the drawings. The littlest love to point to the different objects and name them (including the small gingerbread man), this also trains their observation skills.

If you have a child that loves transportation or you wish to expose your young kids to transportation, consider reading this book.

Maisy Tractor
Maisy is now working on a tractor.

This book is not really about the tractor, but what Maisy does in the farm using the tractor.

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Maisy milking the cow in the farm.

Well, if you are bringing your young kids to farm trips (near or far), can consider reading this book before the trip, to get the kids excited about farm as well as letting them learn more about the work of farmers.

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This book also have exposure on numeracy as Maisy counted her sheep.

Both books are available from the public library:

  • Library: Ang Mo Kio, Bishan, Bukit Batok, Bukit Merah, Central, Cheng San, Choa Chu Kang, Clementi, Geylang, Jurong, Jurong West, Queenstown, Serangoon, Tampines, Toa Payoh, Woodlands
  • Call Number: English COU-[BA]
  • Location: Junior Lending Picture Book
Growing with the Tans Friday Flips

Book: Milk Goes to School

The elder two love Terry Border books. I think they find it funny, and he has repetitive phrases which the kids can recite to after reading it for a few times. So they were very happy when we spotted this new title at the library last week.

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The main character of the book, Milk.

The story is about Milk first day of school. It started with Milk getting a little scared of her first day. So to boost her confidence, her father told her she is “la crème de la crème“, meaning “best of the best”. Given that she is “milk”, there was probably some pun intended here. When Milk reaches school, she tried to be friendly with everyone. But her jokes were insensitive and she also told everyone that her father says she is “la crème de la crème”. This puts her friends off, especially Waffle who commented that she is “spoiled”. As with all children book, the day always ends with everyone resolving their differences and became friends.

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This page shows the content of Milk’s bag spilling out. And we noticed that there was no books but lots of hair clips. From here, we realize that Milk actually changes her hair clip on every page of the book! The kids were quick to point out that this is not the right thing to do in school. LOL.

After our last book on puns, I’m actually quite glad to find another book to continue teaching the kids on “puns”. The most obvious “pun” is”spoiled”. The first time when Waffle commented she is spoiled, Milk actually “smelled” herself. I took the opportunity to explain to the kids what does “spoiled” means in this context (actually I was quite surprise the kids doesn’t know it, LOL. Maybe we didn’t read enough books!).

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Chicken nuggets hatching out of eggs?

We also enjoyed the humor, such as the one above. The kids couldn’t stop laughing when they saw the nuggets hatching. I’m just glad that they know that nuggets are processed food and doesn’t hatch from an egg naturally. LOL.

And of course the different learning points throughout the story. I actually asked the kids who do they think is a better person, “Waffle” or “Milk”? I’m glad that they both came to conclusion that both are not so nice and that we should be more sensitive to others when we talk or make comments.

As parents, this book also serve as a reminder of what are the appropriate words to say to the kids. We may think our kids are very great, but telling them they are “best of the best” may not be for their best interest. But we should also not stop short of giving them praises when they indeed earned it. Its how we phrase the praises that is more important.

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This book is available at our public library. Do check it out.

  • Library: Ang Mo Kio, Bedok, Bishan, Bukit Batok, Bukit Merah, Central, Cheng San, Choa Chu Kang, Clementi, Geyland East, Jurong, Jurong West, Marine Parade, Pasir Ris, Queenstown, Sembawang, Serangoon, Tampines, Toa Payoh and Woodlands
  • Call Number: English BOR

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Growing with the Tans Friday Flips