Thursday, May 30, 2013

Poulet.

Photo courtesy of Poulet.com.sg
I usually try to find the positive in all the places we visit in Singapore, but I'm really struggling to pin-point the good parts of our dining experience last night at Poulet in Vivo City. Linna and I met AJ last night after work at Vivo, so the three of us could enjoy dinner on my birthday. I've walked by Poulet before, and have wanted to eat there since they recently opened in Vivo. The restaurant is in an open-area of the mall, and they really draw you in with the amazing photos of some delicious-looking french food.

I will say that this restaurant is family-friendly. However, the food was a disappointment. The entire experience was a disappointment from the very beginning, when they informed us that they don't serve alcohol.

WHAT?! A french restaurant that doesn't serve wine?! How does this make any sense?!

After round one of disappointment, we decided that we'd grab a drink after dinner, because I really wanted to try the food. The second round of shock and disappointment came when AJ asked for a glass of ice water, the waitress said they only served bottled water for purchase. So, AJ just ordered a soda. THEN, we looked around at other people in the restaurant, enjoying glasses of ICE WATER... that the servers were pouring from pitchers. Are you kidding me?! Did this waitress just lie to our faces, or was she really confused? We should have left right then and there. But I wanted to stay.... The photos of the food had me hooked!
Poulet's French Onion Soup.

The prices on the menu were great, especially looking at the photos of the meal sizes. We ordered an au gratin potato dish with corn in it for Linna, that was actually pretty good. Small, about $5, but it was tasty. AJ ordered the Braise de Poulet, which is a chicken, potato dish (according to the menu). When AJ received his dish, we both look at it like, "WTF... where's the potatoes?!". It was basically a couple chicken legs, floating in a broth. When we asked our waitress if this dish had potatoes in it, she said "no". But when I showed her that the menu said the dish DID have potatoes in it (which was actually second in the list of ingredients), she said, "oh, it's just one PIECE of a potato".

Huh?!

After this third round of disappointment,  AJ sent it back and decided not to get anything else (we ordered french fries for the table to keep Linna busy, so AJ said he was full). I think we both just wanted to get the heck outta there. Our waitress looked at us confused, and came back later to inform us that she didn't charge AJ's meal (that we sent back) to our bill. Gee, thanks. Can you imagine our reaction if they DID put his meal on the bill?!

I ordered the french onion soup (I love french onion soup), and the Salad de Paris. I wish I would have looked at the photo of Poulet's french onion soup before I ordered it, because it came WITHOUT CHEESE!

Salad de Paris at Poulet Vivo City.
Seriously?! French onion soup without the gooey, baked, cheesy goodness on the top, is NOT french onion soup. This soup was basically onions in some broth, with a couple croutons floating in it. It was decent, but NOT the french onion soup that I know and love. My salad, although small, was pretty good. Nothing out of this world by any means, but good.

Poulet in Vivo City defiantly grabbed my attention with its presence in the mall. I really like the open-air concept. But I  think it's only fair to share our experience, so others don't have the same. Everyone has their own opinions when it comes to food, and this is simply mine. It may have been the combination of our confused waitress, the mediocre food, and the fact that they don't serve alcohol, but this really was a disappointing birthday dinner. The best part of the evening was being with my two loves... AJ and Linna:)

1. If you're looking to enjoy a glass of wine, beer, or an alcoholic beverage with your meal... DON'T EAT HERE.
2. If you're looking for mediocre french food... Go ahead and try it.
3. If you're looking for family-friendly dining... This is a good spot.

Can anyone recommend a good french restaurant in Singapore???

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Dirty dancing in singapore.


*** TICKET GIVEAWAY ***

Congratulations to Susie Worthington! She is the winner of a pair of tickets to the Wednesday, June 5th performance of Dirty Dancing at Marina Bay Sands. Please email us (minnesotababyinfo@gmail.com) with your address and phone number by 11 p.m. tonight, so we can verify. Otherwise, your tickets will be forfeited and we will have to select another winner. Thanks for participating everyone, and stay tuned for our next giveaway!


Very happy Mama!
First of all, let me just say that the movie Dirty Dancing is in a league all its own. Like many women, I have been a fan of this movie ever since I watched it as a teenager. In my twenties, I wanted to be Jennifer Grey (Baby), and eventually one day marry Patrick Swayze (Johnny Castle). Well, sadly, I never picked up Baby's amazing dance moves, but I did find my own Johnny Castle to marry... and we all know AJ has some "phenomenal" dance moves;)

Last night, I made AJ take me to Dirty Dancing at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. It just happens to be my birthday week (yep, I get a week - haha)! Our live-in baby-sitters Addy and Pyline (Linna's first babysitters in Singapore - two American girls living with us this summer while they do their internship in Singapore) stayed home with Linna. Between all the great hit songs such as "I've Had The Time of My Life" and "Hungry Eyes", and the casts' spectacular dancing scenes, I was in my teenage heaven! This theatre version of the movie depicted the exact same story that I remember watching on the big screen with my girlfriends. There were steamy dance moves and passionate love scenes, and the actress who played Baby (Bryone Whitfield) was a dead ringer for Jennifer Grey (the original Baby). The guy who played Johnny was super sexy, and the woman who played Penny (Mila De Biaggi) reminded me of Nicole Kidman, and she danced like the original Penny from the movie. The dancing talents of the characters did not disappoint. The highlight of the entire performance was (of course) Johnny lifting Baby into the air during the "I've Had The Time of My Life" dance at the end of the show. The on-stage version was even better, with all the flashing lights and loud music from the live band. Simply amazing!

I thought it was pretty clever for the production crew to use video projection to produce the background scenery. Remember the scene with Baby and Johnny in the water practicing their dance moves?! The video projection made it seem so real. However, I felt the moving and changing of the set props during certain scenes was a little slow. There were parts of the show that seemed to drag a bit... not many, but some. Baby also must have had more than a dozen costume changes (sometimes quick ones), and she never missed a beat. I SO wish the actress who played Baby, would have used a deeper voice, like Jennifer Grey had in the original movie. Although Bryone Whitfield (Baby) moved and looked like Jennifer Grey, her voice was a bit too "theatre-y" and animated for me. You'll know what I mean if you see the show.
Date night at Marina Bay Sands on May 28th.


I loved watching and hearing all the women in the audience swoon (including myself) when each and every song played! The music really brought this entire performance to life, and most of it (if not all) was done on stage with a live band. Another memorial performance was when the actress playing Baby's sister Lisa, sang Hula Hana. Very funny!

As I write this, I want to go back to Marina Bay Sands and watch the show again. Hey, I just might, as it runs through June 9th! In the meantime, I will be watching the movie... over, and over again.

Thanks AJ for the fun night together, and thanks Addy and Py for staying home with Linna:) 

Happy birthday week to ME!!! 

Dirty Dancing Show Details:

May 24th - June 9th, 2013
Show times at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Tickets start at S$55

Little grass hoppers.




GIVEAWAY WINNER: Congratulations to Laura Niemela of Buffalo, Minnesota! You have won a pair of Little Grass Hoppers! Please email us (minnesotababyinfo@gmail.com) with your address and phone number, so we can verify and get you your prize. Thanks for participating everyone, and stay tuned for our next giveaway!

Linna in her Little Grass Hoppers"Little Mary" shoes.
S$22
I'm completely obsessed with these new shoes I found in Singapore for Linna. We discovered Little Grass Hoppers at the Bukit Timah Fire Station Market a couple weekends ago, where the owner of Little Grass Hoppers (Sabrina) was selling the shoes. The first thing I fell in love with was the brightly-colored loafers for the little ones. Then, I saw the price. I totally thought I'd be running the family into bankruptcy by making a couple purchases for Linna, but the shoes were only about $20 a pair! Ok... I'll take four. So, Linna now owns a collection of Little Grass Hoppers. I couldn't resist!

This company just launched in March of this year. Although Sabrina doesn't design or make the shoes herself, she travels around the world to find her quality products. AND, she will ship the shoes worldwide! Linna has been wearing a couple of the styles for about a week now, and they barely have any wear. She has been "hopping" all over Singapore in them too.

Little Grass Hoppers will be coming out with their newest line very soon, and I can not wait to get my hands on them for Linna! Their sizes fit up to about a five-year-old's feet, and it's too bad they don't fit this Mama's feet, because I would totally wear them... everywhere. I'm on the search to find a pair of loafers for myself, and maybe a pair for AJ too, so we can be one loafer-wearing family of three!

Check out the Little Grass Hoppers website for shipping prices and policies. I would order a size or two bigger, because these shoes do tend to run on the smaller size, and with our little ones' feet growing a mile a minute, you'll want them to wear these adorable shoes as long as possible!


Happy s"hopping"!

Get it?! Shopping... hopping?! I am so clever.

Linna in her Little Grass Hoppers Classic Loafers: S$23
Dress by Elly 

Monday, May 27, 2013

Veggie overhaul.

If you're a parent who says that your kids eat veggies ALL THE TIME... you're just lying to yourself.

Seriously.

Well, at least that's what I tell myself in order to feel better about the fact that our 21-month-old will NOT eat her vegetables! My sweet little veggie-loving baby, has turned into a toddler who simply does not like vegetables. As a baby, Linna used to eat fresh and cooked veggies every day, along with steamed salmon, hummus, fruits, and all other types of healthy foods. But lately, as we have been living somewhat of a "go go go" lifestyle, our family's eating habits have become pretty poor.

After about a month of living in Singapore, and eating out or ordering in most nights, I realized how little veggies the three of us were consuming. So the Saigh family has recently undergone a veggie overhaul!

Mama Saigh's Pumpkin Pancakes.
Instead of forcing veggies down Linna's throat in their whole, boring form (besides peas - she loves whole peas), I have resorted to pureeing them, and hiding them in Linna's food.

Sneaky sneaky!

Little does my husband know, I'm hiding them in our food too (although we do a better job of eating veggies in their whole form)! Every week or so, I pick up three different veggies at the grocery store, steam them, puree them, and freeze them in these new Yummi Pouch reusable squeezable food pouches that I picked up before we moved to Singapore. In some of the pouches I add a little fruit to sweeten the mix up, so Linna will just eat it straight from the pouch. In the other pouches I simply add the veggie puree, freeze them, and thaw as needed. They work really well, and allow me to freeze the veggie purees in small portions.

Last week, I made a pumpkin, sweet potato, and carrot puree, and with it I've made pancakes, pasta sauce, and muffins. Both my husband and I agree that we can't taste the veggies in these dishes, and Linna just gobbles them up! I kind of just make up my own recipes as I go along, and don't really use precise measurements. It sucks when you Google or go on Pinterest to find a recipe using veggies, only to find out you don't have all the ingredients in the house. So, I make up my own versions! Here's a couple "recipes":

Pumpkin Pancakes (all measurements are approximate):

- Half-cup of the the pumpkin, sweet potato, carrot puree
- One egg
- Splash of milk
- Pinch of salt
- Pinch of baking powder
- Pinch of sugar
- Teaspoon on cinnamon
- 1/4 cup flour

Directions: Mix all the ingredients together, cook on the stove top just like you would a regular pancake, and serve with a tiny bit of 100% pure maple syrup. The "recipe" makes about two little-person pancakes, and two big-person pancakes. Linna LOVES these (so does AJ)!

Simmering curry. Nom!
Veggie Banana Muffins (all measurements are approximate):

- 2 ripe bananas (mashed)
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 1/3 cup pumpkin, sweet potato, and carrot puree
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 cups flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp cinnamon

Directions: Mix mashed bananas, eggs, oil, and veggie puree in a large bowl. Add in sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and flour. Mix until all ingredients are moist. Pour into buttered and floured muffin tins, bake at 350-degrees for about 20 minutes (this is an estimate on time, I just checked them every once in awhile). Insert a toothpick, and when it comes out clean, they are done!

Other than sneaking veggies into Linna's foods, I have been making a lot of veggie-packed curries for AJ and I.

I. Love. Curry.

These curries are super simple, and although it seems like there are a lot of ingredients, once you have the spices, they last for months! Here's one of our comfort-food favorites that is PACKED with veggies:

Yummi Pouches for fruit and veggie purees.
Chicken and Pea Curry (all measurements are approximate):

- 1 onion chopped
- 2 TBSP minced garlic
- 2 TBSP minced fresh ginger
- 1 TBSP vegetable oil
- 1 or 2 chicken breasts cubed (we only use one)
- 1 TBSP cinnamon
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 TBSP sugar
- 1/4 cup red curry paste
-  3/4 cup of coconut milk
- 3/4 cup plain all-natural yogurt
- 1 cup finely chopped spinach
- 2 cups pea pods (or a mix of 1 1/2 cup pea pods w/ 1/2 cup frozen peas)
- 1 1/2 cup steamed brown rice

Directions: Cook the onion, garlic, and ginger in a large pan with the vegetable oil for about 2 minutes at a medium/high heat. Add the chicken and cook completely. Add in cinnamon, cumin, salt, and ground coriander, and cook for about a minute. Add in vegetables and cook for another couple minutes. Add in curry paste, coconut milk, yogurt, sugar, and curry paste, and let it simmer for about 15 minutes or so on a lower heat. Serve this curry over steamed brown rice. Throw in a red chili pepper for an added kick!

NurturMe NurturMeals.
When we are in a crunch, I've been adding these packets of NurturMe quick-dried veggies to Linna's foods, and she doesn't notice those either. When I add a whole package to her food (i.e. a whole package of NurturMe Fruit or Veggies in a bowl of yogurt), she won't eat it, but if I put half a pack in her yogurt, pasta, etc., she eats it right up! NurturMe also has a brand new line of veggie/fruit mixes, and snacks called Yum-A-Roos that are really good. They even have a new protein-packed dried quinoa for little ones who don't like the texture of quinoa. I love popping some of the Squash, Bananas, and Green Kale mix into Linna's yogurt, so I know she's getting some good nutrients. They run about a dollar a pack when you buy them in the US, but in Singapore they are (like everything else) more expensive. Guess I'll be buying some more at home, and putting them in my suitcase on the way back to Singapore! You can follow the NurturMe Facebook and NurturMe Twitter pages, for deals and coupons on products.


Have fun getting in those veggies everyone!!!



Sunday, May 26, 2013

Polly wanna cracker.

Linna has the Melissa & Doug Zoo Sound Puzzle (I took the batteries out so it doesn't make loud animal noises all night while she's sleeping), and she knows what noise all of he animals make, except the parrot. Even I was a little confused when I thought about the noise a parrot made. "Tweet tweet"?! Noooo. I really couldn't think of the noise it made. So, I told her that a parrot says, "Polly wanna cracker". She thought that was pretty funny, and now Linna can do her own impression of a parrot...


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Swimming at 21 months.

Last week, we took all flotation devices off Linna to see if she could swim on her own. She's a little fish, so it was worth a try. Linna may have gotten a big gulp of water in this video, but she can do it! So proud of our little fishy.




Some people told me that the video isn't showing up, but it does for others. Anyway, here is the link to the video of Linna swimming on her own at 21 months:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=zeY72pHCGlE


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Charlotte's web.

On Monday morning, I took Linna to Singapore's Players Theatre for their performance of Charlotte's Web at the Kallang Theatre. Charlotte's Web was one of my favorite books and movies growing up, so I wanted to share this experience with my little girl. I have never seen Charlotte's Web on stage, so this was a treat for both of us! We went to the 9:30 a.m. performance, so there were tons of children there from local schools. A couple of my friends in Singapore actually had their children attending the performance with their schools on the same day we were there. Kallang Theatre is a pretty large air-conditioned theatre, located next to the Kallang Leisure Park (shopping mall). When our taxi dropped us off in front of the shopping center, I asked people to point me in the direction of the theatre. They pointed me to the movie theatre inside the mall, instead of the actual theatre. Just make sure you know this if you attend one of the performance, because having two theatres in one spot can be a bit confusing!

Once we found the actual theatre, we walked in to see the stage set up with lots of colorful props, and the lighting was very child-friendly. Linna wanted to walk right up to the stage as we waited for the show to start. When the show started (about 15 minutes late, as they were waiting or another school to arrive), the children in the audience erupted in laughter as the cast introduced themselves in-character on stage. The cast was very enthusiastic, and Linna was glued for the first 15 minutes of the show. The costumes were cute. The audience (children) especially loved when Wilbur the Pig would shake his behind on-stage!
Linna waiting for the show
to start at the Kallang Theatre.

One thing I wished there was more of, was sound-effects and music during the show. I know this wasn't a musical, but being a children's performance, I was surprised that there wasn't more o this. There was a very quiet carnival-type music playing in the background during the part of the story set at the county fair, but I thought they could have played that part of the show up a little more. Some of the children in the audience (including Linna) started to get a little restless during the second part of the show, and I think their attention would have been better kept if there was music/sound-effects, or some sort of singing and dancing. I could tell that the older children in the audience enjoyed themselves, as I feel they were able to follow the story-line a little bit better than the younger children.

Over-all, the cast did a great job telling the story that I remember reading as a child. Watching this show made me think back to my childhood, when I wanted to have a baby pig as a pet! I hope Linna doesn't get any ideas:) I feel this show is definitely aimed toward older children, as they are better able to follow the story-line without the use of singing, music, and dancing. We are looking forward to seeing future shows at the Kallang Theatre!

The stage - County fair scene
Charlotte's Web
A Players Theatre Production
Runs through May 23rd, 2013
Kallang Theatre (Singapore)
Tickets: 6348 5555


Monday, May 20, 2013

Press here.

Raising a reader.
As the mom of a toddler, I am constantly on the hunt for new children's books-  most of which I find after the recommendation of another mom. Recently, I came across a review of the book Press Here by Herve Tullet. After hearing nothing but positive feedback on the book, I got a copy for my 21-month-old daughter Linna. This book is brilliant! It is simply a book filled with colorful dots, and forces little readers to use their imagination. Each page simply says things like "press here", and "ok, now shake...". When the child turns the page, they see that their tiny finger has sparked the power of what their imagination has created! With every turn of the page, my daughter exclaims "WOAH!", and her face lights up with excitement, as if her little finger created an entire movement of colors across the next page. Linna loves doing exactly what each page tells her to do, so she can see colorful dots move about on the following page.

Press Here has received numerous awards, including a spot on the New York Times' Best Sellers list, and Publishers Weekly's Best Book of the Year. This book is simply magical, encouraging children to use their imaginations, rather than just pushing or swiping a button on an iPad app. My husband and I love reading this book with our toddler, because we can see how special it makes her feel - as if SHE is making the magic happen! We find her reading it alone in her room as well. Books make some of the best gifts for a child's birthday, and you can find this hardcover book at bookstores, or online for about $15. We have ordered a few copies for some upcoming birthday parties we will be attending this summer! Let's keep raising readers.


CONGRATULATIONS to Emily Guo! You have won a copy of the book Press Here by Herve Tullet. Please email me (minnesotababyinfo@gmail.com) with your address and phone number, so we can verify and ship your book. Thanks everyone for participating, and watch for another giveaway very soon!



Ian and kelly's adoption.

Kelly and Ian on their wedding day in 2009.
Everything doesn't always go according to our plans. This is a life lesson that all of us have experienced in one way or another, and although these struggles can turn our lives upside-down, it's best to try to make the most of the cards we are dealt.

I am not going to even try and pretend that I know what it is like to deal with infertility. Growing up, I, like many women, dreamed of becoming a mom. I pretended to be a mommy to my baby dolls when I was a little girl, fantasized about the day I would marry the man of my dreams, and imagined what our future son or daughter would look like. Many of us (including me) spend our younger-years trying to do all that we can to prevent pregnancy, never even considering the thought of a struggle to actually get pregnant when the time is "right". However in the US, 1 in every 10 women (age 15-44) have difficulties getting pregnant (according to the CDC). Infertility is a common problem. But we never think this "problem" will be our own.

Kelly and Linna.
One of my very good high school friends has been dealing with infertility for a couple years. Ever since Kelly married her husband Ian, they dreamed of becoming parents. After months of trying to get pregnant the "old-fashion" way, Kelly and Ian sought out medical intervention. I have watched Kelly and Ian go through numerous tests, hormone treatments, IVF... you name it, they've tried it. My heart broke each time Kelly painfully told us that an attempt to get pregnant had failed. Her years of tears and heartbreak are more than any woman should ever have to go through.

Kelly is one of the most positive and happy people I have ever known. When she met and married her husband Ian, they became this power-couple that could seriously run the world. They are humanitarians, activists, volunteers, and speak up for those less fortunate than themselves. A story doesn't get much cuter than two librarians, meeting in a library, and eventually falling in love. But that is Kelly and Ian's story. They are smart, caring, gifted, and so funny! They are the two people that we should all want as role-models for our children.

Recently, Kelly and Ian told our circle of friends that they were moving onto the next stage in their journey to become parents. They have decided to adopt a baby. I am thrilled for Kelly and Ian, as they take steps toward welcoming a baby into their family. They, like many married couples, dream of carving pumpkins, riding bikes, traveling, and reading books with their little one. Now, they are asking for your help.

Kelly has been a part of all of our babies' lives, and now
we wait with excitement as she becomes a mom too.
Did you know that currently over half of all adoptions are designated (meaning that through word of mouth, the power of Facebook, or through a friend-of-a-friend, a birth parent is connected to a prospective adoptive family)? This is why my friends are asking for your help. Kelly and Ian have developed an adoption website, and hope that you can help spread the word by emailing it out to your contacts, or posting it on Facebook. If you hear of a friend-of-a-friend or family member considering adoption, please remember Kelly and Ian.

As their adoption website slowly started to make its way around our circle of friends, one of my good friends sent me an email saying, "I just read Kelly & Ian's Adoption site. If I had a child that I couldn't take care of, I'd be begging them". This is so true. I have no doubt in my mind that Kelly and Ian will be raising the future President of the United States. Their child will be a person that fights for the average person, and who will teach others to do the same. That is who Kelly and Ian are, and they are so deserving of becoming "Mom" and "Dad" through the open adoption of a very lucky little boy or girl.

Here is a link to Kelly and Ian's Adoption Website: http://www.ianandkellyadopt.com/index.html

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Free flip flops at target.

Rumor has it, the Target weekly advertisement has flip flops on sale for $2 next week (May 19th - 25th, 2013), AND if you combine that sale with this (below) current coupon (print it now, before they take it down)...


... you can get the flip flops for FREE!

Being that I am in Singapore, I have not seen next week's (this Sunday's) Target advertisement yet, and Target online only has last week's ad available (as of 11 a.m. Saturday - MN time). So, make sure you check tomorrow's (Sunday) weekly advertisement to make sure this freebie is... actually a freebie. Either way, $2 flip flops... that's a pretty good deal!


Friday, May 17, 2013

Bubble legendary on sentosa.

A show called Bubble Legendary is coming to the Resorts World Sentosa - Festive Grande Theatre, June 6th through the 9th, and we can't wait to take Linna! At 21 months old, she is obsessed with EVERYTHING bubbles, so I'm sure this show will be a bubble fantasy for her. The show is created by Fan Yang, who is the world's greatest bubble artist and holder of 18 Guinness World Records, and from the video the show looks incredible. The show has promotional packages available for families and Master Card holders. With only seven shows, it looks like they are selling out quickly, so get in on one of the deals while you can. We'll be there opening night!



Resorts World Sentosa - Festive Grande Theatre
June 6th - 9th
Showtimes at 11:30 a.m., 3:30 p.m., and 7:30 p.m.
Ticket prices vary


ABCs and "twinkle twinkle".

For about a month now, Linna has been randomly walking around the house singing parts of songs. Usually it's her ABCs and "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star", but she will sing songs from Barney and other songs she just makes up (maybe she's singing an actual song... who knows). However, whenever I put the camera in her face do document her beautiful singing skills, she is totally over it. Today, I wised up, and told her she could have my earrings if she sang the songs. Worked like a charm!

(Twinkle Twinkle Little Star)

(The Alphabet)

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

GIVEAWAY: The city (by littlez).



Playing with blocks the size of her at The City (by Littlez) in Singapore.

There are loads of different indoor play-areas all over Singapore, where parents can take their little ones to burn off some energy. But recently, I heard about a newer place near Clarke Quay called The City (by Littlez), which is more of an indoor learning-playground than an actual indoor playground. So last Friday, before we meet AJ for dinner at Clarke Quay, Linna and I decided to go check it out.

The City is located in Liang Court on the third floor. There are signs on the floor once you exit the elevator/lift to to show you where to go to get to The City, but I must admit that I had trouble finding the button to the third floor in the elevator, as the button layout is a bit odd (you'll see what I mean when you go for a visit). Once we got there though, Linna's eyes beamed with excitement as she scoped out all the toys, bright colors, and other children playing around. We could see so many different areas for the children to play in, including a supermarket, doctor's office, fire station, beauty salon, and a cafe. There were about a half-dozen kids running around in little dress-up clothes, while moms, grandparents, and helpers just relaxed and observed. This looked like my kind of place!

Nurse Linna, looking like she's had a rough day at work.
My little chef in the Cafe.
Grocery Shopping at the Supermarket.

The children are able to dress up in various costumes, depending on what type of role or job they want to experience. There were little police officers, nurses, and super heroes running around during our visit, that it actually reminded me of a Halloween Trick-or-Treat back home in Minnesota! The City is designed for children age 2-8, but I can tell you that even at 20-months-old, my daughter enjoyed every minute. Although she was a little intimidated by the bigger kids at first, Linna found some fun places to explore, and spent about half her time in the Supermarket, and the other half in the Nursery. She also checked out the Cafe area, where she was able to make pretend pizzas, and the The Heroes area where she could build with giant blocks. She enjoyed the Classroom as well, where they had little toys animals to play with.

Reading a magazine while the children whiz by!

The City is such a great alternative to the indoor play-gyms in Singapore, as the children get to use their creativity and imagination while exploring different professions. The best part is that the little ones can play with as many toys as they want, and mom and dad don't have to pick up afterwards. Yippy! There's a good-size area for adults to sit, relax, and read a magazine or enjoy coffee, while the children interact with each other. The admission cost is S$18 for children under the age of two, and S$22 for children over the age of two. In March of this year, The City implemented a new weekend admission fee of S$22 for children of all ages. Infants (under age one) and adults are always free, and the admission fee covers two hours of play. They also have some a Membership and Value Package available.

A couple things to remember...

1. BRING SOCKS - Everyone in the play area must wear socks, and if you forget, they make you buy them for $5 a pair. I forgot to read the website before we visited, so I had to purchase socks for Linna and I:(

2. BRING A SWEATER - They keep it very cool in The City, so for the adults not running around, it does get a bit chilly (I was cold and I'm from chilly Minnesota).

I know Linna enjoyed herself because even after two full hours there, she screamed when I told her we had to leave. We will definitely be back to The City, especially on a rainy day and while Linna isn't currently going to school/nursery/daycare. It's a great social atmosphere. Clarke Quay is a great location for The City, but I hope to see other branches open in different parts of Singapore!

Contact: 6250 6507
Address: 177 River Valley Road (Liang Court) #03-04A Singapore


*** CONGRATULATIONS to ChaiLih Soh! You have won a 2-hour indoor play session at The City (by Littlez). Thanks for following Minnesota Baby, and for participating in our giveaway everyone! Stay tuned for another giveaway coming up very soon.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

First trip to bintan island in indonesia.

Linna, AJ, and a python at the Elephant
Show. One of the scariest moments of my
life, and I was simply taking the photo!
I titled this blog post "First Trip to Bintan Island in Indonesia" because we WILL be going back. It's so incredible that while we're living in Singapore, we can take a 50-minute ferry ride, and arrive on a tropical island in another country. We are so lucky to be here!

Being an expat in Singapore, it's pretty much "required" that we take a trip to Bintan. Almost every expat has been there, almost everyone talks about it, and before we made the decision to go, we had heard mixed reviews. Some people told us not to waste our time going there because it wasn't "that great", and others told us to check it out. I am SO happy we decided to take the advice from the people with positive reviews, because our experience was wonderful.

AJ took Friday off from work during the first week of May, so the three of us could spend three days and two nights at Nirwana Resort Hotel on Bintan Island. We chose Nirwana because of all the activities they have on their property (which is huge by the way), restaurants, and because the pool looked very kid-friendly. The ferry ride to Bintan in itself was a pretty cool experience, because you get to check out the coastline of Singapore, as well as all the cargo ships up-close on the water. We took Bintan Resort Ferries (I believe that's the only option) for about $60/person round-trip (children under the age of 11 are about $50 each - yes, even infants are required to pay the full ticket fare). You can upgrade to Emerald Class for about $40 extra per person, but I really don't see the need to. Emerald Class ticket holders have access to the upper part of the boat where there is outdoor seating, free refreshments (I believe it's just hot and cold beverages), priority boarding/disembarkation, and seating assignments. We arrived 40 minutes prior to departure time because we were running behind schedule (Bintan Resort Ferries recommends that you arrive an hour prior to boarding), and we didn't have to wait in any lines, and we got on the boat with no hassle. Our seats were perfectly comfortable, refreshments were made available for very inexpensive prices, and we had a great view of the water. Also, I have friends who took Bintan Resort Ferries and didn't upgrade to Emerald Class, and they were still able to go out on the boat's deck (don't tell anyone I told you that - hehe). Although I haven't been in Emerald Class on Bintan Resort Ferries, I feel Economy Class was just fine. You're only on the boat for about an hour anyway.

Just part o the pool at our resort.

Papa and Linna in the pool over-looking the South China Sea.


"I love the way this water tastes!"

Mama Saigh and the bug playing in the sea.


When we arrived to Nirwana Resort Hotel after a quick 10-minute car ride from the ferry terminal, we were greeted with a delicious cold beverage, and the friendly staff showed us to our room. Our room was in the newly-renovated part of the hotel, so although there was still some construction going on around the resort, we could tell our room was brand new! We had a great view of the pool and sea too. The only thing I found a little frustrating was the fact that we used our stroller a lot so Linna could nap on-the-go, and there wasn't a way to get to the pool without using the stairs. However, most of the time there was a hotel staff-member there to help carry the stroller up and down the stairs. The hotel's staff also had a crib set up in our room for Linna, so we didn't have to bring one from home!

Checking out the resort property via a horse and buggy ride.

Crocs at the mini zoo.

The storms over Bintan Island were spectacular!

Linna meets an owl. She loved this!

We spent a majority of our time on Bintan in the pool and on the beach. This beach was incredible! Other than the gorgeous sunrises/sets we experienced at our resort in Phuket, Thailand, I feel this beach was even better than the beach in Phuket! The water at Nirwana's beach was so clear, and the sand was white and soft. There wasn't much of a tide, so it was very breezy and peaceful on the beach. Linna loved the taste of the salt water (crazy girl), and she had so much fun playing in the sand. I even took the opportunity one afternoon to have a massage by the beach for just $34! Unreal. Is this really my life right now?!

Pool bar at the resort. Yes, the smoothie fell into the pool:(

Mama Saigh and Linna at The Kelong Restaurant.

The Kelong Restaurant at Nirwana.

Glorious food at Kelong.

AJ joining the Elephant Show.

Breakfast at The Coffee Shop at Nirwana is complimentary and pretty darn good. It's the perfect spot to grab a bite to each when a random thunderstorm hits, and you have to get out of the pool. Watching the rain from this restaurant is very relaxing. The food wasn't anything over-the-top, but we really enjoyed the daily breakfast buffet, as they had many different selections. Linna couldn't get enough of the banana bread and fresh fruit! On Friday night, we had dinner at this amazing place called The Kelong Seafood Restaurant, which was literally built on stilts above the sea. Our resort provided a shuttle bus to the restaurant which was about a three-minute drive away, and when we arrived, we were in awe! The restaurant has al-fresco dining, which we took advantage of because of the great breeze of the sea. We couldn't stop taking photos of the gorgeous views, and we were amazed by the fantastic sunset. Although this restaurant is very family-friendly, it did make me a little nervous to let Linna run around, for fear that she would fall into the water. I'm sure this has never happened, but moms always fear the worst when it comes to their kids, right?! If it wasn't for Linna's bedtime inching closer and closer, we would have stayed at this restaurant and enjoyed drinks all night long. The food was great (I highly recommend the Lemon Chicken), and the drinks just topped off our incredible evening there. If you're on Bintan, you must check out this restaurant, simply for the views and ambiance.

Elephant's tail up close. So cool!

Linna enjoying her dishes at Kelong.

Beautiful water at Nirwana's beach.


To get a look around the resort, we took a horse-carriage ride for about a half-hour. We stopped at the mini zoo to check out the crocodiles, birds, snakes, and other animals, which Linna found to be pretty cool (Mama Saigh did too)! There is SO much to do at this resort, including bowling, rifle shooting, archery, dune buggies, windsurfing, snorkeling, jet skiing, etc. There is really something for everyone! One of our favorite activities was attending the Elephant Show, where Linna and AJ actually became part of the show. How lucky is Linna to be able to dance right alongside huge elephants, while on a tropical island in Indonesia?! We were really close to actually getting on an elephant for a ride, but Linna took one look at it and said "NO". We didn't want to force her to do something she didn't want to do... even though it would have been pretty cool. We'll just have to go back when she's a little older:)

I can't wait until we have friends/family visit us in Singapore, so we can make another visit to Bintan. I would highly recommend Nirwana Resort Hotel if you're looking for a family-friendly location. Other than the Resort Hotel, they also have Villas available for larger families/groups. We might check those out on our next trip to Bintan. Trust me, you'll never be bored there, and when you get home, you'll want to come right back. We miss it already!

The Saighs will see you again soon Bintan Island.


Friday, May 10, 2013

Learning shapes.

For about a month now (hit or miss), Linna has been able to distinguish the difference between a triangle, circle, and square. The other day, we decided to throw in an octagon, rectangle, and oval into the mix. AJ and I both thought the octagon might be a little "too advanced" for her, but our little sponge picked it up right away! I was shocked that she remembered that her Mama's sub-par initial drawing of an octagon on the chalk board, was actually an octagon... but she did. I must be an artistic genius. Linna's even pointing out different shapes on the bus, out to dinner, etc. Such a big girl!


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Shopping lifesaver.

This photo is one-in-a-million. On a "normal" shopping trip,
there's blood, sweat, and tears. Oh joy!
I never realized how good I had it at home in Minnesota, when I could simply get in my car and drive to the supermarket. I would throw (not literally speaking) the baby in her car seat, head to Target, and buy everything I needed for the house, groceries, beauty products, and even some clothes, all in one trip. Filling my SUV to it's maximum capacity with brown and plastic bags, is something I never thought I'd miss. But I do. I really do.

Now days, my shopping trips consist of me, the baby, and a grocery bag on wheels. I have the daily challenge of trying to wrangle my busy toddler, while trying to get everything on my grocery list, while filling and pulling an eleven-gallon shopping bag on and off the city bus, all while trying not to look like a COMPLETE hot mess in the 95-degree/85-percent humidity weather in Singapore weather. And I do this 2-3 times a week.

I miss my air-conditioned Tahoe.

Yesterday, while our children were destroying/enjoying our Singapore apartment, my friend Steph completely changed my life by introducing me to Redmart. It's an online shopping site and delivery service for household products and groceries in Singapore. What's that you say?! I can pay the same amount that I would spend at Giant, and have EVERYTHING delivered to my home for FREE (orders over $75)?! And this includes beer/wine?!

Yes please.

I signed up for Redmart, took about a half-hour to do my entire weekly grocery shopping, all in the comfort of my air-conditioned living room. This service doesn't include things like fresh fruits and vegetables, poultry, cheese, etc., but I can get all of those things during a quick once-a-week grocery-shopping trip. Plus, I like to personally select the my fresh produce. It's things like a huge pack of paper towels, toilet paper, cleaning supplies, pre-packaged snacks, scotch tape, etc. that I don't want to make multiple trips to the store to get. I am currently waiting in my air-conditioned apartment, playing with my daughter (well I will be once I'm finished writing this blog post) instead of chasing her around a busy supermarket, while waiting for my Redmart delivery this morning. Hallelujah!

Thank you Steph for introducing me to a whole new world of housewife happiness. Maybe the next time you see me on the bus, I will actually be sweating less, have a smile on my face, and not look like I just walked out of a grueling workout at the gym. Baby steps.


Monday, May 6, 2013

Playing with elephants.

Linna and a few other children, dancing to music with the elephants. So cool!
This past weekend, AJ, Linna and I spent the weekend at Nirwana Resort Hotel on Bintan Island in Indonesia. We are still in awe of the things we got to see and do. We felt like we were in another world. Singapore is lovely, and we are so lucky to be here, but Bintan Island has some gorgeous beaches, wild monkeys, and Linna's favorite... ELEPHANTS! And while it's just an hour ferry ride from Singapore, Bintan is the perfect spot for a weekend get-away.

We checked out the Elephant Show on the Nirwana Resort grounds, it was was like something out of the movies. We were sitting on a tropical island, while a half-dozen huge elephants danced, did some pretty cool tricks, and even took visitors on rides. AJ and Linna got pretty close and personal with these giant beasts, while Mama Saigh stayed back and took some videos and photos. We were SO close to actually getting on an elephant for a ride, but the second we asked Linna if she wanted to sit on the elephant, she was very adamant about saying "NO". Elephants are currently one of her favorite animals, but she simply wanted to watch them... not sit on one.  Even though we skipped the elephant ride (thanks Linna - kidding), this is definitely an experience we will all remember for the rest of our lives. Check out this video of an elephant putting a ring around AJ's neck...


Sunday, May 5, 2013

Conversations with linna.

On Saturday night while we were out having dinner on Bintan Island (Indonesia), AJ and I were almost in tears as we realized how big Linna is getting. She was seriously carrying on full conversations with us, as if she was a little teenager. Linna surprises us every day with new words and phrases, so when she started counting to three, saying "no thank you", and "hi mama", I was happy to pull out my camera to shoot another "Conversations with Linna" piece. Unlike her Mama, Linna gets a little shy when the camera is on her. Enjoy...


I'm a little robot.

AJ and I caught Linna doing this "unique" little dance on our walk home the other day, when it dawned on me that she was doing the robot dance from a Barney episode she loves. I said, "are you doing the little robot dance?", and she looked at me, smiled, and continued her new moves. So cute...