Sunday, March 29, 2015

Releasing sea turtles off the gili islands.

We shared an incredible experience with the 3-year-old this afternoon. We chartered a boat from our hotel in Lombok (Tugu Hotel Lombok), and visited all three of the Gili Islands. On Gili Meno, Linna got to release a sea turtle into the water. This is an experience I have always dreamed about, so to share it for the first time with my daughter was incredibly memorable. Although it took this little turtle a few minutes to figure out if he actually wanted the freedom we were giving him, he did make it into his new home!

Monday, March 23, 2015

GIVEAWAY: Babiators swim goggles.

Our 3-year-old, Linna, wearing her Babiator Goggles underwater in Singapore.
*** CONGRATULATIONS to MICHELLE NG! You're the winner of a set of Babiators! Please email us ( with your mailing address and phone number, so we can verify and get you your Babiators. Thanks for participating everyone, and stay tuned for our next giveaway! ***

There's two ways to enter for a chance to win:

1. "Like" the Minnesota Baby Facebook page, and share this contest post with your Facebook friends (you must click "share" under the Babiators contest post on our Facebook page).

2. Comment on this blog post (below) with your first and last name, along with the city you currently reside in.

Two simple ways to enter, and if you complete both ways, you'll double your chances to win! You must enter by Sunday, April 5th at 8 p.m. (CST) to be eligible to win. One winner will be randomly selected to win a set of Babiators Submariners Goggles or Babiator Sunglasses (winner chooses one product). The winner will be announced on this blog. Good luck everyone!

Our 3-year-old must have been a fish in another life because she can't spend enough time in the water. With the amount of time we're at our pool in Singapore, we've lost, broken, and simply worn out countless goggles. We've purchased cheap goggles that last maybe a few weeks, and spent more than enough on better quality goggles, only to leave them at the pool where they tend to disappear.

I recently found a new goggle design by Babiators that our 3-year-old seems to really love. I love them because Babiators will replace our lost or damaged goggles within a year of our purchase! How fantastic is that?! The goggles come in blue and pink, and while they are a bit expensive (about $35 each), they are very durable. Plus, the goggles come in a cool submarine case which has become our daughter's new favorite pool toy. The goggles have 100% UV protection, and I can honestly tell you that the lenses don't fog. The no-leak frames took our 3-year-old some getting used to, as Babiators Submariners Swim Goggles are more of a "scuba mask" goggle without the nose cover. Now, they are her go-to goggles! The head-strap material is also nice because it doesn't get tangled in her hair. However, the strap does slip down easily if you don't show your kiddos how to place the strap higher on their head.

The new Babiator Goggles are meant for kids age 3-7, and have an adjustable strap for all head sizes. You can purchase them online, or find them at these stores in Minnesota. Currently, it is very expensive to have them shipped to Singapore, and you can't buy them at stores here... but have no fear, Singapore friends, because I'm working on a a better way to get them here!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Family photos with wonderlight photography in singapore.

This weekend, we had a long-overdue photo shoot with my good friend Kylie Petts of WonderLight Photography in Singapore. Kylie is from Australia, and she and her husband have two gorgeous (and I mean GORGEOUS) boys age 5 and 7. Kylie is an incredibly talented photographer, who has a gift for utilizing natural light in the images she captures. I traveled with her to Hanoi (Vietnam) last month, as she and her family lived there for a couple years. The images Kylie captured while we were in Vietnam, are simply incredible.

I was so impressed with the way Kylie handled our 3 1/2-year-old during our 8 a.m. shoot at the Botanic Gardens. Just seconds after Kylie greeted me and Papa Saigh, she was down on Linna's level getting her excited about the 45-minute photo shoot. Kylie brought a selection on Pez dispensers, and let Linna choose which one she wanted to sit on top of Kylie's camera. During the shoot, Kylie would pop a Pez candy out for Linna when she cooperated, which made all of our lives much easier! To say Papa Saigh and I perspired during our shoot in the Botanic Gardens, would be a major understatement. However, Kylie has a knack for making it look like we were in an air-conditioned studio, when in reality our clothes and hair were dripping with sweat during the shoot. It was all worth it though, because just look at these images...
Not only is Kylie incredibly talented, compared to most other Singapore photographers, her photo session prices are very reasonable (to be honest, I'd say her prices are cheap)! For a one-hour, on-location photo shoot in Singapore, including edited images, her session fee is S$280. In terms of quality, professionalism, timeliness, and ability to work with children of all ages, I cannot recommend Kylie enough! Book with her now, because once word gets out about this little gem of a photographer, she's going to be in high demand in Singapore!

WonderLight Photography
+65 8401 6315

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Monday, March 9, 2015

Kid/husband-free mommy-vacay to vietnam.

In February, I did something that I haven't done since our now 3 1/2-year-old was born. I left the kid with my husband overnight for the first time, hopped on a plane with my two gorgeous Aussie friends from Singapore, and spent a kid/husband-free weekend in "chilly" (it was like 60-degrees one day) Hanoi, Vietnam. I was completely apprehensive about leaving my baby girl behind in Singapore, but when Mama Bryce decided to just go ahead and book my ticket for me... it's hard to say no:) Papa Saigh took two days off from work to be home with Linna, get her to and from school, and spend some much-needed quality time with his princess, while Mama Saigh was away on a much-needed mommy-vacay. I still have to pinch myself when I say, "When I was in Vietnam...", and I feel so incredibly lucky to have a wonderfully supportive husband who encourages me to do these types of things. I couldn't have asked for two better ladies to spend this mommy-vacay with. We literally spent two full days and three nights eating and walking around Hanoi. The only time we went back to the hotel was to change for dinner and sleep. Let's do it again soon, Mama Bryce and Mama Petts!

(I put Linna on her school bus in Singapore on Friday morning at 8 a.m., and was on a plane to Hanoi at noon. I sure didn't cry as I watched her school bus drive away!)

No kids. No strollers. Hanoi, here we come! This was Mama Saigh and Mama Petts
(middle) first trip without our kids and husbands. Yippy!

The currency in Hanoi is the Vietnam Dong. A million
Dong is equivalent to about $45 USD.

Brand new bridge that we crossed over on our way to our hotel from the
airport. Taxi drivers honk in excess in Hanoi. "Many beep beep!".

Mama Saigh on the balcony of our hotel. We stayed at the Intercontinental on Hanoi's Westlake.
Great location and a beautiful hotel that is about a $4 USD taxi ride from the old quarter of Hanoi.

View from our hotel at night.

Two of my besties in Singapore. Mama Petts (left) and Mama Bryce (right) are Aussies.
Having lunch at Cau Go in Hanoi's old quarter. Fantastic views, and even better food!
We actually ate here twice. The traditional spring rolls, lemongrass-chili tofu, banana-blossom
chicken salad, and pork belly rolls are to die for. We had our very first Vietnamese coffee here
too. Oh, and the lime juice is out of this world. I think we all ate for about $30 USD total.

Spring rolls, pork belly rolls, and banana-blossom chicken salad at Cau Go.

I still crave this: Lemongrass-chili tofu at Cau Go.

Our server at Cau Go with our Vietnamese coffees.

Mama Saigh and the very strong Vietnamese coffee.

Beautiful view from Cau Go's roof terrace in Hanoi.
Night view at Cau Go in Hanoi. We had dinner on our last night in Hanoi with Mrs. Pett's brother, Tim!
We stopped at a cute little cafe called Hanoi Social Club in Hanoi's old
quarter one afternoon for these yummy drinks made with real fruit and herbs.

Amazing passion fruit desert at Don's on Westlake in Hanoi.
This place has a huge menu, including burgers, Thai and Vietnamese food.
Great restaurant with a nice view, but a bit more expensive than other places in Hanoi.
However, we did enjoy some live music on the rooftop deck during dinner.

All three mommies with THE Don of Don's, and our yummy Dragon Fruit Margaritas!
This Hanoi man wanted a photo with Mama Saigh.
Photo courtesy of Kylie Petts of WonderLight Photography in Singapore.
Mama Saigh and Mama Bryce. Photo courtesy of Kylie Petts of WonderLight Photography in Singapore.

Random lady selling goldfish and baby turtles in Hanoi. I guess
it's considered good luck to buy and release a turtle or fish back into the wild.

Mama Bryce will have good luck all year!

Vietnamese woman making toffee on a bridge in Hanoi.

Temples around Hanoi's Truch Bach Lake.

Temples around Hanoi's Truch Bach Lake.

Cute little walkway going to the Hanoi Cooking Centre.

Time for some Pho! I am addicted to this soup.

Mama Petts and her Pho Ga (Chicken Pho), which was all of $4 USD. Nom!

A food market in Hanoi's old quarter. We watched as five dead pigs were driven into the market on
motorbikes, and butchered right in front of us. I could have gone on without witnessing this.

Food market. No idea.

Who wants chicken?!

Walking around Hanoi's old quarter.

These blue plastic table sets are everywhere in Hanoi's old quarter "hawker" food places.

We saw a wedding in Hanoi!

Hanoi's old quarter. So busy and full of life! But also full of honking and pollution.

Hanoi balloon lady. Apparently, these balloons are filled with a dangerously flammable gas.

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum in Hanoi. We just drove by, as we ran out of time. Ho Chi Minh's
embalmed body is in there! Visitors aren't allowed to talk or wear shorts inside the Mausoleum.

We had a lovely chat with Pete, who is the owner of Tet Decor Cafe in Hanoi. This man is
simply a breath of fresh air. He's so full of life, and every part of his business has meaning. The food
served at Tet Decor Cafe is locally grown on his own farm, and Pete trains underprivileged youth in Hanoi
to work in his cafes and hotels. The food and atmosphere at Tet was beautiful, which is probably why we made
two stops during our three-day visit to Hanoi!

Mama Pett's breakfast at Tet Decor Cafe (she also took this amazing photo) on Hanoi's Westlake.

Mama Saigh got the same breakfast during both of our stops at Tet Decor Cafe. The baguettes
in Hanoi are absolutely outstanding, and something you won't find anywhere else! You can buy a
freshly baked baguette at pretty much an bakery in Hanoi for less than a dollar (USD).

Mama Petts and Mama Bryce outside Tet Decor Cafe.

A chef prepping food in Tet's kitchen.

WHY didn't we eat this when we were at Tet Decor Cafe?!

Random Vietnamese woman on the streets of Hanoi's old quarter.

Hanoi's old quarter is truly one-of-a-kind. A little bit of Bangkok, a little bit of NYC...

Organized chaos in Hanoi. Remarkably, we never saw one accident. This is the view from
Highlands Coffee on Dinh Tien Hoang Street.

Making shoes on the streets of Hanoi's old quarter.

These are everywhere in Hanoi's old quarter, but we never rode one because we
were told that the drivers tend to rip people off.

A local school in Hanoi. Like the power lines?!

Super skinny house.

This is a gas station in Hanoi. Crazy.

A random tomb stone popping out of the sidewalk on a backstreet in Hanoi.

Burial site in Hanoi.

Mama Petts took us on a walk through the back alleyways of her old Hanoi neighborhood,
and uncooked meat like this was a common sight. It's for sale!

Vietnamese woman selling fresh meat on a backstreet in
Hanoi... under an excess of power-lines.

Little kids without helmets on the front and backs of motorbikes, are very common in Hanoi.

Random Vietnamese kids kicking around a soccer ball on the backstreets of Hanoi.

Just a random pond/swamp in the middle of a neighborhood.

Super cheap and fresh fruits and vegetables for sale on every street!

Hanoi's Westlake.

Fisherman on Hanoi's Westlake would lay their fresh fish right on the sidewalk,
where people would just step over them.

Hanoi's Westlake.

I was shocked when I came home on Monday afternoon, to a spotlessly clean house, and more importantly a happy 3 1/2-year-old! I think Papa Saigh was happy to have me back home, but his time spent with Linna made a huge difference in our daughter's overall behavior. I think she liked the change of pace, and she had one of the best school reports from her teacher on Monday!

Thank you, Mama Petts, for showing us the beautiful city that you once called home. It truly was a once-in-a-lifetime trip that would have been completely different if we didn't have you as our trusted tour guide. Mama Bryce and I are incredibly lucky to call your talented and cultured Aussie a*s, our friend. Xo.