Monday, August 29, 2016

Family Reading Time

[Sponsored Review]

As working parents, one of our bonding activities with our children is to read. We read aloud for them when they were younger, and then we read aloud with them when they turned about 5 years old - taking turn to read aloud. Some time ago, we started to have silent reading time together. Yes, we, the parents, read hard copy books together with our children, not reading from our tablet or computer!

There was once I wanted to check my emails, so I took out my tablet during our silent reading time. Guess what, my children scolded me and told me to put away my tablet! I felt that I was a bad role model! But I was glad that my children identified my wrongdoing!

Our children are currently reading some of the interesting titles from Scholastic, some of which received Asian Book Award!

Grimmtastic Girls #7: Snowflake Freezes Up


Author: Suzanne Williams
ISBN: 9780545945349
Ages: 8 - 12
About this book:
Snowflake isn't sure which fairy tale character she is. But with her magical powers causing lots of trouble, she's definitely on thin ice! So just in case she might be a villain, Snowflake is chilly to her classmates. Can she keep her cool until she knows her whole story, or will her social life at Grimm Academy be permanently frozen?


Race The Wild #5: Outback All-Stars 


Author: Kristin Earhart
ISBN: 9780545940641
Ages: 7 to 10
About this book:
Does Team Red have what it takes to beat the best of the best?  G'day mate! It's an all-star race through the Australian Outback. But each team is a champion. So Sage knows the red team is going to have to be smarter and tougher than the competition if they want to win. If not, they'll be going down on their trip down under!  Each chapter in this action-packed adventure series is bursting with totally true facts about wild and wonderful creatures, dangerous habitats, maps, and more!


What Things Mean  


Author: Sophia Lee
ISBN: 9789810940546
Ages: 9 and above
About this book:
What does it mean to be different? Fourteen-year-old Olive is struggling to find out. Everything about her is so different from the rest of her family. She is big-haired, brown-skinned, and clumsy in a family of cream-coloured beauties who are all popular and ‘good at sports’. It must be she closely resembles her father, whom she has never known, and about whom her mother never speaks. Olive turns to books and other things to find answers, and as a way to cope with her loneliness. When she learns the truth about her father, she must decide whether or not she will let the differences in her life define her forever.


Sula's Voyage


Author: Catherine Torres
IBSN: 9789810940539
Ages:  9 and above
About this book:
Fifteen-year-old Sula has always known she is different. Even though her parents have shown her nothing but love and acceptance, she sees her dark skin as a reminder of how she doesn’t fit in with the rest of her family. What’s worse is she also feels that her parents are hiding something from her. After getting expelled from school, Sula reluctantly goes to stay with her mother’s friends.


Dragonhearted


Author: Shi Min Xie
ISBN: 9789810940553
Ages: 9 and above
About this book:
Xin Long is like any ordinary ten-year-old girl. She prefers Wushu to studying, likes hanging out with her friends, and loves listening to her Ah Ma's stories. But when these stories tell of an ancient mythical beast that threatens to destroy the world, Xin Long realises that she is the only one who can stop it. Can she destroy this evil? As time flies by, Xin Long and her friends –  Shu Ping, Four Eyes, and dragon guardian Xiao Lan – must unlock the secrets of ancient Chinese mythology to find a way to stop the end of the world.


Mensa Train Your Brain for Beginner Puzzlers Book 



Authors: Carolyn Skitt, Harold Gale & Robert Allen
IBSN: 9789810980122
Ages: 7 and above
About this set of books:
Build strong minds with a variety of engaging activities through fun illustrations! Amaze your friends with your awesome brainpower as you work your way through these mind-twisting challenges. Packed with tricky logic problems these brain-busting puzzles will keep you entertained for hours!


LEGO NEXO Knights: The Power of the Fortrex 



Author: Rebecca L. Schmidt
IBSN: 9780545933384
Ages: 6 to 8
About this book:
Set in the futuristic, high-tech world of the Kingdom of Knighton, LEGO(R) NEXO KNIGHTS(TM) follows five young knights in their quest to battle Jestro, his sidekick, the Book of Monsters, and their Lava Monster Army.


The New Kid from Planet Glorf 



Author: Arie Kaplan
ISBN: 9789814729017
Ages: 5 to 10
About this book:
These cute, funny illustrations will surely get you hooked! Funny, simple and engaging, perfect for anyway, anytime!


Dinosaurs for Breakfast



Author: Amy J. Lemke
ISBN: 9789814729000
Ages: 5 to 10
About this book:
These cute, funny illustrations will surely get you hooked! Funny, simple and engaging, perfect for anyway, anytime!


Henry and Amy



Author: Stephen Michael King
ISBN: 9789810950354
Ages: 4 and above
About this book:
Any child who has ever experienced a moment of self-doubt will be both reassured and delighted by this heartwarming tale of two very different friends and their ability to help one another feel more complete.


Pig the Pug



Author: Aaron Blabey
ISBN: 9789810980078
Ages: 4 and above
About this book:
Pig is the greediest Pug in the world. He is bad-tempered, rude and he never, ever shares. Friendly sausage dog Trevor is always trying to persuade Pig to play with him, but without success. When Pig is asked to share his toys, his greed finally backfires and something unexpected happens to him. Will Pig the Pug learn his lesson at last? A hilarious picture book about learning to share.


Disclaimer: We received the books from Scholastic Asia for review purpose. No monetary compensation was received. All opinions and photos are mine. 

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Monday, August 22, 2016

Okinawa (Japan): Futenma Shrine & Lava Cave 普天間宮

One of the things to do in Japan is to visit a shrine, and we decided to visit Futenma Shrine 普天間宮, which has a lava cave inside! 



The lave cave inside Futenma Shrine is only 50 meters long, which is much shorter as compared to the famous 900-metre Gyokusendo 玉泉洞, but we feel that it is more suitable for families with young children, because it is dim and wet inside the lava cave.



We parked our rental car at a car park behind the shrine, and walked down to slope to the shrine. As a form of respect, instead of walking into the shrine directly, we walked further down to enter through the torii gate. 



The children got to experience the ritual of visiting a shrine - purifying themselves at the temizuya. Don't worry if you don't know the procedure, there is a sign that shows you step-by-step.



One reason for visiting the shrine is to get the omamori お守り to protect us for our first self-drive trip.




Other than omamori for traffic safety, there are many other types of omamori. The one on the top right hand corner of the photo is to protect children, it is in form of a square school bag, isn't it cute?



You may make a wish here too!



Take note that in order to visit the lava cave, you have to seek permission from the personnel at the place that sells omamori. You have to fill up a form with your name, address, and number of people, then the personnel will lead you to walk through a "secret" path to the lava cave. And you have to "report" to the personnel when you have left the lava cave.

This place is very solemn, so it is advisable to remind the children not to talk loudly and not to run around in this place.


Futenma Shrine 普天間宮
Address: 〒901-2202 沖縄県宜野湾市普天間 1-27-10
Telephone: 098-892-3344
Mapcode for GPS: 33 438 615
Website: http://futenmagu.or.jp


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Saturday, August 13, 2016

Canon Shop Online HD FotoJournal - Personalised Photobooks

[Sponsored Review]

We publish our own books! Ok, they are actually personalised photobooks - HD FotoJournal!



We usually print our photos in 4R size and place them in big photo albums. However, it is quite challenging to store the big photo albums due to limitation of space at home. Recently, we were introduced to Canon Singapore's HD FotoJournal Softcover, and we are happy to learn that we can include many photos within one copy of 20-page photobook!

Here are 5 reasons why we like HD FotoJournal Softcover:

1. Availability of different sizes
There are a few sizes available, we made one 8" x 12" HD FotoJournal for our recent Okinawa trip, and one 10" x 10" HD FotoJournal to capture the siblings' loving moments.

2. Ease of ordering
Ordering the HD FotoJournal through Canon Online Shop (http://shop.canon.com.sg/photobooks) is such a breeze. Shortly after we placed our order with Canon, we received an email with FotoHub voucher number, which would be used when we submit our creation through a software called FotoIdeas.




3. Ease of creating HD FotoJournal using FotoIdeas
It is so easy to create our own HD FotoJournal using the software FotoIdeas! We can choose themes, templates, page backgrounds and page layouts, as well as apply picture borders, masks, vignettes and filters (black & white, sepia) to the photos. Just drag and drop, so simple! We can also add captions to the photos!



4. Short waiting time to collect the HD FotoJournals
After we submitted our creations via FotoIdeas, it only took 5 working days for us to collect our HD FotoJournals from FotoHub outlet.

5. High quality HD FotoJournals
The high-quality HD FotoJournals are beautiful and look very professional! The prints are vibrant in colours with matt finish.







The moments when we sit down together with our children and look through the HD FotoJournals are P.R.I.C.E.L.E.S.S.

Canon Shop Online HD FotoJournal Softcover (20 pages)
Website: http://shop.canon.com.sg/photobooks
Price (as of August 2016):
6" x 6" - SGD35
8" x 8" - SGD75
8" x 12" - SGD75
10" x 10" - SGD125
12" x 12" - SGD125


Disclaimer: We received two sets of HD FotoJornal Softcover for review purpose. No monetary compensation was received. All photos and opinions are mine.

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