Friday, November 11, 2016

Living with Diabetes

It's been quite a number of years now since I was diagnosed officially as a type 2 diabetic. Living with diabetes the past years has been difficult as there are just too many adjustments to be made in terms of lifestyle and food choices.

Not too long ago, I shared I was in search of a natural way to reverse this condition while, I've spent substantial amount of time on the internet researching and reading to find out what might help. When I read about how the apple cider vinegar was said to help with regulating blood sugar, I didn't bat an eyelid and went ahead to drink that daily for over a year. Alas, instead of my blood sugar it was my weight that went down *smile* not a bad problem actually.

I tried to diet and ate mainly vegetables and cut down drastically on carbo but it made me crave more for sweet stuff, especially sweet snacks and desserts, I was ravenous!!! It was scary!!!

So as you might have guessed it the medication prescribed by the doctors didn't work, my "healthy dieting" didn't work either. My HbA1C results remained high and every time I receive my blood test results I only walked out of the clinic with even greater disappointment in myself for not being able to manage my blood sugar well.

A friend who was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes around the same time as me, inspired me some months back when he shared with me that he's been given a clean bill of health after a major adjustment in his dieting habits and his regular exercises. His sharing has encouraged me to re-look at my dieting habits, and at the same time I have made a decision to switch to another doctor to help me manage my condition.

During that period, I was introduced to the Mahogany Sky Fruit seeds by my facebook contact who gave me a pack to try. After a brief research on the internet about the efficacy of this "miracle seed" I decided to give it a try since it's natural.
Photo Credit link
Health benefits of Sky Fruit Seeds
I was determined to make things work this time round. Since I work half a day on the weekdays, I have a lot lesser time on hand to prepare my own meals in the day so to combat that problem, I make a deliberate choice to keep my breakfast choices simple, I avoided all the starchy and sweet stuff and would go for sliced fish soup (loaded with bitter gourd slices and napa cabbage), bee hoon soup (surprisingly, bee hoon soup works well on me as it didn't send my blood sugar sky rocketing);
for variety, when I have the time and energy, I'd prepare salad in a bottle to bring it to work as well.

Due to my work, I often consume lunch at 2pm and this is the meal that I'd go heavier, loaded with more carbohydrates. Occasionally consuming a snack in between as well.

As for dinner, on most days, I'd consume only veggies and some meat or fish sans rice or noodles. On days when I feel that I have had too much during lunch, I'd just eat cucumber slices with a slice of apple or a simple salad with no dressing.

That's my diet on a regular week, but I will not lie that on some days I do "cheat" and go for a FEAST though that's not on a regular basis. And by feast I mean I do eat the super sinful yet super delicious fried carrot cake, roti prata, satay, laksa and the likes... I will not sit and watch my hubby enjoy those "delicacies" on his own *smile* I still love my nonya snacks and desserts so whenever there's a craving for them I'd still eat them though on a more controlled basis (ie. limited to once in a long while).

I am glad that my current job made me "exercise" more than I normally would. My work place is on top of a hill that I need to climb up and down daily (Monday-Friday), I need to lift loads of books that are at least 200 pages thick everyday, shelving and arranging the bookshelves, walking up and down the stairs of the library. All these inadvertently helped me get my body moving more often than I used to when I was a SAHM.

Over and above the diet control and "regular exercise", I took my medication for the condition regularly as instructed by the doctor; as well as the Sky fruit seeds daily. With all this in place, I was really heartened to share that I have achieved a very encouraging HbA1C results! The most recent result shows that my 2-3 months average blood sugar count has reduced to the Ideal level! *yippee*

This is how I have been living with diabetes thus far. However, I'd like to emphasize that what works for me may not work for others as our body structure, our lifestyles and our habits are different. I would also like to make a disclaimer that any natural remedy I've shared here may or may not have been clinically and or scientifically proven so please do your own research and make your own educated decision about taking them up.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Decluttered!!!


It's been almost 8 months since we did a major decluttering and reorganizing of our home. As the children are really growing up and needed more personal and private space, hubby and I decided to give up our study room to make space for our son's personal bedroom.

We had wanted to do just very few adjustments but inadvertently it has become a rather huge change due to the age of our home. No, we didn't knock down any walls or hacked away our current flooring, the adjustments weren't that obvious on the surface but it was still a very tedious, back breaking and exhausting process nonetheless. (see our "war zone" home).
Living Room towards balcony area
Our study room (massive decluttering in progress)
Dining area - reno and reorg in progress
Master bedroom before we cleared out the entire room
In the event of this reorganizing, we (hubby and I are real hoarders), have thrown out countless amount of "treasure" in uncountable number of huge black garbage bags. It's incredible how we have accumulated so much stuff which we deemed as treasure over the years - it took us more than 6 months (literally!) to clear them all out! To my surprise, we after all do not need so much stuff at all!

We gave the children each a bedroom of their own and in replacement of our study room both the hubby and I installed and shared a long desk in our master bedroom (just like the one seen in the kids' room).
Little Man's personal space 
Missy's Girly Space
Our home is not Pinterest or Intagram worthy, neither is it designer decorated. What we needed was a practical and functional space for our everyday living - ie. easy maintenance and usage.

Fast forward 8 months later, with all the declutter work completed (Finally!), we now have a more comfortable and spacious living environment. I can't help but sit at the living area admiring the cosy, sans mess home every now and then, as I heave a sigh of contentment. It's also easier for us to have the kids clean up and maintain the tidiness of the home now that we have set the example.
Entrance to our living area 
Our new dining area 
Partial of our living area
With a comfortable living area, I can't resist the need to add a teeny more happiness into our living space by creating little handmade zakka to spruce up our home. In my next post, I'll share how little handmades not only add character but also happiness into my home. It's not only simple and fast to create it's extremely gratifying too!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Breakfast At Manhattan Fish Market

*Food Tasting Invite*
"Breakfast is indeed a very important meal. A good breakfast fuels you up and gets you ready for the day" ~ Kids Health
They say that it's important to kick-start our day right with a good breakfast, what better way to enjoy some family bonding than to have a sumptuous breakfast at the Manhattan FISH MARKET restaurant. It was such a pleasure to indulge in the restaurant's all new weekend breakfast menu!

In the new menu we found a selection of 7 hearty, affordable and a delectable variety of breakfast sets that made it hard for us to just settle for one set alone. It was wonderful that we got to try four different absolutely delicious breakfast sets for this food tasting.
Eggs Benedict Sharing Platter - $17.95
This sweet and savoury platter for two was my favourite! Eggs Benedict has always been my favourite western breakfast and with the addition of fluffy pancakes I was completely bowled over! Love how the combination on this platter gave the different texture, flavour and taste. Even my kids gave 2 thumbs up for this!
Big Brekkie Delight - $9.95
Oh the Big Brekkie is simply wonderful! The fish was nicely done and when the tangy, slightly spicy sauce is drizzled over the fish the blend of taste simply had me at the first bite. The buttery smooth scrambled eggs was a perfect match with the mushrooms and toast. Oh if only we had more of it! *slurp*
Glory Fish Tower - $7.95
This Glory Fish Tower was indeed made to look like a tower *grin* the sandwich made a glorious feast with Manhattan FISH MARKET's signature hand-battered fish fillet, crispy onion, lettuce and topped with thick toasts, *slurp* it simply didn't make "conquering" this tower difficult!  Every bite just made us want to have more of it!
Nutella & Banana French Toast - $4.95
This French Toast layered with Nutella and banana slices was simply a hit with my Missy, one who's an extremely sweet tooth! And it's no wonder she was full of energy after having this! *smile*

See those happy and delightful faces of my two kids? It said it all about how they felt after breakfast that morning!


Needless to say I was feeling Superb after the wonderful spread during breakfast and precious time spent with the family!

The Manhattan FISH MARKET
Causeway Point #02-34/K1
Century Square #01-31 (by the road)
Bishan Junction 8 #01-22/30
Northpoint #02-06/07
Jurong Point #01-32

The Breakfast Menu will be available every Weekend and Public Holiday from 8am - 12pm at the above outlets.

Disclaimer: We have been invited for food tasting for the purpose of this review.


Sunday, June 19, 2016

Media Track Foundation Workshop - Flying Cape Compass

*Media Invite*

Over the years, Singapore's education system has been increasing the emphasis on the oral component of language examinations. Excelling in the written components of examinations alone is not sufficient. Students are expected to be proficient speakers.

From 2015, there is a change in the English curriculum for students. A greater emphasis will be placed on requiring students to speak the language more confidently. So we were really glad to have been invited to attend a full day Media Track foundation workshop, that trained the children (even myself as I sat in to almost 60% of the workshop) on the importance of and the techniques on how to speak clearly and fluently.

In addition to the techniques on how to become better speakers the children were given a chance to experience what it takes to be a news anchor from an actual news broadcaster.

The children had an opportunity to "go behind the scenes" to experience a day in the life of a news station through news reading (based on real life latest news that was edited by coach Brian Lee) -

The first hands-on experience which the kids had was to have their voices recorded while they read a piece of news. Through the playback, coach Brian was able to flag out areas where adjustment of articulation, speed, pitch and volume could be made by each child.
Little Man wasn't on his most cooperative mood that morning, I was heartened that coach Brian didn't take any offense but showed a lot of patience and grace towards him. Upon a few rounds of encouragement, Little Man finally felt confident enough to have his news reading recorded.
What excited the kids most were the role-play activities and in my opinion the entire class would be really engaging (in the perspective of the children) if there were lesser talk and more of such role-plays and videos showing behind the scenes of the life of a news broadcaster.


Missy was getting ready for her role as a news presenter; camera rolling and prompter ready!


A scenario where each child was given a role being a reporter, victim, police officer etc in a made up crime scene.

Both Missy and Little Man said they had a lot of fun role-playing - in the process they learn how news is being reported based on a crime/accident.


I had an enlightening session in English language when coach Brian briefly touched on Word Stress. I do not major in English language and would not know better that there's such a thing as Word Stress; was glad I had picked it up during the workshop that day.
Here's just a sample of Words, with different emphasis on the syllable gives different meaning (Photo Credit Link)
Word Stress - When a word has more than one syllable, not all syllables are pronounced with the same degree of force. The syllable which is pronounced with greater force is called the Stressed Syllable.

When speaking, it is important to put the stress on the correct syllable. Otherwise, it would sound unnatural, and might even be difficult to understand.

On the whole, we had a very enriching and interesting day (myself included) throughout the workshop which has also in a way gave the kids an insight to how the news is being presented (beyond what we see on TV and hear on the radio).


The Media Track Foundation Workshop is $380/child and can be booked at Flying Cape Compass. Flying Cape Compass is a one-stop online marketplace for all your child's tuition and enrichment needs.


Disclaimer: We have been invited by Flying Cape Compass on behalf of Be the Voice to the Media Track Foundation Class for the purpose of this review.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Our June School Holiday (Part 1)

How time flies, we are already at the half way mark of the mid year term break. Two weeks of fun and games just swiftly flew past us. So what have we been up to? Here's a recap!

CHURCH CAMP
It was our first year attending a church camp as a family. It's been a refreshing and enriching experience those four days we spent at Malacca (World Heritage City).
The kids were counting down to this trip since we broke the news to them a few weeks beforehand. They would mark their calendars and count down right to the very minute of the time we were setting off for the trip *smile* always good to have something to look forward to with such enthusiasm and excitement.
What's a visit to Malacca without a trip to the touristy Jonker Street? From where our hotel was it took us approximately 15-20mins to walk to this place and since it was a Friday evening, the weekend market was open.We made it to the China Town just for the experience.  
The crowd was body to body tight, took us quite a while to just get through all the 'bottle-neck' areas. This place reminded me of the old Chinatown in Singapore. Street food were prepared right before you and it didn't matter that it was so crowded everyone just walked and sight-see along.

I was mindful not to buy too many souvenirs lest to accumulate more clutter at home and it will add onto the weight of our luggages.

Street food galore was what we found at Chinatown.

I love street art and how could I miss the opportunity to capture this with Little Man in it *smile* This was just diagonally across the hotel where we put up. Too bad we discovered it at night hence the poor lighting and it's too dangerous (in my opinion) to cross the junction again as it was without any pedestrian traffic lights and the vehicles were traveling "wildly" on the road. It was a miracle (literally) that we made it across back to our hotel safely that evening.

We were brought to this quaint little Nonya restaurant, Nyonya Makko Restaurant, on one of the evenings for dinner. I must say I was in love with the Nonya food there, you've got to try it to discover the truth for yourself :) I especially love the Cendol it's one of the best I've tasted thus far!


One of the highlights for the kids' mid year holiday annually is to attend Vacation Bible School (VBS). This year was no exception however, the kids attended VBS during church camp instead. It was an under the sea theme, hence all the crafts were made according to the theme. 

SPLASH @ KIDZ AMAZE
I have learned about the opening of Splash@Kidz Amaze at Safra Punggol since the beginning of the year but didn't get to bring the kids here till recently. We were not disappointed. It's a wonderful water park where it's fully indoors (most definitely weather proof).

The place is new and since it's the school holiday, it's really packed during the day. So if you are planning to make a trip there, it'd be better to go during the evening. We were there at about 7pm and there was no crowd at all. The children have loads of space to run and play. No queues for the slides, no packed bathrooms and many empty benches for the adults to just sit around and chit chat :)



8Q SAM - IMAGINARIUM
I really love the mid year term break period, there are simply just too many interesting places to visit and play at that's literally fun for FREE! One of them is Imaginarium located at 8Q SAM. It's Singapore Art Museum's children-focused annual exhibition. Within this exhibition, the children have a first hand experience of art in a way that they are able to relate to ie. tactile and experiential.
The exhibition this year is a whimsical introduction to the many stories and ideas that surround seascapes, Imaginarium: Over the Ocean, Under the Sea presents tactile and interactive works that encourage discovery through exploration and play.

The kids love this installation especially. In spite of getting themselves covered with charcoal, they love pushing the helium filled PVC balloon that's affixed with charcoal studs all around. To learn about the lesson behind this installation, read more about it from the link I've shared above.

Look at their charcoal smeared hands!!!


GEOCACHING
Geocaching, an activity that has been ongoing for 16 years (though I am not certain when it actually started in Singapore) which I only discovered recently. It's a real-world outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container containing a log sheet and some other knick knacks left behind by other participants) hidden at that location. 

There are quite a number of Geocache app that you could download from the apps store but my personal favourite is this C:Geo for Android (not sure if it's also available for iPhone users though).
I find this app to be user friendlier than the official Geocache app.

You can find if there are any geocaches hidden nearby where you are currently located by searching on the app or on the Geocache website. Just sign up an account and you are good to get started!
You can even determine the difficulty level to decide if you wish to take up the challenge to hunt for the hidden geocache. For the sake of the kids, we decided to start them off with a low difficulty level geocache hunt. 

We found 2 Geocaches in a span of 30 minutes (walking, signing on the log sheet and photography included). We have the kids asking to hunt down more of these geocaches after the 2 successful finds! 
As most of these caches are usually hidden amongst bushes and trees it's best to bring along these items when you are out with your kids while Geocaching - Insect repellent/patch, water bottles, wet wipes, hats, oh and also a pen as we need to sign our names in the log sheet. 

ART SCIENCE MUSEUM
We visited the Art Science Museum not knowing what was in store for us and we were pleasantly delighted and surprised. The Future World - Where Art Meets Science exhibits was the main attraction to the kids. We spent almost 3 hours in just this place!
It's indeed an immersive world of interactive and enriching experience.
Even the adults enjoyed the Sketch Town greatly, I was one of them :) to see our drawings appearing and moving on the screen (seen on the photo above) was fascinating!

NATIONAL LIBRARY
The other place we visited most often would be the National Library in our neighbourhood. During days when we are homebound the kids would spend substantial amount of time reading as they are not allowed to play handheld games nor watch Youtube for this period of time.

Since it's the school holiday, the NLB has once again increase the number of books that we are allowed to borrow. We try to encourage the children to read widely fiction and non-fiction books alike so as to be exposed to different things in and around our world. They say, reading is like a theatre in the mind *smile*

There are indeed many interesting things the kids can do during the school holidays and it need not be extravagant or elaborate, and certainly need not be burning a big hole in our pocket in order to be fun! :)