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Things we throw during our trips 18 June, 2016

Posted by dear1dear2 in Dear1, Travel & Discovery.
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We travel roughly about twice a year, so we’ve accumulated a fair bit of traveling experiences. One of the ways that we’ve been optimizing our packing is by bringing overseas items that we don’t intend to bring back (i.e. to be thrown away overseas). There are several advantages to doing this:

  1. We will have more luggage space on the return leg. Good for packing and bringing back our shopping goods from overseas.
  2. We will have less dirty laundry to handle.
  3. We tidy up our house at he same time.
  4. It is liberating. :)

So here’s a list of things we’ve thrown overseas:

  • Shoes / Slippers / Sandals – Footwear takes up a large amount of space in the luggage. Usually, I would have my covered shoes, and maybe a pair of sandals for comfort at the hotel. Depending on the situation (i.e. conference, cruise formal dining), I may need a pair of formal shoes as well. I’ve thrown away an old pair of formal shoes in France before. Dear2 have thrown away multiple pairs of sandals and flip-flops over the year (the earliest I could recall was our Bintan trip).
  • Socks – For our most recent trip to Japan, we decided to get rid of our my old army socks. So I gathered all my green army socks (7 pairs in total) and pack them into our luggage. Then, at the end of each travel day, my socks would go straight into the hotel dustbin.
  • Toothbrush / toothpaste – Packing the toothbrush was always a last minute item, the one that we would pack only after the final brush on the morning of travel. This meant the toothbrush was always wet, and also sometimes forgotten. Instead, just pack the old toothbrush early and start using a new toothbrush as home. On the last day of the trip, throw that old toothbrush away. Same thing for toothpaste, pack the old tube, and start using the new tube at home, then throw away the old tube at the last hotel.
  • Towels – Towels are big and bulky and takes up a lot of luggage space. However, old towels becomes thin and worn and not so comfy anymore, perfect for bringing overseas. And don’t bring them back.
  • Lotion / Moisturizer / Shampoo – These items frequently have non-rectangular bottles which are difficult to pack efficiently in the luggage. So, we usually bring just enough for our trip and throw away all the bottles after our last bath. This frees up lots of luggage space for our overseas shopping goodies, which usually *do* come as rectangular boxes.
  • Disposable underwear / pull-up diapers – Packing dirty laundry back into the luggage is always a problem. This is because we separate the dirty laundry from the rest of the luggage by packing them into plastic bags first. This process of packing into plastic bags implies less efficient use of space within the luggage. Also, hygiene is an issue if the dirty laundry remains unwashed for longer trips. Instead, we use disposable underwear on our trips. They are lighter, smaller, and easier to pack, and they do away with the dirty laundry problem. Cotton disposable underwears are quite comfortable. For the same reasons, we let Baby2 wear pull-up diapers as her underwear even-though she is already diaper trained.
  • Bottle brush – Another thing that we take the opportunity to throw and replace during a trip.

With these throwaways, we usually have more space in our luggage for shopping. Besides, it feels great to throw out the old stuffs!


The Financial Perks of a Working Mum 1 May, 2016

Posted by dear1dear2 in Baby, Dear2, Dollars & Cents, Slice of Life.
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The clock is ticking away…. It’s gonna be May tomorrow, soon it’ll be June, then July, when parents of all Primary One going kids get stressed over the which Primary School to go to.  After that, what’s the arrangement like?  Urgh……

I am very grateful to Baby1 and Baby2’s current childcare centre. Kudos to the teachers there.  We deposit the kids around 7.30am every day, and ah gong picks them up at 6pm every day.  It’s 10 and a half hours in “school” everyday.  Compare to our 8.30 to 6 jobs, the kids spend more time in “school” then us adults in office everyday!

But when next year comes, and Baby1 goes to Primary School, who’s going to take care of her after school?  Urgh, I’ve been procrastinating on this question every since people start asking me “which Primary School” ever since a few years back.  And we still don’t have a plan yet.

The grandparents that we want help from, don’t want to help; and the grandparents who we don’t want help from, want to help.

Ideally, kids should be cared for by their own parents, so that we parents cannot complain that the kids watch too much tv, or eat too little dinner, or play too much, or didn’t do any homework, or get fed with sweets and snacks after school.

The drawback of such an arrangement: the money, of course!

Having been in the company for coming to 10 years, I have always been appreciative of a regular salary that paid employment provides.  As we consider being a full time SAHM, suddenly the medical reimbursements, medical leave, paid 21 days annual leave, additional annual leave if public holiday falls on a Saturday, paid 6 days child care leave, employer’s contribution to CPF, working mum tax relief, childcare subsidies for working mum, all these suddenly feels too lucrative to forsake. (Salute!  Salute to hubbies of full time SAHM, now I know how much more money you need to bring in for your family!)

Can we afford to become a SAHM?  Haiz, I don’t know, but it sounds tough…

The best situation is if I can work part time, and be home in time when Baby1 gets home after school.  This seems like a tough proposition, given that my company doesn’t seem very family-pro.  There has been much talk recently (actually, for many years le), on changing Singaporeans mindset on having kids, or having more kids, but ultimately, if our society is only selectively encouraging, we mummies can only suffer silently in this society.

There’s still 8 more months to go, we’ll take one step at a time…

– Dear2


ActiveSG Dollars 30 April, 2016

Posted by dear1dear2 in Dear2, Sports & Health.
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I love ActiveSG Dollars!

When the Government gave out $100 ActiveSG Dollars to all, we immediately signed up.  Who don’t want free money?  Heehee….   Basically all you need to do is to open an account, and Bingo! $100 gets credited into your ActiveSG Account.

Of course, there’s always caveats to such free money. There’s restrictions on the stuff that you can do using your ActiveSG Dollars, and there’s co-payment too so you’ll still have to fork out some money from your own pocket.

Dear2 has already utilised much of her ActiveSG dollars since last year. Body Sculpt, Zumba and Piloxing.  All these lessons done at Jurong East Sports Complex which is the most convenient location for us.  The balance money is just enough to go for 1 more class by the end of the year.  Going for such classes is especially beneficial for Dear2.  Not only exercise is good for your body, Dear2 gets to work out after work while Dear1 continues work and the kids are in the grandparents’ place, and Dear2 also gets to claim part of the fee using her company’s monthly Sports Allowance.  One stone kills many birds!  What about the actual cost out-of-pocket?  Approximately $3.50 per lesson.  Swee~

Dear2 had also opened Supplementary Accounts for both Baby1 and Baby2, and recently enrolled Baby1 for Inline Skate Class at Choa Chu Kang Sports Complex during the month of March, when Baby1 had a 1 month break from her ballet lessons.  It’s amazing how she got from cry-because-she-cannot-even-stand-up-on-blades, to slowly-and-steadily-maneuvering-her-turns over a mere 4 weeks.  Kudos to the Teacher!  The cost?  Co-paid by her ActiveSG Dollars of course, so we paid about $15 per lesson?  The actual cost?  Dear2 finally managed to persuade Dear1 to buy a set of rollar blades and gear, so we were set back by another $230, LOL.

For Dear1, he came along the Body Sculpt class last year, but was super not impressed with both the Instructor and the class.  Hmm… what other classes can he go for then?

Most people use their ActiveSG Dollars to go to the Gym or go Swimming, but we’ll have to go many many many times in order to fully exhaust that $100.  Not to mention the super crowd now that everyone is trying to exhaust their Dollars by the end of the year again.   Frankly speaking, I’d wish the Minister will just announce that there’s no expiry date to this $100, instead of extending it year by year like what they did last year. This only cause more participation (read: over-crowding) when it comes to the end of the year.  Or better still, keep giving more money into this Account, heehee.  (Haiz I know, Minister already said, they won’t be topping up money again.)

In order to retain that $100, you need to have utilised it at least once this year, so that the balance gets carried over to next year.  Dear1, Baby2, looks like we need to go swimming soon….

– Dear2



Sweet and Salty Unhealthy Comfort Delights 2 March, 2016

Posted by dear1dear2 in Dear1, Food & Beverages, Slice of Life, Sports & Health.
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For some years now, Dear2 and I have been trying to eat healthily, both for ourselves and for our family. But once in a while, we also like to indulge ourselves in some happy food. Therefore, since the quota for happy food is limited, we have to be really selective of our happy food.

No point wasting stomach on lousy food.

These are some of the snacks that we’ve bought recently.
1. Many years ago, there was a period of time when we would regularly buy 1.5l bottles of Coke from the supermarket. Andbwe found ourselves craving for more Coke when we ran out. It was then that we realized Coke can be addictive. Since then, we have not bought any more Coke for ourselves. Also, since we are trying to lose weight, high sugar drinks such as Coke are avoided. However, we make small exceptions for indulgence, such as when Granny gave us a few cans of Coke leftover from Chinese New Year gatherings.
2. When I was at my previous job, I used to drink free Milo from the pantry daily. Sometimes, I would even make a Milo dinosaur! Unknowingly, I gained quite a bit of weight and I attribute it to the Milo. But I still enjoy Milo, especially those from the Milo truck. It’s a wonder why Milo truck produces the most consistent Milo. Even MacDonald’s makes lousy Milo at times. Recently, when a fantastic  offer from Nestle online shop came along, 2 cartons (2×24 packets) for $15.50, we just couldn’t resist ordering.
3. I first started buying Haagen Dazs ice cream from the supermarket when it was selling 2 for $19.90. I love chocolate so naturally I took a pint of Belgium Chocolate. It was heavenly. Since then, we would occasionally try our different flavours of Haagen Dazs, but each one was more disappointing than the last. Even the Haagen Dazs ice cream stick was inferior to Walls Magnum. Well, enough of trying, no point wasting stomach on lousy food. So when a recently NTUC promotion was selling 2 for $19.85, we decided to go straight for Belgium Chocolate x 2.
4. Salted egg flavoured snacks are all the craze these days. I really enjoyed salted egg, like in double yoke mooncakes. I also fondly remember the salted egg prawns at Whampoa Keng, salted egg crab at Tradehub 21 Kimly Seafood, and 流沙包 from Baker Talent. And I never fail to order a sample of 流沙包 whenever we ate at dim sum restaurants. But it is really high on cholesterol, and I needed to lower mine. Be selective. My colleague recently treated me to some salted egg fish skin and it was rather good. And I heard about salted egg potato chips on the radio. Turns out that they are both made by the same company. So, yesterday, while we were running errands at Ang Mo Kio (we were buying music books for Baby1), we popped by Leban HK Cafe and bought 3 cans of salted egg snacks @ $15 each. Expensive! Yummy!
The occasional selective indulgence to keep the healthier choice momentum going. :P’

Weekday Jog 28 February, 2016

Posted by dear1dear2 in Dear2, Sports & Health.
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I have a new mission. Or rather, a new action plan to an old problem.

The waistline NYR has not been achieved for a couple of years already. Every year, I resolved to fit a cheongsum for CNY, and every year, I can only say “next year then”.

One month before Chinese New Year this year, I decided to wake up at 5.35am every weekday, and do hula hoop while watching 20min of 小毛病 大问题, 健康上菜. It’s a torture to have to drag oneself awake every weekday, so exercise and gain knowledge at the same time – one stone kills two birds, good!

But alas, our faithful laptop had to crash this time when Dear1 upgraded its OS.  This plan gets thrown out of the window, sigh….

Then I came up with the plan to go jog in the early morning on weekdays. Since I wake up at 5.35am to do hula hoop, I’ll just need to wake up 5 min earlier to jog. Since weekdays are such a torture to wake up (I’m super energetic on weekends!!), to go jogging will give me the motivation to not 爬不起来。 And if I jog every weekday, then I can sleep in during the weekends! (good cos the kids don’t wake up at 7am nowadays.)

The plan’s only been implemented for a week, but I’m feeling pretty positive about this. I’ve clocked 16km this week (4x4km), yeah. I take slightly under 30mins to do 4km, so I’ll reach home around 6.15, which is usually the time that I really wakes up even though the alarm clock is set at 6am on weekdays.
To make myself move more (for a while, some days I’d just feel as if I’m an elephant – my limbs are so heavy, my chest slumped; I can’t even sit, stand or walk straight), I’ve signed up for Zumba and Piloboxing using my ActiveSG$ and claiming under the company’s sport allowance. On these days, I’ll probably not jog as I won’t be able to dance during the evening class. Hmm, or maybe not? Heehee…

– Dear2

2016 New Year Resolutions 21 February, 2016

Posted by dear1dear2 in Dear1, Dear2, Slice of Life.
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It’s a new year again and it is time to review our New Year Resolutions. Dear2 and I sat down to review our Year 2015 and set our new goals for 2016 over a nice Yakun breakfast at JEM. Overall, we did only so-so last year, maybe borderline on failing for the personal goals but I think we also accomplished many of our couple and family goals.

The way that we categorized our goals into personal, couple and family worked quite well, so we will keep the same format this year too. Still keeping to our SMART goal setting, here goes:

For Dear2

  1. Beauty: Same. (Do daily skin moisturizing and monthly face masks + exfoliation)
  2. Waist: Same. (Attain 28″ by year end)
  3. Exercise: Hula hoops, climb stairs, skipping rope, jogging, interval training, weights. Other than week-daily hoops, at least once per week for the rest
  4. Self Improvement: Attend a course.  To see if can use SkillsFuture $$$
  5. Cook: 1 new dish every month (including master one CNY cookie by next CNY)
  6. Give attention to people (Listen and Look; hold thy tongue)
  7. Temper: Control!
  8. Post: Same. (Write at least 1 post per month)

For Dear1

  1. Weight: Maintain weight at 66-68kg
  2. Exercise: Do daily planks (minimum 2 x 1.5min)
  3. Diet: Less sweet chocolate, eat dark chocolate instead
  4. Self Improvement: Complete my “algorithm” in Python/OpenCV, Learn Elixir
  5. Temper: Be positive even when Baby1 and Baby2 misbehaves
  6. Post: Write at least 1 post per month

For us

  1. Family Activities: Outdoors activities monthly
  2. Couple Activities: New experiences bi-monthly
  3. Hugs & Kiss: Hug and kiss Dear1, Dear2, Baby1 and Baby2 everyday
  4. Travel: 1 long (2 weeks) and 1 short (getaway) trip for this year
  5. Finance: Review finance in detail and be aware of what we can afford
  6. House: (Re-initiate house viewing from Q3)
  7. Friends and Relatives: Have quarterly gatherings with friends/ relatives
  8. Nutrition: Eat at least 1 fruit every week
  9. Couple Time: Have just Dear1 and Dear2 time every week

-Dear1 & Dear2

Bangkok Christmas Trip with Cousins 31 January, 2016

Posted by dear1dear2 in Dear1, Travel & Discovery.
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The cousins had been discussing about a trip together for several months without much progress. Finally, some time in mid Oct 2015, cousin family 2 decided that they will go ahead regardless and booked their flight and tickets. Cousin family 1 decided to join and booked their tickets too. Cousin family 3 decided not to go. Then, in end Oct, we decided to join the trip too, and so did brother. It would be our second overseas trip together with the cousins. The first was to Legoland Malaysia. This time, it would be a 8 adults 7 children 5 days 4 nights Christmas trip to Bangkok, Thailand.

The planning

Usually, we would not travel during the school holidays, much less the Christmas / New Year festive period, because the cost would be high and there would be more crowd then usual. However, some of the other cousin’s children were already in primary school, so they could only travel during the school holidays. Oh well, so be it, the fun memories of traveling with cousins would be a great addition to our life experience.

(There was another side consideration about traveling to Thailand due to a recent bombing incident there. After some thought, we decided that it would be endless to consider all the what-ifs. What we would do is to be alert during our trip and avoid crowded places if possible.)

We booked our air tickets with Cathay Pacific @ $1664.89 for 2 reasons. First, we had a superb experience with them before. Second, the departure time of 2pm was fantastic. All 3 families would be taking different flights (the others traveled by Thai Airways at a later departure time), so we would only meet up at the hotel lobby the following morning.

We booked our hotel at Centara Watergate Pavillion Hotel Bangkok @ $483.36. It was not for us to decide as the other families had already booked their rooms at this hotel. Since we were the last family to book our flights and hotel, our overall cost was a few hundred dollars more expensive than the rest.

As for the itinerary, we had expected the first family to confirm on the trip to take up the responsibility of planning the itinerary. Well, they did, sort of. The itinerary was very vague and the routes planned were not optimal as it involved traveling from mall to mall multiple times a day, and sometimes just for a meal at a normal restaurant that can also be found in Singapore. When reading the itinerary, it felt like they forgot about the fact that we are traveling with 7 children! Dear2 got involved in the planning and the final refined itinerary was definitely much better (but still not ideal).

The flight

For this trip, we would use the large 117L Lojel Vita that we had recently bought from Tangs using their 12% rebate promotion. It was the first time that we would travel with only 1 check in luggage for the whole family. Our worry was that it might be too big and bulky and heavy to manage. However, we hoped that traveling with 1 luggage would be much easier to handle compared to having multiple luggage. Multiple luggage meant that the adults’ hands would be occupied, leaving less hands and attention to take care of the kids.

Now that we are back, I can say that traveling with a single luggage was a good choice. It was indeed much less mentally exhausting to handle a single luggage, much easier to travel on escalators, lifts, tuk-tuks, taxis, etc.


Baby2 was really excited about seeing the plane that we were going to board.

As for the flight, I think we will never travel on Cathay Pacific again. There were simply too many noncomplying Chinese passengers on board. Passengers standing up when seat belt sign was on. Going to the toilet during turbulence. Leaving food trays on the floor. One can literally hear the helplessness in the tone of the air crew when they try to deal with these noncomplying passengers. I, for one, do not feel safe when traveling with this kind of passengers on-board.


Children’s meal on-board

At Suvarnabhumi Airport, we got the priority queue since we were traveling with young children, very nice service.

Day 1

Traveling by the airport rail link to our hotel was a breeze. Baby1 and Baby2 had fun with the coin like train tickets. After getting off at Rathchaprarop station, we walked about 10 minutes to our hotel. We checked in (brother would bunk in with us), then quickly got ready to go out for dinner.


View from the Rathchaprarop station. The word Centara can be spotted near the top left corner.

We walked to this night market next to Baiyoke Hotel. We couldn’t find any suitable street food and ended up eating some simple Thai food at a cafe. After dinner, we went shopping at the night market. Brother recognized that he had been to that night market before and brought us to a stall where he had bought dresses for Baby1 3 years ago. There, we bought many more dresses for Baby1 and Baby2.


Delicious fresh fish, soft and tender on the inside, not salty inside at all.

As we depart for our hotel, we bought a number of street food to eat back at our hotel. Although it was our first night, we shopped with the mentality at we will never see the same thing again during the trip, so it was then or never. And we were right, we really did not visit anymore night markets for the rest of our trip. That night, the soya bean milk, the salted steamed fish, the sweet corn, the pomegranate juice were all great. Yumz!

Day 2

The next day, we met up with the cousins early at the hotel lobby to begin our itinerary for the day. The first stop was the famous Pratunum Wanton Mee, and the queue was quite long. We ordered a mixture of wanton mee and the lor bak rice. Baby1 finished a bowl of wanton mee all by herself, and fast too. I suppose it was nice. I personally preferred the rice. Still, I felt it was a bit overrated.


THE famous wanton mee stall

By the time we finished, it was already 11.25am, very late breakfast! We headed (on foot) to our next destination and our highlight of the day, Kidzania.

Kidzania Bangkok was very similar to Kidzania KL. Since we were traveling with the cousins, Baby1 went along with the bigger kids, and Dear2 would follow along to keep an eye on them. I would take Baby2 to play everything that was available to her, like the Firefighter, Artist, Interior Design, Disco, Clock Tower, Builder, Barber, and a few others. Meanwhile, the other adults escaped to do some shopping The Siam Paragon (same building as Kidzania). Baby2 took a short nap in Kidzania too.


Kidzania fire engine. Hooray.

For the last activity before we left, Baby1 became a tomato sauce bottler and brought home a real life bottle of tomato sauce, which Dear2 just used to make tomato sauce rice this recent weekend. Yumz!

After that, it was more adult shopping at Naraya, before settling down for dinner at Swensen’s. Except that the Swensen’s served only ice cream and no main course. We had a quick dose of ice cream (cheap!) before switching restaurant to have some fusion Thai food.

Instead of taking a taxi back to hotel, the other family decided that we should walk back to hotel. Omg, it was a bad choice. It was Christmas Day and the streets were super super crowded with people despite it not being a public holiday in Thailand. We had to squeeze through the crowd at a snails pace while some of the children had to be carried for safety. At one point, we were so over stretched that the group nearly got separated. It was just an unpleasant walk, and it didn’t save much money either because public transport was really quite cheap.

Day 3

We woke up and got ready for our Damnoen Saduak Floating Market day trip. We had bought the day trip from Groupon @ $25 per pax prior to the trip. Before setting off, we went down to the streets around our hotel to hunt for breakfast. To me, the best food of the day is usually breakfast food, and local breakfast street food definitely beats any hotel breakfast.


Street breakfast

Our bus picked us up on time at the hotel gates. The journey took around 2 hrs which was longer than expected. We arrived at the floating market and were instantly ushered to one of the boats. The boat took us along a very standard looking river route lined on both banks by never-ending stalls selling touristy stuff (e.g. hats, elephant idols, ornaments, magnets, etc). We bought a coconut from one of the boats but avoided the ice-cream due to hygiene considerations. Eventually, we bargained (achievement unlocked!) and bought a pair of floating market magnets to add to our collection. Otherwise, the floating market was disappointing, too touristy.


Very touristy floating market

After the floating market, our driver brought us to what I thought was a boring temple. And after that, we asked the driver to drop us off at Ekkamai Mall where we had a very late Japanese Ramen lunch.

After lunch, we went to Snow Town within the same mall. I have not been to our own Snow City before but Dear2 said that they were very similar. The children had a lot of fun sleighing down the snow slopes and building small snowmans and making snowballs.


Inside Snow Town. That’s about 50% of the entire place in the picture. It isn’t very big…

After that, it was dinner at Tim Ho Wan. After dinner, we decided that it was getting late and our family took a taxi back to hotel while the other 2 families continued shopping.

That night, after the kids went to bed, Dear2 and I sneaked out for a Thai massage nearby while brother helped to look after the kids. It was nice to go out for a walk, just the two of us. On the way back to hotel, we bought a stick of ice-cream from 7-Eleven. That would be the worst decision of our trip.

Day 4

By 3am, I was feeling sick. I knew that it would develop into stomach flu. It did. Dear2 started feeling sick in the morning, around 7am.


Our medicine. Haiz… -_-

We call the hotel lobby and arranged to go to the hospital. At the hospital, the doctor gave us anti-flu and anti-biotics. We would both feel so sick that we slept in for the whole day. Thankfully, brother was there to help out with the kids.

Baby1 and Baby2 were so sweet and sensible to stay in room with us and played quietly on her own.

During the evening, brother brought Baby1 to meet up with the rest of the cousins as they went ice skating and dinner. Baby2 stayed in with us.

Day 5

Luckily, Dear2 and I felt well enough to travel by morning. We packed up and got ready to set off for the airport. We took a tuk-tuk to Rathchaprarop station and off we went to the airport. At the airport, we bought a packet of mango sticky rice and some fresh mangoes too. It was something we had wanted to try but had not seen throughout our trip. It was delicious.


If the mango sticky rice at the airport tastes this good, I can only imagine how heavenly street food mango sticky rice would be.

We got home, unpacked, and continued resting to nurse of stomach flu. And that was the end of our trip.

After thoughts

As with our previous trips, I brought my waist pouch as my day bag. However, this trip, I noticed that my waist pouch was causing me lower backaches. This was because the waist pouch loosens easily and hang down from my waist. Also, the waist pouch was quite heavy due to the passports in it. I may have to seriously consider a new travel day bag.

It was really unfortunate that we fell sick during the trip. But it was not the first time it had happened either. I fell sick during our Hong Kong trip too. As always, we were covered by travel insurance, but nothing can bring back the lost travel time.

I suspected the ice-cream, but the time frame doesn’t quite fit. Because stomach flu required an incubation period, so it could be anything from several days earlier. But we shared most of the food with the children. Luckily, the children didn’t get the stomach flu! So, this is also a reminder of our food hygiene, and that we really shouldn’t be sharing food with the children. Prevention is better than cure.

I don’t know if I will want to travel with the cousins next time. The itinerary really wasn’t very interesting and wasn’t very optimal. Maybe if I do travel with them again, I should take up the responsibilities of being the trip planner.

Then there is the group dynamics. We tend towards street food but the others tend towards familiar well-known restaurants. Others want to spend a whole day on shopping while we prefer experiences. Furthermore, it was a little difficult at times to move as a large group and eat as a large group.

I guess I’m still happiest with we travel as our family of 4, just like our recently Cruise to Shanghai!

Our total spending was $1664.89 (air tickets) + $483.36 (hotel) + $712.68 (local spending) + $148.29 (prepaid day trip + travel insurance) = $3009.22. Or $752.305 per pax for 5D4N. Wow, not cheap. Oh well, forced by circumstances, not many avenues for optimization.

Overall, this trip fulfilled some goals for me. It was my first trip to Bangkok that I can remember. It was our first “special event day” (Christmas) spent overseas.

We discovered Baby2 has a tremendous liking for Kit-Kats!


Our Scooba 390 31 December, 2015

Posted by dear1dear2 in Around the House, Consumer Electronics, Dear1.
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Mopping is a tiring task. We mop our floor once a month, on the first weekend of every month. To some, once a month is far too little. Some families mop once a week! And maybe that’s true. By the end of the month, the floor does feel a little sticky, even with Roomba vacuuming the floor every weekday.

It actually doesn’t take very long to mop our house. Our house can be easily divided into 4 zones – living room, adult bedroom, children bedroom, and kitchen. It takes about 1 pail of water to mop each room, so that’s 4 pails in total. The mopping of the whole house can be completed in 1 hour.

We started off with the traditional mop, the one where the operator has to wring the mop head dry each time. It was difficult to mop because of the numerous bending down. It was also difficult because the hands and palms will get wet each time.

Some time later, we bought the spin mop. The spin mop has the advantage that the wringing of the mop head is handle by the built in spinning mechanism, which can be operated standing upright. So that meant no more bending down and no more wet hands. It was definitely much easier.

However, to someone tall like me, mopping is still a back breaking task. I would always have to bend over to operate the mop. Once, I tried using a longer mop pole handle. It did help a little, but the long pole handle made it difficult to maneuver around our little house.

Ever since we bought our Roomba, we have always eyed the Scooba. But it was a little expensive. Several months ago, we made up our mind – yes, we will get a Scooba. It will save us a lot of energy, and a lot of time, so we can better spend this time and energy with our loved ones. We just have to wait for a sale.

And a sale did arrive for Christmas. We bought our Scooba 390 in December 2015 @ $758. Delivery was prompt and we received our Scooba the next day.

We eagerly set it up and let it run. It’s first run was in the kitchen. It was rather cool. Our floor was being mopped and we didn’t have to lift a finger. Well, sort of. We still have to load the detergent and clean water and unload the dirty water when it was done.

After the first run, I went to empty the dirty water. It was a very dark shade of gray. I was amazed, both at how dirty our kitchen was and how great Scooba was. The floor was just a bit damp and dried up quickly within the next 5-10 minutes.

Over the next few days, we let the Scooba run for many more times. The living rooms and bedrooms wasn’t quite as dirty. However, the kitchen took about 4 runs before the dirty water turn much less murky.

I boasted to Dear2, “I mopped the floor twice today! Wuahaha…”

We can definitely feel the difference with our feet. The floor feels more squeaky and clean. Now, we can afford to mop the floor weekly instead of monthly. Yeah… I think Scooba is a wonderful additional to our home.

  1. Saves time
  2. Saves energy
  3. Saves water (yes, it uses so little water)
  4. Cleaner floor, better hygiene
  5. No more backaches

We would still let Roomba run first to pick up all the hair and dust before letting Scooba scrub and mop the floor. I think robotic cleaners are matured enough as a household companion and I would definitely recommend every household to get one.

It is well worth the money.



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