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Kallos – (Empowering teen girls to live out their faith in a relevant way): Dinner With Dad

When was the last time you had a relaxed dinner alone with your teen daughter? Come, go on a fun dinner date with your teen daughter.

Kallos’ means beauty in Greek.

1 Sam 16:7

 But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.

Hope to get hold of this lovely T-shirt soon for Big and Small M, as a reminder that they are beautiful inside.

And that’s all that matters.

Everyone had a taste of the popular Nasi Lemak, served in local buffet style at Old School Delights.

Organised by Kallos, which mission is to help young girls to live out God’s purpose in their lives, I thought this would be a meaningful occasion to have a personal dinner with Big M.

There’s more to life than grade.

Very often, we as parents are guilty of letting grades to define our kids.  It is a timely reminder not to allow our children to define their worth solely in terms of academic achievement.

This simple box of memories.

It is personal, old school, childlike, and will not break the bank. Everyone took a walk down memory lane as we shared stories about our school days.

As fathers, we have been shown the brutal truth of how life operates on in many occasions.

Life can be tough when the rubber meets the road. But each time, we try our best to take the lessons we are being taught, dust ourselves off and stand back up as tall as we can.

Sometimes we have been successful, sometimes we have not been, but isn’t that just a part of life?

What was your biggest reality check when you became a father or daughter?

Jason Wong, founder of the Dads for Life movement, sharing with us on ways to build up our daughters’ self-worth and how to support them during stressful times.

Create regular conversations with them make parents aware of what they are experiencing in school and their lives. This is not just about asking their grades or whether they have done their homework.

When parents create an environment where our children can share his/her successes, failures and anxieties, they will be a step closer to fulfilling their calling.

One memorable sharing by Jason was when he was sharing about his late father. When it came to the end of his life, he would make sure there were two books near to him every day – the bible and photo album.

The bible would draw him closer to God (knowing he would be meeting his Creator soon) while the photo album would bring back beautiful memories of how he had spent his life with his family.

Shiwei Quek, Director of Kallos, shared about the undeniable salience of fathering. The role that a father assume can be trying and challenging.

As father, we learn to celebrate the good days and venting about the tough ones – the throwing up by our little ones, tantrums they are creating, and disapproving of the boys they are going out with, amongst others.

Create happy memories for our daughters, that they will internalise and grow up to be healthy adults who are able to deal with life’s curveballs.

Continue to give them the reassurance, to let them have a sense of self worth.

As daughters, tribute our love for our fathers by way of words and actions. It can even be a simple phone call.

This means even after my father has placed my hand into the groom’s hand and I am no longer staying with my parents.

My best bud.

Affirmation time through writing letters for each other before we closed with prayers.

Kallos

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Singapore Attraction – Time Out at National Orchid Garden

The Singapore Botanic Gardens is a 160-year-old tropical garden located at the fringe of Singapore’s Orchard Road shopping district and is the country’s first UNESCO Heritage Site.

A great place for family outings!

Why should you be here? Yeah, to explore the National Orchid Garden and take pictures of beautiful orchids.

This blog post will be flooded with many pictures.

Visitor Information

Opening hours

8.30am – 7.00pm daily (last ticket sales and entry at 6.00pm)

Admission Fee:

$5.00 for adults

$1.00 for students

$1.00 for senior citizens (60 years and above)

Free for children below 12 years

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Traditional Nyonya Food – Peranakan Inn @ East Coast Road

The Peranakan Inn Restaurant located at East Coast Road.

Despite being newly renovated, we could still feel the artistic touch and reminiscence of the rich and cultural Peranakan heritage. Diners will be immersed in sophisticated comfort and plush interiors.

 Developed by Chinese-Malay Peranakans, Nyonya cooking is the result of blending Chinese ingredients with various distinct spices and cooking techniques used by the Malay/Indonesian community.

A treasure trove of Nyonya cuisine that you should scribble onto your must-eat list.

This is a beautiful, historic-rich neighbourhood that is widely adored for its colorful rows of Peranakan shophouses. So take your taste buds on a culinary adventure, Peranakan Inn is the place to get your fix.

East Coast Road
Singapore 428909
Tel: 64406195
Open Daily 11am-3pm, 6pm-10pm

 

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California Travelogue – (Part 1): San Francisco Cable Car, Powell Street and Fisherman Wharf

After our New York trip, we took a 6.5 hour flight to San Francisco.

San Francisco, in northern California, is a hilly city on the tip of a peninsula surrounded by the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay. It’s known for its year-round fog, iconic Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars and colorful Victorian houses.

Our first impression of San Francisco was its cleaniness. The tram was really clean and a big contrast to NYC in which it was not crowded.

Thanks to our friends staying in California, we were recommended to take the BART train to Powell Street.

So clean and fresh!

We would be staying at Axiom Hotel, which was just located above the Powell Station. It took about 2 to 3 mins walk to the hotel.

The reason we chose Axiom Hotel was it’s close proximity to the train station. The place was centralised to every tourist activities but we were cautioned that it was near to the Tenderlion neighbourhood where the streets were shady and you wouldn’t want to bump onto people you wouldn’t want to meet. Glad that there was a right soul who walked up and told us not to cross the street, else we would be venturing into the neighbourhood. Yes, the google map did fail us at times.

Cute robot to attend to our needs.

Burger King was beside our hotel.

We were glad that the cable car station was outside our hotel. During peak hour, the queue could linger till late into the night. The ticket cost $7 each.

We are going to the Fisherman’s Wharf. Fisherman’s Wharf, on the northern waterfront, is one of the city’s busiest tourist areas. Souvenir shops and stalls selling crab and clam chowder in sourdough bread bowls appear at every turn.

The streets of San Francisco was just amazing. It would take a lot of energy just to walk up the slopes and they were appearing at every junction we stopped.

Slopes again. How to survive without owning cars here?

No experience is more uniquely San Francisco than a ride on a cable car. A must-try experience here!

It’s convenient to travel here and we don’t really need to drive.

The Ross store is a great place to find cheap stuff.  

Love these laundry buckets so much (only $13) but how to bring back home 😦

The crab meat and prawns were very juicy. It cost about US$70.

Spent the afternoon exploring the streets.

If In-N-Out Burger comes to Singapore, it will beat all the fast food restaurants hands down.

Our favourite pasttime. Buying a loaf of cheap bread when visiting the harbour to feed the birds.

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9/11 Tribute Museum, America, Big Apple, Brooklyn Bridge, Bryant Park, Cafe, Christmas, Christmas Markets, Diary of a Foodster, Eat, Education, Ellis Island, Food, Katong Kids Inc, Kids Activities, Photography, Playground, Review, Statue of Liberty, Times Square, Times Squarwe, Travel Blog

New York Travelogue – (Part 2): Brooklyn Bridge, Charging Bull, Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Washington Square, Times Square and Bryant Park

Our stay in New York City – Club Quarters Hotel at the World Trade Center. Beautiful view of the city’s skyscrapers at the skydeck. The hotel’s snack bar has unlimited flow of canned soft drinks, coffee, nuts and snacks for guests.

The hotel was located near to the 9/11 Memorial and the vicinity was not as congested with human crowds as Times Square. The skydeck overlooking the reflecting pools.

And so we took a 3km walk to the Brooklyn Bridge. The Brooklyn Bridge is a hybrid cable-stayed/suspension bridge in New York City. It connects the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn, spanning the East River.

Popular pop-up food stalls in New York City.

The kids soaking themselves in the sights and culture on each stop.

Travelling to New York on a budget. It doesn’t have to be an expensive trip if you kno whow to avoid paying too much money. Avoid pop up stalls selling simple food we thought it was expensive. Instead of signing up for guided walking tours, we thought it would be better to explore by ourselves using google maps.

At the start of the bridge walk. The bridge is a quite popular tourist attraction the best time to be here is early in the morning so that we can avoid the crowds later in the day.

There was a bike lane at the bridge in which a steady steam of cyclists never fails to utilise that lane. We were blessed that the weather was about 15 degrees else we would be sweating by the time we finished our walk.

This is the best place to catch sunrise and sunset. Photo-taking was a challenge as the crowds began to build. We chanced upon a camera team recording MTV.

Just to note that the pedestrain walk is made of wood. Reality is often different from what you see from social media where tourists dressed in tip-top costumes and high heels just for sake of taking the insta-worthy pictures. Hope the heels did not get stuck! We would suggest to forgo vanity for practicality when walking the Brooklyn Bridge.

Charging Bull, which is sometimes referred to as the Wall Street Bull or the Bowling Green Bull, is a bronze sculpture that stands in Bowling Green in the Financial District in Manhattan, New York City. It is the symbol of the US Stock Market.

The jetty was a short walk from the Charging Bull. With the tickets we purchased from 9/11 Museum, we would be taking ferry to the Liberty Island.

It was freezing cold! Visitors could opt to sit at the balcony or the sheltered basement.

Getting closer to the Statue of Liberty..

It was not a wasted trip. We thought of the possiblity of viewing Statue of Liberty from the mainland but decided to pay a visit to the island. It wasn’t expensive and by getting near here would mean we could take decent pictures.

It was also a perfect place to view the Big Apple from another angle.

To our pleasant surprise, we did not know that our tickets also included a visit to the Ellis Island. The Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration is located in the Main Building of the former immigration station complex and tells the moving tales of the 12 million immigrants who entered America through the golden door of Ellis Island. Today, the descendants of those immigrants account for almost half of the American people.

We learned about the history of early immigrants. Actually we were not big fans of museums.

Once we returned to the mainland, we hopped onto the subway to Washington Park.

This place was basically an outskirt from the busyness of the city. Not much attractions but it would be a charming place to immerse ourselves with the life of locals.

And we were being interviewed by the college students who were doing a social experiment.

We tried McDonald’s 🙂

Some said NYC is a city of endless possibilities. We were amazed upon reaching Times Square. It was so beautiful!

Located in the heart of New York City, Times Square is home to some of the most famous attractions New York has to offer.

We were just trying to find sweet spots for photo-taking.

Exploring the stores.

Macy’s Herald Square is the flagship of the Macy’s department store chain; it is located on Herald Square in Manhattan, New York City.

Big M got what she has been looking forward to.

Amazon Books located on 34th Street (Manhattan).

The prices were not cheaper than online. In fact they were priced the same.

The Empire State Building is a 102-story Art Deco skyscraper in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. We did not go up as that would mean paying for expensive tickets.

Located in Midtown Manhattan between 7th and 8th Avenues from 31st to 33rd Streets, the Madison Square Garden is situated atop Pennsylvania Station. If one were to wonder why it is so famous, this is the home ground of the famous New York Knicks.

Up next is the Bryant Park. Surrounded by skyscrappers, Bryant Park is Bryant Park is visited many people each year and is one of the busiest public spaces in NYC.

The ice skating rink would come to life during Christmas. What an atmosphere!

There’s no better place to chill out other than Bryant Park.

Next to the Bryant Park was the Whole Foods Market which offered a full range of high-quality and natural food. It is overlooking the beautiful Bryant Park and the New York Public Library.

At 43,000 square feet, the store has two levels of retail space that will host a full range of high-quality natural and organic goods, as well as the “News Agency,” a coffee and juice bar, which will pay homage to the look and feel of the city’s classic newsstands. Here’s our order. Microwave ovens were provided for diners to warm up their food.

We love the Big Apple!

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London Travelogue – (Part 4): Camden Market, Stables Market, Oxford Street, Hamleys and Harrods

When searching for quality markets to visit in London, the name of Camden Market will inevitably appear in the most recommended places to explore. We heard there were few hundred stores here and thought it would be a nice place to have our breakfast in the morning.

We walked about 15 mins from the London Tube to reach Camden Market.

Anything that is colourful and bright will capture the kids’ attention. Camden High Street is lined with shoe stores, leather shops and vintage clothing and vintage vinyl.

Being a tourist attraction, do not expect to find cheap stuff here.

Finally reached the market!

The labyrinth of shops led us to various food vendors.

Craving for Asian food, Thai delicacies were just so yummy.

It didn’t take long before these furry friends were in front of us yearning for little treats. Bad idea to toss some crumbs, only to invite more of them to come.

Next to Camden Market lies the Stables Market. Over here, there were many boutiques and pop up shops.

Venturing into the narrow alleys was fun in itself as we browse through the apparels and home goods.

An interesting spot for photo-taking. We had a hard time waiting for the right moment to take pictures 🙂

The popular Pret A Manger sandwich chain that are scattered all over London. This time trying it and we ended up dining there for at least three times during our stay.

We found ourselves at Oxford Street, a major road in the City of Westminster in the West End of London, running from Tottenham Court Road to Marble Arch via Oxford Circus. It is the Ochard Road of Singapore and jam-packed with people everywhere we went.

Where you can find the sleek lines of Apple’s products here.

Hamleys is the oldest and largest toy shop in the world and one of the world’s best-known retailers of toys. With Christmas round the corner, they were showcasing all performance to bring in the crowds.

The streets were awashed with buskers singing or playing musical instruments.

Finally we had the opportunity to take a photo here at the main Oxford street.

As night fell, we were treated to a magnificent Christmas lights extravaganza with a dazzling array of fairy lights and decorations. Everyone was soaked in the joyous mood, holiday spirit of London.

London underground station Marble ArchBond Street & Oxford Circus, Central Line, Zone 1
At Oxford Circus station you can also use Bakerloo Line and Victoria Line.

Next, we explored the Harrods. This is a department store located on Brompton Road in Knightsbridge, London. It is owned by the state of Qatar and no wonder everything here was so, so expensive!

Our favourite section was the food halls on the ground floor which were the most popular departments at Harrods. This is where you can find a wide range of fine delicacies is offered in 4 huge halls.

Although items were way too expensive, the effects of Brexit weren’t felt at all. The mall was filled with so many shoppers that one would not see any spirit of recession.

To get here, look out for London underground station Knightsbridge, Piccadilly Line, Zone 1.

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London Travelogue – (Part 3): Big Ben, Westminter Abbey, London Eye, St James Park, Buckingham Palace and Hyde Park Winter Wonderland

A visit to London is never complete without sighting the Big Ben. Well, we knew that London’s Big Ben has stop chiming as it is undergoing major renovations from now till 2021. But still, it is a mandatory stop for every tourist.

 A brief walk down appears the Westminster Abbey, London church that is the site of coronations and other ceremonies of national significance. It stands just west of the Houses of Parliament in the Greater London borough of Westminster.

We did not enter though as sunset was nearing and we had a fair bit of itinerary to cover for the day.

Caught the view of London Eye from the other side of the river. London is fairly concentrated and there are many visitors at these major attractions. When taking pictures or pausing by, it is best to find a ‘safer’ spot as you never know when pickpockets will appear.

It was an never ending stroll to Hyde Park to immerse ourselves in the christmas market and amusement park. Stopping by along the way of interesting sights.

St James’s Park includes The Mall and Horse Guards Parade, and is surrounded by landmarks such as Buckingham Palace, Clarence House and Whitehall.. It is a beautiful place to take a breather and for kids to get up close and personal with nature and creatures.

Big and Small M are growing up and akin to their peers, they are thrilled to achieve the insta-worthy shots.

The animals were so tamed, making the experience so surreal. When did we see birds and squrriels coming up to you for treats in Singapore?

The key takeaway for us about Buckingham Palace is that it is recognised around the world as the focus of national and royal celebrations as well as the backdrop to the regular Changing the Guard ceremony.

The Buckingham Palace flower beds, also known as the Memorial Gardens, were created in 1901 as part of Sir Aston Webb’s overall design for a memorial to Queen Victoria after her death that year.

Situated in London’s Hyde Park, which spreads over 630 acres in the centre of the capital, entry to the Hyde Park Winter Wonderland is free. It is located in close proximity to London underground tube stations including Hyde Park Corner, Marble Arch and Green Park.

We did a lot of walking just to reach here and did not go away disappointed. This place was really, really huge and it would be wise to remember prominent spots in case you get lost.

The weather wasn’t that cold but the firepit did add to the christmas atmosphere.

The kids were just like “WOW” everywhere we went and they did had their share of fun in riding the roller-coaster. On a fair note, while the park was huge many of the entertainment and rides were actually replicates.

Visiting this free-to-enter event in winter, you will have lots of fun and you can do many activities there, including ice skating, ice bar, circus shows, an observation wheel and a traditional German Christmas market. Check out this place when you drop by London during winter.

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All photos, information and opinions, unless otherwise stated, in this post belong to Katong Kids Inc. Reproducing or copying them for use on third party sites without our written permission are strictly prohibited. All rights reserved.