Holiday To-Do list : For The Book Lover

reading list printable template // mono+co

I have another list that I want my kids to fill up, school holidays or not : book titles that they have read or plan to read.  So I did a very fast sketch of a lady reading, applying it on the same template for the movie list done yesterday, and it is ready for download below.

So what can I fill it with?  Other than the titles that the kids pick out randomly from the shelves, here are some recommending sites that I find useful :
// The NLB librarians have put up a list of titles suitable for children and teens.  I wish they have a similar list for Mandarin books too.
// This list of 2014 Notable Children’s Books from The American Library Association might be worth a look if your kids are done with the NLB’s list.
// This PDF list of 100 Children Books of All Time compiled by Scholastic in 2012 contains titles suitable for kids from age 0-11+.  I’ll love to have kids checking off the titles that are done, and then proceeds to motivate her to finish the rest of the list.
// I also found two other book recommending websites worth bookmarking : this and this.


Holiday To-Do list : For The Movie Buff

Printable :To-Do list w/ Movie Buff Themed // mono+coPrintable :To-Do list w/ Movie Buff Themed // mono+co

Like the previous school holidays, the kids and I have a few movies in mind to watch during this coming year end break.  I hand drawn a movies-to-watch list this morning.  Then made a printable one for future use, downloadable below.

The pretend tickets in the second photo is free from here. Another mom made a series of realistic looking printable movie tickets for Disney movies, think it will be awesome for  movie screening sessions at parties.



D-I-Y (Decorate It Yourself) Cake


While I have no qualms about eating a sponge cake as it is without any frosting, the kids are more than eager to decorate a cake first before eating it.

It is an easy activity to prepare, with only 4 items, for an hour of fun!

- 1 x 6" whole cake
- Heavy Cream / Whipping Cream
- Food colorings
- A Few Small Clear Plastic Bags/ Sandwich Bags
Optional For Extra Decoration :
- Chocolate Rice 
- Chocolate Buttons
- Colored Sprinklers


01. Prepare whipped cream frosting with these instructions here.
02. Frost entire cake with plain whipped cream.
03. Separate rest of the whipped cream frosting in at least different bowls.
04. Add food colorings to make colored whipped cream.

05. To turn plastic bags into piping bags :
A. Fill the bags with frosting cream, squeeze the cream down to one corner.
B. Twist to tie up the bag, making a knot closer to where the cream is and cut off a tip as a piping hole.
C. Try to cut a smaller hole at first.  You can make a small hole bigger if you find it too small for the cream to be piped out smoothly, but you cannot turn a bigger hole smaller.

06. The rest is up to their imagination and creativity.  Have fun!

Plain cupcakes or muffins are also good alternatives to whole cakes, and just as fun.


A Weekly Planner Printable for June 2014 School Holiday & Beyond

I am a pencil and paper person, gotta write it down somewhere.  Though I keep a planner for my own schedule, I like a separate one that I can pin up on the fridge/entryway to keep tab of our family activities during this period.  You’ve got a business trip? Jot it down.  You need to go back to school for project work? Jot it down. Concert at the park?  Jot it down and go over with a highlighter please, thank you 🙂

I made a weekly planner template for June holiday last year, this time, I created a template that can be used all year round.

Now about the first few activities I am filling it up with.

The planning of the June Holiday activities has always been made easier with Children’s Season, a series of activities held at various museums across the island, which will kick off 24 May.  For some reason, there was no Children’s Season activities planned for Singapore Art Museum this year, pity as we have always enjoyed the art installations targeted at younger audiences during this period.

Other than the entire list of FREE events, it is also worthwhile to check out some venues during certain dates/weekends where special events** will be held.  I have link them up below as I jot them down on my planner.  After this, off to hunt for more June happenings from my other favourite places.

Army Museum of Singapore
ArtScience Museum
Asian Civilisation Museum
Chinese Heritage Center
Indian Heritage Centre
Land Transport Gallery
Malay Heritage Center
Memories at Old Ford Factory  **| 14 & 15 June 2014 | Various Time Slots| A Race Against Time Workshop (Registration Required)
National Museum of Singapore  **| 20 & 21 June 2014 | 6pm – 930pm |  Outdoor Movie Screening
NUS Museum
Our Museum @ Taman Jurong
Peranakan Museum **| 8 June 2014 | 1pm – 5pm | Straits Family Sunday – Supersized!
Police Heritage Center
Science Center Singapore
Singapore City Gallery **| 24 & 28 May, 28 June 2014 | 10am – 1pm| Heritage Trail & Workshop (Registration Required)
Singapore Coins And Notes Museum
Singapore Discovery Center **| 7 & 8 June 2014 | 12pm & 3pm | Special Activities
Singapore Maritime Gallery
Singapore Philatelic Museum
Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall **| 31 May & 1 June 2014 | 10am – 5pm |  Outdoor carnival , handicraft sessions

Caramel Sauce for Popcorn

homemade caramel popcorns // mono+co

After knowing how to prepare these easy peasy homemade popcorn, indulge in caramel sauce covered ones once a while!  I chose a recipe that does not use corn syrup, and does not require bakingJust pour and toss.

++ Notes001 // Make the popcorn first before preparing the caramel sauce. Popcorn instructions here.  Sauce enough for 1/2 cup unpopped corn kernels.

/ Source


125 grams unsalted butter
3/4 cup white sugar
2 Tablespoons honey


01. Put butter, sugar and honey in a saucepan, stir over medium heat until the sugar has melted completely.
02. Bring to boil, and switch off fire once the mixture turns golden brown.
03. Pour caramel sauce over popcorn, stir until the sauce coat popcorn evenly.
04. Spread popcorn over baking tray to cool.  Serve.

Recycled Exercise Books

recycledexercisebooks01 recycledexercisebooks02 recycledexercisebooks03 recycledexercisebooks04 recycledexercisebooks05 recycledexercisebooks06 recycledexercisebooks07
Half-used exercise books are standard fixtures at the end of the school term. It gets kind of messy with a few pages from the spelling test book, to an almost unused stack from the penmanship class. Instead of keeping these used exercise books as it is, I consolidated the unused sheets into 2 DIY bound journals, so that I can write on the the remaining unused pages.

After some tearing, sorting and hole-punching, I turned to my elementary book binding skills and created 2 journal books with the loose sheets.

This project can be easily completed in under 2 hours. Nothing fanciful here, these recycled exercise books are after all just recycled paper being bound. I did not use any glitzy craft paper or tapes. I just grabbed whatever that I could find inside my drawer. However, I still attempted a simple decoration trick with a 3.5″ diskette label, to make it look slightly “old-school”.

Things I used for this project:
– Scissors
– Hole puncher
– Linen thread & needle
– Cover paper
– Masking tape (Optional, for the book spine, if you do not want the stitches to show)

For more on DIY book binding, see here, and here.

Planning For The School Holidays : December 2013 And Beyond

2013 year end holiday planner calendar

Every Friday, I would browse through the “Happenings” listing in the papers to check out places (and cafes) that I can visit with my children (or friends).  I would then text my husband on the details, and he would go: “Where got so many activities one? Where got time to do all?”.  True, some of the events would clash on the same day, mostly during the weekends.  Others have limited seats, and are usually fully taken up by the time I read it in the papers.  The really interesting (& free) ones probably won’t even make it to the papers, and are circulated around via Facebook, or other social sites.  There are many events going on, and even more during this year end period, and sometimes all you need to do is to find them.

For this December school holiday, instead of listing down the activities, I am jotting down some of the sites that I have bookmarked for regular event updates.

National Heritage Board
With a whopping 11 museums and heritage institutions under its wings, you’re bound to find something going on that is interesting for you and your kids throughout the month.
Current Exhibitions
Or like me, you might love browsing through a thoughtfully laid out Program Guide (PDF)

National Library
Whenever I step into a library, I like to browse through the activity guides that are placed at the entrance, whereas my kids would pick up a copy of the GoKids guide.  But frankly, this is not the best way to check out the programs, especially the popular ones for the kids.  More often than not, seats to the popular events would have been filled out by the time the brochures or posters are up at the library.  Go to GoLibrary Portal instead, this is where you can browse through activities by categories and book your seats online.

While ticketed events are mainly held there, free programs are also going on throughout the year.  Check out its What’s On page and filter for “Free Programmes” from the search bar.

Singapore Symphony Orchestra
Download their 13/14 season Brochure here, or browse through here for kids-friendly events.  I am interested in their open rehearsals for my family to watch what goes on behind the scenes, but the only one open to public has already taken place last month.  See, I told you too many events right?

Singapore Chinese Orchestra
Just as SSO, SCO already has all ticketed, as well as free events, lined up till July 2014 posted on their site here, including this and this in January next year to celebrate Chinese New Year.

Nature Parks
Now this area is a little bit more tricky.  While NParks takes great care of the parks, I do not rely on its Event Hub page for information, the search engines and layout format have done nothing to interest me and my kids.  The site is, however, great for general park information, and they provide trail routes and guides for DIY trips.

I tend to visit Wild Singapore Happenings instead, its blog format citing events in chronological order makes it a breeze to browse through.  They have already updated events all the way up to 28 December, the final weekend before the school holiday ends, how’s that for planning?

If you are a member of the Nature Society ($75/Year for a family membership), this is another great site to browse though.  If you are not a member, they still have some events line up for the general public, such as this and this, just check if you need to sign up in advance.  I have been wanting to bring my kids explore Bukit Brown, and this 9 Dec public walk event looks perfect.

Sometimes, I still visit the park’s own site (if any) in case some events get missed out, unfortunately, I found only 2:
Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
Singapore Botanic Gardens

Some venues that I like to check out when I need a day out with my kids:

Gardens By the Bay

  • Public programmes are available on every first weekend of the month, not just during school holidays. For 7 and 8 December, they have a prehistoric theme event held at the Cooled Conservatories (this you have to pay for admission though).
  • If you like to relax at the garden with live music, local acappella group Budak Pantai will be performing this weekend (23-24 November) at the Supertree Grove from 6.45pm. Check out the rest of the events lined up from this Calendar here.


  • Admission to Sentosa is more affordable now, so sometimes I do check out if there are any special events organized worth participating here, other than just idling by the beaches.

Wildlife Reserves Singapore
My children grew up with pretty frequent (almost fortnightly) visits to the Singapore Zoo, as we were ‘Friends of the Zoo’ then.  As they grew ‘older’, we couldn’t make the trips as often as we like.  Soon the membership lapsed, and now I only make a trip when there are special events or offers.  I have posted the links to the event and promo pages below.  Please note that some attractions are going through a “no-event” moment.
Jurong Bird Park
Night Safari
River Safari
Singapore Zoo

Are there any other sites or blogs that you surf for ideas for this coming school holiday?

2013 Year End Holiday Calendar Planner

yearendholidayplannercalendar01 yearendholidayplannercalendar02

3 things that I have done since the exams ended:
01. Put the used textbooks aside till the next donation drive.
02. Dropped the non reusable activity books and exam practice papers in the recycling bins.
03. Cleaned up the study room.

I am currently looking out for activities to do in November and December.  Knowing how much I love planners, I created a monthly version this time, for simple tracking of available events around town and my family’s holiday schedule.

Have you started planning your year end activities?