June Holiday Activities + DIY Natural Insect Repellent

June Holiday Activities + DIY Natural Insect Repellent // Mono + Co

The mid-year school holiday will start this weekend and there is no lack of outdoor activities on our sunny island, a great opportunity for the little ones at home to get connected with nature or outdoor sports.  I always fully embrace the idea of playing a local tourist at home as a frugal mom, so I have listed some events that have caught my eyes at the end of this post.

Let me first jump the topic to my homemade insect repellent as this is a must-have in my outdoor bag with the entire family being walking mozzie magnets.  To start, let’s find a spray bottle.

June Holiday Activities + DIY Natural Insect Repellent // Mono + Co

Remember these handy mosquito repellents that the schools and RCs distributed a few years back?  Check the expiry dates, they have probably passed their effective period.  But don’t throw them away yet, the spray bottles can be refilled with a homemade Deet-free natural version, recipes and instructions can be easily found online like this, this, this and this.

Most of these recipes require just 2 or 3 of the following ingredients.

++01. Essential Oil

An essential oil or mix that repels mosquitoes and bugs: choose from Citronella, Eucalyptus,  Tea Tree, Lavender, Peppermint, and Neem just to name a few.  My favorite combination is 70% citronella + 20% tea tree + 10% eucalyptus.  If you are new to essential oils, stick to Citronella and try it out before getting more.  Always, always dilute essential oils before use.

++ 02. Witch hazel, or distilled water.

Some recipes use only witch hazel, some mix equal part of witch hazel to water.  I choose the cheapest/convenient way, only boiled water that has cooled down.

++ 03. The optional ones:

// Vegetable glycerin as an emulsifier. I happen to have glycerin at home so I add it to my latest batch.  For some reason, this works much better than just essential oil diluted with water.
// A carrier oil like sweet almond to bind the repellent better to our skin.  I don’t usually a carrier oil, but an oil based repellent’s effectiveness will last longer without regular reapplication.  When I need something stronger and don’t have time to reapply the water base repellent every hour, I will make a rub-on repellent instead by adding essential oil directly to the carrier oil and store this a brown bottle, away from light.
// Vodka is sometimes suggested to be added as a preservative.  Since I don’t make the repellent spray in bulk, usually just enough for half a day outer activity, I don’t add it as well.

June Holiday Activities + DIY Natural Insect Repellent // Mono + Co

Now that the worry of getting bitten by bugs is out of the way, let’s run through to the outdoor activities for the coming school holiday:

+ Car Free Sunday on 28 May 2017.  Wake up early and kick off the school holiday the car-free way!

+ Pesta Ubin 2017: Happening since May 10, but there are still plenty of free activities being organized every weekend.

+ Nparks Concert Series in the Park at Fort Canning on 3 June.  It’s retro theme with music from the 60s to 90s this time.

+ DBS Marina Regatta from  1-4 June.  Interesting activities such as trying out dragon boating and participating in various fitness sessions are available with pre-registration required.

+ SPH Gift of Music at Singapore Botanic Gardens on 10 June featuring Singapore Chinese Orchestra.

+ Kranji Farmer’s Market on 11 June.  While you are there, take a self guided tour to explore the heritage trail that covers 14 historical and agricultural trail markers, such as Kranji War Memorial and Thow Kwang Industry that house the last dragon kiln in Singapore.

+ Gardener’s Day Out on 17 June at Hortpark.

+ Opera in the Park on 17 June at Singapore Botanic Gardens.

+ Weekends in the Park on 17 June at Pasir Ris Park.

+ Ecolife at Coney Island Park on 24 June , a guided tour with pre-registration required.

+ Istana Open House on Hari Raya Day 25 June.














Personalizing Camping Wear

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My child was given a standard set of outerwear and backpack for a camping trip.  I hand sewn these cute labels from Daiso (comes in pack of 3 labels for $2) on their gear for easy recognition.

Talking about Camping:
// Found this book “Let Them Be Eaten By Bears : A Fearless Guide To Taking Our Kids Into The Great Outdoors” last week, trying to finish it asap.
// And this post on camping in Singapore via here.  We have never done outdoor camping before!

Facebook Pages To Stalk For Some Holiday Outdoor Activities

fb pages I follow for holiday actitivies // mono+co

I went through this post written back in 2013 to look out for upcoming holiday activities, and found that I need to update two broken links.  Another update that is long overdue is SSO’s 2014/15 event calendar in pdf.

For the past year, I have found myself relying more on facebook pages where event shoutouts are very quickly updated, and also swiftly become outdated when limited seats to popular events are often filled up within matter of a few hours.  It’s so convenient to browse through these event updates through FB that I have even created my own page here to save and take note of these interesting events happening around the island.

Here are first few pages that I am following with my new account.

National Museums :
I love the fact that the events happening at all the museums are updated on one website, but with the FB page, I get to see some behind the scenes stories plus sneak peak on upcoming exhibits.  It also serves as a reminder to visit exhibitions that are on its tail end period.

NParks :
I have previously written that its website is only great for trail maps and general information, but not event updates.  Little did I know that the FB page here has been buzzing with lots of activities.
I still follow Botanic Gardens’ FB page separately for the frequent updates on the park.

Pulau Ubin:
30 November is Pulau Ubin Day (I never knew that!), I am not sure if the page will still be updated after that, but in the meantime, I having fun browsing through the various activities leading up to the event.

National Library :
Strictly speaking, the library is not considered as a venue for outdoor activities, but the kids still need to read their books during the school holidays, so it is inevitable that we will end up at the library pretty often.  I might as well check out the events held at various branches since we can return our borrowed books at any branch.  Actually the branches manage their own FB pages, so it will be useful to follow the ones that you live nearby, I listed most of them here.
Otherwise follow GoArts, which I think is the FB page for GoLibrary.

Are there any other FB pages that I am missing out?

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.



DIY Popsicle #009 : Blueberry Banana Yogurt Popsicle

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The yogurt pops are just as easy to make as it is satisfying to consume.  I have mentioned before, that the flavored yogurts are your best bet for an (almost)-instant popsicle treat.  Just fill up your popsicle molds with ready yogurt and freeze.

But I still feel guilty for its sugar content.  The frozen yogurt sometimes can taste just as good as they are straight off the tubs from the chiller compartment.  If you have made enough ice cream, you’ll know that more sugar/ sweetener is required for the recipe because the ice cream (or anything desserts frozen) will taste blander when frozen.  I have to disregard all my diet concerns when making ice cream at home, but it’s good to know how much sugar you are getting, and what commercial joints are adding in, this sort of deter me from binging on ice cream when I am feeling for a sweet fix.  The hot days lately aren’t exactly helping with my curbs either.

So enter plain/greek/greek-style yogurts as the base for today’s popsicle recipe,  plus bananas and blueberries as the natural sweetener.  Here’s roughly how:

Blueberry Banana Yogurt Popiscle
- Plain yogurt (I used full fat version for a creamier texture)
- 1 large banana (the riper, the sweeter, the better)
- 1/4 cup blueberries (fresh or thaw them if frozen)


– In a food processor, blend banana and blueberries until smooth.
– Measure this banana/blueberry mixture in a measuring cup, and fold into twice as much yogurt till it is well mixed.  The more yogurt you have in the mixture, the more creamy and less icy it will be.  My own preference for the banana to yogurt ratio is 1 : 2.  Feel free to adjust.
– Taste the mixture, and add some honey if it is not sweet enough.
– Scoop mixture into the mold.  I added 2-3 blueberries first into mold to make the popsicle look nicer, totally optional.
– Tap the mold on the table a few times before freezing, to get rid of air pockets within the mixture.
– Freeze till popsicle is set, at least 3 hours.

++ Notes To Self ++
I use full fat yogurt for a creamier texture end result.
The riper the banana, the sweeter it is.
Fresh or thawed frozen blueberries are both okay for this recipe.

30+ Ideas For 30 Days Of June School Holiday

A friend of mine, with her newly minted Primary One kid, enthusiastically planned the previous March week-long holiday packed to the brim : with 1 and sometimes even 2 different activities everyday.  After all, it is the child’s first official school holiday, it would be wonderful to fill up his/her free time with something interesting or enriching during this break.

So the idea for this crazy post was born: taking a leaf out of my pal’s book, I am penning out 30 over ideas for every single day of this June holiday.  Now with a whopping 30 days of free time, starting this coming Saturday, are there enough activities around the island for us to carry out one everyday?  I am happy to announce this after some form of scheduling : Yes we have!  But will I do it? : No I won’t!

Cos, the following is done under the assumption that me and my children have an unlimited crazy amount of energy, never get tired, none of us will fall sick, and we still have enough time for household chores and homework/revision, all of which I think is more challenging than going out everyday.  But it serves as a good guide for outing ideas, should we get bored.

And since I have them “all planned out”, might as well :


31/5 (Sat) – Singapore Navy Open House
/ Vivocity
/ 9am – 9pm

1/6 (Sun) – Nature Society
/ Horseshoe Crab Rescue & Research
/ 7.30pm – 9.30pm
/ Preregistration is required

1/6 (Sun) – Singapore Botanic Gardens
/ Outdoor Concert : Jerry Monteiro & Jazz Brasileiro/6 pm – 7.30pm

2/6 (Mon) – Jurong Regional Library
/ BASF Kid’s Lab
/ 10am -11.30am
/ Preregistration is required

3/6 (Tues) – Changi Airport
/ It’s such a nice place to hang around, drop by Indonesia Event going on @Terminal 3
/ 12pm – 11pm

4/6 (Wed) – Singapore Turf Club
/ Family Carnival “Fun for All Under the Stars”
/ 5pm – 9pm

5/6 (Thurs) – Singapore Botanical Gardens
/ National Orchid Garden
/ Admission fees is waived for Students & Accompanying Adults during this period (till 8/6)
/ 8.30am – 7pm

6/6 (Fri) Swimming @ Public Pool
/ Choose one pool per week with water features such as slides or fun pool for more holiday mood
/ Sengkang, Jurong East, Jurong West, Pasir Ris, Choa Chu Kang

7/6 (Sat) – Singapore Maritime Trails
/ 9am – 12nn
/ Pre-registration is required

7/6 (Sat) – Singapore Botanic Gardens
/ Opera In The Park : Singapore Lyric Opera
/ 6pm – 7pm

7/6 (Sat)- Bonfire 2014 @ Kallang CC
/ Various circus and performance acts, some free workshops for kids

8/6 (Sun) – Peranakan Museum
/ Straits Family Sunday – Supersized!
/ 1pm – 5pm

9/6 (Mon) – Central National Library
/ Slow down and relax at the library.
/ Pop by Bras Basah Complex next door for another round of book hunt.
/ Explore more around Bugis/Bras Basah area with a Free Trail Apps ( iTunes)

10/6 (Tues) – Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
/ Nature Keeper Camp
/ 9am – 12nn
/ Pre-Registration is required

11/6 (Wed) – Plan A Trip To One Of The Old Playgrounds
/ About the playgrounds
/ A Photo Essay : Mosaic Memories
/ Plan a trip to one of them (Pg 13 within the Photo Essay)

12/6 (Thur) – Downtown East
/ Wild Wild Wet day

/ Transformer Meet & Greet (@7pm) + Transformer Zone Activity Area

13/6 (Fri) Army Museum of Singapore
/ Cadets, Fall In!
/ ‘BMT Programme” for kids
/ Pre-registration is required

14/6 (Sat)- Indian Games Carnival
/ Ace The Place Community Club
/ 9am – 2pm
/ Pre-registration is required

14/6 (Sat) – Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
/ A Walk With Your Neighbours – The Macaques of Bukit Timah
/5 pm – 6.30pm
/ Pre-registration is required

15/6 (Sun) – Memories at Old Ford Factory
/ History Workshop
/ 10am – 11.30pm or 12.30pm – 2pm or 2.30pm – 4pm
/ Pre-registration is required

16/6 (Mon) –  Ang Mo Kio Heritage Trail
/ Plan a few interesting and easy to access destination from the Heritage Trail PDF : LINK
/ Ends at Ang Mo Kio Library, which is covered as part of the trail.

17/6 (Tue) – Plan A Trip To One Of The Old Playgrounds
/ About the playgrounds
/ A Photo Essay : Mosaic Memories
/ Plan a trip to one of them (Pg 13 within the Photo Essay)

18/6 (Wed) – Pasir Ris Park
/ Mangrove Guided Walk
/ 9am – 10.30am
/ Pre registration is required

19/6 (Thur) – Day Trip to Kusu Island
/ Ferry Schedule HERE
/ What to do there : HERE, HERE and HERE

20/6 (Fri) – Swimming @ Public Pool
/ Choose one pool per week with water features such as slides or fun pool for more holiday mood
/ Sengkang, Jurong East, Jurong West, Pasir Ris, Choa Chu Kang

21/6 (Sat) – National Museum of Singapore
/ Special extended hours + Movie Screening
/ 6pm – 9.30pm

22/6 (Sun) – Gardens By the Bay
/ Far East Organization Children’s Garden
/ 9am – 9pm

/ Family Fun Under The Sun
/ 2pm, 2.30pm, 3pm, 3.30pm

/ End the day with OCBC Garden Rhapsody Show @ Supertree Grove
/ 7.45pm or 8.45pm

23/6 (Mon) –  World War II Heritage Trail
/ Go through this 22 page Trail PDF and choose a spot to visit.

24/6 (Tue) – Asian Civilisation Museum
/ Once Upon A Time In Asia – Part of Children’s Season 2014

25/6 (Wed) – Plan A Trip To One Of The Old Playgrounds
/ About the playgrounds
/ A Photo Essay : Mosaic Memories
/ Plan a trip to one of them (Pg 13 within the Photo Essay)

26/6 (Thur) – Swimming @ Public Pool
/ Choose one pool per week with water features such as slides or fun pool for more holiday mood
/ Sengkang, Jurong East, Jurong West, Pasir Ris, Choa Chu Kang

27/6 (Fri) – Sports Hub
/ Open House Weekend

28/6 (Sat) – Singapore City Gallery
/ Case for Conservation Trail
/ 10am – 1pm
/Pre-registration is required

28/6 (Sat) – D’Kranji Farm Resort
/ Farmer’s Market
/ 4pm – 10pm

 29/6 (Sun) – Singapore Botanic Gardens
/ Piano Concert at Dusk : By Przemyslaw Witek
/ 6.30pm – 7.30pm