September School Holiday : Eco-Friendly Activities

September School Holiday : Eco-Friendly Activities // Mono + Co

The school will be closed for 1 week, but there seemed to be enough activities with environmental focus to carry through the entire month that allow one to be inspired and pick up some green habits.

// Catch an eco film
++ Don’t just catch the commerical blockbusters, choose from an array of eco films that will be screened from 1-3 Sep at the annual Eco Film Festival Singapore. Check out the film and programme schedule here. Free event.

// Host an eco-themed film private screening
++ The kind people at Eco Film Festival has obtained private screening license for the following films to choose from:
– The True Cost
– Cowspiracy
– A Plastic Ocean
– Guardians of Raja Ampat
– Disobedience
– Project Wild Thing
– Captain Planet Summit to Save The Planet
Cost : Free, register by 8 Sept here, & host the private screening from 15th-24th Sept.

September School Holiday : Eco-Friendly Activities // Mono + Co

// BYO Singapore Campaign
++ Ditch the disposables habit and start bringing your own shopping bags, drinking cups and lunch boxes.  Details here.

// Take part in energy saving challenge
++ Get the entire family to reduce household electricity use and win some prizes. Details here.

September School Holiday : Eco-Friendly Activities // Mono + Co

// Volunteer for a coastal clean up
++  Coney Island with Trash Hero Singapore on 3 Sep
++  Lim Chu Kang East with Little Green Men on 9 Sep
++  Mandai Mudflats with Nature Society on 9 Sep. Register here.
++  Ponggol Beach with on 23 Sep. Register here.

September School Holiday : Eco-Friendly Activities // Mono + Co

// Balik Kampung
++ Enjoy kampung lifestyle? Now that there is a week of school holiday, volunteer on a weekday to help out with “landscape and farm maintenance” at Kampung Kampus. Details here.

September School Holiday : Eco-Friendly Activities // Mono + Co

// Start a recycling corner at home
++ Watch your trash trail closely and do good by dropping off the recyclables at one of these Tzu-Chi recycling points on 10 Sep.

// Nature Sketching
++ At Botanic Gardens on 16 Sep.  Details here.

// Picnic events
While these are not eco-themed events, I love the challenge of having a picnic with no disposables and instead, serving food on proper crockery.  Enjoy the events nicely plan out by various organizers, but keep the trash at bay.  I listed them according to locations.
++ Safra Ponggol on 3 Sep here
++ Marina Barrage on 3 Sep here
++ Bishan Ang Mo Kio Park on 2 Sep here
++ Concerts at Botanic Gardens always pull a picnic loving crowd, a check on the website shows concert event to be held on 2 Sep, 3 Sep, 9 Sep, 23 Sep, 30 Sep.

// Nature Tour
Guided walks are always popular with families during the school holiday, get the kids in touch with nature.
++ Pasir Ris Magrove Boardwalk Tour on 3 Sep. Sign up here.
++ Learning Forest Tour at Botanic Gardens 30 Sep. Details here.

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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.

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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.


DOWNLOAD : PRINTABLE TO DO LIST (BOOK LOVER THEME)

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.

 


DOWNLOAD : PRINTABLE TO DO LIST (MOVIE BUFF THEME)

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
INGREDIENTS
- 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)

INSTRUCTIONS

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