US California Trip (May 2017) – San Francisco Day 4 (Mama’s on Washington Square and California Academy of Sciences)

I had many breakfast places listed for our time in San Francisco, IHOP was after all only a skip and a hop away (pun intended) and Boudin’s Bakery was also not too far off. However when a friend gave us a very timely recommendation on Facebook, the night before our last full day in SFO, we decided to give it a try. 

Mama’s on Washington Square opens at 8am but we read that many people come up to an hour before opening time to queue for the first seating. An hour was too ambitious for us so we decided to take a chance and arrived at 730am. The queue was already long and we were 2 tables short of the first seating. While the wait was long, it was rather pleasant because they had a very good system going. We were ushered into the restaurant at 825am but soon learnt that that was not the end of our wait. We queued along the counter and were tempted by all the baked goods. We finally got to the cashier where we could place our order at 840am and then we were seated shortly after at 850am. The reason why we had to queue to place our order is because they try to only take your order as a table is being cleared for you. It took another 20 mins for our food to arrive but I will tell you that it was soooo worth it! Mama’s French Toast, Banana Pancakes and Dunguness Crab Benedict! It was so good that we wanted to come back again tomorrow before we head out of the city but it was a pity that they are closed on Mondays. Next time for sure!

We headed to California Academy of Sciences after breakfast. Thankfully they opened at 11am that day, we were running really late for their usual 10am opening time because of breakfast. Haha and you know how I can’t stand to deviate from schedule :p We joined the longest queue we saw which was for the ticket booth but my very observant husband noticed that the self service machine had no queue and told me to try it! Voila! So yes, please use the self service machine to buy your tickets 🙂

We were initially contemplating whether to drop this attraction and try something else. We weren’t sure how interactive it would be and whether it would capture the kids’ attention. I will tell you now that this is an absolute must do! I am so impressed by how they curated their content in a way that appealed to all age groups. There is literally something for everyone and each subject matter is presented in a way where you can simplify it for the young ones like Jah and Bella, yet still impress and wow the old cynics/ parents who think we have seen it all 😉
My advice to you would be to head straight in, to look for the planetarium show ticket queue as the tickets for shows run out very quickly and they have different shows for different times. There is also a show for smaller kids in a smaller auditorium in case you think your kids can’t cope with a long show. 
We learnt about earthquakes and entered an earthquake simulator. Climbed up the Rainforest exhibit which is kind of like our Cloud dome at Gardens By the Bay but ends up with you being at the top of the Rainforest surrounded by free flying butterflies. We went through this exhibit 3 times!!

The kids also discovered dinosaurs, tickled starfish and stared at scary alligators. We were there till almost 4pm and yet we could not finish everything! Oh how we wished we lived in SFO. The kids asked to come back again but we had to break the news to them. Sorry kids, this is our last day in SFO on this trip but I promise you guys that tomorrow will be even more fun! 😀

JahBella’s Mummy

Next Up – Swanton Berry Farm and Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa

1) How we survived flying 15 hours with the kids and coped with jetlag

2) US California Trip (May 2017) – San Francisco Day 1 (GoCar & Pier 45)

3) US California Trip (May 2017) – San Francisco Day 2 (Lori’s Diner, Cable Car Tram and Koret Children’s Playground, Hog’s Island Oyster Bar)

4) US California Trip (May 2017) – San Francisco Day 3 (Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market and Children’s Creativity Musuem)

US California Trip (May 2017) – San Francisco Day 3 (Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market and Children’s Creativity Musuem)

Our main attraction for the day was the Children’s Creativity Musuem. After spending the day running outdoors yesterday, it was now time to take it back indoors. But of course we needed some place to settle breakfast first and given that the Musuem only opens at 10am, we had plenty of time for a leisurely breakfast. I decided that it would be fun for the kids to experience a farmer’s market in the US. They did visit one in Margaret River, Perth last year but the rainy weather kind of put a dampener on the overall experience. So yes, Take 2 it is.

We got to the Ferry Plaza (where the Hog Island Oyster Bar which we visited last night is also located) at about 830am. It was a short 3 minute Uber ride from our hotel. The initial plan was to take the bus/ tram but honestly Uber is so so easy there that we decided to not go through the hassle. I was also hungry. 

There were fresh produce and hot food for sale at the Farmer’s market and the kids were super excited that they were pointing out all the things that they wanted to buy. There were many wooden benches along the pier and we quickly settled down. Bella and I hung out and made sure we secured our seats while Joel and Jah went around and bought our food for us. 

They came back with the most awesome grilled cheese sandwich we ever had and it was also one of our best meals on this trip!! The sandwich was a Honey Lavender, Bacon, Farm Egg and cheese sandwich from The Farmer’s Wife Sonama. Yes just reading the name of the sandwich is Omg!! In fact we ended up ordering another portion of it on top of all the other muffins and cakes we bought.

With full bellies, these happy people headed to the Children’s Creativity Musuem (in an Uber). The Musuem as its name suggest is all about exploration, creation and creativity. It is not your typical ‘musuem’ but really a place for the kids to play with materials and create artwork, learn concepts through play and express their creativity through stop motion animation and music.

The kids spent a good amount of time just sitting at the art table – cutting, pasting and drawing. I realised then that we were not going to leave this place for at least another 4 hours.

After a while, we managed to convince them to move on and explore other areas. They found themselves at a table containing kinetic sand. Yeah kinetic sand, no big deal right? But then I realise the Musuem had combined the use of kinetic sand and augmented realiy to teach geography and the concept of mountains, land, valleys and ocean. Even the adults were secretly having fun!! Oh yes and we were stuck there for quite abit too. 

The main reason we came to the Children’s Creativity Musuem was because we heard that they had a section/ studio where they taught kids how to do stop motion animation. For those who are not very familiar, just Google Lego Star Wars on YouTube and you will see many stop motion animation videos. Jah is crazy about these videos and wanted to know how it was done. I was initially concerned that it would be too complicated for him to understand but the concept was really simple! We spent about 30 mins creating our own clay models from scratch and then we chose a backdrop and were taught how to create different scenes. It was really a case of moving your characters really slowly for each ‘frame’ and then pressing the record button each time. Oh trust me, this takes a lot of patience!! We completed a simple 13 seconds! video but it took a lot of effort to stop the kids from rushing through it. The good thing was that the Musuem would email you a link to the completed video 🙂 Check out the video on our Facebook page and Instagram but please excuse the shaky hands as it is a handphone video of the video clip. 

It was almost 1pm by the time we were done with the stop motion studio and we still hadn’t explore the 2nd level. We headed up and Bella wanted to star in her own music video haha she barely sang but totally enjoy being a music video star. The 3 mins music video was also sent to us via an email link. Check out a snippet of it on our Social media channels too 😉

It was hard to get the kids to leave but we had not eaten our lunch yet (thank goodness for the full breakfast that sustained us for so long) While there are malls within walking distance of the Musuem, there isn’t really a proper cafe there for good hot food. So I would suggest doing some research of where u might wanna eat around there. Jah and Bella wanted to do some shopping (toys) so we crossed the road to a nearby Target and they got their shopping fix there. By then, we were honestly too tired to eat and figured the kids would be too cranky to survive through any proper meal so it was Starbucks to the rescue and we headed back to our hotel at 3pm for a much needed nap.
I have to admit that it was a pretty fun day and life changing too (the grilled cheese sandwich that is) :p

Next Up – Our last day in San Francisco (California Academy of Sciences)

1) How we survived flying 15 hours with the kids and coped with jetlag

2) US California Trip (May 2017) – San Francisco Day 1 (GoCar & Pier 45)

3)  US California Trip (May 2017) – San Francisco Day 2 (Lori’s Diner, Cable Car Tram and Koret Children’s Playground, Hog’s Island Oyster Bar)

US California Trip (May 2017) – San Francisco Day 2 (Lori’s Diner, Cable Car Tram and Koret Children’s Playground, Hog’s Island Oyster Bar)

After spending almost a day being cooped up on a flight, we decided that the kids needed an outlet to release those pent up energy. So we decided to spend the first full day of our time at San Francisco at a park. 

We headed to Lori’s Diner at Ghirardelli Square for breakfast. The Diner was about a 10 mins walk from our hotel but the kids were more than happy to oblige us especially Jah who was looking forward to visiting an American Diner which he learnt about in school recently. So yes off we went for pancakes, French toast, scrambled eggs and of course milk shakes!

After breakfast, we walked across the street to the start of one of the cable car tram lines to begin our journey. There were of course other cheaper public transport options to take us to The Golden Gate Park where the Koret Children’s Quarters are but we figured that the kids would love the experience on the cable car tram. They were both scared and excited to be sitting on the exposed side of the cable car tram and were thoroughly thrilled by the view that they got of the streets. 

We rode the cable car tram to the end of the line at Mason & Powell which always meant we got our money’s worth 😉 From there, we got onto the local Muni & Judah train and it took about 15 mins to take us to the USCF/ Paranssus station. Once we got off, we followed our phone GPS and walked another 5 mins till we got to the Golden Gate Park. The Koret Children’s Quarters was very close to the entrance. 

The kids were so happy to be out in the open space. Running, climbing and swinging! The park was quite crowded for a Friday late morning and we noticed many daycares or school kids there with their teachers. Come early if you want a picnic spot because they tend to grab all the shaded areas but if you are happy to be just running around the playground then it’s fine and there were more than enough stone benches.

There was also an ice cream stand and an old school carousel ride nearby. Of course we rewarded ourselves with an ice cream and a couple of rides after a crazy time at the playground.

By the end of it, the kids and us were famished and we decided to take a walk back towards the entrance we came in through. You would be able to find tons of restaurants a few streets down outside the park (9th Ave being one of the streets) and of course the phone GPS came in handy again and we found ourselves some lunch rather easily. 

We didn’t think the kids or the adults could cope with another multi transfer public transport ride to get back so we got ourselves an Uber and it took us back. The 20 mins ride cost us about US14 and we were all ready for our afternoon nap. Yes for those who don’t know we all still do afternoon naps even when we are on holidays. :p

We got up at 6pm from our nap and the urge to skip dinner or have room service was almost too hard to ignore. But I persevered and dragged everyone out of bed. I even insisted that we head to the Ferry Building where the Hog Island’s Oyster Bar was located at. I don’t know what possessed me to choose that restaurant for dinner, on a Friday night of ALL nights. The kids were pretty cranky the entire way and when we saw the snaking queue we were ready to give up. It was already 730pm and it didn’t look like we would get a seat for at least another 45 mins. But for a lack of better option in the vicinity, I was unwilling to give up. So Joel very bravely brought both kids to Starbucks while I stood in line. Thankfully the queue moved pretty quickly for a table of 4 as most people were there in big groups. We were also willing to take a table at the bar which fortunately gave us a good sunset view and a view of the food being prepped 🙂 

We ordered ourselves a raw oyster platter, some raw halibut, the best clam chowder we have ever had and will have on this trip and a grilled cheese sandwich. Actually we ordered ourselves 2 oyster platters because the kids absolutely loved the raw oysters and we found Jah polishing off half a dozen of them on his own!!! Blue cheese and raw oyster lovers, what kids are these? 

By the end of the night, everyone was in high spirits from the wonderful food and that’s when Joel and I realised how much these kids are like us! 🙂

Stay tuned for Day 3 at the Kids Creativity Musuem! 

JahBella’s Mummy

Phuket Holiday 2016 – Katathani

Our first family holiday of 2016 brought us to Phuket, Thailand. While this was not our first trip to Phuket (we travelled there when it was just the two of us, for our first babymoon and subsequently for Jah’s 1st holiday at 7 months), this is the first trip where we have ventured out further than 15 minutes away from the airport. No I kid you not! We always stayed 10 minutes away from the airport on all previous trips and basically parked ourselves in the vicinity of our hotel. We never visited Patong or any of the shopping malls ever. Ironically, we decided to stay almost 1.5 hours away from the airport while on holiday with 2 kids and ventured out every night by Tuktuk, for dinner. Perhaps parenthood really does make you stronger, more adventurous or just flat out mad! :p

The kids were really excited about this holiday and we were all up by 5am for our really early 8am flight. The first milestone we hit this holiday? Jah no longer needing his CARES Safety harness! He was constantly coaching Bella on how she should sit still in hers and that he could handle the ‘big people’ seatbelt now. 🙂 Honestly the CARES safety harness has been a great help for us when travelling with the kiddos. You can read more about it in our previous post here.


Big boy seat belt finally!


CARES Safety Harness for this little one (who is pretending to sleep btw)

We were picked up by our hotel private transfer and we managed to fit 4 adults, 2 kids, 3 suitcases and 2-3 handcarrys. Ermm yes we were there on a beach holiday but don’t ask me why we had so many suitcases. :p The transfer was about an hour long to the hotel and Jah and I were lucky to have a nice massage function in our seats. 🙂


Massage function in the car

We stayed at the Katathani which is located at Kata Noi. It essentially is right at the end of the Kata area and spanned a really large area, with two different wings. We booked 2 interconnecting Junior Suite rooms and were located at the Thani Wing which is closer to the beach. Each room came with either a king bed or twin beds + a sofa bed and they covered the sofa bed in our room with nice clean sheets, pillows and a blanket so that Jah could use it. We also had a really decent view of the pool and the beachfront.


Junior Suite with a Sofa bed made up for Jah


Junior Suite (Twin Sharing) with the sofa bed for regular use



View from our room balcony 


Garden massage ($15 for 50 mins)

The hotel had many pools throughout its property which was one of the main draw for us when we were deciding where to stay. However we ended up playing at the same pool (right in front of our block) every morning before heading out to the beach and sea. The beach was located in an inlet and the waves were rather mild (usually got a bit ‘fiercer’ around noon time) so we can venture out with the kids. While the beach is not a private one, it felt pretty private to us because we had a guard watching the entrance from our hotel to the beach and you wouldn’t really venture out to Kata Noi Beach if you are not a guest at the hotel.


Empty clean beach…peace….



The kids also had a swell time at the kids pool with their toys and crocodile float which we bought from one of the many shops in the area. They also insisted on coming back from the beach at 11am every day without fail so that we could join the Aqua Aerobics class. Oh we had tons of fun and laughter with that class alright.






Aqua Aerobics Time!


The kids club at Katathani is located at the Bhuri Wing so it was a 5 minute walk from our block but the kids were more than willing to make the walk before lunch. The kids club is supervised and had tons of toys, games and even a ball pit. They have paid activities and free ones and even an outdoor play area. The kids really wanted to play outdoors but I wouldn’t let them because it was just too hot at 12noon. We didn’t go for any of the paid activities but there was more than enough to keep them occupied. In fact it was really tough trying to get them to leave and go to lunch. *grrrr* The thing I liked about the Kids club was the fact that they have a very flexible policy. You could choose to drop off your child with the staff or you could stay in the kids club with your child. We had one too many bad experiences with hotels who insist that the adults have to leave even when we just want to spend time with our kids in the club. We had no such problem at Katathani.






We really had a lot of fun at the Katathani, my only gripe was the fact that it was almost a 1.5 hour journey to the airport which can be really tiring. But the facilities and service far outweigh that little inconvenience. I have a feeling, this might be our go to place in Phuket from now on. 🙂

Want to know what else we did in Phuket with the kids and how we managed to have authentic Thai food even though we had kids with us? Stay tuned for our next Phuket 2016 post!

JahBella’s Mummy


For Mummies of Little Boys – Foreskin Infection

So we are just fresh off a beach holiday and honestly this is possibly the last topic I would think to write after an awesome vacation. (More on that awesome vacation in our later posts).

However I felt that it was important for me to share our run-in or Jah’s run-in with a foreskin infection during our trip and what we did to help him. Excuse the lack of photos as the photos taken were rather private (pun intended :p)

A foreskin infection or balanitis is apparently a very common condition amongst little boys from the ages of 2 and up however there are varying and overwhelming information on how to go about handling this situation.

For starters, there are two camps on the issue – the pro-circumcision and the anti- circumcision camp. I will not be going into a discussion on this at all, rather I would just like to share what worked for us in a situation where we didn’t have access to his usual PD or an A&E that we felt we could trust.

Jah started complaining about a pain in his penis on Friday (a day into our holiday). On close inspection, we didn’t spot anything odd and figured it might have been an insect bite or a bruise that he might have gotten during a recent Sports Day event. We asked if it was painful to pee and ruled out an urinary tract infection when he said no. I started watching him closely for signs of swelling or redness and also monitored his peeing situation.

By Saturday afternoon, the boy was screaming in pain every time I tried to put on his underwear or if anything would brush or even come into slight contact with his penis. This time the sudden swelling was very obvious. The area was obviously swollen, red and very tender in fact the appearance of pus started to really freak us out. My best friend Google revealed that it was likely balanitis which we were looking at and it needed medical attention and likely a hydrocortisone cream and antibiotics for the infection.

We were more than 24 hours away from our flight home and I read enough horrors stories online about doctors not knowing the right way to examine for balanitis. I didn’t want to traumatise Jah before his PD got to see him and so the huge dilemma of whether to take him to the in house hotel doctor, a local A&E or to sit tight and wait till our return to Singapore.

We gave him a dose of ibuprofen to help with the pain and to settle him for a nap. The closest thing we had to a hydrocortisone cream at that point was his eczema cream which belonged to the same family of medicine. In desperation, we applied a thin layer for him and prayed hard that we would see some improvement after his nap.

Thankfully the pain relief worked and he rested. He also woke up to a slightly less inflamed nether region and no more pus. However the tip of his penis now had a small ‘balloon’ at the end and we started to worry if it was sealed swollen and whether he was able to pee. We only started breathing again when we witnessed him peeing without fuss.

We wanted to go to a nearby pharmacy to purchase a hydrocortisone cream for him but also read that using a cream without antibiotics might worsen the situation if it was a bacterial infection rather than a fungal infection. Thankfully we found out that organic coconut oil had anti fungal and anti bacterial properties and could be used to treat balanitis. We were fortunate that we were holidaying in a place where coconut oils were a plenty and we found a bottle of Extra Virgin Coconut Oil easily at a pharmacy.


Jah was in good spirits throughout this experience and was very happy to go for dinner, ice cream and to shop for his coconut oil and that settled us alittle. Mummy’s instinct told me that we were at least not in dire need of medical attention at that point.


This big smile put my mind at ease..(well alittle at least)…what a trooper!

We applied the coconut oil before bed that night and found that the swelling and redness had largely subsided overnight! Phew! We made it home the next evening and even managed to wait till Monday morning to take him to his PD.

A visit to his PD on Monday morning showed a marked improvement in his condition compared to the Sat photos we had taken and he was prescribed with a potassium permanganate wash as well as a hydrocortisone cream. Ironically the cream was something that he also used for his eczema but I had brought a different brand with us in the trip. *smack head*


Easily available at pharmacies too I was told…

So what lesson have I learnt through all this? Well for one I will definitely be packing some coconut oil and his hydrocortisone cream for our next trip overseas.

Some of the things we learnt and checked for
1) Could he pee as per normal? Any problems or pain peeing? This was to rule out a UTI.
2) Was he having a fever? This would suggest the infection was a lot worse and we would have then taken him to a dr or Hosp immediately.
3) Was he in a lot of pain and was that preventing him from functionally normally or sleeping. If so then give him some pain relief in the form of Panadol or ibuprofen.
4) Did the interim measures like coconut oil help? Was he in less pain and had the swelling situation improve? If the coconut oil had not made any improvements then we would also have brought him to the In-house Dr.
5) Mummy’s instinct..yes apart from the above checks, we used mummy instinct which overrules everything else above. Had I felt uncomfortable about the situation at all, we would have handed straight for medical attention.

Hopefully Jah will never have to go through that experience again but we will definitely be better equipped if it does. And I hope you never have to find this post handy 🙂

JahBella’s Mummy