Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Planes: Fire & Rescue 飞机总动员: 火海英雄

The much-awaited sequel to the 2013 animation film 'Planes' is finally here! When we first watched 'Planes' last year, it charmed us with timeless values of courage, determination to overcome the odds and honour. We're back for more with Planes - Fire & Rescue, a movie dedicated to all the brave firefighters around the world!

In the last installment, we met Dusty, a crop-duster who realised his dream of becoming a star racer despite his humble background. In Planes: Fire & Rescue, Dusty had to put a halt to his competitive racing career due to a faulty gearbox that is no longer in production. At the same time when Dusty was feeling dejected, his hometown (Propwash Junction) requires a second fire-fighter and he boldly stood up to accept the mission.  He underwent intense training with a crew of elite firefighting aircraft who devote themselves to protecting the historic Piston Peak National Park from raging wildfires.

He soon befriended veteran fire and rescue helicopter, Blade Ranger and his courageous air attack team, which includes the spirited super scooper, Lil' Dipper, heavy-lift helicopter, Windlifter, ex-military transport, Cabbie and a lively bunch of all-terrain vehicles known as The Smokejumpers. From them, Dusty discovered the spirit of true teamwork and putting others before self.  The climax of the movie was when the fearless team battles a massive wildfire in unity with bravery and heroism.

Never since Disney's Frozen has another animation film portrayed so many positive values which we can learn from. From the movie, parents generate meaning discussions with their kids on bravery, friendship, mentorship and sacrifice.  We also capitalise on the teaching moment to reiterate to Dana the importance of obedience (following orders and instructions instead of ignoring advice and risk causing hurt and trouble to yourself and others).  For adults, there are also subtle encouragements about seeking new opportunities when one door is closed (one's never too old or weak to take on new challenges) and fighting personal demons to realise our potential.

Overall, Planes: Fire & Rescue is an entertaining and humourous family film with many blink and miss puns and a tight plot. We enjoyed it tremendously and we believe you would too.  It opens in Singapore theatres in 3D this Thursday, 4th September 2014.  Don't miss it!

Download 13 FREE Planes: Fire & Rescue Printables!

1.  Storybook Deluxe Iphone and Ipad App - FREE from the iTunes App Store

Click here to download

Click here to download

Click here to download

6. Memory Game

Click here to download

Click here to download

8. Spot the Difference

Click here to download

9. Colouring Pages

Click here to download

10. SmokeJumper Parachutes

Click here to download

11. Hidden Characters

Click here to download

12. Propeller Craft

Click here to download
13. PC Games

 Click here to play

Watch the movie trailer here:

Watch the trailer here

LIKE Disney Studio SG's Facebook Page for more updates.  Have an enriching September school holidays!

Thankful Tuesday: Counting The Little Blessings...

I've been tagged by a dear Mommy friend, Justina of Mum in the Making for this Thankfulness Challenge that's been making its round on Facebook: 3 things to be thankful for 5 days, and then tagging 2 other friends each day to do the same.  I've been thanking God with Dana nightly when I kiss her goodnight and in private contemplation before I go bed but I guess there are merits in being more intentional in counting our blessings.

Today, I thank God for:

1. The miracle of the adoption of baby AJ

Buddy's turning 9 weeks tomorrow

It wasn't that long ago that the dream of having a second child seemed so far-fetched and impossible. But Dana's been yearning for a sibling so much that each time when I told her she would most likely by our only child, my heart ached and withered a bit more. When she brought home a Sunday school newsletter bearing all the families of her Sunday school friends, we counted less than 3 families with only one child. Infertility really sucks. If we had a choice, we would gladly parent 3 or 4. But David and I, we prayed, surrendering our desire to God, embarked on the Home Study Report, taking the 1st step towards making the adoption a possibility. Now, we are proud parents of this happy, chubby little boy. He came as a colicky, jaundiced babe 9 weeks ago but has won over our hearts through and through. The road to adoption wasn't easy (oh the hurdles and red tapes we have to cross) but when I look at him, I know we'll empty our savings to take the plunge again all in a heartbeat. 

2. The sibling connection

The JieJie and her 'bro'...

We were worried that the big sister would feel left out or side-lined with the buzz and excitement over AJ's arrival. We worry about the large 6 years age gap and wonder if they would ever grow up close as siblings.  Turns out all these were unfounded. On the very first day of school, she excitedly announced (with our permission) to every person she meets (from school bus aunty, the driver to her teachers and Principal and classmates) that 'I've a baby brother! I'm a big sister now..." She took on her sisterly role like a fish to water, always volunteering to help with diaper change, burping and feeding. She kisses him the moment she reaches home from school and rushes to pacify him whenever he cries. Last night, as I was rushing some work on the laptop, she babysat her brother (whom she affectionately terms, 'Bro', like hip-hop lingo 'Whatssup Bro') by feeding him water and then pacifying him in a sing-song, musical-style (thanks to all the musicals she's been watching!).  I wanted to laugh but teared instead. My heart swells with pride at her maturity and initiative...she has been ready to welcome a little bro. all along - even before we did.  For her who first gave me the title of 'Mommy', I give thanks.

3. The second-time Dad

Daddy's Buddy

I know I don't say this enough but I really thank God for my husband above all else. He sees my insecurities, wipes away my tears, supplicates for my needs and puts up with all my mood swings and depressive tantrums. The second half of 2014 started off in a manic pace with increased responsibilities and stresses at work but He stood by me through it all. When we contemplated adopting, he sought the Lord in quiet solitude each morning before proceeding to work and finally with peace said, 'let's proceed'. On evenings when he could come home early, he would bring the daughter for a cycle or scoot in the neighbourhood then read to her and help with AJ's last feed.  After the kids are asleep, he would help with blog posts to keep our online journal alive.  We have lesser time for each other as a couple (we do miss our movie nights out) and we are not wealthy materially but our hearts are full and content, knowing that in having each other to have and to hold, we are already blessed beyond measure. For the committed Dad and faithful Hubby that he is, I can never stop shouting God's praise. 

Sometimes, the pressures of life can erode our joy if we don't choose to live intentionally and count the little blessings. What are 3 things you can be thankful for today?
 Linking up with

Monday, September 1, 2014

Insights from Staying Inside...Why I play Lego with my Daughter

We were honoured to be invited by Yahoo Parenting to contribute an article last month.  Let me reproduce the piece which Dana's Daddy wrote on the benefits of staying indoors sometimes and a few important lessons he glean from a Sunday afternoon spent playing (Lego) with his daughter...

First published on Yahoo Parenting on 18 Aug 2014. Read the original article here.

I've always enjoyed reading the hubby's writing.  I leave you with my favourite quote from this piece as food for thought,

"We are taught to focus on our work and give our best. Perhaps we also need to learn to focus on our families because they deserve our best..."   David Sim

Friday, August 29, 2014

{Giveaway} POTTED POTTER: A Harry Potter Parody

Back for a 2nd season in Singapore from 9 to 14 Sept 2014!

The immense popularity and wide recognition of J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter fantasy series has led to it being extensively parodied.  One of the most successful, POTTED POTTER even made it to become a New York Broadway and West End smash hit.  After a sell-out season in 2012, the show is making a welcome return to Singapore this September school holidays at the Jubilee Hall at Raffles Hotel.

This fantastically funny show takes on the ultimate challenge of condensing the seven Harry Potter books of spells, potions and epic battles all in seventy hilarious minutes. It features all our favourite Harry Potter characters, a Quidditch game in the theatre, a special appearance from a fire-breathing dragon, endless costumes, brilliant songs, ridiculous props and a generous helping of Hogwarts magic!

Source: Potted Potter

The idea for this parody came about in 2005 when Daniel Clarkson and Jefferson Turner (the creators) were asked to create a 5-min street show recapping the plot of the first five Harry Potter books, for performance to queues of fans waiting for the midnight release of the sixth book.  POTTED POTTER then premiered on 4 August 2006 in the UK and has since won the hearts of audiences worldwide.  Its 2014 world tour has taken them to Mexico City, Ireland and Canada before reaching Singapore.

The show is a must-see for Potter addicts and a great introduction to the Harry Potter series. Even if you don’t know the difference between a 'Horcrux' and a 'Hufflepuff', POTTED POTTER will make you roar with laughter. This brilliant family entertainment is perfect for ages 6 to Dumbledore (who is very old indeed).

Watch the POTTED POTTER TVC here


Date: 9 to 14 September 2014

Venue: Jubilee Hall Theatre at Raffles Hotel

Tickets priced at SGD$70 and SGD$85 are available through SISTIC and SHOWBIZ Asia.

Recommended for Ages 6 and up.


We have a pair of tickets for 'POTTED POTTER' on 9 Sept 2014 (Tues) at 7.30pm for one lucky PrincessDanaDiaries reader. Follow the steps below to qualify for the giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway is open to readers residing in Singapore and ends midnight on 5 September 2014. The lucky winner will be notified by email and pick up the tickets an hour in advance on show day itself at the venue.  All the best!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

A ‘fowl’ encounter that changed my life - Chin Chin Chicken Rice

Old fan...old sign...old favourite - Chin Chin Hainanese Chicken Rice.

This place changed my life. Literally.

I was a young Penangite starting out a career in Singapore after my undergraduate studies. Like most of my townsfolk, good food is an important part of my life – after all, Penang is synonymous with tasty hawker fare at every corner.  In addition to adjusting to the hectic work life in Singapore and transiting from being a student to a working professional, the frustration of locating good hawker food for my daily meals was taking its toll - Please, no more yellow noodles in char koay teow and spare me the ketchup in wanton noodles…No!

I contemplated leaving Singapore….yes, it was that bad…seriously!

Until one afternoon, I joined my colleagues for lunch at the famous Chin Chin Restaurant 津津餐室 - an old nondescript coffee shop at the end of Seah Street selling Hainanese chicken rice which I have avoided like a plague due to its massive lunch crowd. That day, I figured since I’ve made up my mind to leave, I've nothing to lose.

Within this busy metropolis, there's a well-kept secret...
Here's how they peg, literally, each table's orders...

That day was a turning point and the rest, as they say, is history.

It’s been 15 years since that experience. Chin Chin Eating House is today located along Purvis street (just adjacent to Seah St.). I remembered the day it announced its closure (apparently due to rental hike and the owner’s retirement plans in Perth), The Straits Times ran a weekend centerspread on the history of this restaurant. It then struck me what an icon this humble-looking restaurant is. Fortunately for some divine intervention, the owners returned to Singapore after half a year to restart their business at the current site – a stone’s throw from its former location. The new Chin Chin Eating House now occupies 2 air-conditioned shop lots: bigger and better.

Sign painted the traditional way and food prepared the traditional way.
This is the sauce...of much happiness.

Gone are the old stained coffee shop tables, chairs tarnished by age and the dimly lit interiors. In its place is a bigger, brighter premise, fully air-conditioned. Regardless, the large crowd still makes the place cramped, crowded and warm…for a good reason.

The chicken rice, visually, is typical coffee-shop fare: with its obligatory cucumber and chinese parsley garnish but that’s where its similarity with the common food court variety ends. Tuck into these chooks which pack a punch with its thick and tender meat, drizzled in a fragrant dressing of soya sauce and sesame oil. It didn't take me long to realise the chicken served here at Chin Chin is truly worth braving the crowds for. To top it off, they serve well-cooked, fluffy chicken rice tasty enough to wolf down on its own. Good enough for this fussy Penangite to eventually make Singapore his home and for his 6 year-old to consistently declare the chicken rice here her favourite dish.

These ought to 'spice' things up a little....
Just a sprig of cilantro...and it's good to go...

You can wash down the chicken rice meal with a cold lime juice or Thai coconut juice. Besides the succulent chicken, we will always order their signature fresh handmade Ngoh Hiang (Deep fried Prawn Rolls in Bean Curd Skin), Hainanese Pork Chop, Sambal Sweet Potato Leaves and Hainanese Mutton Soup. These are the dishes which the Hainanese chefs honed after years of cooking for British colonial households.

Our lunch...almost always.
Seeing is not believing...tasting is!

Our family enjoy dining at local hawker fare establishments because it very much reflects our kaleidoscope of culture and values. In this globalized world, we need to teach our children to hold dear and appreciate our values and roots. What better way to do that than through our culinary heritage. In this regard, Chin Chin Restaurant is more than just a food icon but one that propagates our identity as Singaporeans. To me, no one else does chicken rice like Chin Chin. Try it to believe it!

Just opened for the day...won't be empty for long.
Surrounded by goodness...
Hainanese Chicken Rice....cooked by traditional Hainanese - you can't go wrong.

Chin Chin Eating House 津津餐室
:  63374640
:  Daily: 7am to 9pm
Cuisines: Besides Hainanese Chicken Rice, they also serve a variety of Tze Char dishes.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

{Giveaway} Bubble Magic: Pep Bou's Wonderful World of Bubbles!

Created by world-renowned bubble whizz, Pep Bou, "Bubble Magic: Pep Bou's Wonderful World of Bubbles" is coming to Singapore direct from a Europe tour, just in time for the September school holidays from 10 to 14 September 2014.

Bubble Magic: 10 - 14 Sept 2014, Jubilee Hall, Raffles Hotel



Bubble Magic is a delightful two-man show that is designed to stimulate the imagination. Pep Bou manipulates the daily elements like: water, soap, tubes, circles and smoke machines to transport audiences into a magical, wonder-filled world. The show combines ingenious lighting, colourful music, crazy costumes, a good measure of clowning around with the fleeting beauty of bubbles.  Audiences can expect the to see fishbowl bubbles, animal bubbles, bubbles on a highwire, sliding bubbles, puppet bubbles and even a train inside a bubble tunnel!

Enter the magical, wonder-filled world of Bubbles with Pep Bou!

Bubble Magic is a 65 minute visual and comic feast which will wow children and adults alike. With enchanting bubble illusions, skillful trickery and a host of brilliant gags,  Pep Bou's Wonderful World of Bubbles is a must-see show this September school holidays!


Pep Bou is a Spanish-born artiste who has been playing with bubbles for more than three decades!  He started his theatrical career as a mime artist, took his degree in chemistry and pursued his passion for performing arts. His first foray into bubbles, ‘Bufaplanetes’ won the Special Jury Prize at the Cannes International Festival of Theatre in 1986.  Since then, he has been delighting audiences around the world and receiving prestigious awards for his shows.

Watch the Bubble Magic TVC here


Date: 10 to 14 September 2014

Venue: Jubilee Hall Theatre at Raffles Hotel

Tickets priced at S$70 and S$85 are available through SISTIC and SHOWBIZ Asia


We have a pair of tickets for 'Bubble Magic' on 10 Sept 2014 (Wed) at 1pm for one lucky PrincessDanaDiaries reader. Follow the steps below to qualify for the giveaway:


This giveaway is open to readers residing in Singapore and ends midnight on 5 September 2014. The lucky winner will be notified by email and pick up the tickets an hour in advance on show day itself at the venue.  All the best!