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Amanda Griffin Jacob

Hong Kong: The kid guide

Hong Kong is not exactly renowned to be the most kid friendly country around but don’t fret if you want to go and visit and have to bring the children. I gave birth to two out of my three babies there and I never felt that there was a lack of activities to do or places to go or things to see with them. Hong Kong is famous for being a shopping mecca in Asia but there is so much more on offer. Here is my guide to Hong Kong with your kids. HK Space Museum If you get a “bad air day” in Hong Kong, you might want to consider keeping the kiddos indoors for part of the day, as the pollution can get pretty unhealthy. The HK Museum is a great option to keep your littlies entertained. The planetarium is comprised of the Stanley Ho Space Theater, the Hall of Space Science, …

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Proud Mama

For the past few months, I’ve been writing or perhaps venting and lamenting about my eldest child’s behavior at home. I mentioned that I’d been proactively seeking strategies and solutions to deal with the stress and tension brought about by our lack of experience and knowledge. I’ve been seeking a way to change the dynamic at home, because we were ill equipped in our quest to guide Kieran through this particularly demanding phase of development. Both Kieran and David as well as I have been seeing therapists to assist us as we traverse our way through the peaks and gullies of tween growth. I have to say I’m so happy with our progress so far. We are not perfect by any means, but we are at  least 50 percent better. This percentage I am told is outstanding progress. When you are faced with testing times as a parent, …

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Something for me

Recently, I’ve thrown myself into training for my upcoming half marathon and committed to practicing yoga at least five times or more per week if possible. Friends have been asking, why the sudden obsession? What prompted this need to exercise every day? The short answer is I decided to do a half marathon and when I commit to something I follow through (barring any outside forces). But really, it boils down to my love of running and yoga and how they’re the only real places I get space to think, meditate, be on my own, and restore my mind. Basically, this is something for me and me alone. Yes, my “me time.” As you progress further along the journey that is motherhood, you begin to fully grasp the necessity of earmarking time that is just for you. If you don’t, you will undoubtedly be discontent. You …

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Captivating Croatia

When our friends informed us that their wedding was going to be in Croatia I was looking forward to it, but not in a bucket-list anticipatory sort of way. The country wasn’t one of my “must-visit” destinations and only popped up on my radar after seeing it in Game of Thrones. Our itinerary didn’t even have Dubrovnik (King’s Landing!) on it as it was too far a drive from where we were. We kept mainly to the north because the wedding venue was in Porec. I have to say that David and I were pleasantly surprised by the gorgeousness of North Croatia. It is a Mediterranean country of vast scenic beauty (which we only touched the surface of), quaint seaside towns, delicious farm/sea-to-table food, and friendly locals. We spent every day …

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Eureka!

Two weeks ago I wrote about how I have been seeking outside assistance for behavioral issues besieging us at home with my eldest child. Not only have I been amassing volumes of parenting strategy books, advice from veteran parents, and scouring the internet for magical solutions but the three of us (Kieran, David, and myself) have been going to a "multi-disciplinary therapy center for children which helps provide parents and children with a holistic and effective intervention for challenges they may face." This is because, as you may have gathered, I was at my wits' end with no real solutions to our plight. It's been a month in and I am already seeing the benefits of our therapy. Yesterday, David and I went to our solo session with the social skills therapist to discuss the improvements (or lack thereof if that was the case) in Kieran's …

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Reconnecting with me

Last week I got back from a two-week vacation in Europe "with no kids" for the first time in almost eight years. I went to celebrate the marriage of two beautiful friends. The first stop was the bachelorette in Amsterdam with the bride and a fantastic group of women, and then we proceeded on to Croatia for the wedding festivities where my husband David joined me. Prior to the trip I was a bundle of nerves with so many different emotions coursing through me. I was thrilled but anxious, excited but nervous, and wondered how I'd function without my three kids. Would they be okay, would I be okay? Should I leave them? But you need a break and some time alone with David (it had been so long), my subconscious would yell. I decided to just rip off the band aid in one fell swoop and go (for …

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Keep calm and parent on

These days whenever people ask me how parenthood is going, my face gets a bit crinkly and I start stuttering and mumbling. To be honest, it hasn’t been going that well. Summer vacations have routinely been challenging for me for the last few years because the structure and routine of the school year get thrown out the window. This isn’t conducive for children, most especially ones who are “behaviorally challenging.” This is a new way to describe Kieran that I have just learned from reading one of these parenting manuals. When summer vacation ended two weeks ago I couldn’t help but breathe a tiny sigh of relief. It’s thoroughly exhausting to struggle and fight and cajole someone every single day. Especially when you have two other children, work responsibilities, and other life obligations that need to …

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Singapore: the kid guide

GARDENS BY THE BAY We absolutely love Children’s Garden at Gardens by the Bay. With Singapore’s searing temperatures, the number one attraction for us is undoubtedly the water play area. Be sure to bring swimsuits, rash guards, and of course sunscreen for the kids (and you may want to wear a swimsuit as well). The kids go wild for this. There is also a toddler playground (for one- to five-year-olds), tree houses, a space for six- to 12-year-olds to get busy in, and an adventure trail. When the kids have expended their energy, you can all move onto the Flower Dome where you can explore all areas around the globe through flowers. It will also be a welcome reprieve from the heat (it’s fully air-conditioned). Address: 18 Marina Gardens Dr, 018953 MARINE COVE PLAYGROUND This …

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Public enemy number one is plastic

Sustainable. Renewable. Recycle. Reusable. Biodegradable. Toxin-free. These buzzwords should be a part of your day-to-day living lexicon. Why? Because we are obliterating our planet at warp speed and it’s your duty as a human being to care about what you are doing that is contributing to the state of the planet’s declining health. As a mother, it keeps me up at night. What kind of world will my children and my children’s children inherit? What kind of life will they have to live because we were selfish? I know I sound like a broken record, but every little bit you do to reduce your carbon footprint (and those of your family) helps tremendously. What do I mean when I say eco living? Live life in a way that is good for …

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Green beauty

These days it is your responsibility to know exactly what you are putting in and on your body. There’s simply no excuse not to be vigilant when you have so many resources at your fingertips (number one being the Internet). Research should be an integral part of your everyday curriculum. When it comes to beauty products you may be shocked at all the crazy harmful ingredients that constitute your favorite cream, facewash, lipstick, and so on. There are five consistent offenders in the beauty realm, called the Big Five. These are the most common toxins found in your products: Dibutyl Phthalate (an ingredient that’s been linked to cancer and other health concerns, including problems in the endocrine system, increased risk of diabetes in women, reproductive issues and birth defects), Formaldehyde (a …

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