Weekend trips with kids tips

As you all know, we’ve been into nature trips this past few months. Our main objective going on these trips has been mainly for us to be able to have a breather and at least go out of our house once a week but still being cautious enough and staying away from the crowd.

How hard could it be? Go and be-friend the nature instead!

Truly, the past trips has thought this momma how important it is to pack light (I’m still trying) but yet still have all the things your family needs when they need it (is that even possible? it is!)

You might think that our kids may be grown-ups already but at 6 and 7 years old, they’re still children + the hubs!haha.. We may only be hopping on a bus/train and be out for a day but if you’re in the middle of the woods and need a band-aid…well, you better be sure to have one! (This is me trying to justify why this blog post is important.haha)

Anyways, I’d like to share with your how I prepare for these Nature trips. Like most moms, it starts the night before.

First, make sure that GoPro batteries, power-bank and hand phones are all charged.

Second is the bag. What’s in my bag?

  • a towel
  • a fan
  • my wallet
  • small first-aid kit
  • eyeglasses & shades
  • GoPro and batteries
  • a pen – my mom used to tell me to have one at all times in my bag to be used for writing(of course!) and a weapon in case of emergency
  • tissue
  • 2 sanitizers (1 inside and 1 hanging out)
  • phone
  • 2 pcs. of plastic (comes in handy for the kiddos when it suddenly rains)
  • snacks
  • house keys

I pack the girls their bags depending on where we’re going. If I know they’ll need a change of clothes after, then I do pack for them (or at times, I let them do it themselves—but make sure to check it after to make sure they don’t bring unnecessary stuff) My youngest tried to bring a crossword book to one of our trips!! ugh!

Here are the items in the girls backpack:

  • water bottle
  • extra shirt
  • towel
  • snacks
  • phone
  • 2 small toys

If they’re not bringing one, their water bottle simply hangs on their necks.

The hubs has his own bag that hangs on his neck which I make sure to put a towel on and his wallet.

Third, prepare everyone’s outfit for the next day. You don’t want to be stressed the next day just because that pink shirt your daughter wants to wear is in the laundry and haven’t been washed.

Fourth, do a briefing with everyone. For us, this means me confirming with the hubs what time we’ll be leaving. This gives me the luxury to plan my time wisely and make sure everyone and everything goes into plan. Once I’ve planned my wake-up time, what brekky (if we’ll be eating before leaving), it’s time to talk to my troopers. Yes, I make sure our daughters are mentally prepared as well. This eliminates morning mood swings and instead just need to whisper to their ear and they’ll wake-up easily. How convenient!

Last but not the least, I make sure I fix myself first before waking up anyone else. This may mean waking up an hour before but rushing and being stressed and ruin my mood because I wasn’t feeling myself would only ruin everyone’s day. So this small sacrifice is very much needed.

Motherhood is a testament it doesn’t require a plane ticket for one to have the need to be well organised for an adventure. It simply means making sure to being ready every time you and your family step foot out of your house, and having what you need when needed.

Hope this you find this helpful. Any tips you’d like to add? Feel free to comment below!↓↓↓

Why is teaching your child to bike important

Learning to ride a bike may be a common thing to some family. To other parents though, it something too dangerous for their child to do and eventually turn to something their child grow up not learning to do.

Here’s some reasons why teaching your child how to bike can be more than just learning how to balance but also teach them some life skills without you knowing it.

Learning to have patience with themselves and with things in their surroundings

It took my daughters a year to be confident enough to remove the training wheels and be able to balance themselves with just two wheels. It’s not a hidden truth that in the era we are in, almost everything comes in fast-paced. With that, our children gets used to this kind of living where everything seems to be automatic and instant with just a touch of a button.

We parents know also that real life doesn’t go that way. Even in this era, you still need time to learn how things work. It would still take time for someone to master something they want to be good at. Imagine having a doctor operate you but only studied about how to do it by reading a book. Would there be anyone confident enough to lie-down on that operating table? Do you thing those billionaires become one overnight?

It doesn’t matter what era we may be in. To be successful in life, one still need to go through the grit and grind of waiting for their dreams to turn into reality by being wise and applying hard work.

Having determination is integral in order succeed.

I got to see in their eyes how much they wanted to learn how to ride a bike on some days. There’s also days where it just seemed not to be their day and all they do is stumble and fall every ride they do.

Much like in real life, everyday is different. There’s days you win, there’s days that you don’t. That’s why having the right mindset and reason for doing something is important. It would be the fuel you need when you’re feeling down. You’ll need it whenever you stumble and fall.

As much times I repeated this quote during that one year I’ve been teaching my daughters how to bike, I’ll still go ahead and repeat it over and over again. That quote is…

Focus on is your progress, not perfection.

Lastly is to believe in themselves

The beauty with riding a bike is there’s not much another person can help you to learn how to do it right. At the end of the day, it’s just you and your bike and you got to sum up the courage to overcome that fear and believe in yourself that you can do it.

Here’s one conversation I’d like to repeat over and over whenever I feel my kids are in that brink of giving up.

Me: Can you do it?

My daughter: Yes

Me: Why?

My daughter: Because I’m Audrey / I’m Ysabelle!

And just with this four exchanges in conversation, I’d see their face lit up and get again in the game. And as a parent, that’s all I need to know that I’m doing my job as a parent well.

Shouldn’t miss exciting side trip to Hindhede Nature Park

How about hitting two birds in one stone sounds like?

Located next to Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, it’s wise only to swing by this park whenever you go visit the Bukit Timah Summit. Not only does this park makes the perfect place for you to relax after that exhausting climb, its playground is a perfect place for your kids to play around to use up their extra energy left.

Not known by many but in the 19th century, it was quarrying that has played a significant part of Singapore’s history and had fuelled its development. It was granite that was mined from these quarries and was used for the construction of early public housing and roads in the 1970s. In 1991 though, the industry came to a halt but theses quarries have stood the test of time and now form part of the city’s natural landscape. It remains coexisting alongside shopping malls and towering skyscrapers.

The quarry was named after a Danish businessman and tea farmer Jens Hindhede. He was the elder son of famous physician Mikkel Hindhede. The younger Hindhede operated the granite quarry until it ceased operations. 

Hindhede quarry was one of those and opened in 2001. It has been specially designed for families with children.It’s short trails leads into the park from the visitor centre and looping to the scenic Hindhede Quarry. It’s an excellent place for bird watching but in our case, what we saw was a monitor lizard instead. Not only did we saw it walking in a canal but we even followed it as it made its way out to the quarry.

Leave in the comments below if you have any suggestion on where else our feet can bring us!

If you’re looking for some inspiration for future adventures within Singapore, check out our previous trip to  Singapore’s highest natural point, Bukit Timah Summit! This amazing how much greenery this “Little Red Dot” can have. Truly there’s much more to explore than just stroll in the malls every weekend.

Read more: Weekend Family Trip Tips

Can’t get enough of this trip? Watch how we document our adventure on the video below!

Stay safe everyone!

Till our next adventure!

A Trip to the Summit of Singapore

I’m not talking about the Everest though instead the highest natural point in Singapore that stands 163 metres high. Yes, you can boast about reaching a summit just by walking a simple trail that even a babies can conquer. You read that right cause in Bukit Timah Reserve, you can even bring a stroller! How convenient!

Another weekend has passed and another trail has our family walked. This has truly becoming a habit and even the kids now label Saturdays as “walking day”. At least we’re training them young to have a healthy lifestyle. They don’t miss anything from the “city life” Singapore has to offer though as every after trail surely leads to a mall to stroll and grab a bite. That’s how we roll or let’s just say that’s how we balance our weekends.

If you read my previous blog about our trip to Rail Corridor you’ll know that we’ve almost got caught my the rain. That’s why this time around, we made sure to check the weather update. Sure enough with Singapore’s crazy weather, Mr. Sun went out in the morning’s followed by thunderstorm in the afternoon. Smart enough, we’re out of our front door by 7am!

How to get to there

If ever buses 67, 75, 170, 171, 184, 852, 961 pass by your area, you’re in luck. You might just not notice on your bus trips (cause you’re too busy using phone.hahaha) that you’ve passed by this area more times that you can remember. Alight at Jalan Anak Bukit Road, opposite Beauty World Centre (Bus stop ID: 42109), or alight at Upper Bukit Timah Road, opposite Bukit Timah Shopping Centre (Bus stop ID: 42091) and take a 10-minute walk to the visitor centre (bottom of the summit). You may also opt to use the MRT and alight at Beauty World MRT Station, take Exit A and walk to the visitor centre as well.

Opening Hours

Like most Nature Parks in Singapore, Bukit Timah Nature Reserve opens from 7am to 7pm daily (entering or remaining in the nature reserve after 7pm is not allowed). We arrived at 8am and there’s already a lot of people going in different directions already.

That’s the visitor centre behind us. It’s also good to note that there’s no toilet in sight when you start your hike so if ever you find yourself the need to use one, do it in the spacious toilet just opposite the visitor centre. It’s also a good place to freshen up once you’re back from climbing the summit.

photo grabbed from npark.gov.sg

There’s a lot of trails to choose from but we chose the easiest trail (Red coloured – Route 1) as we planned to visit the Hindhede Nature Park where there’s a playground for kids and even a zip line. This is also where you can view the spectacular Hindhede Quarry that’s perfect for your Instagram. You may see my other blog post about Hindhede Nature Park here.

The trail is that’s about 1.7km to the summit starts with a nice two slopes at 40 to 50 degree incline in the beginning. You won’t feel much that you’re going up which is good for beginners and kids/ kids at heart. You’ll sure be out of breath at some point while walking the last and the steepest slope at 60% incline!

What’s great with nature walk’s though is that you don’t need to rush doing it Well, unless it’s about to rain and you didn’t bring any raincoat or umbrella with you. Other than that, you’re very much welcomed to enjoy what’s around you…..NATURE!

This log is really huge in real life! Gotta see it!

The kids loved reading those trivia boards along the way. It also kept their mind busy and away from complaining that their tired already.haha.

Learning about the Seraya Tree kept them thinking about it until the next trivia board.

Like any other place on earth, it’s only right for everyone to be responsible for our own trash. I’m happy we didn’t have any monkey encounters in this trail.

As if the slopes isn’t enough, here’s the final steps to complete your summit experience. We didn’t get to count though the steps going up as we’re just excited to reach the top and relax.

You may choose to skip the stairs and continue with the another slope going to the top if you’re bringing a stroller or just not up for another challenge after that last steep slope you’ve climbed.

As much hype reaching the summit may sound like, in reality there isn’t much to see when you reach the top. Yep! No over the clouds view or vast mountains to see instead you’ll see a radio mast, trees and people. Probably just the sense of proudness of oneself for accomplishing something for a weekend instead of being the usual couch potato at home binge watching Netflix.

If you’re looking for more to justify your effort of going there then add a bit of history to your trip. Just like the what happened during the Battle for Bukit Timah.

On the night of 10th February 1942, the Japanese troops from the 5th and 18th Divisions, supported by armor, attacked troops of the 11th and 15th Indian Brigades, the 22nd Australian brigade, The Special Reserve battalion, Tomforce, Merrett’s Force, the Argylls, Jind State Infantry and ‘X’ Battalion. The Allied forces had to re-grouped to defend the critical junctions at Choa Chu Kang, Jurong and Clementi Roads leading to Bukit Timah Road.
By dawn of 11th February 1942, the Japanese troops reported to their commander Lietenant(sic)-General Tomoyuki Yamashita that they had seized Bukit Timah. The road to the city was open.

After a few photos and enough rest, we decided to go for a move as the summit is starting to get a bit crowded. There’s actually a long queue already when we left just to take a photo with the iconic rock as proof you’ve been there.haha

Remember that last slope before the stairs I’ve mentioned earlier? That’s actually the starting slope when you descend the hill. You may notice too that fellow hikers walking backwards. This is to avoid muscle cramps. You may opt to do this too if you feel uneasy going down.

Since you’ll be going down the same trail, there’s not much new things you’ll see. If you have more energy and would continue with other trails, there’s a lot to choose from. Check it out here.

We continued with Hindhede Nature Park where there’s a children’s playground, even a zipline, and the Hindhede Quarry which is so picturesque, you’re Instagram would love it!

That’s it for our climb to Singapore’s Summit! Hope you like it!

Leave in the comments below if you have any suggestion on where else our feet can bring us!

If you’re looking for some inspiration for future adventures within Singapore, check out our previous trip to  MacRitchie Nature Reserve! This amazing how much greenery this “Little Red Dot” can have. Truly there’s much more to explore than just stroll in the malls every weekend.

Read more: Weekend Family Trip Tips

Can’t have enough of that trip? Have more fun watching how we document this trip!

Stay safe everyone,

Family Runs c/o MommyWithAGoal

Unplanned 11km Nature Walk at MacRitchie Trail

We used to plan our trips especially nature walks because of the kids. Just the usual weather check and at least knowing where we are going beforehand and if the kids would be able to finish the trail is a must. If the gets too much for them and we’re in the middle of ‘who knows where’, oh gosh!

We arrived at the main entrance of MacRitchie Reservoir Park (that one in the bottom right of the map). This isn’t our first time going on nature walks, we just usually would just follow where our feet would bring us and when the kids start to make complains then that’s the only time we’ll find the quickest way going home which is usually just a few minutes walk to the nearest bus stop that could easily bring us to a mall or somewhere more comfortable—aka mall with aircon.haha

Photo grabbed from www.nparks.gov.ph

So when we arrived and we’re welcomed by monkeys, the kids were both entertained and just curious about what more could they see as we walk along.

And then after a few minutes walk, this view of the reservoir. It was so peaceful and amazing to look at. I felt like in an island vacation.

Of course, complimentary souvenir photo of the fam is a must! Luckily there’s this kind couple who helped us take this photo. Always grateful for those who offer help to take our photos.🥰

There may be a lot of people on this area but as you walk further, you’ll notice that only a few would continue the walking trail How could not you not love walking around these lovely trees. I bet the last photo of a tree is older than me.

We started with the Lornie Trail. Deep inside, I was feeling skeptical already when I saw the start of the trail (see their background). Though it looked safe, seeing that the trail isn’t the usual fully developed trail still makes this momma’s heart skip a bit or two every once in a while.

See more photos below and you’ll understand what I mean.

Moving on, these calm waters along the board walk made me have a change of heart and just chill. I don’t want to chicken out when everyone is so game on this nature walk! haha

How could you not feel relaxed by this view!

We just followed the path of the board walk (cause there’s also no other way to go!) to see where it would lead us. If you’ve been reading my other blogs you’ll know that I’m the mom who always brings snacks to bribe my kids especially on nature walks like this. So here we are, about 10 mins from walking and they asked if they could have some of the chocolates that I brought. I knew that having monkeys in the entrance is already a red-flag that eating is not advised while on trail but then……

as you can see on this photo, Audrey is already seeing something on top of the trees with a worried face. A few seconds after this photo came a monkey beside her. They might have heard the wrapper of the chocolates I gave the kids. Aaaahhhh! She got so scared and screamed! My hubby who’s with her was shocked as well. Luckily, shocked but still calm, he just shooed away the monkey and it climbed up the tree. We’re blessed it wasn’t those kind of monkeys who would hurt people.

We carried on with our walk as if nothing happened. There are other group we came across every now and then so we didn’t worry much where this trail would lead us.

One of the reason why we went here was for the TreeTop but we’re already on the bus when we knew that it was closed for renovation. So one place we can go to to make our trip interesting for the kids is to go up the Jelutong Tower. It is 7-storey observation deck with a 360-view of the forest of MacRitchie.

Going up was no biggie, we just noticed that its quite high—-like no ending stairs. As expected, the bravest among us riding roller coasters was the one who got scared of how high we were. You can clearly see on the photo below who that person is! haha.. It wasn’t hard to urge them to go down after a while thanks to a group who came. We knew it would be too crowded when they arrive so we hurriedly went down.

Oh that trip down that stairs is one for the books! With the group who came climbing the stairs and us going down, it felt like the whole tower was swaying! We needed to stop a few levels before the bottom as people are passing by the stairs. It’s impossible for two way traffic.

It was a wrong move though. That few minutes of sitting down gave us cramps when going down the stairs. Both me and my hubby needed to walk down facing backwards for us to reach the bottom. hahaha. Luckily it was just with stairs and when we arrived at the bottom, everything is back to normal. It needed to be as our daughters can’t carry us home!🤪

Our journey continued and the kids were starting to become a bit weary. I can’t bribe them anymore because monkeys can be somewhere around. They don’t dare ask for their chocolates either so we settled by cheering them up by showing them the map and how far we walked already. It kinda lightened them up. It was also in this map that we realised that we’re following the the yellow trail….the holy guacamole 11km trail!!! Our intention was just to do some leisure nature walk. But as you can see we’ve already walked half of it so we decided the other half shouldn’t be much of a deal.

Then it rained. I’m not sure if I’ll be thankful that it rained when we are on the part of the trail were it was this open and no trees to somehow give us shelter. OR it was better as it would be more spooky and perhaps dangerous for us to walk on muddy trail. Anyways, we still continued with great spirits! Our little one got lucky with a few minutes of a lift from daddy when she complained that her feet is tired already.

We tried our best to keep things entertaining with the kids to divert their tiredness. I even am feeling exhausted already, what more these two troopers with us. What better way to make drinking water entertaining? By squirting water to their mouth! Sure this made them energetic again afterwards.

Here we are slowly reaching our first 11km!!!woohooo!

It was almost 7pm when we reached the end of our trail. One of our worries and what kept us pushing to walk faster was getting stuck inside the woods when it gets dark. We noticed that there isn’t any lamps anywhere so it would be pitch black in there after the sun sets. Here we are smiling from ear to ear feeling accomplished and blessed for finishing that trail and most of all proud of our girls for making it!

Of course we headed to the nearest bus stop that brought us to the nearest mall on the way home. It was past dinner time so McDonald’s at Northpoint Mall isn’t that crowded anymore.

Our shoes got really dirty with the mud when it rained. Our kids turned to Peppa Pig’s jumping on muddy puddles whenever we came across one. So here they are the next day learning their lesson not to do that again.haha…

Excuse that hole in our little one’s leggings. That’s her favourite and we’re still in the process on letting go of it. haha

That’s the end of this blog. I hope you enjoyed this post as much as did sharing to your our adventures. If you know any interesting place we can go next make sure to leave on the comments below. 

If you’re looking for some inspiration for future adventures within Singapore, check out our previous trip to the Rail Corridor! This amazing how much greenery this “Little Red Dot” can have. Truly there’s much more to explore than just stroll in the malls every weekend.

Read more: Weekend Family Trip Tips

Till our next adventure,

The Javier’s c/o TheMommyWithAGoal