Monday, November 10, 2014

Pick A Musical Instrument and Play A Song in 4 Lessons? Cool!

The year end school term break is less than a week away. In fact, the holiday has already begun for secondary school students. If you are not so in touch with the secondary school term break, it starts 3 weeks earlier than those in primary school. It.Is.A.Very.Long.Break.

Have you planned how you would occupy your mini mes during this term break? There are many holiday courses that are out there now and if your child has yet to embark on a music journey (or wants to try out a new musical instrument), you may like to consider signing them up for a music course with The Eighth Note Music School.

I was introduced to The Eighth Note Music School a couple of months' back and was immediately drawn to their holiday music lessons for my children. As my children do not have any form of music background, I was pretty excited to find out that this music school gives crash courses in playing a choice instrument. Better yet, learn to play a song that they like in 4 lessons? I was sold.



Don't be mistaken, I am all for sending children to learn music the classical way - which The Eighth Note also provides. However, I feel my children would be better off pursuing and sticking to an interest they want to learn instead of being coerced into it - especially when it's for leisure. I've seen many drop out halfway (namely myself) because they are not able to cope with extra demands and I don't wish to ply on more exams on them! Having too much on their plate may just have a backlash effect and the joy of playing a musical instrument may be marred. Therefore these short music courses offered at The Eighth Note are very ideal for them especially when they are at the age where pop/rock songs are the rage.

Brandon decided to sign himself up for the 'Digital Music Course', whereas Megan signed herself up for a crash course on electronic keyboard, after going through 2 separate trials on the guitar and the keyboard. I must commend the school for exercising a lot of patience to Megan as she was torn between deciding the 2 instruments. She finally decided on the keyboard because we already own a full size one at home and would be ideal for her since Brandon could play the guitar. Then they can come up with their own band! #justsaying

I couldn't be prouder when she could play "A Thousand Years" after 1 lesson.

 
Please pardon the background noise as I recorded this at the school before her 2nd session started.
 
The Digital Music Course that Brandon signed up for is a new course offered at the school. He was introduced by the teacher to 'Garage Band' app that can be downloaded into the ipad for a small price. Though it is an app that anyone can download and play around with, it does take some knowledge to come up with their own music. Listening intently, understanding and knowing how to layer each function is a fundamental step to composing a successful tune. After a lesson, Brandon decided to try his hands on the blues!
  

What I Like About The Eighth Note Music School

It is not exactly an ordinary music school, in my opinion. When I first stepped into their Parkway Centre branch, I could sense a lot of love and passion in the air from the teachers manning the place. They were genuinely warm, patient, young, motivated and dynamic - which suited the style that the school put across to me. All these traits were affirmed when I sat in to observe their lessons.

I also appreciate it very much that the school offer trials before your child decides which instrument he or she is comfortable with learning, before signing up for a course. This is important so that the teachers can also help to identify if the instrument picked is suitable and for them to gauge the pace of learning for each individual.

The other plus point for me is their flexible timing, as I've observed that the teachers are able to schedule time slots to suit your availability, since the lessons are mostly catered one-to-one. Lessons are conducted per 4 lessons and if you have to miss a class, the make up lesson is not chargeable. 

Last but not least, the most important factor would be their pool of multi-talented teachers - as they are the ones who connect with our children, they must also be the ones our children like and can look up to as positive role models. Why do I say multi-talented? Because the ones we connected with can play and teach multiple musical instruments! I'm so glad that the teachers we've met so far at Parkway Centre are nothing but a cheerful and enthusiastic lot.

"Thank you Hafiz and Alicia, and everyone we've met at the Parkway Centre branch! You've been so accommodating and welcoming to us! Brandon and Megan are certainly enjoying their lessons with you so far because of your stress-free teachings and positive vibes."

As of now, my children are still pursuing their last few lessons with The Eighth Note. Megan is learning to play different kinds of chord styles with the existing song that she learned. Brandon will soon be tasked with an advanced project in creating music and perhaps a ring tone!

What You May Not Know About The Eighth Note Music School

Established in 2004, The Eighth Note also conducts external music programmes to various schools in Singapore. They have won accolades, awards and accreditation with the National Arts Council and at Singapore Youth Festivals.

Keen to sign your children up for a music course at The Eighth Note this holiday? Connect with them today!

The Eighth Note is located at :

Main Branch
19 Lorong Kilat #01-04
Singapore 598120
Tel: +65 6465 1418
Email: hi@theeighthnote.com.sg

 
Parkway Centre Branch 
 Parkway Centre #02-02
Singapore 449408
Tel: 63480628
Mobile: 9230 2778
Email: jac@theeighthnote.com.sg
Till the next post, have a wonderful day!

Disclaimer : The Accidental Mom Blogger was invited to review the holiday courses offered at The Eighth Note for my children. No monetary compensation was made and all opinions expressed in this post are entirely my own.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Christmas Gift Ideas + Giveaway!

I bet some of you are already shopping for Christmas gifts (just like me!) and then there's some of you who will only shop at the last minute. Whatever your shopping styles are, I am here to promote online shopping where it is definitely the easiest way to get around without having to jostle with the crowd. Though it's only almost the beginning of November, consider an advance shopping for Christmas as some good finds may hail from the other continents, some are made-to-order which needs more time and shipping alone may generally take 2-4 weeks. 

If you are open to online shopping already, may I interest you to some shopping on Etsy.com this year?  *Note : this is not a sponsored post. I'm just a big fan of Etsy and am all for handmades!  :)

If you don't know what Etsy is, where have you been? I mean, really?

Here's a quick introduction. Etsy is an e-market platform of all sorts for every kind of artisans all over the world, to sell their wares. It used to be a place where I sold my handmade creations however, I could not sustain the shop in Etsy as it became increasingly expensive to list/sell my creations and even harder to be noticed in a VERY big crowd of talented and creative people. Even though I am no longer a seller there, I am a frequent buyer.

When I was still a seller in Etsy, I was actively mingling with other like minded sellers and started to curate treasury lists - collating creations that are on sale based on a theme that I like. Though it can be a little time consuming, the splashes of colors and stunning photos were always an  inspiration  to me. Hence, I decided that this year, I should curate lists of Christmas gift ideas for my readers based on color themes. I also wanted to ensure that what I curate are within the budget of many so I've kept each chosen item between US$10 - US$40. Many of these items are unique and some even customizable. If you do see something you like, get in touch with the shop owner and feel free to ask them any questions before your purchase.

Ready for an eye feast?

'Pastels' 


Crochet Diana Colorful Paste...
$33

Light Mint Crochet Coasters ...
$12

Key Fob Wristlet - Key Chain...
$6.5

Pastel Mood iPhone 5 case, P...
$10

Wood Drinks Coasters in Past...
$17

Felt Stuffed Animal, Felt bi...
$15

Dark Green Polka Dot Japanes...
$15.9

Pastel strawberry pink infin...
$11

Bow Tie for Men by BartekDes...
$22

Floral Geometric on Wood Pho...
$15.99

Pill Box, Pill Case, Pill Co...
$13

Blonde Mini Soft Doll in Blu...
$16

MADE TO ORDER Pink felt pend...
$29

Embroidery Heart Tree Coin P...
$29.9

Magnets - Pastel Inspiring W...
$11.5

Mint Green Rosette Flower He...
$14


'Black and White' 


Flowers dSLR Camera Strap. B...
$30

Monogram Cufflinks, Personal...
$24

Bathroom Wall Art - 8 x 10 o...
$15

Taper candles - Candle set -...
$20

Nook Cover, Nook HD+ Case, N...
$26.95

Black and White Wedding Cand...
$12.11

ring dish, Monogram ring hol...
$16

Black and white table runner...
$20

Fall Leaves Bracelet - Black...
$15

Monogram Iphone 6 case - Dam...
$16.99

Coin Purse - Leaf - Cotton F...
$17.9

16x16 handmade Black and Whi...
$12

Black and White Clutch -Brid...
$20

Boss sleep mask, Black and w...
$18

Masai Inspired Tribal Beaded...
$15

Black and White Iphone Walle...
$22

I hope you've enjoyed the selections I have chosen! Let me know what you think! Did I manage to convince you to buy something from the treasuries? For more unique or quirky kind of creations, you can go direct to Etsy and do a search. 99% of the time, they would have something you want and more!

If you are still not into Etsy (yet), I also have a list of some local shops manned by mumpreneurs that may interest you too! Check them out on Facebook!

Chair-ish the Moments
Old school home decor, enamel ware etc.

Jeanstitch
Handmade fabric pouches, bags, aprons, pillows etc.

Shop of Curios
Handmade amigurumi animal keychains/paper weights.

The Little Bow Company
Handmade baby bows, shoes and clothings.

Mama Shoppe
A variety of baby and kids goods.

Jed Packs!
Children's back packs, wet bags, lunch bags, stationeries etc.

Xavvylicious
A distributor of Young Living essential oils. PM on her page for list of oils available.

Style Essence
For Mary Kay beauty products.

PriviKids
Quality clothes and products for kids.

Now run along and start shopping for the best picks before they run out.

 *You can also customize jewelry/accessories with me at Adeline's Loft! Drop me a PM and we can work something out together. Christmas orders will close early on 25 November 2014*


******************************************************************************
And now, the GIVEAWAY!
 ******************************************************************************

Christmas is nearing and aren't we all in a merry mood? Or, is it just me?


Win for yourself and your other half a pair of couple bracelets in a simple and casual style - handmade by yours truly.

For her, a grey suede bracelet with a pewter plate with 'Love' and a cluster of pastel swarovski crystals. Secured with spring clasp and extension chain. The lady's bracelet will fit wrist sizes from 16cm - 18cm. 

For him, a multi-strand leather bracelet with assorted charms - a treble clef, fox and peace sign (partially hidden).  Secured in magnetic clasp. The man's bracelet will only fit wrist size of 18.5-20cm.

This pair of couple bracelet is worth S$64.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms & Conditions :
* This giveaway is open only to residents in Singapore.
* Winners of previous giveaways done on my blog within the last 6 months will not qualify.
* No further alteration on the bracelets design will be entertained.
* It is mandatory to leave a comment with a valid email address, so that I can contact you if you win.
* The winner will be contacted via email after the draw has been made. If there is no response within 24 hours, I reserve the right to draw another winner.
* This giveaway ends on 9 Nov 2014. Winner will be announced on my FB page by 11 Nov 2014.
* The bracelet will be sent out by standard mail.

All the best!

Till the next post, have a wonderful day!


Thursday, October 16, 2014

[RECIPE] Baked Tonkatsu - Japanese Pork Cutlet


My children love this Japanese pork cutlet dish - tonkatsu. Very often, it is paired with Japanese rice and a side of salad. We don't have this very often when we eat out. Not so much because it is unhealthy (cos it's deep fried), it can be quite costly to eat a good quality one too.

I honestly didn't think it would be so easy to create this dish at home. What's more, it is baked and yet able to maintain the crisp on the outside and juicy on the inside? I was amazed and very impressed with the recipe I adapted from JustOneCookBook. My husband was even more impressed that not a single drop of oil was used and we all ate it without guilt!

As advised in the blog post, for a successful crispy baked tonkatsu, pork slices should not be too thick, otherwise it will take a long time to cook it through in the oven. I've kept mine roughly about less than 1.5cm thick. Let the skilled butcher do the slicing for you.

Most most importantly, I find that it is the pre-cooked bread crumbs that made this oil-free tonkatsu possible. Pre-cooking the bread crumbs would mean that there's no need to baste or spray your pork cutlets in oil and wait for it to turn golden brown while it's baking in the oven. How clever is this!

Preparation time : 15 minutes  Cooking time :  20 minutes  Serves : 4-5
Set oven temperature to 180 degree 

Ingredients :
- 1.5cups of bread crumbs (get Japanese bread crumbs. Can be found along designated Japanese condiment aisle at the supermarket)
- 8 pcs of pork loin, about the size of your palm. I've chosen to use shoulder collar meat cos I think we can afford a little fat in the meat, which would make a juicier option.
-salt and pepper for seasoning
- 1/2 cup plain flour, on flat plate
- 2 eggs, beaten

Method :
1) Toast the bread crumbs on pan on medium heat till golden brown. The original recipe calls for oil to be used while doing this. I chose to skip this step instead. It still came out nicely toasted. This took about 5 minutes or so. Do keep an eye on this step because it can burn quite fast if left unattended. When it's done, transfer to a flat dish to cool.



2) Score the meat - this step ensures that it stays nice and flat during cooking time, otherwise it may curl up. Then pound the meat (with the back of your knife if you don't have a meat pounder) which will give you a tender finish when it's cooked.


3) Sprinkle small amount of salt and pepper on each piece of meat before coating it in flour. Shake off the excess flour before dipping into the beaten egg and then coat it with the bread crumbs. Do the same for each piece.
4) Place the ready coated meat onto the baking tray, lined with baking paper. Cook for about 20 minutes, or till the meat is no longer pink inside.

5) Drizzle or prepare a dip to enhance the flavor of the tonkatsu. We used barbeque sauce here. Enjoy!

 
 
Till the next post, have a wonderful day!

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