Thursday, August 29, 2013

Hip Dysplasia and Baby Carriers

There has recently been some rumours over the online sphere that some baby carriers may cause hip dysplasia in young children. Since we carry a range of pouch slings and baby carriers on our website, we thought it would be helpful to put together some useful information on this topic to help clarify any doubts and fears that some parent might be feeling.

1. What is hip dysplasia?
Hip dysplasia is a condition where the bones of the hip joints do not align correctly. This is something pediatricians examine regularly from birth. If the hip joints are found to be dislocated, the pediatrician will order treatment in the form of a special harness to use 24 hours a day for several weeks. Although linked to genetics and/or birthing conditions, the exact cause of hip dysplasia is not known (more information here). Medical experts agree hip dysplasia is not caused by the use of baby carriers.

2. What causes hip dysplasia?
The exact causes of hip dysplasia are not known. The percentage is higher among babies born in breach position, and girls are more often diagnosed with this condition than boys. There are some scientific studies that shows that the rate of hip dysplasia is higher among children that have been swaddled. Therefore, swaddling your baby’s legs tightly together for a longer period of time is not recommended by pediatricians.

3. I’ve read on the International Hip Dysplasia Institute site that some types of baby carriers are not safe for my baby’s hips. Is that true? Why do they claim that?
There is actually no medical evidence to support that claim, and the Hip Dysplasia Institute actually does not provide any references to back up that statement.

4. Why do I hear rumors that certain brands of baby carriers like the Baby Bjorn are bad for my baby? What facts are they based on? 
As you often hear, don’t believe everything you read on the web. There is a lot of misleading and erroneous information circulating about baby carriers, and not one of these “rumors” is based on facts and medical advice. Unfortunately personal opinions travel easily online and the stories become even more distorted as time goes by.

It can be difficult to sort out what is medically fact-based versus solely someone’s opinion with different sources of information. If you would like to learn more about hip dysplasia, you can find some useful information from this site.

I hope that the information above can be helpful to you in making an informed choice when considering your baby carrying options based on your own preference and needs.


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

We can all make a difference no matter how small it is

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Moon Sand Pit in our Living room

My kids love playing with sand. While we live on the sunny island of Singapore, I do not take them to the beach as often as I ought to as my husband and I are not too fond of the sun.

The beauty about playing with sand is there is no wrong way to play with it. In contrast to plastic toys that are ready-made and pre-determined for the child, sand, is well-suited to the explorative and imaginative nature of young children. 

There are many benefits of sand play, the first being the development of the sense of touch through the texture of the sand. Sand play also develops the arm, wrist, and hand muscles, uses grasping and wrist control. It provides for creativity and imagination and is relaxing for the child. While playing with sand, a child also develops eye-hand coordination, experimentation with volume, weight, and measurement.The best sand, I find, are those that are fine enough and slightly damp so you can mould and work with it.
 
Early this year, I discovered a product made in Sweden called Moon Sand. Moon Sand looks and feels like sand yet it can be to molded into any shape, like dough. 

 
I am not sure who loves playing with Moon Sand more, my kids or I. There is something soothing, absorbing and extremely therapeutic about playing with this medium. I simply love the fine texture of sand (yes, moon sand is made from real desert sand and a special compound that allows the sand particles to bind together like dough) and the fact that you can compact it to form solid shapes that are limited only by your imagination!

Here is a little video of my girls playing with Moon Sand in our living room.


I decided one day to create a larger "sand pit" in our living room so that the girls can invite their friends to an indoor sand play as often as they like. I filled a baby bath tub that the girls long outgrew with a box of moon sand. 


The baby bath tub I had purchased from Mothercare 6 years ago turned out to be the perfect size and height for containing the moon sand. As the sand doesn't stick or stain surfaces, cleaning up sand that fell out of the tub was an easy job. If there are more rowdy kids, I just place a large blanket under the tub to "collect" the sand that fall out of the tub.



The sand never hardens and never dries out. It is non-toxic and unlike normal sand, Moon Sand can be sterilised (just give it a spray of dettol like you would sterilise any hard surface and allow to air dry). Oh,and if your child happen to create a masterpiece sculpture that you want to keep, all you have to do is put it in the oven to "bake" and it will keep its shape forever. When you feel inspired to do another masterpiece, warm it up again and crumble it back to sand.

Moon Sand is available online as a box of 2kg for SGD $38 at Pupsik Studio and select retail stores islandwide! Larger volumes for pre-school use available upon request. Accessories available and sold separately.


Disclaimer: Playing with Moon Sand can be addictively fun for kids and adults alike so consider yourself warned!

Friday, August 17, 2012

GAIA Skincare Line - Review

I was recently given the opportunity to review a range of products from Gaia Skin Naturals baby and preganancy range. If you have not heard much about GAIA, this company was started by an Australian mom looking for a better product for her child who had sensitive skin and developed eczema when he was 8 weeks old.  

As a mom of 2 little girls, I am careful to choose products that are safe for them. Gaia skin care range is free from artificial fragrances, soap, sulphates, petrochemicals, mineral oils, parabens, propylene glycol and other ingredients that are known to cause dryness and skin irritation. They use ingredients that are certified organic which is something that I have increasingly come to value.

The first product I tested out on the kids was the Bath and Body wash which is formulated with gentle coconut derived cleansing agents, certified organic sweet orange pure essential oil and skin softening organic oils. It contains no soap or sulphates that can cause dryness and leaves a gentle scent on the girls after bath time.Only a small squirt is needed each time so a bottle lasts a long time.

Product: Baby Bath and Body Wash
RRP: SGD 19.50
Pros: Smells lovely
Cons: Quite pricey compared to other organic brands but each bottle lasts a long time

The Baby Shampoo smells similar to the Body Wash since it has the sweet orange essential oil in addition to evening primrose and chamomile which I absolutely adore. 


Product: Baby Bath and Body Wash
RRP: SGD 19.50
Pros:  I love it. You do not need much so a bottle lasts a long time. I have started using it on my hair as well and I love it. It is so much better than other shampoos I have used as I have a very sensitive scalp.
Cons: nil
Considered a hot favourite, the baby moisturiser is a blend of natural, organic extracts and skin softening organic oils to moisturise rough, flaky patches of skin, and to protect against dryness. It is a great moisturizer that is extremely light. It absorbs quickly and does not feel oily. I use this on myself given that my skin tends to get very dry as I work in an air-conditioned environment. I would definitely take this body along with me when I travel to dry winter climates.

Product: Baby Moisturiser
RRP: SGD 20.90
Pros:  Easily absorbed by the skin, great smell, doesn't irritate sensitive dry skin
Cons:  A little bit expensive, only comes in small bottles.

Another hot favourite that moms love from their baby range is the skin soothing lotion. This is essentially a diaper cream but is also a great multi-purpose calming lotion that can be used from top to toe on any areas that need soothing. It is suitable for use on mosquito bites, scratches as well as soften and care for skin that is affected by eczema and nappy rash. Perfect as a bum cream to keep tiny bums nice and soft! I use it on my feet to soothe and moisturise my feet and minimise blisters whenever I wear heels.

Product: Skin Soothing Lotion
RRP: SGD 18.30
Pros:  An all natural product, good for dry feet and small areas. Smells lovely just like all of Gaia's products.
Cons:  Slightly greasy
I cannoth imagine life with kids without wet wipes. I use them ALL THE TIME! GAIA's wet wipes are made from bamboo which is naturally antibacterial. The wipes are 100% biodegradable and will degrade in 14 days after use. These wipes smell clean and natural. They do a fantastic job of cleaning up as they are so soft, fine but durable.  

Product: Bamboo Wipes (80pcs)
RRP: SGD 12.90
Pros:  Environmentally friendly, gentle, biodegradable and good quality.
Cons:  Slightly pricey and hard to get one out of the packet

And finally, the last product that I tested out from GAIA was the Pure Pregnancy Belly Butter. GAIA Pure Pregnancy Belly Butter has been developed to maintain skin suppleness and elasticity, keep skin moisturised to decrease itchiness, reduce the appearance of existing stretch marks, and keep skin soft and smooth. The rich and nourishing body lotion is non-greasy and contains pure cocoa butter and organic shea butter to replenish the skin, organic rosehip and organic wheat germ oils to assist with skin elasticity, and help smooth lines and scars. 
Product: Pure pregnancy belly butter
RRP: SGD 29.90
Pros:  Absorbs quickly  Comes with an easy to use flip top lid
Cons:  slightly pricey but good quality

After trying out their products, I would definitely recommend GAIA to all parents who are concerned about using manmade chemicals on their baby's skin. True, the product is a little pricey but each bottle goes a long way. You can be assured that you are using something that is safe and gentle for your kids and hey, yourself too!

A limited range of GAIA's products will be coming soon to Pupsik Studio. Stay tuned!



Monday, July 30, 2012

Phlox Terraniums


Just came across this website put up by a pair of super creative Year 3 Horticulture and Landscape students from Ngee Ann Poly - Hidayah and Amilia. They are selling these adorable mini potted plants in beautful glass containers that they put together. Thought they will make a lovely display in the home or a meaningful gift for your child to give to his/her teacher during teacher's day! 

Do check out their website for more beautful creations and support local talent by buying a mini plant from them!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Art Camp at Abrakadoodle

My 5 year old (Vera) has been attending art classes at Abrakadoodle for the past year and a half. I can't recommend Abrakadoodle enough. It is both structured and non-structured at the same time and is truly one of the most creative art classes for kids that I have come across. 

On Friday each week, Vera looks forward to learning about a different artist's work. Most classes begin with a discussion on a master or contemporary artist or an art genre and demonstration of art techniques. The kids are then free to form their own interpretations of the topic of the day, using a medium that is inspired by the artist or genre.
 
Vera has always been abstract in her thinking and I really appreciate the fact that the classes at Abrakadoodle does not force upon any single rigid definition of what constitutes art. The teachers involve children in what is known as Process Art. They help children to explore, create and develop thier own original ideas by providing the kids with the inspiration, materials, guidance and tools to be creative. 
Example of Process Art. When we think about art instruction, we often think about the outcome - "What a nice painting you created, Molly." But what is really important is what Molly learned as she created her art. What she learned in the "process." That's Process Art - Art that places the emphasis upon the learning taking place
What I also love about the class is the "Show and Tell" session at the end of each class where parents are invited to join the class to watch each young artist present their own work. As a shy girl, this was initially quite a struggle for Vera but she has learnt to speak up and not be afraid to talk about her own artwork.
At the end of the class, each artwork is beautifully placed in a frame for the child to take home. This makes it very easy to display at home or even give away to loved ones.

Super Hero!
Last June, I enrolled Vera in the Kids on Canvas camp which is a fabulous class for kids who want to learn all about painting. During the class, she was taught to use a variety of brushes to mix and layer colors on canvas using acrylic and created 6 beautiful pieces of art work in 3 days.

Showing off her work with her classmates from the art camp

I would definitely recommend you check out Abrakadoodle if you are looking for a fun and creative art class for your child. The classes are reasonably priced and great for children of many ages starting from as young as 2. Their art camps held during school holidays are definitely worth considering if you already take your child to another art school and are looking for a fun activity for your child to be engaged in during the holidays.

For more information about Abrakadoodle and their latest class schedule, do visit their website.









Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Our family portrait at Pink Elephant Labs

I always love a simple but well-taken photograph and appreciate that it is not easy to take one. As the owner of Pupsik Studio, I have put together several photo sessions with models by some pretty amazing photographers. However, I never had the chance to organise a professional photo session for the family. Over the years, we have had several good pictures taken of the girls but rarely one taken together as a family.

I have long admired the work of a small home-based studio called Pink Elephant Labs. Known for her simple, fun and candid style, photographer Indriana strives to get portraits that show her clients' personality and their relationship with each other. So it was really a privilege for us to finally engage her to do our long awaited family portraits. 

Prior to the shoot, Indriana was really thoughtful to mentally prepare us and sending us a list of clothing suggestions for the family. We were advised on the colours that will go while with certain backdrops and very importantly, what to avoid such as busy graphic patterns and big logos. 

The shoot took place in Indriana's home in Tampines. It is amazing how she cleverly converted her HDB home into a comfortable photostudio apartment complete with all the necessary props and lighting gear to create the perfect environment for a great photo. Being in a home, the kids definitely felt more at ease and it was not long before they warmed up to Indriana.

Here are some of the pictures we took from the session:

Left: Nadya (3yrs) , Right: Vera (5yrs)

Nadya (who is always up to something)

Vera
The entire shoot took less than an hour and we chatted comfortably with Indriana throughout the session. She was sensitive to notice the needs of the children and constantly kept them interested and entertained by whipping out different props and funny antics.
The girls with their favourite stuffed animal friends

 As you can probably tell, the kids had no qualms pulling funny faces at the camera which really reflected their real personalities.
Taking these pictures reminded me somewhat of our wedding portrait taken 7 years ago
And finally, our long awaited family portrait. We will treasure this moment always.

Thank you Indriana for helping us take these precious photographs which we will love and treasure for a long time!

x,
The Zagorodnovs


For the lastest promotions, do check out Pink Elephant Lab's website, blog and Facebook page! The first 5 customers to book a photo session with Pink Elephant Labs will get a $25 gift voucher to spend at Pupsik Studio!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Fundraising for Little Nur

A member of the Pupsik team shared with me the story of Little Nur today.  Really sad to hear how this little girl is suffering and how helpless she and her family are in this situation...

Little Nur is 4, has only 'weeks to live' unless she gets a heart transplant. Her heart inflammation has caused her kidneys to deteriorate, which in turn has caused her abdomen to bloat until her tummy is now twice its normal size. The little girl's bloated stomach, pressed against her other organs, also causes her to suffer from breathlessness, severe pain and a regular fever.

To understand more about Nur's plight, please click on the following links below:
  1. Yahoo
  2. AsiaOne
  3. Little Nur's Heart Fund
There’s no cure for Little Nur except for a heart transplant which has to be performed in either the United States or Europe.

The cost of such an operation is something their family cannot afford. The family of 6 depend on her security supervisor husband’s monthly pay of about $2,200 and live in a two-room rental flat in Ang Mo Kio. I can only imagine the emotional and financial strain that is being placed on this family as they care for Little Nur during this difficult time.

To show our support for Little Nur and her family, all net proceeds from the sale of smartmom teething pendants between 1-8th June will go to Nur's family. 

Please purchase a pendant if you would like to show your support for Nur during this short fundraising period. If you would like to help Little Nur by donating directly to her via a fundraising effort organised by a close friend of the family, please click HERE.

Lets do whatever little we can to support someone in need. Please help spread the word.

Thank you so much!

The Pupsik Team

"Believe, when you are most unhappy, that there is something for you to do in the world. So long as you can sweeten another's pain, life is not in vain."
Helen Keller

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Create your own personalised word cloud

I came across this cool site called Tagxedo recently that you can use to turn words -- famous speeches, news articles, slogans and themes, even your love letters -- into a visually stunning word cloud. You can vary the font, colour palette, outline you want the cloud to take from an easy template and voila!
I created the heart cloud above by entering the url of our store and got this stunning piece of art!

I also had a go at typing in some random words that came to my mind when I thought about the kids and came up with the adorable elephant cloud above. 

If you like what you have created, you can choose to print your customised work of art on a range of products such as T shirts, cups, mousepads in their gift shop. I think this is such a wonderful way to create a meaningful gift for a friend.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

New Collection by Elly!

If you are shopping for gorgeous and fun dresses for your little girl and sharp and cheery shirts for your little boy, check out the new collection by Elly!
Elly designs embody the essence of childhood - innocence, joy and laughter, wonder and excitement. Founded in 2009 by two sisters, Audrey and Carol, Elly is guided by the principle that dresses can be beautiful yet comfortable and practical.  The collection for girls and boys are divided into 4 age groups ranging from 9 months to 4 years.
Elly's previous collection of Wonderland dresses sold out like hotcakes on Pupsik Studio the earlier part of this year and I was extremely delighted that they have reproduced this very versatile design with their new print "Wild Friends" (see above).

This gorgeous A-line dress can double up as a top for girls after they have outgrown them as dresses are are perfect for hot climates such as Singapore.

 I simply adore their "Little Man's Shirt" in an array of bold prints that is sure to turn eyes on the street. The shirts come in a very classic and comfortable cut that your little man is sure to approve.
And if you prefer something a little more subtle, their matching shirt and twinkle dress in "Blue Leaves" below will be a perfect match for siblings.
All of Elly's dresses are made from high quality 100% cotton fabrics from the USA and Europe and the quality ensures that your dress/shirt will last a long time without fading or losing its shape after a few washes. Do check out more of the new collection and the very latest of this lovely little store on Elly's main Facebook page!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Color your own "Keep Calm and Carry On"

Just created my own "Keep Calm and Carry On" poster that you can get your kids to colour and pin up for you. The pdf file for this can be downloaded here.

Create your own snow globe at home!

I could not resist sharing this brilliant craft tutorial on how to create your own snow globe at home. Have fun!

Materials needed:

1. Glass jars
2. Figurines
3. Superglue to adhere the figurine to the inside of the lid
4. Distilled water
5. Dash of glycerin (available at drugstores) to keep the glitter from falling too quickly
6. Pinch of magic glitter

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

225 Inspired Projects for Year-Round Celebrations


If you are in search of new craft ideas and inspiration, you will be delighted to know that the editors of Martha Stewart Living Magazine just launched a new book entitled Martha Stewart's Handmade Holiday Crafts, 225 Inspired Projects for Year-Round Celebrations. I was lucky enough to get a preview copy of the book sent to me before its release and it was every bit what I imagine it would be - PURE INSPIRATION! 

This book features some of the best holiday crafts from Martha Stewart Living. From New Year's Eve to Valentine's Day to Christmas and every holiday in between, Martha Stewart's Handmade Holiday Crafts contains page after page of tips, techniques, and inspiring ideas. Craft enthusiasts will love the gorgeous photography combined with the easy-to-follow steps and techniques that only Martha Stewart can deliver. Some of my favourite projects that I think will be fun to do with kids include:
Lace stencils on tags to create the most gorgeous stationery
Transform a sock into a fashion accessory for dad. Perfect project for Father's Day if you have socks with missing pairs at home and not sure what to do with them.
Finger stamping hearts on love notes and tag. Kids will love how fun and simple this is!
Create your own fortune cookie with some felt, craft wire and fabric glue. Perfect for party favours.
My all time favourite project has got to be this DIY snow globe project (see below). All you need are simple materials such as empty glass jars, some figurines, glitter, glycerine (available at most drug stores), silicon glue to create this fun project to give away at Christmas! How fun!!

So if you are in a crafty mood, do check out this book available now HERE!

Friday, September 23, 2011

DIY Sugar cubes - sweet!

Came across this nifty tutorial and thought the kids would have lots of fun making these. It looks fairly easy and fun enough to keep those little hands occupied for at least 30mins. Try it and let me know how it turns out for you! Full tutorial here.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Fun Easter Egg Project for Kids

What a wonderful Easter Egg project. For the full tutorial, click here.