Friday, May 27, 2016

My kids and their fids.

Some friends and colleagues have been asking me about our PARROTS after seeing their funny photos and a video of Yoda jailbreaking from his cage, so here I am dedicating a post just for these marvelous and colourful creations of God!

As an introduction, we have Yoda, our Congo African Grey (sometimes referred to as CAGs) hatched in Feb 2016.
We also added a Yellow-sided conure, aka YSC, just last Saturday 21st May 2016.

Recently, Adam had asked for a pet parrot again after the demise of our foster-turned-adopted Border Collie, Sky.
Long story short - before Sky came, we had a pet Sun Conure (in the early months of 2015) whom the kids named Joker.
Joker was a great parrot - playful, loves to rough it with the boys, tame, and a great clown.
However, he didn't get along with Sky after we fostered/ adopted her. They were often fighting, so eventually I had Joker rehomed, despite the protests from Adam.

Several months later, Sky passed away from food poisoning and for a few months then, our home had no pets.
Until, that is, Adam started asking for a parrot again around his 7th birthday.

He said he hasn't forgotten about me selling Joker away without his knowledge/ permission, and horror of horrors how could I do that to him/ his pet?!

So in the end, after some bargaining from him and also from me, Hubby & I gave in to his request and got him an African Grey parrot for his 7th birthday.
We made countless visits to different petshops, talked to the shop owners, Googled and asked around on the internet.

Finally, from the recommendation of a fellow bird enthusiast on Birdcraze, we finally got our African Grey baby from Chua bird shop at 154 Serangoon North.
The owner, Dion, taught us how to handfeed our new baby and gave me her personal number, and armed with the new cage, food, and accessories, we drove home with Yoda.

This is Adam, at 6.20AM on school mornings, handfeeding Yoda.
He kept his promise of being a responsible pet owner.


Yoda's mugshot when he just came. Still a silly, pigeon-looking baby.
I remember I took time off work to bring Adam to choose his parrot. Chua's petshop just had a new shipment of CAGs and we could go down to take a look.
After some choosing, Yoda was actually the one whom we had the most affinity for.

This is our red-butt chicken now.
With his diet of fresh fruits, pellets, vegetables like corn, choy sum, french beans, carrots and cooked brown rice, he has grown a nice plumage.

Yoda is not particularly fond of cuddles, or loud noises and sudden movements from the kids. He is quiet and not a screamer or destroyer, making apartment living very suitable for CAGs.
Because of their less demanding activity levels, they also make wonderful companions for older folk.
They are excellent talkers and masters of mimicry and usually start talking at 1 yr old.
I highly recommend watching "Alex african grey" on Youtube as you will likely be bowled over by the wits and cognition of Dr Irene Pepperberg's CAG Alex.

Yoda has a new friend, Happy the Yellow-sided conure.

While CAGs prefer a more dignified and less physical relationship and is usually a one-man-bird, Conures are more friendly and get along well with most in the family, especially children.

Conures will always have a special place in my heart for being the clowns and entertainers they are.
Despite being one of the smallest types of parrots, they more than make up for their size in their colours and personality.
They love to cuddle and are such clowns.

Happy's arrival story was a bit different, because we had gone to Goodwill petshop to buy toys and treats for Yoda, and definitely buying another parrot wasn't on our list of things!
She was just there, hopping around the perches of other parrots, and she was unchained.
When she saw me, she just matter-of-factly hopped onto my finger and then to my shoulder, as if she was meant to be mine!

We then walked around the store with Happy on my shoulder.
At first, I thought she was someone's lost parrot because she was the only YSC around, and the only parrot not leashed or in a cage.
In the end, the petshop guy came to talk to me and said this little bird has chosen us and I managed to bargain and bought Happy for a discount :P

Adam chose the name "Happy" for her (he usually names the parrots) as he wishes everyone in the family to be happy.

Happy's arrival was so spontaneous and she followed us home on my shoulder, we didn't even have time to prepare her cage!
She lived on the perch in our deck for a few days before her cage was delivered.





If you're thinking of getting a Yellow-sided conure, be prepared for lots of cuddles and cuteness!

Our balcony is slowly transforming into a parrot haven, with plants and crops for them to forage among in the day.



My kids enjoy being silly with their fids.




Advantages of keeping parrots:
- Require lesser time, money, and energy than dogs.

- They don't need to be walked twice daily.

- They don't shed.

- Many types of parrots can talk and mimic sounds.

- They are amusing and funny.

Disadvantages of keeping parrots:
- They are not easily toilet-trained like dogs and cats.

- Compared to dogs and cats which have been bred for their companion and working qualities for more than hundred of years, parrots are relatively new in the pet industry and many of them are from wild parents or only a few generations of tame parentage.

- If they aren't bonded to you / your family members, they can bite. Those beaks can pack a punch.

- Depending on the species, some parrots can cost a limb!

- The exotic bird trade is causing a decline in these birds' populations in the wild by poaching.

(However in Singapore, "according to parrot breeder Puah Leong Heng, 57, to legally import a protected bird species into Singapore, the bird has to be at least from the third generation. This means that if a parent bird is caught from the wild, only chicks bred from its chicks can be imported." - source: Flights of Fancy Straits Times SG)



Disclaimer: this post about parrots is based on my personal experience and not in advocacy of any trainer or vet.
I am in the opinion that with the correct research, time and energy, parrots will make wonderful pets for the young and old.
Please spend time joining bird groups on Facebook (Birdcraze.SG, Birdies and Family SG etc) asking for help and Googling on the breeds of the parrots you're interested in, and well as their personalities, noise levels, and children compatibility.
Depending on species, parrots live up to 40-80 years, so there's a good chance you might have to include them in your will!



Thursday, May 19, 2016

Adam's Star Wars 7th Birthday, and the *NEW* Walls Paddle Pop Twister review!

Our firstborn just turned 7 on the 17th May and he requested for a Star Wars themed party on the preceding weekend.
Holy macaroni! What a milestone it is for me, having a child enter Primary One and having his own friends whom he wanted invited to his own party.
He's showing increasing signs of independance away from me, and birthdays always make me a tad emotional.

Anyway, back to Adam's party.

As it was a Star Wars theme, all the children dressed to the nines in appropriately-themed attire and everyone brought along their light sabres!

Bunting is Mama-made. I traced the letters using a ruler and made it myself.
It's really not difficult to make, but as a full-time working Mum, it is time-consuming and I had very small pockets of time to do it (when the kids and parrot sleep so nobody can disturb my craft).

The party table came with the buffet catering, cupcake stand, balloons and table cover bought.

Pinnata bought off another mum from Carousell who had it filled but didn't use it in the end.
Her loss my gain!

Halal Star Wars themed cupcakes from a sweet baker who runs the home-based Dania Wati Oven.
Her prices are very affordable and she was so accomodating to my schedule and pick-up, I will definitely be back for more!
I love supporting fellow Mums, so do check out Dania Wati Oven :)


This Millennium Falcon takes the cake - literally!
A massive 2.5KG fondant cake baked for us by Sweet Perfection Singapore.
Annie and Jess have been my go-to bakers for EVERY. SINGLE. YEAR. without fail, because they never fail me!
This cake cost me $270 which is very competitive compared to other bakeries which charge an upward of $300.
As you can see, no effort was spared by Sweet Perfection as Annie even included a real light effect!

Thank you Sweet Perfection! Always the baker I can trust :) 

I made blue fruit-cocktail Konnyaku jellies for cooling off in the summer heat and turned out to be a hit with the kids because towards the end of the party there was none left :P

Walls Singapore was uber kind to send me an ice-box filled with their new product: Paddle Pop Twisters.
Just in time for feeding the humans!

Thanks for the neat little ice-box too, we can use it for family picnics in future :)

First Jedi knights to arrive: Alden and Rayden.




The food was from eCreative Catering but I think compared to the first time we ordered from them for Adam's full month, their standards have slided somewhat.
Will source for other caterers next time ;(
P.S. this is just my personal opinion and I'm not sponsored the buffet.




The kids loved playing with Yoda and Yoda was such a champ - he behaved extremely well and didn't nip or bite anyone despite this being his first big event.
Proud of you, Yoda!

My mum and aunt. In the background are my parents-in-law :)

Neighbours! Lucky to have fellow young parents as neighbours so we can never run out of topics and tip-sharing.

Adam's friends gathering for groupie!










 
 
 
 
 
 
ABOUT THE NEW PADDLE POP TWISTER
Remember back in the day when we saved part of our pocket money for the after-school Mama-shop treat of Paddle Pop Rainbow?
The rich, swirly pastels that melt in our mouths after a sweaty day in school?
Now, Walls has come up with a new flavour, called the Paddle Pop Twister.
 
Product information:
Get your taste buds hooked on an explosive twist of flavours in the all-
new Paddle Pop Twister!
Dive into a refreshing mix of juicy apples, sweet blackberries and mixed
fruits paired with creamy vanilla for a burst of flavours with every bite.
 
Recognised as a Healthier Choice by the Health Promotion Board (HPB),
that’s another great reason to hop onto the Twister boat today!
 
Swirl your Twister adventure at major supermarkets, convenience stores,
petrol marts and mini-marts island-wide.
 
Retail price:
$1.20 for single; $4.50 for multi-pack of 4.
 
Unlike the traditional Paddle Pop Rainbow, the Twister tastes more fruity and zesty.
 
Here's the response of Paddle Pop Twisters in the house that night: 

Thank you Walls for sending us your newest Twister Pops!
As you can see, it was a well-received treat for young and old alike! :)



Thank you family and friends for taking time on your precious weekend to attend Adam's party.
It meant a lot to him, and to us!
He went to bed late that night because he was too excited from all the hustle and bustle, and he requested that I do the same for Ashton's birthday as they really liked the piƱata.

Happy 7th Birthday Adam,
may you grow up to be happy,
to know and love God,
to be successful in your own right,
to be filial to your parents and to serve your community.
Lots of LOVE,
Mum, Dad and Ashton.