Sunday, 14 September 2014

Oh my Garden!

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The new house comes with an urban garden. One that is a perfect square, with just the right size for us (for now). In the height of spring/summer, I had to mow the lawn every 10 days (at the max).

Lawn aside, planting new plants & flowers have really been rewarding and educational.



It's now almost autumn, and I've created some Autumn coloured plants for the front door. Cyclamen, red cabbages and ivy - some of the plants I chose for one of the planters. Cyclamen can offer a long period of flowering, especially if you deadhead promptly. After the flowers have dropped off, don't allow the seed pods to curl up and propagate if you want your cyclamen plant to flower for longer. Instead, simply twist the twig at the bottom and lightly pull up the whole "twig". 


(deadheaded Cyclamen)



(Look at the new season cabbages! The photo on the left even shows some water-drops : Don't they look like diamonds on the cabbages?)


The Autumnal Planter with Ornamental Cabbages (Yes, I don't think you can eat them), ivy and a pink cyclamen. Next to it, is a succulent and alpine planter : Dragon's Blood Sedums, "Candy Stripe" Phlox, and Echeveria Glauca. 



Thursday, 28 November 2013

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Her choice of books from the library - A lot of non-fiction, some light-hearted ones, a comic (Santa's pants) and Martin Luther King Jr? Her school is having an "African" theme this whole term and they have been teaching her about the dark, and courageous sides of Slavery, treatment of black people... and Ku Klux Klan. KKK scared her so much she woke up one night screaming. Not very impr
essed that they teach her about racial tension and violence at such a young age (6-7YO). It is not that I want to bubble wrap my child and shield her away from it, but for a 6 year old, they still cannot mentally understand some things. There is no reason to teach them about racial issues, which I feel will further make certain children feel more "aware" of how different they are, in terms of colour of hair, skin and facial features. I know that most kids are still "colour-blind" at this age, so let them have an innocent childhood - they can learn it at 10YO when they are mentally more mature!


Anyway, it is interesting to see what she chooses at the library and I am partly glad she doesn't just go for the Horrid Henry series (which she is very into since last term). LOL!

Thursday, 21 November 2013

The wonders of Japanese animation

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28 October 2012


It is the start of the half-term, and Shean Wenn came up to me early in the morning holding the origami book I bought for her some time back. She was trying and fiddling with an Origami shape (that book isn't that great!) and then we went on to explore other origami shapes. After that, I continued browsing online and happened to stop by a newly found blog as I was googling for "Fish Origami".

Zakkalife is really an interesting blog of a mom to half-Japanese kids! So while on her site,we viewed some videos and stumbled upon this other youtube video produced by some Japanese - they teach easy drawing for kids. In this video, they taught how to draw a tortoise, a rat, a fox, a pig, a bear, an alligator, a cute bunny, an even cuter elephant and a crab! If you have young children and can't think of how to teach them to draw animals, this video will be great for them (with an addictive background song in Japanese, although we both don't know Japanese, we still hummed to it.. everytime it comes on!).





(Shean Wenn's masterpieces)



Look what Shean Wenn produced! I was so smitten by her work (Aren't you?) . After drawing it, SW said that she will write the names of the animals below it (in English), however, I suggested to her to write the names of the animals in Chinese. She protested but agreed in the end.



(Shean Wenn the animal lover)



Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Cook-your-own : Pan Mee 板面 (Hakka Flat Noodle Soup)

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I have been an avid follower of Rasa Malaysia for many years and have used her recipes countless times and they have never disappoint! So when she published this recipe, suddenly my love for this simple and wholesome dish came flooding back. I had to make it!!

Two weeks ago, an ex-colleague of mine were to visit us and therefore I decided to make this dish for dinner and Sago Gula Melaka for dessert afterwards.

For the soup, I made a superior stock using Ikan Bilis (dried anchovies) and Corn-fed chicken bones. The soup is sweet and full of flavour - Umami flavour oozing from both the chicken bones and Ikan Bilis. I also made the noodles from scratch because I didn't know where to buy ready-made noodles here in London.
 (The prepared dough which were "resting" for half an hour.) 
 (The cut noodles - in different sizes and shapes!) 
(Shean Wenn folded her sleeves and helped me cut more Pan Mee noodles)



After slaving for 2 hours in the kitchen, we were ready to eat! I made some by the "tearing" method (called "Mee Hoon Kuih") just to have a variety of tastes. I must say it was just perfect for the wet and cold evening in London! 


(Our bowls of slurpy Pan Mee) 





The Rasa Malaysia recipe is here.

If you fancy the dried version of Pan Mee aka Chilli Pan Mee (Kin Kin Pan Mee, the famous franchise of the dried version of Pan Mee), you can go to this website (lots of interesting foodie posts!!!) for more details. Nurah even have a downloadable 45-mins recipe - A Must-try if you are pressed for time and just want to satisfy your cravings for this healthy meal!

And the Sago Gula Melaka was the best way to end the night with : Rich, creamy coconut milk & sweet "gula melaka" drenched on cold sago - only one word to describe it - HEAVENLY! Shean Wenn was addicted to Sago Gula Melaka asking me for more the night after that, pronouncing it perfectly in Malay in her English-accent! Well done darling! 

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

"Flies like the smell of rotten meat"

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So the things Shean Wenn learns from her books. We have been going to the library very often this summer holidays despite being busy with the house move and visit from her grandparents. I find she tends to love reading non-fiction to fiction although she does like her "Horrid Henry" books (to my dismay!).


Horrid Henry, really? What do you learn from it? I notice the books makes her laugh, so at least she is finding humour from it. But what she really learnt from the non-fiction books are most useful of course.

During tonight's dinner, she asked me this very earnestly.

 "Mummy, ... do I smell like rotten meat?"
"No, of course you don't. Why do you say that?"
"Because I saw a few flies flying around me all the time, why? And flies like the smell of rotten meat."
 "Oh silly, it's because they are hovering around the rotten banana (that her grandparents left on the table - one left from the bunch. Her grandparents have gone to Spain for a short holiday)."

Shean Wenn enjoying her book about Insects! Eeek.. Geli! 
Shean Wenn smiled in relief. I smiled because I found it funny! She often comes up to me with funny facts like that. Just like the one about the Mimic Octopus - which she said she watched from Octonauts. She said there is this octopus who can change its shape into  "a few eels", "a zebra fish", and something else. I had to google about mimic octopus before believing her! Wow.. more facts of the day.

Monday, 22 April 2013

"Priceless" labels - An English Lesson

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Her weekly homework time, on top of the ones she receives from school is from a very fun workbook I found in WH Smith called "Enchanted English" series from Letts (publisher). In this chapter, they are teaching the grapheme "a-e"/"o-e" ( as in "take", "make", "rope", etc.) and referred to it as the "Magical e" which changes the sound of the original word.

(The Grapheme o-e or a-e)

Then later in another section, they asked to "try writing labels for these objects". And she happily put on her own "labels" -as in the ones you see in the supermarket shelves. I had a good laugh when I saw it because you can't actually fault her because these are proper labels, isn't it? Anyway, I had to ask her to correct these by adding the "magical e" words next to her very special "price labels". I still love the Price Label ideas  more, but a girl's gotta learn what a girl's gotta learn, isn't it?



(Shean Wenn's intepretation of "labels" - aka "price labels")



On another unrelated story : One morning I thought hub's choice of work clothes matched Shean Wenn's uniform. So I made them take a photo together. You can see hub is really not in the mood to entertain my request, but have kindly obliged anyway! 


(Daddy and daughter with matching attires)





Monday, 15 April 2013

Piano Journey

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Shean Wenn started learning piano almost a year ago with Kasia. She actually started in Mar last year with another teacher but due to clash in schedule, I decided to stop it and when Kasia had a space, we decided to try her out with Kasia, and never looked back.

I am glad to say she has lots of enthusiasm and most importantly, passion and tenacity to play piano. It has been a journey of discovery for me too, as I had a brief period of learning music when I was much younger, but did not continue because I just did not find that I have the talent for it. But now, because I sit in her piano class at every lesson, I have found that I am learning some musical knowledge too. And I am so thankful that SW has more talent and tenacity in piano music than I do.

For example, we are starting to practice for her Grade 1 ABRSM exams and she has chosen one of her 3 songs to be played - Chattanooga Choo Choo which is an upbeat and happy song. Kasia guided her 2 times (ie 2 classes) before the Easter break. And during the Easter Break (no piano lessons for 2 weeks), Shean Wenn practices on the piano EVERY DAY, so from only knowing how to play the first line, she has now mastered the whole song - all on her own reading and practice! I would consider this a mean feat. Obviously, it is not perfect yet and that is what Kasia is there for, to fine tune her "performance" - getting the rhythm, dynamics and "feel" right.


(Shean Wenn playing Chattanooga Choo Choo ABRSM Grade 1)


This is another video of her playing during her first ever Piano Concert for her Piano School. She was just learning for 3 months during that concert but I was so proud of her performance. The exposure performing really thrills her and I hope it will last her a lifetime.



Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Adventures in a New School

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After being in the waiting list for almost 2 years, the state school called up 2 weeks ago to inform us that there was a space available for Shean Wenn. When I got the call, I had mixed feeling about it - she is doing so well in her current school and not only adjusting well but also coming in leaps & bounds in her reading, maths & comprehension. On the other hand, this state school is only 5mins drive from our place and we would "save" a lot in school fees (state school is of course FOC), and she already has a few friends in the school (but all of them in different classes/years).

So, after putting a lot of thought into it, we have decided to accept the offer. She started her new school this week.


Day 1 in her new school :

"Mummy, my teacher says she is very impressed with me"
"Is that so? Why is she so impressed?"
"Because she says my handwriting is very neat . And I am also very quiet in class, I don't talk over her like some other kids, especially some boys. You know I can't even hear the teacher when the boys talk over her!"



Day 2 in her new school :

She told me during dinner "Mummy, Fred says he likes me a lot!"
My eyes went wide, "WHO IS FRED? Is he a boy???" (My mind was whirling about all the possibilities!)

But, Fred is of course the frog in Ruth Miskin's Phonics Teaching. Fred makes an appearance in class very often to help with phonics for kids this age. Boy, am I glad Fred is a frog!


It has been an exciting week so far for her and she has been made so welcomed in her class too. So grateful for this!

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Lessons on friendship

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Sometimes you think as a parent, you have to be the one setting a good example and that you are the one teaching your child(ren), but at other times, I really do learn a few things from my daughter.

Last month, when I picked her up from school one day, she declared to me "I AM REALLY CROSS WITH ROSIE" (Rosie is her best friend in class).

Why?
Because she doesn't want to be my friend anymore, hmmph! She said I'm not her friend anymore! (Crosses her arms in annoyance)
Why did she say that?
I don't know, she just said that to me. 
Oh, that sounds a little mean, but did you argue with her?
No, she just said that to me.
Well, sometimes people want to be left alone, maybe she just wants to be alone that day. Don't worry, you'll be friends again.


Then the next day, I was a little worried she is still upset from this incident, so i tried to tiptoe around this issue. So instead, I asked her how was her day and she said "Oh, Rosie is my friend again!"

Really? How did that happen?
Oh, I said sorry to her.
Said sorry? Why did you say sorry to her? I thought you said you were not mean to her yesterday?
Yes, I wasn't mean to her, but I think if I said sorry, she'd be my friend again!
Oh.. so what did she say to you?
She said sorry too. So we are now friends.

And then, my heart fluttered, with a million butterflies. She's so forgiving. And so sweet. It just takes a simple "Sorry" to mend a relationship! And that is my lesson in friendship showed to me by my 5YO daughter that day.



Anyway, Happy Children's Day (20 November) and may we always be reminded of the kindness children show to us everyday.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

I dance because it's not groovy!

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I was listening to one of my current favourite songs from Faye Wong (duet with Eason). Shean Wenn was dancing and shuffling her feet to the song.


Me : You like this song, don't you?
SW : No, I don't. 
Me : Oh? Then why are you dancing to it then??
SW : If I am dancing like this, it means I don't like the song. See? See how I am dancing?

@.@

Then another Faye Wong's song comes up. She stood still.

SW: Oh, this is my FAVOURITE SONG! See, I am not dancing. If I am not dancing, it means I love the song!

@.@ @.@ -____-"



 

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