Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Frozen Lake?


When we arrived in the woods six months ago, the first thing we did was to ask our neighbours about the weather in winter. The first they told us was about the lake, assuming that we already knew about the harsh winters here ... what about the lake? It freezes in winter! Unbelievable! 

Today is another winter day ... on new year's eve!
Although the temperature is 17C below zero, it is sunny.
What a blessing! I always have this urge to get out of the house on sunny days, despite the bitter cold .. as long as the wind is not too strong.
So off we go ... to see the frozen lake!!










It looks like a big field covered with snow, yah?
It looks like a big field, but it is a lake! 
It is the frozen lake, covered with snow, with a thick layer of ice below the snow. Can you spot the guys who are fishing?











Is it really safe to walk so far out to fish, on a frozen lake?
I have no answer to that. I think, all it takes is just one person to decide that the frozen lake is safe to walk on, while the rest sees and follows. 
I am really not sure.

We get plenty of sunshine, plus rain, the few days after christmas.
The many inches of snow dump on us before christmas has melted, causing many areas to flood. Although we see ice and snow on the days during those few days, we are still not sure if it is safe to walk on. Not when you have two active kids in tow. 

So daddy has to walk first, following the footsteps of those who are fishing on the frozen lake. The little ones follow him after. Just a short distance. 

The elder boy asked ... why is the lake frozen? How can the people fish when the lake is frozen? How about the fish? Will they be frozen too? 

How I wish I have Ms Frizzle and the Magic School Bus with me .... 

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Have a Blessed Christmas!






























It's our very first "White Christmas", and we are enjoying it.
To our family and friends .... Here's wishing all a Blessed Christmas!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Will I see Santa tonight?






























It's Christmas eve.
Mama says that we have survived four winter storms so far, all occurring within ten days. Snow is being dumped in the woods big time ... we are going to have a "White Christmas" in the woods! 

Hmm ... There are so many houses and chimneys here. I wonder if I will be able to spot Santa, if I look really hard tonight? But I have not been a good boy lately, making my Papa and Mama angry. I remember the song ... HE's making a list and checking it twice ... Hmmm .... Mama asked me if I had been naughty or nice? I had been .... naughty and nice!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Thank you!











Received a parcel from my mom on Friday.
She packed some coffee, which I needed to keep myself "alive", and Christmas presents for the kids! They each received a christmas hat, and a Nintendo Mario Game! They are Mario-fans! The games were from my cousins, their Ah-Yi. They had been looking forward to the parcel, and had been asking me about the hats and Nintendo Games which they would be receiving. Thank you Ma and Pa, and my dear cousins!

My dear old friend, Jean, happened to send the kids christmas hats too! 
Thank you Jean! The kids loved the hats! 
They were the happiest kids ... two sets of christmas hats! 
They wore their hats when they played with each other, and when they had their snacks/meals. They wore the hats the whole day! 

Darling son's classmate, Douglas, brought over some cookies for us this afternoon. Darling son was happily eating the cookies, as you can in the first photograph in the above collage. The cookies were made by his mom. The boy was all covered up, from head to toe, and was shivering when he handed us the cookies. The wind was blowing very fiercely, and the temperature was like 20C below zero! We were so touched! Thank you Janice and Douglas, for the yummy cookies!


















Hubby's classmate, who happened to stay a block away from ours, invited us over to his house this evening for a Christmas gathering with another neighbour. 

We enjoyed the singing by Mary, our 4-year old neighbour, and thank you Emily, for telling us such a nice story about Jesus Christ. 

Thank you Steve and Mandy, for inviting us. You guys are really talented, playing the piano and flute. The kids enjoyed decorating the cookies .. and eating the decorations while decorating. Can you spot the "six-eyes" monster which darling son KW created? Darling son YW ate the three cookies he decorated before we were headed home.

These little gestures from our family and friends really warmed my heart.
It makes our first "White Christmas" in the woods very meaningful .... 

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Wintry Mess!





















Think winter, you think of snow. Only snow. That's not true.
We get a wintry mix/mess of snow, ice sleet, and rain.
A brutal blast of bitter cold arctic air usually follows, after a winter storm.

At times, you get abundant sunshine after the winter storm. The snow melts. Then comes a messy mix of rain and ice sleet, with the brutal cold arctic air trailing behind. The snow that melts has now turned into ice.
Ice on the paths, icicles on the roofs, ice on the roads.  Grass peek at you from beneath a thick slab of ice, which is in turn covered by an inch of snow. 

How many times have I slipped and fall when walking darling son to school? How many times have darling sons slipped and fell while walking home from school? Countless times.

Just the other day, we took the car to send darling son to school.
A left turn out of the housing area onto the main road and our car went over an icy area and turned almost 180 degrees! 
Luckily there was no other cars except for a school bus which was a good distance behind us!

I don't mind the snow and the cold.
I dislike the ice!

P.S : In case you are wondering why a left turn and not a right turn? The road directions are completely the opposite from back home! 

Friday, December 19, 2008

Run, run, as fast as you can!




























Run, run, as fast as you can,
you can't catch ME, I'm the Gingerbread Man!
Run, run, as fast as you can,
you can't catch HIM, he's the Gingerbread Man!

Darling sons loved the Gingerbread Man. They would ask me to read them the story of the Gingerbread Man/Boy/Baby.
They would sing, non-stop, the song of the Gingerbread Man.
They would bug me to bake them "Gingerbread Man" cookies.
"Can I have my gingerbread man? Where is my gingerbread man, Mom?"
Gosh, all I think of all day is ... Gingerbread Man.

Hence, as soon as my new cutters arrived, I quickly prepared the dough for sugar cookie, with plans to use the cutters for the dough. The dough had been sitting in my fridge for a day already.

Since the kids had no school today, due to the winter storm, it was a good time to bake the cookies! I rolled the dough, cut the dough, baked the cookies, and decorated the first batch with M&Ms and colourful sprinkles, and frosted them using icing sugar mixed with a little milk.

Darling son KW was interested in frosting too.
He did a good job in frosting! I am impressed.
They both had a great time eating the cookies!
























What an eventful "winter-storm" day!

  • School was closed.
  • Baked brownies using new silicon moulds in morning.
  • Baked cookies using new holiday cookie cutters.
  • Frosted the brownies and cookies.
  • Shovelled piles and piles of snow ... back-breaking!
  • Walking through knee-depth snow
  • Sledding!
  • Not forgetting the usual tasks of cooking and washing up.

I'm EXHAUSTED ... but I had FUN!

Spiders, Webs, and Trees!


























Darling sons have been bugging me to bake them "Gingerbread Man" cookies for days. But I don't have any gingerbread man cookie cutters.
Neither can I find any at the neighbourhood supermarket. Sigh.

I went online last weekend, hoping to find some nice holiday cutters.
I must have been mad that day ... not only did I shop for holiday cookie cutters, I ended up buying silicon baking moulds! One with six christmas trees, and another with spiders and spider webs. My purchases arrived yesterday. Perfect timing!

There was no school today, due to a winter storm.
So early in the morning, I baked brownies, using my new silicon baking moulds! I had fun frosting!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

My Gingerbread House!






























I love the story of the Gingerbread Man.
I read the story of the Gingerbread Baby too!
How I wish I could made a Gingerbread House, just like Matti in the story!

My teacher told us that we would be making a Gingerbread House with our reading buddies! My very own Gingerbread House! I was so excited!

I carried the House back home all the way from school.
I was very careful, as the road was slippery and there was ice everywhere on the paths and roads. My mama was very proud of me =)
She told me and Didi that we could make one at home too! 
Yeah! I am looking foward to it!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Student of the Week


Darling son's school has this special program called "Student of the Week".

As the 'Student of the Week", you and your family are welcomed to go to class any time during that week, to share your country's culture, songs and dance, crafts, experiments, food, anything ... with the class. A mom from Korea taught the kids how to make rice balls. Yummy. Another family shared growing-up photographs of the student with the class. Interesting. 

We are wondering what we should do since Darling son is the student of the week and we are going to his school tomorrow? 





















Darling son is very interested in the solar system. All thanks to the Magic School Bus! He can remember the order of the planets and is able to write the names of the planets without referring to the book. Why not share what he knows with his friends? Darling son is keen to share. For us, it is a good opportunity for him to learn how to speak up to a crowd. We have to go through with him what to say, not for him to memorise his lines, but to ensure he doesn't say so much that we run out of time! 

It is never too early to start a child on any topic.
As long as the child is interested, he will learn.
And he will have fun learning, and enjoy the process as he learns.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

What's for dinner tonight, Mom?





















The weather is getting colder each day.
Mom is really tired and feeling cold, and doesn't like her hands to get wet.
So she whipped up this "short-cut" dish for dinner =).

Angel's hair with baked soy chicken wings, accompanied by pre-cut broccoli salad. Minimum washing. Mom can sit and rest while the wings baked in the oven.

Only thing that Mom disliked about this dish ... it gets cold real fast ... a cold dish for a cold winter night? Oh well, something different for a change.

Sauce for Angel's Hair : For 4 persons
2 tablespoons Brown Sugar
4 tablespoons Low Sodium Kikkoman Soy Sauce
1 tablespoon Sesame Oil

  • Cook pasta according to packet's instructions.
  • Wash in cold water and set aside for use later.
  • Marinate chicken wings with soy sauce: 4 tbsp for 10 wings (2 section).
  • Baked wings in oven at 400F for about 30 mins to 45 mins.
  • Drizzle oil from baking wings onto broccoli salad. Mix well.
  • Scoop angel's hair onto plate.
  • Arrange a handful of broccoli salad on top of pasta.
  • Drizzle sauce over broccoli salad and Angel's Hair.
  • Wings at the side of the meal.

Enjoy!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Who's this mysterious boy?


Who's this mysterious boy?

We see many of these 'mysterious' boys as we walk to school every morning. But on this particular morning, not only the boys have their faces covered, the adults too! 

A severe weather warning, from AccuWeather.com, was issued last night: 

Dangerous wind chill in effect till noon on Monday. Single digit temperature .. And gusty west wind .. Will combine to produce wind chills as low as 16F to 28F below zero ......

Indeed, bitter cold wind blew as we made our way to school this morning. As the children walked on the icy path, rosy cheeks peeked out from behind their scarves. My cheeks hurt as I made my way home. Gusty wind blew as water vapor condensed and turned into a tiny piece of ice on my eye lid as I breathed hard through the scarf covering my cheeks and nose. 

In the warning issued, we were advised to use hats and gloves. To keep ourselves warm. Frost bites can occur ten to fifteen minutes with this dangerous wind chill. 













And the temperature this morning?

17C under zero, sunny and windy.
Realfeel of 25C under zero. 

Grrhhh.....

Friday, December 12, 2008

A Cold but Sunny Winter Day




















I look out of the window. The sky is a lovely shade of blue.
It is a bright and sunny day.

Ignoring the pile of snow outside, the lovely bright sunshine makes it feel like it is summer. But it's winter now. A sunny winter day. Is it cold?

If looks can be deceiving, so can the weather!
Take a look at the temperature rating on my laptop ... it says ... -13 Celsius! 
It's freezing cold outside! So looks can be deceiving, even when we talk about the weather! 

But I'm not complaining. 
I missed the sun back home.
I get depressed when the sky is gloomy. 
Take a look at the first photograph in the collage and you will know what I mean by gloomy grey sky. The sunny weather sets my mood for the day. I feel energetic and alert. Gloomy and cold? Sunny and cold? 
I choose the latter anytime.









The kids are still excited about the snow, even though it has been a while since it has started snowing. Here's what they love doing on a sunny cold day: Shovel the snow outside the house, on the path, go sledding, and make snow balls! 

What do they do when they are home then?
Homework? This word has been buried under the many inches of snow for weeks. Their favorite home-word for now ... LEGO!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Fun in the snow!










What do you do on a day when school is closed due to a snow storm?
Homework? Study?
No, you go sledding!!!









The kids just loved it! If not for the strong wind, more snow, and the biting cold on the face, we would have sled longer! The other two OLD kids (the papa and mama) had fun sledding too!

video

Winter Storm and School


AccuWeather.com, Dec 9 2008 :
The Winter Weather Center reports that as much as 6 inches will pile up from south-central Wisconsin into northern Michigan before tapering off early on Wednesday. Snow in the Upper Midwest and rain in the Southeast will sandwich a messy mix of sleet, freezing rain and rain in parts of Central Plains and Midwest. This mix of wintry precipitation today could create hazardous winter driving conditions as well as the possibility of flight delays at Midwest airports. 





























I knew there would be a snowstorm from Monday night, through Tuesday. 
I was wondering how we were going to walk to school on Tuesday morning. 

I received email warning advisory from Accuweather too. 
I didn't expect the snow to pile up so much.
I didn't expect the visibility to be reduced so much.
I didn't expect school to be closed!

A call to the school office confirmed it all. 
"All schools in Madison are closed today."

The kids were happy. 
They wanted to go sledding. 
They watched as Mr. Big Brush came to plough the roads and walkways.
But this time round, instead of a big brush, he had a big shovel attached! 

video

video

Monday, December 8, 2008

Mr. Big Brush!
















When it snows through the night, a thick layer of snow will form on the path the next morning, making it difficult to walk. The path needs to be cleared of snow. Who is going to shovel the snow? 

This is the job for ... Mr Big Brush!

video

The kids just love watching him clear the path!
They will run to the window to watch, whenever they hear him coming.
They love the way the snow 'splashed' onto our window as the brush clears the snow.

See you tomorrow morning, Mr Big Brush!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

A Warm Sweet Drink in Winter










With the weather getting colder each day, it is really nice to have a warm drink when we get home. A warm before a meal, a warm drink between meals, or a warm drink after a meal. 

So I put together some dried figs, some dried longans and water.
Soak the dried figs and longans in warm water for 20 minutes.
Bring the pot of water with figs and longans to a boil.
Reduce heat and cook another 30 minutes, or till the ingredients softened.

Done! Simple and easy to prepare.
Pour the extra into a bottle and keep in the fridge. 
Need a drink? 
Pour into a cup and warm it up using the microwave!

Alberta Clipper


From AccuWeather.com, Dec 6 2008: 
An Alberta Clipper diving across the Midwest through the day with flurries and areas of steady snow will be followed by the coldest air of the season so far. Yet another blast next week will rival prior December outbreaks of the past decade.

We had been in the woods for half a year now.
This is the first time the kids experience such cold and snow. 
It is a headache for me, dressing the kids and keeping them warm.
Checking the website for weather changes hourly, has become a 'hobby' for me. When a frozen thermometer is displayed on the website, I freeze. Temperature shown may be -7C, but include in the wind chill, you get a realfeel of -14C. Tonight is going to be another cold night, with a frozen thermometer shown on the website. A cold freezing night with temperature of -16C. Are your teeth chattering as you read this?























It snowed all day, yesterday. 
We woke up this morning and this was what we saw:
At least 2 inches of snow covering the walkway. 
Strong wind had blown the snow into the covered walkway as well. 
We couldn't see the windows of our car .. and the colour of our car didn't help much... WHITE.

The one good thing is that : We need not shovel the snow on the walkway.
This guy will drive a machine and clear the path, covered with snow, with his huge rotating brush. Will try to take a video and post it next time. 

No wonder they call it .... a white christmas.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving and Chicago!



















Three bento lunches ... for the three bears? Kind of ... ha ha ... for Papa and Mama bears, and the two little bears! All going to Chicago on Thanksgiving day!

We left the woods after breakfast.
The drive there took us about three hours. Weather was good. No snow.

Hotel check-in was at three o'clock.
Hence, we thought we should just drive to the Field Museum, made good use of the day since the day darkened around five.

It was a big museum. Bigger than I had imagined. And so many exhibits to see.
Some exhibits viewing were included in the admission fee to the museum, while some required you to purchase tickets to enter.

"Mummy, mummy, look! There's a person lying down here!" Shouted my two boys as they peered down through a glass panel on the ground.

They were looking at a "Mummy" ... no, not their mummy. A Mummy found in pyramids.
It was fun exploring the Great Pyramid.

Meet Sue, the dinosaur!
The head is 270kg, and is too heavy to be mounted.
So what you see in the photo is just a replica. The real thing was framed in a box in the second level.

Wanna feel how it is like to be a fly, with complex eyes?
Wanna experience how it is like to be inside a tornado?
Wanna know more about earthquakes and tsunami?
What elements affect the shape of a volcano?
Welcome to the underground world of the creepy crawlies!
Honey, I shrunk the kids! And they are now smaller than an earthworm!

Really, there was so much to do and to see. We spent so much time viewing the exhibits, we missed the Crown PlayLab, where the kids get to do all sorts of hands-on activities.

The kids enjoyed themselves, and so did we! So off to the hotel we went! We were so tired we went to bed at 8pm!

The next day, it's to Chinatown for brunch, before heading to the Alder Planetarium.

We thought we would spend more time here, since darling son KW was learning about the Solar System and kept asking us questions like "What happen when an asteroid hit a planet?".

We decided to bring him to the Moon ... to watch a 3D show. The second show, Timespace, showed us the Big Bang, comets, etc, had great effects.

The exhibits were not as fantastic and fun as the ones at the Field Museum. I guess the older boys would appreciate them more, since they would be able to read better than a six-year old? I didn't enjoy the Planetarium as much as I enjoyed the Field Museum.

So the visit to the Planetarium ended earlier than we planned. We could do with an early dinner outside, and then find our way back to the hotel, since it was still early. Oh dear, but the traffic was terrible! It was just like Orchard Road back home! See the bride and groom dashing across the busy road? They were on a photo-shoot... erhh... on a day when the temperature was like 5C? I had a good laugh looking at them while holding my down jacket.

We had to end our trip on Saturday morning. Plans for more site seeing and other activities were shelved. Why? I had a terrible throat inflammation, and my temperature had been on the rise since we reached Chicago. Had to drive back immediately after breakfast, so that I could see the doctor at the urgent care clinic. By the time I reached the clinic, my temperature had risen to mid 38C.

The kids had a good time though. If we were to visit again, we would definitely go the Field Museum again. And the Farmer's Market too! And walk instead of drive through the Magnificent Mile.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Visitors for Thanksgiving?
























Autumn is ending soon, and it has started to snow. 

We woke up this morning to find everything covered in snow. We were excited. Like little children, we pressed our faces against the window to admire the lovely scene that greeted us as we drew the curtains open. Trees and cars covered in snow. Snow on the tree branches like icing on cakes.

Suddenly, three big birds ran across the area in front of our house! Big brown birds! No, big is not a good description for their size .. Huge? Giant! Turkeys? 

Darling husband ran out of the house with his camera! He had only his slippers, on a cold morning of 1oC, and he tiptoed around the block, quietly following the birds. 

The birds were happily digging their claws into the snow, drinking water from snow that had melted. Are they here to tell us to get ready for Thanksgiving? 

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Tooth Fairy is here again!




















"Mama, can you brush my teeth for me, please?" asked darling son KW.
"OK, only for today, since you are so tired." I told my boy.

The first adult tooth is now almost the same height as the other milk teeth. 

"It's a pity the tooth fairy took away your first milk tooth without letting you say good-bye to it." I told my boy.

"There's no tooth fairy, Mama." Came the reply from the first-grader.

"Maybe you will get to say goodbye to the next one." I said.

As I continued brushing his teeth, I noticed a second adult tooth had broken out of the gums, standing just behind the first milk tooth! I shook the milk tooth in front, still quite firm. 

I wondered how long it would take before the second milk tooth fall off. Darling son might need to see a dentist to have it extracted, since the milk tooth was still quite firm. We just had to wait and see. 

It did come out, in the most unusual way! 
By getting stuck in a piece of melon which darling son was biting into! 
I spotted the white spot in the melon and got him to stop eating. 
Darling son did get to say goodbye ... the Tooth Fairy heard our complaint?

Friday, November 7, 2008

I am Six!












My birthday is today!
I am six years old!

Last week, Mama asked me what kind of cake I would like for my birthday ... hmm ... I really liked Papa's birthday cake, as there was a thick layer of chocolate frosting on it! I told her ... same as Papa lah! My Mama is a magician! She baked the same cake, but it looked different from Papa's cake! It had lots of colourful sprinkles on it! I loved it!

Mama also baked some chocolate cookies for my friends in school.
I had a super big cookie with lots of M&Ms on it!
Thank you, Mama! I am a very happy boy today!










Monday, October 27, 2008

Happy Birthday, My Dear =)


I was busy in the kitchen, preparing a birthday cake for my dear husband when my handphone rang. It was from him. Wondering what was up, I picked up the call immediately, only to hear a worried voice from the other end of the phone.

"KW fell at the playground and cut his chin. School nurse called, and said that the cut required some stitching. It was a small but deep cut."

I dropped whatever I was doing, got darling son to dress warmly, and went to school immediately. TS said to meet him at school. I went in to meet darling son KW and the nurse while waiting for him to arrive. A huge blood-stained bandage was sitting under darling son's chin. My heart ached. But KW was a brave boy. He didn't cry. He sat quietly in the nurse's room. He returned a hug when a friend came in to see how he was, and managed a weak smile. His little brother gave him a hug and asked if he was ok.

We drove to the nearest Urgent Care Clinic, and he was given treatment almost immediately. Six stitches in all. Plus a Tetanus jab. Darling son took it all without a whine or tear. I was so proud of him. The whole process took almost two hours. While waiting for KW, we witnessed the first snowfall.

My dear husband went back to work while we went home.
Ingredients for the cake were all thrown away.
I quickly settled the boys, and tried to bake a second cake.
Maybe it was the snowfall, maybe it was the birthday cake.
Darling son KW seemed happy to be home. Both kids were excited to see snow. They were happily singing .. it's snowing, it's snowing, santa clause is coming ..















The men in the house were pleased with the Cinnamon Chocolate Cake.
Since darling son KW was such a brave boy, I topped his slice of cake with M&Ms! He was very happy. So was his little brother, who got a fair share of M&Ms too!
















Sunday, October 19, 2008

Devils Lake State Park








Our neighbour invited us to join them for a hike at the Devils Lake Park at Baraboo. The place was about 2 hours drive from our place. According to our neighbour, if you want to find a good place to take in the fall foliage, this is the place. We were approaching the end of October, and this was probably the last weekend to admire nature's splendor of vibrant colours and rich hues. In fact, most of the leaves on the trees in our neighbourhood had fallen. 









It was a super windy morning to start off.
We went to our car prepared. Coats, gloves, hats, scarves. 
We saw people half walking and half running as the gusty wind blew.
We were really glad we were well covered from head to toe!

West Bluff Trail : 1.5 miles, approximate hiking time 1.5 hours
A medium effort trail that is asphalt with stone steps and a steep climb on the south end and an easier climb up the north end. Goes across the bluff top past drop-offs with many scenic views of the lake and park.












Darling son KW was really enthusiastic about the hike. He was in fact leading the group.
"I am the leader!" he kept saying to us.
The climb was quite steep at some points. My little boy had difficulty climbing up. We took quite a while to climb to the top, as there were frequent stops for photograph taking, snacking and resting. 
After all, our boys are just four years and five years old respectively. 












Collage above : View of park and lake at the top of the bluff.
Collage below : Admire nature as you walk.












Going down was a lot easier, especially for the kids.
It was kind of taxing on my knees and old bones though =(

The second trail we went on to : Walking along the lake.

Tumbled Rocks : 0.8 miles, approximate hiking time 0.5 hours
An easy, level asphalt walkway winding through quartzite boulders at the base of the West Bluff at lake level.






















It was a long walk for the two boys.
I was really proud of them! They walked from 11am till 3pm, without a word of complain! Of course, they were tired, and dozed off as we drove home.








Sunday, October 12, 2008

Kite Flying
























Vegetables picking in the morning, kite-flying in the afternoon, how does that sound to you?

Well, that was what we did!

We went to The Tree Farm for vegetables picking in the morning with our neighbours, then we headed to Fitchburg where a kite-flying event was held. You could bring your kite to fly, or you could made a kite with your kids. 

So off we drove to Fitchburg!

And so many kites greeted us when we alighted from the car! The sky was "littered" with kites! Kites of all kinds!
There was a kite that held candies. With a touch on the remote control, candies fell from a container attached to the kite! All the kids ran to get their candies. What a sight!























It was a lovely day in Autumn.
Windy with lots of sunshine.

The kids had fun decorating and making their own little kites. 

We had fun watching them made it.
We had fun flying it.

The kids had fun chasing after the huge octopus.

Darling son YW made a new friend ... with the grasshopper!
Darling son KW lost his first milk tooth while picking candies!

It was a Sunday filled with activities. 
The kids were tired at the end of the day. But they were really happy.

This is what I call ... childhood ....

Vegetables Picking


Do you like eating broccoli? 
Do you know how it is grown on the farm?

We love eating broccoli.
Sadly, we do not know how it is grown on farm.
Growing up in a city, we do not have the opportunity to visit a vegetable farm, and picking your own vegetables is out of the question. 

Away from home, into the woods, we have been doing things which we would not have done, or cannot do back home. 
Like using chalk to draw on the floor outside and around our apartment.
Like picking your own apples and other fruits at a fruit orchard. 
Like seeing so many ladybugs, fireflies, squirrels and many more.
Like picking your vegetables?























So off we went to this farm called The Tree Farm with our neighbours.

There were lots of vegetables for us to pick .... peppers, potatoes, Bak Choy, broccoli, radish, fresh herbs like rosemary, pumpkins and many others. 

Darling son KW was happy to pick the long beans.
No, he is not a fan of beans. He dislikes them. 
But he enjoyed picking them so much he had a big basket filled with it. 
The beans were easy to pick, light to carry, and not messy.

Darling son YW happily helped with picking the green peppers and Bak Choy. And they both ran wild when they saw the area with big and small pumpkins!
 






















We didn't spend a lot of time there, so we only managed to pick some long beans, green peppers, Bak Choy, and a winter melon. 









I would love to go there again next Fall, to try picking some other vegetables. You can really taste the freshness of the vegetables. Or maybe it's because we picked the vegetables ourselves, so it tasted sweeter?

It was a sweet experience for both adults and children. 

Friday, October 10, 2008

Cook and Cooker?










My little boy said to me one day : Mama, you cook for us, so you must be a cooker!

Hmm, yes, I cook. But definitely not a cooker. A rice-cooker especially, since the rice-cooker is always switched on.

The men, big and little, in the house, love eating rice. They will have rice for lunch, and dinner. They are ... errh ... rice buckets? They feel hungry, if they have other carbohydrates for a meal. Macaroni and noodles make their guest appearance once in a long while.

So when asked, "What would you like for lunch/dinner?", the answer will always be "RICE!".

I love cooking one pot rice.
Claypot rice, baked rice, fried rice. Chicken rice too, if I have the chicken rice sauce.
Minimum washing and cooking. All in a pot .. your meat, vegetables and carbohydrates.

I am sure there are many more ways to 'dress up' the rice. I am still exploring and learning.
But for now, the men love the way their rice is 'dressed up', and are not complaining.

So the cooker cooks, while the cook rest.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

My Books Have Finally Arrived!











Came home after picking darling son KW from school and noticed my front gate slightly opened. I remembered closing it before leaving the house. 
As I neared the apartment, I saw this huge brown bag sandwiched between the gate and our locked door. It's a parcel! It's our books from home!

I had been waiting for the books to arrive. It was sent as bulk mail on 30 June. It arrived on 8 October. It took more than three months to arrive!
Maybe because we live in the woods? Hmmm .... 

I was impatient while waiting for the books to arrive.
I was frustrated while waiting for the books to arrive. 
I had no books to use as reference when I home-schooled my boys during the last three months. I had no new books to read to them before bedtime.
I had no cookbooks to refer to.

It finally came! I was so happy.
One bag came. How about the second one?
I hope it arrives soon too .....

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Pumpkins, pumpkins everywhere!


Darling son was learning about pumpkins, spiders and ghosts during the first week of October. 



They did math problems using with spider webs, read stories about pumpkins, and did crafts on spiders, ghosts, and pumpkins. All in preparation for ... Halloween! 

To end the theme on Halloween, a field trip was planned for the kids to visit a pumpkin patch! Oh, sorry, no spiders farm, although they did learn about spiders that week. Ghosts and Haunted House? Yes! There were two haunted houses at the farm, and the two girls we chaperoned were too scared to enter the second house after they went through the first one! But darling son bravely went through both the haunted houses, and came out of the houses way before his father did, ha ha. All this while, I was busy running after three kids, who were running after the kittens, and their classmates. 

The students were allowed to pick a pumpkin to bring home.
Look at the pumpkins scattered all over the field!

It was a windy and wet day. 
But we had fun picking the pumpkins, going on a wagon ride, running through a corn maze, and having a good laugh when the kids picked pumpkins that were bigger than their heads! The kids had fun writing their names on the pumpkins they picked! We would definitely bring our kids to a pumpkin patch again next Fall! 

Monday, September 29, 2008

Carnival?


Does the first photograph look like a carnival to you?

Well, the atmosphere was carnival-like.
Ground sheets on the grass.
People sitting on the grass, chatting and eating.
Kids running about, playing at the swing.
Tables laid with food.
Banners and cardboard signs.

It's the school's open house!
And it was held in the evening, starting at 530pm.

The table with the food?
That's the international potluck table.
You bring a dish and share with others if you want.

Not interested in the potluck?
Then tour the school, chat with teachers, and parents.
Take a look at the chart in the classroom and find out which other country his friends are from.
A public school with an international school profile.

Back in Singapore, a school's open house is a grand affair.
Student leaders bringing you around.
Speeches by the principal, head of departments.
Slideshow of the school's acheivements.

Well, none of the above happened.
Darling son was our little tour guide.
He knew his way around the school well.
Down the stairs he ran, to the Music and Art room.
Up the stairs he hopped, to the Gymnasium, Lunchroom and Library.

Oh yes, we 'sponsored' a book at the Library.
Darling son chose a book, we paid a fee, and then darling son wrote his name on the book ... This book is donated by ...
He would be the first to read the book he sponsored at his next visit to the school library.

It was a good experience for us, the parents.
No structured tour, no boring speeches.
I liked it =)

Good for our darling 'tour guide', his confidence building up as he showed us around his school, barely three weeks since he joined the school. And of course, a good orientation for his little brother, who would join him in the school next Fall.

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