Thursday, April 23, 2009

Meet the Sight Words!

It's amazing how quickly kids can learn by just watching TV and DVDs.

Darling son YW is a big fan of the Leapfrog DVDs: 
The Letter Factory, The Words Factory. 

He learnt to sound all 26 letters of the alphabet after watching The Letter Factory just once. I would probably take a week or more to get him to learn. After watching the DVDs, he was able to sound out simple words. 
He began to enjoy reading from books as he was able to read the words!

However, some words are not possible to sound out, as they don't follow the rules. Words like ONE, YOU, COME, SNOW. Some words, we use them everyday. They are friends to us. Kids should be able to recognise them ... on sight, instead of sounding them out. 

This morning, I did a simple activity with YW.
I got him to write letters on papers, sound it out, and then, got him to stick them on our wall in the living room! 

He had fun writing down the words on the colourful pieces of paper. 
He had fun putting a sticky tape on the back of the paper. 
He had fun sticking the paper on the wall! 

I had fun too! I am happy that YW is able to recognise some words on my list, without having to sound them out. 

And thank you, Tad!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Tree Cutting

Some men were outside the apartment this morning. 
They were cutting the tree near our neighbour's apartment. 
They started work around eleven, and by 1pm, the tree was cut, the place was cleaned up. Neat and swift. 

Here's a video of the machine they use to 'shred' the branches ... You don't need a big truck to hold the many messy branches. Cool!

Reminds me of sugar-cane juice machine back home .... 

Friday, April 17, 2009

A Day of Biking and Playing

Darling son YW had a new bike! 

We saw this bike at the second-hand bike shop, when we went to fix KW's flat bike tyre. The bike worked well, even though it was a second-hand bike. The training wheels were larger, making the bike more steady. 

Hubby dear had a dental appointment in the late morning, and he was home just slightly after lunch. YW was happy, as with daddy at home, he was able to go out and play the whole afternoon. He was eager to try out his new bike, and ended up playing at the playground next to the community garden.

And we met our little neighbour at the playground!
His daddy was at the community garden, loosening the soil and planting. The boy was happy to see YW. 

When it was time to pick KW up from school, YW actually cycled all the way to his brother's school. Ok, his bike had four wheels instead of two. But being able to cycle such a long distance made him feel like a big boy! And round two of play for YW since KW was home from school! This time, off they went to another playground! Playground hopping seemed to be their favorite in the woods! 

They had so much fun, they slept almost immediately when they hit the bed, and were gently snoring away! 

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Flowers in bloom!

Remember the photograph of the blooming buds on trees I posted on my last post? Look what I saw when I passed the tree a week later! 
Flowers in bloom! 

It was a really warm and sunny day afternoon when I took the above photograph. A slight breeze blew and the flowers swayed. The swaying pinkish-white flowers looked like fairies flying up the tree =)

It's difficult to see the flowers in the above picture. But I love the combination of the shadows of the branches against the brick wall and the flowers hanging on the branches. 

I am looking forward to more sunny days in Spring!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Lady Spring

Lady Spring finally announced her presence!

For the whole of last week : Clear blue skies, sunny days, low winds.
Although there was a slight chill in the air, the running and walking under the sun warmed the body. It was nice to be outdoors, after staying at home for most of winter.

Darling son was out cycling almost every day of the week.

There were people at the community garden, planting their seeds.

As I walked through the woods, I spotted purple flowers growing on the sidewalk! Flowers never fail to cheer me up =)

And up in the trees, buds were sprouting!
These furry little buds reminded me of Yin Liu during Chinese New Year.

A dash of pink amongst the furry white buds and woody brown branches ... a very pretty sight. I am looking forward to seeing more flowers and leaves growing on the trees!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Spring Break = Playtime!

Spring Break on The Little Red Dot = Lots of homework, remedial/enrichment classes.
Spring Break in the Woods = Playtime! Homework? What's that?

That's all KW had been doing for the whole week of his Spring Break!
Cycling, watching DVDs, playing with his little brother at home, and at playgrounds! There are so many playgrounds in the woods! You will never get tired of playground hopping! They played with their friends from school, whom they met at the playground, as well as our little neighbours. They played soccer with me too! And I pulled my muscle while trying to kick the ball, ha ha ... so much for keeping fit and aging! 

Darling son KW was learning to balance on his bike a couple of days before his Spring Break. He wanted to cycle to school after he had mastered cycling and balancing on two wheels. Told him he would have to wait till after the Spring Break, as he needed more practice. The one-week Spring Break was a good chance for him to practice. So every morning, he eagerly cycled around the estate. He familiarized himself with the cycling route to school. He practiced going down and up slopes. Did he go alone? No! His horizontally-challenged mom was walking behind him, with his little brother. There's only one bike and so the little fellow had no choice but to walk. Maybe it's time we get YW a bike.  

KW was very careful when going down and up slopes. 
He was equally careful when at road crossings. 
He stopped to wait for me and his little brother frequently. 
And I am proud of him!

In all, it was a tiring week for me. But I had fun, getting out of the house, and "exercising". 

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Honey, I caught a SPIDER!

Ok, I didn't catch a spider .. I baked a "spidey" cake =)

It was Spring Break for the kids.

It was exhausting having two kids at home.
The noise level went up two notches.
I had endless chores to do.
I started getting body aches, after playing a day of soccer with the boys (mine and neighbour's inclusive). It didn't get any better after having to walk with my younger one, with the elder one cycling, every afternoon, to the school playground for a round of cycling and slides there.

It was like going on The Amazing Race ... a test of your endurance and patience. I was exhausted, and needed some sugar to energise ... so baking and eating were the two best solutions! No wonder I couldn't lose the pounds I gained during my pregnancy, ha ha.

I baked a French Yogurt Cake. Took some of the batter and put it into my "spiders and webs" muffin moulds. Took an icing gel tube and started icing the baked spiders and webs. Not too bad a drawing on the spider, yah?
It was no surprise that the kids came running to the table when I told them the cake is ready =)

It was an easy cake to bake, a cross between a sponge cake and pound cake. It was one of those cake which I would bake whenever I feel like having a slice of cake to snack on. Like pound cakes, it will be better the day after it is made.

Recipe adapted from:
Baking From .. My Home To Yours, by Dorie Greenspan

French Yogurt Cake

1 cup All purpose flour
1/2 cup Almond meal (or replace this with 1/2 cup all-purpose flour)
2 tsp Baking powder
1 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Yogurt
3 Large Eggs
1/4 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
1/2 cup Flavorless oil, eg canola or safflower (I used Olive oil)

Pinch of salt
Grated zest of 1 lemon

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Generously butter an 8.5 x 4.5 inch loaf pan and place the pan on a baking sheet.
  3. Whisk together flour, almond meal (if using), baking powder and salt.
  4. Put sugar and lemon zest in a medium bowl. With a mixing spoon or with your fingers, rub the zest into the sugar until the sugar is moist and aromatic.
  5. Add yogurt, eggs and vanilla. Whisk vigorously till the mixture is very well blended.
  6. Still whisking, add the dry ingredients.
  7. Then fold in the oil. You will have a thick, smooth batter with a slight sheen.
  8. Scrape batter into the pan and smooth the top.
  9. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until the cake begins to come away from the sides of the pan.
  10. It should be golden brown, and a thin knife inserted into the centre will come out clean.
  11. Transfer pan to a rack and cool for 5 minutes.
  12. Unmould and cool to room temperature right side up on the rack.
  13. Sprinkle some icing sugar on top to "dress up" the cake.

Enjoy your slice of cake!

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