Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Using the mobile charging machine

In one of my post, I posted on the discovery of a phone charging machine in the library. Recently, I get to use it in Pasir Ris Public Library. It is simple to use. After scanning your identification, you get to choose by touching the screen which locker you want to use. (as above) These will be in green. Those in red are already in use and hence unavailable. After which the door of the chosen locker will pop open. You will be able to choose a suitable charging cable for your phone. After that, close the door of the locker and that will do. I retrieved the handphone after charging for 45 minutes. The handphone can be retrieved after scanning your identification and choosing the correct locker. The only disappointment is that despite charging for 45 minutes, the battery life only increased 10% which I think is too slow. I wonder whether it is because I plug in the wrong cable or because the machine is faulty. Anyway, if I get the chance to use another one, I think I will know the answer.

Update 18 Feb2016: 
I tried charging at Queenstown Library as I was attending a programme. A mere plug in of about 2.5hr, it charged about 65%. I think this is more acceptable than my last try mentioned above.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Muddle headed

Very simple bento which I had prepared for her.

Week 3 of school passed by. I can see Little One adapting well to the school but she is relatively muddle-headed. Days I find her leaving her homework lying on the desk without keeping. Sometimes, she forgets to do part of the homework. Sometimes, she does not know that she has to do homework even though she copies instructions from teacher into her handbook. Last week, her form teacher messaged that she had given homework but I saw none in her bag. I enquired whether she completed in school. She replied in a matter- of -fact way, it was in school although she did not complete. Faintz~ how does she treat homework so light heartedly? I am super kan cheong (uptight) but she somehow feels that it is okay to do such things. I gave her a lecture and secretly hope that her teacher do the same so that she knows it is not something to be treated lightly.

If you were in my shoes, what would you have done?

Playground at Open Farm Community

Open Farm Community is located at Dempsey Hill and has a farm-to-table eating philosophy which I like. Hence, I brought Little One to join a farm tour which was supposed to held there last weekend but the guide did not turn up. We were not the only group, there was another family who came.  No one on the farm or restaurant seemed to know what was happening although one of the farmers gave a call to the gardener. It was pretty disappointing as Little One wanted to learn more about the farm and the food we could grow in our HDB flat. We went about exploring the grounds ourselves and chance upon this playground. It was rather unique as it was made of wood. The cow is actually a slide while the pig is some sort of climbing structure. There are sand toys on the sand and there is a sand pit further back. Unfortunately, it had rained earlier, Hence, Little One could not play in it. We waited for 20 minutes from the stated time and still there was no sight of the guide and hence we left thereafter.

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Friday, January 22, 2016

Foodie Read :Durians Are Not the Only Fruits (notes from the Tropics)

I do not usually read adult books except cookbooks or craft books. However, this book, Durians Are Not The Only Fruits by Woon Yoon Wah was recommended by a librarian. This book , I believe was written in Chinese by the author and is being translated to English by Jeremy Tiang.

Durians is a delightful read about the tropics. It is a mixture of memoir, essay and nature writing. Food related topics covered slightly more than half of the book. Beside durians, tropical fruits like mangosteen, rambutans and banana, and food like Lei Cha ( Thunder Rice Tea), Yusheng (a dish normally we ate during Chinese New Year), Nonya Dumpling, Nanyang Curry are mentioned too.
Yusheng (3 plates on the right), an auspicious dish in Singapore.

It offers insight how petty durian trees are and when they would be harvested. The king of fruits is often growing together with his queen (mangosteen) and concubine (rambutan). The mangosteen is cooling effect and is best eaten with durian to combat its heatiness. Rambutan, his heaty concubine, will turn bad after 5 to 6 days after plucking. An interesting rumour is that the rambutan tree will bear sour fruits if touched by a female.

Food evolution is being mentioned in Thunder in a Bowl, that refers to Leicha. It was originally a tea drink, now has become a meal complete with rice and finely chopped vegetable.  The dish is now associated with healthy eating. You may want to find out by reading how the food acquire this name.

Leicha is believed to  be a very healthy food choice

Immigrants evolves just the same as food. Those who come to this part of the world, brought over their food and culture. These food and culture changed over the years.

You will find yourselves getting bonus by reading because some recipes were also mentioned.

The rest of the book is dedicated to the trees and animals in the tropics.  Did you know rain tree can tell the time and the behaviour of ants can tell when a monsoon is about to arrive? I like the topic on Mosquito Mystery. As mention in the book, how is it possible that "the more we eradicate them, the faster they infect us?" It sets me thinking whether the constant spraying of pesticide had created some kind of "super mosquito". Probably the best way is still to use natural repellent.

After reading, I do agree this book is indeed an interesting read although it takes me a pretty long time to complete. I learnt more about the fruits and food we eat and also the trees and animals we live with. If you found this book, do give it a read to more about the tropics.

Linking with:
Foodies Read 2016Growing with the Tans

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Making a bookmark - Flower Pressing

Fancy some pressed flower bookmarks?

Flower pressing is pretty simple. 
Choose small flowers or leaves, preferable the brightly coloured ones.
You will need an unwanted thick book, preferable a phone book, so that in case you stain the page, you can just tear away the pages. 

How to arrange? 
Slot a few pieces of paper towels on the last few pages of the book.
Arrange the flowers or leaves at least about an inch away from each other on the paper towel.
Close the book. 
Check after a week. 
If there is stain, you can throw away the paper towels and change a new one and press the flowers again for a week. Repeat if necessary.

However, I think this kind of pressing is not suitable for big flowers. I had tried once. They turned very brown and brittle.

Below are the bookmarks I made using scrapbook materials and dried flowers. 
If you have laminating machine, I guess you can just laminate your bookmark. 
In my case, I just paste contact paper over and trim if necessary.
Punch a hole and tie with a ribbon.

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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Settling into second week

Little One is settling down on the second week. The weekly routine had officially kicked off last Thursday. By the second week, she had entered her full routine in school. For the first time, she had her flag raising ceremony at the parade square together with the whole school. I saw her hesitation when she was told to proceed to the parade square for the first time. She turned to look back several times. I had to wave her off.

Also for the first time, she had spelling and it will be a weekly affair. Her Chinese spelling consist a mixture of both Han Yu Pin Yin and Chinese character.

As her Chinese textbook were submitted to school on the first week, I was surprised Little One kept telling me day after day to bring the textbook to school. In the end, I message her form teacher to enquire. Only then I realised they have a corner of the classrooms to put their Chinese textbooks and they were to bring the textbook to the class every lesson. I also found out Little One did not know that she had to take the book from there for Chinese class although she did see some children taking books from that corner.

Little One starts to bring lunch box for tea break. As it was just 15 minutes break, I do not need to pack much. Either bread, sandwich or fruits will do. As her adult teeth are emerging and yet her milk teeth are not falling out. Hence, I packed fruits that she could bite. Hopefully, they would help the teeth to drop. Perhaps due to the pain when biting, she finds ways to get rid of the fruits. Yes, she would be sharing out the fruits with friends.

Do you have other ideas to share to help the milk teeth drop?

Friday, January 15, 2016

Foodie Read : Sherlock Sam and the Obento Bonanza in Tokyo

It is not surprising that food is featured in Sherlock Sam series. From book 1, Sherlock Sam and the Missing Heirloom in Katong, we already know the leading character, Sherlock, loves to eat and in fact, the first few books, he would think about some delicious food and where to get them. Eg. Chin Mei Chin, a confectionery shop, was described in book 1. Sherlock Sam is a 10 year old child detective with a great analyzing brain which help him solved mystery after mystery. Of course, his Supper Club help him out too. Together, they solved a series of mysteries around places in Singapore and occasionally overseas.

Since the book 9, Sherlock Sam and the Obento Bonanza in Tokyo, is available in the library. I had to wait for about 2 months before I finally managed to lay my hands on it. It was always on loan or even reserved. This just show how popular Sherlock Sam is. In this new book, Inspector Lestrade and Interpol have a mystery for the Supper Club to unravel. Mona Sumi, a very famous animator was being kidnapped. The kidnappers left a complicated clue that the Inspector found weird and hence seek help from the Supper Club. Little, did they know that the clue was an obento. What's worse, Sherlock ate the obento up before the rest of the Supper Club sees it. How would the Supper Club solve the mystery now without the obento? Will they be able rescue Mona Sumi? After this obento was being eaten up, more obentos appear around various stations in Tokyo. Would these obento lead the Supper Club to the Mono Sumi?

I had read through all the Sherlock Sam's stories by A. J. Low and the best one I find is The Fiendish Mastermind Trilogy, which are book 6-8. I was expecting more intense mystery for this book but unfortunately I think it was not delivered. However, the good part I got to learn more Japanese words and I am tempted to do some obento myself. The description of the obentos are so delicate and pretty.

Linking with:
Foodies Read 2016Growing with the Tans

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Phone charging machine

This type of mobile charging machine is available at some of the libraries. Use by scanning your identification , the compartment (I presume one) will be unlock, connect to charger and close compartment. When you need to retrieve, just scan your identification again. Best of all, it's free of charge!

I have yet to try but if some day my handphone is on low battery, probably I will. (Eg. waiting for Little One while she is attending some library programmes .) 

Below is a list of libraries that has this type of machine. Will update the list whenever I knew of one.

  • Bishan 
  • Central (National Library Building - Basement)
  • Clementi
  • Library @ Chinatown
  • Lee Kong Chian Reference Library ( National Library Building - only available on level 5 and 7)
  • Jurong West
  • Pasir Ris (Lower level)
  • Queenstown
  • Sembawang ( it also has a charging station but in my opinion not as secure)
  • Toa Payoh 

Update 25th Jan 2016: 
I returned to Sembawang on 23rd Jan. It now has the charging machine. I think probably all the library has at least one. I had amended the above list to include Sembawang.

Updated 27th Jan 2016:
Using mobile charging machine

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Monday, January 11, 2016

1st week of school mayhem

Day 4

It's official! Yes, Little One is officially schooling! Did tears well up my eyes on her first day of school? Well, nope. This was for the 1st 3 days, Primary 1 (P1) parents were allowed to visit the school with their kid/s and the P1 students in her school were allowed to return home 2 hours earlier. (I am not sure about other schools though). Hence, in a way, it was more or less similar to timing of a kindergarten.

So, here goes...

Day 1

On the first day, Little One started the day bright and early, complete with smile. She was so exciting about going to school. I am not sure this mentality would stay on till the end of Primary 6 but I do hope so!

Unlike the the school I attended in the past, the teachers conducted talks for parents to get us familiar with school system and how we could help our child/ children with their work. There were talks for the 1st 2 days. I intended only to stay for that. When all the talks ended, it would be time to bring Little One home.

I sent Little One to her class, got her to be familiarized with the route from the gate to the class. We had already met her form teacher on Orientation Day. During that time, Little One was already brought around the school so the school was not that unfamiliar to her. She was pretty excited to start the new school term.

Together with other parents, I stood outside the classroom taking photos of her first moment in class, witnessing their first class assembly singing the National Anthem and reciting the pledge. I was pretty amazed to see Little One moving her lips when the school's song was played. Later I found out from her, she does not know the lyrics of the school song. So, she was just lip-syncing.

Time table was given on day 1. Her bag was pretty heavy as we were required to hand up most of the workbooks and activity books to the teacher. This was something that was different from the past too. In the past, we were to carry every textbook, workbook and exercise book so long that there was a lesson conducted on that particular subject that day. And on the first day then, we would carried everything to school because we did not which lessons would be conducted.

The P1 students in her school were allowed to return home 2 hours earlier these 3 days. I am not sure about other schools. So, that means I did not need to pack her any lunch boxes for the 1st 3 days. I visited her only during recess time and watched her buy her food from afar. She had a buddy with her who guided her along. After recess, I managed to talk to her at the assembly area. One of her classmates also returned early from the canteen. When he saw me talking to Little One, his eyes started to water. I panicked but still I comforted him. Fortunately, he calmed down and sat quietly after that.

For the first 3 days, P1 would be released from the hall. After the talks, I waited for her to be release from the hall. After which  I would  guide her back to the gate which I believe the teachers would continue to do after the 3 days of orientation.

Day 2

I guided Little One to pack her bag the day before. Little One told me that there were some more books teacher collected on Day 1 but were not listed in the book list. I had to assure her that we will be packing those and submit on Day 2 together with other required items..

During the talks, I got to know P1 will be subjected to screening test to decide whether additional help is required to provide to the students. Little One told me that they had to do some school work for Chinese. I believe that was the screening test since they would be distributed according to their abilities.

Little One bought too much food for recess. A plate of bee hoon and a slice of water melon. Comparing to the day before, this time she ate too slowly and she could not finish her water melon and passed it to me. I wonder what would happen the next time she can't finished her food.

Things did not seemed to settle down one Day 2. Little One brought home a set of colour pencils that belong to one of her classmates. It was not labeled so we do not know whose it belong to. Luckily, we have a wadsapp group for most of the parents. We found the owner and the pencils were returned the next day,

I noted the class has their own library corner and children were to take off their shoes prior entry. Oops! I had yet to label her shoes!

Day 3

There was no talk on this day, so I sent Little One to school and waited through class assembly before returning home. There were still quite a plenty of parents around. Someone in her class got sick and vomited. The parent of the child happened to be there and brought him home.

When I went to school hall to fetch Little One. I was surprised to see yogurt in her bag. She told me that she borrowed money from her buddy to buy the extra yogurt! She said chicken rice cost $1 and the yogurt $1,10. Guess what? She still has 10 cents in her pocket. I was pretty upset because I gave her $2 as pocket money which in my opinion is not very little money.  From then on, I banned her from borrowing money. I do not want her growing up to think that she can borrow money to get stuff she could not afford. She must learn to spend within her means.

Nevertheless, I still walk on the grounds with her and showed her where I would be picking her up in future.

Day 4

This day onwards, she would be having full day class. Parents are no longer allowed into school vicinity. I sent her off at the gate. For the first time, I thought she was growing too fast! I started to worry. What if she forgets instructions which I think she would. What if she lost her way? What if she day dreams in class? That was when I took the above picture. That was when I felt teeny weeny bit of emotions.

Picking her up was pretty exciting too as I did not know what to expect. I just wait outside as per many parents or caretakers did. Soon I spotted her coming near the gate with her class teacher and friends.

I asked whether she had problems going to her class. She replied no. At that moment, I felt pretty proud. Nevertheless, I reminded her in case she was lost and did not know where her class went, she can always go to the General Office to seek help.

Again, I had problem with her pocket money and how she "spends" it. This time she bought a sandwich for 70 cents but returned with 20 cents. I am not sure whether she dropped the coins or had handed the wrong amount of money to the vendor.

Her teachers gave them some forms to bring back. Some of them already became as "kiam chye" (crumpled). This was despite the fact that I had show her to put her forms into the folder which I supplied. Sigh!

Day 5

The first time she brought home homework from school. Her spelling list came back as "kiam chye" =_=

She said her Chinese textbook was being kept in school. So was her Character and Citizenship textbook. I wondered whether was it because some parents complained that the school bag was too heavy?

I asked her what she ate for recess. She said she only ate the stuff I packed for her lunchbox as she could not finish during her tea break time. So did she managed to save the money I provided for that particular day? No. She spent 30 cents on a pencil because she thought she was running out of pencils. So, she had discover the fun of stationery shop.

So, that was the 1st week. Pretty exciting and confusing, isn't it?
If your child is attending school for the 1st time, how was the week for you?

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Malay Cannons

Malay Cannons, with intricate designs, in display in National Museum, Singapore
Particularly like this which looks like a dragon mouth. It has plenty of animal figurines on it too

The carving looks complicated. Never saw a cannon like this before. Have you?
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Sunday, January 3, 2016

Farewell 2015, Welcome 2016

Happy New Year, everyone!

I know I am very late in posting! Still, I must thank you for all your time and patience reading my posts. My blog had an average of 3.4K page view per month last year.

I am not too sure whether 2015 is a good one or bad. Our 1st Prime Minister, Mr Lee Kuan Yew had passed away in March and there were terrorist attacks around the world. Nevertheless, there were also heart warming moments. I hope for peace on Earth!

My progress

Last year, I was a SAHM, I believe this year would be the same. I hope I can find a part time job, now that Little One is in Primary School. (see below subject)

Last year, I managed to keep my temper under control most of the times and not burst unnecessarily at Little One. Learning to be patience was one of my goals. This year, I will maintain it.

I picked up new skills - such as floral arrangement and book binding. I explored other skills too to see whether I like them. Thanks to library, most of these programmes are free.

I went to new places such as Sime Road (WW2 significance by Jon Cooper), Sembawang (monument and heritage by Sembawang Sec) and Chong Pang (food) mostly by myself because Little One is not into trails. I had learnt quite a bit of history from the  The hardest one had to be the one during the Jubilee Holiday, a 20.5km from Kranji MRT all the way to Bukit Brown. Most privileged one is going for the tour at National Library whereby we get to see the Rare Collection. The most amazing and scenic I think are the tours of Fullerton Hotel, Sisters' Islands and Raffles Lighthouse.

New Major Milestone - P1

Another year had gone and Little One would be in Primary One this year. We will be all entering a new phrase of our life next year when she starts her formal education. I wonder how she would fare?

Another thing, school fees is free . We only need to pay for miscellaneous fees (1st tier and 2nd tier) which adds up to $13 per month. That is a lot cheaper than childcare or even kindergarten fee. We can say our finance will be less tight.

Little One's progress
The concept of money is more or less enforced. She had started buying stuff herself although sometimes she counted her money wrongly, I am not very worried. Worst case scenario is pay $1 for every thing she buys!

She had mastered some Han Yu Pin Yin but not all. I think that's ok.

Last year, I hope I can make her a more responsible child who is capable of taking care of her own things but I think I did not do a good enough job. She does not keep after she finished her work or game. This year, I am more determined to teach her to be one.

She is more articulate now. Her command of English is definitely better than I was when I was her age! However, she does not like Chinese which came as a surprise to me because she came from a Chinese spoken family. We seldom speak English to her except when we are reading English storybooks. Last year, I read plenty of English storybooks but seldom Chinese ones. This year, I think I should read more Chinese books to her.

She had archived several milestones this year too. She managed to climb high up in climbing web structures in playground. That I think is a major milestone. I hope this year we are more physically active.

This year, I exposed her to more cultural related activities, such as Amezaiku, and Clans Assosiations.
We also went down to the SEA games to support our archery team!

Blog's progress

All time favorite award still goes to...

Chinese White Honeycomb cake (Bak Tong Gou, 白糖糕) and Steamed Rice Cake (松糕 )
It had never come down since the day the post became the top post. I promise I will not talk about this post  in my wrap up post ever again unless I found them selling somewhere else and worth raving about. This cake is simple to do but required long waiting time, Each time I make, I wait faithfully for about 6 hours. If you want to purchase it in Singapore, it is not that commonly sold. So far, I only found these cakes selling in Telok Blangah Heights.

Top 5 post of 2015
These are selected based on total page views.

5. Little One @ Jacob Ballas Children's Garden
This Children's Garden is located within the Singapore Botanic Gardens which was awarded UNESCO World Heritage Site on 4th July 2015. This Children's Garden is made for kids, adult cannot enter without a child by his/her side! Waterplay, tree house playground, maze! Loads of fun is guranteed in the Garden!

4. Little One @ Cantonese Clan Associations Open House Part 1
We learnt more about clans and lion dances during the Singapore Heritage Festival. This post is about Hok San Associations.

This lion head is about 80 years old and weighs about 5 kg ! (one of the heaviest)

3. Chinese Paper Cutting
This post is very apt for Chinese New Year. Tips were given.

Another park made it to the top 5 posts. This park is very serene. If you love to plant, this park gives you ideas how you can decorate your home with plants! This park has a few playgrounds suitable for various ages!

And No. 1 goes to...
This is the only water playground which I blog last year and it is the most view 2015 post I had submitted! Sad to say, I have not brought Little One there after that one and only trip because it is not very convenient. 

Noted this year 3 of the posts are parks and playground related. I do not think I will blog more on playgrounds this year. I will probably keep updating enthusiastically on my facebook page. Do look out for it!
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