Wednesday, February 28, 2007 ;
2:57 PM
I resumed baking again after the hol. By the way, I am so grateful to the church friends who gave me all their baking and cooking stuff. That's why I can do all these. The toaster oven, the various sizes of baking trays, the measuring cups, egg beater, everything.

Today, I tried cookies.. downloaded a recipe for Mrs Field's choc chip cookies from the internet. but i altered the recipe a bit -- less sugar, more oatmeal, less choc chips... and well, though i expected it, but secretly wished maybe won't happen, the cookies did turn out to be different in taste from the real Mrs Fields.

naive me. never follow instructions lah. trained in science, teach bio, still try to be inexact in adhering to the protocol. aiyah. i deserve it. see, the colour and consistency also differ.

it was so much less sweet such that i found it not very yummy. went overboard in cutting down the sugar i think. fortunately, my kids were still so greedy and probably cos they don;t know what's the real thing, they still gobbled down a lot of it till I had to stop them. in case they get a sore throat. too heaty, after all, even though with all those oatmeal and nuts, it is supposed to be quite a healthy snack. (Those interested can just google Mrs Fields cookies recipe and it'll appear. Supp to give you the real thing. IF you follow the steps. But oh, take note it makes 112 cookies, so you may want to adjust the ingredients, else you end up with too much... :-) I halved them.)


Kids were involved a bit too. they wanted to, so i let them. but they made me spend a lot more time cleaning up... they think they are making playdoh instead of cookies. they had more fun making the shapes. after a few trays of usual round shapes, i let them play around with moulding the dough.











Above: Titus made his name. Justus wanted shapes. And them "helping out".

Below: Kids are watching Shrek now and they like the gingerbread man. So we shaped one and Titus decorated it with some help.

Then there's J for Justus and the chinese character for Titus' name. the other dots are just for fun. i told ds1 the dots above the "feng1" (Abundance) can sort of make it become "yang2" (Sheep) and he happens to be born in the year of the sheep too.



rainbows every day, do not worry for the morrow
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;
2:53 PM
Hey, inspired to write this when I saw Huiming's blog and her Fossil Fuel ice cream pic.

There is something that is much cheaper here -- Ben and Jerry's ice cream... in fact a lot of the ice cream i used to love so much in Spore but find it really extravagant to buy are cheap here. Like Ben And Jerry's which I have indulged in, cos I can justify to myself it is not an expensive treat. :-) COsts US$2.50 for the same sized tub that sells for about S$10+. And there are so many more flavours here.

The current one in my freezer is:

I still have the usual favourites: fossil fuel, chubby hubby, all the chocolatey ones... but I get to try more adventurous ones here. :-)


rainbows every day, do not worry for the morrow
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;
10:56 AM
The 2006 GCE Cambridge A level Examination Results will be released on Friday, 2 March 2007.

I have been excited for quite some time already. And nervous too. I am hoping and wishing all my students will do exceptionally well. Those who are already aceing the hc exams should be fine. Oh, we kind of already know who will be on stage on Friday, right? All those with 7-9 distinctions? :-) I shan't name names...

I am more concerned about those who have so many other commitments (CCA etc) and did not have enough time to study till the last minute. But who have worked extremely hard to catch up. Those who have come to me for so many sessions, so many remedials, who have spent so many hours doing more papers, reading more.... I really hope they will achieve the grade they want.

Somehow I am especially affected this year because I cannot be there physically. Cannot be there to hug my students who are so ecstatic, or in tears (joyful or otherwise). It is also that special day where everyone as a whole class is back again, so it is a great chance to catch up and to see everyone once more. Also, of course, cannot be there to shout and scream for joy with my colleagues and enjoy that half day off announced as a celebration of the good results? And the lunch treats the various heads will warmly give to all staff? :-) haha

Furthermore, I don't know if this will be my last batch of students and thus I am holding on to every moment, every milestone and cherishing these most tenderly.

So, pls email me or MSN when you have the results, first instance you can, contact me. It'll be Thursday night for me but I will be staying up till 2am and will leave my hp, email, MSN turned on. In fact, even after I sleep at 2am it'll still be on, so just message/ email or tag me ya?

(p/s my 2am is your 5pm on Friday)

Sending you all my best wishes, love, care and concern...


rainbows every day, do not worry for the morrow
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Tuesday, February 27, 2007 ;
6:18 AM
Happy Chinese New Year (Day 9)!

Just thought of something, so decided to post.

Previously as a student, we needed to hand in assignments and pass exams to be accountable. Then as a teacher, we keep a portfolio and document our work to show superiors we have performed our duties well.

Now that I am a SAHM, I need to be accountable in some way too. So I have decided to post occasionally, what have I been doing at home. :-) In future, should my kids ever ask, "What did you teach me when I was young? How did you spend time with me?" or similar related questions, I will point them in the direction of this blog.

If dh ever asks me, "What did you do today? or WHat did you do with ALL your free time shaking legs at home?", then I will refer him to such posts. Well it's a good thing he hasn't questioned me yet because I have just only started trying to do more things with the kids. Now that we're more settled.

Ok, so for the past 2 weeks or so:

1. Vegetable printing

I was preparing dinner (washing & cutting carrots and broccoli) when kids were making a din in the living room. So I cut a few odd pieces for them to print as a quiet-down activity.
For carrots, I carved out some basics shapes. For broccoli, the florets are patterns by themselves, while the leaves and stem of the broccoli can be used as a "brush". It was a good distraction from their climbing and fighting. Both began doing their own artwork themselves so I carried on my cooking.


Another thing: in Singapore I used to have tons of rough paper, either from school or home, where a lot of paper is thrown away daily and I will salvage some whenever I need. So the kids can draw and scribble on any amount of rough paper they want. Here, every sheet of paper costs more and I am reluctant to hand them good white paper I buy for printing stuff to do their artwork.

Thus, enter the kind and generous commercial companies who send lots of flyers and advertisements to my mailbox each day. The amount is mind-boggling. Many of them are printed on one side only, so I saved them up for the kids to draw on. See below: left shows the adverts and right shows their veggie printing masterpieces. (Ok, I confess the bottom left one was done by me, as a demo to them. But dh said theirs look way better than mine, cos mine looks contrived and childish while theirs is mature, abstract and creatively contemporary. Whatever.)

2. Target shooting

Yes we do have a no-gun policy with regards to toys. But water guns are an exception. They don't have flashing lights, real bullets or noisy sounds. And they motivate my kids, who sometimes resist bathing, to want to bathe.

Yet, other than bath times, they still want to play with it, and I can't have them running ard the whole house wetting everything. So I drew some aliens, monsters etc onto discarded clear plastic wrappers and taped them up on the shower curtains in the bathroom.

They spent almost an hour there that day and thereafter, shooting those aliens and the only wet place was the bath tub. Great!

3. Spatial sense

ds1's ganma asked me about right-brain training and that spurred me into thinking more about right-brain based activities. I tried some games with ds1 and found him rather lacking in spatial awareness. I told dh about it and asked him to help, cos I myself am not good with my spatial sense. (I always attributed my atriocious physics grade to this defect of mine. :-))

In this particular pic, dh was telling ds1 about mirrors, reflections, lateral inverted images and so on.

While he did that with ds1, that freed me up to spend some precious time with ds2. That is a rare luxury cos I hardly have time to teach him anything usually. He loves to trace pics and letters so we did some tracing.

These are not much actually. If they were enrolled in some preschool in Singapore, they'd be doing hours of such activities each day. So for me, it is just a baby step.. Steps towards real homeschooling... :-)

Finally,

FOOD:

1. Roasted chicken wings for church potluck on Sunday but dh got sick with a cold and we didn't go for the potluck. I brought kids alone for worship and Bible class in the morning then went home immediately. However, our own family actually consumed 40 wings in 2 days (Sun and today). I did not have to worry about wastage in the end!

I did them the Chinese BBQ way, but using a toaster oven to toast, 8 wings at a time. It took me a whole day cos each set of 8 wings need about 40min to roast. And I did 40 wings. Not to mention time needed for the honey glazing at the end of each roast (about 2min per side of the wing). After spending that much time, I had to take a photo. :-) ds2, the greedy one, ate 5 per meal on his own.

2. An American Vietnamese lady in church baked me this yummy loaf of pumpkin bread. It has nuts and a hint of cinnamon too. Delicious. So nice of her!



rainbows every day, do not worry for the morrow
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Tuesday, February 20, 2007 ;
12:31 PM
18 Feb Sunday

First day of Chinese New Year
Year of the Boar

Ok, must start from the impt reunion dinner first.
We didn't have to be alone! The Korean lady from church who is such a wonderful chef invited us to her hse for dinner Sat nite again. The same lady who invited us to her house for New Year's Day dinner.
This time she prepared something like our Popiah but the ingredients and wrap are totally different. The wrap is made of rice, transparent and doesn't tear when wet. The ingredients included fresh oysters, prawns, pork, apples (yes!), garlic, cucumber slices, cabbage leaves, mint leaves, parsley, bee hoon and her babelicious yummy super ultimate sauce. I think it contains chili, garlic, soya sauce and maybe peppers and other spices. Spicy and tangy and salty, very drool-worthy.
Surprisingly the apple slices went well with all the seafood and raw veggies! It gave a nice sweet flavour which was refreshing. I asked her where to get the wrap already and will definitely try and do it myself at home.

We talked quite a lot and both my sons managed to entertain themselves with Spongebob on TV until they got tired and cranky, then we left for home. I forgot to take pictures and kicked myself when we reached home. I think I enjoyed every minute and was so engrossed with the way to wrap and eat, then with the conversation topics that I forgot...


ok, then fast forward to Sunday. Throughout the week I had been trying to decorate the house as best as I can to create some kind of atmosphere for the kids. I am afraid they forget these festivals and customs when we return. Then everyone will surely label them as "bananas"-- (yellow skin but white interior). Don't want that to happen...




So I fished out the ang pow paper my mom-in-law and mom sent as well as some I brought over myself. Strung them up, hung them up, displayed all the CNY cards. and cos they're a bit pathetic, i added on the cards you all gave me at the airport and also Val Day Cards. :-) Play "spot-your-card" game in the photo!
ALso I had photos of all those in Singapore on my walls. There are my recent graduating classes, 05S73, S75, S78 and S7B. Church photos, Ganma and Titus photo, family photos (dh clan and my clan), Hwa Chong trs photos, other friends' photos...

ANd then I brought S75's gift, the one they told me they made specially so I could pack it in my luggage cos it can fold and so on... So i hung it up, together with the Senior Prom Mag (can see it below the S75 montage?)
And of course, the goodies, traditionally presented in round container with segments? Oh ya, I have haw flakes from my sis too. hee hee. And chewing gum from Japan.

And on SUnday morning, we dressed ourselves up. The kids stole the limelight, naturally, with their bright Chinese costumes. Mary, here's the family photo outside the house you wanted, finally! :-)
Took another one in church, on the pew.

Then for lunch, we were invited to the Strickler's. She's ds2's Wed Bible class teacher and he's the one who fetched all of us from the airport on Dec 28 last yr. With all these visitations, it kind of seems like CNY! Thankful to them who so kindly invited us. The hostess wanted us to tell them all about CNY and CHinese traditions and customs too.
We had Cornish Game Hen for lunch, with rice and veggies. Lovely. And a lime pie for dessert. Her house was beautiful too... another different sort of beauty from yesterday's Baby shower venue. Hers was homely, and the decor seemed to have a lot of sentimental value. There were quilts made by herself, her hubby's great grandmother, mom and so on...
She is learning to play the violin too so they're discussing the finer points i think.. looks very intense and serious hor? :-)
They have 3 cats and one of them, Rufus, is allowed in the house. Our sons love him so much they followed him everywhere he went in the house and tried to do whatever he did. Including crawling under the chairs!

They hugged, pet, stroked him all over.. ds2 tried to ride on him! they also held his tail, put their faces to his face, and ds2 also tried to kiss him. aiyoh, looks like in future they'll surely ask me if they can keep pets! only when they can look after the pet themselves...
The guy plays the piano shown here. And both boys also had some fun with it. They also had toys that belonged to their grandchildren, so ds1 and ds2 were well-entertained. Their grandkids are now in Japan cos their father was posted to the base there in Okinawa.
This marks our CNY this year... :-) Definitely not the same, but still enjoyable!


rainbows every day, do not worry for the morrow
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;
12:08 PM
17 Feb Sat 1pm-3pm

Gray's Residence: Baby Shower


I attended a baby shower of a church friend. She's about the same age as me, almost due to deliver a baby girl. It was an enjoyable experience.

The host's house was very beautiful. Very different from the IN culture of home decor in Singapore now. In SIngapore it is clean and sleek designs and looks, many Zen-like in approach. But over here, most houses have a lot of ornaments, country-style with fireplace or Victorian. And their furniture would usually be large, solid, heavy-set kind, those that can last for centuries and be passed down generations?


So it's a different kind of beauty. The houses of my Singaporean friends are beautiful too but it is different over here and so I find visiting people a very interesting and enjoyable experience because I get to see many different decors and things.

There was such a pretty cake with a teddy bear. And trust me, it was simply yummy.


I took a pic with the mom-to-be at the fireplace, with the presents. I realise the way I wrap presents pale in comparison to the others so I placed mine behind everything. hee. I gave her a board book by Eric Carle, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, which both my sons love too. She had it as one of the items on her baby gift registry. Some presents even had 3D pop up pins or tags on them, or a bracelet with beads spelling Baby... very sweet, very girly and very pretty.


I felt like trying for a daughter when I saw all those irresistably adorable pink dresses and girly stuff! Anyway what happened after all the eating was, the VIP will open all her presents and there's someone who will record everything (see above, the lady with a book). FOr scrapbooking purposes.



That's her mom-in-law beside her. Her mom-in-law drove all the way here from Colorado to be at this baby shower and her gifts were self-made dresses for the baby! The dresses were Victorian style, with smocking, embroidery, lace and such! I was so impressed! I wonder if I could do that for my granddaughter! It was her first grandchild, this baby girl.
Then the opened gifts will be passed around to all of us to admire. So the other pic shows the other ladies admiring some gifts. They happen to be sitting in front of a huge plasma TV screen? DH thought it was a blackboard when he saw the photo, so I better clarify. hee.
It was very fun and I got to hear all the chatter and gossip after the gift-admiration process too. Hadn't had such kind of activity since I came to Utah, cos been facing kids mainly! :-)


rainbows every day, do not worry for the morrow
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Saturday, February 17, 2007 ;
2:57 PM
Look what we got when we reached home!

We were so pleasantly surprised by some parcels that awaited us when we got back from California.

One was from MexGrocer and Law and Mag sent it!!! Ooooh... my favourite Milo drink and chocolate bar. 2 tins!!! hooray... Thank you so much for satisfying my cravings... Smart huh, to order from MexGrocer, must say you are very resourceful!


The next one was from Mary, Zhiyang and little Charlene. Mary and Zhiyang are ds1 and ds2 gan1ma1 and gan1die1 respectively. They've always loved our kids as much as their own too. And in Charlene, I have the daughter I always wanted too. :-) Me and dh are CHarlene's "godparents" too. (No spiritual meaning attached)

Though I knew they'd send something for Titus' birthday, I did not expect such a large parcel and that the postage will cost S$76++!! Super touched all over again, there were Milo sachets too, 2 whole packets. I can start making Milo Godzillas without fear now, my supply is enough for that! haha

Then with CNY coming and absolutely nothing festive around here, we were glad for the preserved prunes, dried mangoes and rabbit milk sweets!!! I didn't realise how much we missed the dried mangoes and sweets till we saw them.


ds1 opened his present first while ds2 had to wait for his birthday in March to open his. ds1 was squealing and screaming when he saw what it was. really a pity I didn't manage to capture his reaction. Angeling, it was like when he got your excavator present last yr, that kind of excitement.

And he posed for this photo himself. haha. It was a spidey with an ATV that can spin around. He loves the figurine and the car. He doesn't have one so it's his first!


Then there was another large parcel from my sister, bro-in-law and parents too. This was also cost so much to send, S$92++. Really very expensive...



For this box, I will not go into the details of everything that's inside... cos it contains personal clothing and other items too. haha. Some stuff we need and forgot to bring, and others are new stuff, presents for kids' birthdays and CNY goodies.

ds1 got puzzles and DVDs/ VCDs, ds2 got the same but different types. I got more Milo, haha, really can feast now! And sour prunes too, bak kwa (dunno can mention or not...), dried cuttlefish fillet. I got 2 new tops from Sense chosen by my sis... One's in red, so I can wear on CNY day, hee.

Then we had registered mail from Angeling, Patrick, Minxi and Minli! Minxi drew a card for Titus and they gave him a Mozart DVD. both ds1 and ds2 have watched it already! and Richard Scarry's 1-2-3 counting VCD. Angeling also passed me some bak kwa at the airport when we were leaving and I still have some left. :-)


Thank you so much, everyone, we are overwhelmed and speechless. So touched.

We really appreciate all those who kept us in your prayers, miss us and often think of us too. We want to tell you we also do!

I have pasted pics of all of you on my walls. Show you in a future post soon!


rainbows every day, do not worry for the morrow
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;
1:20 PM
Driving home was tiring, see ds2's face... that's when we reached home, about 11pm?


The drive however, was cool and scenic. It was the same drive to California and since it presented a good Biology lesson in changing ecosystems, I thought I'd take a few photos also.

From warm and arid to cold dry and snowy...








rainbows every day, do not worry for the morrow
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about us ;
-{dear-hubby}- dh
-{dear-son}-ds1 T
-{dear-son}-ds2 J
-{dear-daughter}-dd E
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