Wednesday, August 29, 2007 ;
5:10 AM
Singapore's National Day
Aug 9 2007
How did we celebrate it?

A couple of weeks before Aug 9th, I downloaded the MTVs and mp3 files of National songs from the NDP 2007 website. They have all the songs from 1980s till 2007 there. Lyrics though, were for the newer songs. But our generation, we don't need lyrics for Count on Me, Stand Up for Spore, One People One Nation... haha... we have them ingrained in our hearts already! or rather, embedded in the folds of our cerebrum?

Then I played them to the kids almost daily. Sometimes in the background while we're just playing or eating. Sometimes, we actively sit down to watch the MTVs. Law gave me a Spore DVD with 3 clips on Spore's history inside, including the pioneers: Lee Kuan Yew, Yusof Ishak etc, and also the war and riots etc. I viewed them first and decided to do it with ds1 only. ds2 would not be able to understand.

So when ds2 took his nap, ds1 and I watched it, with commentary on my part.

Ok, that was the prelude.

So on the day itself, we donned our red tees and white/ beige bottoms. I had diligently packed them in Dec 2006 to bring over. I put on those patriotic tattoos for them, and blew up the beaters. These items were all from previous years' NDP goodie bags. I had only missed 3 NDPs from 1991 till 2007, I think. I'd always gone to see them live, either the preview, a rehearsal, or the actual one. Always managed to get tickets, cos either I was a student, or with MOE, so, haha, there are ways and means, even if I don't get them in the ballots.

Then I began my day of "National Education" for them. I'd probably not do this had we be in Spore, so it's funny how we become more loyal and patriotic when we go overseas. Probably from all the missing of our home.

1. I'd printed out blank flags of Spore and the maps of Spore. So I let both ds1 and ds2 colour them, while explaining the significance, which fell on deaf ears, naturally. They didn't remember when I asked them later.

2. Then we marked out the important places on the map. Important to them, meaning our own flat in Jurong, the Tumpu house, our schools, airport, church building...

(below shows ds1's work. ds2's is more like a mass of squiggles everywhere. haha.)

3. Then I covered the flag and asked ds1 to draw another one from memory.

4. After that, it was all action-based, like dance to the National songs. And like, if it was a Malay one like Chan Mali Chan, I'd do Malay dance moves; Munneru Valiba, then Indian dance moves; Wo De Jia Yuan, then CHinese dance movements.

Then a lot of silly jumping and beating of the beaters, percussion, etc together with the music.

5. When dh came back from school, he donned his "costume" and we took this family photo. :-)

6. It was only a few days later that we got to watch the webcast online, because it was in the wee hours of the morning when the live webcast was broadcast, and then it wasn't available for viewing for a couple of days on the site, when I tried.

7. That's not all, we also organised a BBQ for about 40 of our church friends, where I compiled and showed a presentation of Singapore and our family life to let them know more about our country and culture. More of this in another post.

So that was the culmination of our 2007 celebrations. I would need new supplies for the 2008 ones, cos the beaters have been burst by the kids in their over-enthusiastic cheering (read: sword-fighting).

rainbows every day, do not worry for the morrow

Wednesday, August 22, 2007 ;
11:28 AM
Came up with a Milo pudding recipe... Very yummy, and the kids liked it very much also. So posting it here. Not sure if the ingredients are available in Spore, cos I seldom baked back home. But I am sure you can substitute with similar things if you're interested!

Dh away tdy till midnight cos the concert season started. Think they're playing Requiem in a couple of weeks.

Saw I had some Cool Whip left over from making a blueberry cheese pie last week, and thought of how to finish it up. Also had some left over hershey's choc. Happened to hv all the following ingredients below, so mixed them up...

It's also for my own reference in case I want to make it in future! :-)

Anna's Milo pudding (serves 2 kids and 2 adults) :-)
1. Cool Whip (sth like whipped cream) 4 oz
2. Milo instant powder mix 1 sachet
3. Condensed milk 1 tsp (amt can vary, how sweet you want)
4. Jello Vanilla pudding sachet 1 packet
5. Hershey's chocolate (bar, chips or powder)1 tbsp (up to you also, how chocolatey?)
6. Nilla wafers (vanilla biscuits) 1 cup (or more if you like the pudding thick)
(discovered these here, Nabisco brand, very nice, a bit like how the sponge fingers work in tiramisu cake recipes)

(i) dissolve 2 in 1/2 cup warm water
(ii) stir in 3
(iii) mix in melted or dissolved 5 (if chips or bar, can microwave to melt it)
(iv) add 4 bit by bit while stirring, make sure not lumpy
(v) fold in 1, then keep mixing till a smooth homogeneous-looking "cream" is achieved
(vi) in a nice bowl/ container, lay out 6, then pour the whole "cream" onto the wafers
(vii) refrigerate for at least 1 hour (longer the better, overnight for eg)

prep time: 10-15min
refrigeration time: 1 hour minimum

rainbows every day, do not worry for the morrow

Monday, August 20, 2007 ;
6:17 AM
This post is current! :-)
hv not posted current posts for so long.

Have been indulging a lot in cooking whatever we miss from Spore, whenever possible. Ytd, tried cooking coconut rice (aka nasi lemak rice), but without pandan leaves.

Still it tasted and smelt very fragrant. Eating it brought back memories of Adam Rd's and Boon Lay FC's nasi lemak. Yum yum. We ate it with fried silver fish (no ikan bilis here), eggs and veggies. Even the silver fish was from Spore.

We also had another round of chicken rice. This time, without the Prima mix. Just cook chicken broth, add it in when cooking rice. True, it will never be the same without the pandan leaves and chilli sauce, but it's the closest we get to it, and we are happy enough.

A church friend who hunts gave us some wild boar meat that he hunted down himself. Not sure which cut he gave us, but it was very good. We used some for pork chops, some for stir fry and then the part with the thick bone for a stew. I loved the stew best. The kids didn't care for the former two, but they slurped every last bit of their rice with the stew.

Somehow, wild game has a sweetness? That's what dh said. Maybe it's like organic veggies and fruits, or farm-fresh ones. When you let a fruit ripen on the tree and then you pick it to eat, it is so sweet and juicy, the way normal fruits should be.

Perhaps the usual frozen meats from the supermarket were caged and given hormones and whatever stuff we don't know about, so the taste is altered already, and doesn't taste like what meat should.

Also, many church members' gardens are ready for harvest right at this time, and they have much more than they themselves can consume. So every week at the church counter, there'd be tomatoes, peaches, zucchini etc for anyone who wants them to get them. We tried everything.

Really, if you grow it yourself, it is super different! I have never tasted better zucchinis or sweeter tomatoes before. I mean, the tomatoes can be eaten as fruits, like apples! I bit into one cherry tomato from the Dowdys and I just couldn't stop. In the end, we ate the whole paper bag worth of tomatoes just like that. I never thought I would like tomatoes so much, cos the ones I usually buy are a little sour, or basically tasteless.

And then the zucchini needed only a sprinkle of salt. Then I put them into the oven, voila, they're done for dinner. Crunchy on the outside, tender on the inside.

The peaches are from the elder and his wife. No need to say, they are not hard like what you buy in the supermarket. Smell very fragrant and super sweet.

And now, cos we just met our Singaporean friends (will blog more ltr), we've some more Prima mixes! She brought us Chilli crab, mee rebus, char kway teow and chicken rice packets! Yay!

I'll be busy but happy in the kitchen for the next 2 weeks at least. :-)

rainbows every day, do not worry for the morrow

Sunday, August 19, 2007 ;
12:16 PM
11 Aug Sat
Church Clothing Sorting

The church here does this annually. It is kind of their benevolence and evangelism effort for the community.
Everyone brings their clothes, shoes, toys and other items to the church building and then we all sort them out according to type and size. The items must be new or in very good condition.

I saw so many things I would've liked myself, but unfortunately we Asians have a much smaller build, so many of the pretty dresses, the jackets and warm clothing do not fit me. Some shoes were brand new too, like ladies boots, heels and so on.

The kids were more fortunate though, there were many things that they could use. The church members told me to take my pick first, but I thought I better let the community and those more needy look through, then I'll take some after that.

So we sorted stuff into different boxes and left them in the basement of the church building.

18 Aug Sat
7am to 2pm
Clothing Giveaway

Although it was advertised as clothing giveaway, there were many other items. I brought our Graco stroller too, because someone gave it to us, and we had brought our "no-brand" stroller from Spore and I also bought a Graco double stroller recently cos kids usually both get tired when I bring them out the whole day. (In spore, esp at places like Jurong Point, double strollers are not practical, cos you can't move through the crowds, but over here, aisles and spaces are just so wide, double strollers are very common and hence, cheaper too.)

So I stationed myself at the kids' area because I quickly found out I wasn't much good at estimating adult sizes. When people stroll in, I'm supposed to recommend stuff for them, but I keep getting their sizes wrong. However, I did so well for getting the kids' sizes right. Haha, must be all that shopping for my and other kids' clothes all these years. There were a bunch of boys who came, and I managed to size them up, and recommended all the clothes they simply loved too. They were the soccer jersey kind. :-)

My stroller had a taker too. This lady had 3 kids, all very young, and pregnant again. She was so happy with the stroller cos it's still rather new. It's so nice to be able to help others and make others happy. Both ds1 and ds2 were hanging ard the area half the day and I hope they can somehow realise that too.

There was a young couple who came in. No kids. They were very brand-conscious or rather, know exactly what they want. The guy took all the shirts in his size that were wrapped in plastic (brand new), a Nike top, an Adidas pullover, amongst others. The lady also went for brands like Abercrombie and Fitch, Banana Republic... They were very happy too...

Another Hispanic family left a deep impression on me. They also had, like, 4 kids, all very young. The 2nd youngest was playing with ds2 while the parents looked for shoes and clothes. The whole family was very good-looking. They brought home a lot, and I could see they really needed those clothes. It must be difficult to clothe and feed so many kids (may have more to come too, you never know)!

So after the whole thing, I looked through the kids' pile, got some clothes for my baby niece (EDD late Nov), got some for my own kids, and was even able to get some for dh and myself. Now, I have another year's worth of clothes for all seasons, no need to worry about buying expensive parkas, rain gear and such for the kids already. Got all of them there.

Ok, now for random pics. Esp ds1's silliness.

We have 2 bats for playing this bouncy ball game. The bats have a web-like rubberised centre (see pics above). After watching Toy Story 2, ds1 wanted to be Buzz Lightyear. I can't remember what I was doing, probably in the kitchen. When I came out, I saw him like that already. It was kind of obscene-looking, but he was running all ard the hse outside and shouting, "To infinity and beyond" etc. Even riding his bike with the thing stuck in between his legs (below right)!

I didn't want to tell him it was obscene, so I just said that doesn't look nice and it seems uncomfortable. Why don't you find another way to act like Buzz?

So finally he put the thing on his waist. It spoilt the bat eventually, but arrrggh, he did "listen" to me. So I let it go.

Silly ds1! Another thing he did was to draw on ds2's hand while ds2 was napping. (below) I saw it only later on.

Below left: my driver's licence that came 10th of Aug.

Above right: my cradle roll class. taught them every wed for the summer semester.

rainbows every day, do not worry for the morrow

Friday, August 17, 2007 ;
6:33 AM

Stephanie is this year's President's Scholar!

Thanks Xizzy for the news.

Congrats Steph!

Your dad must be really proud of you, and I think he'll find it extra sentimental to be at the ceremony at Istana, right?

And also, have fun in Cambridge pursuing your passion in Medicine! Xizzy says you all can meet up, Kimberle and Jiehui too? Must post pics then!

rainbows every day, do not worry for the morrow

Thursday, August 2, 2007 ;
12:52 AM
July 23rd
Eve of Pioneer Day

One of the days that it is lawful to set off firecrackers. I think I mentioned before that we bought some to light ablaze.
Below is a pic of the sign at the supermarket where we bought the fireworks, stating that we must be 16 to purchase and that we can only use them 3 days before or after 4th of July, New Year's Day and Pioneer Day (a Utah State hol).

Invited the neighbors to join in. It was really spetacular and fun! I didn't capture much on cam, cos ds2 was grabbing me very tightly, he was scared. dh was concerned with the lighting, so he didn't take pics too.
The bigger ones had many colours and also shot up very high. Awesome.

Above left: after watching BBC's "Charlie and Lola", ds1 wanted me to buy a card game called "Flip Flop" that the kids were playing in the DVD. I had no idea if there was such a game on sale, but anyway I told him we don't have so much money, make your own. Gave him some paper and he drew all the cards himself. He also cut up the cards by himself. He gradually added on to them till he has about 80 cards now, so when he asks me to play with him, I'd groan inwardly, cos it takes a looooong time to get through all the cards.

Above right: this was so silly. dh laughed so hard when he saw it. Dh's laptop is this white Apple. The desktop has our family pic as the wallpaper. While he was left to his own devices, ds1 dragged all the desktop icons to cover all our eyes and mouths, making us all look like some kind of a monster. When asked, he said we are ultramen. Indeed!

rainbows every day, do not worry for the morrow

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