Archive | November 2009

English pronunciation debates and other such serious matters for discussion

Overheard at the dinner table yesterday…

DS: [pointing to a picture on his bib] “Oc – to – pus”
Me: “Very good! You’re right, that is an octopus.”
DD: Not “Oc – TO – pus”. “OC – to – pus”.
DS: “Oc – TO – pus”
DD: No. Not “Oc –TO – pus”. Say “OC – to – pus”. “OC – to – pus”.

*repeat three times*

I’m not going to reproduce here the debate that followed afterward about the other sea creatures…but if you want to hear more, you’re welcome to join us for Christmas dinner. 😉  We’ll have good food, good wine and very engaging mealtime conversation.
You could be surprised,
but I promise you…you will not be bored.

Two little eyes…

…to look to God’s creations! 🙂

While waiting to meet a friend for lunch on Friday, we spent the morning in the Singapore Botanic Gardens.
Here are some pics I thought were noteworthy discoveries by the kids. Enjoy 🙂

A flower whose stalk grows straight out of the soil! Wonder what's its name...


Balancing act

Swan's feather caught on the netting bordering the lake

Three-flippered turtle 😦

Eager fish leaping for bread crumbs

Busy scurrying caterpillar

Alphabet Wall: Making…d is for David

I was tossing up between d is for David or d is for Daniel. I finally decided on David because [if I’ve not got this wrong…], chronologically, his story happens before Daniel’s.

I opted for a simple craft this week, just focusing on the letter and sound of “d”.  But simple as it is, I think it makes for a good exercise in concentration skills as it will require the child to scan a body of text to identify the chosen letter.  Which is quite a bit of work for a toddler!

You will need the following materials: Artblock sheet, scissors, old magazines, glue, marker, colour pencils (or whichever colouring medium you wish to use).

1. With your marker, draw a picture of David and Goliath on the artblock sheet.
2. Leave some space to write the words of the Sunday School song, “Only a boy called David”. I’ve reproduced it below just in case it’s difficult to read off the picture… 🙂

Only a boy called David
Only a rippling brook
Only a boy called David
Five little stones he took

And one little stone went in the sling ]
And the sling went round and round ] 2x
Round and round and round and round and round and round and round

One little stone went up…up…up… *whistle*
And the giant came tumbling down!

3. Count the number of d’s in the song (I omitted the third line in the second verse because I ran out of space! 😛 ) and cut out the requisite number you’ll need (with some extras just in case…  🙂 ) from your old magazines.

4. Have your child point out where the d’s are and stick your cut-out “d”s over the text.  Turn it into a counting activity as well if your child is game for it! 😀

5. Colour!!

Elves at work – our creation storyboard!

Genesis 1: 1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
2 Now the earth was [a] formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

Hehe, can you guess the reasons I used an envelope to represent Day 0?

3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good, and He separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.

Shiiiiiiiiiing!!! Check out the glow 😉

6 And God said, “Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water.” 7 So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it. And it was so. 8 God called the expanse “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day.

Clouds to represent the bodies of water in the sky!

9 And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. 10 God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good.

Day 3 - part one

11 Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. 12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day.

Day 3 - part two

14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. 16 God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. 17 God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, 18 to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day.

Starting to look really nice!

20 And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky.” 21 So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.” 23 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fifth day.

Turn the blue foam over on the reverse side, and ta dah - sea creatures! Ah ha, what's on the other side of the orange foam...?

24 And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so. 25 God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.

26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

27 So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.

28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

29 Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. 30 And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.

Now that's really crowded! 🙂

31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.

Genesis 2:1 Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.

2 By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. 3 And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.

Click here for instructions on how to make a storyboard backing.  😀

Our cell group has just started an apologetics bible study series on DVD, and the first of the series is on the Creation account, which inspired me to do up a storyboard for the kids.  In our preparation, I found that when I tried to go through the frames from memory without referring to the Genesis account, I got the order all mixed up between Days 3-5.  That’s a 43% error rate, shame on me!  😛

So it turned out to be a really good and timely Sunday School revision.

Ten ways how life changes when kids come into the picture

1. You’re up bright and early every morning. And like it.

2. You can recite Hippos Go Berserk and Gruffalo’s Child by heart.

3. “If you’re happy and you know it” is set on repeat sequence on the electronic keyboard.

4. You analyse nutrition content labels on food items with the fervour of a health safety officer.

5. You rush home from work like a sprinter out of the starting blocks and wish the train ride was shortened by half.

6. Innovation is the start to new discoveries.

7. Bedtime is sacred. For the kids and for you both.

8. …You have to come back to no.8 later…your son’s just done a major poo and your daughter wants to read The Jungle Book.

9. You begin to appreciate the extent of agony you gave to your parents, and God. And you also appreciate the full meaning of grace.

10. You find limitless space in your heart to love and love, and love some more. 🙂

Our first mother and daughter baking session

We made a cheesecake together on the weekend. 🙂

Okay so we didn’t technically bake; it was a frozen cheesecake 😉
DD helped me pour the crushed digestive biscuit crumbs and melted butter into the mixing bowl.  I showed her how to stir it into a mix to make the biscuit base for the cake.

She also helped press it into the springform pan.
I whirred up the cheese, sugar, thickened cream, lemon juice and gelatine in the electric mixer while she mopped up the table, and we poured the mix into the springform pan together!

And so we had cake for breakfast this morning! 😀  So fun! I can’t decide if we’ll try making muffins or cookies next. 😉

There is a joy in the journey

Parents can be the biggest fans of their own kids. And in the same breath, they can also be their greatest critics. It is all too easy sometimes to fall into the trap of getting all hot and bothered over the small things – picky eating, difficult moods, and I guess, in my case, DS’s milk feeds.

Ever since he gave up drinking from the bottle at 11 months old, we have been sitting him into the high chair three times a day in addition to his main meals and feeding him the milk spoon by spoon, all 7 ounces, because he won’t drink milk from a cup – sippy or straw or regular, either.

It’s daunting. Do you know how many spoonfuls it takes to finish 7 ounces? I don’t. I’m too busy trying to get it over and done with than count.

It’s tiring. Picture the prospect of double amounts of laundry and floor mopping.

It’s time-consuming.  Both son and parents can think of better things to do than testing our motor skills and patience over scooping milk.

But today, when I fed him his milk as DH held him on his lap (we were at an aunt’s place and didn’t have a high chair), DS’s great-grandmother was looking on. And in the midst of her playful chiding of the “trouble” her great-grandson was causing his mother, she commented to us in Hokkien “Actually he is well-behaved. He willingly lets you hold him without squirming or climbing to free himself from your arms”.

I stopped to think about her comment. DS’s milk feeds are a real bugbear to me and dread fills me every time the clock strikes the hour of his milk feed. But relative to the bigger picture of the parenting journey, it is a rather small bear to be bugged about. Today, I drag my feet and complain about it. One day I will look back on it and think of it as nothing. Laugh about it.

Parenting is a journey. I can choose to be bogged down by the hurdles and the difficult phases in between. Or I can take a big picture view, smile and find the silver lining that accompanies every challenge. Children are a blessing from God and the journey is meant to be enjoyed.

Lord, thank you for sending the timely reminder through DH’s grandmother and helping me to regain my focus.

Alphabet Wall: Making…c is for coat

This week we’re on to the letter c, and making an ice-cream stick figure with a multi colour coat (guess who!).

You will need the following materials: Paper, old magazines, scissors, pen, glue, wooden ice cream stick.

1. With the pen, draw the outline of a coat on the paper. Next, using the shoulders of the coat, draw a mirror image.

2. Draw a boy’s face. Cut both the coat and the face out and set aside.

3. Cut strips of different coloured paper from your old magazines.

4. Apply glue onto the coat. Stick the strips of coloured paper onto the coat.

You can take the opportunity to make this into an exercise in patterns for older children, ages 3 and above,
For those aged 2-3, what could make for a good stretch assignment to exercise their concentration skills is to paste each strip straight one following the other all the way through to the end.
Any younger, I would just keep it plain fun and let them stick it anyhow they want to!

5. Cut a hole for the neck and trim away the excess strips of paper.

6. Push the ice cream stick through the neck hole.

7. Apply glue and fold down the coat at the shoulders onto the ice cream stick. Also paste on the face.

Bible story time: If you guessed Joseph, you’re right! 🙂


Burning the candle at both ends

I fell sick on Monday morning with really bad gastric pains.
The doctor surmised that it was because of what I ate over the weekend.
We ate out a lot since my parents were in town and she suspected that chilli may have been the trigger.

DH’s mum, who is a nurse by training, hypothesized that it was because I didn’t eat.
I stayed up till 2am on Sunday (or rather early Monday morning) to finish up a presentation for a meeting on Monday.
For two weeks now I’ve had very little sleep because I’ve been flying home as fast as the MRT can take me, trying to accomplish what I usually do over two hours in double quick time, make it for the kids bedtimes and then working late after they’ve gone to bed.
And when I’m stressed I don’t eat very well.
To top it all off, DS’s frequent wakings over the week from his teething woes have had us sprinting into the kids’ room multiple times to soothe him back to sleep before he awakens his sister.

It could have been a mix of both I guess. Maybe this post should be renamed “Burning the dynamite stick at both ends”.

Poor eating habits for two weeks + rich food over two days + more late nights = sizzle sizzle fzzzzzz KABOOM!!!!

Both mum-in law and the doctor said the same thing. “Take it easy”.  “Must strike a balance, you know?”
Sigh. It strikes me at that moment that I don’t know what to make of the phrase “take it easy”.  I stuffed the 2-day medical certificate that the doctor wrote me into my handbag, and it’s still there, a dog-eared piece of paper folded into what looks like failed origami, while I made my way back to office and continued to beaver away at the urgent.

How does one strike a balance when I’m burning myself at both the wick and the base?

Rainy day activity

What’s a great no-prep, no-fuss, no-mess, no-afterward clean up activity to occupy two restless kids on a rainy afternoon?
Water painting!

Water painting-circle

Water painting-circles

Well, almost no clean up required except for the 15-month old who chose to sit in his puddle work. But that’s alright. 🙂