Archive | May 2010

The difference between a daughter and a son

One cycles up to you and leans in close to give you a peck on the cheek…

The other runs up to you and leans in close to stab you in the leg with his drumstick.

 

Image from www.babyblues.com

A perfect moment in time

When a little hand reaches for your busy one…

and calls your name,

When you clasp that little hand and look down at its owner…

greeting you with the brightest, sweetest smile in the whole universe.

Alphabet Wall: Making…v is for vine

I originally started out trying to use pipe cleaners for this craft but after an hour’s worth of twisting, undoing, retwisting and in the process, gaining tiny but painful, scratches all over my fingers from the exposed wires, I decided there had to be a better and more preschooler-safe way of doing this.

A couple of days later, an idea to use real twigs and brown string planted itself in my mind.  🙂

You will need the following materials: plant twigs, scissors, cellophane tape, brown string, purple colour paper, glue, artblock sheet, marker.

1. Duck out to a nearby park to gather twigs, ideally forked ones. Make it a family outing! 😀   (More power to you if you manage to find v-shaped twigs. I made do with y-shaped ones).

2. Trim the twigs to the shape required. Secure a few together with some cellophane tape to make your vine more sturdy.

3. (Optional step) If you are like me and can’t stand the fact that twigs keep shedding little brown bits, mix two teaspoons of water to one teaspoon of PVA glue and paint over the twigs.

This does not change the look and feel from a sensory standpoint but it does create a sort of sealer coat that lessens shedding to a great degree! 🙂   Leave to dry.

4. Have your child twine the brown string over the twigs. Talk about how vines are creepers that twine their way around whichever structure is available. Secure by tying a knot.

4. While your child is working on the twining, cut some grapes out of the purple colour paper.

5. With a marker, draw a block letter v on an artblock sheet.

4. Paste on your vine, and the grapes.

We added some leaves as well, cut from a forest background from an old magazine.  🙂

**********

John 15:5 – I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

God helps me
God helps me
In my Bible book I read that
God helps me

God keeps me
God keeps me
In my Bible book I read that
God keeps me

**********

Alphabet Wall: Making…u for universe

Pop quiz! Quick, can you remember the order of the eight (remember Pluto’s been demoted to a dwarf planet! 😉 ) planets in our solar system?  😛

You will need the following materials: black or midnight blue coloured paper, white and yellow paint, paintbrush, old toothbrush, old magazines, scissors, glue.  

Part 1: Universe backdrop (5 minutes)
1. Prepare the paints in colours of your choice on your palette.
2. Run the toothbrush bristles against your paintbrush and spatter paint across the sheet of black or midnight blue coloured paper.
3. Let dry.

Shower the paint off the kids and the bathroom floor.

Part 2: Solar system (10 minutes)
4. Cut out a sun and eight planets.

5. Paste these on your universe background (in random order if you want this to just be an art activity, in proper order, sizing, colour, etc if you want it to be educational).

Tip: I used the leftover painted tissue paper saved from our s for seahorse craft to cut out the planets in different sizes and colours. Love the effect!  (Click on the link if you’d like to know how we made the painted tissue!)

And…the order in direction away from the sun is:  Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune.

DS's universe piece

DD's universe piece

I was trying to remember the names of the planets that I’d learned in Malay back in school but my memory fails me (and my textbooks are long gone…). Any Malaysians reading this blog, who remember?  😉

——————————-

Related Bible lesson: God made the universe.

Hebrews 11:3 – “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.”

Lord of all creation
Of water, earth, and sky
The heavens are Your tabernacle
Glory to the Lord on High

God of wonders, beyond our galaxy
You are holy, holy
The universe declares Your majesty
You are holy, holy
Lord of heaven and earth

A slice of serenity

We had brunch at the Verandah Café at ACM after our museum visit.
It’s a wonderfully relaxing place to sit back and enjoy your food and the view of the Singapore River.

And there is one more reason why this is going down on my list of favourite food places. 😉

The café prepares its food with very minimal use of condiments. With the natural flavours of the ingredients allowed to define the overall taste of the dish, it meant that DS could eat practically anything off my plate without me worrying about the amount of artificial flavours or preservatives that one is usually concerned with when allowing young children to eat food outside the home.

Visitors to the museum get a coupon that can be redeemed for a free cup of gourmet coffee with any order of a slice of cake or sandwich.

Visiting the Asian Civilisations Museum

So, armed with our coupon, we visited the Asian Civilisations Museum on Saturday.

Apart from attending a friend’s wedding there last year, I have never actually been inside its galleries, so this was a first time for all four of us.

How did it turn out?

I liked the special exhibition on the Age of the Mughals. The jewels were so beautiful and intricate, and I enjoyed reading the commentaries that accompanied each exhibit (whenever and wherever the kids allowed us to stop long enough!)

DD and DS were each given an activity booklet to complete as they went through the Mughal exhibition, and they had quite a bit of fun at the stamping stations decorating their Emperor and Empress.

There is also a station set up for children, with lots of colour pencils provided along with two wind-up sharpeners on a low table, surrounded by throw cushions for parents and children to sit and colour.

Both kids were really quite unwilling to leave the table for a lunch break!  🙂

I however, did not quite like the galleries we had to first pass through in order to get to the special exhibition area. One has to go through a fair amount of galleries, a number of which house collections of ritual objects associated with Asia’s Hindu-Buddhist kingdoms. There are also rather dark and imposing displays depicting ancestral worship, and many other large stone statues and reliefs, both ancient and contemporary from Buddhist and Taoist culture, complete with sound effects.

I hope readers will appreciate when I say, in all honesty and sincerely no desire to stir up inflammatory exchanges, that as an adult, I have nothing against the exhibits; but as a mother to two very young children, I find some of these really quite frightening.  😦  Both of them clung to us like koalas as we cut a quick path through the more overwhelming exhibits.

Maybe it is just lack of pre-research on my part and unfamiliarity with the map and layout (Entirely my fault…should have surfed the site and checked out our route map instead of going to bed at ten…whatever was I thinking…) , but I will certainly stop by and ask the staff at admissions the next time if I could just skip right through to the more child-friendly exhibits.  😛

Anyway.

Regular admission prices to ACM cost $8 per pax. Children aged 6 and below enter for free.  Students and senior citizens receive a concession rate of half price.

But Singapore celebrates International Museum Day 2010 next weekend where participating museums are offering free admission to all and special programmes for children,  on 22 and 23 May. Click on this link for more details.

Playing by heart

I’ve recently returned to serving in the music ministry after a three-year break.
So once a month, I pack dinner and leave from work to join a group of other musicians in church to hammer away at the keys for Sunday worship’s song line-up.

I’ve always loved playing the piano. I won’t say I loved the ABRSM exams…they seemed more like a necessary evil at the time. But I recognise that they have helped shaped my technique and skills for the kind of music I like to play nowadays.

So, after three years, has anything changed?
Yes, indeed.

I remember going for suppers with the team after rehearsals at the nearby prata and nasi lemak shop. Hanging out till really late. Really bad when the next day was after all a working day, but we were young and carefree then.

Now, I rush home immediately so that maybe I can still catch the kids’ bedtime and be there to pat them to sleep.

I remember being really idealistic about what I wanted to achieve, and wondering why didn’t everybody have the kind of energy and drive I had.

Now, I am still…fairly idealistic but motherhood has mellowed me down. Created a more relaxed personality, which hopefully doesn’t scare as many people. Hopefully.
God bless those precious people who put up with my 20-something idealism.

I remember sitting at the piano for hours and hours, experimenting with introductions, riffs, rolls, chord progressions and the like.
Now, if I could find the time just to sit and pen down the chords I need, for half an hour, that would be cause for celebration!  😀

I remember jam sessions organized at the drop of a hat. Meeting up to just play music with no particular agenda in mind.
Now, the only jam session I know is the one where I ask my daughter if she would like strawberry or apricot in her sandwich. 😉

I remember not having my own piano, and making my way down regularly to the church every few days to play the piano. Any excuse that would get me access to the sanctuary to spend time on the beloved worn brown piano was a good one.
Bible study?     Sure, why not?
Jam session at short notice?   Be there in 20 minutes flat.
Need a keyboardist to stand in?   Don’t need to look any further!

Our church worker passed me an old electronic keyboard that no one was using anymore, and that lasted me a good two-and-a-half years till the adapter went kaput.

Now, I have my own piano that I saved up to buy. It’s a second-hand but it is the most expensive piece of furniture I’ve ever owned. And it will always have a place of honour in our living room.

I remember wearing out the floor in the warehouse, circling around each second hand piano on sale, multiple times. Testing, shortlisting, testing and shortlisting some more till I narrowed it down to two units I felt were worth considering. One last song on each and then I signed on the dotted line and handed over the money for my black beauty.

And so now, at anytime I just feel like playing, say at midnight, I have total freedom to do so. Bliss.

Has anything changed?
Yes.  Lots.  Much more than what I’ve written here.

But as they say, there are some things that never change, and that, for me, I believe, is the unwavering passion I harbour for playing the piano.

Tinkering on the ivories, it’s just…cathartic in so many ways I can’t explain.  🙂