Archive | August 2011

Kids Say: Snail bread

Last Thursday, I had to purchase cold medication for DS, so he came along with me to the clinic. As we left the doctor’s, from inside the building we saw our bus just leaving the bus stop. So we had fifteen minutes to spare.

As we were visiting a friend’s home for a playdate that afternoon, I decided to use the fifteen minutes to pop into the neighbouring bakery to buy some pastries for her.

I’d finished picking what I wanted when DS’s eyes fell onto the cinnamon rolls and he called out, “Mummy, look! Snail bread!”

“Mummy, can I have snail bread? Please? Pleasepleaseplease…”
Figuring there was no harm, I picked up one from the shelf and placed it on our tray.

“Mummy, can we buy one snail bread for Jie Jie?”
Okay, one for Jie Jie.

“And one for Mummy”.
Hmmmm, son, these cinnamon rolls cost $2.80 a piece…”It’s okay son, mummy doesn’t…”
“And one for Mummy!”

“And one for Daddy also.”
As I hesitate, he tugs earnestly on my sleeve.
“Mummy, and one for Daddy also.”

Another $2.80…four rolls…adds up to $11.20.
I know. Mighty expensive for four bread rolls.

But as I paid the money, I looked down at my little boy.

The happiness shining through in his face. The ecstatic glow in his eyes as he clapped his hands, rested his chin on the counter and peered excitedly at the rolls being put into paper packages.

“Yay! Snail bread!”

Bless his heart, he just wanted to make sure everyone in the family could share the joy of “snail bread”.
He was so excited he insisted on carrying the purchases for me all the way to the bus stop, onto the bus, off the bus, and on the walk back home.

In that morning, I watched my three-year old stand taller, shoulders squared, walking purposefully as he took on the important task of carrying “tomorrow’s breakfast” back home for the family.

In that light, I guess…paying three bucks a pop per cinnamon roll isn’t all so bad an idea. The amount of money spent is less of an issue compared to the opportunity to allow him to bless others with a thoughtful heart.  How could I not encourage that? 

And so we all enjoyed generous portions of the tastiest “snail bread” we’d ever had, for Friday’s breakfast. 🙂

Bookmark Monday: New Old Shoes

A poignant story about how a pair of shoes can be just a simple, taken-for-granted object to one, but a valuable and priceless resource to another.  Follow the journey of a pair of shoes from America to Africa, as they are lovingly worn and used, but never worn out.

When we got to the page about the little girl who needed a pair of shoes so she could go to school, that made me pause to ask our kids to consider how many pairs of shoes they had. Each has one covered pair for school and church, one pair of sandals for play, one brand-new-in-box pair…and we think we are pared down to basics!   

For us who are blessed with plenty, it is a meaningful reminder and an inspiring thought to children how they can help other children around the world through something as simple as donating a pair of old shoes.

The below text is an excerpt from the back page of the book.  If you’re based in the United States of America, Soles4Souls is a Nashville-based charity that collects gently used shoes and distributes them to the needy within the US as well as to Third-World countries. Click on the website link for more information.


Every day, 1.2 billion people around the world go without the most basic of human needs due to poverty…Footwear is a basic need, yet many people in the world do not have even one pair of shoes; 300 million children have none at all…Simply cleaning out our closets can make a significant difference in the quality of life of people in need.

Soles4Souls works “around the corner and around the world” to make a difference by giving the gift of shoes…For more information about donating your gently used shoes, visit and join us in Changing the World One Pair at a Time .  ~ Wayne Elsey, Founder, Soles4Souls.

In my world: Random rainbow

It was 8:30am and we were finishing up breakfast and clearing away the table. And it must have been the way the light came in the window, refracted against one of the glasses and shone onto the dining chair. 

We suddenly saw this on DS’s shirt. 

It lasted all of maybe five, six(?) minutes but it was a very fun six minutes of sitting back down at the table, and moving his arm about to see where the rainbow would land!

So random. So unexpected.  So transient.  But so very special. 🙂

Preschooler Art: Dinosaurs, Coffee, and er…Kites.

While DD is definitely the art buff in the family, DS has his own style. 

I love sitting beside him and watching the process of layer after layer of overlap being added to the overall picture.

And trying to figure out how dinosaurs, coffee and kites and the mysterious “er” are intertwined in the landscape of his work. 🙂

Bookmark Monday: The Warlord’s Series

Having done the letters of the alphabet in uppercase and lowercase in our Alphabet Wall series, we moved on to piece letters together in our weekly Wordcraft.  Now, as an extension to the recommended reading section in each Wordcraft post, we’re starting a new series called Bookmark Monday. 🙂

Here, we hope to be reviewing books that we have ourselves enjoyed as a family and we hope you’ll also explore the titles, or if you’ve also read the books, let us know what you think of them as well.

To kickstart our series, this is a collection of picture books we found in our local library titled The Warlord’s Series, written by Virginia Walton Pilegard. 

Set against the background of ancient China, each story is written as a mathematical adventure of two children who serve in the household of a Chinese warlord, and is coupled with simple craft instructions at the end of each book on how to create your own math tool that applies the concept and Chinese mathematical invention introduced in the story.  

The series is listed by the California State Department of Education as recommended mathematics reading for second grade. 

Not that that was the reason we picked it off the shelf – really, we were just intrigued by the math element and the fact that it provided an easy introduction to Chinese history and culture for our kids. 

At this stage, we’re just enjoying the book for the latter element, and appreciating time in the evenings reading together as a family.  No complicated preschool geometry going on in our home!  Haven’t actually tried out the crafts, but hmm…maybe we’ll get around to making a Chinese water clock some time. 😉 

Read all about Chuan and Jing Jing’s adventures and the following math concepts in:-

  • The Warlord’s Puzzle – Geometry and Early Chinese Tangrams

  • The Warlord’s Beads – Cardinal Numbers and the Chinese Abacus

  • The Warlord’s Fish – Magnets and Compasses used in 3rd Century B.C. China
  • The Warlord’s Puppeteers – Ratios and Chinese Puppetry
  • The Warlord’s Kites – Measurements and Chinese Kites
  • The Warlord’s Messengers – Velocity and Chinese Land Sailing
  • The Warlord’s Alarm, A Mathematical Adventure – Telling Time and Chinese Clock Inventions 


In my world: Men at play!


Father and son…at the arcade machines.
Daddy totally focused on the race.  DS imitating Daddy’s every move.

Preschooler Craft: Geometric Giraffe

When DD saw me sorting through our diminishing stack of coloured paper for a planned craft activity the other day, she asked me for a sheet of purple coloured paper to “cut something”.  Usually her “I want to cut something” moments end up in random bits and pieces strewn over the floor. Not incredibly keen on squandering one of the precious last few sheets for that purpose, I suggested she use some recycled paper instead.

Her face fell.

And then I remembered reading somewhere that for kids to produce good art, we should try to the best of our ability to provide them the best materials we can possibly afford.

Oh…well, it wasn’t quite as if I had an immediate need or purpose for the purple sheet of paper I guess.  And it wasn’t as if purple coloured paper was all that expensive to purchase more of.

I called out to her and handed her the sheet of purple paper. Her eyes lit up.

I watched her go, now joyous, skipping across the floor into her room.  I shuffled the remaining sheets back into the plastic wrapper and thought nothing more of it.

And then…DH and I saw her arranging this on the floor.

It was amazing – the usual random geometric shapes she cuts, but now cleverly positioned to form an inspired piece. We gave her a large yellow sheet to paste her arrangement on and mounted it on the wall beside her bed. And she’s really proud of it.

I’m kinda…no I’m really glad that I followed that little pricking to not hold back on the more “precious” resources.  Because maybe, just maybe we would have missed out on this whimsical geometric giraffe altogether. 

And that, I guess, would be the real squandering…