Archive | September 2011

Evening finds

When evening comes
We wheel our trikes
Out to the grass and on to gravel
There’s much to find
Eyes sharp and bright
We set our feet with all our might to pedal

Copyright –

Bookmark Monday: Board Empowerment

Heh, no, not the musings of a working mother still functioning in corporate mode at 10pm! 😉

To finish up our three-parter focus around the power of rhyme and repetition, I wanted to share about what’s worked for us lately in encouraging our little early reader…

Board books!

Hmm…aren’t board books for babies and targeted at the below 3 age group?  Well, yes they are.

But I’ve learnt that what they have going for them are that they are easy to handle, durable, don’t have a lot of pages, and don’t have so much text that it presents a daunting picture to the preschooler just starting out and familiarising themselves with the fact that relying on phonics alone don’t guarantee a firm grasp of English literacy.

Once, I suggested to DD that we attempt Green Eggs and Ham by Dr Seuss together. Although in essence the words are simple and always rhyme, the text font size is small, there are a lot of words in a single page, and many pages to get through.

I might as well have suggested Capital Investments and Financial Decisions by Levy and Sarnat.  (Not that it isn’t an excellent book, but it is seriously a challenge to read cover-to-cover, and definitely not something I’ve accomplished myself!)

Board books helped give DD the empowerment and confidence that she needed to know that she could complete reading a book in one sitting.  Almost on her own. And it was a lesson to me not to overlook those “baby” books that had been pushed to the back of the bookshelf.

Where DH and I used to read to the kids, now we read to-gether in unison.  🙂

Some fun board books we’ve enjoyed and continue to enjoy as a family:-

7 stories – short and sweet. Once you start, you can’t stop till you get to the end.  And after all, isn’t that the mark of a good book? 🙂

Go berserk with the hippos in this incredibly funny and engaging reading and counting book – one hippo all alone, calls two hippos on the phone…more and more hippos join, and all through the hippo night, hippos play with great delight.  How many in all?

 We like this book specially because of the font.

Notice the letter “a’ in Sandra Boynton’s name – this is the more commonly used form in writing as well as in baby flashcards.  And this is the form used throughout the book.

Which makes it more easily recognizable to an early reader/emergent writer, where some may have to grapple with the confusion of the letter a being represented sometimes in the “writing form”, and sometimes in the typeface style, but meaning the same in both cases.

Preschooler Art: 3D

The dawn of 3D…

5 crazy things to attempt on the day you need to leave home at 8:30am

  1. Allow yourself to snooze through three rounds of the clock’s alarm.
  2. While brushing teeth, randomly decide today is the day you would like to attempt making omelette for the first time. Instead of sensibly serving dry cereals.
  3. Disregarding the fact that you need to leave home at 8:30am.
  4. Start tweaking the recipe midway because you don’t have two of the original ingredients.
  5. Be so pleased with the outcome that you decide to make a second omelette!

Did we leave at 8:30am?  Umm…no, heheh, we got out closer to 8:37am.

Leaving behind all the dishes in the sink and two rather messy bedrooms.  But we had a really yummy breakfast! 😀

My tweaked Omelette recipe:-

  • 2 eggs
  • Dash of mixed herbs of your choice
  • Handful of cheddar or any sharp cheese, grated
  • Salt, pepper to taste (optional)
  1. Heat up an 8-inch non-stick pan. Add a knob of butter and swirl around to ensure pan is evenly greased.
  2. Crack eggs into a bowl and whisk.  Add salt and pepper if you like.
  3. Pour whisked egg into heated pan. As the egg mixture starts to firm, gently push one edge of the egg with your spatula, into the centre of the pan.  Tilt the pan to allow the still-liquid egg to flow in and fill the space. Repeat these steps until there’s no liquid left.
  4. Loosen the omelette at the edges with the spatula. It should be able to slide easily around on the non stick surface.
  5. Sprinkle the herbs and grated cheese (or whatever other filling takes your fancy).
  6. Lift one edge of the egg, fold it across and over. Slide onto a plate.

Edible Math: Shaken AND stirred.

On the weekend, we received an invite from a friend to join a school field trip to learn how to make ice cream at Scoop of Art, a gelato café located in the Marine Parade Community Centre.

Ice cream? Ooh, I don’t have to be asked twice. 😀

Have you ever tried making ice cream in a bag? I haven’t.  Hadn’t. But now that I have, I’m so inspired that I’m plotting the shortest distance route to the nearest NTUC supermarket to stock up on Ziploc bags, wahahaha!

Here’s what you’ll need for raw materials to make basic vanilla ice-cream (recipe from Scoop of Art):-

1 cup milk
5 ml vanilla extract
3 tablespoons sugar
Ice cubes
6 tablespoons salt
One sandwich size Ziploc bag, and one large Ziploc bag.

1. Measure out milk in a measuring cup, add sugar and vanilla extract, stir well.

2. Pour the mixture into the small Ziploc bag and seal tightly.

3. Fill the large Ziploc bag half full of ice and add 6 tablespoons of salt.

4. Place the small bag inside the big bag and seal the big bag tightly.

5. Shake for 15 minutes until the mixture solidifies.  (You might need mittens or a tea towel as the bag will be VERY VERY cold!)

6. Open the bags and enjoy your own home made shaken and stirred ice cream.

Home made! At almost zero cost! And only ever fifteen minutes away from it… ICE CREAM!


In the process, there were plenty of opportunities to:-

  1. Practise measuring liquids and dry ingredients with measuring cups and spoons.
  2. Count the number of ice cubes required to reach the halfway mark on the Ziploc.
  3. Identify start and stop points with the hands on a clock for the 15 minutes required to solidify the ice cream.

You can also explore the scientific angle, and discuss freezing and melting points, e.g.

  1. What is the purpose of adding salt to the ice?
  2. In the process of ice cream making, the milk mixture changes from ___ state to ___ state?
  3. How does the action of shaking the bag influence the result of liquid to solid state in the mixture?
  4. What then happens to the ice cream when it is left out in the open? It then changes from ___ state to ___ state?  Why?

I’d love to know if you decide to try it out and what results you got. 🙂

Oh, and if that Mars Bar and Sea Salt flavour looked tempting enough for you to pay a visit to Scoop of Art, you can find them at 278 Marine Parade Road #01-03 Marine Parade Community Club. Tel: 63456563.

And now, for those Ziploc bags. And some cocoa powder for chocolate ice-cream, mmm. Maybe some berries! And…

Bookmark Monday: We’re going on a Bear Hunt


Don’t you just love the sound of that word! 😉

I don’t know why we didn’t find this book earlier. We picked it up at the library last Saturday and are totally loving it! Last week, our focus was on rhyme and repetition as encouragement cues for early readers.

Retold by Michael Rosen, this book is another great example of repetition with the delightful element of onomatopoeia thrown into the mix.  The paragraph below –

We’re going on a bear hunt.
We’re going to catch a big one.
What a beautiful day!
We’re not scared.

is repeated throughout as a father and his four children (including the toddler) cross a grassy field, wade across a cold river, squelch through swampy mud, stumble through a deep forest, brave a whirling snowstorm, and enter a dark, gloomy cave.

Each time the family meet an obstacle, the paragraph, “We can’t go over it.  We can’t go under it.  Oh, no! We’ve got to go through it” is repeated.  Finally, they reach and enter a narrow, gloomy cave…and find what they were looking for (what else!). And then quick, run helter-skelter ~ hoooo woooo, stumble trip, squelch squerch, splash splosh, swishy swashy all the way home!

Marvelous watercolour landscape illustrations by Helen Oxenbury lend an added depth of dimension to the comical plot. 🙂

In my world: Beam me up!


What’s that yellow and pink thingy then?

Make good guesses…



Still no clue?

It’s the holder from the lanterns the kids have been playing with earlier this week during the Mid-Autumn Festival.

After tiring of running around with the lit lanterns, the kids detached the holders from the lanterns and have been playing at pretend fishing.

Apparently DD threw hers up a little too high and it hooked itself on the beam of the ceiling lightbox.

(How does throwing a fishing rod help you to catch fish anyway?…That I guess, is a question for another day…)


Sometimes in the middle of cleaning the rooms, I discover little gems left behind by the children. This Friday series was started with the intention of celebrating the imagination and creativity in a young child’s world…and hoping that it’ll bring a little ray of inspiration and joy to your day, as it does mine.

Bookmark Monday: Rhyming and repetition

This week, we’re into rhyming and repetition – two very useful techniques to encourage confidence in early readers.

I love the smile on their faces when they recognize a word that sounds like or looks similar to another word used previously in the same sentence, and catch on to the phonic patterns. And from there, we watch their enthusiasm to finish the story reading together with us, fire up like nothing we can ourselves hope to inspire on our own efforts.

Two books we have been enjoying from our local library this week:-

My Cat Likes to Hide in Boxes – written by Eve Sutton and illustrated by Lynley Dodd

A very popular New Zealand children’s book first published in 1974.  Consisting of incremental lines describing cats from other countries and what they do, and then always followed by the phrase, “But my cat likes to hide in boxes.”, the text is humorous and provides lots of laughs while serving double duty in training the eye and ear to rhyme and repetition.  Below is an excerpt as a sampler…

The cat from Norway, got stuck in the doorway

The cat from Spain, flew an aeroplane

The cat from France,  liked to sing and dance

But my cat likes to hide in boxes.

Moose on the Loose – written by Kathy Jo-Wargin and illustrated by John Bendall-Brunello

What would you do with a moose on the loose?

Would you chase him, or race him, or stand up to face him?

What would you do with a moose on the loose?

What would you do with a moose in your yard? Or in your house? How about in your room? Or in your tub?

Would you give him two boats? Would you see if he floats?

If you have some cardboard or index cards on hand, write out each of the rhyming words on a card and have your child read them as you follow the adventures of this cheeky moose on the loose, and pin them up on a word wall. Makes a fantastic way of visually identifying the rhyming patterns in the text of the story.

Enjoy! 😀

In my world: Tractor-tippin’

You’d have to had watched the tractor-tippin’ scene in Cars: The Movie to appreciate the humour…

I found this arranged by DS when I came home from work the other night.

Here’s the youtube link to the particular movie clip below if you haven’t.   (Side question: Does anyone know how to make the youtube images not so big?)


Sometimes in the middle of cleaning the rooms, I discover little gems left behind by the children. This Friday series was started with the intention of celebrating the imagination and creativity in a young child’s world…and hoping that it’ll bring a little ray of inspiration and joy to your day, as it does mine.

Preschooler Art: Well, technically not…

…because the pictures are preprinted and not our own creation. 😉
We had some fun pasting up some dinosaur wall decals given by the same friend who gifted the horse wall decals to DD.

DS enjoyed deciding the positioning of each of the dinosaurs.

Thanks again, Aunty Ruth! 🙂