Friday, November 30, 2012

Starting Primary One #3 - My Parent Volunteer story

Sometime in June 2011, I received a call from the school asking if I am able to take up the duty of distributing food coupons during recess time.  "Of course I am!  Able to do full day shift too!" I calmly replied *can you sense my excitement?*  The teacher was very happy to hear it as not all parents are able to commit full day's time and sometimes they have difficulties in finding parents to fill in the next slot. 

On 01 July 2011, I started my Parent Volunteer duty officially; giving out Breakfast/Lunch Box coupons for the students under the MOE FAS (Financial Assistance and Bursary) Scheme.  I reported to the school's general office slightly before 8.45am, the administrative lady gave me some simple instructions and pass me a thick A4 file, a name list, a ruler & a pair of scissors then showed me to a table outside the general office. 

There are 3 recess times for each sessions, each lasting for about 30 mins; means I will have to sit at the table for about 1 hour and 45 mins each sessions (8.45am to 10.30am and 2.15pm to 4pm), I will leave the school for my lunch and be back before 2.15pm for the afternoon duty.

While I waited nervously and patiently for the morning session's 1st recess bell to ring, the administrative lady's specific instruction rings in my head "Make sure they queue up to take the coupons and not crowd around you.", I was prepared to be mobbed by the kids.  My worries were unfounded coz the 1st bell releases the Pri 2 students who are a little bit shy and quiet, perhaps they were surprise to see a new auntie sitting at the table.  They queued up in a single file patiently waiting for me while I fumble fanatically to look for their names and pass them the coupons.  Such sweet kids!  How I wish the older kids are this sweet too but then where's the FUN?  Kids should be loud, playful, noisy when its play time!

It was an easy job, the students basically will queue up and sometimes their group of friends tagged along creating a little bit of distraction and disorder, they will give their names to which I will check the list and put a tick against their name, pass the sticker that has their name on it to them and we are done!  Oh ya, I do have to work FAST though so that the coupons are given out at the shortest time and the students have ample time to eat their food with some leisure time before class starts in a while.  However there are those who prefers to do the opposite, I have a boy who prefers to ran to me for the coupons and grabbed his food just 5 minutes before the bell rings.  I asked him once and he said "I am not hungry, and want to play with my friends first."  but but but... "its unhealthy to gobble your food boy!" the Mother in me frown and said silently in my heart.

Sitting at the table, basically doing nothing after 10-15mins into the recess time, I started to observe my surroundings.  The favourite game seems to be Catching or Hamtam Bola, I've witnessed students running (NOT suppose to run along the corridor), falling, getting hit real hard by the ball and hurting themselves only to get up whinning in pain for 30 secs before taking off again.  I see students go into the general office with bleeding knee cap or elbow; injury due to "rough" play, to request for some medication to be applied on the wound.  My heart always goes out to the students who fell or injured themselves, I have an urge to get up from my chair and rush to them but have to hold myself back because I was not suppose to interact much with the students.

I also took in the students' behaviour towards the Principal & Teachers.  They are so courteous and polite, they bow and said Good morning/afternoon Teacher when they cross path with them, they even do it to me and call me Teacher *blush* I paid attention to the interaction between the teachers and the students and listen attentively during the assembly after each recess time; announcements made, students reprimanded for doing dangerous acts or bad behaviour or are praised for doing something good etc.  Wow, the teachers are strict!  I like!

Being stuck behind a table outside the general office tends to make me look like an information counter.  I have to direct the parents, delivery men or contractors (they were building an extended wing) to the general office.  I'm ok with it, because its a lonely work as I do not get the chance to see other parent volunteers thus no chance to chit chat and gossip.  The teachers or the cleaners basically just leave me alone, occasionally when the Principal is out walking his rounds he will stop by to chat with me for a few minutes before going off.

Besides this duty, I also did a ad hoc volunteer duty; the 2011 Primary One registration, in July 2011.  Though I am only there to help to call up the queue number, pass the form for the parents to fill in and make photocopies of the necessary documents, I roughly know what are the documents to prepare and the procedures. 


I managed to clock my 40 hours (with extra 30mins) on 11 November 2011, I could have finished it sometime in September/October 2011 but I only do the morning duty in July, going into full day duty in August.  On top of that there were days where school is closed for exams, exam paper marking days, term break etc so it stretches till that long.  The school sometimes will send out emails to the parents for any ad hoc duties where they need parents to help out on like during school camp, Racial Harmony Day, school sports day etc.  I could have volunteered thus clocking my hours faster but I decided to leave it for the other parents who are unable to commit their time to a specific day like me.  They needed these ad hoc duties more then me.

On 11 November, the last day of parent volunteer duty, I felt a pang of sadness.  I have started to get used to the students, even know a few of their names, I try to make small talk within the few minutes they were with me.  Being kids, they are more the willing to chat with me.  I see a little bit of DinoEgg's behaviour in some of them and wish deeply in my heart that he will become as good student as some of them.  After being inside the school for the passed 5 months, I now can rest assure that DinoPapa made a good choice to insist on this school.

So at 4pm I bid the school good bye and leave the school for the last time on a Friday afternoon.

~ ~ ~

For the next few weeks I will be sharing our experience on our preparation for DinoEgg's Primary One.  I hope it will serve as a useful guide to parents when its their time to get their child ready for the new journey and have an idea how Parent Volunteer works.

Click the button below and you will be able to see all my posts on this topic or grab the badge if you are sharing your thoughts about this topic. 
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Guest Post @ The Playful Parents - {Love Gifts} Love Your Friends, Feed Them!

Today we are honored to be over at The Playful Parents sharing with every one on a typical day where we have a village of friends over for some food.

I have scheduled my Foodie Fridays post for today to feature one of the dish I cooked that day.  Feast with your eyes the wonderful food we prepared for our friends at {Love Gifts} Love Your Friends, Feed Them!

Be sure to check out Love Gifts by other mummies too!


Foodie Fridays - Watercress and Chuan Bei 川贝 soup

We are soup lovers, Eastern or Western, we love them all.  We especially love Chinese soup that nourish the body and help strengthen the health.  If either of us are down with flu or cough, I will always boil some soup to aids the recovery.  

Recently DinoEgg is down with cough and I boil the Waterecress & Chuan Bei soup.  This soup nourish the lungs and relieve cough, we love the sweetness taste caused by the candied dates.  DinoEgg love to chew on the crunchy sweet & bitter almond, which is good coz it helps clear the lungs of any phlegm.

Ingredient A
* 400g Watercress
* 600g Pig's tail bone
* 30g or 一两 Bei 川贝 (crushed)
* 3 pieces Fig
* 5 pieces Candied Dates
* 2 tablespoon of Sweet & bitter almond (南杏 北杏)
* 3 litres of water
* Salt & pepper to taste

Method 
1. Bring 3 litres of water to boil.
2. Add in the watercress, chuan bei, fig, candied dates and the sweet & bitter almond, boil for 30 minutes.
3. Add in the pig's tail bone, boil for 15 minutes, after that turn down the fire and boil for 2 hours.
4. Stir in salt & pepper, dish and serve.

Notes
- I use soup bones instead of pig's tail bone (not a fan of this).  Thus I put the soup bones to boil for 15 minutes before putting the rest of the ingredients in.
- You can get chuan bei from your neighbourhood Chinese Medical Hall.  I am not sure whether is there different grade for these but I went to the medical hall near my place and it cost $15 per 30g but it cost $30 for the same amount at a medical hall in Thomson area.
- We omitted the salt and pepper, as usual.

This is how chuan bei 川贝 looks like

The soup, 15 mins into boiling
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I am hosting a weekly Foodie Fridays linky, join me if you can, I'll be very happy to welcome you on board.

This linky is for anything that is FOOD related. It could be a restaurant you visited recently, meals you cook with your family or for your family or recipes you wish to share with every one.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Love Shishamo?

Eating shishamo for the first time or in love with this fish?  Here's how to enjoy it for the first time or every time.



Incidentally this is the first time DinoEgg is eating shishamo, I thought he will reject it after the first bite but surprisingly he love it so much and ate 3 of it.

~ ~ ~

Linking up with

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Guest Post @ Simply Mommie - Tips for Moms

We are guest posting over at Simply Mommie, sharing my tips on how I juggle work and family with a help from others.

Our post Teamwork and Delegation do the trick will show you how I managed to stay sane all these years.



Click the button below and see the list of mummies sharing their tips.

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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Cook for Family Day - Quick & Easy Simple Meal

Today's post is for the Cook for Family Day hosted by Cook for Family.  We have pledged to join but I was prepared to give it a miss as I was too tired.  This is because we had friends over yesterday and after going for DinoEgg's art class in the afternoon, I came home and started to prepare dinner.  I was having fun in the kitchen that whole afternoon but that drained my energy, I was too tired today to go out for groceries shopping.  

On top of that DinoPapa was feeling under the weather, he woke up with a bad sore throat.  I was prepared to have instant noodle for dinner and head off for an early night.  I sneaked off for a short nap and when I woke up 2 hours later and I found DinoPapa in the kitchen cooking dinner!  He went off to the nearby supermarket to grab some ingredients for a simple dinner.  

DinoPapa have a craving for escargot so grab a packet, this packet cost a hefty $15, expensive for 13 snails.  However, its worth it since it satisfied DinoPapa's cravings and DinoEgg had his 1st taste of it.

The dinner was done within an hour!  Super fast!  As DinoEgg ws feeling famish so DinoPapa have to speed things up.

Escargots

Stir-fried Xiao Bai Chai with Prawns

Pork Bulgogi

Pan fried Pork Belly with apple sauce

Did you take part of the Cook for Family event?  What did you cook?  

Friday, November 23, 2012

Foodie Fridays - Stir fried Chicken & mushroom with Sesame Oil

This is DinoPapa's recipe, one that he loves to cook when we run out of idea what to cook.  We love the sesame oil fragrance tender chicken, and it takes a short time to whip out this dish.


Ingredients
* 1 boneless chicken thigh
* 1 can of mushroom
* some sesame oil

Marinate
* 2 tablespoon of oyster sauce

Preparation
1. Cut the chicken thigh into bite size.
2. Marinate the chicken with oyster sauce for 15 mins.
3. Open the can of mushroom, pour away the water, set aside for use later.

Method
1. Heat up the wok, turn down the fire and add in the sesame oil.
2. Once you smell the fragrance of the sesame oil, add in the chicken thigh, turn up the fire and stir fried till its almost cooked.
3. Add in the mushroom, stir fried till chicken is fully cooked.
4. Dish and serve

Notes
- Try to cut the chicken thigh into approximately the same size.  This will ensure that the pieces of chicken are
- Remember to use low fire to heat up the sesame oil as it has high smoking point thus high fire will cause the sesame oil to smokes and discolors, an indications of decomposition

~ ~ ~

I am hosting a weekly Foodie Fridays linky, join me if you can, I'll be very happy to welcome you on board.

This linky is for anything that is FOOD related. It could be a restaurant you visited recently, meals you cook with your family or for your family or recipes you wish to share with every one.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Always a friendly smile for every customer

Do you know what is a cobbler?  Not those that you see in a small shop inside a mall but those that really work manually with rubber, nails, glue, filer, cutter etc.  I think younger generations does not have the opportunity to see or meet a true blue cobbler.  Now, when their shoes have holes, heels that comes off they simply just throw then away OR head down to that shoe repair shop in the nearest mall.

I not only have the opportunity to see cobblers during my younger days but I have a favourite one too!  This uncle has been at the spot since I first saw him 2 decades ago at the carpark next to the Phoenix Hotel.  Back then, there were a few cobblers in that area but as years gone by he is the only one who is still around.  When Phoenix Hotel was pulled down, the carpark demolished, Specialist Centre pulled down, the area fenced up for the construction of 313@Somerset, he moved around but always not far away from the area.  You can always see him at the traffic light between the now gone Specialist Centre and Peranakan Place.  Then few months ago they have to corner off that area for some construction and move the traffic light to where Courts Orchard is, he moved with the traffic light.

Uncle sets up his small make shift work area almost every day at around 11am.  However recently, due to his age and health plus the crazy weather that suddenly decides to rain heavily at unpredictable hours, he is around only Mondays and Tuesdays.

Though I do not know uncle's name, I know that he is very friendly, courteous and always a big smile for every one who seeks his help to repair and mend their pair of shoes.  Uncle speaks Chinese and dialect, he understands and speaks simple English but you have to speak real slow.  Also uncle's ears are not as sharp as they used to so you may have to speak louder then usual.



Since I started work in Orchard some 6 years ago, I have been going to uncle to fix my heels.  Those drains, gaps or holes in the pavement are really a killer, a heel killer!  I always get caught on them and when I try to pry my heels loose the rubber comes off.  This afternoon I went to see uncle again and he saved my 2 pairs of almost brand new heels!



Guess how much I paid for the repair?  Only $12 for 2 pairs of shoes!  Its cheaper then those shoe repair chain shop who probably will charge this price for only 1 pair of shoes.   Perhaps some of you can get a cheaper price but I'll still go to uncle because I feel that I've know him most of my life (even though he do not remember me), most importantly I have faith with his superb workmanship.

By the way, since uncle is only around 2 days per week he is pretty busy especially during lunch time so drop off your shoes before heading off for your lunch, you should be able to collect them when you are done.

~ ~ ~

Linking up with

MummyMOO

Monday, November 19, 2012

I will miss you dearly 2nd Uncle!

昨天傍晚心情沉重的和姐姐前往新明路,去二叔的葬礼。二叔在周六被朋友发现碎死在房间,死因不详。


我上前向二叔点香致敬看到灵桌上除了放着一些他生前喜欢吃的食物还放着一包开着的香烟、三罐啤酒、一罐打开的啤酒,香炉里除了香还插了三只香烟。。。 我看了不自禁的会心一笑,眼泪在眼眶里打滚。。。 这就是他,烟 酒 常伴身边。

之后我跟着其它叔叔、姑姑坐在灵堂前,手上拿着一只香听着师父诵经,脑海里仿佛回到了六、七岁时的我。

小时候的我和爷爷、奶奶、几个叔叔的关系满好的,每一次学校假期都迫不急待得想马上飞奔过去。我对二叔的记忆是;出海捕鱼、魔鬼鱼、鲨鱼、渔网、鱼竿、鱼钩、还有怎样修铺渔网等。每一次他出海回来我都会兴致勃勃地等他把收获从袋子里拿出来,然后就蹲在旁边,眼睛睁得大大地看着那些鱼 虾 章鱼等。记得第一次看到有半个我这么大的魔鬼鱼,感觉又新奇又紧张。 小时候只有他比较常用英语与我交谈,当时的我似懂非懂的还可以和他聊天。我不知道为什么他只说英语、马来语、福建话而极少说华语,可能是因为他较多马来朋友吧。

爷爷、奶奶在我中学时期相续过世后我就没有机会和他们接触,之后渐渐疏远但偶尔过年时二叔会到我们家拜年。 两年前的新年还看到他,精神不错,身体还是这么硬朗,万万没想到他突然就这样走了。我没机会看他最后一面,今天不能拿假陪他走完最后一程路。我希望他是安详的,没有遗憾的离开。

谢谢您 二叔!
Thank you 2nd Uncle!
For every thing, for tolerating me and my nonsense in my younger days, for exposing me to English at such young age thus enabling me to understand the language earlier then my peers.  I even remember the times you learn spelling with me cause you were the only one who knows how to read English.
Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.
I will miss you dearly!

Starting Primary One #2 - The Parent Volunteer Briefing

On the morning of 24 May 2012 Catherine and I was at the school for the Parent Volunteer (PV) briefing, I was so excited that I could not contain it.

I had a talk with my bosses the day before, telling them that I am going to start doing Parent Volunteer and will probably need to take leave to clock the 40hours.  I asked them if its ok that I take a day off every week to perform the duties, in this way I can clock in more hours in a couple of months.  I am very grateful that I have very supportive bosses, they agree to this and asked if I have enough leave to cover the days.  They even suggest that should I exhausted my annual leave they can work out something; such as unpaid leave or use next year's leave, to cover for the days.  With their words, I am more relieved, I can start Parent Volunteer duties with out much worry.

Anyway back to the school, the briefing started slightly after 9am.  There were slightly over 10 parents attending the meeting (there was another one at a later date for those who are unable to attend today).  We were given out the Parent Volunteer Handbook 2011 and the teacher-in-charge of Parent Volunteers starts to go through the handbook in details.



Next, we went through the list of activities the school has arranged for the parents to take up.  The handbook states clearly under the individual activities the name of teacher(s)-in-charge, parent coordinator(s) and their email address.  It also states in details the objective of the activity, scope of work, frequency of involvement and any particular equipment required.

For example for the reading program;
Objective
To motivate and inculcate in pupils a love for reading and thereby improve their reading skills.

Scope of Work
1. Source for interesting books from the library before each reading session.
2. Gather the pupils at a fixed room and mark their attendance.
3. Call and remind pupils who are absent for three consecutive reading sessions.
4. Make the reading session more interesting; songs, language games, riddles, jokes and spelling games may be incorporated.
5. Give feedback to the teacher-in-charge if any pupil has any behavioral problems that are out of control.

Frequency of Involvement
One to five times a week for half an hour during the silent reading period.

Any Particular Equipment/Asset Required
Appropriate books from the library or any other sources.

As you can see from my form, I have marked out Fridays to do my duty, I have also told the teacher-in-charge that I would like to utilize my day's leave to be involved in the activities so that I am able to clock the hours faster.


After about an hour of going through the handbook, the explanation, the questions & answers, the briefing comes to an end and we were asked to sign a Letter of Understanding for Parent Volunteer before leaving.


Before leaving, the teacher-in-charge said that the school will send email to us within the next week advising us which duty they will be assigning to us.

~ ~ ~

For the next few weeks I will be sharing our experience on our preparation for DinoEgg's Primary One.  I hope it will serve as a useful guide to parents when its their time to get their child ready for the new journey and have an idea how Parent Volunteer works.

Click the button below and you will be able to see all my posts on this topic or grab the badge if you are sharing your thoughts about this topic.  
 
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Friday, November 16, 2012

Foodie Fridays - Ketchup Prawns, Broccoli & Water Chestnuts

In our family, we have a few favourite food and prawns are one of them.  Besides steaming them I always like to find some other ways to cook it.  My personal favourite is  this recipe as its very easy to prepare and the amount of seasoning used are flexible.  Besides having the prawns and greens, it also have my favourite water chestnuts in it.

A little bit about water chestnuts, though small in size are huge in nutritions and benefits. Besides being fatless thus healthy food option, they are a good source of potassium manganese, calcium, copper, and vitamin B6 too.   It also have a cooling effect so if your body is feeling a little bit heaty consider drinking water chestnut water. I guess because of their cooling effect, they are made into drinks for measles patients.  They also contains detoxifying properties & helps to relieve cough.

Ingredients
* 8 prawns
* 50g water chestnuts
* 200g broccoli
* 2 - 3 stalks spring onion
* 2 - 3 slices of ginger
* some cooking oil

Seasoning #1
* 1/2 egg white
* 1/2 tablespoon salt
* 1 tablespoon corn flour
* 1/2 tablespoon pepper powder

Seasoning #2
* 1 tablespoon tomato ketchup
* 1 tablespoon sugar
* 1/2 tablespoon salt
* 1 tablespoon rice wine
* 1 tablespoon corn starch

Method
1. Remove the prawn's shell and veins, wash it then mix it well with Seasoning #1.
2. Remove the water chestnut's skin, wash and slice them into 3 pieces.
3. Wash the broccoli, cut them and boil them for about 3 - 4 minutes.
4. Preheat a pan, add in the oil, fry the prawns and water chestnuts briefly, remove and put aside for use later.
5. Mix all ingredients in Seasoning #2 in a bowl.
6. Fry the ginger and spring onion till the fragrance is out, add in the prawns and Seasoning #2, fry for a while and add in the broccoli.  Dish them out to serve.

Prawns mixed with Seasoning #1

Boiling the broccoli

Boiled Broccoli, I love their vibrant green look!

Notes
-  As mentioned earlier, this is a very flexible dish.  You can add more or less of any ingredients and seasoning according to your own preference.  The recipe is for 8 prawns and 200g broccoli, simply adjust the seasoning according to the portion you are cooking..
- As usual, I left out the pepper, but the dish still taste as delicious.
- If you notice in my photo, I cube my water chestnut instead of slicing them.  Its just my personal preference, as cube size are easier for my son to eat it.

~ ~ ~

I am hosting a weekly Foodie Fridays linky, join me if you can, I'll be very happy to welcome you on board.

This linky is for anything that is FOOD related. It could be a restaurant you visited recently, meals you cook with your family or for your family or recipes you wish to share with every one.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic



Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Guest Post @ Mum in the Making - Small Spaces

We are guest posting over at Mum in the Making today, talking about small spaces and reorganising of kid's room.  I've been wanting to do something about "those 2 heaps of things" in DinoEgg's room but have been procrastinating, thanks to Justina of Mum in the Making for giving me that BIG push to start me going.

Hop by to read about my post DinoEgg's room reorganization and stay tune for other mummies who will be sharing their reorganising skills.


Click the button below and it will lead you to all the guest posts on Small Spaces.

Art is not a mere piece of drawing

A steer in art teaching direction plus a change in teacher makes DinoEgg lost the fire in his eyes for art.  He couldn't connect with the teacher and a few weeks later he changed to a new teacher.  We thought he could get back his old self but it only lasted for a lesson or two. We were very disappointed with the school and totally lost faith with it.

My anguish over the previous art school was appeased when we started him in the new art school, I have written a post here.  After dropping DinoEgg at his art class, we went back to the previous art school last weekend to collect back all his work.  Looking at his work makes me upset again...

This is the 1st art work with the new teacher, you can see, there is a bit of art techniques at the clouds though I guess the teacher help a bit too. 


The day's theme is poloar bear, snow, ice bergs. 


This art work took 2 lessons; 1st lesson was to use a clay to mould something they like then leave it to dry, 2nd lesson was to paint the dried clay mould with colors they like and then make a print on a piece of paper.


The days's theme is body movement. 


No idea what the day's theme is as DinoPapa brought him to class that day.  Swimming?  Body movement?


DinoPapa brought him to class this day too.  Perhaps the theme is dessert?


Putting the medium and paper used aside, looking at work he has done it was a far far FAR cry from those he has done before.  These are mere drawing not painting with passion!

Perhaps my expectations from a school, an enrichment school or in this case a school that is specialized in teaching arts is more then others.  I see that his artwork is something that I would not have dreamt I'll produce but I wanted more.  I'm no expect in art or whatever but I'll study the work in more details; the technique, the strokes, the medium and most importantly feeling it with my eyes, waiting for it to speak to me, to transfer the emotions from the artist (which is DinoEgg) to me.

*SIGH*  I should let it go now that we have nothing more to do with THAT school.  

I am thankful to have found the right talented teachers to impart all their skills and knowledge to younger generations who are keen in art.  The fire in DinoEgg's eyes are once again lighted, the passion is back and the yearn for learning is stronger then before.  We hope the passion will goes on as long as possible, perhaps one day he will paint a beautiful portrait of me.

BTW, when we were there to collect his work, they still can't find DinoEgg's name in the class list *BAH!!!*

~ ~ ~

Linking up with

MummyMOO
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