Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Encouragement - sometimes it takes more then words to deliver it

Since DinoBoy's journey into the primary school world started this year, it has opened up many learning opportunities, experiences and stuffs that he has not been exposed to before.  He was eager to learn and like a dry sponge taking in water, he soak up every thing that the teachers taught him, he is able to grasped the concept fast and breeze through the schoolwork easily (except for Chinese but he is faring well in this subject).

Original source - unknown

Of course there are stuffs that he has to put in more efforts to get it right.  Every time he exclaimed loudly that he couldn't do it, we encouraged him to try again, sometimes showing him how to do it and watched him do it, correcting him when necessary.  We are always there to boost his confidence, help him and encourage him all the way.  And when he did managed to accomplished the task we were I was dramatic about it (I'm a drama-mama so that is excusable haha!) with loud "Way to go son!" "See! You got it right~" "You did it!" "Yay!!" "Good job son!" high fives, hugs, kisses and tickles too.

Photo credits

The current "hurdle" he has is swimming, which sadly is one that I can't be at his side to encourage or do with him because I do not know how to swim.  Unless swimming means moving my arms any-o-how underwater and kick my legs hard and fast like mad which resulted in me moving forward.  Plus I have never received proper coaching or know exactly how a stroke should be like thus its not right for me to just jump in and tell him to it this way that way.  Anyway he has been unable to do the "pull-blow bubbles-pull-lift head up-turn head to side-take deep breaths" steps in the freestyle stroke.  He is either holding his breathe or not turning his head to the side and taking deep breath when head is lifted. Its been almost 2 months and his performance is unstable, sometimes he get it sometimes he totally couldn't do it.  So I have to think of alternative ways to help him, without me getting into the water of course, then an idea came to me!  I can make use of my mobile phone to take videos!

For just 2 lessons I have already taken at least 15 short video clips of him swimming the freestyle stroke.  I showed him the videos after I took it, he watched it and realized where he has gone wrong then jumped back into the pool to do it again with his coach.  There were no whining "I can't do it!" or refusing to try again or throwing his temper, he just did it spontaneously.  At the end of the day we watched the videos again and discussed where he had gone wrong or how he should have done it, where he had successfully lifted his head out of the water or he had finally taken a deep breath after that.  It has definitely helped him as now he remembers to lift his head out of the water and takes a deep breath.  There are still rooms for improvement but as of now I am glad with his progress and hope that he will continue till eventually mastering it. 

Ok, additional item to pack for swimming class - 1 Canon camera, CHECKED!

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Join me as I continue to embrace and embark on the positive parenting journey. If you like to share tips or your story on positive parenting, please grab my linky button and add your link below so that many more parents can benefit from it.  This linky will be ongoing, you can add your post in the link any time you want but my post will be up on the last day of every month so that I can look back and reflect on some of the parenting things that happened.

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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Been there Done that - Show & Tell

Hooray! Hooray!

Today is the Chinese Show & Tell and then we are done with it! 

Hooray Hooray!

Even though the topic for both subjects are the same; My Favourite Toy, it still requires some writing down of points, some practicing and some fine tuning after that.  That afternoon it went smoothly and DinoBoy was able to do it easily.  However, it was a torturous after dinner, perhaps he played too hard when cousins came to visit, maybe he felt stressed up, anyway he simply cannot remember a single point!  We practiced till past 11pm, after a lot of tears, a lot of frustrations, he finally got it.  

DinoBoy's favourite toy

Yesterday morning I had this uneasy feeling when I was helping DinoBoy get dressed for school.  Now, I only know that Chinese Show & Tell is on 30 July 2013, no date was mentioned for the English Show & Tell though the letter mentioned that Show & Tell will be conducted from 29 July 2013 to 02 August 2013.  Before we stepped out of the house I told DinoBoy to put the toy into his bag "Just in case you have English Show & Tell today." 

My instinct was right!  That evening when I reached home DinoBoy told me excitedly that he did English Show & Tell!  Imagine what will happen if he did not bring the toy?  Wonder if the teacher will fail him or not.

Anyway~ after today we do not need to face this dreaded thing again till perhaps next year? 

Yesterday I instructed him that he is not allowed to bring his toys out of his bag unless its Show & Tell time, not even in student care centre.  I checked with his student care teacher and she said he did not, so as a reward we are watching this, on a weekday!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Spring onion on my kitchen

Personally I do not like the taste of spring onions but they are essential to some Asia dishes and I must admit that they do give a unique aroma to the dishes. 

A packet of spring onions cost slightly more then a dollar for 4-5 bulbs.  As a weekend home cooker, I'll probably use 1 small stalk for a dish then chuck the rest of it into the fridge.  It will most likely still be there the following week or even the week after next.  By the time I need to use it for a dish, it has turned yellow or dried up.  There goes my $1...  It happened so many times that most of the time I just omit this from the dish I am preparing to cook, I really do not like to waste food no mater how much they cost.

So, feeling guilty I decided that I want to grow my own spring onions!  I bought a packet of beautiful spring onion last week, telling myself that after using some I will put them into the water and grow them.  It did not happened until yesterday while I was preparing dinner.  I went to the fridge to take them out only to discover that they've turned limp, dry and yellowish.  Regardless, I took 2 bulbs with roots and plopped them into a jar filled with enough water to cover the roots.

My sad looking spring onion

Looking at it, I realized that's a lot of spring onions!  Let's hope that they will flourish and able to last for at least a month, or long enough for me to find out how to grow spring onions in my balcony.  Till then, I am satisfied with them sitting at my kitchen counter.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Foodie Fridays - Mushroom soup

When he was a toddler, I have only prepared pumpkin soup a couple of times because its full of nutrition.  At that time, that was the only soup that I know how to prepare and the only soup he tasted.  Over the years, when we dine out we will usually order soup to go with our meals.  There are a handful of soup, mushroom soup, clam chowder, minestrone soup, vegetable soup, chicken soup but DinoBoy has his eyes on mushroom soup.

To be honest, the mushroom soups served in the restaurants usually has more cream or starch (depending on the style of cooking) then mushrooms.  Since I got my Philips Jamie Oliver food processor earlier this year, I decided to try to make this soup in my own kitchen. 

Incidentally I love mushrooms too, they have an unique flavour that I just can't resist plus there are so many ways to cook them, you can sautée, stir fry, boil in soup, simmer, bake them without adding much seasoning.  Mushrooms are rich in fibres, carbohydrates, antioxidants and lots of vitamins.  So what's not to love about them?

Over here, you can find packets of mixed mushrooms in the supermarket that cost around $3 or $4, saves us the trouble and money buying different packets of mushrooms.  I used 2 packets to make serving for 4 people.  The recipe calls for 200g potatoes but I used slightly lesser because the first time when I did it, the potato taste was too much.  When I was stir frying, the aroma of the butter mixed with the mushrooms made me want to steal some mushrooms to eat, the smell is just so tantalizing!

Stir fry every thing

Add in the Chicken stock

After 30mins of simmering.  Going into the blender soon~

Mushroom Soup
Ingredients (4 serves)
  • 30g butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 450g mixed mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 200g potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 litre vegetable stock
  • 2 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
  • salt & freshly ground pepper

1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan, add in the onion, celery and garlic and fry for 3-4mins or until soften.
2. Stir in the mushroom and continue to fry for another 5-6mins.
3. Add in the potatoes and stock and bring it to boil.
4. Reduce the heat and let it simmer gently for 30mins.
5. Turn the heat off and allow the soup to cool slightly
6. Pour the soup into a blender or food processor and purée till smooth.
7. Sprinkle in the parsley and season with taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Assessment Books make their appearances

So the laid back mama succumbed and insisted DinoBoy sit down to do the assessment books she bought months back.  And this mama is NOT happy about it, that explains why the books are out only NOW even though she has been saying that "I'm going to let the boy do, especially during the June holiday." the books are still on the shelf, looking brand new and every thing.

This photo was taken yesterday night while we were doing the assessment books, the night before went smoothly and without any outbursts.   Yesterday night was not good because we were doing Chinese.  DinoBoy was reading a passage that is about a bird and a fish, he struggled with the pronunciation of the word 鱼 fish.  This was supposed to be read at 2nd tone but he kept reading it at 3rd tone which is 雨 rain, making no sense in the passage.  I made him repeat the word a few times, made him repeat the passage/sentence and he still said it at the 3rd tone.  Both of us were feeling frustrated and when DinoBoy cried DinoPapa stepped in, taking over the job of accompanying him finish reading the passage.

Thinking back, when I was still schooling I love assessment books (except Maths which is my killer subject) and I will do books and books of them, scoring them and feeling satisfied.  However, I know my way will not work with DinoBoy and his body will auto shut down when he is stressed up or when I am very fierce and stern with him so I tried to be lenient with him.  We have tried doing some of the assessment books earlier this year and it was not a happy experience; which is also part of the reason why I dread bringing them out.  Most of the time I cannot control my temper because he makes the same mistake again and again.  Sometimes I want to take his shoulder and shake him hard, to make him wake up or at least his learning department in the head start to work.  How can a person forget the same word when you just read it on the previous page, less then 5mins ago????


Well, whether we like it or not, we still have to do it, I just have to find some ways to make the learning less stressful and more beneficial to DinoBoy.

Raised voice?  There probably will have some if not a lot.
Tears?  I hope there will be none. 


I know I have been sucked in to the "dark dark side" (non Star Wars related) and going against my stand but I just can't help it!  Especially when it comes to Chinese subject, he is still not that good.  I know I should have just let go and let him learn on his own, encourage him to read more Chinese books instead of shoving the assessment books at him.  Sometimes I am too tired to read that 1 book with him and then my temper will be short turning a reading session into a scolding session.


Arrgghhh!!! I can't take deep breaths and relax!!!!  I have an urge to chuck those dreaded assessment books out of the window down the rubbish chute NOW!!!!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Show & Tell - Trial

I shared the school's letter on Term 3 Assessment and the dreaded Show & Tell is included this time.  The school is kind enough to let the students do a Show & Tell practice with the topic "Me" ONLY in Chinese class, 2 weeks ago they sent a letter to parents about this, the only problem no date was indicated in the letter.  We waited for another letter to let us know the date, nothing came that week.  We did not prepare any thing.... No letter on the 2nd week but DinoBoy says there will be a practice.  I asked and probed him but he did not know the date.

Last Friday I was talking to Catherine and she said her girl is having the Show & Tell practice on the following Monday.  I panicked, asked DinoBoy whether is it the same day.  He first answered that he had already done the Show & Tell then he said that its on Monday.  That weekend we prepared for Show & Tell;


Translated into English;
Hello Teacher & fellow students! I am XXX from first grade XXX class.
Today, I will be talking about myself.
I am seven years old, my favorite color is green because it is the color of nature. I also like to plant flowers, I brought a pot of bean sprouts that I had just planted.
I also like to read story books, because it can increase my knowledge and language skills.
I hope that after listening to my presentation you will know me better.
Thank you!

Even though I wrote out the above I do not expect DinoBoy to remember word by word, that is not his style.  He is like DinoPapa who do not and cannot study by memorizing things by heart.  So as long as he got the main points I am not particular about the words he used in the sentences.  Its a very simple 5 points Show & Tell, he only need to remember them and construct the sentences while he speaks.  Well, at least it seems simple to us, he was struggling on that Sunday afternoon.  He could not remember the points, he started to blabber varying out of topic, mixed up the sequence etc.  He really cannot perform under pressure, we cheered when he got all the points, we encouraged when he forgot about the next point and we took a short break before trying again a few times with mistakes here and there.  Eventually after 3 hours we decided to stop as he got it almost correct and we feel that he should do ok.

The next morning, while DinoBoy was lazing on the bed waiting for me to get ready, I asked him to recite it again.  This time he said it out smooth and easy, without flaws, I was so happy that I clapped loud for him.  He was clearly pleased with himself too as he was grinning from ear to ear.  So we went to school feeling confident (Chinese lesson was first that day) and with our little pot of green bean.

This was taken today, they were still green bean when we brought it to school on Monday

That evening when I see him in school, the first thing he said to me was "Mummy, I remembered wrongly, the Show & Tell is next week."  I frowned, as next week is the Show & Tell assessment, NOT the practice.  Then he said it so casually "Oh, the practice I did it already last week."  I was speechless.... besides wasting our effort yesterday I started to wonder if he fared well that day.  Anyway there is nothing I can do but hope for the best.

Yesterday I received the result and I was not happy about it, he scored in the range "5-6".  I can't tell DinoBoy that he did good or bad because I really do not know what he did!  Ok, that reminds me that I will have to speak to him about this and find out as much as I can what he did that day (which day??? Remains a mystery).  Catherine said this morning that I should be happy that he got such a result and not worse because he went without any preparation.  Alright, at least that is my consolation while it reaffirms our believes on DinoBoy's ability to adapt to the situation and speak comfortably in front an audience.

Now, we shall work on the Show & Tell assessment with the topic "My Toy" this weekend.  As of today, he has yet to decide which toy he wants to bring and talk about.  In his own words "I have so many toys that I don't know which one to choose."  *face palm*  Ok, I spoil the boy to bits and bought him too many toys for the passed years.

Let's hope he will be able to come up with a choice these few days so that we can start working on it and this time he better score higher marks!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Starting Primary One #20 - Term 3 Assessment

June holidays came and went at a blink of eye.  Now that the kids are back to school on 01 July 2013, you think maybe you can relax a little bit after the busy schedules you had with your children during the mid year term break.  I know I am glad that school reopens as DinoBoy gets to go back to his usual routine, it does not help that he has been asking me about the day and whether "school starts next week?" frequently.  Seems like the activities in student care centre is not enough to occupy his mind or perhaps he misses his classmates.

Anyway, 2 weeks into the new term and I got slapped with letters from school about the dreadful Term 3 Assessment.  Oh My God!!!!  The letters made me run around the house screaming my head off!!!  Of course in reality I only imagine that scene in my mind and I achieved the "Keep Calm and something" effect.  

Here are the letters for the Term 3 Assessment, showing clearly each subject's chapters covered & the marks allocated for each section.  (Pardon the photo of the Chinese letter, this is what happened when you asked a 7 year old to scan the document using the printer.)

This is also part of the reason I did up the Weekday To-Do List that I wrote about yesterday.  One of the task is to do some practice on the assessment book I bought earlier.  I really need to buck up to try to make motivate DinoBoy to work a little bit harder especially for his Chinese.  Let's hope that I'm able to guide him (without losing my patient and temper) and improve his grades better.
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I am sharing DinoBoy's Primary One experiences in this series.  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.

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Sunday, July 21, 2013

Our Weekday To-Do List

Since DinoBoy starts primary school its a constant battle every evening with him to get him to unpack his school bag, bring out the spelling books for me to sign, school's letters to parents etc.  When I saw the chore charts in Meaningful Mama's post, immediately I know this will be a solution for us!

Today while DinoBoy visit Great Grandma with DinoPapa, I decided to sit down and try to make the chart.  This is when I am really glad that I hoard all the art & craft supplies, I simply just gather those that I have and try to make it.

I list out the things I want him to do on most weekday evenings, cut them out and use mini glue dots to stick them to the mini pegs.  At the back I used the leftover colorful fish shaped scrapping pins, stuck them on to the mini pegs.  

I used a leftover foam door hanger as the board, by then DinoBoy came home and I got him to stick the mini pom-poms in the centre to divide them into "To-Do" and "Done" sections. I named his chart My Weekday To-Do List. Every time he finished the task, he will move the mini peg from "To-Do' to "Done", flipping the mini peg over to show the colorful fish.

We will be using this next week, I am keeping my fingers crossed that this will work and no more arguments or battle in the evening.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

My 1st Culinary Class Experience @ Creative Culinaire

Earlier in June 2013 I took part in a Cook For Family contest over at Daniel's Food Diary, and I won a Healthy Culinary Adventure class (worth more then SGD100) at Creative Culinaire!  I am feeling very excited about it as this will be my first culinary class.  

I was paired up with the other winner from Daniel's contest, the very young and very pretty Jasmine~  We hit off quite fast, I am glad she does not mind the company of this talkative auntie who sometimes disappeared to attend to his 7 year old boy leaving her to listen to our instructor and handling some of the work. 

Jasmine has been baking since many years ago, she has a facebook page Bake A Dough where she hold frequent sprees for baking supplies and ingredients.  She has been baking so much that I think she is going to be my baking inspirations, I may have to bug her for advicse soon.

Why did I say we are a perfect match?  Well, she did the piping and bread cutting job coz I do not know how to do that while I season the chicken as she does not like the smell of chicken.

Our very patient instructor Christine shows us every steps in details, explaining each step clearly and telling us correct ingredients to get from the supermarket should we decided to make this at home as the school buy their ingredients in bulk and some are not available in the supermarket.

In just 4 hours, we were able to make the following delicious food.

They are really simple and easy to make, I like the roast chicken and will most likely do it as weekday's dinner.

1. Eggless low calorie Chocolate Cake (without the ganache on top yet)
2. Roast Chicken with herb Potato
3. Wholemeal Canapé with Smoked Salmon

My beautiful canapé was not a pretty sight by the time I reached home, they were overturned with the rosette a little bit squashed and a few of them got stuck together but they still taste as good and DinoBoy did not mind their appearance so long as he is able to eat them.  DinoPapa tried one of it and he said its delicious.  The chocolate cake is still in the fridge, its going to be our breakfast tomorrow.  As for the baked chicken, we forgot to bring it out to eat during dinner so its going to go into the fridge too.

I had a great experience at Creative Culinaire and it makes me want to attend more culinary classes in future.  In my excitement I have forgotten to bring my own container for the food and I am not the only one too, Creative Culinaire is very thoughtful to provide us with plastic takeaway containers and plastic bags so that we can bring these delicious food home to share with our loved ones.  I understand from Jasmine that most culinary classes does not provide such things and expect us to bring our own containers.

If you are interested to learn some cooking or baking, why not consider Creative Culinarie who conducts hands on classes at affordable prices?  Check out their August 2013 class schedule and find one that fits into your schedule.  Their Traditional Mooncakes class on 24 August 2013 caught my eye, may be I will sign up for it.  Besides this they also does customized cakes for every occasions, hop by to their website and see what else they can offer to you.  I am already thinking of letting DinoBoy join their September Kid's Class.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Foodie Fridays - Almost Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Its Ice Cream Month over at USA and there are many ice cream recipes floating around in the net, it is difficult not to give in to the temptation and make our own ice cream!  Since this will be the first time we are making this, I thought I will let DinoBoy do most of the preparation.  So I choose a very simple recipe that needed only 3 ingredients.

DinoBoy was excited that we are making ice cream today, he was actually surprised that we can actually MAKE them in our own kitchen.  He started to go "Mum, can I help? Can I help please??" while I was taking the ingredients out from the fridge, I have to assure him many times that he will be making it so just be patient for a little while.

We finally started the process, we read the recipe together and I let him do the work.  Why did I say that it is an almost chocolate chip ice cream?  Simply because we do not have them at home, I used the packet of chocolate couverture milk drops that has been sitting in our fridge for ages.  Need it to be chipped?  Easy peasy!  Give a 7 year old a pestle and you have your chocolate chipped.  

While DinoBoy was happy that he got to touch and use my Tefal mixer to whip the heavy cream, he wasn't happy about the noise it made when I turned it to turbo, he said "Mum, let me know when its ready." and ran back into the living room, away from the noise.

His expression tells it all!

It took us about 45 mins and its done!  While I was scooping the cream into a container DinoPapa wanders into the kitchen to check things out, he couldn't resist stealing a little bit to taste and said YUM! 

After sitting in the freezer over night, I took out the container and with an ice cream scoop in hand, I slid it across the ice cream.  It went over so smoothly n easy forming a small ball of ice cream, I was smiling and feeling happy, since every one are still sleeping, I have to said a silent WOOHOO! inside my heart

There you have it!  The DinoFamily first home made ice cream!  We will be making ice cream of different flavour soon.  No more store bought ice cream!

* 2 cups heavy whipping cream
* 1 can (380g)  sweeten condensed milk
* 1 cup chocolate chips

1. In a mixing bowl beat the whipping cream until stiff peak forms.
2. Pour the condensed milk into a bowl and stir in the chocolate chips
3. Fold in the whipped cream
4. Pour into container and leave it over night in the freezer compartment

1. I do not have a sweet tooth so I find that the ice cream is a tad too sweet.  I used a can of Dutch Lady's full cream condensed milk, perhaps I should use lesser of it next time.

Remember, since you made the ice cream you can add in any toppings into it, we may be adding some marshmallows when we are eating them later today.

And today we are joining We Scream for Ice Cream linky hosted by Life With The Crust Cut Off and This Silly Girl’s Life, click the link and enter into the world of ice cream!  Have fun making the ice cream!  I know we did~

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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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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Lavender & Lemon EO got rid of my aches

As far as I can remember I do not fall sick easily, my tolerance for pains and aches are relatively high and I do not usually succumbs to them.  I guess I was over tired last Saturday plus walking around with a heavy backpack from morning till afternoon was simply too much for me.  By late afternoon I was having a sore lower back, later that day the pain got worse and I can feel pain on my spinal cord, neck, shoulder and I was having throbbing headache.  

This went on for a few days, my usual heat & pain relieve cream only relieves the pain for a short while, I thought I will be able to sleep it off but it did not.  So I went about my usual business feeling crappy and frustrated, affecting my mood and caused some tension between me and DinoBoy one morning.

I mentioned my agony to a few of my friends and Nana reminded me about the essential oils I have then she suggested that I massage Lemon and Lavender essential oil on my back and neck.  That night, I applied before bed time and I can feel relieve on my back and neck.  The headache is still there but it is not as painful as before.  I went to bed keeping my fingers crossed that tomorrow when I wake up I will feel energized.  I was not disappointed!  I was smiling to myself when I woke up and did not feel the headache.

Nana and the essential oil saved me from another day of agony!  Nana shared with me that backaches are most likely caused by stress and tension.  Lavender essential oil has the ability to relieve tension and has anti-inflammatory effects while Lemon essential oil is high dlimonene; a powerful antioxidant, helps improves circulation, has anti-inflammatory effects too and can be used to revitalise and uplift mood.  Therefore a drop of each will relieve me of the pain almost instantly.  The Lavender essential oil relaxes me thus I was able to fall asleep faster and in a calmer way.  I must read more into the many uses of these 2 essential oils and perhaps venture further into including them in our daily life.

Are you also into essential oil?  I would love to hear from you how these wonderful oil has helped you improve your health and lifestyle.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Our "pet" Golden Beetle

This is the golden beetle that took refuge on my head during the bad haze days in June 2013.

This is the golden beetle that DinoBoy decided to have as a pet and kept him in a small bucket.

This is the golden beetle that DinoBoy diligently supplied it with fresh marigold leaves as food every day.

This is the golden beetle that died (R.I.P.) about two weeks later; reason unknown.

This is the golden beetle that took DinoBoy 2 weeks to finally accept that it is dead and the body thrown away.

This is our First Pet Golden Beetle.

*Photo taken with my Canon EOS, kit lens with macro function.

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