21 Apr 2017

We made macaroons!

It is lovely having Junee back with us. She's finished her studies in India n will continue the rest of her studies in Malaysia. 
To celebrate we attempted macaroons n succeeded! There were cracks in some but overall they just tasted delicious when fresh out of the oven. A lil crunchy on the outside n warm n fluffy in the inside. 




@poundthegarlic.blogspot.com 2017 

2017 so far

A lot has been going on and we have been busy. Though my intention had been to slow down this year, instead it seems to be busier than ever before.

I don't even know where to catch up on this blog. Some things the kids have been up to:

Jo sent in a resume to Kidzania to be congresskid. She made it past the interview, did a video of herself and campaigned at Kidzania. Unfortunately she didn't get in though personally I think she did great at her speeches. I guess, it's as they said, "if you wanna get in, try singing a song or something."
She didn't sing. Still it was a great life experience, all that public speaking, video making and interview was a worthwhile experience.

Both Jo and Nel are now part of ICC Words Alive group, a group committed to helping young people become better public speakers for a good purpose. Earlier this year the whole group visited Pulau Ketam as a chapter, and presented a drama. They also volunteered by playing games with the local kids and taught them English. For Nel, just being in this drama was a BIG deal!
She really struggled in her first rehearsals, not wanting to say her line because she was so conscious of people looking at her. In the end she did great! She had the role of a teacher, while Jo had the role of a busy body, which she played really well!

The first quarter of this year has also been memorable. Both girls auditioned to be in our church's Easter presentation and got in. Hubby and I decided to hang around their first few practices to observe, but what do you know, hubby got "sucked" in and ended up playing three roles, which he did amazingly well! I'm astounded, having discovered his hidden talent for acting! Proud of him.

Jo played a little child, as well as a seller at the market scene. Most of the time she was observing the director (Vince Chong)  and producers, being very curious about how a whole production is put together. I think she learnt a lot about theatre through this experience.

As for me, I accompanied Nel to her dance rehearsals to encourage her. My goal was to get her out of her comfort zone and try performing arts (dance with drama) to help her blossom out of her "shy"self. So I too hung around and joined in the warm ups. But guess what, I got roped in too, and ended up dancing! We had fun preparing our own costumes, which included ripping and smearing them with paint. Fun was also painting our own faces to look the part of occupants in hell.

The most beautiful part of it all was that, we were actually once, all together in a performance, serving our dear Lord together, as one unit, together with other like minded people. We enjoyed the weekly rehearsals, going together, rehearsing together, it was well worth our time!

Apart from that, there are our usual homeschool activities, too many to list. One memorable one perhaps was the camping trip we had in Perak in the month of March. The river was beautiful, we had great company of good friends and lovely food all cooked by the OAs.

Oh I forgot to mention, a new addition to the family. It was Chinese New Year, and I was preparing Heng Hua Mee Sua and making homemade pizza when hubby brought back a kitten!! We named him Blue. Hés turned out to be quite a tyrant...an alpha kinda male, but I've grown to love this lil fella.



 I'll conclude by saying 2017 has been a really fruitful memorable time so far. God is good!





@poundthegarlic.blogspot.com 2017

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28 Feb 2017

My first painting for the year

The space between time I paint is getting wider and wider...I hardly produce anything nowadays it seems. but nevertheless, I managed to paint something in between preparing CNY food for the family. Am happy that at least, I've so far managed one painting this year. 👀

Acrylic on paper


Traditional Heng Hua mee sua, which I prepared. Lots of hard work, but worth it!

Home made pizza with smoked duck and other ingredients

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1 Jan 2017

Langkawi

@poundthegarlic.blogspot.com 2016
Written by Nel.

We decided to pay a trip to the exotic island of Langkawi for our 2016 coop field trip.


This was our transport throughout the whole 4 day trip! An Ursvan van fit for 14 people.                    

We had a really joyous time together in the van, singing silly songs and telling jokes and laughing our heads off. I think we would be best described as uncontollable and exuberant children!









                                                                         


Having googled all about Langkawi, we concluded that we should go on one of those cable cars people always talked about on travelling websites. On the 2nd day, we took a sky cab (it was kind of expensive but still worth the experience) over the valleys and mountains of Langkawi to.....



The sky bridge!


The view was breathtaking! Mountains surrounded us from all directions at different angles., 
 We inhaled the cool, refreshing air into our lungs. There were tons of heart shaped locks and key chains hanging on some parts of the sky bridges side railing. (A great place for people for taking selfies, just kiding!) But yes, there were quite a number, but still considerd not so much, tourists dawdling back and forth on the bridge taking photos.
One really cool fact about this trip is that even though my mum gets nervous around heights, She made it!! All the way across and back, we were so proud of her!  Trust my mum to overcome her fears!                                            
We raced each other back to the cable car!


On the 3rd day, we rented a boat to take us across the river along... The

Saw this cool mountain, looks like a human with a large chin. Haha...
We chugged along a swampy kind of background. I mean it wasn't muddy, but the trees alongside the river had really long roots, reaching out of the water as well as long branches. Our boatman stopped awhile near a monkey infested area to let us feed the monkeys and a monkey hopped unto our boat screeching for food! It was so cute standing on its hind paws and reaching out with nits cute and warm little hands to us children for more food. Hilariously, the adults (well some of them) were the ones scared of the monkey. 


We visited the Art in paradise Museum! It has very detailed and cool Art!


I totally enjoyed that awesome, full of close friends holiday..!

Written by Nel

20 Dec 2016

Carolling

. Like wandering minstrels, accompanied by ukulele (by Nel n friend), we walked from house to house singing beautiful carols. There were the occasional back up sounds of dogs barking, the lapping of waves, the ringing of bicycle bells, the squeaking of mice... roarrs of spectators watching a football game on TV and the appearance of a puppy that had everyone going ooh and ahh! . It was warm and humid... But oh my girls sang with Gusto.. And commented.. Best carolling ever mum. 
At this time I'm reminded that we love and bless others by giving of what we have, because God first loved us. Emotikon heart Counting down the days to family reunion on Christmas day and Christmas itself. Blessings to you and all.




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17 Dec 2016

Art from Dec.


Charcoal drawing of a wild flower. Another art piece after a long break.  I wish to do more frequent art, but I never have the mental energy to do so after the hectic week. Thankful for a little extra time in December.


Jodie picked a watercolour book at the book sale. As we were on limited budget, she insisted it was a book she really wanted. And true to her word, at home, she immediately got all the tools and said, "Mum today I'm going to learn watercolour using the tutorial in this book."  And she did, she sat for half a day and followed instructions and learnt the art of watercolour. Where there's a will, there's a way. We've learnt, you can pretty much learn anything you want to when theres a real desire.

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5 Dec 2016

The way to a Man's heart and a Child's Heart

Lately I've been  baking breads. One loaf and sometimes two a week. Today I decided to bake herb bread, and roast chicken to go with it. All hubby, Jo and Nel were overjoyed.

Jo commented, "You know mum, there are two things that send me to bed with a smile on my face and a warm feeling in my heart and tummy. One is a good good book, and one is a delicious meal like this.."

Yup so it's proven, they say, food is the way to a man's heart, but looks like it's the way to a child's heart too. :)

I marinated my chicken with butter (softened and mixed with thyme, oregano, salt and pepper) rubbed under the skin. Added tumeric, paprika, salt and pepper. Placed chicken over lots of onions, covered with more onions and carrots. The carrots really added flavour to the gravy which I made after.




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3 Dec 2016

Graduation Ceremony of PKetam Students

We helped the local school decorate their hall for a form 5 graduation ceremony. The first they've ever held in the history of the school!






11 Nov 2016

Homeschoolers Unite at Tribe Fest and Lembah Barakah

Jo and friend ZH wanted to present a short drama for a HS Tribe FEST. So together they recruited a few friends and in 5 weeks prepared a short skit to present. They called themselves, "Homeschoolers Unite." Jo wrote the script without my help. Then every Wednesday, 8 of them would meet at a friend's apartment lobby. They didn't want the help of adults, so we mums would sit far away and eaves drop now and then.

Despite quarrels, disagreements, play, chit-chats, jokes and moments of unfocused wondering, they managed to discuss and rehearse the script, create their own props, chair their own meetings, block their play and all. It wasn't always smooth going, sometimes they had major disagreements on certain things....but in the end, they performed so well to a wonderful crowd! I'm really proud of them!

This to me is a well worth-it experience. It's nice to see how they resolved problems and disagreements without adult intervention, made decisions that they were proud of and came up with the concept, theme and everything by themselves. Because they totally owned the production they were really proud of their work! There were moments I was tempted to provide input, but I'm glad I held back. Though the final performance was great, I think, greater was the experience  they took with them throughout the process.

(Smiley added to protect identity of child.) 


To reward their hard work, we took a two day break at Lembah Barakah, Ulu Langat. Though we mums were tired, the energetic children cooked their own dinner, and had a crazy fun time together. Night time, 16 of us slept, aligned like sardines, in the beautiful kampung house we rented. They had a midnight feast, and the chattering and whispering did not stop till after midnight. They certainly deserved this getaway together!


 On the second morning, a cold one! brrrr...., we had a brief tour of their place and had an interesting session on kelulut bees (stingless bees.) It was interesting to view the structure of the hive, and the highlight was when the owner removed a tiny portion from a honey pod and put in a syringe to draw liquid gold. The honey tasted like a mix of honey sweetness and apple cider vinegar. Delicious!  Then some of the kids jumped into the river for a quick dip while the rest played cards.
To rent this lovely kampung house, message them via their FB page at Lembah Barakah Organic Orchard .

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Scout CAmp

We had a nice three day camp with the HS Scout Group. This time the venue was a private cove in PD.

Setting up tents

First things first...digging a toilet. The girls did a good job, digging it about 3 feet deep, but a little too wide for the littlest scout girl. :/

Nel helping Scout Master Quek to set up the Tarp 

The girls' friend, ZE made this cute cute sign! :)

Loving the activity of digging, Nel decided to dig further. During the point of this photo, the hole was about 4 feet deep. She eventually dug it to about 5 feet, and found a source of fresh water!

During this camping trip, scouts had to chop their own bamboo, and find random pieces of wood. Then attaching used bottles, they made their own rafts.

Testing raft time. All the rafts floated well!

This is one of several shots taken after a day of work. Girl scouts playing while it was the boys' turn to cook dinner. This photo makes me happy. Perhaps it's capturing joy and carefree moments that makes the photo beautiful.

Enjoying some quiet time while having dinner by the gentle waves.

Though it was supposed to be two nights on the beach, we had to abandon campsite on the second night. Strong winds hit us on the second night, snapping my tent poles in two. Embers from the large bornfire blew towards our tents threatening to set them aflame. Some of the children panicked and about two had panic attacks...and it was truly a state of emergency when we evacuated the beach.

It reminded me of the scary experience we had camping on Segadas when storm and lightning demolished our friend's tent and flooded ours, while we literally fought against the wind with our hands so the tent wouldn't cave in on our children. But I told myself despite the panic that hit me, I had to remain calm for my children. So thank God, He gave me strength as I calmly gave instructions to my children to load our belongings and calmly unpeg our very large tent to evacuate.

We all ended up taking refuge in YL's house in PD...20 + of us. It was a "refugee"moment. :) But oh what a memorable trip! :D


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29 Oct 2016

Plant Identification

We joined MNS Flora Selangor group on a field trip entitled "Tree Observation and Identification." It was held at Bukit Cahaya Shah Alam, and the planned walk was to " focus on the observation of identification characters of trees that are currently fruiting and belonging to the family of Dipterocarpaceae (Shorea and Dipterocarpus), Fagaceae (Oak family), Anacardiaceaa (Mango Family), and Rubiaceae (Coffe family)."

The walk was headed by Dr. Jean Weber and Dr. Siti Khadijah, who are to me, walking plants encyclopedias! 
We began by looking for seeds to identify trees, then studying the structure of seeds. Then we were taught how to study leaf structures (the petiole,  shape and veins),  flowers and bark. 

This leaf  has a stipule, and is hairy, characteristic of  Keruing Bulu
Children taking notes and listening intently at the beginning. I said beginning, because about one hour later, they more interested in other stuff like birds poop. ;)



Dr Khadijah. I love how she willingly and enthusiastically answers EVERY question!! I asked if she'd conduct a walk for our Science Coop, and she immediately said YES. It is a rare to find someone who passionate about plants and so willing to share information with children. Looking forward to our  next walk.

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26 Oct 2016

Some recent art

Some recent random art work\


Painting with only three colours. Yellow, Blue and Brown. The 
three shades create quite a spooky effect. Jo thinks this looks like a female
version of SLAPPY!!!

I painted this picture to accompany and inspire Jo to get back to some art work. (watercolour)

Jo's art work. Acrylic.


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