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..!

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.




@poundthegarlic.blogspot.com 2016

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.

@poundthegarlic.blogspot.com 2016
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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.




@poundthegarlic.blogspot.com 2016
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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 .

@poundthegarlic.blogspot.com 2016
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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


@poundthegarlic.blogspot.com 2016

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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.

@poundthegarlic.blogspot.com 2016

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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.


@poundthegarlic.blogspot.com 2016

Workshop on SMA

We recently attended a workshop about Living with SMA (Spinal Muscular Atrophy). The workshop was conducted by Sook Yee, her husband Edmund and her dear son Branden. Though I've heard of ALS, I've never heard of SMA, and it was certainly an eye opening workshop worth attending. It helped us understand the challenges of living with a disability, and it gave us a glimpse of parental courage, love and hope.  I'm amazed at the courage and zeal of Branden's parents, how they continually bring awareness to the public, and how they continuously find ways to help Branden, never giving up and always hopeful.

Here children were asked to scratch their ear while pulling a tight elastic band. It was certainly difficult to bring their hands up to the ear. Understanding how difficult it is for people living with SMA to use their hands effectively.

Branden going round tickling the children who were not allowed to move, scratch or fidget. It was to help them understand how it would be, being in the "shoes"of Branden. He has such an infectious laughter and smile. Children warmed up to him immediately.



Several weeks later, we were invited by Branden's mum to help out at their Arts for Grabs booth. The sale was to raise funds for We Care Journey an organization to help bring awareness and help other people with SMA.
Jo did her part by helping to paint a bag which would then be sold to raise funds, while Nel helped to hand out leaflets containing information about SMA.


To find out more about how you could help Branden, or to understand more about what it's like, living with SMA, you can find them on their facebook page Branden -Growing up with SMA.


@poundthegarlic.blogspot.com 2016
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Nel is a Spartan SPrint finisher!


Two years ago Nel and Jo took part in the junior Spartan race.

This year suddenly she decided that she wanted to try Spartan Sprint for adults. The website estimated that the race would be about 6 km, but turns out it was 8km. She barely trained, but in the final week she managed a few monkey bars practices, one or two jogging sessions where she huffed and puffed away.

The morning of the race came, and I was a little anxious wondering if she'd be able to finish the course safely.

Here's a post I wrote on facebook :

When my first girl was younger she had some problems with coordination. She was also such a timid child that throughout kindergarten n primary one she would hide in toilets during games n sports time. 
When we began homeschooling.. I found her a kind and understanding ballet teacher, I taught her swimming, cycling and we began going for jungle hikes in hopes that all these would help her. 
Today she took part in the adult Spartan sprint.. I have to admit I was nervous for her... She took 4hours but she is a Spartan finisher!! So proud of her!!
It shows never under estimate a child.. And a child can overcome her fears and 'weaknesses' with time and space to grow.. With gentle guidance and patience... Like waiting for a tree to grow.


Anyway, she finished the race! She's a Spartan Finisher, and I'm so PROUD OF YOU NEL!


@poundthegarlic.blogspot.com 2016
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11 Oct 2016

Painting Murals

We were invited recently to help out with a green project at our community. It involved painting mural for a recycling center. We always jump at the chance to do art, any sort of art!! Most of the painting was done at night and we really had fun doing it.

Nel painting a deer

Jo's Fairy bird

Surprise surprise, I found out that hubby can paint!!!!

I thought I'd add a hornbill






@poundthegarlic.blogspot.com 2016
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