31 Mar 2011

Cave Art Project

Thursday science has somewhat expanded with the addition of some good friends.

We're in our second week of learning all about caves. First week we looked at a virtual cave and learnt about how caves are formed, and we also learned about various types of speleothem. This was followed by a crystal growing/speleothem creating experiment, using Epsom Salt.

This week we continued by looking at another virtual cave, (Lascaux in France), and studied cave paintings. When I asked the children why did people then paint? There were various answers such as the Cave men were very bored with their lives! ;)

Anyway, we concluded the class by trying our hands at cave painting.
First each family brought their own soil. Altogether we had 6 different shades of brown to paint with. Amazing how much variety there is with soil alone! The children pounded the soil using mortar and large stones, then sieved the large stones out.  Then they mixed in some water and a bit of vegetable shortening/oil.

 Paint ready, they began painting. First pictures were drawn using charcoal, then painted with the "soil paint".


Pounding soil


drawing pictures with charcoal (can you guess what's this?) Ok..it's a Bull. haha..
Picture by Du (aged 4)


Can you guess what this is????
It's Little Du's horse. :) (LOVE his drawing!!)


Dd's completed painting (drawn with charcoal, painted with pounded soil mixed with glue)

this is mine..done when I showed the chidlren how to do one.

All in all, it was enjoyable, easy to do and fun. :) Do try it! however, be forewarned that it can be messy, coz when children's imagination go wild, they CAN do a lot of other things with the soil!  :)
(Group projects are really fun. I think, more worthwhile than going for tuition after tuition.)




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30 Mar 2011

A few Disastrous moments during extracurricular classes

My girls are usually obedient, but like all kids, they have moments where they go with the  “no holds barred” rule especiall when they are with their closest cousins. Then, they can become very  , a little rowdy.
I pity the Chinese teacher (a young man) who had a disastrous class with them (the famous 5) yesterday. Before class began, Ld started toying around with the radio there, changing stations, causing unnecessary static and white noises, alternating with Tamil, Malay and Chinese music/news.

The teacher got very annoyed and began barraging Ld with a long lecture on how to behave. To the amazement  horror of the teacher, my Little Jo (a 5 year old fast becoming a 25 year old lawyer), stood up and said,  “Teacher! You Are wasting my time!”
The teacher glared at her, full of anger and said “How DARE you speak to your teacher like that! I’m not wasting time, I HAVE to scold Ld! If you think I am wasting YoUR time, you may WALK out now!!”

This led to laughter from several others, which sparked further anger in the teacher. Disaster. *shakes head*
(Later I asked Jo why did she speak in such a manner and explained to her that it was rude to speak like that. She explained “I meant that the teacher was wasting his own time because when the time is up, he will not be able to finish teaching and will have to add time. He was wasting his own time." Then she added " Please don't scold me mum for talking to teacher that way...pleaseeee...pleaseeee" she said with an innocent voice. I burst out laughing, we all laughed. (then i reminded them that this was no laughing matter!) hahahaha...

­Pottery class.
We again went with the gang of 5, Fabulous Five, Fearsome Five or whatever you call em 5 cousins, for pottery lessons. At the pottery class, there was a dear Japanese lady in her 50’s making a very beautiful vase. She’s a regular student there. She smiled widely when she saw our children and said “oh, such adorable children. So clever, you come and learn? Good! So cute, so adorable.”
Unbeknownst to her, little L's had quietly placed scraps of clay in her beautiful vase, still in the process of drying. *gasp* When she turned around to look at her vase and to add finishing touches, she let out a scream of anger! That poor lady threw her arms up in anger, and started muttering expletives (I’m sure it was) in Japanese language. "@@!!##&&&##***" she went on and on and on in a fit of anger.
Our kind pottery teacher, Mr. Cheah, merely stood in front of her, listened and smiled and laughed (laughed sympathetically). That was a disastrous moment. I hid my face and thanked God I don’t understand Japanese.
Let me end by quoting something my daughter Nel said while she was still in Chinese Primary school. “Mum, I have 2 angry teachers. One’s a Malay who teaches English, and the other is a Chinese who teaches Malay. Both like to say the “S” word. One likes to say  SHUT UP, and the other likes to yell “STUPID.” 
 These teachers must have had difficult/disastrous days in school to use those words. Five children can cause so much havoc, imagine handling 50 in one class!
(most local schools have between 40-50 students per class.)

28 Mar 2011

Pottery

Today, Mr. Cheah, the very patient pottery teacher called to say all's ready and we can finally pick up our work. :)    Altogether we paid just RM50 person, which includes a 3 hour session clay project, glazing and firing. Worth it!


Posted 13.Dec.2010 (on other space)

Today my sis-inlaw and I took our children for a class of pottery. It was a really wonderful experience, and a lot of FUN! I remember reading this Bible verse  to my children earlier this year:  Isaiah 64:8 "Yet, O Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand." 

Well, then I decided that I wanted my children to feel what clay is like, and how it feels to mould that soft, formless clay into something specific, something special. (Just like how God formed each of us into someone unique! )

The man Mr. Cheah, is a wonderful, patient teacher! Imagine handling 5 boisterous children (I wanted to write disobedient, but Nel sat here and swatted my hands! haha..) He started off by telling us what clay was made off, its composition (silica and alumina). He told us about colours, about how to FEEL the clay, to gauge its balance, thickness, to pinch it gently, score it, shape it etc etc.

It took us  me 3 hours to complete the work...(well for me, 3 hours. for the children 2 hours, followed by one hour of playing with Miko, mr. Cheah's dog -which was actually in a cage till they let him go! ) In the end, we learnt a lot..and we plan to go back soon. Well, we have to go back anyway, to glaze/paint it.


(I highly recommend his classes. His shop is in Segambut, he can usually be contacted between classes, somewhere during lunch time at this number : 017 8812265 )(he's not paying me for this advert) :)




these are for the advance student


Mr. Cheah cutting a piece of clay for each of us


showing us the difference between the diff types of clay



the children's work. After making pots, they decided on a more creative thing. That's Jo's cake on the right with mushroom like candles and K's frog in a pond

My doggie my hero

This little cutie, "fierce", protective guardian of our family, Camel, did it again. He most likely thwarted a robbery attempt at my house last night at 2am, when he started barking fiercely, crazily, protectively.

Since adopting him 3 years ago, I've  learnt to differentiate his barks.

He has several different barks (and posture) to tell me different things such as:
 - he wants to play/walk
-he wants to pee
- a family friend has come to visit
 -the squirrel or cat is irritating him again or stealing his food
- postman at the gate (I'm afraid the postman will throw a grenade at Cam one day for terrorising him daily.)
recycle lorry passing by (he makes a very weird whining/dying sound for this that comes from his throat, stomach. Perhaps he cannot stand the music that comes with the lorry.)
- An intruder/stranger at the gate

At 2am last night I heard the bark that indicated an intruder. His barking woke me up, while the rest of my household remained asleep. I got up to my window, parted the curtains to look out, and saw a shadow of a man at my gate. I think the intruder saw me because he immediately ran behind the tree. Few seconds later, he got on a bike and quietly disappeared into the shadow of the night.

This is the second time Cam's saved us from intruders. (the first time was scary, coz it was a masked man who saw me and shone a red light into my eye before taking off.)

There was a time when the robbers actually broke in and ransacked my house (2 years back), and that was the night when Camel went to the groomers and boarded a night there. If he had been home, he probably would've been a champ 3 times now.

huh...so that little fella needs a special treat now. M thinking...a new toy? or special food today.   probably lotsa play and hugs too. :)

26 Mar 2011

My rendition of "May the Lord Bless you" (sung in my early morn voice)


Just checked back in my previous blog. Reading it brings back lots of memories about my children's toddler and baby days. They grow too fast.
 As I read, I found this post dated January 21st, 2008 about a little recital I had with my children, just the 3 of us. Can't believe it was that long ago, and my girls were so little then.

 While spring cleaning recently I found the CD with the song I used to sing to them every night before bed...and as I played the song to my girls.. they each wanted to be cuddled all over again, sang to like babies again. It just brought back memories of the time when I used to smile more and put them lovingly to bed.                                                                                                                                
 Nowadays, I just shout "bed time! Get to bed! It's late it's LATE!"  How did I get from singing patiently to this madness before bedtime!!?  I need to reevaluate myself, reprogram myself and somehow go back to the "patient, loving, smiling mother mode,"... IF that's possible.                                             
Anyway..I couldn't resist doing this...here's my rendition of the song "May the Lord Bless you and Keep You" originally sung by Twila Paris. My rendition was recorded early this  morning in a squeaky voice...while my kids were still in bed. Jo heard it, woke up and said "Mum, I cried when I heard you singing that song, because i had a nice, warm feeling in my heart." and she then showered me with hugs. As I've said it before..children are a blessing always. :)
  Below is my rendition of the song followed by the original post of  2008.

Monday, January 21, 2008

today, me and my children held a little recital of our own. :) I switched off all the hall lights, leaving the light above the piano on. So my little Nel and Jo took turns performing, bowing each time before a piece was played.You should've seen the way Jo bows, drives me to fits of laughter. hahaha...

They played, "improvisations" based on picture books placed on the piano. haha... I was just thoroughly entertained. In between, they sang songs, quoted Bible verses, ending each performance with more bows! haha...

As the recital progressed, Jo got creative. She did her cutest bow, climbed up the piano stool, and began playing the piano with her nose, then forehead. Hearing our laughter, she was further encouraged to try playing the piano with other body parts, like her cheeks, elbow and ears. The grand finale was when she stopped to pick the booger from her nose. hahahaha...

Finally, this mama decided that the recital wouldn't be complete without a performance from me. So I took my bow, went up to the piano to perform a classical piece.

I ended the recital by playing and singing a lovely song which I've sang to my children since the day they were born. I sing it to them almost every night.... "May the Lord Bless you and Keep You" by Twila Paris. So imagine this, as I played the piano and sang.... my little Nel got up and started dancing the most beautiful, touching dance in the dimly lited hall.... she and I seemed so connected then...

I just felt like she was a baby in my arms all over again...it was beautiful... I had tears in my eyes at the end of the performance....looking at my beautiful children...and knowing that yeah, they're truly a blessing from the Lord.

25 Mar 2011

Girl talk

Overheard this while driving my gals and their cousin (8yr old) to a class.

Lyd: Do you know when we're older we have to wear bra??

Nel: Really, why?

Lyd:  My mummy said if we don't, the things on our body will droop droop droop.

Nel: Droop? really?

Lyd:  Ya, my mummy said it will droop soo sooooo long, it'll be so ugly like boing... (making an action with her hands.)

Nel: ewww..so long, and bouncy?

Lyd: Ya!

-at this point, I checked in the mirror and spotted both girls frowning with that "ewww" look, while I the driver silently grinned from ear to ear! haha..
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The Story of WHY I could not finish painting the apples

  

Uncompleted painting of apples

I've given up trying to complete the above painting. It was a special morning when the sunlight shone on the inner apple. I quickly sketched and began painting. As I was about to continue, the clouds came in and the lighting totally changed.

I waited for similar lighting the next day, which also happened to  be a day where the part time cleaner comes in. I told her to leave my apples alone, but alas she did not take heed.  ;(

So when the sun shone its brightest, I rushed to my kitchen only to find my apples gone. The part time cleaner had cleared it. I, glared at her silently, rearranged my apples on the tray and placed them back on my washing machine where it originally sat, patiently allowing me to paint it.

But alas, the machine was vibrating so hard,  trying to cope with the overload of clothes in it. So I watched helplessly as my apples bounced and tumbled all over the tray. I gave up.

I waited the next morning, a weekend, what bliss. As I got ready to paint, I said good morning to my hubby and found him cutting the very apples I was about to paint. End of story. end of painting.
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Progress at self-learning painting. I wish I was back learning at a proper class with proper guidance. I called the art teacher again, but he only teaches fri morn and no other time. I can't make that time slot, so till I can, I'm on my own still.
Here's my attempt at painting  Apples again..without that special lighting.
 

Apples by my window
 

Painting with flour paint

On Fridays I usually let my children prepare their own meals. Well last Friday we decided that PanMee (noodles) would be the menu of the day. I took out my packet of flour and asked Jo to put it all in a pot. Just then, my phone rang, and before answering my phone I told Jo, "Put in a cup of water!"

When I got back to the kitchen after the phone call, to my horror, I found flour floating in a lot of water! somehow she heard 3 cups of water and put in 3 large cups!! (well..not her fault).   I had no more flour left. *sigh*.... what a waste to waste so much flour. Then an idea struck.

We stirred the flour in the water till totally dissolved, split it into four parts and added food colouring. Walla...we then had paint! :)



WIth this homemade paint..we had LOTS of fun (after a packed lunch.) ;)

Gently adding paint within paint





splattered paint with finger/hand prints


Loving feeling the texture of cool flour water



I had a go at this too. I used a big brush, dropped paint and gently moved the paper to shape the flow of colour. the nice thing is that it flows very slowly so you can really shape it.
 Close look at the texture of the paint. Lovely isn't it?

 Love this piece of art by Junee who joined in the fun by using several methods. Her picture depicts some earthworms coming to the surface after the rain. Lovely!
This was created by swirling the paint and scraping the paper, using old credit/name cards

 After it all, Jo decided to  use old fashion paint brush to paint this.


Nell used a smaller  brush, dripped paint and controlled its flow to create this boat with a square sail.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Later that night, still inspired, Jo used some watercolour to paint her usual subject, "Mermaids." She's done uncountable drawings and paintings of mermaids!

Have fun if you're gonna try this. Do it outdoors though! :)

23 Mar 2011

Caning in anger

I know in this part of the world, caning is still commonly used as a mode of punishment when a child has gone overboard with his/her actions. Most of us still believe that by sparing the rod we spoil the child, thus the necessity of the cane

but Parents..please, do not cane your children in anger.
 When a parent uses the rod carelessly, incessantly, and in anger, they are not “caning the bad out of the child.” Instead the parent  is putting in, uploading hate and resentment in the child. Over a period of time of experiencing such anger regularly, the child usually becomes either abusive, very angry internally, or feel an extreme sense of worthlessness.
The child can begin to feel trapped, unable even to look anyone in the eye because of very low self esteem. She/he can became a "voiceless" person, unable to express the anguish of trapped emotions and confusion within themselves. That’s what caning in anger can do to your child.
-So if you’re a parent who’s prone to anger, please STOP yourself before caning in anger.
-When angry..go calm yourself down before facing your child. Do NOT upload YOUR ANGER into your child. Do not make your child feel useless and worthless. Do not pinch, slap or shove your child.
-If you need to use the cane, TALK with your child. Explain, and then, one or 2 strokes will do. Even then, control your strength. Remember, you are stronger than your child physically, don’t abuse your strength.
-It’s ok to hug your child after punishing them. Don’t push them away and say hurting words like “Don’t call me father/mother!" Or "Go to your room, you useless child!” Watch your words, they hurt more than you know!

Finally, remember to love your child. I once read, for every negative word you speak, make sure there are 7 positive ones. Focus on building your child's strengths instead of just picking on the mistakes.

21 Mar 2011

Difficult days

The recent months have not been easy. With hubby's new crazy schedule, we hardly get to spend time with him. It's now compulsory for him to work 12 to 14 hour shifts, so when he's home, he's sleeping, and if at work, he comes back late. We miss him a lot, I miss him too. I miss dinner together as family, i miss the Saturday morning breakfasts and outings. My children miss hearing our doggie's excited dog followed by daddy's car door closing, signalling his arrival home in the late evenings. My children miss his bedtime stories.

My husband misses us too. He misses coming home in the evening to eagerly waiting children who shower him with hugs and kisses. He misses his sometimes smiling and sometimes grumpy wife. ;)

 He misses time with us. Yesterday I received an sms from him. He wrote "I miss you and the children...shall we do a special dinner when I get off?" I replied "Korean will be fine." :) See we actually have to make a date to meet and talk nowadays.

In these times, my children have been a strong source of love and support to their daddy. They pray constantly for him, and they show him love through action. Often before he leaves for work, in the few moments they get to spend with him, they jump into action. They pack goodies for him consisting of ribena drink, milo in a flask, biscuits, cheese, fruits and they put it all nicely in a special box for their daddy. Never once did we ask them to do this, but it is out of love that my precious little gals do this.

Their daddy is touched and yesterday before he left for work he said "At least I know, my wife and my children love me. I am blessed."

Yes, hon, we love and appreciate you.

19 Mar 2011

Adventure on Kenyir Lake

Just got back from an ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL holiday adventure with my usual camping group. This time we had a total of 10 adults and 17 children! We spent 3 days on a houseboat out on Kenyir lake, through rainy and sunny weather. It was superb except for a few drawbacks.

1) they provided us with filthy black mattresses and pillows, bed bugs included!!!
2) a very small and horrid toilet

but the above is ok, if you're regular campers I suppose. and..yeah, we've seen worse toilets. Also the beauty on the lake is soo breathtaking..nothing else matters.


Our Boat House..which was actually just planks kinda built together as a sort of shelter.

 There were 3 boats that came with the boat house, and these provided additional fun on the lake!


 First night we were visited by hundreds of Mayflies, and some other variety of insects. lovely for camera shoot! We saw hundreds! Mayflies are very sensitive to pollution, and as such are usually only found at high quality, minimally polluted sites.

Why I loved Kenyir??

1) Beautiful scenery, fresh air, clean water where we were. Some parts of the water I hear is polluted,especially near the Gawi area. We were far from that area parked between 2 waterfalls, and another day on an isolated river on the south side of  Kenyir.
  An early morn by the lake. Our boat was parked between 2 falls, this was one of it.


2) Swimming in VERY cold refreshing waterfall. However, remember waterfalls are DANGEROUS and always be on lookout for danger signs. Few years ago sudden surge of water from a fall crashed an entire floating chalet. Even as I swam on that calm day, I could feel the current gently pulling me towards the falls.

the roaring powerful falls!

 
3) Swimming in clear water lake.
Swimming in the lake. Cool..refreshing! and counts as a shower. ;) making a circle..
My little ones swam too, and throughly enjoyed it. life jacket is very important! water is very deep more than 100 meters. there's warning that every year several children drown. so be very cautious, but enjoy. and if you're all the way there, you MUST swim in this refreshing water.

4) speed boats and row boats

    boating on the serene lake..ahh...what joy


5) Breakfast/lunch on the deck

6) cooking with friends in that TERRIBLY noisy kitchen coz the engine was where the kitchen was.

 

7) most of all, WONDERFUL fellowship and fun with good company. :)

Early morn at the boat house. The sound of insects at this time of day is AMAZING!!! fascinating!


    typical scene at Kenyir..which makes it so beautiful



fresh fish from the lake, ummmm....illegal..don't ask us how we got these fish, EVERYDAY, every meal! YUMMMM!!


       some parked houses on the lake

more children chilling on the deck. they took bottle caps, made holes through it, tied strings, and let these caps skip on water. Innovative!

    Drizzling on the lake

Cloudy day on the lake



        great fun and adventure...and the children made some best friends forever and memories that will last forever...

field trip to study plants


since we've been studying plants the whole month, we decided upon a field trip today. Little Lu arrived earlier than usual, dressed in stripes, a sling bag with his magnifying glass and a water bottle.

After watching some videos on YouTube about pollination, we did a short study on the structure of a flower, using a large flower diagram. While D had to study it in more detail, Jo and especially Lu just had to learn the words Pollen, Stigma, seeds and pollination.

We then drove to the nearest forest reserve. Armed with their own magnifying glasses, they managed to study pollen on several flowers and even little bees at work!


 They were equally excited by this moss. Everything looks wonderfully exciting when magnified! a good magnifying glass is ESSENTIAL!







However, Lu's most favourite activity of the day was CHASING PIGEONS! I had to call him for at least 5 mins before he came back. At one point he had about 30 pigeons flying above his head. missed that shot.









This peacock actually came charging towards Lu, rattling its feathers and making a fierce sound. Lu, shocked, fell backwards. But later grinned at the excitement of it all! he learned, NEVER mess with a peacock! (and he was proud that the peacock was a "boy"!

After all that exciting walk... I asked Lu, "So what did you learn?"
He replied "ahhh ahhh... the Pollen hop hop into the postbox!" "What??!!" I remarked.
With a little help from D, he tried again... "The pollen hop hop in in in in the stigma. then it goes down down....and becomes a PEANUT!!" and he says it with such excitement. :)
hahaha...I think he loves nuts a lot, coz he keeps saying nuts instead of seed.

Finally after it all, he asked "Kor kor... we saw so many things, but where is the nectar and pollen and all that?"  I nearly fainted at that question. :)  hahaha...

Anyway, my kids are now requesting to learn about caves, and bats. so that'll be next. 

3 Mar 2011

Outdoor Science - Wormery

Most Thursdays, starting today, little Lo will be coming over for Outdoor Science. To kickstart the class, we started by studying WORMS! oh yeah!


-First we began by reviewing Living Things and Non Living things, and each child drew pictures to fit into these 2 categories.
-Having finished doing review, we then began drawing a diagram of how we'd want our wormery to be.

-Then came the REAL outdoor STUFF! We headed to the nursery, which got them real excited. Looked at some plants, bought some soil and sand and headed home.

And then next step was to DIG for WORMS! oooohhhh...this is when Jo showed GREAT courage by holding the worms, and at one point almost kissed the worms as she caressed them in her palms saying "oh..cute baby baby."

 As for Lo...*ahem* here's where he went running FAR from the worms! haha..

To make the wormery, we used a glass bottle, filled it with a little mud, black soil, sand, black soil and leaves on the top. In between, Nel threw in some banana skin, a bit of vege and stuff. Then we covered it with black paper. 


Finally project completed and worms safely in.



Project completed, we intend to keep it for a week, and will be checking it out over the next few days.

(well..now a few hours later, we checked..and the worms have already made some tunnels, eaten some of the leaves on top!) kids are excited. What an interesting project!

the imaginary, pretend friend

Recently on one of our field trips to a remote village, we found a vending machine which dispenses toys. All you have to do is to put in 50cents, and walla, a brand new toy (a tiny one!) is dispensed. So I gave my 2 darlings some money and they each tried their luck.



a drawing of Sneaky.
 (too lazy to grab my
camera now)
 My dear Nell put in her coin and out came jewelery, a pretty piece of necklace. My little Jd put in her coin next, and out came..a tiny plastic mushroom with eyes that look kind and a mouth that's always smiling. Then we walked down to the pier to watch some fisherman fishing. After a while, Jd got bored a little, so we sat down to play with her mushroom, which she named "Sneaky."


Naturally, I had to become Sneaky's voice. Then Play time over, field trip ended, we went home.


The very next day, she brought out Sneaky and asked if she could talk to him. I obliged. But the following nights, she'd do the same, bringing Sneaky out to talk to him, and I admit I began to get tired pretending to be Sneaky, coz Sneaky's got a high squeaky voice, and I've created him in such a way that he's terribly caring, loving and patient.


That's hard to be when this mum here gets overworked and cranky some days. And once Jd misplaced Sneaky and went crazily searching for him while wailing on top of her voice. I began to regret creating Sneaky and told her (in a very loud, frustrated voice) that it was JUST a TOY!


She replied "no mum, he's my friend. He's patient, he's kind and he never scolds or shouts."  I kept quiet, realizing how impatient I can get on some days.


So we hunted around till we found Sneaky.   Once found, we sat down and I resumed the personality of Sneaky. I found it interesting how I can sometimes get information from my daughter about ME, through that little toy. I learnt that my daughter needs more one on one time, a more gentle way of talking from me and more patience.


Sometimes patience is hard, especially on days where I teach piano half day, do house chores and cook. It's hectic and piano students who've not practiced can drain my patience faster than anything else, and leave me little for my own children . I guess, I've just to either cut down working time, or pray that God, from whom I draw my strength will give me more patience for my own children who are dearest to my heart.

1 Mar 2011

Garlic Painting

"passion cannot be forced, but it can be caught." That's what I once heard someone said. I've been passionate about learning watercolour. When I get time, I paint bits here and there..and eventually a piece of art work is formed.
My children sometimes observe me practicing and began to "feel" the strokes and colours..and soon  asked if they too could practice painting. They've caught my passion.

So i gave my little JD (5 yrs old) her first art lesson, using watercolour. Here's her very first watercolour work.
an art work by Jd. (5 yrs)
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AND here's some art work by me done during the last week of February 2011
all about GARLIC





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