23 Dec 2012

Ginger Bread House

Dec has been busy, jolly and wonderful for us. It's come and will be gone way too soon. A dear friend who reads this blog reminded me that I should still take more time to rest. Thank you for the dear reminder Jen, your voice rings in my head when the days get too busy. :)

 Anyway, just a short post to wish everyone a very beautiful and blessed Christmas. Also to upload this year's Christmas craft. Last year we attempted figurines made of bread dough and ginger bread men. Well, this year we decided to try a Ginger Bread House. It certainly was a lot of work, from making the dough, to measuring and cutting out the wall and roof pieces and then making them stick together and decorating.

 Both Nel and Jo helped me throughout, coz which kid doesn't love playing with dough. :) As for the decoration, they did it on their own. Our house looks like an olden house from Bethlehem, simply coz I cut the sides wrong, and totally forgot the triangles, thus a flat roof. haha..

Decked with marshmallows, candy, chocolates, jelly beans, skittles and sprinkles of sugar.

The other side of the house

As you can see, errr....the decorations started off well...but soon they were more focused on eating the candy rather than sticking on the candy. haha... Still, a house done from scratch. :) We'll be sharing it with family and friends during thanksgiving reunion on Christmas day.

Blessed Christmas all, and a Happy New Year! :)

@poundthegarlic.blogspot.com 2012


19 Dec 2012

Revisiting Pulau Ketam

My children read this blog nowadays because they love reminiscing stuff they've done. So this blog is really becoming more for them. 

We had an early Christmas celebration on Pulau Ketam with the locals there. We went with good friends and cousins of course. :) It was a little hard for Nel and Jo to mingle and understand most of the conversation at the party, coz people there converse in Mandarin only. After the trip, they were both  more resolved to learn the language. (Hopefully this desire continues.)

Nel just loved the colourful houses, and wished ours was just as colourful.

Bikes are modified to fit as many passengers as possible. We've seen up to 6 people on one bicycle.
 After the party we went on a short walk to do a little field trip assignment (plus for a bite of that delicious fried ice cream. ) The assignment was to observe 10 things about the island that needed improvement, and 10 reasons why living on the island is a good thing. Reasons had to be supported with photographs. Of course, Jo and cousins went running totally ignoring the assignment while Nel and Lyd took it seriously. Looking forward to the presentation and photos.
Nel taking her assignment seriously.

We looked at this junk yard and were amazed at the collection of thrown away stuff. If you look at my old post you'll see picture of an older man working in the same place, cigarette in his mouth.
We decided that this was a horrid toilet (as most of the toilets on the island are). Slanting, and all it was, was basically a hole in the ground and all poop and pee goes straight into the river.
We were fascinated by the huge mud skippers,

and birds that live on the mangrove.

 Nel, wrote that on the positive side of P Ketam, dogs here have the freedom to roam, unlike on mainland where they're hunted and shot if found roaming.

We saw local children playing and thought, "How fun!. "
And we saw them swimming but thought "No WAY! Am I swimming in that dirty water." Yet we thought, what a closely knitted community they were, because you could just holler across at your neighbour and everyone could just dive in and swim to a common spot for fun and play.
This was the reason why we wouldn't swim there. And Lyd noted in her diary "They have no swimming pool but only dirty water to swim in!"
After our lovely walk,

we headed to the local restaurant for a really scrumptious, delicious 8 course dinner with friends and family. Yummm!!
We passed by this lonely lady. But we also observed groups of elderly citizens gathering over a cup of coffee and newspaper. Some over a game of cards (gambling) and decided that the elderly citizens here have somewhat a better life, coz they have good friends to pass time with, unlike elderly folks in the city who mostly lived alone.

We had a feast for dinner, and took the night speed boat back to mainland. 
That boat ride in the middle of the dark ocean was just so exciting! 
Strong winds, and speeding boats over bumpy waves with bright stars shining in the star. What a wonderful way to end a beautiful day.
Playing with water while waiting for the speed boat to arrive.

Leaving P Ketam on a speed boat

For more photos on Pulau Ketam, please visit my old post right HERE.

@poundthegarlic.blogspot.com 2012


14 Dec 2012

Bits an pieces from Dec

A brief post. Lots have been going on here, mostly catching up with good friends and family. Though I told myself that we shall take it easy this Christmas, it looks like it's gonna be a busy one again. We kicked off this season by visiting the Hospice with the Start Children. My children were privileged that they got to come along. We spent time singing songs to the patients there, and making Christmas crafts with them. The encouragement certainly went both ways. Our songs cheered them up, while we were encouraged to see their strong positive spirits despite all they're going through.

We cut out Christmas decorations together with the patients at the Hospice. Working together in joy and sharing.

I also celebrate my birthday in December. I awoke to find this beautiful flower from hubby. He intended to get my favourite which is the Sunflower, but alas, there are no sunflowers this rainy season so this was the closest substitute :). More lovely than the flower was the touching message that came with it. I am blessed with a wonderful husband.
My children sent me on a treasure hunt and I found a new pair of sandals. Jo decided to recycleby wrapping up a bag I hardly used and presented it to me. haha...:) She also made a big Happy Birthday Banner which she stuck over my bed.

What else. Today I began spring cleaning (*atishooo!!!!*) While I was cleaning, the girls  went ahead and baked cream cheese brownie for an upcoming party. Looks a little lumpy but tasted good nevertheless. :) 

Finally to end this short post, we'd like to sing two songs. Actually...we were singing Somewhere Over the Rainbow, and the kids thought "Dorothy of Wizard of Oz lives on a farm, surely the song must have animal sounds." We had a good laugh mucking about with the song and decided to record it.
So here's our rendition. Hope you enjoy it. :) [p.s pardon the monkey that somehow appeared on the farm....]

Finally Merry Christmas. Forgive Jo for continuously putting animal sounds still. She couldn't get away from Dorothy and the farm. :) haha....

Till my next post, Blessed Christmas all. :)

@poundthegarlic.blogspot.com 2012


5 Dec 2012

Jo's first written piece

Jo loves stories.  For a long time though, she was a reluctant reader, preferring to be read to (we read lots of Classics together).  The only books she would read on her own were short books about mermaids and mermaids. However, recently she decided to read some thicker books on her own. The very first non mermaid book which she read on her own was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl, and that's because she loves chocolate too much!

As for writing, Jo loves making cards and I receive many cards from her throughout the year. When inspired, she writes  picture stories . But apparently any other sort of writing that is longer is "tiring." :P   But today, after reading a beautifully written excerpt  by a young girl, Fara Ling, Jo was so inspired that she told me to sit at the computer. She said she had a story to tell, and I had to help her type it. So I did, and this is her very first attempt at writing a fiction. First draft below.
 By Jo, 7.

The morning sun rose from the depths of the earth.  A Nature Lady sat on her throne glaring at unsuspecting children. Her gleaming orange hair sailing in the wind, and her sunset coloured clothes shimmering with sparkles of gold.

An eagle sailed around her as she held up her fist. She cast a spell, raised her two hands and roared “Earth strike with Water,  COME!” 

And suddenly the children found themselves in the part of the sea near the mountains. There was a roaring storm with crashing waves that pounded on them. A whirling pool pulled the children inside. The children struggled to free themselves while the Nature Lady stood on her throne, her hands raised, cackling wickedly.
The Guardian of the Earth suddenly appeared in front of her. He said “Well done Nature Lady. You have completed your first task. Here is your golden medal.” Alas, this Guardian of the Earth was also a wicked guardian who's intention was to kill the children but not in a bloody way. He took her hand and they both went in behind the throne into a tunnel. At the end of the tunnel was a tree. On the tree, they placed her medal, and she earned her second power which was the ability to make sea volcanoes appear and sink.

In the meantime, the children struggled and managed to climb onto a rock. Suddenly a mermaid came to rescue  the children. The mermaid sprinkled scales on the ocean and said “Calm down.” The crashing and roaring waves calmed down immediately. The mermaid put the children into a deep sleep and placed them into a seashell boat and pushed them to shore.  Then the mermaid disappeared back underwater. 

 When the children woke up, there was something strange on their necks. There was a seashell necklace that was golden with sparkles. When they opened it, there was a picture of the mermaid who rescued them.

Jo's afterthought. 
Strangely the Mermaid looked like the Nature Lady. In fact, the Mermaid was actually the Nature Lady. She was good and didn't want to hurt the children, but she had to in order to earn her next power.

@poundthegarlic.blogspot.com 2012

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