19 May 2013

Short Getaway - Janda Baik (Bug photography)

After the past couple of really busy months, it was really nice to go for a short getaway just to unwind, relax and recharge. So together with several other families we headed to Janda Baik just for a weekend.

What a lovely place to unwind. The chalet we booked is situated right by the river, and the sound of flowing river has a way of calming the soul, and lifting ones spirits.

Some shots below. It was oh sooo nice to be among nature and to be able to "capture" some bugs again on my camera. I'd missed nature photography so much. Some shots below.

Since the chalet was pretty small (it has just one room), some of us had to camp. It was nice camping in cool weather beside the gurgling stream.

Some of the children at play. They spent almost every waking hour at the river.

Early Morn by our campsite.

Beautiful colours, a feast for the soul.

I spent lots of time sitting here, reflecting and at the same time watching damselflies and dragonflies. After sitting still for a while, some damselflies actually began landing on my hands.Cool. :)

There's an amazing variety of dragonflies and damselflies here, mainly the colours of blue, purple, orange, red and green. That's almost every colour isn't it. That's what I love about nature...colours.

I particularly love this greenish one. Oh so beautiful and intriguing.

Was so hard to capture it with its wings opened. After several failed attempts, walla, one achievement.

Attempt at capturing one in midair. Not so clear, but I know practice makes perfect. Will keep practicing.

Finally, the greatest "catch" of the weekend was this furry caterpillar. After some research, I believe that this is a Tussock Moth Caterpillar. It walks rather fast and doesn't seem to be very scared of humans.
I guess, what made the whole trip fantastic was great company. To all who went, thank you for great company. To the BBQ chefs..I can still taste and smell the food. Slrrrp. As for the children, they definitely had a wonderful time running around, playing in the stream, making new friends. :)

@poundthegarlic.blogspot.com 2013

[where we stayed http://www.saujanajandabaik.com/  ]


17 May 2013

Paper Mosaic of Silhouettes

Jo and cousins enjoying the mosaic art by Prof Chan Eng Heng.

We've been attracted to mosaic art ever since we visited the Turtle Alley in K Terengganu, where the walls and floor are decorated with mosaic art  done by Prof Chan Eng Heng.

So we borrowed a couple of books from the library on mosaic art, and looked at some really old mosaic art online. We discovered that the oldest mosaic art goes back to the time of Mesopotamia. We also looked online, at some old Christian Mosaic artworks and were amazed at the details that went into the work.

Well, today begins a series of art work we plan to do, all related to  mosaic art in some way or other.

In math we worked on the topic of tessellation coz I thought, it's kinda related. The kids, especially Nel loved this, as she's always loved patterns.

In the kitchen we experimented with swirling colours. I boiled some water, added corn starch and floated food colouring on the top for the children to swirl to create marble like, mosaic like texture. We wanted to try paper marbling, but I had no alum to treat paper, thus just playing with creating patterns. To do this, add enough corn flour to boiled water to create thick texture. Add food colouring in random spots and swirl with toothpick.

Next we tried paper marbling using shaving cream. Spray shaving cream onto a tray, add food colouring, swirl using tooth pick. Place paper on top of coloured shaving cream, then remove paper. Scrape off foam to see pattern beneath.

 After all these mini projects, I decided we could  move on to larger pieces of work. For today it was a paper mosaic of the children's silhouette. We had two friends come by today as part of our co-op. Working together is great coz it motivates the children to finish their work, and allows for group discussion and comments after.

First the children had to figure out how they wanted their silhouette. Based on their decision, we drew around each child and cut out the shape of their silhouette. Then they began planning and then pasting papers on to create their mosaic art. It was a very messy process...lots of paper going around. It also required a lot of patience, planning and determination.

Dyl planning and sticking on cut/torn strips of paper.

Almost complete work by Nel.

Work completed, the children sat around their work of paper mosaic commenting and enjoying their end product. They were very proud and happy of their achievement! :)

I asked my children what  they learnt from all this. They replied
-We learnt to make decisions from how to pose for our silhouette, to what colours to use and how the papers would fit. We learnt how to plan and create in our mind. Most of all, we love the final product!

Next plan is to move on to using real ceramic tiles. Looking forward to that.

@Poundthegarlic.blogspot.com 2013


13 May 2013

Discovering My Child's Strengths

I listened to an interesting sermon recently on raising children. I liked a particular suggestion the speaker gave on discovering our children's strengths.

Too often  parents impose their wants and expectations on their children, dictating their children's paths without regards for their children's talents and strengths. I mean, I've personally met quite a number of people who've gone to university to study a subject of their parent's choice, just for the sake of pleasing their parents. Upon graduation, they've come out and seeked out jobs in the area of their strengths or passion, totally unrelated to what they've studied. Some work, save up and head back to university to finally study what they've wanted to study all along.

As I parent  my young ones, I hope somehow, to avoid that trap. Part of parenting for me, is to discover my children's strengths and guide them to their best potential. Anyway, the little activity suggested by the speaker was as follows:

1) Create 3 columns on a paper. Ask your children to list down 30 things which they think they're good at in  column one.
2) In a second column, pick 15 items from the first, which they think they are excellent at.
3) In a third column, select 7 from the 2nd column, which they've been praised for. Meaning, someone's told them they're good at it.

So I did the exercise with my children. We didn't do it in columns, but used a highlighter to complete part 2.

My children have allowed me to put their list here, just for future reference. They didn't take the assignment too seriously, you'll see why... but I'll be doing it with them again perhaps in a year's time.

Here I've typed out what each child's written.  Child One (Yellow),  Child Two (Blue)...I'm sure you can guess, who's who.

In the end, Child One picked 7 Things which she's heard others praise her for. And based on what she chose, we concluded that her strengths lay with Hospitality, Children, Animals and Making Things. With that, we talked of people who might possibly have similar strengths, such as teachers, psychologists, vets, therapists, engineers, scientists and architects.

As for Child Two, with her talents in pouncing, ferocious looks and joking...I wondered how to summarize her. Well, she's still young...but we decided that for now, it'd be along the lines of creating dramas, sports or writing plots for storybooks.

It's always interesting to find out what your child thinks of herself. Through this exercise, I also found out some negative things they thought of themselves, for they'd listed in column one "I'm good at  (a bad thing)..."  I've chosen not to list negative traits here.This exercise gave me the opportunity to talk about these negative views of self. And if it had been my fault, then I've to rectify it.

Yeap...give it a go, discover your child. :)

 @poundthegarlic.blogspot.com 2013


4 May 2013

Mini Street Theatre Performance

Recently, my children, together with their friends, formed a small street theatre  group under the guidance of Shantini Venugopal and Lorna Henderson.

Initially when a parent initiated the class, my older girl was a very reluctant participant. She being an introvert, prefers spending her time reading books in a quiet corner, or spending time with just a few close friends whom she knows  very well. In a group setting, she'd rather watch, observe or daydream without participating. She tends to back away from group activities fearing several things like being "watched", making mistakes, not fitting in, not knowing what to say etc. I understand these fears, as I'm an introvert too.

I'm just so glad that through this group, Nel was able to set aside and overcome some of that fear, and even performed on stage.   :)   Way to go Nel!

As for Jo, she thoroughly enjoyed the classes. I can't say she was a good performer, sometimes participating, sometimes getting distracted by the happenings around her. Still, this was a wonderful experience. At the end of it all, they performed twice at Publika, once at the Agathians Shelter Home (which was awesome!) and at Phyllis Caring Home.

Warming up with teacher Lorna before the show at Publika.

Shantini V, talking to the audience and introducing the children's group.

Wowing the audience with songs, poetry and drama. Also notice the young stilt walkers.

Colourful flags that the children handpainted themselves.

Using drama to touch the community. Performing at Phyllis Caring Home.  The person who runs the home was so touched. She commented "In 20 years I've been here, this is one of the best moments ever for us. "
Performing at the Agathian Home for Boys. Warming up before performance at the Agathians

The Agathian boys performed for us in return. They are fantastic dancers!! The crowd went wild with their performance! (Photo taken by Alison, but I kinda edited pic by "chopping" off  heads to protect privacy of participants.)

@poundthegarlic.blogspot.com 2013

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