Art & Craft, Books, Picture Books

The Little Kangaroo

Younger Gem has been on a kangaroo craze after learning a tune in mandarin at school titled “我是只小袋鼠” (I am a Little Kangaroo)! Riding on her enthusiasm we found out more on this animal from down under at the Singapore Zoo and the Night Safari. Catch her sing the tune at the Wallaby Trail in Night Safari.

Got younger Gem a kangaroo keychain from the zoo to accompany her to school on her bag!

Younger Gem enjoyed the story of “The Little Kangaroo” so much I had to repeat it countless times. The story speaks of mummy kangaroo trying to encourage her little joey to come out of her pouch and explore the world to no avail until…

As usual, we headed to the library to borrow books on kangaroos and here are three facts she learnt from “The Story of the Kangaroo”.

  1. Kangaroos are marsupials; mammals in which females feed and carry their young in pouches.
  2. They live in small groups called mobs.
  3. They move by hopping on their huge back legs and feet, using their tails for balance as they leap.

How can we forget about kangaroo crafts! We went for some kangaroo silhouettes and painting with some fruit sleeve covers. Yay, you can tell she was enjoying the process as she was singing while painting. A singing child is a happy child!

Books, Learning Through Play

Celebrating Nine Years of Motherhood!

As my firstborn turns nine, it also marks my ninth year in my motherhood journey. What a milestone for me who once did not want to have kids! My motherhood journey began with depression and by the grace of God I snapped out of it. Looking back, the past nine years had been the best so far and I can’t wait for many more 9 nine years! It has made me more appreciative of God, hubby and life!

How can we not have a celebration when there is a birthday girl in the house?

Willy Wonka themed cupcakes for birthday as requested by the birthday girl. She first read “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” two years ago on our trip to Australia and has been re-reading it umpteen times! She managed to catch the movie of the same title inflight, which definitely made the story “come alive”.

As usual she gets to decorate some parts of her cupcakes; chocolate lollies this time around. Taking perspective; W for Wonka or turn it around as M for Matt. Her face lit when she saw the initials in sparkling gold!

Happy Birthday my older Gem! I love you to the moon and back! xoxo

Artists' Inspired, Books

Rousseau Inspired…

Spending time on painting is quite a luxury these days. I took an interest in older Gem’s HBL art homework and decided to work on it as well! That’s to create an art piece of the jungle, drawing inspirations from Henri Rousseau’s jungle pieces. It’s amazing that Henri Rousseau painted his jungle pieces based on imagination when he had never visited one before! A Malayan tapir in my version after my recent fascination over the animal with repeat visits to the Night Safari the past month.

Diving deeper into Rousseau’s work, we looked at his painting “The Sleeping Gypsy”; a painting of a lion peering over a gypsy in deep sleep. The painting currently resides at the MoMA. We read a book of the same title and it explored a possibility of why only a lion was in the painting, which older Gem found hilarious!

The beauty of an art piece, where you can have your own interpretation and create your wild imaginative ending. Older Gem thinks that the gypsy will be the lion’s breakfast!

Books, Learning Through Play

Why Do Snails Leave a Silvery Trail? Why Do Whales Get Stranded?

: The Snail and the Whale : The Stranded Whale : The Mystery of Whale Strandings :

As I was walking younger GEM towards her school gate one wet morning, I saw a snail slithering up the side wall leaving a slimy trial behind and I immediately thought of “The Snail and the Whale”. The both of us stood there for a good ten minutes watching the snail in action and I told younger GEM we will read the book together after school that day.

After reading “The Snail and the Whale” with younger GEM that afternoon, we got down to “creating” some snails using Spielgaben and a whale with LEGO!

So why do snails leave a trial? Snails produce mucus to help them stay wet and avoid drying out. The mucus enable the snails to stick to things and to move more efficiently, leaving a trail behind. I found a short, informative and easy to understand video for the girls to help with the explanation. 

While the story of “The Snail and the Whale” needs no introduction for older GEM, I got her to research on whale strandings. “The Mystery of Whale Strandings” borrowed from the library was her main source of information. Check out the video below as she summarised her findings on why whales get stranded and how we can help!

Learning Through Play

DIY Foaming Hand Soap with Younger Gem

I started making my own hand soap a couple years ago so to know what ingredients goes inside the products my girls use. 

I acquainted myself to the world of essential oils from Plant Therapy. Their blog contains a wealth of EO knowledge and I have been a happy customer with their range of products and customer service!

I learnt that all water-based products require a preservative to prevent the growth of mould, bacteria and fungus. If you prefer to go without the use of preservative, you will have to use the product within a week.

The process of making foaming hand soap is fun, quick and simple hence younger Gem will be helping me out today! Check out our video below!

Recipe adapted from Plant Therapy blog.
Experiencing God, Learning Through Play

God’s Canvas – Morning Twilight, Sunrise

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:22-23 (ESV)

Family had an early start this morning as we made our way to the Merlion Park to experience sunrise. We did our research the day before to determine our time of arrival for the event!

Source: http://www.timeanddate.com

It was also a good time to educate the girls on the differences between dawn, twilight and sunrise.

We took a stroll from the Red Dot Design Museum to the Merlion Park during nautical twilight while watching the sky turned brighter. Finally found a spot to “park” ourselves after an argument with the mister. The girls were busy with their breakfast of overnight oats before painting with an awesome view in sight.

While today’s sunrise may not be the most spectacular I have experienced, it reminded me of a time some 7 years ago where I was nursing older Gem in NZ in the morning and the first light shone through the window blinds. How wonderful God has watched the family of three then, to a family of four now!

The sun comes up. It’s a new day dawning. It’s time to sing Your song again.

10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman

Uncategorized

Couple Time at Star Wars Identities: The Exhibition

My first Star Wars movie experience was rather epic. I was in my early teenage years when I tagged along my elder sister and her friends on the opening night of the Star Wars Trilogy Special Editions: A New Hope at Shaw Theatres Lido. Most of her friends were avid Star Wars fans and were donned in their favourite Star Wars character costumes. Most of the patrons were in similar ensemble. They started cheering and waving their lightsabers as the lights dimmed in the theatre and the iconic music and text crawl began.

I won’t consider myself as an avid Star Wars fan but I do enjoy the Star Wars franchise. I had to visit the Star Wars Identities exhibition at the Art Science Museum before the run ends. All thanks to MIL, who babysat the girls, hubby and I could go on a “date” for the exhibition.

My thoughts about the exhibition:

The section where the spaceships on displayed was my favourite. I literally went “wow” upon seeing them lined up in front of me. I was disappointed that the X-wing was not displayed. I mean how can they miss out the x-wing?

The sketches and drawings were delightful. Seeing how some characters evolve and the fine details were intriguing.

Droids, costumes and props… was really cool seeing them up close while trying to recall the scene they appeared/used.  

We were each given a wrist tag which you can scan at the respective stations throughout the exhibition to build the identity of your chosen character. The novelty is probably for kids to get them engage throughout the exhibition and I can foresee my girls going crazy if they were there. Hubby have been joking that I’m Jabba the Hutt since I have been putting on weight while I declared him as Jar Jar Binks, just to annoy him. He took it rather seriously and picked a Gungan as his identity character.   

Now, time to rewatch the trilogies on Disney+!

Art & Craft

Sketching Outdoors at the Zoo

Got the girls a new sketch book each to initiate a habit of sketching outdoors. Their first entry was done this morning at the zoo. Sketching helps them to focus and pay attention to details, at least for older Gem! Their “reward” for good behaviour was a postcard of choice from the gift shop as a cover for their sketch book.

These were their responses when I asked about their favourite part at the zoo. Older Gem – “Sketching the white rhino.” Younger Gem – “Choosing and buying the postcards!” I think it was a good day!

Learning Through Play, Travel

“When children come into contact with nature, they reveal their strength.” – Maria Montessori –

This pic was taken 5 years ago when older GEM was 4 years old as we en route to Mount Ruapehu in NZ. She squealed with delight as she set foot on snow for the first time. “Is this real snow? Is this the snow penguins waddle on?” were her first comments.
May you always bask in nature and love your animal friends!

Books

Helping Your Child Develop Focus and Self Control

One of the new activities I took up this year was to join a book club. The book club is organised by younger Gem’s school for parent volunteers and meets monthly. The inaugural book club meet took place in April and Beth Fredericks, an early childhood specialist, was invited as a speaker, highlighting the importance of exercising executive functions from a young age.   

Focusing on executive functions, “Mind in the Making” by Ellen Galinsky is the book the club will be discussing throughout this year. The book identifies seven essential life skills every child needs. I reckoned, every parent needs! There are quizzes in the book to help us identify areas we need to work on and some practical ideas for us to engage our kids to focus and practice self control.

Just a few days ago, the book club met again to discuss the first skill, focus and self control. Here are my 2 key takeaways from reading chapter one and the book club sharing.

A Well Rested Mum is a Super Mum!  

I believe the optimal way to teach our children focus and self control is us parents modelling in our daily lives. There are days I feel like a super mum, checking off to-do list in lightning speed, cook all healthy meals and making effort to look at the girls at eye level while conversing but the next day… lacklustre… It is not rocket science to identify the common characteristic for my super mum days; sufficient sleep! When I am well rested, I am calmer and able to focus and pay attention to the needs of my girls. So now I need to work on my inhibitory control, to spend more time studying the bible, less Netflix and Disney+ and sleep early (cause my girls wake up at six-ish!).

Encourage Your Child to Identify their “Lemonade Stand”

A practical way to develop focus and self control – Ellen Galinsky uses a lemonade stand as a metaphor for something that your child cares about. The idea derived from watching a bunch of kids who put in their heart and mind into making their lemonade stand succeed. Basically, when you are motivated to achieve a goal, you will be able to focus and practice self control to attain it. Therefore, encourage your child to find their “lemonade stand.” “Lemonade stand” may change or evolve as they grow older. At the moment, I believe dancing is older Gem’s “lemonade stand”, while she may not be an excellent dancer, the joy she exudes while dancing is contagious.