Friday, September 25, 2015

Home grown sweet potatoes 24 September 2015

Sweet potatoes harvested by dad and Hui from our mini garden. :)

Unschool Addition 24 September 2015

Conversation on a car ride,

Hui : Mom, if 10 + 10 = 20, what is 20 + 20 ?

Me: 40

Hui: If 40 + 40 = 80, what is 80 + 80 ?

Me : 160

Hui : if 160 + 160 = 320, what is 320 + 320 ?

Me : 640

Hui : if 640  + 640 = 1280, what is..

Me : "WOW how did you figure that out? "

(yeah, with no conventional teaching or drilling of math)

Hui strolling with grandpa.

You are a Malaysian if ... August 2015

While listening to a radio station on a car ride, 

Radio :  " You are a Malaysian if you can't live without "mamak"

Hui chipped in " YES YES, I can't live without mamak !!!"

Radio:  " You are a Malaysian if you say LAH"

En added  "" You are a Malaysian when you say " like that also cannot ah" ""

Mt Kinabalu 2013

En at Netherlands, Europe 14 September 2015

Some snippets of En in Netherlands. 

At 2am (GMT+8), En typed "Mom, why are you not sleeping?"

I was sleeping. It is like a mother's instinct, a telepathic bonding between me and En,  I awoke, got up from bed and checked the phone. True enough, En sent me a message. And I replied. 

"Because I think of you"
"Because I know you are not sleeping yet and you may beep me and I want to reply to you"

Cooking dinner at Ani & Haakien Hostel, with other guests.

Asking for direction at Rotterdam train station. 

Penning down a travel journal.

Forever feeding animals. 

Exploring Zaanse Schans on bike. 

Haarlem airbnb narrow stair. 

Cycling in Haarlem. 
She fell in love with Haarlem, 

Queuing at Anne Frank Haus for 45 minutes. 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Chicken Soup for the Soul - Just for Preteens by Jack Canfield. Mark Victor Hansen, Amy Newmark 24 September 2015

This book caught my attention while I scanned the books at parenting section. As my older child reached preteen age, I wonder if I would also face the same challenges as would other mothers with preteen age children who has shared their stories with me.

I turned to the back cover which read " You're growing up, your friends are changing, homework is harder, and your life has more ups and downs than it used to"

"Your friends are changing" rings a bell. 
"Why is she not playing anymore? " asked En.  

" When they grow older, they try to look cool." said Hui. 
" They also speak in a different way like why did you guys get upset. It is just one stupid game."  
Hui added we were just playing and the game is not stupid. Stupid is not a nice word.  

I flipped to the "Introduction" page. One paragraph said "We hope you will view this book as a portable support group for preteens, like another friend you can turn to. You might want to encourage your parents to read it also - it will help them remember their own preteen years and better understand what is going on in your life these days! "

I thought, "parents, ME ? yeah, right. "  I bought the book. 

There are 101 stories in the book. Below is an excerpt of Sara Hedberg's sharing.   
"Junior high is a zoo. It's filled to the brim with a lot of naive kids who all want to be top dog, but most of them are a completely different kind of animal. I consider myself a snake because I am hardly ever comfortable in my own skin. I have always been one of the quiet kids. When the spotlight is directed at me, I almost always say the wong thing. Otherwise, I become like a parrot, simply echoing what the leaders of the flock say. Those leaders seem to be chameleons, because they change their appearance at just the right time to stay alive. They are also many mockingbirds in junior high, making fun of everything you say. But don't let those people get under your skin. My advice is this: Don't be a parrot, mockingbird, or snake. Be yourself, whatever animal you are, because this is the greatest gift you have" 

There is so much go through a child's mind.  

I try to grasp each story 's lesson to share and discuss with my children. And I also shared my own story - moving from one rental home to another, endless fight between pa ma, the hardship of meeting the basic needs of living.

I told them to stand by their friends while they are growing up and facing changes or difficulties. Not just them, I need to do the same too for them or their friends.  

Monday, September 21, 2015

In and Around Jalan Tengkera, Melaka 18 September 2015

Our room "kunyit" @RM130
We were back to Cyclamen Cottage again because of its location which is nearer to where we needed to go. We also simply can't get enough of the colonial architecture style building which used to be the home of the British Officials and Peranakan families. 

Our room "kayu manis" @RM160. 
Hui bounced off the wall seeing the four poster bed and got to sleep on one!

The toilet and shower room has a window that faced the roof tops of other houses. So lovely. 

Hui and I had a really fun time showering with the opened-window. 

Nyonya Lian's  fragrant "putu piring" supper  at 252 Jalan Tengkera

We are spoilt for choices at Baba Charlie. There are just too many choices of nyonya kuih.  Adrian, the son of Baba Charlie said his dad has been making "kuih" for 30 long years!  
If En was here, she would have snapped up all these "kuih lapis"

Admiring the back door and other old houses adjacent to Baba Charlie's home. 

Breakfast at Baba Low, 486 Jalan Siantan Seksyen 2. 

Hui managed to clamber onto the high seat of the bus stand. 

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Backpack Europe for 32 days 14 September 2015

Danke, Guten Morgen, Auf Wiedersehen ....
Getting aquainted wit German Language.

En is away for 32 days. 

On the day she was going to leave, a HS mom asked about my feeling. I said I was so troubled by the unhealthy haze and I was really glad she was leaving soon to breathe fresh air in Netherlands.  

At the departure hall of the airport, when En was out of sight, Hui burst into tears silently. Upon seeing her sobbing, I followed suit.  
Hui misses her sister so much. She is trying to be positive and move on without her for the month. 

Friday, September 11, 2015

Do the homeschool kids have friends of their age? Septemer 2015

At the First Aid Class we attended last month, I had a conversation with someone who sat next to me.

My children were the only two children in the class, among the adults.

After knowing that the two kiddos are being homeschooled and they go where I go (no,  it is more likely like "I go where they go") , he commented "No wonder they mix well with the adults! But do they know how to mix with children? Do they have friends of their age ? !!! "

I said "Yes, they do. :) "

my 11 year old with her 11 year old friend.

my 8 years old with her 8 years old friend.

The world is filled with not just adults but also children. We can see children everywhere, not just in the school. Children and adults are alike I think, as in they are human. If one can mix or speak to an adult, one can also mix or speak with a child. I think. Does it make sense?

What I have observed is, the children are not bothered by the age of a person. They are interested in almost everyone.

Book Club - My Side of The Mountain (1) 9 September 2015

After my kids left the Cultural Appreciation Co-op, En decided she wanted to try something else. And she remember the "Book Club" invitation from Aunty M long ago. After checking with Aunty M, we were glad that she said yes. And so we embarked on the new journey where neither my kids nor I have ever tried before. A book club. So my children asked, what does poeple do in a book club !!!!

A clueless me did a google on what a book club is all about. I found out that it is a group where people meet to discuss about the book. hmmm.. okay. 

Here is our first book club meeting, among the beautiful trees, on almost flat boulder laid with picnic mat and the background music of water cascading down the rocks. Perfect. 

We were introduced to "My Side of the Mountain." The book title itself made me fell in love with it instantly. 
A first chapter was read. Difficult words were written down on a writing book. Needless to say, we have tons of it. hemlock tree, wick (yeah a wick), weasel, gorge, cascades, ash slats, knotholes, it goes on forever. The children wrote down the setting and described it in their own way. They excitedly did every single suggestions and they said it was fun. I have to say, it is really enjoyable, yeah. 

Along the way, the children asked mommy how to spell this and that. I just love it. This is book club. What an experience ! :) Thank you very much, M. 

Green Living SIG 3R - Reduce and Reuse Talk at Nikon, Menara PKNS 9 September 2015

En, represented Green Living SIG MNS, gave a talk to 15 Nikon employees on "The 3Rs: Reducing and Reusing." The slides were prepared by EL, the founder of Green Living.
 Due to her tight schedule, she managed to go through the slides just once. I asked if she is ready. She replied yes comfortably. I think most probably it is because 3Rs is close to her and one of her favourite topic. She made the audience laughed and I felt the adults were at ease with her. 
I sat at the end of the room, watching her and wondering what I have done to derserve a wonderful girl like her. I am blessed.  

Thank you EL. 

Homeschool Scout Camp with Quek TL (2nd) at Hutan Lipur Sg Sendat, Ulu Yam Selangor 5 September 2015

Term 2 of scout ended with an overnight camp at Sg Sendat.

Setting up tents. 

The yellow tent pegs was turned into some sort of shoe holder by En. 

En, was the scout leader for the camp.

Squeezing lemon - to make lemonade for tea. 

Quek took so much effort to build the flying flox over Sg Sendat.
 The gunny rope had to be carried across the river without getting it wet. 

It made the kids so so happy. 

Song and ghost stories at night.
Kids were also divided into group and were led and stayed in darkness for almost 15 minutes, with their survival kit 

Warm-up excercise early in the morning before they were led to hunt for the hidden food.  

The girls' tent in the morning, nice and tidy. :)

They have earned the "Lencana Keahlian" (Cub Scout Badge) !!! 
The scout master presented them the badge after reciting "Persetiaan Pengakap"  Both grinned happily.  
Thank you so much, Quek TL. We are looking forward to Term 3. 
August 2015 scout here. 

Camping fees at Sg Sendat - RM5 per tent. RM1 entrance fee per adult. 50cent entrance fee per child, 5 years old and above. 40cent per entry for toilet, 8am to 5pm. 

Thursday, September 10, 2015

"Gotong Royong" at Malaysian Nature Society, Jalan Kelantan 5 September 2015

The collection of tools we picked our "parang" and garden shears from, to clear the heritage trail at the backyard of MNS.  

Hui prefered to rake the dried leaves here than to blaze the jungle trail at the back. 

The trail at the back of MNS which I never knew existed!

En scooped the soil and dried leaves off the steps. The stairs are so clean and easy to walk on after that. 

Monday, September 7, 2015

Kidzania Ms Raya Contest 16 August 2015

Hui didn't win. 
 It was her first taste of failure after much hardwork. Not long after that, she was back on her feet again. 

I found her notes on the floor, near the mirror where she practised her pose. 

Her drawing on all the poses she and I could think of. 

Hui's Boey Cheeming Fan Art 7 September 2015

Hui's submission of Boey's Fan Art. 

Boey's reply: " Wow. This is neat. If I need this i will be contacting you. Thanks for the submission. I appreciate itt. "

Me (thinking in my head) : PLEASEEEEEE contact me.   

Friday, September 4, 2015

Let toys be toys September 2015

En created "Escape Room" game at home for her boy-friends.  
It wasn't the first time she did that. Previously, the location was at her bedroom. This time round, it was in the bathroom! I managed to sneak in and snap a few photos before they start playing. 

So I asked one of the boys on  why he likes to come over and play. He replied " I love the games here. :)

One of the clues, a bandanna and a windbreaker on the floor. 

A bell !! Is it to call for help? 

The wooden box she made at scout class. 

At home, the girls play everything - train, cars, guns, dolls, Lego, boxes etcetera. I don't gender-stereotyped toy. They play with boys and girls. 

When they grew up, they learnt about stereotyping from people around them, which is okay as it is a fact of life.
They came to me, saying so and so said I am a girl and so I should do this and that. :)
As long as I am not stereotyping, I think they will be fine. 

When spending time with your kids by Steve Biddulph September 2015

When spending time with your kds,

1) Don't expect to actually achieve anything ! Especially with small children ( like going to the post office) the goal is no longer a goal. For example - if you are teaching them to use a screwdriver, you won't get the door hung in a great hurry. So let go of that one. They will wander off in a while and you can make up for lost time.

2) Only do things with kids which you feel relaxed about. Their help in planting out spring seedlings will not give you an immaculate garden. You have to decide what you are doing - being with your kids or getting your job done in your usual standards. If you try to do both you will experience a little frustration. If I'm writing on the computer, I can't stand to be interrupted. So I don' t even try to involve my kids

3) Enjoy parenthood - it doesn't last! I was in my thirties when my son arrived, and so I am mindful that parenthood being all too short. If he wanders by when I am doing my job, I value the contact with him and like to see what I can teach him then and there. But not writing on the computer!

In conclusion - as a father you need to decide moment to moment what is more important to you, and it will sometimes be the kids, and sometimes not. One big plus is that kids tend to slow you down, and while slowed down, you start to rediscover little pleasures, which is the gift they bring. Time with kids is never wasted.

Cyclamen Cottage, Kampung Kolam Limbogan, Melaka 31 August 2015

It was a last minute plan to return to Melaka for errands. I rang up Cyclamen Cottage and took its last room available at its Anglo-Malay home, built in 1937. Cindy, the owner is extremely helpful and accommodating.  

Our room is at the end of the home. 

"Keronsong" means brooch.

Complimentary Jasmine tea bags and hot water. I think it is a much better choice than 3-in-1 instant beverage sachets.  

For 4 of us @RM200 with breakfast for 3.
A little over budget but it was worth the money. 

A well often fascinates the kids. 

Another well with pump at the side of Cyclamen Cottage. The garden is filled with edible herbs and plants.

Our neighbour house is one of the few that still keeps the old beautiful structure.

Hui on "Terompah" or "Paduka"

Chris, Cindy's husband gave us a tour of his Peranakan antique collection. He is kind and made us feel at home. I have only taken the photo of the "Terompah." Though he told me to feel free to take photos, I thought I should respect the privacy of his home.  

Chris arranged the "Terompah" nicely for me to snap another photo. Funny man he is.