Archive for the ‘Handmade’ Category

Strawberry Shortcake


A father and daughter afternoon creation

More sleeping help

Lullatone is SO COOL! Electronic music, looping lullabies for babies…. all you need to put a baby to sleep. Check it out!


This husband and wife team based in Japan has more interesting stuff for kids like iphone and ipad apps on their website. They also conduct workshops for making instruments. I like!

Sophie’s recent artworks



Sophie stopped drawing for a bit and then all of a sudden started picking up the pens and drawing again. And I'm amazed that her ability to control and draw has just improved heaps over this time! Kids' drawings are amazing and I must make it a point to record this.


The picture on the left is of the A-frame (our communal dining hall. Here's a real picture of it.). She's drawn an apple tree on the left and orange tree on the right and someone on a ladder climbing the orange tree.


The picture on the right is the princess castle and she's drawn a princess on a horse with a golden ball. She was trying to copy the cover of a book called Princess Fairy.

Homemade playdough


We've dried up all our PlayDoh stuff after frequent playing over the past year and I finally allowed Sophie to mix all the colours up and of course, it looks awful!


So I finally decided to junk all of them and MAKE OUR OWN!


The recipe looked really easy but it took a lot more time than I thought. But the results were AMAZING! The texture is even better than PlayDoh! We love it!


Got this recipe from the Freestones:
(To be cooked in microwave)


1 cup of water
1 cup of flour
2 tsp tartar
1 tbsp oil
1/2 cup salt


1. Cook for 1 min. Stir.
2. Cook for 30 seconds more, or until the dough rolls up into a ball nicely. (I found that it took at least 3-4 minutes more of cooking for our microwave)
3. Add food colouring (Sophie's fav part! It's fun!)


Now we've got 3 good blobs of playdough and it hardly cost us anything! PlayDoh is just too expensive to upkeep.


Sophie also inherited our tiny wooden chopping board (YA! Can't imagine how we used this tiny chopping board over the year. We finally got ourselves another bigger one for this year.) and I got her a rolling pin from Melissa and Doug (love their stuff).


Love how happy she is! :)

A taste of home


The kitchen is closed SO I've been cooking at home everyday!


I've been craving Tau Yew Bak (Soya Sauce Stewed Pork) so I dug out the slow cooker that Gin left behind and made it! Shiok……… Sophie loved the meat coz it was so tender. And ooo the tender fat…….. Had good three meals out of that, ate it with rice and porridge.


I also made chicken curry (thanks to Prima) for the base dinner last weekend, ba cho mee with mee pok (minced meat noodles) to share with our Korean friend who left yesterday and stir fry beef with Korean marinate today.


Nope, don't miss home food that much this time. :)

Chee Cheong Fun success!


Desperate cravings call for desperate measures!


Gin and I surveyed some dim sum restaurants in the surrounding towns (Hamilton and Tauranga) and they are pretty alright. Nothing compared to those back home BUT like I always say, "It’s as good as it gets, don’t complain!" :) We discovered that the kids down the plain Chee Cheong Fun like soup! Before I can get to it, it’s gone!


So I decided to search online for a recipe. Can’t be that hard right? Like flour only…


Well, I actually managed to find a pretty idiot proof recipe (I think i need to call my blog idiot proof! I followed it word for word (minus the fillings and garnish) and I used a normal plate to hold the Chee Cheong Fun in the microwave. I find that letting it stand for more than 1 minute is better for rolling. It’s a bit different for different microwaves so have to experiment a little.


For the sauce, I improvised and made my own using ABC Sauce (Kecap Manis), bit of Soya Sauce, bit of Sesame Oil and sesame seeds.


Voila! All ready to eat! It’s close to what we get at home at the hawker centers (in my opinion, even better than the supermarket ready ones, prob coz I made it myself! Ha!) but still not quite it BUT like I always say "As good as it gets!".


(P/s other thing I’m trying to master is the breakfast fried bee hoon you get at hawker centers that you eat with fried egg, luncheon meat etc… can’t quite get it right yet. Can’t seem to get the right taste and dry enough. Anyone with some ideas, let me know?)

Charlotte Mason

I like Charlotte Mason’s homeschooling philosophy but I don’t think I have fully grasped the fullness of it yet. This is how the Simply Charlotte Mason website describes it: – "A method of education popular with homeschoolers in which children are taught as whole persons through a wide range of interesting living books, firsthand experiences, and good habits."


There are essentially 3 parts to the education she prescribes – living books, experiences and good habits.


Living books are books that are usually stories written by an author with a passion for the subject and the subject comes alive. For example, Sophie has a book called "The Little Rabbit" (It is part of the Before Five In A Row reading list. She’s almost read it to death! The edges are bent and slightly torn.) It’s a story about how a little girl’s pet bunny gives birth and the life of the bunny. It’s a really simple story but the pictures are real photos. From it, one can learn about the life cycle of a rabbit, differentiate a pet bunny from a wild bunny, know what rabbits eat etc. It’s not a dry textbook or encyclopedia. Sophie loves encyclopedia type books as well but reading living books triggers her love to know more and understand more. 


Experiences – Charlotte Mason believed in providing a child with real life experiences. Reading from a book is not enough. Experiencing nature and culture is also needed. Sophie gets that a lot here but not sure how to fully implement that when we return for good to Singapore.


Lastly, teaching good habits – I’ve not figured out how to incorporate this fully into our lives yet but we’re getting there. Charlotte Mason has a whole list of how to do this and it’s a pretty hard read and almost seem archaic. BUT BUT so much truth to it. Just needs real discipling and vision to implement it.


Well, we’re starting somewhere. Not every book we have in the house is a living book but we pay a lot of attention to the kind of books Sophie reads. The Sonlight P3/4 books that we bought somewhat subscribes to the Charlotte Mason philosophy but in comparison, I much prefer the Five In A Row books and manual. There are some stories in the Sonlight books that are repetitive (e.g. the Fairy Tales) and Fairy tales, I find, are rather gruesome! E.g. stomping giants, ugly witches and magic potions etc.


Nonetheless, for this season, we’re reading Fairy Tales, for exposure sake. :) It’s quite fun re-reading these stories for myself too! Just to share some stuff that we’ve been doing with these stories: –



Jack & The Beanstalk

We painted some plants and planted some herbs. I meant to do a little booklet with Sophie about parts of a plant and life cycle of a plant but the internet failed on me so didn’t manage to get materials in time.



Sleeping Beauty

We made a castle out of a tissue box, toilet rolls and egg carton. I sewed a pillow for "sleeping beauty". Took out the lovely princess dress up cut outs that Steph gave Sophie for her birthday last year and she played dress up with them for a bit.

Outdoor House


James created a outdoor house for Sophie over the weekend.


He sealed up part of the balcony using bits he found around the base and made windows for the light to come in using transparencies (remember those things before computers?). He even found some whiteboard for writing on and a frame for a pretend door.


Very very cool.


I’ve always imagined for us to have a place for Sophie to play outdoors, yet within the confines of home. We’ve been doing lotsa craft, painting and drawing outdoors. We even started a small garden starting with planting herbs.

Banana cake success!


(Excuse me, the hub is away and I get the com all to myself so I’m on a blogging roll!)


I normally get leg cramps during pregnancy and the midwife told me to eat more bananas. Apparently it helps. SO I eat a bunch of bananas a week, yes, all by myself coz leg cramps are TERRIBLE!


But I got tired of them and wanted to eat it in a different form so I looked up for a banana cake recipe – you know those moist banana cakes from Bengawan Solo? So yummy! Well I found it and mastered it! I tried it 3 times so far and it really works! And it is completely baking idiot proof!


1 1/4 cups of plain flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 bananas (mashed)
2 eggs
1 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of vegetable oil


Add all the wet stuff together and then fold in sifted flour and baking soda. (This only takes the most 10-15 mins!)


Bake for 45 mins at 175 degrees celsuis.


Voila! So easy. So now I make these once a week and it gets wiped out in 2 days. It normally tastes even better the next day.

Taking pictures


Finally I got Sophie to smile for pictures! But still can’t get her to look at the camera properly… hmmmm…. But she’s looking so cute with her hairclip, facepaint and lovely dress.


Btw, her hairclip and dress are all handmade and bought at markets here in NZ and in Melbourne. Ooo I love handmade things! :)

Helping Daddy to love Mummy


I had a craving for chicken heart with salted veggies and who made my dream come true?


It was SOOOOOOOO goood…….

Her drawings are so cool!

I’m a big fan of Sophie’s drawings, only coz I love how it just develops over time and it’s so cool to watch! It prob doesn’t mean much to anyone else but it’s super cool to observe how little kids develop their sense of proportions and spatial understanding over time.


Here’s a sample of her drawings over the past year.


Jan 2010 – That’s Daddy. Check out the hair. She never drew hair like that prior to this. So cute!


Sept 2009 – Our family. Daddy, Mummy, Sophie and Baby lying on the floor with a balloon upside down in its face. She’s been wanting a baby brother or sister and makes her requests known through her drawings. :)


June 2009 – She drew this and said it was Tigger’s House while Ling and I were having tea. The green thingy on the left is a flower. She got me to draw a roof coz she said she didn’t know how to draw a roof. Btw, at this point in Jan she draws her own semi circle roofs on buildings that she draws.


May 2009 – She drew this in Vanuatu. James coloured it in. It’s a smiling King she says. So cute lah.