GOING ON A BEAR HUNT

Nat's class is made up of just about 10 children. It's nice to see the children playing in a close knit group. Sometimes he brings home interesting drawings he did informally with his classmates. One day he brought home a hand-drawn map that his classmate gave to him and told me they played treasure hunt during the break in school. He started drawing his own maps for about a week until I couldn't take it anymore and told myself that I must capitalise on his enthusiasm and we have to do a real treasure hunt outdoors! The house is way too small for an adventure!

We've read the book, "We're going on a bear hunt" and he has a fond memory of it. So just one morning of about 20 minutes, I randomly put together a 'Bear Hunt Kit'. There was really no time to think about the details and I thought I would just go along and try to be spontaneous :)

The Bear Hunt Kit: Cap, shovel, magnifying glass, binoculars, secret code booklet to solve the location of each clue which will lead him to the bear and the final treasure (gummy bears, puffs and some new construction vehicles), and most importantly the MAP!

going on a bear hunt

And then we were off to Toa Payoh Town Park.  He was very diligent in refering to his map all the time. It was kind of hilarious because I would ask him to close his eyes and then hid the items along the way. He was a very good sport but sometimes I can see him trying to peek. I made sure each item was hid differently so that he is able to use his different tools. First I hid the bear in some soil among bushes, so he had to use his shovel. Then on the spot, I gave the role of a guide to the bear, to give him clues to the next location.
 

going on a bear hunt

Secondly, I rolled up the secret code and hid it among some branches in a tree so he needed to use his magnifying glass. He was extremely studious in solving the secret code. Finally, I hid his treasures near a pond and also up in a tree so he had to use his binoculars.

going on a bear hunt

After he got his treasures, he kept bugging me to hide more things! I had nothing left to hide! And so the hunting continued at home for the next few days :)

DIY TOTE BAG

I look for simple practical bags. I need one then I'll get one. Recently I started going for Pilates and I needed a bag that I could just put a towel, keys, handphone, water bottle and umbrella. Every single bag I had was just too big so I decided to make one. It didn't have to be glamourous, I just needed it to put all those things in and Pilates is just a 10 minutes walk from home to the nearby community centre. And the pile of old t-shirt was starting to glare at me again. A quick Google search on how to make a totebag from a t-shirt from Mommypotamus got me a bag of just the right size that I needed :)

diy tote bag

I really love t-shirt material, it's so versatile! If you will like more t-shirt inspiration, check out my other posts under Addicted to T-shirts.

COOKING INSPIRATION: BUTTERMILK OVEN 'FRIED' CHICKEN

After I completed the online course, I told myself I must revive an old habit - to get a to-do-list going again. I was very motivated to get the items struck off the list, so I disappeared from blogging for a while.

Today's cooking inspiration is my husband, WX. In the past, WX has been more of a discouragement than an inspiration. He's rather fussy about food, i.e. he doesn't like a lot of kinds of foods and he likes Chinese food that requires a lot of prep work and stir frying/deep frying, e.g. sweet and sour pork, salted egg pork chops, ginger and spring onion stir fry beef. While I on the other hand ain't no cooking expert nor foodie so most of the time, I just throw stuff into the oven or the steamer.

Now he's an inspiration because after many years, he finally understands my struggle with cooking and sometimes he will even lend a hand. His palette is also getting healthier so he is getting used to my food that has minimal or no salt. I, on the other hand, have started putting a tiny bit more salt in the food, and I've also been looking out for dishes he will enjoy. At the end of the day, as cliche as it sounds, it's all about compromise, even in the kitchen.

One common food we both love is fried chicken but usually it is deep fried and I won't cook it for the oil splatters everywhere, and anyways it is super unhealthy for the kids. So this recipe of frying chicken in the oven is a god-sent for our family and for me - simple prep and minimal clean up :)

(Adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod)

Ingredients

Chicken:

  • 4 chicken drumsticks (about 3 1/2 ounces each), skinned
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1/4 tsp poultry seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • Pinch freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • Juice of 1/4 lemon

Coating:

  • 1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup crushed cornflake crumbs
  • 1 tbl grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 3/4 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp olive oil

Instructions

  1. For the chicken: In a medium bowl, season the chicken with the salt, paprika, poultry seasoning, garlic powder, and black pepper. Pour the buttermilk and lemon juice over the chicken and refrigerate for 6 to 8 hours, preferably overnight.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place a rack on a baking sheet.
  3. For the coating: In a shallow bowl, combine the panko, cornflake crumbs, Parmesan, salt, paprika, garlic powder, and olive oil.
  4. Remove the chicken from the buttermilk and dredge each piece in the crumb mixture. Put the chicken pieces onto the prepared baking sheet.
  5. Bake chicken until golden brown and cooked through, 40-45 minutes.


FINE MOTOR FUN

My 1.5 year old little gal has a very unique character that is almost not influenced by her brother or by us. Initially I thought she will enjoy playing her brother's toys but she shows very little interest in his activities! She prefers to play by herself and read story books. Hence sometimes I take her independence for granted and tend to be more relaxed in engaging her. I've trying to be more purposeful in scheduling my time so as to make sure I've quality one-to-one time with her in the mornings. Here are 5 fine motor skills activities that we've enjoyed together using everyday materials. We didn't really need to buy any toys for her :)

POM POM SCOOP

Just with a simple spoon to practice scooping pom poms from a bowl for self-feeding. Noe also balanced the pom pom on the spoon, walked to another bowl and dropped it in there. We had lots of fun with this relay!

 

 

 

 


STRAW THE COLANDER

I didn't really have a small colander, so I used a basket with holes. And then Noe tried to stuff as many straws into the holes. Interestingly she was more interested in poking her fingers through the holes instead.

 

 

 

 

 


MINI TREASURES IN A BOTTLE

Surprisingly this is her favourite. I've no idea why and I get bored with her wanting to open the bottle, take out the little treasures (like pebbles, glass beads, pasta), putting them back again, closing the bottle. And the cycle goes on!

 

 

 


PAINTING WITH EVERYDAY TOOLS

For a kid to manage a paintbrush at this age can be rather boring and difficult. Your paintbrush will also end up spoiled. So I gave Noe random tools like old toothbrushes, sponge and bottle caps to paint a milk carton box when her brother was painting one as well (for the DIY Flower Pot Holder).

 

 


MILK CARTON WINDOWS

This has been an all time favourite with Nat and Noe. Although Nat loved it more than Noe. Noe had to try to fill the milk carton with straw pieces by putting them through the windows and doors that I cut out. The fun part is trying to shake them all out again!

A MOMENT TO REMEMBER

I've been feeling sad over the recent passing away of Mr Lee Kuan Yew. Since Monday, I've been asking myself why I feel sad but why I don't feel as sad as other people. I also didn't really want to write about all the great things that he did, not because I disliked him but because I didn't know him.  When I was in Lower Primary, he had already stepped down as the Prime Minister. I knew him as the former prime minister of Singapore in name, and that is all.

As I read about and saw streams of people going down to the Parliament House to pay respects to him, my heart moved but my feet didn't and I wondered why. With social media, there were countless articles and videos circulating around, some moved me to tears but yet I was still not moved to wanting to join the queue to pay my respects.

Not until when increasingly more 'common folks' were uploading their personal photos of Mr Lee and sharing about their encounters with the man himself - My friend whose grandfather talked about Mr Lee when he was a young boy, the lady who met a taxi driver whom Mr Lee helped during the Meet-the-People's Session... I wanted to go down.

So I asked myself why - it was for my family, my children. 

My mother belonged to the Pioneer Generation, but she has never spoken much to me about politics before nor can I remember her talking about Mr Lee Kuan Yew. In school, I wasn't interested in politics too and couldn't care less to read much. As a youth, I was disengaged, indifferent. Only when I had a chance to vote recently, then I started finding out more.

The first thing that came to my mind was,  "Wouldn't my children be too young to understand anyway? Nat is 4 and Noe is only 1."

And then I realised that paying my respects to Mr Lee, wasn't about making them understand, it was to capture a moment to remember that's important in the history of Singapore, to record an experience down in pictures or writing so that we can then later on reflect on it together as a family, when the children are older. And as the husband reminded me, we uphold the value of honour as we honour him. Whether or not we agree with his methods, is a different matter altogether, and a debate for another day.

Too bad this realisation of mine came too late. Today, the queues were too long and members of the public were strongly advised not to go down. In the end, we decided to head down to one of the satellite sites instead. I did a mini-activity with Nat before we entered the site so as to create in him some awareness of who Mr Lee Kuan Yew was. I told him some basic stuff and he started off colouring a picture of parliament house (drawn by Evacomics). Then he was made to hunt for 'treasures' along the way as he decoded 4 words with ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics. The 4 words were 'tree', 'water', 'train', 'house' and I explained to him that Mr Lee envisioned of all these for Singapore. Finally we got down to writing a 'thank you' note.

a moment to remember

At the satellite site, It was interesting that after he placed the thank you card at the front, Nat was very captivated by the one of Mr Lee's speeches on the big screen, it was at the moment when Mr Lee was declaring "Merdeka!" He kept asking me if Mr Lee was Prime Minister already and then was clearly upset when the screen switched to the news instead. He said he wanted to watch more of Mr Lee, and not the news and advertisements. I was happy with his response but also happy to go off because his little sister was going to start running all over the place if we didn't leave soon. 

a moment to remember

My hope is that when they are older, Nat and Noe will look at the photos we took and read what I wrote here, about what we did together today in this historical moment. And then they will share these memories with their own children. The memories we build as a family, as a nation, are important for the future generation to learn and gain strength from.

Thank you Mr Lee Kuan Yew, for these memories.