Homelearning: Mid Autumn Fun

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Happy Mid Autumn Festival Folks!

I have been on the roll with regards to getting the kids involved with activities pertaining to the Mid Autumn Festival. Mainly because I am getting those periodic mummy guilt for not spending enough  quality time with them. Despite having slightly flexible working hours, I am unable to do lots. Every morning it is a mad rush. With chores and preparation of lunch and breakfast, I really find myself all over the place. Many asked why do I bother doing these. I can simply opt for the easier way out which is to send both to full day childcare. Yup, that's indeed an easier choice. They get to learn there as well. However, given that that will incur greater expenses and take them away from me for longer hours, plus the best teachers are the parents,  I decided to grit my teeth and have this arrangement instead. 

This year, I impressed even myself. The number of activities done has been inspired by several mommies online. Their efforts are my constant driving force. So here's sharing what we did this round: 

We made these Milo mooncakes last year but this year's were far more successful. It not only teaches the little ones measurements but patience as well. Coz they had to wait for these jellies to harden before eating them! Even Small K played a part in putting the Oreo Biscuits in. Below is the recipe:

Recipe adapted from http://pengskitchen.blogspot.sg
  • 1 pack 10gm Agar Agar Powder
  • 750ml water
  • 160gm sugar (I only used 120gm)
  • 400gm Evaporated milk
  • 3/4 cup Milo powder (not the instant 3-1 version)
  • 1 pack 137gm Oreo cookies, break into small pcs

  1. Place the jelly powder and water in a pot and bring to boil.
  2. Add in sugar and cook until sugar is well dissolved
  3. Add in milk and stir well and turn off heat.
  4. Remove 2 cups of the mixture and add in Milo powder. Stir well to dissolve all lumps.
  5. Pour 1 cup of the Milo mixture into a square container and let the remaining half warm up over a pot of simmering pot of water (double-boil). Let the layer set slightly on surface before pouring over the plain mixture over. Sprinkle oreo cookie into the plain layer and let it set slightly.
  6. Pour the remaining Milo mixture over. Let it set completely at room temperature before chilling in fridge. Serve cold

A blowing activity made specially for Small K to practise his blowing skills. Kids this age don't really know how to blow well yet, so this is a great activity. 

We did moon painting and it was a big hit! We basically mixed white paint and flour together and once we reached the right consistency, we added a tinge of black to give it a grey hue (can't quite see from the pictures). After which, we painted a circle on a black yardstick and used various round caps to stamp on it to create the craters. The effect was fantastic!

Idea adapted from: http://www.mominchapelhillnc.com/2012/08/arts-crafts-thursday-moon-painting-homemade-space-playdough.html

Since we were on the topic of the moon, I decided to teach Big K about the phases of the moon. 
The second activity was inspired by @Playlexue. I got Big K to cut out the moons and had her paste on a black piece of paper. 

Even though the Mid Autumn Festival has been around for years, I never really understood the legend behind it. I've grew up only knowing that it is a day where I get to eat mooncakes and carry lanterns. I was puzzled as to why people were doing so many activities pertaining to the sun. I mean wasn't mooncake festival only about the moon? So I did a bit of research and found out more through a book! Wow! Even the hubs didn't know that Hou Yi was connected to this festival! Do you know who is he? He was a mythological Chinese archer. He was also known as Shenyi and simply as Yi (羿). He is sometimes portrayed as a god of archery descended from heaven to aid mankind. His wife, Chang'e, was a lunar deity.  I only knew that he shot down suns. Unbeknownst to me, he was actually Chang'e's husband! I feel like a frog in a well now!
So glad I did more research this round. 

A student gifted me some mooncakes and Big K insisted on eating them. I am actually not a fan of the traditional mooncakes as I find them a tad sweet but these from Mandarin Oriental were nice! Not too sweet and there were Macadamia nuts in them! My fav! I used this opportunity to teach Big K a little about fractions. Not sure if she understood what I said about numerators and denominators but well, a bit of exposure is better than none!

The hubs was working from home one day and seeing the window of opportunity, I quickly set up this activity before Big K headed to school. Only when the hubs is around can I get such things done in the morning. Otherwise, cleaning up is a mad rush. I wasn't too successful with this though. However the kids had fun and wolved down two of these sweet potato mooncakes each.  Right after lunch might I add. 

1) Peel the sweet potatoes and dice them into pieces. 
2) Steam them for approximately 15minutes and mash them with a blender or a fork. 
3) Place it in the fridge for 30 minutes. 
4) Take them out and roll them into little balls. Concurrently, roll the mung bean paste as well. Mine were store bought but if i had the time I would home make them coz now I'm stuck with a big pack of mung bean paste and I don't know what to do to it!
5) Put the mung bean paste in the centre of the flattened sweet potato ball and shape it into a ball once again. 
6) use the mould to shape it into pretty mooncakes. Voila! 

It wasn't all that easy as it was a tad sticky hence difficult to roll initially. The moulding process wasn't too smooth either as the sweet potato were soft hence couldn't stay in shape when the mould was taken off. Perhaps I wasn't doing it right or had missed out something? Enlighten me if you know please! 

Died this rabbit lantern. These craft packs I got from Taobao are great! Big K loves crafting. No guessing where she got that part of her genes from. And very often, the only thing that makes her happy are activities like these. Thanks to @playlexue for the recommendation!

Another activity which was a big hit with both Big and Small K! Mooncake making! With play dough this time round. These are non-toxic play dough so even if they accidentally mistake them for the real stuff, it's pretty safe. 

We invited some friends over a weekend before and look at how much these kids enjoy this activity! It looks like a production line doesn't it?

Almost every year since we have kids, we visited Gardens By the Bay during this festival. This year the hubs was a tad reluctant as we had braved the crowds and took public transport with an infant and a toddler in hand. Carrying those two and walking to the MRT station, jostling with the bustling crowd was NO JOKE! So, we kindof got traumatised. However, this year's installation was too good to be missed. It was educational and totally in line with what I had been teaching Big K! We arrived and Big K recognised Chang'e and Hou Yi! The giant lantern sets measure up to 27metres and were spectacular! These lantern sets bring to life Asian stories of the moon, including well-loved tales like Chang Er, The Jade Rabbit and The Ten Suns. If you have not visited the place, go soon as it is ending this weekend! Opens daily till 11pm and is near the Supertree Grove. You can't miss it!

Take a picturesque stroll along the Colonnade as 4,000 colourful lanterns in a myriad of colours and design hang overhead, bathing the path in a gentle glow. 
There were several other accompanying activities like tea appreciation, crafting, guessing of lantern riddles and even Chinese Opera with a big screen showing English translation! So thoughtful! 

Now a Mid Autumn wouldn't be complete without lanterns. This year, I got them their favourite character -- Peppa Pig! So glad I managed to get them but really dislike the cheesy ching chong techno tunes which came with it. 

So how did you spend your Mid Autumn Festival? I hope you had a great time bonding with the family! 

How we celebrated SG51

Saturday, September 10, 2016

I know. National Day was long gone. But i find it a need to pen down what we did this year as it was pretty eventful. It was a good long break for most of us and I thought I had better make full use of it. A week leading to the long weekend, I have been getting the kids engaged in various National Day activities. If you don't already know, I am a sucker for thematic stuff and will go all out to prep those materials. I would rather the kids be engaged in activities than to spend time in front of the television or other devices. So even if it means killing a whole lot of brain cells and sacrificing sleep, I will do it! Below are some of the activities we did which perhaps you could consider doing with your little ones next year?

Feeding the Merlion activity inspired by a certain Mama J

Various activities we did, including the bunting inspired by A Happy Mum

Look at what BreadTalk came up with to commemorate SG51? Nice isn't it? The kids loved it. Well, they loved mainly the pork floss and left me with the plain bread. -_-

Ever since we shifted back to our own place, several people have been asking to come over for meals. We love hosting but it's getting a tad tiring to do it every.single.weekend. But since it's the long weekend, I had no excuse but to host my immediate family who has been patiently waiting :) So sorry to keep you waiting, guys! I didn't want to cater coz i hate over catering. And secondly, some wanted to try my cooking. Thirdly, I'm overambitious and mad. So I bit the bullet and whipped up what i could for close to 20 pax! Insane isn't it?

Salted Egg Prawns

Fried Bee hoon (ok this one wasn't done by me. I bought it from a stall downstairs :P)

Air Fried Sio Bak. 

Curry Chicken. Been a while since I cooked this hence I felt it wasn't quite up to standard that day.

Fried stuffed tau pok. Recipe adapted from The Domestic Goddess Wannabe

My Famous Har Jiong Gai! A success but a pain to fry so many of them! Tried air frying but it wasn't good at all. The result this round was fantastic. So much so, mom and my aunt asked me for my recipe as well as the brand of wok i used! haha

Ahhh and for desserts we had Mao Shan Wang durians!! Durians were in season and they were good this round so we couldn't miss it for the world! 

The next day was National Day and we decided to arrange a playdate. Brought the kids out for some good fun at the pool. It was scorching hot though!

Am so in love with this shot of both father and daughter! So much love!

These two were riding, riding and riding!

After a good swim, we continued our physical activities! We were all out to exhaust the kids in hope that they will sleep well! The night ended with dinner at a friend's place. Her place had excellent view of the fireworks and I think it left a deep impression on the kids. 

All the events leading up to National Day made me feel very blessed. I am thankful to be born in this country I call home. Many think that the pasture is greener out there, however, I think that Singapore is still a great place to live in. No doubt the standard of living is escalating, but hey, that's life in most countries right? So, Happy Birthday Singapore! I am so proud to be a Singaporean and happy that I am living in this clean and peaceful city. 

What we did this Teacher's Day

Saturday, September 3, 2016

This is getting crazy! It's September already? The last couple of months have been a whirlwind, what with shifting to our new crib and hosting parties every weekend; getting everyone readjusted; holidaying not once, but twice over a span of 2 months (which reminds me, I need to blog about that!), to scrambling to catch up with work and homeschooling! It's crazy I tell you and I am still trying to get things into full swing. However each time when I think I've succeeded at getting things into control, shit happens.

Oh well, I'm not here to rant, but to share with you what we have done for this Teacher's Day. I have been a private educator for the last two decades *horrors and sad to say, I have seen it all. The passion to celebrate teacher's day kindof stops right after you step into Secondary school. Ok, perhaps Secondary 1 is still fresh hence most would go back to their Primary school to visit their Chers. But, thereafter, the kids probably look forward to that day only because it is a holiday! Not saying they shouldn't, but well, I somehow feel that this day is loosing its meaning. In fact, sad to say, only the parents and those who were reminded by their parents, wished me a Happy Teacher's Day. I was showered with gifts no doubt, but they were all from the parents. Gone were the days where I had little ones making cards or flowers for me. The older ones were worse, no wishes and instead, made me do overtime via watsapp. -_-

Hey! Didn't I say I wasn't gonna rant?

In order to ensure that Big K understands the significance of this day, I involve her in making gifts for her teachers. Since she loves art and craft, I got her these to put together for her teachers. We started a month before as I knew it would be crazy for her to finish them all within a week. I wouldn't have the time to supervise too. It was nice to see how each pot blossomed. She painted those pots and fixed up most of those flowers. I only helped with the more intricate ones as well as flower arrangement.

Thankful for pre-cuts! I wouldn't have been able to cut them one by one!

Flower paradise!

These lovely calligraphy cards were generously shared by Daprayer. I adore her works! 

To all educators and ex educators, your dedication is amazing so here's to you A-Meh-Zing people,