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Thursday, February 26, 2015

CNY 2015 - Lion Dance

Gong Xi Fa Cai!  Gong Hei Fatt Choy!  Keong Hee Huat Chye !   :-)

We didn't go anywhere for CNY this year. But we did invite a lion dance troop to the house. Our very first time actually.  It was fun !!!

Quick family photo before the performance
Erin was quite scared of the lion head actually. She clung on so tightly to me.  ;-)

Time to Start!

They did a short performance at the car porch

Then went on to "bless" every room in the house.  In the house, the 2 lions seems so oversized!  Knocked in my lamp, bumped into furniture etc.  hehe...luckily nothing broken.
Some photos-


After going into every room, there was another mini performance at the car porch.

Went right in front to take selfie during lion dance performance.  Just because I can. Wuahahaha!

Peeling Pomelo time

Pomelo/Oranges/Lettuce/Angapow Tray - Before and After


Definitely an interesting experience!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Update on Erin's kindy progress

*sobs*.   My Erin is not doing well in kindy at all.  Major source of my stress and sadness lately  :(

She was alright on the first day of kindy when I stayed with her throughout the class.  I already took leave for Day 2 as I planned to accompany her.  But since she did so well on Day 1, I decided to just drop her off at the kindy. She happily followed her teacher to class. No tears at all that day and I thought Whooo Hooooo …….. she’ll be fine!  

But as the days went by, we (my parents and I) suspected something amiss as she doesn’t really talk about her school. Then hubby (he sends Erin to kindy) said there were days when she cries in the morning and refuses to get ready to school.  But he thought it could be due to a change in routine cos I have to leave the house much earlier these days to send Elyssa to her school.  

So I decided to send her school teacher/principal a message to ask how Erin was doing. She called me back that same afternoon, saying she was going to call me soon anyway. “Mrs Chong, your daughter is……… SLOW in class”.  My heart sank as I heard the word “slow”. She suggested Erin to stay back until 3pm instead of the current 12pm.  

Basically, the principal said Erin has no pencil control at all.  When the teacher guides her hand, she’s ok but the moment the teacher lets go, she just stops.  Or holds the pencil with 5 fingers but still doesn’t scribble anything. So if there’s no one to guide her then she produces nothing at all on the paper.  

I was sooooooo upset after the phone call. Then digested a bit and thought…. Maybe I over-reacted.  After all, she’s not even four and it’s still the second week of kindy only. But I knew I should set aside some time daily to help her.  

And……… that’s how the STRESS started.   After dinner:

Me : Erin, let’s do some colouring today. Come and choose which picture you want to colour.
Erin : *flip flip* - this one.
Me : ok!  Come, let’s colour.
Erin : takes time to choose colour, looks up, looks down.  
Me :  “guides her hand”
Erin : “looks any anywhere but the picture. When I ask her to look, she lies her whole head on the picture.
 She dots on the picture a bit, and then draws very short and light lines. And she keeps drawing the lines on top of each other instead of next to each other.  (i.e. she scribbles on the same spot).

So I came out with this analogy for her “ oo….look at the worms (lines) dancing on the paper.  They like to dance up and down (to encourage her to draw longer lines).  They like to dance on white paper (to encourage her to scribble new spots)  

Day 1’s progress was minimal but acceptable.  But not much further progress on other days. *sigh*.  I am also tired after work, and it is just so, so , so frustrating to teach her!  Most of the time, she’s not even interested at all.  And she gives up really, really easily.  It it so challenging to get her draw a few lines and just when she does that, she complains her hands are tired.  

Aaaaaarghhhhhh!  It is really a test of patience every single time.  I tried buying new colouring pencils and book but failed.  Used all sorts of stories but still failed. Tried to be all happy and chirpy, still failed.  Tried bribing her with ipad time, still failed. Tried asking hubby to take over -  session ended with him SCREAMING at her, and Erin wailing on the floor.  Mega fail!   Tried different location (Elyssa’s school canteen last Saturday), failed.  

I SOS’ed my mum for help last Saturday afternoon cos she is really good at handling them (but it’s tough with so many kids in the house! Currently,  focus on academics is on the eldest 2). Mum had a short “study time” with Erin on Monday and she said it went rather well!  Yay!  

Then yesterday was a public holiday so I did study time with Erin instead.  Took almost ALL my willpower not to lose my temper last night.  Got me all grouchy tho  :-(

*sobs*  *sobs*.  So many things are going through my mind – did I choose the right kindy? (teacher called me to complain again last week)  Is Erin really slow?   Guilty thoughts too – I definitely spent more time guiding Elyssa when Elyssa was younger!  But it was so much easier cos Elyssa was the only child then.   

I went to bed really, really upset last night.  So just have to pen it all down this morning. Hopefully things will get better soon.  Deep down, I still have faith that Erin is going through a tough phase, but she will eventually catch up.  Oh, just remembered something -  After one session, I held her on my lap and asked her whether she thinks she’s clever or stupid.  Broke my heart when she answered softly “toopid”.  I told her she was a very clever girl indeed.  Just that she forgets to try hard sometimes.  (ok, I also said “of course you’re clever, cos your mummy is clever” after which she grinned.  Gotta give her something to believe in mah)

*sigh*, wish me luck for this journey ahead!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Books and School

I love tip-sharing in Facebook and Whatsapp groups!  Did this for Elyssa recently :-

Colour Coded Books according to Timetable
Makes book-packing a breeze!  Why didn't I know this when I was in school last time?? I explained to Elyssa how it works and told her she is responsible for packing her own books  :-)    (ok lar....i'll still monitor at the beginning)
So far so good for Elyssa in government school.  Her class teacher has created a whatsapp group for all the parents in her class. Super, super love it!  So far, the teacher has been very active in answering all sorts of question from parents - need to fill up what form, which books to bring, confirmation of names for name tag, what to wear since since sports t-shirt still not ready etc etc. 
Such a dedicated teacher!!  I know it's too early to do a dance of joy, but I am really glad Elyssa got this teacher as her class teacher. She's stern enough in class (which is essential cos the class is pretty big) but also gives out mini chocolates (ok, could be one-off)  and stars (there's a star chart for each student) for good behaviour/performance.
I've heard so many horror stories about chinese school, but I somehow have a good feeling that Elyssa will survive well in Standard 1.  *touchwood*  *fingers crossed!*   

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

First Day of School

Happy New Year 2015!

Mentally, I somehow couldn't "start" my year 2015 until my girls start school. Afterall, school was supposed to start on Jan 5th.  Then Elyssa's primary school term got pushed back one week due to floods in east coast. Ok, fine. (had to change my leave plans tho)
Erin's kindy was still scheduled to start on 5th. But on the afternoon of the 4th, I received a call from the school principal that school term will be pushed back to the 12th. Grr! Had to change my leave plans again.

Anyway it was finally Jan 12 yesterday. Whooo Hooo!

Elyssa in her primary school uniform 
(my Elyssa is in Std 1 already?????  *sobs*)
I woke her up at 6am, thinking she may need about 5-10 minutes to actually get up. But surprisingly, she practically jumped out of bed when I called her. I'm pretty sure it's first day of school excitement, but I do hope that it sets the right tone for all her upcoming school days. 

Assembly at the school hall 
All speeches were in Mandarin. I don't think she understood most of it. *gulp*
She's not the only kid with banana parents (but thankfully, she has non-banana grandparents) so gotta have faith that she'll survive! 

Before assembly ended, I had to rush home for Round 2 that morning. Hubby stayed on at Elyssa's school with her.

Erin in her kindy uniform 
(my baby Erin is in kindy already??  double *sobs*) 

Erin's classroom
I stayed with Erin throughout her class. No tears and no drama. I got a little worried when some of her classmates started crying for their parents.  But Erin was steady all the way.  So proud of her! 

After Erin's class ended (early dismissal for day 1), I drove back to Elyssa's school. Peeked into her classroom and saw her seated right at the back. Sigh, but the class teacher will change seating position anyway.

We hung around until her class ended.  Took this photo after class:

Elyssa pulling her bag with 1 hand and holding on tight to Erin with another hand. Awwwww......... super, super sweet! 

So we all survived Day 1 without tears !  (yes, all THREE of us. I got teary, but managed to not cry my eyes out. )  Yay! 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Happy Winter Solstice!

It's Winter Solstice today.  Our ROM date too  :-)

Decided to try making "tong yuen" this year.

I didn't realise it's so easy to make!
Basic tong yuen without filling is just glutinous rice and water. To make it colourful, I used beetroot for red colour and pandan for green colour (but cheated a bit. My green turned out really pale so I used a wee bit of colouring)

Elyssa rolling Tong Yuen
She's pretty good at it! Better than her daddy. heh.  She complained daddy's tong yuen were not round enough so she practically re-worked all of them.

Erin uhm....wasn't so good at rolling
Just look at the masterpieces on her plate  ;-)


Before Cooking

Simple syrup to go with it - Gula Melaka, Ginger, Sugar and water boiled with Pandan leaves

Enjoy with wine!

Girls enjoyed making the tong yuen.  But as for eating it - Erin refused to swallow the ball.  Elyssa came down with a slight fever and went to bed right after dinner.  *sigh*.   Maybe next year!


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Cameron Highlands Holiday - October 2014

From Penang, we stopped by in Ipoh to pick up MIL and then drove to Cameron Highlands. This part of the holiday had been planned months ahead. 4 families altogether - Neighbours holiday!  We live within the same housing area and we each have 2 kids around the same age.  How great is that??  Kids super, super love playing with each other!

Random photos-

Family photo at the tea plantation

My lil poser

At the strawberry farm

Afternoon picnic
We booked a lovely bungalow with 6 rooms called Valley View.

Hubby pitched a tent at the garden
Telematch time!

Some quiet tv time before bed time

Next day - did strawberry picking

Girls with their grandma
Cactus valley


Time Tunnel
Love these photos!

Playing while waiting for food

Best part is we didn't have to entertain the kids cos they were busy entertaining themselves. 
Already planning our next holiday together!  :-)


Monday, December 15, 2014

Penang Holiday - Oct 2014 (Part 2)

More photos from the Penang holiday-

After building sandcastles by the beach, we moved on to the swimming pool.

I loved the kids pool!
Why ?  1) Giant tarpaulin to shade them from the morning sun  2) Gradual descent into the pool (no steps) so it was easy for them to go in and out.   3) shallow (i think the water in the baricaded area came up to Elyssa's waist only)

The girls spent HOURS in the pool!  Hubby and I got tired after a while, so we just lounged around on the deckchairs. Yup, that's my giant feet in the pic  :-)

For lunch we decided to just order and eat by the pool.  Holiday meal - pizza, burger and fruit juice to share.  :-)

After lunch, we happily sent  allowed Elyssa to go to the kids room for their FREE kids programme. Whoo hoooo! She actually went 2 days in  row. A bit unsure on the first day (since Erin couldn't go and she didn't know anyone else) but was an eager beaver for the second time. On both days, she went for the 2pm -6pm slot. Can even extend up to 9pm for dinner (also free!) and a movie, but we decided not to.

Chilling and playing with daddy's phone while jie jie was in the kids room 

I love the resort-ty feel of the uhm..... resort  :-) 

From Day 2 of the kids program 
(for Day 2, we had to pay RM25 cos of the t-shirt painting. Day 1 was completely free)

Personalised T-shirt

Decorated Paper Bag
They made mini chocolate balls that day 

We walked along the beach after picking up Elyssa from the kids room. Lovely sunset! 

Went back to the hotel after dinner and managed to catch the last bit of a cultural performance. 

Next morning - buffet breakfast

My 2 princesses 

The Penang holiday (4d, 3n) just flew by so fast. Right after that, we continued our "up north" holiday to Cameron Highlands with 3 other families.

- to be continued-