Category Archives: Projects

Postcard Exchange – Adelaide, Australia


Yet another beautiful postcard arrived in our mailbox today! This card was sent by Linda over at M & A’s World. She hails from Melbourne, but this card was sent while she was on vacation to Adelaide. Check out the gorgeous pics from her vacation in this post.

I enjoy her weekly photo challenge posts, especially those that capture her kids enjoying the moment. This is my current favourite picture. Notice the missing shoe? 😉

It’s great to be part of the postcard exchange – pretty postcards in my mailbox instead of bills, and I get a glimpse of life in other parts of the world 🙂 It’s also a great learning opportunity for C, who is more thrilled than I am to get the postcards 😉

Anyone else interested in the postcard exchange? Do drop me a comment below if you are! 🙂


Postcard Exchange: New South Wales, Australia

Kingscliff, New South Wales Australia

Kingscliff, New South Wales Australia

We received this absolutely gorgeous postcard sent by Rachael from mummy flying solo in our mailbox recently. Just look at the beautiful beach and the emerald green waters… I can almost hear the gentle waves lapping at the shore *bliss*  Makes me feel like flying down to Australia right now! 🙂

Rachael is an amazing mummy of a 2-year old little boy who faces the challenges of parenting alone. I love the humour, honesty and positivity in her posts. Reading her posts do make me feel better… at least I’m not alone in epic parenting fails, haha!

If you’ve not been by Rachael’s blog yet, please do. And check out this hilarious post on her take as a supermodel. You won’t be disappointed 😉

On a more serious post, she recently did a great post on safety awareness on the baby cot’s position. Do take time to read and share if you can.

Thanks Rachael for the great postcard!

If you are interested in the postcard exchange, do leave me a comment  below:)

Loafty aspirations

In a bid to become more domesticated, I recently purchased the Kenwood BM250, a breadmaker that promised to turn out perfect results, even for beginners like me.

Last Sunday afternoon, since we had nothing planned, I decided to give it a go and try baking.

My Kenwood bm250

My Kenwood bm250

The Kenwood came with a recipe book, but I had heard feedback from my friends that the results didn’t turn out too well. So I turned to trustworthy Google for some “easy bread-maker recipes”.

Given my woeful lack of experience in the kitchen, most of the recipes I found were far from easy. (That said, anything with more than five ingredients is complicated to me! And the measurement conversions! 🙄 ) I finally found one that promised a fool-proof loaf; and the recipe only specified six ingredients –  bread flour, vegetable oil, yeast, sugar, salt and water.

Simple ingredients

Simple ingredients

The instructions: add the yeast and sugar to warm water, wait for 10 minutes, then add flour, salt and oil. Ok, simple enough, until I realized I had nothing to measure the temperature of the water (45 deg C) with. So I measured out some water that was warm to the touch and hoped for the best. Next, yeast. The yeast was supposed to foam, but I didn’t see any action (to the experienced bakers who are laughing at this right now, seriously, what am I supposed to see? There was no foam?)

After 10 minutes, I added the flour and oil, then started the machine. And crossed my fingers.

Here’s the result 3 hours later:

My perfect loaf!

My perfect loaf!

Success! The bread was deliciously soft and fluffy with a flaky crust. The recipe was indeed fool-proof (I think C, my 6 year old, could have easily done it on her own). Best of all, the kids liked it!

I think I will try a chocolate loaf next, but I need help here: do I just add cocoa powder?

Do you have any (really easy) breadmaker recipes to share?

Postcard Exchange – Texas!


Look what arrived in our mailbox last week – a beautiful postcard showing the pretty landscape in Texas! Love the wide open fields 🙂

This beautiful postcard was sent by Cori and K from Mama Miller Parenting as part of the postcard exchange.

Cori is currently 9 months pregnant… check out this hilarious post that reminds us of the things that we don’t miss 😉 She also has 2 other beautiful kids – K and E . One of my favourite pictures of her son K was when she dressed him up as an Ewok. Nerds rule! Haha…

Of course, there was that recent post that reminded me that mum is always the best.

Do check out Mama Miller Parenting  🙂

Are you taking part in any postcard exchanges?

p/s: To my WP friends, I haven’t been able to read your recent posts as my phone app keeps crashing and I seldom login on my pc 😦  Hope the bug gets fixed soon.

Happy birthday Singapore!

9th of August 2013 marks Singapore’s 48th year as an independent nation.

In honour of our national day, we will be doing activities around the theme of Singapore this month. We will be learning more about our country’s history, culture, landmarks, language and people.

This week, we learnt about the Singapore flag, and the significance of the various elements:


Red: universal brotherhood and equality of man.
White: pervading and everlasting purity and virtue.
Crescent moon: a young nation on the ascendant.
Five stars: the ideals of Singapore – democracy, peace, progress, equality and justice.

In order to remember the elements in the flag, I introduced the kids to the song Five stars arising. This song was written in 1969, using the Singapore flag as the theme.

Five Stars Arising
There’s a new moon arising, out of the stormy sea
Youthful and bright and bearing hope, and tranquil as can be
Reach out for the moon above, savour freedom, truth and love
There’s a new moon arising, out of the stormy sea

There are five stars arising, out of the stormy sea
Each is a lamp to guide our way; a lamp for all to see
Reach out for the stars above, savour freedom, truth and love
There are five stars arising, out of the stormy sea

There’s a new flag arising, out of the stormy sea
Crimson as the blood of all mankind, yet white and pure and free
Reach out for the flag above, savour freedom, truth and love
There’s a new flag arising, happy and proud are we

I did some simple paper cutouts of the elements (crescent moon, five stars and the Singapore flag) and pasted them on ice-cream sticks, for the kids to wave while singing.

For C, I also introduced the national pledge so that she will be able to recite along during the national day celebrations this evening:

We, the citizens of Singapore,
pledge ourselves as one united people,
regardless of race, language or religion,
to build a democratic society based on justice and equality
so as to achieve happiness, prosperity
and progress for our nation.

Unfortunately both G and myself are down with fever so we can’t go out to catch the fireworks live today. Our family will be watching the National Day parade on tv tonight though. Before I end this post, I’d like to share one of my favourite National Day songs from 1998. This is a 2011 remix of the song “Home”:

Happy Birthday Singapore!

Postcard Exchange – Oregon!


I recently took part in the postcard exchange hosted by Meghan over at Máthair Fiona. Look at the gorgeous postcard she sent! Don’t you love the colours and the details? This is a great addition to my postcard collection for geography lessons 🙂

Thank you Meghan!

One of my favourite posts by Meghan is How to say “I Love You” on Father’s Day – such a sweet tribute to the man in her life. She’s also spot on in her post in mummy guilt. Hands up to those who identify with her? And how about getting some organization back into your life? Do go check out her blog now! 🙂

The postcard exchange is still ongoing, so if you like to receive stuff other than bills in your mailbox, do check out the details at Meghan’s blog.

Any other mums taking part in the postcard exchange?

Project: Lapbook – Sea Creatures

As part of C’s June holiday assignment from school, we had to do a project related to sea creatures. Projects such as making a paper mache model, or visiting the fish market were suggested. We decided to do a lapbook (yes, I chose something that could be easily transported and stored)

We started by doing a paper collage of C’s favourite sea creature – the dolphin. C looked for blue and pink shades in magazines and cut them into tiny pieces. She had fun creating the collage, and I really liked the way it turned out. This got the place of honour, on the cover of the lapbook.

Lapbook cover

Lapbook cover with paper collage dolphin

We read books on sea creatures that I borrowed from the library (unfortunately I forgot to take pictures), and added some fun fact flaps. C was amazed to learn about zooplankton, the smallest sea creatures, and she was intrigued to find out that the blue whale was as long as a MRT train cabin (I had to use real-life examples to illustrate how big/fast/small the sea creatures were).

Fun facts about sea creatures

Fun facts about sea creatures

We also learnt about the different classifications of sea creatures. She learnt about molluscs, crustaceans, mammals, reptiles and fish. We found this really interesting video on molluscs on youtube- C loved it!

Classifying sea creatures

Classifying sea creatures

We also took another trip to the SEA Aquarium. This was C’s second trip down, and this time round we were lucky to see the dolphins (a new exhibit).

C wrote a little booklet documenting her trip. She selected the photos that she wanted to put in the book, and typed out the captions (I resized the photos and adjusted the formatting, but she did the rest). It was excruciatingly slow watching her type l…e…t…t…e…r by l…e…t…t…e…r but the results were worth it. She was so proud of her work that she did a little presentation of it 🙂

C's account of her 2nd visit to SEA Aquarium

C’s account of her 2nd visit to SEA Aquarium

Here’s the completed lapbook. A simple project, but we had fun learning about sea creatures (they are amazing!), and C got to write her very first mini-book!


completed lapbook

Did you know that there is a sea creature with three hearts?

p/s we did do a paper mache model of a dolphin too, but C didn’t like it enough to allow me to take a picture of it.

Project: Lapbook – China

It’s been a while since my last lapbook. In the past term, C was learning about China in school, so I thought it would be interesting to start a lapbook on the same topic. It would also be a good chance to start a discussion with her on her Chinese heritage.

In the lapbook, we had the usual items – things found in China, its location on the world map, the China flag. I also included some interesting information about China – its capital, currency, population and leader. C already knew about Beijing, but wasn’t aware of the country’s other ancient capitals. She was also amazed at the birth rate in China (one baby born every 1.9sec!).


Capital, population, currency and leader

I had little cards with pictures of Chinese inventions – she had learnt about some of them in school, but was surprised when I told her that the toothbrush was a Chinese invention (“How did they brush their teeth before the toothbrush was invented?“). Paper making was a fascinating topic for her too (we will probably try doing this during the holidays).

Chinese inventions

Chinese inventions

I explained that prior to paper, the ancient Chinese used to write on scrolls made up of bamboo strips or silk. As a craft activity, we created a scroll out of popsicle sticks and twine (because popsicle sticks are much easier to find compared to bamboo strips!).

Tip: If you intend to make your own scrolls, line the sticks and mark the spot where you intend to tie the twine (about 1.5-2cm from the top). Then use a penknife to cut notches – it will help the twine stay in position.

Making the scroll

Making the scroll

On the completed scroll, C copied part of the Three Character Classic (三字经), one of the Chinese classic texts. We used a black marker for writing. I wrote some of the more difficult words in pencil so she could trace it. I was really proud that she managed to write so neatly! We did some revision on the recitation of the text too.

Completed scroll

Completed scroll with Three Character Classic

When learning the chinese language, C had complained that some of the characters were difficult to write, unlike the english alphabet (in her words: “there are so many strokes!“). I explained that the language evolved from pictograms (象型字), and that most of the words had interesting origins. We viewed an interesting video on youtube, and I included a matching game in the lapbook. She was much more willing to learn about the chinese characters after that. Note: The original pictogram from which the current form evolved is included at the corner of the picture card.

Match the picture to the word

Match the picture to the word

Besides the Three Character Classic, I also introduced another classic text called Hundred Family Surnames (百家姓). I explained that since China was so big, there were literally hundreds of different surnames (currently there are 504). I printed out a list and asked her to locate her surname, my surname, and her grandmother’s surname. I explained that there were some surnames that were very common, and there were a lot of people who had the same surnames although they did not come from the same family.

Hundred Family Surnames

Hundred Family Surnames

I took the opportunity to explain that some of the surnames originated from the same area in China. She had learnt that there were 56 ethnic groups in China, so I showed her the different regions of China where each ethnic group resided. I explained that her grandfather and ancestors came from China (and showed her on the map). She was amazed that her grandfather and ancestors actually came from China (we had not explained this to her prior to this discussion).

Different regions in China

Different regions in China

Here’s the completed lapbook! While this project has been completed, this was just the beginning of C’s journey to learn more about her Chinese heritage.

China lapbook

China lapbook

Download the lapbook here ==>Lap book-China

How do you teach your children about their heritage?

Project: Dragon boat festival

The dragon boat festival (端午节) is celebrated on the 5th day of the 5th lunar month on the Chinese calendar (五月初五). This year, the festival falls on 12th of June.

This festival commemorates the sacrifice of Qu Yuan (屈原), a poet from the Chu State during the Warring States Period (476 BC – 221 BC). Qu Yuan was a very patriotic and loyal advisor in the court of King Huai. However, the king was misguided by corrupt officials, and sent Qu Yuan into exile. Without the loyal advisor’s counsel, the state was eventually defeated by the neighboring Qin State.

On this day, upon learning of the fall of his state, Qu Yuan is believed to have jumped into the Miluo river in despair. He was well-loved and respected by the people, and they wanted to protect his body from the fishes in the river. In order to do so, the villagers threw sticky rice dumplings into the river as food for the fishes, paddled out in their boats and beat drums in order to drive the fishes away. This practice has been carried on as cultural tradition: we continue to eat rice dumplings (粽子) and have dragon boat races (赛龙舟) on this day.

I wanted the kids to know more about our Chinese traditions and customs, and thought that it would be fun to do some related activities with the kids to celebrate this festival.

We began by reading a book on Qu Yuan that I borrowed from the library. It was a good chance to talk a little about Chinese history. Of course, there were a lot of questions from C on why he chose to jump into the river…


We then created our own dragon boats. I found a template online for the base of our dragon boat, and drew the dragon head and tail to be pasted on (I drew it freehand, sorry I’m not that artistic). The kids were given the template to decorate, before I cut and assembled the boats. I must say that I was pleased with how the boats turned out. C wanted to do more of them – we are going to try “racing” them tomorrow.

G dotting away

G dotting away


Dragon boats by C (background) and G (foreground)

We also made rice dumpling maracas. I found a tutorial to fold a triangular pyramid here, and made it together with C. We used 4 pieces of 12cmx12cm construction paper for each dumpling. C needed some help with some of the folds, but she managed to follow most of the instructions. C and G helped to add some rice grains into the “dumplings” before we sealed them up with tape. The kids loved these! Note: This could get messy! We had rice grains all over the table.

Rice dumpling maracas!

Rice dumpling maracas!

In line with the theme, I also created some homeschooling material to learn chinese numbers. The same material can also be used for colour matching, sequencing, or photographic memory practice.

Chinese numbers

Chinese numbers

What comes next?

What comes next?

For C, I made some worksheets for writing and hanyu pinyin practice.


Writing and pinyin practice

Of course, I’ll be preparing rice dumplings for the kids to enjoy! 🙂

Are you doing anything to celebrate the dragon boat festival? How about making a dragon boat for your own race?

Download your printables here!
Printable – Dragon boat craft
Printable – Dragon boat math
Printable – Dragon boat writing and pinyin

Note: You’ll also be able to find the links for the downloads on my Home Practice Materials page here.

Credits: for the paper canoe base for the chinese stroke sequence

Project: Shrinky Dinks

During my trip to Eat.Play.Love craft cafe, I saw some pretty charms on display. Initially, I thought that they were miniatures made of ceramic, but on closer inspection, I realised that they were made of plastic. Curious, I made some enquiries, and it was then that I found out about the existence of shrink plastics. Fascinated by the name and the results, I decided to do some googling to find out a little bit more.

Apparently, shrink plastics (or Shrinky Dinks) were very popular in the 1980s. They are actually large flexible sheets which, when heated in an oven, shrink to small hard plates without altering their colour or shape. According to wikipedia, Shrinky Dinks were invented in 1973 by two housewives of Brookfield, Wisconsin, as a Cub Scout project with their sons. They soon became popular as a children’s arts and craft product, and are also used in adult crafts like jewellery making.

I wanted to try it with C, but rather than going down to the cafe, I decided to track down and buy the supplies from a local arts and craft supplies store.

At first look, the shrink plastic looked like an ordinary sheet of flexible plastic. One side was smooth, while the other was slightly ridged.

Not an ordinary piece of paper

Not an ordinary piece of paper

According to the instructions, the plastic would shrink to 30% of its original size when heat was applied. For the trial, I drew a flower, making sure it was relatively big, and got C to colour it in using coloured pencils.


Adding colour

Here’s the result after cutting out the flower, and punching a hole for the charm to hang from.

Before baking

Before baking

I placed the cutout in my little toaster oven (instructions mentioned heating it at 160deg C, but I didn’t have a real oven). I set the timer for 4 minutes, and waited.

At first, nothing happened. Then, I was dismayed that the plastic seemed to shrivel up (the petals on the flower closed up towards the centre). At this point, C and myself were going “Oh no! It’s completely ruined!!!!“. I decided to wait a little while longer just to see what happened. Luckily I did. The plastic started to unfurl itself slowly and flattened out nicely into a tiny flower. It worked!!!!  And it really shrunk to a third of its original size! (sorry for the exclaimation marks, but you can tell how excited I was).

Amazing shrinking flower!

Success! The amazing shrinking flower.

The colours were very vibrant after shrinkage, and both C and myself really liked how it turned out.

Of course, C was really happy (and probably as excited as me!). She got down immediately to design more charms.

More self-designed charms

More self-designed charms! Clockwise from left: rainbow flower, portrait of daddy, a fish tank for grandma, a star charm for G and a “mummy & me” charm for yours truly!

It is a really easy craft, and yields very, very pretty results. I think I’m going to stock up on these – they are going to be used to make a lot of presents this year! 🙂

Have you tried using shrink plastics?