Monday, January 16, 2012

CNY carousel lantern

I've been on an ang pow craft making spree lately since I'm gathering some help on decorations for a Chinese New Year (CNY) party that we'll be having in approximately 2 weeks time. Due to time constraint and everybody's busy schedule, we're focussing mostly on the simple ang pow lanterns such as ang cranes, ang pow fish, ang pow fan and mini ang pow lanterns.

I decided to take a little effort last Saturday and be a little more adventurous and made something new this year since I can use it for my house first. My schedule is topsy turvy and thus, finding time to make this over the weekend was like havoc in my house with the ang pow papers all over the table and floor and getting my fingers numb from all the stapling. It's a blessing that there are so many instructions and guidelines on the web and youtube.

Over the weekend, I've made three CNY carousel lanterns. Each carousel lantern require 32 pieces of red ang pows.Thanks to Submerryn for the instructions.

Here's the results of my progress :

Folding 48 pieces of a triangle shaped design (16 pieces required per lantern, 8 for the top and 8 for the bottom). Fold until hands are tired.

Stapling 8 pieces of the ang pow together to form a "hat". Be sure to insert a gold or red string to one of the hat before closing them up together. Insert a tassel or a hanging decoration tassel on the other hat before closing that up together as well. The 2 cone-shaped hats then need to be stapled together by stapling on the folded edges.

Made another 48 pieces of this design (16 pieces required per lantern). First, folding them into half, then pinching them at the side to staple the middle part of both sides together to look like a little butterfly bow. That's when my 2nd finger on my right started getting a little numb and swollen.

After finishing the previous step, we have to staple all 16 pieces together like these. Looks cute huh? Like a milipede or something.

Close up the 16 pieces of the ang pows in the previous steps to form a circle. We'll need to staple the circle to the edge of the 2 cone-shaped hats.

Tah Dah! My 3 lanterns - 2 outside my house and one inside.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Of sperms, eggs and balls...

I was sitting on my notebook with Brendan (age 8+) beside me doing his homework while Eryn (age 6 1/2) was reading a book.

Suddenly, this conversation came up :

Eryn        : mummy, my egg is here right? (pointing below her belly button)
Mummy  : Huh?
Eryn        : There, you see, (pointing to a kids Biology book, as per picture below),
                  this is an egg.
Brendan : Oh, I know, it's where the sperm swims towards the egg.
Mummy  : *eyes big big* (double) HUH?!

Oh well,  and that’s how I realised I had to get started on my basic introduction about the birds and the bees. I asked if they really know what are the sperms and eggs for and this is how to conversation went on :

Eryn        : The sperm is in the boy’s kukubird
Brendan : Ya, and the egg is inside the girl’s body.
Mummy  : Yes, and when the sperm meets the egg, you can have a baby.
                  And it is very important that you must understand.

And then, the conversation got really funny :

Brendan : How can the sperm go to the egg? The sperm is in my 'kukubird' lah.
Eryn        : Hahahahaha......
Brendan : So, you better don’t touch my sperm. Actually, the sperm is my two balls.
Mummy  : *eyes rolling and controlling laughter*
Eryn        : You see this book (pointing to the picture below), sperm plus egg equals
                  baby in the womb.
Brendan : Mummy, do you know that it is very dangerous if a boy only has one ball?
                  He can die one you know.

Oh well, that’s all on the so-called basic sex education. This was really getting nowhere. Besides, I was so tired to be able to do any proper explanation as it was nearing bed time for the kids.

This is the cover of the book. A very, very good book which I bought in the last Big, Bad Wolf sale. It covers mostly on the human body and the kids learnt a lot from there.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Aloe vera jelly drink

I noticed that the big, fat, aloe vera plant in my backyard has tilted while I was pulling out the weeds in the other pots. When I tried to put it back up straight, the bottom stem broke.

And so, I had to think of what to do with it. I kept some in the fridge and used some to make an aloe vera dessert drink. I remember drinking it at an aunt's place but had no idea how to prepare it at all.
So, I just make do with what I have in my fridge and boiled longan aloe vera jelly drink. Hubby says it taste good, except that it's not sweet enough for him.

My m.i.l. used it all the time to rub it on her face which she says contribute to her smooth skin. I have to admit that her skin looks good though. My mum says it's good for the hair and for burns and cuts on skin. So, I'll probably use those in my fridge for my sensitive skin. I use to hate aloe vera 'cos the sap cause itchiness to my skin. But the fat ones in the fridge should be good cos the flesh is thick and it's easy for me to cut the hard, green skin to avoid the remove the sap which is excreted just under the hard skin.

Here's my simplified recipe for the aloe vera jelly drink :

Ingredients : aloe vera (remove the hard skin and only take the gel-like texture), dried longans, red dates, pandan leaves and honey rock sugar. I added another a piece of one type of herb (kept a lot of it in my fridge) which I do not know the name. Amount to be used are in estimated amount.

Method : Boil the longans, dates and pandan leaves for about half an hour for the flavour to be out before adding in the aloe vera and continue simmer for another 10-15 minutes to remove the slimy texture from the aloe vera. Add rock sugar before turning off fire. I prefer to cool it down and drink it chilled.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Eryn enters primary one

It is now Eryn's turn to go to primary school. She seems pretty excited and knowing that she can cope well, I didn't feel so stressed up preparing her for her first day of school yesterday.

Brendan used to be an extremely shy boy but he was ok when he was in standard one. So, Eryn will definitely be ok too.

I went to school during Eryn's recess time yesterday, thinking that I was half hour early, but found that the standard one children were already queueing up, preparing to go back to their classrooms. I had bought chocolate milk for the kids and only managed to pass to Brendan. Luckily Eryn finished the bread I packed for her this morning.

During Brendan's time in standard one, there were a total of 11 classes compared to Eryn's year at only 6 classes this year. It's still chaotic though cos all the kids looks alike from the side or from the back in the standard blue and white uniform. I could only locate Eryn when I located her class queue. Even that also I found that she looked different as I've just cut her hair two days before school starts.

With Eryn being in the second batch of the new KSSR syllabus, I hope she can cope well in school. She can't reach much of chinese yet, as compared to Brendan.

This is the part and parcel of many parents' life when their kids enter school. Always a new phase as we go along our journey in life.

The standard one crowded during recess time.

Taken during school orientation day on 30th Dec 2011.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Another new year though it seems like yesterday that I......

It's the beginning of another new year and it's always that time of the year when I wish for a better year.

As I reflect back past memories, I feel and see so many things in my life, past and current.

I've now matured a lot. Tremendously in fact. I'm now a mother of two school-going children though it seems like only yesterday that I was a teenage girl, hanging out with friends and enjoying single life. And being single now means having my own personal time with my other half and my two 'creations', that means doing things as a family in most of our daily life.

I now pant and run out of breath when I run with the kids at the park. My body aches, my head turns when I get not enough sleep and I feel tired after a day out hiking. It seems like it was only yesterday when I was actively into sports and even represented the school in some sports. I ran the 100m sprint, took part in long jump, high jump, relay, netball and trained in the hot sun and rain. Sleeping late didn't give me problems the next day. now, it seems I'm contented sitting under the fan, reading a book or magazine or just surfing the net.

And speaking of surfing the net, it used to be lots of social media activities, getting to know new friends, oblivious to the term "danger" and chatting and looking at girlish stuffs. That seems like yesterday too but now, I've developed an interest in reading REAL news, on economic update and markets and reading technical charts, forgetting that accounting was one of my hated subject in college.

And speaking of danger, it seems like yesterday when me, my siblings and cousins, went out to play in my grandparent's kampung. We climbed mango trees, attempted to go up the rambutan trees, played hide and seek in the bushes and behind huge trees, catching spiders in pandan bushes and 'catching' fish in the huge drain nearby. We ran all over the kampung, without any fear of kidnapping or of strangers around. Now, I forbid my kids to do the things I used to do. Crime is a big worry nowadays, almost unheard of in my childhood days. We were happy kids without the computer, watching less tv, practically no toys as we DIY our own toys. Our childhood games was one filled with board games, playing bottle caps, home-sewn 'five-stones', and lots of outdoor games like hide-and-seek, police-and-thief, galah panjang and traditional games unheard of.

Lately, my boy is engrossed in his Plants-vs-Zombies game, influenced by his father during the recent school holidays. My girl, on the other hand, is into her whole list of Barbie movies.

On a personal level, I've taken bold steps to 'try' to go into a more flexi-job. The 'try' turned out to be a great. I never realised that taking the leap to leave the corporate world and the monotonous working life changed my view of the many things happening around. No more hearing of the bitching and backstabbing and complains. As someone said this many moons back, if you don't like it, stop complaining if you want to continue to be where you are, or just CHANGE if you can't stop complaining.

Oh well, too much ranting already. Feels so quiet now that the kids are out with their friends at the daycare centre. It had been a hectic and noisy school holiday and the sudden change makes me pause in my steps, feeling a little lost as to what I should be doing.

I should get back into my routine. Gotta move my butt now.

Happy New Year 2012 to all and cheers to a wonderful and lovely year ahead!!

Some of the shots taken during the Christmas season last month.


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