2015 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 17,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

A Summary of 2015

2015 – A year of bringing the li’l tot on adventures, trying new recipes, learning new things, and easing myself back into the workforce …. a good year! Thanks hubby for doing life with me. It’s all so much more meaningful because of you and our precious li’l one.

January
Butterfly Farm

February
Celebrating CNY with Family
March
Joshayne’s First Movie @ GSC

April
Tunku Abdul Rahman Aquarium, Penang
Celebrating Joshayne’s 2nd Birthday in Kuching

May
KL Trip – Joshayne’s first TRAIN ride
Joanna’s Wedding
Reunion with IPBA 304A girls + (hubs and tots)
Mother’s Day and Birthday celebrations
Kidland, Penang

June
Taiping Zoo, Perak

Countryside Stable, Penang
Saanen Dairy Goat Farm, Penang
Father’s Day and Wedding Anniversary Celebrations
*Rendang Tok
*Red Velvet Cake

July
Youth Park, Penang
Botanical Garden, Penang
*Satay chicken with Peanut Sauce and Nasi Impit
*Tomyum Soup and Tomyum Spaghetti
*Mild Javanese Chicken in Coconut Milk

August
Langkawi Family Trip
Girls’ Day Out with 304A gals/Farewell for Azrin
September
Logos Hope
*Butter Prawns
October
Joshayne @ Rowena’s
Officially back to work (part-time@Cytron)
November
New car .. Honda Jazz! Yeah~
Penang International Science Fair

December
Balik Kampung (Kuching) – Family time and Izora’s wedding
rero workshops @ public libraries
rero Events @ AEON Jusco and PSC
KL work trip + ToT for rero Jr Facilitators
Klang – Uncle Michael and family and Ps Alan & A.Lai Forng
Joshayne’s first FERRY ride

Books Read

85 - Better Sentence Writing in 30 Minutes a Day by Dianna Campbell 86 - Mind Your Child's Language Development by Haja Mohideen 87 - The Phonology Factor by Nadine Pedron and Susan Brown 88 - Run by Ann Patchett 89 - How to Teach Your Baby to Read, The Gentle Revolution by Glenn and Janet Doman 90 - Room to Read by John Wood 91 - Maze Runner The Scorch Trials by James Dashner 92 - Southeast Asia's Best Recipes by Wendy Hutton 93 - Loghat Hokkien Pulau Pinang by Tan Choon Hoe 94 - Love in Penang - Compilation of Short Stories 95 - Maze Runner The Death Cure by James Dashner 96 -Legendary Service by Ken Blanchard, Kathy Cuff and Vicki Halsey 97 - The Mesh by Lisa Gansky 98 - The First Phone Call From Heaven by Mitch Albom 99 - The One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson 100 - Life's Like That by Lydia Teh …..

Online Courses

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One.Two.Three.

Diary of a SAHM – Day 602

I’ve written much about Joshayne’s language development. Today, I’m going to focus on numeracy. At 2 1/2 years old, Joshayne can count and also add up to 10 (with the help of my fingers, of course). So how did we get here?

Step 1: Getting to know numbers
We let him play with this….

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He became familiarized with the shape of each numeral as he learned to fit it back into the hole where it belonged. When he picked up a number, we repeatedly told him what number it was. It didn’t take him long to know all of them.

Step 2: Learning to say one to ten in the correct order
Repetition worked wonders here. We just kept saying one to ten to him in various languages – English, Malay, Mandarin, Hokkien, Cantonese, and Japanese even. We made it fun by using different tones and funny voices. We also sang number songs, read counting books and watched LittleBabyBum videos together. After he could recite one to ten in the correct order, we proceeded to the next step.

Step 3: Let’s count
We started to count people and things around us. We held up our fingers for him to count too. We just kept counting and counting… one, two, three, four…. Even till now, when we are out and about, Joshayne might suddenly say, “Mummy, let’s count the….” and we will start counting together.

Step 4: 1 plus 1 equals to…. ?
After Joshayne had mastered the skill of counting objects, we taught him the concept of addition. This was how we went about it:-

M: One (show one finger, left hand) plus one (show another finger, right hand) equals to…? (pause) Joshayne, count.
JD:
(counting mummy’s fingers) One, two…. Two!
M: Yeah! (clap hands + funny dance) How about two plus two? Two plus two equals to…?
JD: One, two, three, four… Four!
Mummy: Four! Good job. (hugs and kisses)

We just kept playing this “game” and it was all a lot of FUN! If you have a li’l tot at home, why not give it a try?

He-li-cop-ter

Diary of a SAHM – Day 571

After referring to helicopters as “help-ter” for months, Joshayne can FINALLY say “he-li-cop-ter”. Yes! Hip-hip-hurray~

JD’s Language Development (Part II)

Diary of a SAHM – Day 564

JD’s Language Development (Part I)

Joshayne started verbalizing words when he was around one year old. At that stage, his spoken vocabulary was made up of mostly NOUNS, i.e. names of people, animals and things, in his immediate context. We consciously pointed things out to him and kept telling him what they were.
Later on, he picked up VERBS, i.e. action words. Exaggerated actions and repetition worked wonders here. Next, we introduced ADJECTIVES. For example, instead of just saying “car” or “cat”, we encouraged him to describe the object by saying “red car” and “black cat”, etc. We also taught him opposites such as big vs small, hot vs cold, and so on.

We’ve discovered that the most effective way to teach Joshayne is to engage all his senses – let him touch, feel, taste and interact with the objects instead of just telling him (*safety must come first, of course!). For example, we let Joshayne play with an ice cube while repeatedly telling him what it was and that it was ‘cold’.  Another important point is to be enthusiastic, i.e. be the drama king/queen. Seeing a cat might not excite you, but it can well be the highlight of the day for your little one who is seeing a cat or touching it for the FIRST time in his life! Get what I mean?

As his vocabulary grew, Joshayne began to join words together to form phrases/clauses. He started to consistently use ADJECTIVES before NOUNS (e.g. big bus, sharp teeth, white truck). He also began to describe actions using a VERB-NOUN construction, such as kick ball, read book, fry egg etc.

Joshayne can already understand the idea of possession. There are certain drawers (for example, those in the kitchen) that he is not allowed to open because they are “mah-nee’s drawers” (yup, he still calls me “money”!). He knows how to add /s/ or /z/ sound to his name/Mummy/Daddy to show possession. For example, he says “Daddy’s motorbike,” “mah-nee’s car,” “Joshayne’s digger” and so on. He can also use possessive PRONOUNS such as “my” (as in “my Daddy” and “my book”) and “your” (as in “your phone”). Sometimes, he still gets mixed up though.

Recently, Joshayne started using the CONJUNCTION “and.” He used it to link words together, such as “Daddy and Joshayne” and “red and blue and yellow.” I guess that’s the easiest conjunction to pick up.  Joshayne has also been using SEQUENCE CONNECTORS such as “first” and “and then.” I suppose he learnt those from us because we would normally say things like “Joshayne, finish your milk first, and then we can go out…”

The last few months, I let Joshayne watch videos on my phone and also showed him pictures that we had taken together. Initially, I thought it was a “harmless” activity since we only did this occasionally and I consciously monitor and limit his screen-time.  However, alarm bells started ringing in my head when he showed signs of addiction. Oh-uh. So for the time being, I try not to use my phone when he is around. Sometimes, he will ask for my phone – “Where’s mah-nee’s phone?” And I’ll respond by getting him to look for it together with me. “Joshayne, where is mummy’s phone? Is it UNDER the pillow? Is it ON the table? Is it IN the drawer?” And we’ll walk around the house, looking under the pillows or cushions, opening and closing drawers etc. Sometimes, we play hide-and-seek. Sometimes, we hide his toys and then prompt him to look for them. “Joshayne, where is your red car? Is it in the toy box?” We all enjoyed the games and had lots of fun, and Joshayne learnt to use  PREPOSITIONS of place. To date, he already knows basic ones such as “under”, “in”, “on”, “behind”, “through” and “next to”.

Joshayne is very good at giving directions too. He has a walker and another pink trolley bag/suitcase that he pushes around the house while saying…. “move forward”, “turn left/right”, “u-turn”, “reverse”, “go through the tunnel”, and so on. He does that when he plays with his toy vehicles as well.

In recent weeks, Joshayne has improved tremendously in terms of understanding simple questions  and responding to them appropriately. Some of the question words that he is familiar with are WHERE, WHO, and WHAT. Here are some sample questions that we posed and his responses…

M: Where is Daddy?
JD: Daddy’s working./ Daddy’s upstairs. / Daddy’s in the bathroom.

M: What is this? Is this a ?
JD:
Yes. / No. It’s a .

M: Can the helicopter fly?
JD:
Yes.
M: Can birds fly?
JD: Can!
M: Can the digger fly?
JD: Cannot.

M: What happened?
JD: Barney fell down, like Humpty.

@ the traffic lights
M: Ops. Red light now. What should I do?
JD: Stop.
M: Can I go now? (still red light)
JD: No.
M: It’s green now. Can I go?
JD: Can~

Looking at aeroplane pictures
M: Where is the pilot?
JD: In the cockpit.
M: What about Joshayne, Mummy and Daddy?
JD: In the cabin.

M: It’s so hot. What should I do?
JD: Turn on the fan / air-cond.

M: It’s dark. What should I do?
JD: Turn on the light.

M: Oh-uh. Joshayne spilt water on the table. What should you do?
JD: Wipe wipe wipe.
(*coach him to get the dish towel from the kitchen)

Lately, he has begun to ASK questions too. On several occasions, I have also observed him narrating while playing with his toys. I love to show him pictures and tell him stories because he seems better able to understand now and he can respond to simple questions about the story. When we look at the pictures again (the next day or a few days later), he is able to recall and tell the gist of the story (just a few words or phrases) when prompted with questions.

His vocabulary is growing at a steady rate. By now, he can repeat almost all new words that we teach him (be it in English, Mandarin, Hokkien or even Malay). Thus, it’s almost impossible for me to record every new word that he utters. I still try my best to note down but I’ve long given up trying to keep a complete list of his spoken vocab.  Anyway, here’s a list of words/phrases/clauses that Joshayne says from time to time that we find especially cute, endearing and memorable.

Eng eng liaw, mai kong liaw.
U for UTC.
Merdeka! Merdeka!
Thank you God for this new day.
In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

Ukulele.
Ai du uh.
按摩 (massage) leg/toes.
Happy Birthday.
祝你快乐。(wish you happiness)
…is coming!
Langkawi.
Excuse me.
Accident.
Repair 好了。(repaired already)
Like Humpty.
Joshayne 弄的。Mummy 弄的。(….. did it.)
Burst your bubbles.

It has been an amazing journey so far. Let me just end this post with my favourite two words from my li’l tot:

“LOVE Mah-Neeeeee…”

My Current Favourite Bread Recipes

Diary of a SAHM – Day 552

Simple White Bread Recipe

1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup water (or milk)
2 tbsp white sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups all purpose flour
1.2 tsp yeast

I first came across this simple white bread recipe on FB earlier this year. I tried it and loved it. Since then, I’ve made countless loaves of white bread using this recipe, so much so that I can recite it from memory. And since I’ve been letting my l’il toddler help me in kitchen, I guess it won’t be long before he starts making fresh bread for my breakfast! Haha…

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And this is my personal adapted version, which is hubby and baby approved – nutty chocolate bread! Basically, I followed the recipe as above but substituted water with milk + cocoa powder. I also added a few spoonfuls of grounded peanuts + brown sugar and some butter. It tastes great on its own, and even better with a slab of peanut butter and jelly.

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If you have a bread maker, why not give it a try? I’m sure you’ll love it. Cheers~

Butter Prawns

Diary of a SAHM – Day 550

Finally, I came up with my own version of the famous butter prawns. Hip hip hurray! However, there were only three prawns, and ALL were for ME because… (i) Kiate had sore throat so he couldn’t eat, (ii) the li’l one doesn’t like prawns and (iii) I LOVE PRAWNS. Yummy~

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Lest I Forget…

Diary of a SAHM – Day 541

Now that I’m not teaching in school, I’ve lost track of time. My days and weeks have blended together and I have to resort to blogging to record Joshayne’s milestones (lest I forget). This blog has, in a way, become my personal online journal+recipebook+notebook. So please do excuse the randomness of my blog posts.

Joshayne @ 2 years and 4 months old

His current favourite song is “Wheels on the Bus.” He has always loved listening to songs, and lately, he has begun to hum and sing along when we sing to/with him. Some of the songs that he can ‘sing’ are Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Happy Birthday song, Baa Baa Black Sheep, Jesus Loves Me This I Know, Walking with Jesus,  小蜜蜂,ABC song, etc.

His favourite YouTube videos are those by Little Baby Bum, Bob the Builder and Tayo the Little Bus (or because those are the few that I let him watch. Ops.)
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He LOVES his toy vehicles; he plays with them EVERY DAY! He has a blue motorbike, a jet, an ambulance, two helicopters, three trains, three buses, a crane, a truck, a taxi, a bulldozer, a digger, a steamroller, and MANY cars (I’ve lost count). He can name all of them. He also has a Daddy mouse, a Mummy mouse and a Baby mouse. And he loves to play with his dad’s RERO robots too.

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Joshayne enjoys reading books too. We go to the library together as often as we can – usually once a week or every other week. After checking out library books, he likes to help me to put them in my bag. Joshayne is also a member of i-Play and his favourite educational toys there are the wooden vehicles.

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 He can roll and throw a ball but he prefers to KICK. He gets excited when we let him play on the SLIDE. He can walk, and run, and JUMP (with both feet off the ground, finally).

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Sometimes he pretends to play the guitar using his badminton racquet, and he will insist that I play along with him (as he has two racquets). Sometimes he plays the keyboard/piano (an imaginary one, as we do not have the budget to buy a piano yet) or the drum (banging on any free surface), and asks me to play the violin.

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He helps me with household chores – holding the dustpan when I sweep the floor, snapping beans, putting his dirty clothes into the laundry basket, putting away his toys after he is done playing with them, helping me to make the bed after he wakes up, picking up bits and pieces off the floor and throwing them into his dustbin, rinsing his own cup, etc.

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He knows how to say PLEASE, SORRY, EXCUSE ME, THANK YOU and WELCOME and uses them in context. He will say “QUEUE UP” when we wait at the counter to pay and he will tell himself or his playmates to “WAIT FOR YOUR TURN” when they have to share a toy or take turns to play on the slide.

He will remind us to say grace before meals if we forget. He will hold his hands together in prayer and he can end the prayer saying “in Jesus’ name we pray, amen.”

He can recognise all the letters of the alphabet, both uppercase and lowercase, and he can say their letter names. He can also recite the alphabet from A to Z, though he sometimes misses M and N. He knows all the numerals and can count from one to ten in English (fluently, on his own) and also in mandarin, hokkien, teochew  and malay language (with guidance). Recently, he is in the habit of counting everything around him.

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He knows the following body parts, i.e. can touch and say: head, hair, eye, eyebrow, nose, ear, mouth, tongue, teeth, cheek, chin, neck, shoulder, arm, armpit, elbow, hand, finger, tummy, leg, knee, and toe.

He knows the following COLOURS – red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, pink, brown, gray, white, and black, but he sometimes gets mixed up between purple and pink. He also knows basic SHAPES, namely circle, oval, square, rectangle, rhombus, star, cross and heart. 

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Joshayne is able to solve simple puzzles like the following:
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Joshayne’s favourite animals are guinea pigs, cats and ducks. From our many trips to various zoos and farms, animal picture books and songs on YouTube, Joshayne has become familiar with the following insects/animals and the sounds they make: dog (woof), cat (meow), bird (tweet), lion (roar), bear (growl), frog (ribbit), elephant (pawoo), horse (neigh), duck (quack), sheep (baa), goat (mek), pig (oink), cow (moo), rabbit, orang utan, crocodile, hippo, flamingo, deer, zebra, monkey, tiger, snake, fish, chicken,  butterfly, shark, buffalo, penguin, mouse, giraffe, etc.

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That’s quite an achievement for a li’l tot, I think (of course, my opinion is biased!). Hehe. Anyway, it has been an exciting journey of discovery for us as a family and it is such a joy to explore the world with Joshayne. He has given us the opportunity to see the world from another perspective – that of a little child!

Don’t grow up too fast my little baby boy.

Personal Observations and also Reminders to Self:
* Little toddlers are like sponge, eagerly absorbing new knowledge and picking up new skills. We need to provide them with learning opportunities. Learning is FUN and we should keep it that way for our children, who naturally ENJOY learning new things.

* I’ve been amazed over and over again every time I witness Joshayne picking up a new skill and progressing in his language development etc. I guess it’s natural for me to be filled with a motherly-pride over his accomplishments. At the same time, I also realise (or rather constantly have to remind myself) that he’s just like any other kids – he is not above others. There is no need to compare. There is no need to push him to perform, but to let him develop at his own pace.

Langkawi Family Trip

Diary of a SAHM – Days 526-9

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Day o 

Penang to Langkawi by flight (around 30 mins)
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*Upon arrival, we rented a car at the airport.
*After some negotiations, we managed to get a Perodua Viva at RM60 per day.

Day 1 

Eagle Square
*FREE, around 15-30mins

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Wildlife Park & Bird Paradise
*Around 15mins from Kuah town (by car)
*RM18 (Adult)/RM12 (Senior Citizen)
*RM6 for a packet of pellets, vege etc to feed the animals (should get this!)
*Estimate to spend around 2-3 hours here
*Plan your meals ahead; Not many eateries here or nearby – only one cafe inside (not many choices) and one restaurant outside the entrance (extremely expensive, mostly spicy food)

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Oriental Village – SkyCab 
*RM20 (Adult) / RM10 (Children), 45mins-1hr

*SkyBridge +RM5 (we didn’t go because the proper pathway was not ready yet and online reviews mentioned that it wasn’t easy/safe for the elderly or little children to trek to the site; about 10 mins from the SkyCab station)

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Day 3

Laman Padi Langkawi
*RM5 (Adult), around 30mins
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Mali-mali Beach Resort

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Day 4
Langkawi – Penang (by flight)

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Satay Chicken, Peanut Sauce and Nasi Impit

Diary of a SAHM – Day 513

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If you have been following my blog, you’d know that I’ve recently learnt how to cook chicken rendang and rendang tok from scratch.  And whenever we have rendang, I’d crave for lemang to go with it. I’ve been on the lookout for lemang since. The other day, we FINALLY saw someone selling lemang by the roadside, BUT we had finished our rendang at home. We bought the lemang anyway and dropped by a hawker centre to buy satays (IN ORDER TO get the peanut sauce to go with the lemang).

So while we were enjoying the lemang and satay with peanut sauce, I wondered out loud – why not make my own peanut sauce? To which, Kiate, who is nuts about peanuts, promptly responded,  “Why not?” And so I began watching YouTube videos and surfing the Internet for recipes. After considering several different versions, I decided to follow Grace’s recipes – satay chicken, peanut sauce and nasi impit. The recipes turned out great! Yum yum~

Ingredients (Satay)

  • 500g chicken breast
  • 3cm galangal
  • 3 lemon grass
  • 3cm turmeric
  • 3 shallots
  • 1t fennel powder
  • 1t cumin powder
  • 1/2t salt
  • 1tbsp sugar
  • Skewers

Ingredients (Peanut Sauce)

  • 300g Groundnuts (Peanuts)
  • 4 Lemon Grass
  • 3 Cloves of Garlic
  • 2 Shallots
  • 3cm Galangal
  • 8 Dried Chillies
  • 400ml Water
  • Salt
  • 60g Gula Melaka (Palm Sugar)
  • 1t Tamarind Paste