Thursday, 7 June 2018

Mini Potted Edible Plant Project

Since both my children are already attending school, I have a little more time in the mornings to take up a new hobby.  

I have always dreamed of having an edible garden of my own and have started a mini potted edible plant project last August (2017). 

Here are some "successful" and "somewhat successful" examples. 

First, its the Thai basil. I love basil and have tried planting sweet basil too, but have failed (twice). 

I put some cuttings in water and waited for the roots to grow. About two weeks after the roots started to grow, I transferred them into a pot with soil. 

A few days after the roots started to grow, I transferred the Thai Basil cuttings into soil. 

I desperately wanted to see the flowers on my Thai Basil plant so I had to sacrifice it. If I were to keep the plant, I should  cut off the flowers.


The plant thrived, to my delight, because I have not been successful in planting anything, even my spring onion was not really successful. (Later, I found out that spring onion would grow better in yellow soil.)

The second success was with mung beans. It was very satisfying watching them grow at a rapid speed and bore fruits in less than two months. 

This is how fast mung beans could sprout in soil. In just a day!


When the pods turns black and crips, it is time to harvest them!


My first harvest of mung beans. 

The next plants which bore fruit was the tomatoes. However, it was not very successful and we only harvested a tomato. The plant was attacked by disease and the leaves turned yellow. 


So, this the our one and only tomato.

My most recent harvest was the bettong ginger. It was a very successful one, despite me harvesting them at 9 months old. I just couldn't wait! I couldn't even wait of it to flower. However, I was really proud of it that I gave some away to a few friends. I don't need to consume all of them but I will replant them and yes, let them keep on multiply!


My bentong ginger plant at 9 months old.

Extremely proud of my bettong ginger! 

If you love to eat, you should try to grow some food too! The satisfaction of eating your own home grown food is beyond words. 

Happy farming!

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Regrowing Leek

I am a foodie. I can eat all day. But due to body image's sake, I have to discipline and control my food intake. 

So, I guess everyone who loves to eat might also want to have an edible garden of their own. Am I right? 
For years, I have imagined having a spice and herbs garden, and rows of vegetable patches so, about a year ago, I started my little project. 
On one hand, it was to make my dream come true and on the other, it was like a mini farming project I have with my kids. It is a joy to watch the food grow from seeds or even food scrapes. 


I have read about the regrowing plants in water and decided to give it a try. Leek is often used as in ingredient in my soups so I gave it a try. 
From water, I transferred it to soil in a pot. After two months, I managed to regrow it to 30cm long. 


The pictures below shows the growth of the leek from "in water" to "in soil". 





Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Another Way To Encourage Reading In Little Ones

In the recent months, I was trying to help my primary school going son to develop his creativity and imagination (art or drawing). At the same time, I also wanted to help him to improve his English language so I came up with this simple activity for him. 
The activity was to make a story book, based on a short story from one of the storybooks in our library. 
Another underlying reason for this project was to encourage him to read more often because reading from a "self made book" was more fun and he get to "show off" the end product to his sister and read to her (more often, I hope). 

On top of all that, I also get to evaluate his understanding via the pictures that he drew. 

So, the story that I chose for him was "A Very Rainy Day". 







I copied the story for him, dividing it into four sections and he had to draw pictures according to the storyline. 

In another effort to encourage or nurture creativity in him, I also gave him a drawing challenge every week where he had to draw three different pictures based on the same theme. For example, school. He could draw the buildings, students at the canteen, in the classroom, etc...  



Sunday, 2 April 2017

Number Recognition Activity For Preschoolers

My elder child, JS, loves to play handphone games, watching YouTube and DVDs. Since he was two, he was exposed to various electronic games and videos where he learnt his alphabets and numbers. When I started teaching him the old school way, he already could recognise all his alphabets, both capital and small letters and numbers one to ten. 

JE, on the other hand, does not have much interest in electronic games and videos. Thus, she was not really exposed to electronic games or videos like her brother. She could sing the Alphabet Song and recite numbers one to ten but she could barely recognise them. 

I decided to do what I did with JS. I started her with the alphabet charts. I don't have enough photos to do a post here yet so here is the link to an older post on the alphabet charts I did with JS.  http://sotayoutlet.blogspot.my/2014/06/one-word-chart-many-activities.html
JE loved it so much that we did it almost everyday. Sometimes, two alphabets in a day. 

Next, the numbers. I gave JE a different set of activity instead of the one I did with JS. This is because she actually knew how to count already but she still could not recognise the numbers. 

For her, the activity begins with counting the number of circles on her worksheet. In this case, five.  Then she would have to guess or choose the correct number from two numbers given. In this case, 5 and 6. 



Next, she learns to read the word "five" and “δΊ”” (which is five in Mandarin). 



Then she would have to paste them on the worksheet. 


Lastly, she would choose the correct number from the sticker sheet to stick in the box below. 
For this, she would always do two numbers in one session because I want her to learn to recognise and differentiate two different numbers at a time. And by looking for the correct number, which is a repetitive work, she would remember the number better. 

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Recycling Old Learning Materials

Hi. It has been a long time since I updated this blog. I have been busy with JS and JE. All I could say is, we needed time for transitions and Mummy has been so busy that she could hardly find time to do a proper post. JS entering Primary One, JE attending Kindergarten on her own (without JS) and Mummy feeling lost for being without both kids in the mornings. Thank God both kids managed to adapt to this new chapter in no time. JS started learning mainly in Mandarin, a language which is quiet foreign to him although it is his mother tongue. JE attended school happily despite not having her brother with her. She was jolly in the mornings and very exhausted when I pick her up but still, that could not stop her from telling me what she did in school.

Lots of activities are still going on at home.. Mummy has been busy with new learning materials. JE needed extra help with alphabet and number recognition so we are working on the alphabet charts (exactly the same one I used for JS four years ago) and I was so glad that she loves working on her charts. JS is adopting to a new learning system. Learning three languages (Mandarin, English and Malay), Maths, Science and Moral Education. Of course, as predicted Art and Craft and Physical Education are his favourite sessions in school.


Thank God we had a "break" last week. It was school holidays and I decided that our usually schedule was not important during holidays. We want to sleep in a bit more (but the kids won't cooperate! They still wake up early.... *sigh*), laze around a bit, watch a movie, eat more junk food, play with friends, sleep late, etc.

So on the first day of JS' school holiday, we went to a book fair and bought some sticker books. My kids love them. He got himself two sticker books, about outer space and soldiers respectively. We got two Hello Kitty sticker books for JE as she is crazily in love with Hello  Kitty and the colour pink.


While reading his new books, I told JS to choose a theme to work on this school holidays. He could choose any and he decided on outer space. Immediately, he remembered the planets we made three years ago.


We also used the leftover foam stickers from his outer space art and craft he did four years ago to draw an astronaut.
Then we made a new rocket and JS built the inside of a small spaceship with his Lego bricks. 




Finally the kids put stars on a black backdrop and set everything on top of the table in their bedroom.



Monday, 29 August 2016

Learning A New Language

One of the advantages of growing up in Malaysia is that we are expected to learn at least two languages. The national school uses Bahasa Malaysia (which is the Malay Language) as the medium of instruction and communication for all subjects but English is being taught as a second language. Besides national schools, we also have vernacular schools, which is also supported by the government but uses either Mandarin or Tamil as the main medium of instruction and communication for all subjects. Both Bahasa Malaysia and English Language are compulsory subjects for students attending these schools. As such, the students here are either bilingual or trilingual. 

In our family, we speak both Mandarin and English so it is easy for the kids to pick up these languages when they started school but they would have difficulties with Malay. I did not really spend time teaching them the Malay language until recently. JS has learnt the basics from his teacher in school but he still did not have a clear idea of how to read in that language. He has started to pick up in English reading so I thought it was a good time to start giving him a clearer idea on how to read in Malay. 

Here, I would like to share with you a simple activity that we did in an effort to give him a clearer picture of how Malay words are being formed. 

Since he has already know most of the basic syllabus used, I chose a few groups of syllabus to help him form words. 

Here, I chose three sets - ba bo bi bu be, ca co ci cu ce, la lo li lu le. He is familiar where these syllabus so it helps him to find the correct syllabus easily, therefore, he finds the activity easy and it helps to build his confidence in completing this task without much struggle. 



Next, as you can see in the picture below, I would read two syllabus (to form a word) one at a time, and he would choose them and write the word down. 


And lastly, he would draw a picture of the word to help him remember its meaning. 


It was simple, straightforward, fun and most importantly, we completed the activity in less them 20 minutes. I think it is a good drill for beginners like him. 

If you have experiences teaching a foreign language, please share with us a simple and fun method to introduce a new language to a child. 






Thursday, 14 April 2016

A Family Of Shapes


Yes, it is time to start formal classes with JE and hopefully I will have more posts to share soon. I am starting with the things she has shown more interests in and that would be glue, stickers, masking tape, colours and shapes. Last week, we made a collage of a garden (which I have not found time to write a post about it) but it seems to me that she could not figure/or picture out what we were doing. Well, she knows grass, tree, flowers, sky, cloud, bird and butterfly but she did not show much interest in arranging or pasting the pieces of papers. She was more engrossed in putting glue on them. So this time round, I thought perhaps making a face would help her to learn how to form a picture (or rather, get a picture of what we are making)  because I assumed that she would know where to put the eyes, nose, mouth and hair. Hmmm... 

She was excited the moment she saw me arranging her table and chair to where she would do some work. She was more thrilled when she saw me taking out the bottle of glue. She started putting glue on a piece of yellow paper but after she was done, she just passed the paper to me. Yes, she still hasn't get the purpose of putting on a glue on a piece of paper but that's alright. I asked her where she wanted to put the paper and she pointed at the bottom right of the art block. Then she continued putting glue on the next piece of paper. 

JE putting glue on the yellow triangle. 
After sticking all four shapes, I asked her to pick a shape for each family member. She chose square for Daddy, circle for her big brother, rectangle for Mommy and triangle for herself. 

Next comes the fun part of putting on the eyes, nose, mouth and hair all according to the shape of the face. For the square face, she should stick on square eyes and for the circle face, she should stick on circle eyes and so on. I use labelling stickers which are a lot easier to handle and she could learn to peel them off. It's an important fine motor skill and also fun to do. 


JE peeling a labeling sticker. 

So this is Mommy and Daddy



and this is JS her big brother



and this is JE herself!


When JS came home from school and saw what JE did, he also wanted to make one. This is what he did.