Happy Teacher’s Day

It’s Teacher’s Day and the boys had their celebration in school yesterday. Every year, we would make it a point to brainstorm on gift ideas for their favourite teachers. I have to admit that most of the time, the boys were clueless and Mom ended up being the one scouring the internet for ideas. So far, the internet has served us well.

We made Granola last year and Rainbow Bath Salt the year before. This year we found these cute printables and decided to make these candy cards for their teachers. They were really easy to make. Just print, cut and stick.

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We used Hershey’s Nuggets which were just the right size for the printed candy wrappers. The elder brother helped to hot glue all the candy wrappers to the candies and the little one did the easier job of sticking the candies onto the cards. I contributed by giving them access to my stash of card stock. We had a little problem trying to get the cards to stand due to the weight of the candies and had to improvise by sticking some sturdier cardboards to the back of the cards. Thankfully it worked!

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My elder son is actually at the stage where ‘it is not very cool to give a teacher’s day gift’ but these were so cute, he decided to grab a handful of them to place on the teachers’ desks. The little one was delighted when told by his form teacher that his candy card was the BEST present she had received this year. It was delightful to know that the teachers enjoyed this simple gift.

My husband chirped that he had NEVER given any present to his teachers before! Perhaps it’s a guy thing and it made me wonder how many teachers went away feeling unappreciated because they did not receive a card or a gift on Teacher’s Day.

Teaching is a very noble profession that shapes the character, caliber, and future of an individual. If the people remember me as a good teacher, that will be the biggest honor for me. ~ A.P.J. Abdul Kalam

I always believe that teaching is a noble profession and that the really passionate ones are often driven by more than a fat pay check. Unlike a parent who teaches her own offsprings, it takes a big heart for someone to dedicate his/her time to teaching and shaping minds of little ones who are totally unrelated to them. What drives and motivates a good teacher is usually intrinsic and perhaps even beyond the tangible.

If children are the future pillars of our nation then teachers are the ones, along with parents, who help lay the foundation for our pillars. What job can be more important than this?

It is not an exaggeration to say that a great teacher can change a student’s life. I have seen in my boys, how a good teacher can make them enjoy a lesson on a subject that they hate. They are motivated to do well for the subject because they don’t want to disappoint their teachers.

Then there are teachers who may not always hold it together. These are times when we get the opportunity to teach the kids about empathy and respect.

They learn that they should hold their tongues and show respect even if the teachers weren’t always nice. That if their mom can go berserk trying to manage 2 kids, what more for a teacher who needs to teach a class of rowdy kids on a daily basis.

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The work a teacher put in might seem invisible but I believe that the effect goes beyond an award, a gold star or what KPIs can measure. We probably can’t tell when their influence will stop but we know it will leave a trail on the hearts of the students that were being taught.

So to the teachers who inspire, motivate, encourage or simply show us that you are just human, thank you and Happy Teacher’s Day.

 

 

3

My Silly Boy

My 6 year old is a funny guy.
He has an infectious laughter and has his way of charming strangers with his smile.
He isn’t fazed by who’s nice and who’s not and he doesn’t sweat the small stuff.
like that day when a whole bunch of little guys “attacked” him in the school field
he took them down one by one, as he proudly put it
and next day had his own group of little friends fight back.
He plays fighting, the kind that bothers his elder brother.

A tough guy he might seem
He’s also the boy who will write you a note and surprise you with a handmade gift.

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He loves silly books and stories of Mr Men tickle him.
Asterix and Obelix are his favourite bedtime stories.
And from the older boys at home, he had learned to appreciate the subtle jokes of the 2 Gauls
He think that it is funny that Obelix thinks that Helvetia is FLAT
and he will say that peppered with gestures and all
It makes you wonder who’s funnier, Obelix or him

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Apart from Lego and ipad, trash is his next favourite plaything
He gathered a pile of them and told me they were gifts for my birthday and for Mother’s Day
In those boxes where my Thai mangoes, tea set, cookies and miscellaneous used to lie
I found doodles, love notes, paper puppets, heart shaped bookmarks, a silly book he wrote and more silly stuffs he made

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During our last holiday, he discovered that coffee stirrers made good toys.
I bought him a pack of ice cream sticks and he had many hours of fun making what he called ‘stick bombs’

In case you are as clueless as me
The challenge is to make the most intricate ‘stick bombs’ (no glue used) and watch them ‘explode’ when they hit the ground

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During our recent DIY project, he kept one of the left over wooden block, doodled some logos on it and made a game out of it.

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Sometime he will take his pile of trash and turn them into castles and forts for his Lego people

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Other times, he would churn out a TV complete with remote control

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On days when he feels inspired, he would play me a tune or 2 on his ukulele

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His brother and him made a little something for their Dad on Father’s Day
They don’t have a name for it.
Some scraps they spent a couple of hours putting together

They had LED lights saved from his Dad’s fallen drone
Some Arduino stuff they brought home from school and have them controlled by a computer program

They only managed to automate half of this dancing light thingy.
So the little brother had to be the manual controller controlling the other half
pushing 2 ends of a row of alkaline batteries that were tucked away from sight to make the dancing lights dance

Dad was of course exhilarated to receive the mobile disco along with
what looked like a jet plane that had crashed, all dancing to their favourite dance music.

 
 
This post was inspired by Auntie’s Pam Carnival Games who made some really cool carnival games using recycled materials!

2

A Home Improvement Project

It’s the school holiday and just when I thought I could finally take a break from Mummy’s duties, I was being thrown into another madness of outings, incessant nagging and chasing after energized younglings.

So my husband finally took some time off from work and has had grand plans for some home improvement projects.

Between overseas holiday and home improvement projects, I had chosen the latter thinking that since our place is relatively new, any home fix shouldn’t be too complicated. I badly needed a break, a relaxing one and by my standard, that would mean, eat, sleep, do nothing and repeat the cycle again.

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We just did a major renovation to our place a few months ago and we love how our home now reflects our style and living habits. We had spent many hours researching and discussing (or arguing) and drawing out the plan. My husband fixed most of the living room and study furniture himself. No, he isn’t a carpenter or interior designer by vocation. In fact it was his first time fixing furniture after we got our new place.

Recently, I have been bugging him to set up the computer so that I could access all our old photos from an old hard disk. Despite having put in a lot of thought in our design, we had somehow missed out a permanent home for the computer! Still I thought it wouldn’t be a problem as there was plenty of ad hoc spaces that we could use, like the sprawling craft table that he had skilfully made for us to get messy.

Apparently that was not good enough by his standard. He spent a couple of days brainstorming with the kids and came up with this.

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A detailed plan that he had neatly drew out with measurements and shopping list, which required extensive work to replace a wall of bookcases with wall shelves and a working top.

I was told that the project would take 3 days and I would be spared from the mess and stress. I wasn’t told how though. I guess my husband thought he could hold the sky just by being around.

My husband and I don’t often see eye to eye. He’s a typical Martian. He likes to fix things and I like to shop. We come from different planets. It’s hard for him to understand why one needs 10 pairs of shoes when he could live on a single pair. He is good at visualizing and have exactly what he wants planned out while I need to see 10 different options physically before I can decide.

I knew trying to change his mind regarding the design would take insurmountable effort. It would require sound logic and reasoning and superb negotiating skills. Yet there’s nothing logical about choosing between wall shelves and standing bookcases. Or is there?

Seeing how enthusiastic the boys were, I decided to go with the plan.

Over 5 days, we visited Ikea 5 times. We were there during the day with the kids to browse and returned at night (without the kids) to purchase. I knew if left on their own, the boys would head straight to the warehouse, collect the items they need and proceed to the checkout aisle. But that would be too haphazard. I had to zigzag through the maze in the Swedish furniture store, be inspired and bombard them with alternative ideas. Even though these ideas often couldn’t withstand their counter argument. But at least I tried.

This went on every time we visit the store. It was exhausting, both physically and mentally. I was so tempted to check into a hotel and come back after the chaos was over!

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The boys learned to drill, screw, sand and saw from the “master”. The house was in a total mess and sawdust was everywhere. (That is the problem living in an apartment with no outdoor space!) I did more cleaning and mopping in the few days than I would normally do in a month. On top of the mess, I had to worry about a party at our place at the end of the week. It has became more stressful than before my husband went on leave.

But slowly, what we had on paper finally took form.

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It was a wonderful and satisfying feeling to see everything comes together. The boys were happy with their work. They had a good time bonding with their Dad and picked up some useful skills from him. They have learned that there is almost always a solution to everything. If you put your heart and mind to it, you can do it, even if you have no experience doing it.

As for me, I was exhausted but relieved that we have survived another DIY project. I learned that marriage and parenting are like home improvement projects. They are always work in progress. To navigate through the waters of turbulence, we need to communicate and compromise. It requires hell lot of effort and it requires us to keep working at it.

So to their Dad, my husband, who had incidentally taught us some good lessons with his unwavering determination in achieving what he wants (a few broken drill bits and a broken jig saw didn’t stop him!) … Happy Father’s Day! 

 

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