[Friday Flips] F’s rendition of Van Gogh’s Starry Night

After almost three weeks into 2017, we are more or less settled with the new schedule. The family is still coughing our way into the nights but at least we are on the road to recovery. Mornings are precious because those are the times when the kids are fresh and eager to learn. So far, we had fun doing grocery together, exercised and enjoyed our playground time, busied ourselves in the kitchen and had an artistic morning.

Faith has always indicated an interest in art and I have wanted to enrol her in some art classes. Alas, our last school holidays were so packed (with activities and rest and getting sick) that she didn’t get to attend any in the end. Despite that, we attempted to learn about artists and their works last month and I thought we should continue what we have started.

The next artist that we learnt about is Vincent Van Gogh.

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This book talks about how a boy followed the attitudes of the adults around him and bullied an eccentric painter (Van Gogh) before realising that there is more than one way to see the world when he met the painter face-to-face. I thought this book is one that helps to address bullying and how one ought to treat others. Our girl ‘catch no ball’ (couldn’t comprehend) although she got acquainted with Mr Van Gogh and his artwork through this book.

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The next book that we read was Katie and the Starry Night which is definitely more interesting and enjoyable. We went through some of the paintings of Van Gogh such as Vincent’s Chair, Noon, The Olive Grove and Fishing Boats on the Beach before starting to work on her rendition of The Starry Night. The main materials that we used were square sponges, cotton buds and the heads of Bok Choy (because I was cooking them the night before).

Using the square sponges, she dabbed them in blue to paint the sky.

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The next stage is to use the cotton bud to create the swirls in white and yellow. This was when Dan came in. He could well have fun with it too!

After the paint had dried up a little, it’s time to put in the stars using the head of the Choy. The design is lovely, isn’t it?

Lastly, I got Faith to cut out the houses from the corrugated paper and pasted them on the artwork.

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This took us the whole morning (plus playground time while waiting for the paint to dry up a little) but we were all satisfied at the end of it.

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We love the Katie’s adventure series a lot and thankfully our libraries stock them. You can read more about Monet’s works through Katie and the Waterlily Pond!

Which artist shall we touch on next?

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Read, read, read

I believe we all know that reading is an important skill and many of us read to the child even before he/she was born. As a (ex) language teacher, I know it is vital that the child knows how to decode a word and therefore read before he/she enters formal school (Primary School). It is my goal that my children acquire a love for reading and so I read to Faith diligently even before she was born and continued to do so after that.

BUT… a few months back, I was overwhelmed with work and by that I mean teaching Faith, household chores, looking after a very energetic boy, etc and I was tired out. We still made it a point to visit the library and borrowed many books but those books were placed on the tabletop, some untouched. There were times when Faith asked me to read to her but I was just too tired and told her we could do so the next day…the next day…the next day. Gradually, I realised that she had lost her interest in reading and when I did ask her to get a book to read, she would prefer working on other stuff to reading.

That’s when I ‘woke up’. This has got to stop! And I started to Drop Everything And Read to her. I make it a point to read at least five books a day to her. You might think this is a low target but at times, I can’t even get past two books. Seriously!

So I persisted with my #fiveaday for a few months and am glad to say that Faith’s interest for reading is back! How do I know? She would ask me to read books to her and would stay glued to the story even though it is a long one. Now, when I ask her for predictions, she would respond based on the illustration or her own knowledge. We talk about a certain book over conversations and her eyes will light up, “Remember, the boy who….the one in the book we read yesterday?”

It does good for me too. I rekindled my love for reading and started to find time in between chores to read. When Faith saw me reading, she asked to be read to as well. Ah…we are sharing the pleasure of reading again!

I would like to share a book that helped me (sort of) get back to reading for pleasure, and not just for information.

img_0614Found in the Adult Lending section
Call No. 011.62 HUN

This book talks about using books to help children grow and lists some of the best-loved books for children from 0 to 14 years old. However, there is only one copy available in our library and I’m currently holding on to it (as of 21st October). It’s quite possible that I would fork out $$$ for it. 😉

Here’s sharing with you ten ways to raise a reader (adapted based on this book):

  1. Restrict screen time drastically.
  2. Keep the computer, ipad, phones under control and where they can be monitored. Don’t allow too many hours on pointless games or in chat rooms.
  3. Have books and other good reading material within easy reach, an enticement to read.
  4. Let your children see you reading.
  5. Read books aloud together regardless of age.
  6. Talk about books together; play games together.
  7. Have well-lit rooms with comfortable chairs that invite reading.
  8. Balance activity schedules with reading time. Let your kids know the library is as important as the gymnasium (sports).
  9. Encourage reading in bed with good lights to do so.
  10. Visit the library often, and listen to books-on-tape when travelling.

So, I say..

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Friday flips | Little Miss, Big Sis

It must be tough being my daughter.

Maybe because I’ve no help at home, I expect Faith to be able to take care of herself, dress herself, feed herself, etc and I find myself unable to tolerate any ‘accident’ from her.

I forgot that she’s just a 39MO girl and that her motor skills, be it fine or gross, are still developing.

The other day, she peed out of her potty, thereby dirtying the floor and she got screamed at. I had cleaned the toilet twice that morning and thinking of having to clean it again irritated me.

I rushed out dinner that evening, thinking that I could finally relax since the hubs would be back soon and the girl had to knock the bowl of soup over. Oh, the table and the floor! Oh, oily stuff! Oh my! 

I lashed out at her, “How old are you already? Are you still a baby? Can’t you eat properly?”

I lost it. Awful mom!

She had to endure my madness that day and I felt like a terrible mom. Oh Lord, I can’t do it anymore. 

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Little Miss, Big Sis by Amy Krouse Rosenthal & Peter H. Reynolds

When I regained my sanity after a much-needed jog, I realised that this girl that God has blessed me with is indeed a wonderful gift. This book ‘Little Miss, Big Sis’ tells why.

She’s my great supporter when I was pregnant with the boy and together, we received her brother with joy.

She adores her brother from day 1.

Her love for him never wavers, no matter how much scolding she got because of him.

She sings to him, knowing that he will appreciate her songs.

And yes, this is true.

Not only does she supports her brother, she supports me by helping out whenever I need it. It could be simple things like getting a handkerchief to clean the drool off her brother’s mouth or clearing up the bathtub after cleaning the boy.

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When I saw this book in the library, I knew I had to borrow and read it to Faith. The words are simple and the illustrations clear. Young children would be able to understand the story easily. Faith could identify with the experiences in the story. The above picture was taken rather spontaneously when I was reading to them. The girl was giggling all the way.

I think it’s only right to commend her for a job well done. She is truly a Little Miss, Big Sis.

I thought this book is good for girls who have been promoted to be big sisters to their siblings. We could also help them to anticipate what is to come as the baby grows. Manage their expectations, I say.

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