Detox (Part I)

I am what I eat.

Given all that rich, artery-clogging food and copious amounts of wine I consume, I'm afraid I have only myself to blame for my recent pimple outbreak (arghhhh). So it's time to detox. Spring clean the battered body, so to speak.

Nothing drastic, of course. I promise to cut down on the indulgent meals BUT not completely. This blog needs material!

So I'm going to do a series of posts on detoxing - for the lazy girl. No juice fasts, colon cleansing or similar horrifying activities. Just plain, (very importantly) convenient things we can do to eliminate/neutralize the toxins from our bodies. "Improved energy, clearer skin, regular bowel movements, improved digestion, and increased concentration and clarity" - sounds good right?


Today, I am going to talk about ABC. Apple, Beetroot and Carrot.

Based on my research, this is one power-packed juice! Beetroot, in particular, is supposedly good for treating anemia (I am slightly anemic), good for the immune system and proper liver functioning (!). Due to the beetroot, the juice is reddish and it rather reminds me of watermelon juice. I know beetroot sounds very erm "grassy" but do give this a try, it's surprisingly tasty.

I'm too lazy to make ABC juice myself so thankfully there are stalls around the CBD which sell it freshly made. Where to find it:

1. Lao Shen Fresh Fruit Vegetable Juice (Amoy Hawker Centre #02-105)
2. Cheng Xing Fresh Fruit juice (Seah Imm Hawker Centre #01-40)

Try to have it on an empty stomach (at least 2 hours after food) and wait 30 minutes before eating anything else. Good luck!

Btw, if you have any detox tips please feel free to share)

La Barca

First there was Bruno’s along Tanjong Katong Road. Then, came Antoinette and Kilo, nestled in the Lavender and Kallang area. Yippee now, there’s a new “Katong Kia” in town - La Barca at the Goodman Arts Centre – it’s literally in my backyard, 10 minutes’ slow stroll tops.

I had jumped at Vino Shifu’s invitation to attend Luce Della Vite winery’s dinner at La Barca. It was the perfect opportunity to check out the new neighbourhood Italian joint.

I was struck by how out of place La Barca seems in the middle of, well, nowhere. Almost like an elegant woman seated on a haystack at the back of a truck (erm, no idea why that came to my mind). It’s the same concept as Hosted on the Patio and District 10, but for some reason I think La Barca’s setting is much lovelier.

La Barca means “the boat” – check out the multi-layered roof that resembles flattened sails. The indoor dining space is warm and inviting, but I prefer the covered outdoor deck – It was so surreal hanging out there sipping the welcome glass of Attems Pinot Grigio 2010, nibbling on the amuse boche of Salvia Fritta, Verdure Fritte, Crocchette di Patate (Fried sage leaves and vegetables, potato croquettes) the wait staff came around with. Service was excellent, efficient and personable.

I wish the lighting was better so I could have taken some food pics. The cuisine at La Barca is Tuscany-based and I thought all 4 courses were quite unique. The starter of Le Quaglie Brasate con Uva Fresca (Braised Quail with Fresh Grapes) was a tad cold (some guests were late) but I liked how the grapes, quail went beautifully with the Lucente 2007 (50% Merlot, 35% Sangiovese and 15% Cab Sauv) – a soft explosion of cherry fruit. Some parts of the quail were a bit tough though.

The pasta dish was I Ravioli di Manzo con Salsa di Cipolle (Beef Ravioli with Genovese Onion Sauce). Now, THIS, was delicious. Generous pockets of beef and pasta was done perfectly. The Luce 2001 (45% Sangiovese, 45% Merlot and 10% Cabernet) was a much bigger wine and complimented this well – deep rich cherry and oak. I will definitely be back to try other pasta dishes.

At this stage I was already stuffed. But the main course sounded too good to resist - Il Controfiletto di Manzo al Forno, con Salsa di Vino Rosso e Timballino di Funghi (Oven-roasted Tenderloin with Red Wine Sauce and Mushroom Flan). OMG. The beef melted in my mouth. The mushroom flan too, was so flavourful. This dish definitely stood its own. I took my time savoring every bite. The Luce Brunello Di Montalcino 2005 they poured with this was simply delicious. Ripe fruit and pepper bouquet, sexy deep ruby colour, it evolved in the glass - I was impressed!

Dinner ended with dessert of Marquise al Caffé & Cantuccini con il Vin Santo (Coffee Mousse & Almond based biscuit). I surrendered after a bite – it was nice but I was so stuffed! There I was, holding my stomach and the nice waiter comes around with a bottle of grappa. “Some dessert wine, Miss?”

Heh, you know I don’t say no to wine.

Polly Dolly - Denim Diva

Thursday has rolled around again already which means another Polly Dolly, brought to you by the gorgeous Dani over at Danimezza. This week Dani is wondering how Polly might style a....

Polly Dolly - Denim Diva
So Polly is out to lunch with the ladies in her denim. I've gone with a soft, floaty kaftan-esque top and some pretty nude heels keep Polly's legs looking long. Statement hoop earrings add some bling, and the stacked bangles in a similar print tie everything together. Minimal make up, a spray of Pollys favourite day fragrance and an Iphone to capture all the fun photos and Pollys ready to head out!

Selective Fitness

I eat a lot. And I never say no to a glass (or two) of wine. It’s all good, living life the way I do. But recently, my wardrobe has been complaining. Yes, my dear readers, I am stretching my clothes a tad too much and I fear I am getting – wait for it.. – FAT.

I used to do the hamster-mill three times a week, but my knees need a break from all that running. What’s the alternative? Well, I recently started doing hot yoga and sweating it out is nice. But I miss that adrenaline high of pushing past physical pain.

Then I hear of the Power Plate. It’s a machine with a vibrating base that 'intensifies whichever exercise you do on flat ground', including sit-ups and squats. “Fat and efficient workout”, “Burns a lot of calories”, “Reduces the appearance of cellulite” – exactly what I need!

Selective Fitness is a boutique gym housed on the third level of a shophouse along Tras Street and they specialize in Power Plate (and soon, Power Bike) workouts. I made an appointment for a free trial with Chris, director of the gym during one of my leave days.

It’s not where I’d imagine a gym but I gotta say, nice use of the space. There’s the reception, the Power Plate studio with 6 machines, a (soon to be for) Power Bikes studio and 2 showers. The target crowd is definitely the corporate woman, seeing the Malin + Goetz toiletries provided (I like).

My trial class was a total body workout and it lasted about 45 minutes. Class size was small, which was good. We started with some light jogging and jumping on the machine. Easy does it. Then, we moved on to a mix of exercises targeted at the lower body muscles, the upper body muscles, and the abs. Pretty intense stuff!

I thought I was pretty fit, but at the end of the 45 min, I was left huffing and “Oh, my muscles are so going to hurt tomorrow”. The cool down exercises were good, especially the stretching ones on the machine, which massaged the muscles. I could have laid there all day.

I was a convict by the end of the session. Sign me up please, I told Chris. And guess what, I was the 100th customer! (yay 2 complimentary sessions) You also get Strip, Browhaus, Spa Espirit, Qi Mantra and even Tanjong Beach Club vouchers upon signing up.


So far I have been back to Selective Fitness for the abs class (which was good too, though less painful - i like pain) and next week I signed up for the CRX (cardio) class. Can't wait!

Help me help you....

Today was a good day- actually, a great day.  Things went so well that we had 10 extra minutes at the end of the day.  So, my little friends got to watch some of the video on the life cycle of butterflies (they LOVE the science videos!).  I explained to them that because they were doing so well following directions and transitioning quietly and quickly throughout the day, we had time for a bonus activity.  The routine is finally set, the expectations are internalized....Help me help you to get a few more minutes of fun :)

Yesterday, my friends learned what the weekly "helper" duties are.  I've never had a job chart before, so this is new to me.  I know, I know.... I just never thought it was a party I wanted attend, so I came late! :)  In the 2nd chapter of Conscious Discipline, they discuss ownership of the classroom and how our school "family" works together, just like at home.  Thus- the job chart.  I only have about 12-13 actual jobs, the rest are generic "helping hands".  The jobs rotate each week.  Here is a photo of the chart that hangs on the door that connects us to another classroom (it's the behavior chart from Lakeshore Learning that I re-purposed):

The "Helping Hands" actually have a week off, unless I need more than one friend for the project.  For example, the "librarian needed to take 31 books to the Media Center this morning.  i asked four of the general helpers to come and help.  We also talked about how even when we don't have a specific responsibility, we always need to be helpful.  I may just need another chart at home for my kids!

I'm in a "helpful" mood, so I'm sharing the cards that I made for the chart.  The clip art if from DJ Inkers and Microsoft. 

A Bad Case Of The "What If"s ....

Have you ever noticed that when you have important-future-type stuff on your mind, its impossible to think of anything else? Or maybe thats just me... all i know is i seem to have a very narrow focus when it comes to important stuff. Its pretty much impossible for me to think on the important stuff for a minute, and then just let it go and move on. No no, that would be too easy... no, i have to let it consume my every waking minute. ( Sometimes, when i'm really lucky, i let it filter into my dreams. Have you ever dreamt about wedding flowers? Important.Stuff. )

See its a little under 6 weeks til i get married but its not the actual wedding thats invading my thoughts - its the "what comes after? ". Mick and I have a little ( and secret, for now ) plan going but we still have to see if its possible. Its one of those things where i could daydream hours away about potential outcomes, about all the great things that will happen for us... if it all works out. And that " IF " is the bit that does your head in, isnt it?

Its the not-knowings that really get me. Sure, i'll be nervous on my wedding day but at least i have a pretty good idea of how it will all pan out. Hair, makeup, get dressed, ceremony, photos and reception - sure there is a few spanners that could be thrown in the works, but for the most part i know whats going on. Its the really big things with all the variables, the not having the answers to all the " what if? "s that make me nervous. And nervous i'll have to stay, at least until tomorrow night, when we have a meeting with some people who can give us a straight "yes " or a " no".

Lets cross fingers then and hope for the right answer! ( Which is "yes", in case you were wondering. A big, fat " yes " )

What We Have Here...

Ok - so i'm getting all ranty again this Monday ( is it just me or do MOST of my ranty posts happen on a Monday? Coincidence? Methinks not ). Aside from feeling like i've been hit by a truck - thanks to a lovely virus Flynn so thoughtfully passed on to me - i'm also feeling a bit stabby over a lack of communication these days. Or maybe its a lack of manners, or both. Which ever it is, its annoying me.

See i've been trying to organise a school reunion for my Yr 12 class, and it was supposed to be this Saturday night. 10 days ago i go into the place where we had organised to hold the function only to be told that they had double booked the room and because the other party had paid a deposit well... they got the room and we got bubkiss. Apparently whoever took the original booking wrote it up in one diary, but not in the other ( why they would have two diaries in the first place is beyond me... ) and when the other party asked to book our specific room, nobody checked the first book. What.A.Bloody.Shemozzle. All this left me in the awkward position of having to decide whether to try and find an alternate venue with only 2 weeks notice (before a long weekend ) or to just postpone the event.

I chose to postpone. To find an alternate venue at such short notice would have been nigh on impossible and, quite frankly, with my wedding only 6 weeks away i just didnt have the time. However - today i get a phone call from the events manager at the function venue asking whether the reunion was still right to go? What? She said she had been speaking to my co-organiser and that she had found room for us in a smaller function space. Which is all well and good - except that she, the events manager, was supposed to have called ME 10 days ago, not my co-organiser and that i hadnt heard a damn thing about this new arrangement from my co-organiser either. In fact, everytime i've needed her for something i havent been able to get a hold of her. Frusturation much?

So i'm now i'm really stuck - do i try and get the word out there over the next 5 days that the reunion is now back on or do i just stick with the postponement? As hard as it would be to get the word out to everyone in such a short a time i kind of think maybe thats the way to go - i know there are a few people coming from interstate who have tickets booked that they cant cancel, so they will be in town anyway, and also it will just get the whole damn mess off my plate and i can just forget about it. It will be super casual - i wont have time to organise and collect " ticket " money to pay for decorations or food, it would be more like a laid back catch up at the pub. But on the other hand what if not many people see it and the official renunion only attracts a dozen people out of the 80 i went to school with? And people that didnt check their Facebook this week dont know about it and feel ripped off that they missed out?

More importantly - how did i let myself get suckered in to organising something i really dont care about in the first place?

Royal Room

Some friends had earlier invited us to watch the F1 practice runs from a private area at Durty Nellys they had cordoned off. But very frankly, the noise from the F1 cars were beginning to get on the nerves – argh cut it out already. When somebody suggested moving onto Royal Room at Pan Pacific Hotel, the rest of us unanimously agreed. Get us away from this racket, and into some air-conditioning please!

Royal Room is a new bar/lounge concept by the same folks behind Filter Members Club. It’s in the same space as the old Stereolounge, but if you ask me, I think Royal Room looks more chic – I am so in love with the designer Philippe Starck, Tom Dixon and Kartell lamps.

Picture courtesy of

It was pretty quiet at 10pm on a Friday night (F1 weekend) but the crowds soon filled up the place. Not that we needed a crowd, given the party mood our group was already in. Like at Filter, music was great. And it got better as the night progressed. Some of my friends started dancing on the sofa, thanks to the Magnum Belvedere Vodka Bottle we ordered.

Ever the glutton, I got hungry midway into the party. “Can we order some food?” I whined. The kind manager passed me the menu. Fwahhh. Definitely not your usual pub grub – forget nachos, chicken wings and fries. The offerings here included Blackmore Full Blood Wagyu Beef Tataki, Fresh Canadian Oysters with Caviar, Seafood Ceviche, Seared Hokkaido Scallops, Octopus Carpaccio, Unagi Kabayaki with Ikura (“Kaba-what?”).

I decided to order the least atas sounding items on the menu – sausages and mash, and the crab cakes. They weren’t very cheap but to be fair, the food was really quite good! I love the caramelised onions that came with the sausages and mash. The crab cakes too, hit the spot – kudos for the generous shreds of crab meat.

Happily satiated on supper, I proceeded to dance the rest of the night away. Great place to hangout, I like it better than Filter. At least over here there’s space to dance. And yes, the crowd here is pretty hot looking haha.

She's Back! Polly Dolly Is Back!

And she's back in a big way! Because the gorgeous Dani over at Danimezza has been undergoing a complete blog overhaul, she's a missed a few weeks worth of Polly Dolly's. However, we're now playing catch ups by doing 3 weeks worth of Polly's on one day! So first up - i'm usually a stripes kinda gal but lets see how Polly does...

Polly Dolly - Polka, Polka, Polka!

I've gone relatively simple and tailored with my dots. I think sometimes polka dots can be a bit over whelming or a bit too cutesy-retro, so i found this sweet 3/4 jacket and paired it with a plain black cami and black skinnies. However, i've added a pop with the acid yellow pumps and great statement necklace, which add a lift to the outfit without out-shining the polka dot blazer. A black clutch, a soft smoky eye and a neautral lip and Polly is ready for a a round of business meetings ( or a round of drinks! ).

Next up: she may have gone a little tailored rock'n'roll in that last set, but this time Polly is pulling out her best glam for a ...

Polly Dolly - Dinner Winner

I've had this gorgeous Zac Posen dress sitting in my " All Items " folder forever, and i thought a dinner party would be the perfect opportunity to use it. I love the draping in the dress, and have tried to mirror that with the shoes. I love the coral colour and i think it goes well with gold, so some simple bangles and drop earrings keep the look soft. The heart clutch shows Polly's playful side, and the soft colour of the lip gloss and the nail polish keep Polly elegant. I wonder whats on the menu for dessert?

And lucky last: Polly is normally a city kind of chick but what sometimes, when she goes country, she turns into a....

Polly Dolly - Prairie Prairie Quite Contrary

A cute cotton dress is a must, plus a scarf to keep her hair nice and tidy outdoors. Desert boots cute and casual ( even if they are wedges! ) and the sunnies and suncreen mean Polly is keeping sun safe. Minimal jewellery and no makeup except a slick of lipgloss and Polly is ready for a prairie adventure....


I never made it to Raw Kitchen Bar before it closed but omg I loved what the same owners have done with Kilo. Sure, it’s in an flatted-factory-like building along the Kallang River, a tad ulu for some people but fortunately for me it’s right on my home turf. Very minalistic décor but it's surprisingly given it some very trendy vibes.

The food was, in short, EXCELLENT. As you may know, I am a Japanese food-fanatic. And Italian, well, doesn’t everyone love it? Whatever they are doing with this “Japanese-Italian” cuisine, I say: please don’t stop.

It’s been a while, since I gushed. Forgive me.

We had two starters to share. There were the reliable sushi rolls which calmed our stomachs and left us wanting more. Then came the seared scallops with mushroom sauce, yums very fresh, every morsel was a delight.

The mains were impressive. I can’t decide what was the best of the trio but I really loved my salmon dish with the Chinese sauce which accompanied it. Also cooked perfectly was the beef Judy ordered. Check out that gorgeous pink!

I couldn’t resisted trying Andy’s ebi capelli – it looked so delicious and was calling out to me, haha. Sooo good, how did they get that lovely sauce to coat every strand so perfectly?

The wine list was limited, but competent. Wines by the glass, in particular, were poured generously into huge glasses. No complaints there! It’s also interesting, how they had a selection of about 5-6 types of sake, simply named “red”, “blue” and “green” etc. I couldn’t resist asking them why. “We don’t know our sakes, so we name them by the colour of the bottle” they replied.


I'm Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack!

So .... yep, i've been missing for about a week. Sort of regularly absent for almost a month. I had my work conference and then i gave myself a bit of time away from the blog, and then my friends baby died and then i had day surgery.... which all equals a bit of a loss of blogging mojo.

Image from here
But i'm back baby! Consider this my return to form ( if i ever had any ) and a promise to post my regular 4-5 times a week.... at least for the next 7 weeks anyway.

Oh yes the official countdown is well under way - 6 weeks and 4 days until i get married! After that i'll be on my honeymoon for a week and as much as i like you all, you arent all coming on my honeymoon...

Giving children what they need...

I've been spending a lot of time this week thinking about "Giving a child what they need, when they need it."  Although it's been my personal philosophy for a few years, I was never bold enough to share it with parents (I mostly just said it in class).  I was inspired by a blog post that had an amazing story about a class lesson in different abilities and needs. (Please visit The Power of a Band-Aid for the complete lesson and impact.) 

I have children of all abilities (socially and academically) in my classroom.  This story came at the perfect time.  We had curriculum night this week and I could hear parents whispering about a few of my children with particular needs.  I decided that I needed to be BRAVE and BOLD.  I think sometimes, we can get worried about offending a parent, that we allow ourselves forget our primary role- educating and protecting the hearts of the children we serve.  I discussed Conscious Discipline as our method of management and explained the concept of interventions (altering the curriculum to meet the child at their current level in a small group).  I described the structure of the 1/2 hour block and that other students were working in pairs on reinforcement games and activities (again, differentiated).  A few parents made a face when I said that I wasn't directly teaching at all times.  I quickly assured them that their child will get exactly what they need when they need it, whether it be support or more of a challenge.  There was a collective sigh of relief.  I am working for THEIR child and figuring out what THEIR specific need is for that day.

Last year in kindergarten, we fully embraced the concept of "they are all our children".  We exchanged children to make small groups from all 4 classes during intervention block time.  I plan to carry it through in first grade.  It will be an adjustment with a new team.  We will have to learn to trust each other completely and that can take time.  Nothing happens over night.  Basically, we had four teachers, plus an academic support person all meeting with small groups, while the bulk of the classes were working at stations independently (pairs).  We kept careful notes on our groups and moved students in and out as needed.  It gave us plenty of documentation if we needed to bring the student further into the RTI process.  Here is an organizational chart that we used (names have been changed- don't worry).  I actually plugged in 1st grade standards in preparation for this year!  This only shows what the teachers were working on with students.  The academic support person had a separate schedule that only had her assigned students listed (the students changed by the week, as some goals needed less time).

It may seem complicated, but once we were organized and prepared for the small groups, it worked wonders!  We shared students across the rooms (the students' home classrooms are not listed, but we did have it on there).  We were working smarter for our students and getting more interventions done by working together.

French Kitchen

I had originally suggested KW’s birthday dinner at the French Kitchen because I thought they allowed BYOB with no corkage charge on Mondays. Unfortunately, they had apparently discontinued that and only allowed a 1 for 1 – we buy a bottle from them and they waive corkage for 1 bottle which we bring. Bummer. Still, we had read consistently good reviews and decided to still check out the place.

That’s the thing about expectations. It’s best not to have them. We had all these high hopes to be wowed by the food but whilst it was an overall enjoyable meal, nothing really stood out.

I ordered the traditional set dinner menu at $78++ and the rest had the menu du jour ($68++) and Degustation menu ($88++).

We all liked the egg cocotte, it was perfect runny goodness, although I would have preferred a stronger truffle taste. The second course for me was the lobster bisque and that was good too, I wiped my plate clean. The rest had oysters and escargots, which they said were good.

The main was a major disappointment. My pork chop was not tasty at all – the pork was way too fatty and the sauce was not flavourful. I left most of it untouched. The wagyu beef and duck confit the others had fared better, but nobody was impressed with anything in particular.

I never thought I’d say this because I have a sweet tooth but the chocolate fondant dessert was wayyy too sweet.

Disappointed! The meal came up to $130 for each of us (we bought a bottle of champagne from them and paid corkage on 2 bottles @$40 each) which was pricey and didn't really justify the food.

Godspeed, Little Man

Today was little Brody's funeral, and it brought me completely undone.

I can only imagine how incredibly hard it must have been for his mother - to wake and prepare for the day that she will be putting her 6 week old child to rest forever. To deliver a very moving eulogy, to share her babies story with a church full of people without collapsing in tears. To hug every mourner as they left the church, to smile and accept their condolences without wanting to scream at them. To nurse her other child on her lap, to hug him and squeeze him as they lowered her baby's casket into the ground. I know for sure she is a much braver woman than I.

I would have been a bawling, weeping, moaning mess. You know the Muslim women you see on the news, the way they howl and paw at themselves, throwing themselves to the ground? That would have been me. And i wouldnt be finding comfort in religion of any kind - i dont mean to offend anyone but i hate the hypocrisy of Catholicism. I hate how when good things happen it is Gods glory, his miracle, his wonder; but when babies are stolen away from wonderful kind people its all " God works in mysterious ways " or " He must have needed that angel back ". God gets all the glory but never the blame. Frankly, i think thats absolute crap ( and a whole other post ).

So i went, and i wept for what my friend had to go through. I wept for the thought of what i would do if it were me and my child. And wept for what my parents would have had to do almost 22 years ago. I wept for the little boy they had to put in the ground. And when little Brody's burial service was over i went to my brothers grave and i collapsed onto the grass and i cried there, with him, privately. I cried for all those things and more. I spoke with my brother and i told him how Flynn knows his name ( even though he doesnt pronounce it properly ) and how he can point him out in photos. I told him how Flynn is built like him, small and nuggety, and how our Dad says Flynn reminds him of his son. I promised to bring Flynn to his grave and tell him that we love Uncle Eli. And as i wept and talked and tried to arrange my flowers as best i could, two crows flew overhead.

I dont know what you, out there, believe - but i know what i believe, and i know who those two crows were and why they were there, watching over me. I carry them on my shoulders ( quite literally, tattooed there forever ) at all times, and today they came when i needed them....

Restaurant Week

Yay Restaurant Week is back from 9 - 16th October! $25++ for a 3-course set lunch and $35++ for a 3-course dinner is one sweet deal.. Especially considering the list of participating restaurants, which include atas places like Absinthe, Au Jardin etc (see complete list here).

Hurry and make your bookings! Reservations are supposedly only open to the public only on 21 September (Amex cardholders are entitled to exclusive early booking privileges from 14 September) but let me let you in on a secret:

Even if you don't have an Amex card, just go to this link -

Yes, no need Amex also can early book!

I'm a bit disappointed that Fiftythree is not in the list of participating restaurants this year. But oh vell. At least I managed to snag reservations to Kudeta, Le Saint Julien and the Salt Grill. These restaurants are awarded the "dining star" so there's a $15 and $20 supplement for lunch and dinner respectvely, but I did my homework and overall it should still be a good deal!

Buggin' Out!

Well, I made it through the first week.  I haven't been sleeping, but I'm getting TONS done for my new group of sweeties.  They deserve the best :)

Over the weekend, I tackled the Insect Life Cycle unit that I have been putting off.  Can I just say that I do not care for bugs or anything resembling a bug?  This is HUGE for me.  I don't garden for fear that I may come across a worm.  I will buy my flowers at the store for all eternity!  I was literally gagging as I went through the huge picture books.  Must they get so detailed and close-up?  Can't one study them from afar- as I have for the last 36 years?  Anyway, I was given a binder of resources from my teaching partner (who is an earth lovin', farming, crazy for bugs kinda girl!).  There were hands-on investigation pages and booklets to make.  More gagging.  I took many breaks.... my bathrooms are very clean as a result.  I made this sort to add to the binder.  Truth- I used clip art so I didn't have to look at anymore photos!

    Today, I watched (sort of) a video all about different insects in order to give my class an overview and for some, get comfortable with the idea of our study.  Some of the girls were squealing just at the mention of the unit, so I put an end to that.  I bit the bullet (or nasty insect, as it were) and told them how amazing these creatures were and how I couldn't wait to learn more about them.  Sometimes, ya gotta fake it 'til you make it!

Bottoms Up

So - i am lucky enough to be going in for a spot of day surgery today ( can you feel the sarcasm in that sentence? ) In the interests of being completely open on this blog, lets just say i'll be having an exploratory procedure - via the bottom. Or, to be proper, a colonscopy. Yep, thats right, thats where they take a tiny little camera on a tube and shove it up your you-know-where. Its usually the domain of persons over 60 years old but, as i said, i'm "lucky" enough to be one of the few young people who get to have it too. Like i said, its pretty much exploratory so the doctor is looking for the cause of some symptoms i've been having. Best case scenario? Its plain old haemorrhoids that, in all likely hood, were caused by pregnancy ( thanks Flynn! ). Worst case scenario? He could find that i have an auto immune disease, which would mean daily meds for the rest of my life and a strict diet ( thankfully, he seems to already ruled bowel cancer out ).

So - please excuse me if i dont post for the next day or two. I've already had a full day of no food at all, and am allowed precisely nothing ( no food, no drink ) today until i wake up after surgery. My point is that i'm near delirious with hunger and later this afternoon i'm expecting to be relatively drug-addled after anaesethetic. Probably not the best conditions for blog posting ( unless you like a good drunk post or two ).

And now that thats out there, let me finish up with a bit more TMI - i'm hitting the shower to shave my legs before i go to te hospital. I mean, what kind of lady wants to present herself ( bottom first mind you .... ) with hairy legs?

A Decade On

I know i wont be the only one to post about this today but - its been 10 years since the September 11th terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in NYC. Unfathomable at the time, and i think even in the jaded world we live in post 9/11 there is still something of the " How could they possibly have done that ? " about it all. So, in memory of all those who lost their lives that day, i'm going to re-post an entry i made back on September 11th 2008 ( 3 years ago and on the 7 anniversary of the attacks ):

The question was asked in my local paper today - " Do you remember ? " Frankly, i thought it was a stupid question. How could anyone possibly forget ? Of course, I'm talking about the atacks on the World Trade Centre 7 years ago today. What kind of person could ever forget the articles and the images accompanying them, even if they wanted to ?

I was in Year 12, my final year of high school, in 2001. The attacks had occured overnight, Australian time, and I remember my mother waking me earlier than usual telling me that two planes had crashed into the Twin Towers. Still groggy with sleep i wasnt exactly sure what she was raving on about - until she made me turn on the tv. I sat in bed, still in my pyjamas with the sheets bunched around my knees, horribly transfixed. I didnt want to see planes punching holes in steel, or desperate people leaping from buildings, or faces covered in ash, a trail of tears tracing its way down their cheeks. I didnt want to see that, but i couldnt look away. I didnt want to see that , and i dont want to remember, but i do.

I went to school early and gathered around a radio with about 30 other seniors. Any 12 or 13 year old Year 7 kid that even let out so much as a peep got threatened with the evil eye and a " Shut the fuck up, you idiot! ". I think it was obvious that we all knew we were witnessing an important moment in history. We Year 12 students were allowed to have the radio news playing in every class that day, probably as much for the teachers benefit as it was for ours. I dont remember which algebraic equations i worked on that afternoon, but i do remember wincing as a light plane flew over my maths class room.

My brother worked at the local McDonalds after school, and i went with my mother to pick him up at the end of his shift. It was unusually quiet, not many families calling in to pick a Big Mac or a Happy meal; i sat at a table staring up at the tv and cried. Bawled, in fact. A totally public place, good old McDonalds Family resturant, and i had nowhere to hide, but i sobbed my heart out at what i was watching. The news reports just kept repeating the same images of people jumping to their deaths. I couldnt help but wonder what last lonely thought they may have been thinking to push them to that extreme. Nor could i help but despair at such a waste of life - and for what ? None of us really knew at that point.

I didnt know anyone in New York City. I didnt even know anyone who lived in the US, but my heart bleed for the families who lives had been irrepairably damaged by such insanity. I wondered what they must be thinking, feeling, hoping, praying; I wanted to let them know that they werent alone in their loss and their sorrow. And i did, by writing a letter to the New York Times. I doubt that it was ever published, by message of support was there on the internet, recorded for all of humanity to see. If i could have helped dig through that rubble, to comfort a crying child who had lost a parent, to donate blood or skin to burns victims, I would have. I may not have been there, I may not have lost any of my people, but i felt it all the same.

It wasnt until i lived in the US during 2005 that i got some insight into what it was really like. I lived in NJ and my host father worked in New York City. On a trip to the local zoo one cloudless, blue sky September day with my boys and their grandparents, I noticed Grandpa Jerry sitting on a fence alone, just staring up at the sky. I asked him what was going on and he told me he was just reflecting - this was as perfect a day as that one looked like it was going to be. If the youngest of the boys had not been born the day before - September 10, 2001 ( happy birthday H! ) in a hospital in Jersey - my host father would have been there, one block from the WTC, when the planes hit. My host father had lost people he knew but luckily had been given a healthy, beautiful baby boy to take his mind off all that.

I dont mean to dwell on these things of course; but isnt that what remembering is ? Isnt remembering dwelling on the past, whether it be good or bad, and whether we want to or not ? Sure, I could have gone through today pretending like i didnt know the date, had forgotten its significance, or focused on sending good birthday vibes to my little H ( who is now big... ). But kind of memorial would that be ? What kind of respect would that be showing those who lost their lives ?
Honestly, I dont particularly want to remember, but some things you just cant forget....

Baby Love

So after yesterdays news i've been keenly aware of and crazy in love with my son today. I felt a pang in my heart for what my friend has lost, and couldnt help but imagine myself in her situation. It did upset me for a little while, and then it made me want to run to my son, scoop him up, and never let him go. Of course, that just isnt possible ( especially not with such an active and wriggly toddler ..... ), as much as i wanted it today.

Image from here
What i did do is just took the time to really be with him - not just in the same room, not just absently mindly playing with him whilst thinking of something else but actually "being" with him. We had a playdate with another mum from mothers group during which i let him run and play and do his own thing but the rest of the day i made him my focus. Even when out shopping with my sister i made a point of talking to him, doing wheelies with him in his pram, rubbing his hair as we strolled - little things that made me feel connected to him.

He fell asleep in the car on the way home from the shops and i put him gently in his bed. When he woke after half an hour a bit distressed ( he's cutting his canines and they arent playing very nicely... ) instead of shushing him for a few minutes and then shutting the door i climbed into his bed with him, snuggled in under the doona and we had a nap together. Its been a long time since we've had a nap together and it felt good. Not only to get a bit of extra rest, but to have that snuggly, warm, bonding moment that i'm sure will be less and less frequent as he gets older.

Once he finally gets to sleep tonight ( again, those teeth are playing havoc ) i might go in and steal one more baby kiss before heading to bed. I'm just hoping my own sleep tonight is less restless than last night, when i couldnt seem to shake the sadness of the " what ifs? "....


I have a weakness for Japanese food. I crave it all the time. Which bores my friends at times, “Jap again?!” they’d say. Indulge me please. Well at least I suggest a different Japanese place each time right…

I read about this Jap joint on some other blogs so last Friday I gathered some of the homies to check it out. Sangokai is located on Beach Road near Sultan Gate Road, quite non descript so look out for it. Simple décor, almost like dining at home. For some strange reason I felt encouraged simply because the place just felt so erm homely.

We zoomed in on the mixed sashimi platter straight away. For $50, I’d say it was good value for money! A good variety of fresh, succulent cuts of sashimi very prettily laid out, we couldn’t wait to tuck in. Yum. Sashimi cravings satiated. For now.

We also ordered the signature “flaming dragon roll” ($19.80) , aburi tuna and salmon sushi and a grilled squid. Nothing not to like about the dragon roll, tempura inside with aburi (can’t get enough) fish rolled outside, topped with sinful mayo – best. The aburi sushi was kind of disappointing though, it lacked the taste of the torch, bummer. The salt grilled squid was nicely done, very tasty. I can have it with sake all night haha.

The waitress also suggested we order the “special” Hokkaido tofu. At $12 for a small slab of plain tofu? Sorry, I wasn’t impressed. Felt a bit ripped off even.

Prices here are very reasonable. Well, except for that tofu, anyway. I don’t mind coming back for more sashimi though.

Another Premature Angel

This one is short and sweet, and goes out to a beautiful family who lost their little man today. KM, another mum from my mothers group, gave birth to a gorgeous little man on the 27.7.11, 4 months premature. Today, despite fighting with every little fibre in his tiny body, baby Brody slipped quietly away to join all the other babies, taken too soon.
May he sleep peacefully where he is now, and know that we keep him in our hearts for ever.
B.J.R 27.07.11 - 7.09.11

I Want to be a Domesticated Goddess (Part 2)

Baking isn’t hard, but the idea of buying all that equipment overwhelms me. What if I were to invest all that moolah into buying a mixer, measuring cups, pans etc and they end up as mere ornaments in my kitchen?

But I did like the idea of making my own bread.

So I did what I had to. I signed up for a baking class. Just to see how much I liked it. At $42 a class, I have to say the classes at Phoon Huat were a steal. Don’t expect very fancy pancy instruction though – the kitchen’s fully equipped yes, materials all provided, but think back-to-the-basics reliable heartlands education.

Half the class were housewives wearing flip flops and I felt a bit out of place all clad in office attire. They all seemed to know each other, so I was pretty glad Ann was there with me. At least the two newbies could look to each other for help.

Here’s the before and after of our “Mediterranean herbs pizza with tomatoes and tuna.” Heh I think I went overboard with the toppings. But I love how fragrant the herb and tomato mix was, and that pizza crust was seriously good enough to rival Mozza’s (in my opinion, anyway, but I’m biaised)! Tasty and chewy, I have since passed on the recipe to two of my domesticated colleagues.

And here’s a series of pics on the making of the “Cinnamon roll buns.”

Wow the caramelized fruit/nut combination with warm fluffy bread was to die for! This became the breakfast for the office. Reviews were good, woohoo! It was really fun, getting our hands messy with dough. We felt quite proud of ourselves, churning out creations like these.

Where it Happens Wednesday!

Friends, we are down to the wire!  Again, ignore that it's actually Monday and about 5 days late.  Honestly, I was working so hard getting the room ready for tomorrow that all other things were pushed aside.  It's all about grace around here- right?  I also didn't want to post unfinished status photos (that would be my OCD and pride talkin' right there!).  This is my 5th room to set up in 4 years, so I sort of have a system (Yikes!  I shouldn't even need one!)  There is actually one thing left undone (the safe-spot leaf), but my lovely custodians were busy and had already promised it by tomorrow.  

Welcome to my new room!

This is the front of the room... the door from the hall is on the left side of the photo. My desk (which I never sit at) is to the right of the green chair. My "Look Books" and "Favorites" are on the green shelves.

This is my calendar and agenda area. I'm trying something new this year and doing an interactive calendar time at the start of my math workshop. The students will each have a folder in which they will write the same things that the Star Student for the day is doing. I "borrowed" this idea from Jessica Meacham.

This is the back of the room (view from my green chair). You will notice that I do not have traditional chairs in my room. This will be my third year using ball chairs. They are AMAZING and those that know me well, also know that I would put up a pretty big fight if I had to give them up. I'll post more about the chairs and the research another time.

Here is my writing station and materials cabinet (which I found by the side of the road last year-FREE!).  I will be using community supplies and the students are responsible for the maintenance.  This is in front of my desk (it's on the left side of the photo).

This is a shot from the back corner of the room.  On the back of the white shelf, the students will create a graph each morning on the pocket chart to log their lunch choice.  Hey, look- my desk is in this one!  In case you're wondering, yes, I was watching Friends while setting up and forgot to turn off the TV before taking the photos!

Can I just say that I have the BEST view in the building?  We are next door to a nature center and my room looks into the woods.  It is SO CALMING!  The round table in the back holds our "New Arrivals" book rack.  Honestly, they are books that relate to our science or social studies unit at the moment.  They are from my public library, so they are "new" to the room.  I got this idea from Kathy Collins.  She suggested making an area like a bookstore, marketing the exciting books we have available.  The table will become my small group meeting spot soon.

Here is a closer view of the back of the room. My leveled library is on the front half of the shelves and the nonfiction books are on the right side of the photo. The "Look Books" and "Favorites" are at the front of the room.

One side has social studies themes and the other had science themed books. This is my Nonfiction station during Literacy Workshop time.

These are my organization boards for Workshop times.  Next week, there will be white cards in the empty spaces on the left sides of the charts with the Workshop pairs indicated.  I want a little time to get to know my students before assigning groups (even though I already know most of them!)

Here are the manipulative tubs
(you can find the labels on a previous post). The students are in charge of keeping them sorted and ready to use. I realize that I'm crazy, but this bin had to face the back of the room because the bins are red and yellow (it doesn't match everything else!).

Right across from the manipulatives, are the bins for the 12 math stations that we will be using.

Thanks for visiting!  You can check out other fabulous rooms by visiting

Blog Hopper- Meet the Teacher Week

***Updated photos for the 2012-2013 school year are posted HERE