Southern Pecan Pie @ Marble Slab Creamery

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I’ve never really been a big fan of these ice-creams chock-full of other stuff as I find that they are over-priced and actually, rather easy to replicate on our own. However, after reading a few food blog entries on it, I was tempted to give it another go.

We sampled many of the ice-cream flavours and I really liked the cheesecake and peanut butter flavours. The birthday cake flavour was really more like sweetened milk for me. One thing that really stood out after all the sampling was the quality of the ice-cream – it’s definitely more creamy and the texture is significantly thicker than many other ice-cream outlets. As with most American ice-creams, the flavours are usually rather intense!

I finally settled on:

IMG_0988Southern Pecan Pie – Butter Pecan ice-cream with Health Bar, Pecans & Caramel ($9 – extra $1 for the waffle cup)

I liked that the pecan chunks were big enough to give the ice-cream some texture and the caramel and butter was just wonderful together. You can imagine how sweet the entire mixture was though, so I was thankful for the pecan which helped to even out the sweetness. Frankly, I have no idea where the health bar was in this mix.

Yes, I decided to pamper myself, hence I threw in the $1 for the waffle cup and it was definitely a worthwhile investment! The waffle was so crispy and didn’t go soggy even as the ice-cream melted!

Marble Slab Creamery is also famous for their milkshakes. In fact, they had a milkshake 50% offer during their anniversary a few weeks back.

Tom’s Palette is still my favourite ice-cream place though and Cocogelo ranks a close second. I go for unique local flavours, affordability and a texture that’s lighter as compared to Marble Slab Creamery.

Soup King once again!

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Went back again to Soup King, where I had the Pear and Apple soup previously. This time, they were out of that soup, so I decided to try their White pepper pork tripe soup with gingko nuts and oh my, it was just as good as their Pear and Apple soup!

It was peppery, thick and tasted so nutritious. I am quite a fan of ‘Zhu zha tang’ (pork organs soup), so I do like pork tripe yore a lot. However, this was the first time I had such thick, chewy and well-broiled pieces of pork tripe and so much of it as well! Big big plus points for Soup King once again.

Apparently it won some brand award in 2010 and it’s not hard to see why!

Musical Mornings

Tuesday morning started off sweetly with a small birthday celebration of birthdays dating back to March (that’s how busy we’ve been!) with my practicum colleagues. The birthday song is familiar, yet meaningful and once again I remembered my department’s birthday song and dance. Heh.

On Wednesday, we started our day with a captivating and beautiful song and dance rendition of Seasons of Love from RENT the movie, presented by members of our choir, our Western dancers and two very talented singers in my department. 🙂 It was a rousing success and everyone enjoyed it lots!

I dare say our rendition was quite close to the original below, (to my untrained musical ear of course) with the exception of the solo bit in the middle.

On Thursday, we started our day off musically too with line dancing in the school hall. It was great fun with side steps (and missed steps), jazz boxes, kicks and turns.  It was a good workout and a great way to start off the day.

I wonder what today’s musical start will be. 🙂

Edmodo: Educational Facebook

 

Last year I tried using Facebook as a platform for me to share valuable articles I read online with my students. It didn’t quite work with everyone as not many students joined the FB group (which I geekily named ‘GP Treasure Trove’) and there were way too many distractions on Facebook, such that the articles were merely one update amongst the many other more fascinating updates that others had posted. Of course, there were some who read stuff on it and even printed out all articles I posted and binded them!

Having heard that another department is also using Edmodo, I decided to ride on the Edmodo wave and have now set up a group for all my students to join. I’ve only just started this for a week, but I can see some potential for it.

What I like about it:

  • Clutter-free interface. It is clearly a platform where students log into to learn, without the distractions of many other things happening on Facebook.
  • It maintains the personal/professional divide quite well. Of course, you can also do that with restricted profile in FB and set up a separate account for students (though I do find that to be quite tedious).
  • And, the best feature thus far, is that it allows me to form a library of all the links I’ve posted and to categorise them into folders. It’s a bit like social bookmarking, but within a more confined community. This feature alone puts it a notch above Facebook and sharing articles via email.
  • There’s an Edmodo iPhone/Android application, so students can simply check it and read while on the bus or in between lessons. 

In general though, I’m still rather underwhelmed by it as it doesn’t really seem to provide much platform for the generation of discussion and to promote critical thinking. To be fair, these aren’t really my goals right now in using Edmodo, as my main aim is to have a platform to share articles with students. I do believe that there’s much potential which I haven’t fully tapped into. I shall experiment more with it this term and see how it can be fully exploited as a content repository for my students.

Amazing Race Australia 1 Episode 11- Jerusalem to Sri Lanka

Luck definitely plays a huge factor in the Amazing Race, be it getting bad taxi drivers, missing the train etc. On the latest episode of Amazing Race, Lady Luck was definitely shining on Sam and Renae as the final challenge on the penultimate leg of the race was one that advantaged women! They also managed to successfully catch a very tight transfer from Rome to Sri Lanka.

To be fair to them, it wasn’t as if all women would do better at this task, but it was especially true for Renae who had experience using a sewing machine. She hence zipped through the task and emerged in first place, effectively removing their penalty and landing them a well-deserved place in the final 3! Well done!

It took almost 17 seasons before Amazing Race America even had any all woman teams on the final 3, and Amazing Race Australia achieved it on their first season and it was on a race that was definitely very physical and challenging at many points, unlike the rather lacklustre TAR17 where many challenges were forgettable and way too easy.

The leg was designed well in that it keptthe racers at close proximity at all times and there were sufficient intermediate challenges between the Roadblock and Detour to keep things interesting. Teams were tested on a whole range of skills throughout the leg from observation skills, resourcefulness, brute strength and of course, sewing. The leg was sufficiently long and we could see that the teams were all being stretched physically. This has indeed been a very challenging race overall though and we have seen these very fit and strong contestants undergo challenges which brought them almost to their breaking point, something we haven’t seen on the American version for a while. Going into the finals, my vote is for Sam and Renae, followed by Jeff and Luke and finally the surfer boys. I really don’t think the surfer boys deserve to win, given their many blunders throughout the race.

I’m glad that TAR-Australia has been renewed for a second season. The producers have done a pretty good job of selecting the best challenges from all Amazing Race seasons and putting them together in a suspenseful, meaningful way. I do hope that the 2nd season will really see Amazing Race Australia developing its own ‘character’, with challenges that are unique to them and I hope that the contestants in the 2nd season are ones with more flavour and compelling storylines.

It’s been a great season and I’m looking forward to the finale in Singapore! The shots of flyer look rather exciting! TAR American version has never been able to deliver a satisfactory Singapore leg. If TAR Australia does that, this will definitely be one of the best legs of TAR ever!

My mum’s paintings

My mum started taking art lessons at this art studio near Pek Kio Market a few months ago and she has since gotten very into it!

Just last week, she went all the way down to Botanic Gardens with my uncle at 6.30 a.m. in the morning just to take photo of swans so that she could paint them into her picture. That’s how committed she is! We now have many of her paintings put up all around our house and the two below are those in my room:

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They’re really beautiful, aren’t they? You wouldn’t believe that my mum just started learning painting a few months ago. These paintings were inspired by portraits from Annette Dozier’s Country Portraits 5 which I ordered for my mum from eBay.  

These scenes bring back memories of my visits to small Yorkshire towns like Malham or Knaresborough, which were actually still relatively populated and modern. I never really got to see the charm of rural England. I would like to go to such places someday, where people just live so simply, away from the rush of city life and enjoy the peace and serenity. For now, I can only vicariously imagine being there through these paintings.

Our pet dog, Fudge

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I’ve never been someone who likes animals much – that’s an understatement, I used to really hate animals. Yes, I can appreciate and admire their beauty and cuteness from afar, but once they come within a few inches of me, I want to get them away from me immediately.

Fudge, our pet dog, and I didn’t get off to a good start. She used to love to run to my sock drawer every morning while I was getting ready and scuttle off with pair of socks and my maid or myself had to wrestle with her to get the sock back. She used to scavenge in my dustbin for paper and tissue paper before being properly trained and would make a mess of everything. Whenever I came home, she would run to the door, pounce on me when I came in and try to get my attention by biting me. I really couldn’t get along with Fudge and got very annoyed at times.

After a while though, I realised that all Fudge wanted from me was some attention – or more importantly, affection. She wanted to be ‘sayang-ed’, scratched and taken care of. I realised that her biting and pawing whenever I came home was not due to any aggressiveness or lack of discipline (though the scavenging in dustbins and taking socks is a lack of discipline), but was actually a means of asking for attention.

I started to see her behaviour through new eyes and decided one day that perhaps I would stop seeing her behaviour as annoying, but instead respond to her and give her the attention she wanted. I didn’t go into my room immediately when I came home and sat down on the floor instead and spent some time scratching Fudge’s belly. She looked so contented and happy and after I spent some time with her, she no longer bit me or jumped on me to get my attention. I try to make the effort everyday now to spend at least a bit of time with Fudge each day.

Every time I come back now, she runs to the door, pounces on me, then steps back a while and waits for me to take off my shoes. Immediately after that, she will lie down on the floor with her belly facing up, ready for her usual tummy scratching. She does that to my mum too – all the time. It’s becoming rather endearing actually, but I am wondering if we are spoiling her! Heh.

I’m definitely not a dog-lover yet, but Fudge is slowly growing on me. I definitely understand dogs better now and I can see why people call them man’s best friend.