Category Archives: E

Hebrew Aleph Bet Song and Vowel Song

Cheryl and I have just started learning Hebrew this year at SMBC. To keep things fun we’ve been using a variety of methods. We learned the Hebrew consonants using this song we found online (here’s us singing it):

Then we came to the pointed vowels (they’re similar to pinyin in Chinese, but in dot/dash form). We couldn’t find a memory song that went through all the Hebrew vowels in our Elementary Biblical Hebrew textbook (Athas and Young)… so I played around with the words from Carole Grover’s song and we came up with this:

Sing to the tune of “Arise My Soul Arise.”


A pair of eyes: tsere

A bar below: patakh

A T-shape is qamets

Or called qamets khatuf

Three dots that make a smile: segol

But if three dots swoop down: qibbuts

We’re halfway through the vowel song

A dot beneath: khireq

That dot on top: kholem

Inside a waw: shuruq

Two dots below: shewa

One dot and yod makes khireq-yod

Three dots and yod makes segol-yod

Those are the Hebrew vowels in song

Hope it’s useful to other budding Hebrew learners, young and old!

Grapefruit cookies


Many months ago, the first shape for which E learnt the word was ‘circle’.  At breakfast one morning, she stared out of the window, pointed, and said ‘circle’.  And indeed there were: little spheres sprouting on the tree in our next-door neighbour’s garden.

As the circles grew, so did E’s vocabulary.  Other words were added: tree, oranges, and eventually, as citrus spheres ripened from green to yellow, ‘grapefruit’. Since then our neighbour has kindly allowed us to gather little harvests from this tree, and now E may turn to us and request “dada take you in the onbu pick some grapefruit?”

Thank you God for giving growth, change – and fruit.

On the less metaphoric side, little girl’s Mama is now responsible for stewarding a really generous pile of grapefruit.  We can only drink so much grapefruit juice (keeping in mind it is yellow grapefruit, the really sour one, not the red, milder one).

We’ve gotten in contact with a local fruit harvesting/distributing charity, but while we’re waiting for things to get sorted we still have a large pile of grapefruit.  So for the last few weeks I’ve had the privilege of exploring how to fit a lot more grapefruit into our diet.  We’ve tried a variety of ideas.  Some have been great, some have been embarrassing, all have been fun.

Today was cookies.  The classic sugar cookie (I was using a strict 1:2:3 ratio) requires no liquid, so I had to reduce the grapefruit to as little liquid as possible to avoid ending up with cake or scone.  I zested and juiced two grapefruit, then simmered it in a pan to evaporate it into a gel.  I then creamed butter and sugar into this gel, spices including salt, and finally flour with baking soda.  E cut hearts in the dough with a cookie cutter, and into a hot oven they went until they started to singe.

The result was fun.  It looked like shortbread, smelled like shortbread, but tasted like, in William’s words, “that tree out there!”  It had a flavour as intense as the filling of a centre-filled cookie, only there was no filling.  We kept tasting it (grapefruit!) and then smelling it (shortbread!) repeatedly because it was so bizarre that there was no visual/olfactory/tactile sign of the extreme grapefruityness therein.  A pleasant surprise to the end of a busy Saturday.

Other recipes we’ve tried:

  • grapefruit, lemon and ??? citrus jam
  • grapefruit juice
  • grapefruit sorbet
  • grapefruit and feta salad
  • citrus pasta (grapefruit zest + grapefruit-based dressing)
  • grapefruit pancakes
  • pumpkin grapefruit and coconut cream soup/pasta (treat grapefruit like tomatoes)

What are your suggestions for how to use grapefruit?

Creativity for his glory – even more cards (Cheryl)

(W: Here are a few things that Cheryl has made in previous months. Really enjoy watching day by day how she’s using her time to image her Redeemer by getting stuck into creativity that serves others. In contrast, my knowledge of sewing and crafts is limited to opening my wallet and paying for materials…)

Custom-made cards

thank you card for baby stroller

Thank you card – we made this for a family that gave us their double stroller. Took awhile to find a good double stroller image to adapt. E loves getting involved with the cardmarking now, and each card we make usually has her signature touch (a deft scribble or two).


blue dinosaur birthday card rawrrr

A card for a dino-mite birthday boy! Some line art in the background, with a big dinosaur silhouette.


Windows Phone Metro themed greeting card with icons

A Windows Phone-themed card! Uncle Henry was in town for two weeks and we enjoyed having him stay with us for some of that time. Different icons for some of the different things we did together (building blocks, cycling, ramen noodles, cello, DS).

E got to go on the bike with her dada, and learn about how the postman takes the card from the postbox and helps get it to Taiwan. We were glad to learn that it got there in one piece:

Windows phone metro themed greeting card and some abstract art by Eden

One good thing about making cards from scratch is that it helps you to focus on the person you’re addressing it to – to pray for them, to consider their interests, what they like. It’s a good opportunity to learn to love others more.

E2 and sisterhood

I’m writing this on E’s 2nd birthday. It’s starting to sink in that we have a two year old in our house – it feels like we have been parents forever, even though I know that’s not true!

E is part of a growing group of super-intelligent beings known as girls. She is joined this year by younger sister H (currently 3 and a half months old), who is fast catching up in size. And not pictured but just as part of the sisterhood is E’s cousin, who has just turned one and started walking.

These girls have shared lots of things so far: clothes, toys, baby capsules, and more. Our prayer is that one day they might share a bond stronger than family bloodlines, the blood of Jesus Christ.


I love how inquisitive our oldest daughter E is at the moment. She’s one month shy of her 2nd birthday, yet every day surprises us with a new word she’s learnt, or a new question she asks.

Today at the supermarket (where she insists on carrying the basket herself, and getting a good upper-body workout in the process):

2014-04-08 16.02.06

E: Wasdat?
W: Chocolate.
E: Choclate. *smiles*

Another fun thing we do are question and answer games. We do fun ones like:

C: E, why do owls sleep during the day: because they’re..?
E: Notturnal!

As well as catechism questions:

W: Who made everything?
E: God.
W: How many gods are there?
E: One God.
W: How many persons are there in God?
E: Free puhsons.
W: Who are the persons in God?
E: Fazer, Sun, Holy Biwit. (though she often forgets the Son… gotta keep working on that one)

Or just general encouragement of reading her books:

2014-03-24 18.23.05

W: What’s in your book?
E: *picks up the book* Wesh-mesh abash-meyar… (she continues reading, even if what’s in front of her actually says “To” and “From”)

I also love it when she comes up to my office desk and asks to “type”. She has her own workstation as you can see here (on her keyboard so far is a star, a smiley face, a circle and a diamond):

2014-04-07 11.40.15

But by far our most cherished moments are when E sings. She sings along to many of the hymns and songs that we put on during the day, to the point where she requests them using her own made-up callsigns, then joins in the singing (her words are getting there!).

Oh, may God grant her a curious mind throughout life!