HomeGems: Inspirations

Show and Tell

A picture is worth a thousand words. Our first memories are usually of the things that surrounded us when were young. There are people who can remember the musical mobile above their crib. I thought I was the only one! It was nice to be surrounded by beautiful things. My grandmother had aviaries with canaries and pigeons, rose bushes and orchids in her garden. There were even grapes growing on a trellis and a Japanese fish pond, which my brother couldn’t resist pushing me into. He decided to set the canaries free, something he regretted when my grandmother told him that they were domesticated and would not be able to fend for themselves in the wild. The truly beautiful things were the things of nature. They are so full of colour and life.

As time goes by, material things count for less in our store of memory, and relationships and special occasions become more precious. Celebrations at home with family and friends have pride of place. My siblings had a disco party at home (in pre-Covid days, of course) where kids, teens and uncles and aunties danced the night away after dinner. I suppose that was a family D&D.

Entertaining at home is a wonderful way of showing hospitality. It’s nice meeting up with old friends and former colleagues over a meal, but even nicer when we cook a meal together or when each one brings a dish or two. It’s also a chance to show off some newly acquired skill, or share experiences of using different appliances, like the air fryer.

By Chayo, Homskil Editor 1, 6 January 2021

The Priceless Gift

I started my first job during the time that there was “car-pooling” to work. It meant that if there were four people in a car, there wasn’t a need to pay the toll to get into the CBD area (Central Business District). The lady who gave me a lift to work everyday lived in my neighbourhood and she worked at the Treasury Building, which looked like a stack of coins. I only realised that she was an important lady when I recognised her name on a form which I had to fill out at work. I knew that the Treasury building was an important place, which one associates with money and wealth.

One day another lady who joined the car-pool told us that her children gave her some plastic flowers for Mother’s day. They told her that the plastic flowers were the best, because they would last forever. It sounded like they were not the most beautiful flowers, but they were the most precious gift to her. Then I thought, yes, there are many things in life which are priceless and can never be measured in monetary terms. There are also many services done in society which cannot be measured in monetary terms for their contribution to the economy. A homemaker’s contribution in the home is also a contribution to society, but is probably never recorded in terms of statistics. I once heard an economist talk about the quality of life being made up of little things in the home.

When people go out of their way to render a service or give a helping hand, but don’t accept payment for their deeds, these services are not recorded in monetary terms, but they are priceless. They make the world a kinder place. I remember a worker running after me as I was making my way to the bus-stop with my groceries. He was shouting to me to stop, I was a bit surprised. He caught up with me and told me that I had dropped a packet of vegetables. He handed it to me and went on his way. I realised that essential workers like him made the world a more beautiful place. Without their work, the pavements and parks were overgrown during Circuit Breaker.

My favourite poem starts with : “Count your garden by the flowers, never by the leaves that fall. Count your days by golden hours, don’t remember clouds at all.”

Time to do some gardening…

By Chayo, Homskil Editor 1, 24 January 2021

Stay cool, stay safe

Some tips: 1. Keep in mind food safety, 2. Avoid cross contamination, 3. Put things which you use often within easy reach, 4. Keep cooked food in containers, 5. Keep marinated raw food and other raw food on the bottom shelf to avoid liquid/blood dripping on to vegetables or cooked food, 6. Keep raw vegetables in fridge drawer or on shelves above raw food

Starry, Starry Night…

When the stars come together! Sausage stars (instead of rolls), star fruit and pomegranate. Add juice or a soda drink to the pomegranate for a mocktail. A Vincent van Gogh inspired appetizer.

Healthy pomelo salad with peanuts and rice and cracker

Something between an appetizer and a salad. Very refreshing. Mix the pomelo in a dressing of water, sugar, and vinegar. Great for a celebration meal.

The Igloo Ice Cream Cake with Strawberries

What do you do when you can’t decide on whether to serve cake, ice cream or fruit? Combine them all into one, of course! This is a cheat dessert because you can use a ready-made jam roll, and still impress everybody.

A New Life for the Chipped Pot

It’s a bit heart-breaking when your favourite coffee pot gets chipped, or the cover breaks, but before throwing it out, think out-of-box: can it become a flower pot instead?

Simple Elegance

Home-dining doesn’t always have to be casual. A touch of elegance on special occasions makes them even more special.

The Zoo Theme Kitchen Cabinet

There has to be logic in the kitchen. If you have the luxury of space, organise your crockery according to frequency of use and ease of reach. The zebra liners add some fun to an otherwise serious kitchen.

The Thai Buffet

If you are willing to go back in time, and spend a day like the homemakers of old in the kitchen, this home feast is do-able. But it would be wise to get some help.

Homemade packed meals

Chicken rice cooked at home for taking out. When homecooked food is so good that you will want to take it with you wherever you go!

Say it with flowers

Flowers have always been a good way to welcome everyone home.

Nature’s Gifts

There is nothing like being greeted by colourful little flowers in the morning. Gardening requires patience, but it is a valuable skill, especially when there is a need to grow our own food, something we never thought we would have to do – until Covid 19 came along.

The Chicken’s Day Out

It’s not sure if this is a kampong chicken or an urban chicken, but it was trying to decide whether to cross the road. A chicken lost in the city is a rare sight, but a beautiful one.

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