Friday, March 30, 2012



Last night my son wanted a family bed time story so my husband and I stayed behind instead of just one of us.  We first read an Arabic story that my daughter picked and which my husband only understood by looking at the pictures. We then read an English information book about reptiles and amphibians when we came across the word camouflage.

My three year old, who was sitting up right on her daddy's belly, stopped me and asked,"What is camouflage?" I explained it as when an animal either uses its color or changes its color to blend in so other animals will not see it and her dad added that it helped it hide. She repeated what he said when I asked,"We have this green toad, how can it be camouflaged?" just to check on her understanding.

She answered,"Hide in grass... leaves." And then she pointed to a blue headed lizard and said, "This hides in the water."

For a three year old, I must say that this is pretty good. Many times the children surprise me and boggle my mind with their questions and answers. The wheels in their little minds work hard to make sense of the world around them. 
Very early on, my husband and I spoke to our children as we talk to any individual, ie with no baby talk. We feel if we do so with children, then they will grow up to ask questions and participate in conversations we wouldn't expect children at their age to engage in.

So my daughter blew me away that day and I am confident that there will be many similar incidents to come.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012



After watching the video below I could not help but wonder when would the human race be accepting of all shapes and sizes? When will we see past the external and focus more on the internal qualities of a human being?

There is so much to pay attention to and size is definitely not one of them. We should not be helping to destroy their self-esteem and confidence as keeping a positive body image is crucial to their happiness and wellness. If we were concerned for them then their health and confidence are the only issues we should try and help them with. Those will in turn help them lead a happier healthier life. 

The society needs to break free from this prejudice that they have against fat people. Yes, they may live an unhealthy life but there are so many issues that these individuals are going through and we need to be extra understanding and compassionate towards them. They have so much to offer if we just listen and give them a chance to shine and prove themselves. This video below is the perfect example of how awesome many of these individuals are if they were given the opportunity.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Best Day Ever!

I decided to write this down on my blog and not just post it on my Facebook just in case my son tumbled upon my blog and reads it.

Last weekend after quite a hard week he spent at school, my son, his friend, my daughter, their dad and I had an awesome weekend playing, jumping around and simply having a fantastic time. After their dad brought them back from the park, I made a macaroni and cheese dinner with peas and a side dish of salad. While the two were munching away, I asked my son if he had the best day ever.... below is how the conversation went;

Me: Was this the best day ever? (gymnastics in the morning, playing with his friend and his sister at Fashion Island, then at the park).
Jad: No, it was half a best-day- ever.
Me: Then how could it be the best day ever?
Jad: With this... (he gave me a big hug and kiss). NOW, it is the best day ever.

That would warm any mother's heart.  I have to admit that when he first answered the questions with a No, my heart stopped and I was thinking of what other ways we could have pleased him.... goes to show you how little I know what goes on in their pretty little heads sometimes.

Then yesterday morning we had another surprizing answer from my son... The things he comes up with... for a six year old, it really blows my mind;

Me: Jad and Mina, can you come down for breakfast please.
Jad: just minute, I'm having a discussion with Mina.

Friday, March 23, 2012


 I just had to share this inspiring video of a TED talk given by Dr. Brene Brown. I believe so many must watch it to understand that it is ok to be vulnerable. I should begin to accept the fact that I am vulnerable and that it actually enriches my life.

Many times I feel vulnerable voicing my opinion, feeling silly, fearing to appear stupid, less talented or knowledgeable than the other amazing teachers in my field. Or less creative, active or motherly than other mothers. Even with my husband... I hold back... fearing my feelings won't be reciprocated or maybe they were rejected. Brene's talk sure helped me see that I AM ENOUGH! I need to go easy on myself and just free myself from all the clutter that I drag behind me.

This video made those incidents or experiences feel less dramatic I guess. If I feel this way many times, I worry about the students who might feel this a few times in their lives or maybe even days.

I recommend everyone watch both her TED talks. One of the best quotes of one of her talks is, "Vulnerability is the birth place of creativity, innovation and change."

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Fabric Painting

Our couch BEFORE... you can actually see some spots... others are hidden under the cushions.
I have not written in such a long time and I have not even checked my blogger friends' posts either. Why? Well, I have been busy running so many errands, spending quality time with my kids and finishing projects that I haven't had time to do such as fabric painting my couch. 

In January, the cream colored couch we bought on sale arrived. I know that it was not the ideal color to have with children around but it was so cheap and mega comfortable especially for my tall hubby whose back gets easily trashed if he sat on the wrong type of couch. To add insult to injury, it had no removable parts to wash and therefore, the only way to wash it was to bring the soap and water to it and rub the fabric with a towel, which in turn created a discolored spot.

I noticed myself going bonkers trying to get the kids to wash their feet regularly every time they stepped out of the front door even if it were for a minute. This was no way to start or end the day and I knew that despite my efforts, that cream will turn to grey in no time. 

Surely enough it did, and in a matter of a week and a half, there were spots everywhere; dirty and colored. The last straw was when my daughter forgot one of her pink felt pens on the couch without its lid on. It left a huge bright pink spot in the center and any cleaning would have smeared it all around.

My husband and I threw some ideas back and forth and he advised me to plan it all. I started with the gecko and thought of incorporating the geometric cushions you see above in the picture. I thought that I wanted to bring in animals from the different countries we lived in; Malawi, Thailand, Jordan and Canada. I have painted the gecko from Malawi and the elephant from Thailand in different ways. I did not use the flour and water technique with the gecko as I had a feeling that it would not work and so only used a permanent black marker for outlining the lizard. 

However, when it came to painting the elephant my husband asked me to use the flour and water technique because he liked the white lines that are left behind after the dried flour is scraped. Little did we know that it would be a total disaster. I had to go over it all painting the white lines and outlining the elephant with the black pen.

The couch is still incomplete as I am waiting for more paint from Magic Moments to arrive to start working on the Moose for Canada and the Camel for Jordan. 
Notice my daughter's pink spot on the gecko's foot... that disappeared after I intentionally used black paint to cover it up.
The flour and water technique. My son helped paint the insides of a few rectangles.
Our couch AFTER.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Cooking with the Kids

I have fun baking cookies with the kids and they love using cookie cutters to make different shapes and decorate them with m and ms. 

I also have fun making chicken nuggets and salad with my son. I had to teach him how to peel veggies at the age of four and a half, chop them and even crack eggs.  It is usually a messy business with flour, the eggs and bread crumbs so my daughter does not join in. But this time my three year old wanted to join in and so I had to find some jobs for her.

First, we decided on a recipe to follow and they decided on a Paella from a kid's cooking book, Cook It Together by Annabel Karmel.

The kids had to wash their hands first. 

My son chopped a half green pepper into small bits and my daughter placed them in the bowl.

It was time for the half red pepper.
My son never chopped onions before so I had to show him how to hold it and chop one section at a time. We placed the onions in water first to lessen its effect on the eyes.
It was my daughter's time to help out. So I asked her to place the chicken cube in a bowl as well as two table spoons of tomato paste. 
My daughter then scooped a cup and a 1/4 of wild rice into a bowl.
It was time to cook. I warned them about the fire, how to hold a pan and keep their body away from the stove. Throughout the whole thing I had to explain to the kids that it was very important to stay organized and neat when we prepare for everything. I do not like messy kitchens and so all the ingredients had to go into separate bowls and we keep the area we were working on clean. My daughter handed my son the ingredients and I helped him pour it into the pan. They saute-d the onions and garlic.
And then they added the green and red peppers. By the way, if you were wondering why the stove was outside the kitchen, this is how the house we moved into is like. Many houses in Thailand have their cooking area outside the kitchen.
The rice came next and they cooked it for around 3 minutes. I should have placed a stop watch for them so that they could take more control of the whole experience.... maybe next time.
Next came the hot two and a half cups of chicken broth and tomato paste mix... Here, I had to pour the whole thing as it was hot. After stirring it for 2 minutes, they had to leave it for 15 or until the water was absorbed. After 15 minutes were up, I had to add a little bit of water to it as the rice was not cooked well yet.
Later, my daughter was too busy looking for her Shaun the sheep that my son and I had to finish the job on our own. He added the peas and stirred them for a while.
And then he added the defrosted shrimp and cooked them for around 4 minutes until they turned from gray to orange. After this... it was ready to ingest.
The kids LOVED it...Usually my son has some trouble eating any food that had tomato paste as he just does not like it. But this time he ate well and did not have any gagging reflex. He did not need any pushing to eat it. I think the fact that he was in control of most of the cooking helped him accept to eat it. This makes me think that I must do this more often than I do.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Arts and Crafts


Upon request by Isa, my friend from The M Chart,  I will reveal some of the arts and crafts I made with my kids over the past few weeks.

My son is obsessed with dinosaurs of all shapes and sizes and knows their names. He knows them so well that he corrects my pronunciations of their complicated long names. And so when there was Book Week at school and they had an exhibition of books from a certain store, I made sure to look for books on dinosaurs and was thrilled to find one that explained how to make dinosaur drawings or miniature sculptures of some.

The first one my son, daughter and I tried out were of dinosaur eggs made from tissue paper covered chicken eggs and dinosaurs made from aluminum foil covered with tissue paper as well. The kids painted the tissue paper after the glue dried out and this was the result;

The second dinosaur project we made were of 3-D dinosaurs that can stand on their legs. I had to help my daughter draw the dinosaur she chose from the book and cut it out while my son created his own dinosaur. They each painted them and I helped cut out the semi circle legs for each one. Here is the result;

The last piece we made when my son's friend came over. They all had a blast blowing the orange lava watered paint around and them splash some black and orange dots by flicking the brush bristles. Below is my son's piece;

Well this is it for now... Hope you enjoyed the pics.

I bought another book with great stuff to make and will be tackling a few soon.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Happiness... Day 21

Hurray! I did it... today is my 21st and final day of writing 3 things I am grateful for and a journal entry. I have been extremely busy this week and that kept me away from writing the final day of this so-called challenge. I have been staring at this blank page for some time now and I cannot seem to remember anything of what happened in the last two days. This is all because my mind was focused on work every single minute of the day.

3 Things I am grateful for:

1. Highways... without them it would have taken me more than an hour and 15 minutes to get home last night. Granted I had to pay more at the tolls but boy oh boy did we avoid traffic on the roads.

2. TED Talks.... I really appreciate having to watch an exciting, informative and well planned talk about anything and everything especially if it fills my time and takes my mind away from being away from my family. 

3. Books on crafts. Instead of trying to think of my own crafts to do with the kids, having a book to look through and pick cool things to do is handy and great. I enjoy working with the kids on sticking, painting, drawing and cutting. Our latest project is making baby dinosaurs peek out of an egg shell. We have already covered the eggs and the aluminum foil (baby dino) in tissue paper and we just need to paint them.

Journal Entry

I had such a long day yesterday but it was not so bad other than the fact that I had not seen my little girl since the night before and would not see her until 4 this afternoon. 

I spent the evening with Year 6 students, parents and teachers. They had an exhibition where they discussed and argued their point on several issues in the world that needed a revolution. Not a political revolution of course but something that we need to change in the world to make it better for us and future generations; using cloth bags, a carless Soi to and from the main road which is Sukhumvit, fighting discrimination, respecting people, animal rights and every other idea you can imagine of how we all have a role in changing and moving forward.

Teachers were not involved in the discussion, we were tweeting comments, questions and thoughts from every table. I loved tweeting, taking pictures, walking around listening to everyone engaged and  also picking student brains. Yes, granted I miss my kids and spent an hour and a bit in a taxi to get home, but it felt great to be a part of this huge initiative.