Monday, August 27, 2012

Hunting Mammoths

My kids and I had an awesome time playing imaginative games this weekend. We used to have puppet shows and play with toy cars or tea sets coming up with short scenes but we never created a whole story with weird twists, climax and resolutions. I thought they would get bored of it and hence never tried it. However, since I challenged myself a week or so back, I decided to give it a shot. Boy was I wrong and boy did they spark up when we decided to play Hunting Mammoths. 

I know that the idea of hunting sounds violent as I honestly do not like the act (sport) myself, but the kids learned from it. You see, my son said something about hunting more than one mammoth when I intervened and mentioned to him that a long time ago they only hunted as much as they needed and that they used everything from the bones, to the meat to the hide.  I also explained that the Natives hunted Buffaloes and not mammoths but since the mammoth was already made we might as well use it in some way other than to look pretty in our living room.

Where did we get the mammoth?

You see, last week, my son asked if we could add another activity to the program I put together. He wanted us to cut out miniature mammoths from paper but I had a better idea. We had a few boxes lying around that I did not want to throw away and so we built a mammoth the size of a dog the day before.

I wanted to create the whole scene, so we made Native head bands with feathers which the kids colored so beautifully and downloaded a Native American drumming song from iTunes just to create an atmosphere and put the kids in the mood. Little did I know that our story will go from hunting mammoths to sci-fi action.

Having finished the hunt, my son soon came up with other ideas like cloning and scientific inventions, we even had time machines and wormholes. Jad, who wanted to be from a different tribe, thought that the idea of having his mother (an Iroquois) and her loyal dog, his sister, as prisoners would be fun. He wanted to sacrifice us in front of his tribe and I was not sure why. I honestly went along with the whole thing and only asked a few questions to clarify the whole story in my head as it was a little confusing at first. I thought Mina would be confused as well but she seemed to have a better picture of what was going on than I did.

She even had her fair share of coming up with ideas herself. At one point in the story, she decided that her leg met an unfortunate accident and was chewed off by something or someone (I wasn't sure what exactly!). As she was pretending to be a sad pathetic dog spread out on the ground, she was unable to communicate in words what she had wanted done. She managed to get her message across after a few attempts of yelping and signing which was  to have her brother, the cloning inventor Scientist, make her another one. 

We had a blast! -----}-----@

Kids in general never cease to amaze me. They come up with the weirdest craziest ideas which are all fun once the adults get their heads around them. I have learned to never say NO to their creative ideas as they give me a better picture of what goes on in their heads and also reveal how smart and imaginative they could be. I will not say NO as I do not want to be the one who dampens these energetic beings, their moods or their self-confidence. There are no limits to where their minds can go and how interesting they can be. I had a great time just going along with what they suggested and had my belief, of how magnificent they are, reaffirmed.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

How Does Someone Gain Your Trust?

I have asked this question of myself so many times in life but I have not managed to scratch the surface of how they would gain my trust. I cannot begin to understand myself and my unique feelings or dealings with people to begin to address such a question. I know the usual answers to such a question; Friends... never lie, don't hide the truth or mask it, do what they said they would do, admit their mistakes, are competent, show consistency and the like. But I do not always go by those specific determining factors. 

You see....

I come across as someone who easily trusts strangers with her feelings and past stories and on the flip side does not trust 'friendship bonds' so much. To me, anything can happen that would rock the foundation of a friendship despite our efforts to keep it standing. Situations might arise that thin out that bond which could either be patched up, or not, depending on how eager both ends want it back to the way it was. There are, however, friendships that whatever hole it fell into can survive by digging itself to the surface.

I love my friends and value their friendship so please do not get me wrong when I mention that there is an initial feeling that I get in my core from our first contact, be it a good one or not, which would help me make a decision about whether it is a friendship that I could trust in or not. It is kind of like first impressions really but with feelings. My senses are all involved, especially that of my heart, and those feelings linger on for a long time before they either fizzle out or are proven correct. 

Like I mentioned above, I cannot begin to understand myself. Having said that it is more often than not that these initial feelings are proven correct. I am never sure what that 'friend' says or does that sends my heart and brain small signals that either send me a green light to go ahead and trust or warn me against fully trusting them.

I have a hard time trusting people if these warnings continue to buzz, ring or jingle as I seem to focus on how they would hurt me, when I should expect that hurt to arrive and on which boat. However, when my heart gives me the green light, I trust wholeheartedly without any hesitation afterwards. 

If, on the odd chance, my initial feelings were incorrect, then I fall flat on my face and hurt for a long time as it would if there was a prickly pear thorn on my finger tip; I may not see it but I can feel it. I feel hurt either way; whether I was right or wrong.  

What about you? Can you answer the above question with ease?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Weekend Fun

My kids have shown so much interest in the activities that we do at home that it is motivating me to do a few day. I tried to put a limit of one a day but they keep asking for more, especially Jad, my eldest.

This week we made flowers out of cupcake holders (Thanks to Isa from The M Chart for introducing the idea). Jad, Mina and I will make a bunch of those for Wai Kru Day at school to give to the teacher and the class assistant.
 parachutes and tested its effects on toys... so one toy was dropped without a parachute (similar to the one that was attached to one... not the spider-man that's in the picture... just to make it as equal as possible) and the other had the security of one...The experiment worked as the one with the parachute was slowed down considerably and the one without broke on impact.

bouncing raisins ... there was vinegar and bicarbonate of soda in the water which fizzed and helped the raisins to bounce up and down.

 and a Special Eid Breakfast. The month of Ramadan, where we fast (no food or drink) from sunrise to sunset, ended on Sunday and the kids had a special breakfast of Za3tar (thyme), edemameh, tomatoes and cucumbers for breakfast before opening their presents. 

I must say, that setting a schedule of activities before hand definitely took the pressure off of thinking what to do to entertain the kids. Jad and Mina can look at the list of options and select what they want crossing them out when they had finished.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Experimenting With Ideas

Okay so I have started trying out this new challenge business this weekend. I made broccoli and cheese muffins and then went on to try a different recipe for breakfast (above picture). I decided to become a little creative with the kids' breakfast and they loved it. They especially enjoyed the skewers to the extent that they wanted me to plop the chopped up barbequed steak, tomato and carrots from their salad onto them that evening.

This challenge got me thinking that if I wanted to learn new things, then why not involve the kids in a similar idea? So, I came up with a plan of providing Jad and Mina with a list of activities we could do after school or during the weekend so that we would not just watch movies. I thought it would spark me up as well as I was so used to us coming home, asking the kids to put on a CD while eating our dinner. This must not be that healthy. My husband was a little worried that this might add more stress on us as well as the kids and that they might need time to just chill-ax.

I disagreed as I thought that my list had a variety of activities including movie time in case they wanted to do just that... CHILL-AX. These slots included; arts and crafts, science experiments, some movie time, reading books, making up stories, using the puppets, imaginative play, etc. Every time we had an activity, we would cross it out on the list. When the list of 42 activities is finished then I would draw up another one.

Oh Boy was I surprised to see the excitement of the children when we had our first experiment. We placed some dirty coins in some lemon juice and then vinegar dishes to see which would shine the coins more. Lemon won in the end and the kids learned something about acids and their effect on metals. 

This experiment and the excitement that it triggered also got Jad thinking of coming up with all sorts of other experiments; some made sense and others well..... not so.... but I did not tell him that as he must do them to discover for himself. I will not dampen his excitement by saying that it won't work.

Already the kids are getting excited about the next activity which is helping to spark me up and getting me to do more.  

These are coins that were dropped in a container full of lemon juice.... it became so murky because of the dirt from the coins.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Trying Something New Challenge

I have been so idle for a year. Exhaustion from work and trying to keep up with home and the kids has hindered my motivation to grow. I started projects with the kids and did not keep it up for the entire year such as cooking, fabric painting or arts and crafts. I began projects on my own but many times I would just sit like a couch potato and do nothing for the three hours I had for myself. 

I am used to being up on the go the whole time and therefore I did not quite understand myself or why I was so lazy. I know there is no harm in taking the time off and doing absolutely nothing when exhaustion hits, or to be exact falls on you like a ton of bricks, but looking back at the rate I was going? Gees it was slow... too slow for my liking.

So for a few weeks now, and ever since I tried my hand at Fondant (picture found in my previous post), I have been thinking of learning something new every week. This sugary fondant sparked my rusty fuses and has zapped me into gear... now am I enthusiastic because it is still the first few days of school and will I feel different in a few weeks time? I do not know... I will live a week at a time...

And therefore as a result of my current state of determination, I decided to learn how to make Sushi. It was much easier than I originally thought it would be and Youtube videos sure did help. Jad loves Sushi and I decided to prepare something 'funner' for his snacks this year.  I made a vegetable sushi with cucumbers and carrots (pictured above) and felt good about it. 

Let us see how long this enthusiasm will last. 

Is there anything you would love to learn to do but either haven't had time or the motivation? Please share as maybe we can encourage one another to try it. 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Summer Fun

It has been ages since I last wrote a post on my blog... and getting back in the routine of posting takes so much effort as my brain has stopped turning and maybe even rusted a little during this summer vacation. There is so much to tell and share about the summer holidays. My family and I went to Jordan for a few days as a stop off before we headed to Canada for four weeks and then back to Jordan we went before coming back home to Thailand.

I have to focus hard to remember what I have been up to all this time... but will write them in bullets along with some pictures for your entertainment and so it will not be too boring.

here they are in no particular order;

1. I have been thinking of my grandmother so much before we left to Amman and therefore I cherished the time my kids and I had with her. She taught them how to play Rummy, a game that I am looking forward to playing with my son.

We spent so much time with family and friends in Canada and Jordan and it was lovely to see all. We introduced the kids to new friends or ones they had not seen in ages and they got along so well. The kids certainly had a blast learning new things and discovering themselves in the process. Jad learned how to put from his Anna in Canada, went fishing with his grandpa, was taken to his Jido's clinic to learn about his profession and learned how to take care of flowers in his Bibi's garden.

2. We went camping in Algonquin for 5 nights and met our dear friends from Bangkok who had driven up from New York to meet us. It was great to spend some time in the wild together. We all had a blast together.

3. We bought our first canoe in Canada and paddled across the lake a few times... one time was at night and we were only guided by the light of the moon. 

 4. We all got in touch with nature and saw chipmunks :), squirrels and a deer. Our friends saw a moose and we are hoping that next year we will see one as well.

5. In Amman, I tried my had with rolled Fondant as I wanted to practice for my kids up-coming birthday parties. The result was not that bad thought I bet I did something wrong because it kept breaking and I had to revert to cutting out stars instead of covering the whole cake with it. What I tried to do was cover the cake in light blue fondant and then cover it with yellow stars.

6. For the first time, we attended a Tattoo of the Canadian army with my husbands parents. It was pretty impressive but I, unfortunately, could not stay for the whole ceremony because Mina was too tired and had to go back to the hotel to eat and sleep. We saw an old ship in the distance on the way to the fort. This was all to commemorate the war of 1812 between the Canadians and Americans.

7. One of the most exciting hours of the trip to Canada was when we exited the Charles De Gaulle airport in Paris to visit the Tour Eiffel and the Arc de Triomphe. We were in transit to Toronto and I was not going to sit around at the airport for 8 hours waiting for our plane to arrive. I just had to go see it. We arrived way too early to climb to the top of the tower in the elevator but this did not take away from the excitement of it all. It was truly spectacular and a childhood dream of mine.

8. I was thrilled that Jad and Mina got to see what their Jido did for a living. They visited his clinic and he showed then how to a stethoscope, sphygmometer, the ultra sound and the knee- reflex hammer are used. They had a blast listening to heart beats and seeing their heart and gall bladder on the machines and Jad said that it was AWESOME! For me, it is a memory that would be etched in my mind and heart.

9. Jad had an experience of a life time. The ROM museum had a special exhibition of dinosaurs and boy oh boy did he have a blast. He later went fossil hunting with his dad and found loads of little trilobite fossils on a beach somewhere in the wild. While there we saw a true replica of the dinosaur they found in Malawi while were living there. Magnificent!

10. We also had a chance to visit a horse farm. The kids fed and pet the horses and their young and it was such a wonderful experience for them. Even though Jad had ridden horses in Jordan before, he had never met a foal. He was certainly brave. His little sister was content just to hold the bucket and bring it close to the horses.

11. The kids did some chores around the house in Amman; watering the plants, mopping the floors and picking the weeds. They did not forget to have some tummy sliding fun at the end of it of course.

12. One of the best parts of the summer was meeting my 2.5 month old nephew who filled my heart with such joy. Holding him in my arms was like heaven and I am so looking forward to seeing him again next year. I was very lucky to have had the chance to meet him as his residency card in Bahrain did not arrive until the day before they were planning to leave... if it had not arrive he would have had to stay in Bahrain with his mama while my brother brought his two gorgeous brothers for a visit.

13. And that last experience was something I would maybe write a post about... it was the fact that I had experienced some kind of a harassment while on the plane to Bangkok. The weird thing was that it was directed at me from a very old man who had back problems and was circling the cabin around and around because he was unable to sit down for long.

So you see now why I could not write any blog posts during the summer... there was so much to do and so little time to sit and write anything. I will be catching up with your blogs soon when the craziness of school settles down and I have more time to write at home.I have missed you all.