Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Last Day of School

Today was Ethan's last day of school. He had a wonderful time this year. He loved going to school, and even when he was sick, it was hard to keep him home. He's devoured the new language (French) and it's a shame he'll be moving schools next year. I can only hope he loves it as much as he's loved the French School.

Ethan heading off to his first day of school.

Heading out to his last day of school.

Merci Maitress. Je t'aime beaucoup.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Happiness Project

Am joining Leigh once again, in her Happiness Project.


The perfect moccachino and chocolate tart. Ignore the calories. Just enjoy.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Expat Anonymous

Hello. My name is Tima and I'm an Expat.

It's an interesting life here. In some ways, it's tough, the power goes off, you go a few days with no water, the roads can be horrid, you miss the comforts of home. And yet, we're spoilt here. I sometimes wonder if I could ever survive back home.

Our housekeeper quit last month. Got a job with an Embassy family, who pays more. Despite her contract stating she had to give us a month's notice, she didn't. And I was confused. It seemed weird not having a housekeeper. Bear in mind, we also have a nanny. Yes, I have a almost-4-year-old and a nanny. (Spoilt) Since Ethan's in school, the nanny was able to do some of the housework.

Then Ethan fell ill. He's been cranky and crabby, and well... a sick little boy. Yesterday, I had to get Christina to assist in giving him his medicine. Christina is the best. I do not know what I would do without her.

And here's where I feel bad. I have a mommy mate in the US. Her son is the same age as Ethan, and she has 2 year old twins. Since the beginning of the year, she has had at least one child sick. And she works full time. And she is the nanny of her own children. And she's the housekeeper. She commented recently that the night wasn't as bad as it could have been, since only 2 kids were sick and sleeping in her bed and not 3 kids. Oh, and only 1 child fell out of bed, not 2. And she went to work the next day. I'm on vacation. And even if I did have to work, I know Christina will come in the morning to help, and after work, I could rest if needed.

Dear mommy-friend, and all my other mommy mates, I have an incredible sense of respect for you. You are my idols.

My name is Tima. And I'm spoilt an Expat.

Muffin Tin Monday

Muffin Tin Monday at Her Cup Overfloweth

It's Monday again! I like that I started the Muffin Tin Meals without themes. It's giving me a chance to explore different ways of giving Ethan his meals. By August, I should be able to tackle the themes.
This week we tried breakfast.

We've got toast, scrambled eggs, banana, and petit fromage.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The number 4

Can you beleive that in just 4 days, my baby will be 4? Where did the time go????  In honour of the last 4 days before he turns 4, I thought we could sing along with Sesame Street.

The fruit salad song

 Ethan learnt this at school. We keep telling him that we're going to make a fruit salad for his birthday and include these fruits.

What fruits do you like?

Baking With Ethan

Last year Ethan and his mates made rainbow cupcakes. We started with a white cake, then each child chose a colour and tint their part that colour. It's been awhile since Ethan's had some rainbow in his life, so this morning we thought we'd try them again.

We started with a box mix. In hindsight, I think next time we'll make it from scratch. While it's faster to make a cake from a box, the boxed cakes are imported, and I think it comes out cheaper to make the cake from scratch then to pay the 7,000Tsh for the box.

We followed the directions on the box. Empty contents, add 1 1/5 cup of water, 1/2 cup oil and 3 egg whites. Ethan loves the pouring and mixing part.

We then split the batter into 6 parts and tinted each one. Ethan was fascinated at how the colour blended in the batter so well.

We started with the purple on the bottom, followed by blue, green, yellow, orange and red on top. In and out of the oven.

We added some whip cream for a cloud to top the rainbow.


Saturday, June 26, 2010

David Goes to School

I came across David Shannon's book No David! a few years ago while in Korea. It was cute. The pictures were adorable. It was a great way to get the children talking in English. And honestly, that's all I thought of it.

Somewhere, along the line, I also bought David Goes to School. This past month, Ethan discovered it. Every night we read together, and he pulled this book out. We read it. It was cute. That's it.

The next night we read it again. This time Ethan talked about what he doesn't do at school. He listens. David doesn't. He eats nicely, David doesn't. Ok, so this book's gotten better.

The third night, Ethan wanted to read it again. By now I was getting tired of it, so I thought I'd liven it up a little. The book starts
David's teacher always said.....
No, David!
No yelling.
No pushing.
No running in the halls.

I changed the following page to
Ethan! You're late!

And then changed the name on each page to one of his school mates. Ethan was in stitches! He thought it was the funniest thing ever!

It's now become a bedtime tradition. We either read about Ethan Goes to School where all his mates make an appearance, or Ethan chooses a mate, and the story becomes about them. At first I was worried that we were giving Ethan the impression that we think he misbehaves at school, but he doesn't. He thinks it's funny that we think he (or his mates) do that. At the end, he tells us how funny it was.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Ethan Starts Physio

A little background is needed here.
1) I'm high maintenance. I worry about anything and everything, especially when it comes to Ethan.
2) I've always been aware that Ethan's motor skills are not as strong as I would like them to be, but he is developmentally on track.

About 2 months ago I got a letter from Ethan's principal wanting to see us to discuss Ethan's progress. It turned out he wanted to tell us that he thought Ethan had serious problems with regards to his fine motor skills. This was an issue for me, as there really wasn't a discussion, since he doesn't actually teach Ethan, so there was no idea sharing. It turned into an even more serious issue, as I felt I was being attacked by mates on Facebook.

I started to question myself as a teacher (who should be able to notice if a student has developmental issues) and a mother (who should not "be an ostrich with her head in the sand"). Interestingly enough, my mates who saw Ethan and I on a regular basis felt there was nothing to be concerned with, and my closest mates who I hadn't seen in ages (work schedules) were sending me emails telling me I should consider physio for Ethan.

Was I be a bad mother if I believed there was nothing wrong? Was I a bad mother, or worse yet, was Ethan a bad child, if he needed help? Would we be looked down on or pitied?

I finally caved, and went to see the paediatrician. Ethan's visited Dr Thomas a few times in the past, so he knew the past concerns I had regarding Ethan's motor skills. He mentioned that in the past, he was concerned that Ethan may have a muscular issue, but it was too early to tell. Now he knew there was nothing wrong. When I told him the comments that were being made to me, he felt while there wasn't anything seriously wrong with Ethan, why not find an OT, go for a consultation/evaluation. It wouldn't hurt, and any extra help we could give Ethan would really benefit him in the end. The problem now arises that we live in Tanzania! Where am I going to find an Occupational Therapist here? There are a lot of physiotherapists here, but Ethan's 3!!! Could one give a child of 3 years the support he may need? So we now started looking at possibly finding an OT in South Africa, going there for a week, and seeing what s/he had to say. But again, where to start looking?

Once again an angel came into our lives. Mikey is a colleague of mine at school. He had a parent of his who brought in an OT. Unfortunately this OT was visiting from Ireland, so there was no chance for Ethan to see her. Mikey spoke with this parent and she came to see me. The day before Mikey spoke to her, she found ... get this... a paediatric physiotherapist who specialises in sensory motor skills! (Angels!!!!) Oh, and she's here. In Dar!

So last week, I took Ethan to see her. We visited twice in the week. Once to check his gross motor skills, and once to check his fine motor skills. We discovered that Ethan is double jointed. Correction, we always knew he was double jointed, but we learnt her was uber flexible. She was able to make his big toe touch his leg. Eewww! According to her, Ethan's flexibility is his natural ability. So his fine motor skills move in an unnatural way, which overrides his muscles. She emphasised that there was nothing to worry about. So for everyone who felt Ethan's tripod grip would lead to sever spinal issues, nope!

Through our discussions, she's learnt that I'm a teacher, and do a lot of motor activities with Ethan, so she's confident that there's nothing to worry about. But as Dr Thomas said, any extra support we could give Ethan, will only benefit him, so we will now visit her once a week.

We never told Ethan that she's a doctor. He was introduced to her as a friend of mommy's, and when we go visit her, he looks forward to it. She has lots of wonderful games to play with, and Ethan likes the playground there.

So, I feel better. But... I don't. Does that make sense?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

You Capture: Get Down Low

I have once again, found something I can get addicted to. You Capture. This week's assignment was to Get Down Low.


At first I was utterly lost. Am I suppose to take a picture of the dust under my bed? I went outside to see what would inspire me. And then I saw some small bushes with flowers. I was reminded how much fun Ethan and I had earlier this week walking to and from swimming, looking at all the flowers up in the trees. So this time, instead of looking up to the trees, I got down to the ground. Lay on my back, and found some pretty flowers.

Pre Birthday Bash

 One week from tomorrow Ethan will be 4. OMG! Ethan's turning four! When did that happen? Wasn't he just a baby yesterday? How did this happen?

Ok, I digress. School ends next Wednesday and a lot of his mates are travelling and won't be here for his birthday, so we decided to have a mini-party at school. I tend to like making Ethan's cake. I guess it's my compensation for not knowing how to cook. I can't cook, but I can bake. However, Ethan didn't want a #4 cake, or a bunch of cupcakes. No, he wanted a Bakugan cake. Yeah, like I can figure out how to make one of those. So I turned to Farry, who makes amazing cakes. She did a fabulous job.

According to Ethan's teacher, he was super excited all day. Was telling anyone and everyone that his mommy was bringing him a Bakugan cake for his anniversaire. When he saw his father walk into the school carrying the cake, he was all giggles. Followed him to the classroom, then ran to find Maitress and his classmates.

Ethan proved to be a true gentleman. He passed out slices of cake to all his mates, before sitting down and devouring his piece. Then he started to look tired. And an hour later, when school was out, he had a fever.

Well, at least he got to enjoy his cake first.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Happiness Project


We don't often get to walk here. The roads are bad, and it's not all that safe. This week Ethan has started Swim Club. It's close by, so we walk it. On the way home today, Ethan noticed all the pretty flowers.

Just makes you smile.

What makes you happy? Visit Leigh to view what makes others happy.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Muffin Tin Monday

One of the blog I've started following is called Muffin Tin Mom. Monday's is Muffin Tin Monday where she serves some meal in muffin tins. She usually has a theme, but over the summer, she's decided to go theme-less. Ethan's becoming a fussy eater, once again, so I thought I'd give it a try.

Muffin Tin Monday at Her Cup Overfloweth

Instead of a muffin tin, I chose ramekins. I made mini Sheppard's pies in them so thought I'd carry a butterfly theme. Here's today's lunch.

We've got Sheppard's pie, carrots and raspberries.

Bon appetit Ethan.

Interview with Ethan

Ok, so a mate of mine had this posted on Facebook. I thought I'd give it a try. I changed it up a little. All her questions were about mom. Since it was Father's Day yesterday, I thought I'd make them about dad. I asked Ethan the following questions, and here are his answers.

Ethan James Nisbet (almost a 4-year old)

1. What is something Daddy always says to you?
I like you Ethan. (What, no I love you? lol)

2. What makes Daddy happy?
When I say I love you.

3. What makes Daddy sad?
When I'm not good. Hitting.

4. How does your Daddy make you laugh?
When somebody makes trees in their eyes. (Don't understand this one)

5. What was your Daddy like as a child?
He liked milk. (True)

6. How old is your Daddy?
21 (Only in Daddy's dreams)

7. How tall is your Daddy?
Far. Up to the sky.

8. What is his favorite thing to do?
To smile.

9. What does your Daddy do when you're not around?
He works. (When is he not working!)

10. If your Daddy becomes famous, what will it be for?
For his fish. The blue fish I made him.

11. What is your Daddy really good at?
He's good at work.

12. What is your Daddy not very good at?
Not good at fighting. (Boxing on the Wii)

13. What does your Daddy do for his job?
Work. With his computer.

14. What is your Daddy's favorite food?
Scrambled eggs. (Where did this come from?)

15. What makes you proud of your Daddy?
Getting me a Ben 10 scooter. (I'm buying the scooter, but Daddy gets credit)

16. If your Daddy were a cartoon character, who would he be?
Bakugan! (Figures!)

17. What do you and your Dad do together?
We play football.

18. How are you and your Dad the same?
We both big and white. (What's with the white?)

19. How are you and your Dad different?
Me, I'm different than Daddy. I'm black white and Daddy's white white. (Again with the colour?)

20. How do you know your Dad loves you?
For kisses.

21. Where is your Dad's favorite place to go?
Zanzibar. (Ethan's favourite place. Maybe he's trying to tell us something)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day

I love holidays. Any holiday. And Father's Day is no exception. Scott's generally a mellow guy. I'm the dramatic one. A relaxing day at home is his ideal. I always feel the need to do something. For Father's Day, we compromised.

Ethan and I made breakfast for Scott. While he doesn't generally eat a big breakfast, he enjoyed them. Ethan made him the cutest fish at school, and we got him a Dad T-shirt from my new favourite T-shirt shop, My Personalized T-Shirt.

Ethan was in a boxing mood, and after 5 games on the Wii, he and his dad then decided to play golf on the Wii. Scott commented that this was his favourite way to spend Father's Day. Goofing off with his son.

We ended the festivities with an overindulgent brunch at Kempinski!

Happy Father's Day babe.

Baking With Ethan

Happy Father's Day!

This morning, Ethan and I decided to make breakfast for Scott. I don't cook, so I knew it would be extra special to cook. We decided to make Pop Up Pancakes. We've made them before, but Scott wasn't here, so it would be his first time experiencing them.

Ethan decided that since it was Father's Day, he should do most of the work.

Measuring the flour.Add milk.

Need eggs. Butter.

And mix. We wanted hearts.

Out of the oven.For Daddy.


Saturday, June 19, 2010

Where's the Playroom?

At one of my lovely ladies' nights, we were chatting about Expat Anonymous. It's become our "thing". Last Thursday, Susa booked our table under the name of EA! This time the topic turned to our kids, and how they lead an Expat life.

L was laughing as she stated how you never fully realize the impact until you go home, and your kids visit a friend of relative, walk in the door and ask; "Where's the playroom?" Nah, that can't really happen. Can it?

Well this week, we learnt it can! S faced the embarrassment, and it wasn't even back home. The family went to visit some new friends. A, who is only 3, was excited to meet new friends. He walked in their room, saw some toys and asked, "So, where's your playroom?" Good thing, they did have one. But what to do next time?

Hello, my name is Tima, and I'm an Expat!

Friday, June 18, 2010


Once again Faiza has a wonderful idea. It's easy to play, and doesn't take a long time.

Go to Google Image Search.
Type in your answer for each question below.
Choose a picture from the first page.
Use this website to make a collage.
Save the image for use in this note.
Tag the people whose collages you want to see.

1. What's your first name?
2. What's your favourite food?
3. What is the name of your hometown?
4. What is your favourite colour?
5. What is your favourite movie?
6. What is your favourite drink?
7. What is your dream vacation?
8. What is your favourite dessert?
9. What word describes you?
10. How do you feel right now?
11. What do you love most in this world?
12. What do you want to do with your life? (or be when you grow up?)

Here's my collage.

I would love to see yours.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Fashionably

This is not my creation, but I love it so much, I just had to share.

So we are all looking for ways to help save the earth. We cut down on water use, recycle, don't print out emails unnecessarily. It's wonderful!

I discovered Mabinti Training Center a few years ago at Makutano. They had some stunning table cloths, table runners, napkins, etc. I just has to buy some stuff for Christmas gifts. Mabiniti Center is a training facility for orphan girls who have lost their parent(s) to HIV/AIDS and young women who have been operated on for fistula. By giving the women the opportunity to acquire a trade and develop entrepreneurial skills, Mabinti enables them to become economically independent and obtain a better standard of living.

This year, Mabinti came up with the coolest thing ever. Did you ever wonder what happens to those billboards when they retire? One billboard goes up, another comes down, and then there's plastic just sitting there. Doing nothing! Not anymore!!!! Mabinti has come up with a fashionable solution. Tote bags! That's right! These tote bags come in different sizes and colours.

Now how can you not resist? You get to support some amazing and strong women, and help the environment. All while sporting a wonderful tote bag!

(Thanks Christina for modelling them)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Happiness Project


Sunday. Came back from Ma's. Bake cookies. Watched football. Played with Christopher. Helped Lara bathe Alexander. Ate pizza. Phew! Am knackered!

What makes you happy?

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Expat Anonymous

Hello, my name is Tima, and I'm an Expat.

We have some mates coming over today, so Ethan and I thought it would be fun to bake some cookies. It was fun. Ethan's a great chef. Unfortunately, it's Sunday. Which means we have no housekeeper. Which means the dishes won't wash themselves. Someone has to do them. Hmmm..... is it too early to train Ethan to wash them?

Lovely Sunday

We've got mates coming over today. Football/soccer and pizza. What a great way to end a Sunday! To make things even better...Ethan and I decided to bake some cookies for our visitors. Gregory is not a dessert person, but he is a chocolate chip cookie person. So Ethan donned his chef's gear, and went to work.

Measuring the flour and sugar.

Mixing everything together. And let's not forget, the most important ingredient....

The Chocolate Chips!

Going into the oven. And out.

We couldn't wait for Gregory to come!