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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Dog-sitting

The new teachers have arrived. Part of their orientation is they get to go to Mikumi for the weekend. One of the new families has a little dog and needed a dog-sitter. I volunteered. Ethan's been wanting a dog, so I thought this was a good way to see how he does.

Meet Coco.

Ethan loves her. Maybe a little too much, if that's possible. We took Coco for a walk around the compound yesterday. Ethan's mates would ask who's dog it was. "She's my dog", replied Ethan. I'd have to correct him and tell him we're dog-sitting.

Then last night, Ethan came up to me; "Mommy, Coco licked my face. That means she's mine now." Yikes. We're going to have one upset 4 year old Sunday night.




Thursday, July 29, 2010

Fine Motor Fun - Dino Style

Ethan has hyper mobility and DCD. He goes for PT every week, and really enjoys it. Ethan also loves crafts. So this week, I thought I'd try something which would really focus on his fine motor skills.

Since Ethan loves dinosaurs, I thought I'd let him decorate one of his own. I traced a dinosaur picture onto coloured paper, gave him scissors, crayons and stickers.

Since Ethan has trouble cutting, I thought instead of cutting it out for him, I'd let him do it himself.


He still needs some help, but that's ok. He didn't get frustrated, and that's what's important.

Once it was cut out, I let him colour it any way he wanted to.



I had to keep reminding Ethan to hold his crayon the proper way.

To add to his fine motor practice, I had Ethan put stickers all over his dinosaur.

The stickers are great. They give Ethan the opportunity to get that pincer grasp going.

TahDah!!!



It's very simple, but Ethan had a great time and he got to practice his motor skills without even knowing it!

You Capture - Play

This week's You Capture assignment was play. I'm hoping swimming counts, as these are the best pictures I think I've ever gotten of Ethan swimming with his mates.

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Writer's Workshop

Mama's Losin' It

It was a bad burn. Tell about the worst sunburn you ever received. How did that happen!?!

I don't tend to burn. It's not showing off, or thinking I'm special, but in all my years in Canada, I never got a sunburn. Then we moved to Korea. Never burnt. Spent a month backpacking around Thailand; no burn. Scott, on the other hand, got severely burnt. We went snorkeling, once, and I teased him that I saw an incredibly huge lobster! LOL

Then, one October, we went to Boracay. It's a stunning island in the Philippines. To this day, I think it's my favourite spot on earth. Boracay is 7km of beach. That's it. You sit in the sun, play in water, go out in the water. Relaxation!

One day, we were relaxing, then went out on a banana boat, had a brilliant time. We got in in the evening, and noticed my forehead was a little red. Could this be a sunburn? The next morning, it wasn't any better. In fact it was worse! It was all red, a little bubble and extremely gross. I spent the rest of the week/vacation wearing a bandanna which went over my forehead. I've since learnt to make sure I put sunscreen on. Everywhere!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Book Review - Hug

Shonda over at Milk N' Honey Learn and Grow asked if I'd contribute and talk about a book. I'm so honoured.





Ethan's cousins gave him the book Hug by Jez Alborough for Christmas a couple of years ago. At first glance, I wasn't sure about it. It's a lovely picture book with exactly 3 words; hug, Bobo, & Mommy. Ethan was 2.5 at the time, and loved books. Could he really enjoy a simple picture book?

Well, I was wrong. There is nothing simple about this book. It's a wonderful book for children of all ages. On the days when it was the 1st book Ethan wanted me to read, we could picture read in detail. A wonderful story would unfold about a Chimpanzee searching for his mother, seeing mommies and babies everywhere entwined in hugs.  And on the days when this was book number 20, we looked at the pictures and read the three words.

The art work is cute, but the simplicity of the eternal story of the child/parent bond is what makes this story shine. It's one of those books that depends on the reader to help it come alive.

The best part of the book is, now that Ethan is 4, I can get him to read it to me. He can tell the story. It's great to see how his imagination comes through with the assistance of some wonderful illustrations.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

My new bags

We all know I love handbags. Well, in case you didn't know, you do now!

Back in May, I got a new Coach bag. Loved it so much, I even blogged about it.  I still love it, but it is a few months old, so it's time for a new one. Isn't it? Of course, trying to buy a new one with Scott around is difficult. Then I found the perfect solution! Swap-Bot!

First I signed up for a tote bag swap, and got this.


Isn't it the best?! And I love Sean Penn.

Then I signed up for the Happy Go Lucky for July swap. Didn't expect any totes, but got this.



Now I have a tote to take to school for all my books, and a little one for shopping. And I don't have to give up my Coach!

The Happiness Project

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I'm starting to get a little concerned that my recent happiness revolves around food.

 But seriously, where else in Dar can you get a donut that looks as good as it tastes?



What makes you happy? Visit Leigh to see what others say.

Mystery Muffins

What's the mystery? Come find out......

It's baking day! Yeah! I love baking with Ethan. Today we tried out some Mystery Muffins. Ethan was super excited about the mystery part.


Sift together 1.5 cups flour, 2 tsp baking powder and 1/4tsp salt.



In a large bowl, blend 5 tbsp butter, 1/2 cup sugar and 1 egg.



Add flour mixture to the butter mixture in stages, alternating with 1/2 cup milk.



Fill the cups halfway with batter.  Add a teaspoon of the "mystery" ingredient and cover with more batter.



Bake for 20 minutes at 350F.



So what's this mystery ingredient you ask? Well Ethan and I decided to have some fun. In one quarter of the cupcakes we stuck in a strawberry. Another 1/4 was raspberries, 1/4 Smarties and the last 1/4 cream cheese!



Sunday, July 25, 2010

Muffin Tin Meal

Muffin Tin Monday at Her Cup Overfloweth



I head back to work this week, and am not sure how I'll keep these up. I really would like to. Ethan and I have been enjoying this.

We tried breakfast again this week. I felt inspired to cook. And those that know me, know I can't cook!



We have star-shaped French Toast, raspberries and Petit Fromage.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Grrrrrrr.....

Seven years in Dar
No real major incident
Till now.
World Cup,
Germany vs England,
Car window gets smashed.
Maasai make it before car gets torn.
Then comes Friday night.
Same window
 Broken into.
This time
Car locks stolen.
Grrr....
Head rests stolen.
Grrrr...
But can deal.
However.....
Ethan's car seat is stolen.
His car seat!
Really?
Come on now!
In a country where no one uses car seats you choose to steal one?
Really?
Ok, so now am pissed off.
Go to Kariakoo today.
Told if we wait till Monday we can "buy" our locks and head rests.
Seriously?
Grrrr...
Don't really want to have to wait,
So guess we'll settle with buying someone else's.
Sorry.
Told our car seat will probably be available by Wednesday.
At a cost.
Always at a cost.
Better off buying a new one.
Grrrrrr.....

Friday, July 23, 2010

Labels

I'm just wondering.... do we rely on labels too much? I'm not talking about clothing labels, but labelling our children.

In schools, whenever there's a student that is not average, either above or below, we label them as gifted, or has a learning difficulty. I sometimes feel kids are too often labelled with ADD or ADHD. Ethan didn't start walking till he was almost 16 months, and many people suggested he was developmentally delayed. He was a late walker, not a delayed walker, but there seemed to be a focus on the word delayed. One of my mates has a child who is on the quiet side. She's concerned her child may have a speech problem. Are we looking for problems? Do we want all children to be the same? Why do we seem concerned when they are not the same? Why do we look for a label?

Ok, so maybe it is just me.

Scott and I knew Ethan had motor issues when he was just a few months old. When he was a year, we discovered he had hyper mobility. Granted, we just said he was double jointed, apparently there's an official name, a label. As he got older, we were a little concerned, but not seriously as he was developing appropriately. But then a few months ago, people started to share their concerns about Ethan's motor skills. They were sure he had a problem, and if he didn't, he would develop one.

I fought it.

I'm not sure if I fought the idea that there was something wrong with Ethan or fought that he wasn't normal. They may sound the same, but they are not. Ethan's cognitive skills are high, so just because his motor skills were not at the same level as his classmates didn't mean there was something wrong. But others thought so.

Finally I gave in and took Ethan for PT. This is where I learnt that double jointed has a name; hyper mobility. After a few sessions, I learnt about Sensory Processing Disorder. Ethan fit in there, so I thought maybe that was his problem. I spoke with his PT about this and we discussed it. She had another checklist and we worked on it. I was later told Ethan has Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD).

Now get this; after not believing there was anything "wrong" with Ethan, I feel better knowing what's wrong with him. I feel better now that there's a label. So am I guilty of labelling my child? Why do I feel better now that he has something?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

You Capture - Black & White

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This week we were asked to take black and white photographs. I have some beautiful postcards of Masai and tribal people from other Afircan countries. They are in black and white and are stunning. I thought I'd try one out of my own.




Writer's Workshop

Mama's Losin' It

I enjoyed trying out Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop last week that I thought I'd try it again this week.


Post a picture and a description that fits into this quote for you: "How far to heaven? Just open your eyes and look. You are in heaven" -Shankar


Do you ever just need to get away? Living in Dar es Salaam can be stressful. Sometimes you have no power, no water, the roads are flooded, the people drive you crazy, you're stressed at work... the list can go on. So, when you're in Dar, how can you escape?

Zanzibar!

It's a piece of heaven on earth.

Beautiful beaches.
 Peaceful.
Relaxing.

You come back after a weekend away relaxed, refreshed and ready to start another week.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Happiness Project

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For some people, the morning coffee helps start the day off right. I'm not a coffee drinker. However, a Zanzibar Chai Latte from Africafe will always brighten my day.


What makes you happy? To see more happiness, visit Leigh.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Muffin Tin Monday

Muffin Tin Monday at Her Cup Overfloweth

This week, Ethan got raspberries, petit fromage, heart shaped cinnamon raisin bread with cream cheese and hundreds & thousands, carrots and cucumbers. I was trying to go for red/pink, but then realised I had no tomatoes, so carrots and cucumbers had to do!



Sunday, July 18, 2010

Baking With Ethan - Jello Cookies

This week Ethan and I learnt something new when baking.

I was flipping through some recipes, trying to decide what we should bake, when I came across a very simple recipe for cookies. Jello cookies to be exact. The only ingredient I was missing was Jello, so we picked some up when we did our shopping. We would soon learn, that Jello and Jelly were not the same thing......

Cream 1 cup butter, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 egg, 1 tsp vanilla and 1/2 tsp salt.


Add Jello. Here's where we goofed. At home, Jello comes in crystal form. Here the jelly comes in a jelly form. But since we got this far, we decided to give it a try. We melted the jelly in the microwave, and added it. Let's see how it turns out....


Stir in 1 tsp cream of tartar, 1/2 tsp baking soda and 2 cups flour.


Ethan loves mixing.


Drop onto cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes on 350F.


Hey, they don't look too bad. But how do they taste?


Ethan loves them!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Date

Is it just me, or does Ethan look like he's on a date?