Monday, January 31, 2011

5-Day Writing Challenge - Day 1

The Lady Bloggers Society offers up at 5-day writing challenge. I think I'm up for it! Today we're asked for something we've outgrown. This is a tough one. Seriously. There are things I know I should have outgrown by now.... but haven't. Here's my list:

1. I should have outgrown teen books. But I still like them. I gobbled up all the Twilight books within a week. I just finished If I Stay. And I'm sure I'll read more. I like to say I will continue to read these because I'm a teacher, but let's be honest, I'll still read them for my own personal pleasure.

2. And if you outgrow teen books, then you outgrow teen movies. Yes, I do believe I've outgrown them. I will still go and watch Twilight, as I feel obliged as I started watching them, but I can honestly not think of any teen movies I've recently watched.

3. The Disney Channel. Yes, once again, this is not something I should watch. And yet, I find myself understanding Ethan when he talks about "the boy who sings and then he fell in the mud". Yes, I watch the Disney Channel. In my defence, I watch it with my son.

4. I have outgrown the chocolate sundae. This was the ultimate dessert at one time. The promise of a chocolate sundae after dinner was a guarantee I'd clean my plate. Now, I'm all about the latte and, possibly, a slice of tiramisu. Or a chocolate tart. Or a mousse. Well, something rich and chocolatey. Which means....

5. I have not outgrown my love of chocolate. I still crave a teeny tiny piece, at least once a day. My taste has grown. I now love it when we travel, because Scott will pick me up some Lindor truffles.

6. Gossip Girl. I gobbled up Season 1. I had read the series, and couldn't wait to see the series. I loved Season 1. I have no desire to watch the remaining seasons.

Hmmm.... maybe I'm just not ready to grow, so therefore I don't outgrow anything. Hmmmm.....

Muffin Tin Meal

This week's theme was "favourites". Since Ethan's a fussy eater, I tend to use these times to either trick him into something, or have a little fun. But his favourite foods, tend to be what I send him to school. So this week's "tin" is his school snack box.

He has a "petit fromage", mango slices, a sandwich with homemade apple butter, and carrot and cucumber sticks!

Muffin Tin Monday at Her Cup Overfloweth

Friday, January 28, 2011

Read to Feed

IST is participating in the Heifer's Read to Feed Program. For anyone who does not know, Heifer International is a non-profit organisation that has been working in Tanzania for over 30 years. It selects qualified needy families to raise their standard of living by providing them with livestock such as goats, chickens, or a cow. It gives them the training on how to best benefit from the gift. When they receive an animal they must make a promise to return one or more of the offspring, which will then be passed on to another family in their community.

Ethan and I have been talking about Reed to Feed. How some families, don't have what we do, that the children cannot even go to school. Ethan then went to tell me about the book he read at school. The girl couldn't go to school, but then they got a chicken, and eggs and more chickens and she got to go to school. I'm wondering if his teacher read him One Hen by Katie Smith Milway. Ethan is now super excited.

Starting Monday, Ethan and I will write down all the books we read. He's getting sponsors for each book he reads for the next 3 weeks. All the money he raises, will go to the Heifer Project. We got a few moms of Ethan's mates to sponsor him. If anyone else would like to sponsor him on his first endeavour to give back, we would be grateful.

“If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.”
~Mother Teresa

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Soulless - Gail Carriger

The 3rd book I've read this year (so far), is also my February book club book. Soulless by Gail Carriger. It also fits in perfectly with my 11/11 Challenge, being the 1st in a series, The Parasol Protectorate.

Soulless is right up my alley. Vampires, werewolves, supernatural. All taking place in Victorian London. After some issues with voice in the 1st book of the year, I loved the voice here. The author writes in the 3rd person, and you can really here the British!

Our heroine, is Alexia Tarabotti, a spinster who happens to be a preternatural, a person born without a soul. When she touches a supernatural, they are, back to human; a werewolf returns to human form, a vampire's fangs retreat.

I'm not sure if Soulless is a romance book, or a mystery. But both parts of the book were enjoyable.

Writer's Workshop - Cinquain

Write a love poem to a favourite food.

I'm still dreaming of my Christmas obsession.

Hot and steamy
Frothy cream, my new love
Starbucks, vanilla, hazelnut

I'm linking up with MamaKat today. Unfortunately, I can't get her button to work. :( 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Happiness Project - Week 4

My girlfriend's daughter turned 2 last Friday, and we had a great time at the party. Ethan doesn't go to school with his mate, Alessandro, so he was thrilled to get a chance to run around with him.

Happiness is making silly faces!

I'm joining Leigh and her quest for happiness. What makes you happy?


Monday, January 24, 2011

Book Challenge

I've decided to challenge myself this year. I've set out to read 100 books this year. I'm thinking I've aimed a little too high, but I'm up for the challenge. With my WS Book Club, that's 12 books taken care of, leaving me with 88 more to go. 

I'm trying to also challenge my students. I want them to start writing short reviews of their books. The plan is to get them to start writing summaries, and from there, move to reviews.

And since I want this from my students, it's only fair I do it myself.

So, the 1st book I read this year was for my book club. The 2nd was for me.

Lover Avenged by JR Ward

This is the 7th book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series. And I gobbled it up, just like the others. This book focuses on Rehvenge. He was never a favourite of mine, he is not one of the Brothers, but Ward makes him very likeable. It was great to learn more about him. 

I really liked that Ward brought Wrath back. With each book, she introduces a Brother, but then the past ones seem to fade. Wrath comes back, and we learn more about John, Blay and Quinn. 

The only thing that I'm more excited about, is the next one. John has always, secretly, been my favourite.

Muffin Tin Meal

Hmmmm..... looking at Ethan's lunch, I'm beginning to notice he often gets the same foods. But then again, he's fussy, so as long as he's eating, and having fun, I'm not too concerned.

This week's theme is Long and Short.
For long, there's a chapati with Nutella, carrots and cucumber slices.
Short has grapes, Goldfish and almonds.
Oh, and there's a glass of water, due to my lack of imagination!

Muffin Tin Monday at Her Cup Overfloweth

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Scavenger Hunt Sunday

Welcome to this week's Scavenger Hunt.

1. Memories
This is my wedding wall. Except for the picture of my brother and I, everything here is from my wedding and honeymoon. I see it everyday, and it brings back the memories of that time.

2. Silhouette
Ok, I cheated, it's not really a silhouette.

3. Doorway
My mum and dad are moving to a new place. It's still under construction, and should be finished in the next couple of months. We went to see the model ones, which are complete. This is my parents' new front door.

4. Reflection
Rex was feeling playful. Wanted to see if he could scare himself!

5. Silver
One of my students gave me this for my birthday.

Saturday, January 22, 2011


There are many great things about living in Dar. And there are many not-so great things. Life is full of lessons, and living here gives you daily lessons in patience. I know everyone with small kids say they get daily lessons in patience, I know Ethan is always challenging me, but the Dar lessons are much different, and perhaps even more challenging.

Dar offers it's first lesson with banking. You go to the bank, and the system is down. So the teller asks if you have enough money in your account before letting you withdraw any money. And since the system is down, you can't get your balance. Breathe.

But really, you got your money, so where was the lesson in patience? Ah, Dar has that sorted. The next time in, the systems are down, yet again, but this time they cannot do any transactions. Yes the bank is open, but you cannot deposit or withdraw any money. If you really need to get some cash, please go to the other branch in Mikocheni. Hey, if I wanted to drive out there, I would have opened an account with the bank there, that doesn't charge insane fees. I chose this bank because it is 5 minutes from home. Deep breath. Patience.

Tanesco, the power company, has decided to join the lesson. They are now rationing power. The power goes off at all hours of the day, and lasts for hours. We have a generator, so it's not too bad. However, the generator is not automatic, so we have to wait for one of the guards to realise it's out, make his way there, and turn it on. But we do have a generator, so our lesson is minimal.

However, when the power's out, we have no water. So we do get a lovely lesson in patience, when you're in the shower, all soaped up, and the power goes. You now stand in a shower, all soapy, for about 10 minutes before the generator kicks in and the water's back. Patience.

Our generator seems to be connected through our Luku (electricity) box. This means, when Tanesco cuts off our power, we're still paying them for service they are not rendering as the generator is running through the box. Can someone explain to me why I'm paying for Luku when there's no power? No one has been able to. Patience.

There is no management company on our compound. This means, when there's a rationing of power and the generator runs out of fuel, it takes a few hours before fuel is bought and the generator is back on. So if you're baking cupcakes and the fuel runs out, there goes the cupcakes. Breathe.

The petrol station is also in on the lessons. You go to fill up your car with petrol. They tell you they are out of fuel. Pole sana (sorry). Come back again.

So you go back. This time the power's out and they don't have a generator, so the pumps don't work, so you can't get any fuel. Breathe.

The best has to be when the power's out at night, and the generator is out of fuel. It's night, and Ethan's afraid of the dark. He wakes up and is terrified. He wants to go for a drive. But you're out of fuel and the petrol station can't sell you any, so now you've got a 4.5 year old freaking out at 11pm on a school night. Deep breath!

Even the police are in on the lesson. They offer daily lessons. We have traffic lights here. And they work, usually. And yet the traffic police have decided to direct traffic instead of letting the lights do their job. Instead of waiting at at red light for a couple of minutes waiting for it to turn green, you are now waiting up to 15 minutes, at times, while the police officer lets the traffic move one way. By the time they let you go, the traffic is so backed up, you can only move a few centimetres. Deep breathe.

So yes, I am an Expat. I have a housekeeper, nanny and driver. I buy a pineapple in the morning, and in the afternoon it's cut in pieces. I buy carrots, and they get peeled and chopped for me. Some think I'm spoilt. I like to think of it as reward for passing my lesson in patience.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

I joined a book club! However, unlike my cousin Faiza, my book club doesn't meet over great dinners and discuss the book. In fact, most members of my book club have never even met. They are fellow July 2006 mommies, that I find dear to me.

Our book club just began, and our January book is The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. For the past few months I've been reading the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, so when this book was suggested, and I picked it up, I wasn't convinced I would enjoy it.

I was wrong.

The book takes place in Britain in 1946. Since it's post war, it discusses some aspects of war. While I found it sad, the book never made me feel sad. Our main character, Juliet, receives a letter from a Guernsey man  and the story begins.

The book is written in an epistolary format, consisting of letters going back and forth between Juliet, and several of her friends, and the people on Guernsey. My complaint with this, was the authors didn't seem to be able to change the voice. I often had to refer back to who wrote the letter to whom. The voice in each letter blended with the next. But if you don't mind double checking, then it's really easy to follow. Oh, I do have to say, that 2 American women writing letters as people living in Britain, failed to give me that "British" voice.

I do have a couple other minor issues. When Juliet visits Guernsey, the islanders let Kit live with her. Kit's a small child. The islanders didn't have any relationship with Juliet other than the letters they exchanged. I also felt that the ending was rushed.

Having said that, I truly enjoyed this book. It was a light read. Humorous. And despite the lack of vampires, there is a "dead bride"!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Writer's Workshop - Scott & Starbucks

1.) Something unique you love about your significant other.

I spend most of this blog talking about Ethan, or myself, or posting pictures galore. But I do have one amazing husband. He's the absolute opposite of me. Quiet, reserved, traditionalist. And while these qualities, and many others, are ones that I admire and love him for, they are not what makes him unique.

We all believe our significant other is unique. After all, that's what we love about them. But things like, athletics, sensitive, and sense of humour, does not make them unique. Unique is the one quality they possess that no others possess.

For Scott, I have to give him credit for tolerance. Seriously. No other man, or human, would put up with me!

Let's take a look at our trip home this Christmas, as an example. 

Over the holidays, I developed an insane obsession with Starbucks. Yes, Starbucks was on my list of places to go to. Yes, I like Starbucks. But something happend this trip. I grew obsessed!

We went Christmas shopping our 2nd day home. The mall had a Starbucks. I went. We then went across the street to Chapters, to get some books. Chapters has a Starbucks. I bought another latte. "Do you really need another latte?" No! I don't need another one. I want another one.

Our trip to Buffalo even included a stop at Starbucks. The Target we went to had a Starbucks within it. So of course, that meant latte time.

When we left Niagara Falls on New Years Day, I wanted Starbucks for the ride home. There was one 5 minutes away from the hotel. However, there was no place to park. Scott, willingly, drove another 15 minutes in the opposite direction just so I could have my morning Starbucks latte.

Now, if that's not love, I don't know what is!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Happiness Project - Week 3

I stopped by Ethan's football lesson. He really enjoys it. 

Happiness is scoring a goal!

Hop on over to Leigh, and share what makes you happy. 


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Muffin Tin Meal

It's the new year, and time to start the Muffin Tin Meals again. This week, Ethan taught me something about MTM.

We got back last Sunday, and Ethan was sick. He got a terrible cough. He was also jet-lagged. Then Wednesday was a public holiday, and Ethan slept in. He woke up, all confused. He also hadn't eaten a proper meals in days, and wasn't too keen on breakfast. I really wanted him to have some oatmeal, and offered to let him eat in front of the TV (I know, bad mommy moment). 

When I brought out the oatmeal, Ethan was upset. He thought he could have a picnic! Apparently, many months ago, Scott was travelling, and Ethan and I had a MTM, indoor picnic. I placed a blanket on the floor, and brought him a MTM. So that's what he wanted this day.

Back in the kitchen we went. I wasn't sure how a MTM would work with oatmeal, but Ethan helped me put something in each tin. 

We have apple juice, grapes, petit fromage, oatmeal and graham cookies.

I wasn't too sure about this, but Ethan ate it all!

Muffin Tin Monday at Her Cup Overfloweth

Scavenger Hunt Sunday

It's the New Year, and a Sunday, so time to get back to Scavenger Hunt Sunday!

1. A Different View
I wonder just how do things look through a slinky?

2. Looking up
Going way up!

3. Abstract
This was a tough one.

4. Hair
Doesn't she have the loveliest hair?

5. Half
Friday afternoon. Out with my mama mates. Half way with my awesome Mojito!


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Writer's Workshop - Scarred


I struggled with MamaKat's prompts this week. I wasn't sure what I could write about. And to start the New Year, I wanted something to be light. And then I remembered something. I always tell Scott I've been scarred, for life. I shall never recover. And, even though Ethan doesn't recall, I'm sure he is too.

When Ethan was born, Scott and I decided to have him circumcised. I wasn't sure where to go, so I called our clinic. Turns out, one of the doctor's there, would be able to do it. He was on vacation, at the moment, and would return within 2 weeks. So I made the appointment. 

It turned out that Scott would not be there, for the procedure. I was tempted to cancel. 

The day came, and my cousin came with me. The nurse asked us if we had a pacifier for him. Oh, didn't think about that. Guess we need to buy one. Luckily, there was a pharmacy near by, so we bought a couple. 

I was very confused, and didn't know what to do. We were led into a room. My cousin came with me for support. I was already shaking. The doctor came in, and took Ethan. He began to wimper. Smart boy, knew something was up. The doctor strapped Ethan's legs down. He's now crying. My heart is breaking. 

The doctor was great. He did a fabulous job. My cousin was intrigued and fascinated by it all. I thought I was going to throw up. I cried along with Ethan, but kept them to myself, as I didn't want 4 week old Ethan to see me cry.

When we were done, they had me sit in a room with Ethan to feed/calm him. A nurse came by, and saw the look on my face (horror) and exclaimed, "You were there? Why did you stay???? You should have called one of us to be with him. No mother should witness that." 

Well now you tell me!!!!!!!

I'm officially scarred! For life!

Mama's Losin' It

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

My New Bag

You know, I just couldn't resist. I have to share my new bag!

Over the holidays, Scott and I headed to Buffalo for some shop-therapy. I had been thinking for awhile that I'd like to check out the Coach shop, but knew Scott would wildly object; "Do you really need a new bag? You just got one from Kerry." But, you know me, I love my bags.

So we get to Buffalo, and I head into the Coach store. I walk around. See a few things, but nothing grabs my attention. I'm out pretty quick. Even Scott's impressed. Then comes Kate Spade. I haven't had a new Kate Spade in over 8 years! "Do you really need a new bag?" moans Scott. Does it hurt to look? No! Better yet, there was a sale! 40% off! I've got to at least look! Oh, but it gets better. Selected tables are another 30% off! So yes, I apparently did need to buy a new bag!

The Happiness Project - Week 2

While I'm glad to be back home, I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed our holiday home. Yes, I say home for both places!

Happiness is getting all the family together. Three generations of Nisbets. 

I'm joining Leigh and her quest for happiness. What makes you happy?


Thursday, January 6, 2011

11/11 Book Challenge

I've "met" this great group of mums. I put met in quotes, as I've never actually met them. We were all expecting in July 2006, and a group of us have continued the friendship.

Besides having wild 4.5 year olds, we are slowly learning other things we have in common. One of them, is our love for books and reading. So one mate, has come up with the 11/11 Book Challenge.

Rules for 11/11 challenge:
  • Read 11 books in the year 2011
  • Extra credit if you finish by 11/11/11
  • You can read any book you like
  • Monthly books can be used in the 11/11 challenge (we're also starting a book club)
  • 1 book per category
  • Books can only be used once.  
Some category ideas:
  • Fiction Book with the letter K (11th letter) in title or in Author's name
  • Non Fiction
  • Animal Book
  • First Book in a series
  • First Book by author
  • Book released in 2011
  • Book you've always wanted to read, but haven't
  • Book never finished
  • Something you wouldn't normally read
  • Least like genre
  • Sexiest cover
  • Re-read of a book
I'm really excited. And I'm also feeling over-whelmed. Can I find enough books to cover the categories? If you have any great book suggestions, please share.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

It may be January, but it's Christmas with Uncle Ras!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Toronto Marlies

Scott's a huge sports fan. The downside to living in Dar, is he misses attending sporting events. That made going to the World Cup this year, extra special, or so I'd like to think. 

For Christmas, this year, my brother-in-law got us tickets to the Toronto Marlies. So on the 28th, we headed out to our first hockey game in years!! This was also Ethan's first hockey game. We thought we'd be in for a treat, as we were not watching the Leafs, but Scott would like to point out that the Marlies are just like the Leafs. teeheehee

We wanted Ethan to enjoy the total hockey experience. So we started the evening off with hot dogs.

After the first period, Grandpa bought Ethan "the blue drink" (blue slushy).

Now, don't get me wrong, the game was not all about the food. We got a hockey puck, and watched the Marlies score two goals. Then with 8 minutes left to the game, Ethan fell asleep. He then woke up a couple minutes later to see them get scored against, and back to sleep he went. A few minutes later, he woke up again, and since nothing exciting was happening, he went back to sleep, only to miss the Marlies playing like the Leafs, and tying the game with only 2 minutes left!

We opted not to stay for overtime, and take Ethan home to bed.

But he did have a great time. He still talks about the blue drink!

The Happiness Project

It's been awhile since I've joined Leigh and her quest for happiness. But it's time to start the New Year right!

Happiness is ringing the New Year with a couple of amazing Long Islands!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Santa Came

Alright, so Ethan tells us, on Christmas Eve that he told the "other kind of Santa" that he wanted Jessie, and the other Santa, that he wanted Rex. There are 2 Santas'? According to Ethan, there are different kinds of Santa. I think I finally figured it out. In Dar, he got a visit from Father Christmas, last year, at the French School they talked about Pere Noel, and then we came home to see Santa.

So what does Santa do? Well all 3 kinds of Santa merge together to bring Ethan an awesome Christmas!