Wednesday, March 30, 2011


In my quest to embarrass my son, I have to share the following story provided to me from Ethan's classroom teacher.

Last week, after swimming, while the children were getting changed, Ethan's teacher overheard the following thing from Ethan.

"Hey (insert child's name). Your penis is long, and mine is short."

Ah yes, the lesson of size has already begun! 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

52 Weeks of Happiness - Week 4

Does this really need an explanation?

Happiness is a chocolate brownie, ice cream, and chocolate syrup, all in one tasty dessert.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Happy Birthday Ras

When I was pregnant with Ethan and went home, my brother came to visit. We went shopping. He saw me buy tons and tons of cute baby clothes, and started worrying about his unborn nephew. If he was going to have a cool nephew, he had to do something. It was obvious that I was into cute baby clothes. So while I bought the cute booties (that Ethan never wore since it's so darn hot here) my brother hit the school age section. My brother went nuts. I do believe he bought every "cool" shirt the shop had. And since he bought all school aged clothing, Ethan hasn't had the opportunity to wear these, until now.

Today is my brother's birthday. And Ethan wanted to dress in one of Rasool Mama's shirts. He's also trying his best tough, cool guy look.

Happy Birthday Ras!
Love you.

Living in Dar

This past month, Scott and I celebrated our 9 year anniversary of living in Tanzania. I know, nine years! Who would've thought it. I still say when we first got here, I thought we'd be visiting for a couple of months. Scott says he knew we'd stay for a couple of years. A couple? Try nine. So being me, the thing to do now is to start planning a party for next year. A decade in Dar. It's got to be big!

Only, next March we shall not be celebrating a Decade in Dar, but about to celebrate our first year in Lusaka. That's right, we're leaving Dar. (Did you notice I've even changed the blog name?)

Scott's been offered a new job, and it takes us on a new adventure. We'll spend the next 3-5 years in Zambia. We're saying goodbye to the beaches, and hello to the cooler weather. Ethan and I will stay and finish the school year, we're still not sure when Scott will go. I'm hoping he'll do all the hard stuff, find a house, get it liveable, so Ethan and I can just settle in.

We're looking forward to the new Zambian adventure. Who knows what life in Lusaka will bring.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Cooking With Swarn - Dinner Time

This session of Cooking with Swarn has come to an end. This past week was dinner time. Everyone attempted a dish we learnt and brought it to class, where we enjoyed great food, great wine, and the best company.

For my part, I went big. Joanna and I decided to tackle the chicken biryani together. Since there was a lot of prep work involved, Joanna marinated the chicken before I arrived. 

We then started on the potatoes and egg. We didn't par-boil the potatoes, which I think I'd do next time (like I'm really going to cook) as it took a long time for the potatoes to cook.

We then started cooking the chicken. I was a little nervous, as ours seemed to have a lot more liquid then the one we made in class. 

But it turned out great. Even Scott approved.

Everyone brought something. We had nan, raita, kebabs, butter chicken, and dal.

Cooking with Swarn has been brilliant!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Foto Friday - Yellow

Kim over at Mom Tried It is now hosting Foto Friday. So, of course I had to join in. This week we're looking for yellow. 

Come on over and share your yellow shots. 

Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins

I loved Hunger Games so much, I just had to jump right into the next instalment. And Catching Fire didn't disappoint.

The 2nd instalment, continues Katniss' story. She and Peeta have returned to District 12 after winning the Hunger Games. They move into Victor's Village, but things are not so rosy.

Catching Fire starts by letting us know what life is like back in District 12. Katniss' relationship with her mother, Peeta and Gale have changed. The President doesn't buy her act that she's hopelessly in love with Peeta. He wants to be convinced. And, there are rebellions happening in different districts.

This year is the 75th anniversary of the Hunger Games, and are therefor the Quarter Quell. This year, the names in the pool for the games are past victors, which means Katniss and Peeta must once again return to the arena.

Catching Fire starts slow, but I kind of liked that. It was nice to know a little more about Katniss and her friends and family. However, the Hunger Games begin 2/3 of the way into the book, and almost feels rushed.

What I didn't like about the book, was how months can go by within 2 pages. And Katniss didn't seem as strong this time around. Then again, being threatened by the President, and being thrown back into the games would bring a person down.

What I am grateful for though, is I'm reading the series now, which means I can start book 3 now and not have to wait a year for it to be published (as some of my mates had to go through).

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Writer's Workshop

Something you do that drives your significant other CRAZY.

If you don't know by now, I'm married to a saint. Seriously. I've been thinking about this prompt all week, and am slightly embarrassed to write about it, as it really points out my flaws, and showcases Scott's sainthood. Check out Scott's pet peeves.

1. I don't cook. At all. And that's fine, however, whenever I'm hungry and have no idea what's for dinner, and despite the fact that my husband is working hard, I yell (because I'm too busy to move), "Babes! What's for dinner?"

2. I'm not exactly a hoarder. More of a clutterer. My stuff is everywhere. Scott calls it a mess, I say it's organized.

3. I'm constantly commenting on my weight. 

4. I don't exactly do any housework. I don't mind doing laundry, and if there aren't too many dishes, I'll do those, but that's about it.

5. I tend to leave all the lights on. I enter a room, turn the light off, walk out and forget to turn it off. I usually have a reason, like I'm going to go back in there, but he's not buying it. 

6. I'm always on the computer. Or my phone. I don't really see how that's a bad thing, but whatever.

7. I won't drive here.

Now, these are things I happen to know drive him nuts, and therefor I refuse to actually ask him. I'd like to believe these are my endearing qualities, and wouldn't want Scott to have to actually think of things. 

Mama’s Losin’ It

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

52 Weeks of Happiness - Week 3

How can pretty flowers not bring a smile to your face?

Happiness is colourful flowers in bloom.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins

Should I feel guilty, that I was very excited that Scott was away on Saturday and Ethan went to my mum's, as it gave me a chance to sit on the couch, and devour this book?

I loved this book!

The Hunger Games takes place in the future. A dreary future, where North America is gone, and it is now Panem, with the Capitol, rich, greedy and cruel, and the 12 Districts, improvised, hungry, mistreated. For entertainment, and to show the country how powerful they are, every year the Capitol holds the Hunger Games. Here, one male and one female between the ages of 12-18, from each district is chosen. They are thrown into an "arena" and battle to the death. Oh, and this is televised for the entire country to see.

In The Hunger Games, we meet Katniss, a teenager who sneaks past the boundaries to go hunting with her best friend, Gale. She provides food for her mother, and 12 year old sister. When her sister's name is drawn for the Games, Katniss volunteers to take her place. It then follows her as she prepares for the games, and takes her into the games.

I loved Katniss. Maybe it's because she's the first really strong female character I've come across in awhile. Don't get me wrong, the other females in my past books, are great. But I had the constant urge to grab them and shake some sense into them. With Katniss, I would just roll my eyes at some moments.

I was thrilled to have Saturday all to myself, so I could keep reading. I needed to know what would happen, how she would survive, what she was feeling. I love having a Kindle, as Sunday morning, I was able to get the 2nd book, and to start into it right away.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

I Got an Award!!!

Check it out, I got an award! teeheehee.

Yes I Blog awarded me with this lovely Stylish Award. Of course, I came home from work, all hot and sweaty to learn about it, and yet, somehow I'm not feeling all that stylish.

But this lovely award comes with some rules. First off, to thank my giver. Pop on over and visit Yes I Blog. She's a great supporter of mine, and loves to ramble, just like me! :)

I'm also suppose to share 7 things you wouldn't already know about me. Only, I'm pretty much an open book, so not sure what you don't know about me. Hmmm... let's think....

1. You all know I'm Canadian living in Dar, but do you know where in Canada? I always talk about going home to Toronto, but I was raised in Ottawa.

2. I love shoes, almost as much as I love bags.

3. While American Express tells you not to leave home without it, I won't leave home without my phone and lipgloss.

4. When I was a child, I was a latch-key kid. I must've lost a dozen house keys in a two year span.

5. I cannot draw if my life depended on it. Dogs, cats, horses, basically all 4 legged animals look the same when I draw them.

6. I also can't sing. When I taught in Korea, I had a Kindergarten class, and we would have circle time. One day, one of my students asked, "Tima Teacher, no sing please."

7. I have a Korean name. My first year in Korea, a colleague of mine decided I needed a Korean name. She gave me the name Haneul which means Sky.

And finally, I'm suppose to share this award with 15 of my favourite blogs. There are so many wonderful blogs, but 15 is a lot. So here are my top 7.  If you haven't visited any of them, please do, as well as my wonderful giver!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Student Led Conferences

Today, at school, we had our Student Led Conferences. These are a great way for the students to show their parents what they do and to share with them how they think they are doing.

Today was Ethan's first SLC. teeheehee. I'm not sure who was more excited, me or Ethan.

You can tell that the EC kids had a few practice runs. We walk in the classroom and Ethan is handed a clipboard and pencil. The tour is about to begin. 

"This is the puzzle area. Here we can do puzzles."

"Here is the the construction area. We can build with blocks."

"This is the art area. We can do art here."

"Ethan, are you going to do any art for me?"

"It's not yellow on my paper. This is the math area. It's yellow. I can show you something."

Next Ethan showed me the computers. He showed me how he can play some games. I was really impressed with how he was able to control the mouse. 

Our next stop was at the writing centre. Here Ethan made me a lovely picture of a dragon with fire. He then showed me his sound card. "This helps when you need to do your writing but can't remember how to write the letter."

Each time Ethan completed a task, he'd mark it on his schedule. I was also shown the listening area, and the hospital (dress up).

After we visited all the centre, it was time for I Tell. Ethan took me to the calendar. He, very softly, sang me the days of the week song, and showed me where the dates are written, and where it shows his daily schedule.

Ethan couldn't remember what was next, so he had to check his schedule. Portfolios was up. I loved looking at all the projects Ethan's done over this year. 

Our final stop was Two Stars and a Wish with his teacher, Sajeda. During the week, Ethan reflected on 2 things he was proud of, and one area he felt he needed improvement on. Ethan felt he was good at playing on the computer, and was good at maths. He felt he needed to get better at writing in his journal. Sajeda also reflected. She likes how he perseveres with tasks that are challenging and is good at hearing and recording sounds in his writing. Her wish was that he start solving small problems on his own (Kelso's Choices Ethan!) And now it was my turn. I knew we would do this, but I felt unprepared. I wish I had spoken with Scott and we could have come up with some together. On my own, I have to say I'm really proud of Ethan's enthusiasm for maths. He's always looking for patterns and trying to add. I'm also impressed with how well he's able to decode letters, sound them out, and read. My wish, well, Ethan my dear, your teachers all say you listen well to them, and don't argue, I so wish you would transfer that with me!

I had a few minutes left after Ethan's conference before my next ones (with my class) began, so I asked Ethan if he wanted to show me one of his Specialist classes. He chose Music. Mr Innocent set up some instruments and asked the children to play one and sing a song. 

I really loved today. I only wish Scott were here to see it. Next year, Ethan will be in Kindergarten. I can't wait to see what he's up to there!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Cooking With Swarn - Chicken Biryani

Cooking with Swarn 2.0 is coming to an end. Last night was our last class. Next week we are all attempting a dish for our "assessment". What better way to finish the session than with chicken biryani?

Let's start by marinating the chicken. It is full of flavour. We've got ginger and garlic, tomatoes, green chilies, yogurt, fried onions, chopped mint, lemon juice, salt, cinnamon sticks, cardamom, pepper corns, cloves, cumin, turmeric, chili powder, coriander and cumin powder and oil! Phew! Let marinate for about an hour. 

While this marinates, start on the rice. Instead of plain rice, we're adding flavour to this as well in the form of cinnamon sticks, cardamom, cloves, salt and ghee. You also need to fry up some onions and potatoes (separately) and make add some saffron to some warm milk.

After the chicken's been marinating, it's time to start cooking. Biryani gets served in layers. So take an oven proof dish and layer the bottom with the chicken.

The next layer had the onions and potatoes. Followed by rice. The saffron milk can be added. Then eggs, the rest of the potatoes and onions, and finally the rest of the rice. Garnish with onions and cashews. 

Biryani served with some cooling raita is the best. 

Now, no last cooking class would be complete with something sweet. So we made dessert. Vermicelli pudding!

This is yet another, super easy dish. Bring milk to a boil. Add sugar and vermicelli. 

Mix some custard powder in milk, and add to the boiling milk. You can add raisins at this point, which will puff up. Garnish with cashews and sprinkle with cardamom powder.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

More swimming pics!

52 Weeks of Happiness - Week 2

Diet? What diet?

Happiness is a nice, thick, tall chocolate frappe.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Water for Elephants - Sara Gruen

After reading 2 vampire books, one of them being very intense, it took me a day or two to get into this one. And it was worth it. Water for Elephants had a nice calming effect on me.

Jacob Jankowski is about to write his final exams at Cornell, and join his father's veterinarian practice, when he learns his parents have been killed in a car accident. Not only is he now an orphan, but his parents had mortgaged the house, and he is penniless. What to do? Well join a circus of course! Ok, so it didn't happen that way. Jacob jumps a train, which turns out to be a circus. But still.... he ran away and joined the circus! How cool is that!

The story jumps back and forth between the present day, and the past. Jacob is now in his 90s, living in a nursing home, awaiting a family member to come visit and take him to the circus. While he waits, he recalls his story, his life, the circus, and meeting his beloved.

I love all the little stories with the book. The romance between Jacob and Marlena. The animal story, with Rosie, the Polish speaking elephant. The characters in the circus. I feel all tingly and happy.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Cooking With Swarn - Lentils and Paneer

This week's menu at Swarn's included Palak Paneer, Dal Makhani and roti.

Since the dal we were making included whole black lentils, Swarn conducted her lentil lesson. She shows us a variety of lentils, whole, cut and cleaned, as well as explains the difference among them.

Before beginning the dal, the lentils need to be soaked for at least 3 hours. You do need to be careful that you don't soak them too long (ie, overnight) as they can alter the taste. So basically, think housekeeper comes in the morning, have her soak the lentils, then when cook comes in afternoon she can cook! And no, I don't cook, so I wouldn't be doing this!

Back to the dal...

Drain the water, and add more water, and salt and cook until the grains split and you are able to mash them. Add some tomato paste, ginger paste, garlic paste, green chili and chili powder, and keep cooking. Add butter and cream. At the end, add some garam masala and garnish with sliced ginger, coriander leaves and some more butter. 

Palak Paneer (cottage cheese with spinach) is just as easy. Swarn makes life simple for us, by having already boiled the spinach, and ready for us to use. 

To begin, onions need to be cooked until brown, then add garlic, ginger paste and ginger slices. Meanwhile, blend together some tomatoes, chili powder, and turmeric. Add this to the onions. You'll also need to blend the spinach, and add this to the tomatoes. 

You'll need to thinking it up a little, using corn flour in water. Then add the diced paneer. Garnish with sliced ginger, green chilies, and garam masala.

These are best served with roti.

Happy Birthday Scott

It was Scott's birthday on Tuesday. He's been so busy with work, that we had to spread it over a few days. 

Tuesday Ethan woke Scott up, to the sounds of his singing Happy Birthday.

Wednesday we had cake.

Friday we went finally took Scott out for his birthday dinner. And as tradition has it, Ethan gave Scott a new shirt, like the one he was wearing.

Happy Birthday babes!