Saturday, November 20, 2010

Pictures on the pavement

Did you know that the pavement in front of your gate can be a good space for kids to draw? Well, at least Uzair and Hafsa definitely think so. One day, they just took their sets of crayons (oil pastels) and started the work. As they were working on their projects, they even got some encouraging words from the "upperside aunties' that they were doing really well. :)

First printing!

This morning was a very special one for Uzair. He ran out to pick up the newspapers from the carporch and was very happy and proud to announce to all of us that "Dawn's" "Young World" magazine has printed the painting he sent in for the arts section! Here below you can see Uzair with the "Young World" as well as a copy of his painting. We hope and pray that this first success will enocurage Uzair to work even harder on developing his artistic side!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Our first visit to "Learn to Learn" (L2L)

Yesterday, we went on our first visit to "Learn to Learn" (L2L) active learners club and really enjoyed ourselves there. There were different activities available for the kids, while parents were listening to a lecture about security at home. Smaller kids had their activities structured around the topic of turtles - they had a real tutrle to pet and they could watch a video about turtles. If they wanted, they could join in on a board game as well as participate in a show-and-tell activty. The bigger kids had some science activities in a different room, along with a clay project. The guided clay project that kids were working on together was a map of Pakistan (part of the ongoing theme of floods at L2L). They could also just make out of clay whatever they wished. The clay activity was so popular that even the moms joined in on it, after their lecture!

Hafsa was very excited to pet a real turtle, while Uzair like the most the clay activity - he made a great jug all by himself. After coming home, he kept on talking about one of the electric games he had enjoyed at L2L, till he decided to make a model of it from for playing at home. Although his model does no beep like the real game did, he and Hafsa still enjoy playing it. It does seem that we would be going back to L2L again, Insha'Allah, as all of us really liked it there!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Different types of hair

Today in our Usborne encyclopedia, we read with our mom about our hair and nails. For understanding better, why different people have different types of hair (straight, wavy, curly), we made clay models of all three types of hair. It turns out that straight-hair-people have round shaped hairs, wavy-hair-people have oval shaped hairs, while curly-hair-people have flat hair! Check out our work in the pictures below.
As we learned about our nails, we realized that the nails grow from the roots, just like our hair. We could very well see this by looking at Hafsa's nails, which had some mehendi on them. Mom had coloured her nails with mehendi on the Eid and by now all the colour had almost grown out of her nails, as the new nails kept on coming up from the roots.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Football the Pakistani-style

Just as the world football chempionship started, Uzair took keen interest in football. Now finally he's trying to play the ball we brought back from Latvia as a gift from mamma's sister. The story of the ball is also a quite unique one - when mamma's sister and her husband bought the ball and got back to the car, suddenly her husband started to laugh really heartily. Upon examining the ball, he had found out that although it had "LATVIA" written on it, it had come all the way from Pakistan, where it was made! So the ball just ended up travelling across the world one more time all the way back to its country of origin.

In the afternoon, Uzair went to play outside the gate with his football. Not long after, he came to mamma and asked for her help because his ball had stuck up somewhere. When mamma came out, to her great astonishment, she found the ball right in the middle of the huge cactus-tree in front of the gate!!! How in the world did it end up there??? Only Uzair knows. :)

Making roti

When in the evening mamma heads for kitchen to cook roti, both Uzair and Hafsa are eager to join in and make their own rotis. Mamma has to admit that their work is really good, because their rotis even blow up on tawwah, indicating a skillful craftmanship of rolling! Even more, they are experts not only in cooking rotis but even in making their own sweet parathas!

This time, Hafsa has got the spotlight of photo-session, while she is rolling her roti. She is using her toy roller, which is just perfect for her size. Dough is real, though, and will be cooked, after she finishes working on it. Before the dough gets to the tawwah, it goes through a myriad of different shapes in Hafsa's hands - but that's all a part of the 'serious' work session for creating her own roti.

Catch the fly!

Uzair and Hafsa are always full of ideas for inventing their own games. Mamma has even lost track of all the names they give to their games. Today, they came up with yet another new one - catching flies on carporch with their toy buckets. The trick is to approach the fly sitting on the ground slowly, slowly and then quickly put the bucket over it. They spent a good hour today busy in this new fun game! :) All that was left for mamma amidst their happy laughter was to feel sorry for the poor flies...

Friday, May 28, 2010

Reading for fun

When his class three study books got over, Uzair started to look for things to do in the mornings, while Hafsa was working on completing her study books with mamma. He looked through the Oxford readers we had not read yet and decided that he would read one all by himself. It was not easy to pick a book, so mamma suggested that he should give a try to "Sherlock Holmes" stories, which was what Uzair did.
As he started reading the book, he got so very carried away by the mystery stories that he just couldn't stop reading. Even his new rollerblades couldn't make him put the book down. Instead, he kept on reading it, as he skated around the table.
When the lunchtime came, the book came along with him to the dining table, and mamma had to say a few stronger words to convince him that this was not such a good idea after all.
Uzair finished the entire book in a matter of a couple days. Then, since the book had been so very great, he decided to gift it to his friends - Atefa aunty's boys - so that they could also enjoy the stories of Sherlock Holmes.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Insights into rats' diet

One morning, our mamma came back from kitchen excited to tell us some new things she had just discovered. She said that she found in the kitchen some signs of a rat's visit! Interestingly enough, it seemed that the rat had been a desperately hungry one, as it had snacked on our soap, which we keep in kitchen for washing hands. Mamma showed us the tiny marks of rat's teeth on the soap. We kept on wondering, if the poor animal survived after such a soapy breakfast...

Later on, when mamma started to look through the dishes in the kitchen, she noticed that the rat had snacked also on the side of her wodden cooking spoon. Can you believe that? Why in the world would it want to eat THAT??? May be there was still some smell (or taste) of food in it? What do you think?
All in all, we concluded that in hunger rats are ready to go for anything, which comes in their sight. We just hope that they don't reach us in our bedroom, when we sleep!!!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

It's the season for teeth to fall...

As Uzair was about to turn eight, his upper front teeth finally decided to leave him. For a long time, he had been very excited about his brand-new four downside front teeth and couldn't wait for the upper ones to go. Many of his friends had already got their new teeth, so he couldn't understand, why his ones are not coming yet.

Finally, Uzair had the pleasure of pulling out his own teeth. Nobody else was allowed to do this, as it was an extra important 'business'. He kept three of his upperside teeth in a small box, where they are still today (which is after a couple of months!). Mamma had to explain to him that teeth-fairies live only in cartoons and that no money will appear under his pillow, if he leaves his tooth there over night, and no money-tree will grow, if he plants it in the soil along with plants on the car-porch. He was a bit dissappointed to hear it, but accepted it as the harsh reality of his life - no money for falling teeth.

A few months earlier, when Uzair had been to dentist for fixing some cavities in his teeth, he had to take x-ray of his teeth. Already at that time, we were examining the x-ray and trying to guess, which of the new teeth (then inside the gums) would come out first. Now Hafsa is all excited to wait for the time, when her milk teeth will begin to fall out!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Grills washing team

If you ever visit Pakistan, you will be amazed by the amount of dust that gets collected in the home in just a single day! Floors need to be washed daily, furniture needs to be dusted daily, and it is necessary at least once in a couple weeks to wash the window grills and nets, which also collect a considerabe amount of dust. And we're talking here about MANY windows and MANY grills, not just a couple. In this first picture, you can see the windows we have in only ONE of our 5 rooms! Just imagine the amount of work that needs to be done!

So whenever mamma sees that the grills are in need of some attention, she calls in her 'grills washing team', which consists of Hafsa+duster, Uzair+duster and a bucket of water. Instead of beating the dust off with dry dusters, which is a usual practice here done by local house-maids, we always wash away the dust with water - this ensures more clean work, and the dust keeps away from our grills for a longer time.
Kids are always happy to help, as they love to hang in the grills, which is part of the fun, while doing the work. Plus, when you're up on the grill, you can look over the boundary wall of the house and see, what is happening on the street. :) Sometimes, Uzair and Hafsa fight over the matter, who will get the most dusty grill to clean, as it is considered to be a special 'treasure', because you 'supposedly' gain more pleasure from turning a really dirty grill into a clean one than not-so-dirty-one into a clean one. Once they've settled on who cleans which grill, the next stage sets in - the race of who'll do it faster.
Mamma has to keep an eye on both of them, as they do tend to get carried away in their race, leaving 'unnoticed' dusty traces here and there. Often, the wall below the window suffers from the excessive flooding the grills receive - this also is NOT a wanted feature.
As we were washing the grills this time, we came upon a quite intricate termites construction. The termites had happened to notice that one of the net windows doesn't colose quite tightly and they used this wonderful opportunity for building their tunnels right on the inner side of the window. As we watched the carefully constructed tunnels, we saw the termites move in and around their 'house'. Would you like to join in with our 'grills washing team' the next time our grills are due to be washed? :)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Cleaning 6 kgs of green peas

On Sunday mornings, our abba (father) goes off for bringing veggies for the entire next week. Last Sunday, he brought home two huge bags of green peas (3 kg each)! When mamma saw them, she said she would die cleaning them. But abba had a solution right there - Uzair and Hafsa were made into a 'peas cleaning team', which was supposed to give mamma at least some relief in working with those 6 kgs. We were happy that we could help! We even competed, who will clean the most and will be the fastest. Just in a matter of a couple days, the 6 kgs were gone and packed neatly into our freezer. We pack our freezer this way with fresh peas of the season, so that all summer long mamma doesn't have to worry about needing peas for her cooking.

As we were working, we were looking out for worms in the peapods. Look at this picture for a 'beautiful' sample of a worm wrapped around a pea. :)

Hafsa learned to read!

Where did you learn to read? Most probably at school, right? Do you know, where Hafsa learned to read? Sitting on a kitchen counter. :):):) One day, she picked her "Maze" reader about Fatima and Abdullah, sat in the kitchen on a counter, while mamma was cooking lunch, and starting from the first page, read through the entire book on her own! Today, she had picked the next level reader and read most of it again in the kitchen, but this time requesting mamma to bring a soft chair for her. Can you guess from the pictures, just which is the most comfortable position to read a book? :)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Fun with dominoes

Have you ever thought of using dominoes for anything else than playing the game? Uzair doesn't actually enjoy the official 'game of dominoes'. What he loves to do instead is to use dominoes for creating his own special art projects. Take a look at his latest one - a dominoes space ship ready to lounch into space.

Our very own green onions

Sometime at the end of 2009, Uzair noticed that onions in Mamma's kitchen are starting to get some green little shoots. He got very excited, because it meant that Mamma would let him take one for growing his very own green onions. Uzair took from the plates cabinet a small dish, poured into it some water and put the onion into this water in such a manner, that the green shoots were on the top of the onion. He kept on chaning the water of onion daily and taking it outside for some hours of sun every morning (our house is a quite shadowy one).

After a few days, we noticed that the green shoots are starting to grow! Through Uzair's persistent care, in about a month's time, these small shoots developed into beautifully long green onions. What a pleasure it was for both Uzair and Hafsa to eat them!!! Nothing tastes better than onions grown with your own hands! :)