Saturday, December 31, 2011

HibaKidz creative writing workshop

At the end of December, Uzair had the opportunity to attend a week long creative writing workshop titled “From Planning to Publishing” organized by “Hiba” magazine's children’s addition “HibaKidz”. Aunty Ruhaifa, the leader of the workshop, taught children all kinds of tips and tricks for creating successful stories. As part of the workshop, all kids had to write their own stories and work on perfecting them in the course of the workshop. Uzair’s story was titled “The Adventure of the Stolen Berries” – he has submitted it for “HibaKidz” organized competition of stories. We wish for Uzair best of luck in the competition and will post update on the results, insha'Allah. At the end of the workshop, Uzair received the award for “The Best Effort”, Alhamdulillah.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Asma's crawling!

During this last week, Asma has finally prefected her "art" of crawling, Alhamdulillah, and now can get on her own where ever she wants. Uzair and Hafsa were helping her to learn it by putting at a distance a really tempting thing, which Asma wanted to get... and this method worked! Needless to say, nothing is safe now from this happily active baby.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Frosty morning adventure

All our friends know that we came to Latvia this year with really huge hopes of seeing real snow for the first time in our lives. Well, snow hasn't come yet, but something else made us jump with joy one morning - frost. When we woke up and looked outside, we couldn't believe our eyes - all the grass was white! At first, we got so excited, thinking that it was snow, but then mamma calmed us down saying that it's only frost. Nevertheless, we couldn't waste any time (what if the sun comes out and melts it?) and jumped right from our pajamas into warm jackets and were out of home for checking out the frost even before eating breakfast. When mamma called us home for breakfast, we brought for her some leaves with thick layer of frost on them. Even the cars parked outside our aparment building were covered by frost. Later, we did some search online to find out, how frost gets made. We found this really neat site, which gave this explanation:

Have you ever heard of something called “water vapor”? Water vapor refers to water, when it’s in the form of a gas, instead of in the form of a liquid (like drinking water) or a solid (like ice cubes). It might be a little hard to understand, but it plays a big role in our weather! One thing that happens when water vapor freezes is that snowflakes can form, but another thing that can happen is frost! Frost refers to the white or clear ice crystals that cover surfaces such as plant leaves, windows, sidewalks, and more! Unlike snow, which forms in the air and then falls from the sky, frost grows closer to the ground on cold surfaces. Frost is the result of water vapor in the atmosphere that freezes directly into its solid state (ice) without first passing through its liquid state (water). Neat! ( )

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Clay workshop no. 4

Today, we had our next clay workshop. We coloured the candle-holders that we made last week, and made new candle holders. Uzair made also a cup.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Real hail

This Wednesday was really windy, rainy and haily! Yes, for the first time in our life, we saw real hail - small pieces of ice 'raining' down from the clouds. No, it's not snow - snow comes in flakes. Hail is solid pieces of ice falling down. In the photo below, you can see one - it looks almost as a small pearl. But our mamma told us that sometimes hail comes in much bigger pieces - so big that they hurt when they hit you and can hit holes in the leaves of trees. Big pieces of hail are especially unwelcome by all the garden-keepers, as they tend to damage severely the delicate leaves of plants.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Clay workshop no. 3

Again it was Tuesday, and again we went for our clay workshop. This time, we made a beautiful small candle-holder in the shape of a maple leaf and a hedgehog.

Our reptiles project

We finished reading the chapter on reptiles in our Animal World encyclopedia and made our final projects. Each of us chose one reptile that we liked. Mamma made the picture of it with pencil, then we outlined it and coloured it to look as close to life as we could. Uzair himself wrote facts about his reptile (the ringed snake), while Hafsa got some help in writing about her reptile (iguana) from Mamma. Mamma also made a separate page with main facts about reptiles in general and the places, where reptiles are mentioned in the Quran. Uzair was really excited to learn about the snake-charmers of Pakistan, so after reading about them, he made a picture of a snake-charmer, showing how he plays for the snakes and snakes come up from their basket. We did also an arts and crafts activity - mamma made the shape of a lizard on a page and we glued into it red and yellow daals as scales of the lizard.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The beauty of the fall

Have you ever wondered, why the fall is called the fall? To Uzair and Hafsa is pretty obvious - because the leaves fall! Today, we went in the forest for a stroll to pick good handfuls of colourful fall leaves. The weather was just perfect - no wind and wonderful freshness of just 14 degrees outside. We had a long walk and were looking for as different colours and shapes of leaves as we could find. We took the leaves home and put them for pressing between pages of books - this way, they will get pressed straight and will dry out. Later, we will use them for some nice fall season crafts. Come back to our blog later on to see what we would make from our leaves! Meanwhile, enjoy walk with us through our photos (read also the descriptions) here: stroll in the fall 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Clay workshop no. 2

In this week's clay workshop, we made three things under a common theme of the fall: a mushroom, a peapod with peas inside and a carrot. We also coloured the worms we made the weak before.
Caaaaaaarefully painting those tiny dots on the worm.

Hafsa working on the antenae of her worm.

Peapods are bursting open with ripe peas ready to be harvested.

Uzair's mushroom has got an attitude in talking with Hafsa's one.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Our visit to Jelgava

At the beginning of September, we visited Mamma's maternal cousins in Jelgava - Inese aunty and Ilze aunty. We stayed with Ilze aunty for two days and had a great chance to see some of the nice places in Jelgava city. We visited one of the parks, where we saw an exebition of sand sculptures. You can read more about it in our earlier post:

We also visited a history museum in a church tower. The tower had three floors, each of which was devoted to one topic of history - we learned about history of Jelgava city, Zemgale region, Latvian presidents and also about Latvian handicrafts and folk costumes. We liked that the exibitions were very interactive - had lots of puzzles and touch screens. We were taken to all the floors by an elevator. The fourth and last floor (the top of church tower) was a viewing point of Jelgava city. It was made of glass and we could see the city of Jelgava all around! Here you can see the photos from this museum: church tower history museum

Some of his free time in Jelgava, Uzair spent working in Dzintars uncle's wood workshop, as he loves woodwork. He made his very own house, which you can see in an earlier post:

Thank you to Ilze and Inese aunties for making our visit to Jelgava so memorable!

Beads work workshops

For three weeks in August, we had invited a local lady Dženjana to show us some basics of beads work. We had three workshops with her, during which she showed different techniques of arranging beads for necklaces and bracelets. Even our Mamma participated in all the work, as she was also very eager to learn this. By clicking on this link, you can see how we are working and what kinds of things we made: beads workshop with Dženjana

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Clay molding workshop

Today was Uzair's and Hafsa's first day at a clay molding workshop, which they will be attending every Tuesday from now on until we leave back to Karachi. This workshop is organized for the local schoolkids, who are interested in working with clay. The workshop takes place in the afternoons, after the school hours. Both Uzair and Hafsa really enjoyed the first session - they learned how to make a leaf and a little worm on it. Their teacher, Inta aunty, is a professional ceramist and has been working with clay for tens of years. Take a look at more photos from the first session here: clay molding

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Migrating birds

The fall has arrived in Latvia, and the birds have began to head south for spending the cold season in warmer lands. When we are in Karachi, during winter we can feel this influx of birds from up north countries (Russia), as in the mornings we can wake to the singing of so many different birds! Today, we were lucky enough to see two 'hooks' of wild geese travelling over our village - you can se them in the photos below.

We see the great wisdom of Allah (swt) in all creation, Subhanallah. One of Allah's (swt) great miracles is this migration of birds - the birds of Latvia travel thousands of kilometers every year back and forth, in search of food and warmer places to live. The geese we saw today arrange themselves into a 'hook' type formation for their travel, which is not just a coincidence. The first bird in the hook gets the strongest winds and has to make the most effort for flying. The waves of air formed by the first bird's wings give uplifting effect to the second bird, easing his flying. The waves of air from the second bird give relief to the third, a.s.o. The last bird in the line gets the easiest flying time, as his flight is suppored by the uplift of air formed by the previous birds. When the head bird of the hook gets tired, it retreats to the very back of the hook, giving his place in the head of the hook to the next bird in line. Thus, the tired head bird renews his strength at the very end of the hook. This way, the birds can fly for long periods of time, without sitting down to rest, Subhanallah.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Julius Ceasar's crown

Today, in our history reading, we read about the consul of Rome Julius Ceasar. We read that all the powerful people of Rome at his time, liked to wear crowns of leaves on their heads, as a sign of their importance. Julius Ceasar had asked to make for himself a crown of goldden leaves. Here is an old coin, depicting Ceasar in his crown:
Since it is the autum season here in Latvia, we used the great chance to make our own crowns of goldden leaves. First, we cut out strip of paper long enough to go around our head. Then we ran outside to collect the leaves. When we cam ein, we glued the leaves on our strip of paper. Do we look important enough in our goldden crowns? :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Our birds project

Today we finished reading the chapter on birds from our Animal World encyclopedia and made our final projects. Each of us chose our favourite bird. Mamma made a picture of them with pencil, we outlined them, coloured them and wrote some facts about them. Mamma made one more page with general facts about birds and wrote, where the birds are mentioned in the Quran.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

This Sunday, our uncle Ralfs (our mother's brother) invited us to come and see his carpentry workshop - he is a professional furniture carpenter. How could we refuse such a wonderful offer? The day for the visit turned out really excellent - it was sunny with a feel of autumn coolness in the air. Since the walk to the workshop was about half an hour long, all of us had a pleasant stroll in this beautiful early autumn weather.

When we arrived to the workshop, we were surprised by the size of it - it was HUGE! We had expected that many machines would be there but had not anticipated such vast space and so many different machines. Ralfs uncle showed us around, starting from their recreation room, through the different workshop stations and ending with the office of their boss.

Ralfs uncle showed us every single machine in operation, so we could see, how he makes those beautiful doors and windows we saw ready made. To demonstrate the process of work, Ralfs uncle made for Uzair a one meter long and 6 milimetres thick wodden ruler. After coming back home, Uzair made on it number marks by a permanent marker and is ready to take his treasure back to Karachi with him.

Ralfs uncle let us try out the paint-sprayer he uses for painting. That was really fun, even though he put for us just water in it. :) We also learned that they make not only furniture but also bird feeders and bird houses, and even real coffins! For getting the feel of our trip, take a look at our pictures here: photos from carpentry workshop

Saturday, September 17, 2011

11th elections of Latvian parliament (Saeima)

Today, we went together with Vecmamma, Mamma, Ralfs uncle and Sandra aunty for elections, which took place in Liepa school. These were the 11th elections of Latvian parliament (Saeima), which were famous as out of term elections - the previous government was dismissed by a vote of Latvian citizens in a referendum. We had a great chance to see, how elections happen in Latvia, and drop into the voting box the ballots of Vecmamma and Mamma. Here, Latvians get a special stamp in their pasports, which prevents them from voting twice in the same elections.