Do You Have A ” We will be there” Group?

 

 

“We will be there!” I have never thought deeply about these 4 words, ever before! Until today! Sitting here, watching my son at his swimming class, lost in the background noise: Instructors shouting commends, kids cheering, and of course the echo of an indoor pool. Too lazy to pick up my kindle and read, I start thinking…. You know that thing all moms do, just let their brain wonder, while sitting quietly, enjoying not being pulled, touched, yelled at, or even talked to, without really thinking of anything specific… just thinking… and that’s when it hit me! I have an “I will be there group!”!

You see, I have been planning my son’s FIFTH Birthday party- It is a huge deal for my son -and us, his parents- and I have no idea how did we even get here, so fast! Part of the planning is inviting the chosen ones, who would be spending a couple of hours with Adam, having fun – hopefully-, playing, laughing, and eating cake (which is what birthdays are all about!). This year Adam had a big list of the friends he wanted to invite, and so I obliged. I wrote a message, copied it, pasted it, 25 times, for each friend’s mom, pressed sent… and … waited! I sent the messages and I started staring at my phone. At the huge list of people that I have now, right in front of my eyes, and……. I waited. I saw few “typing” (If you use WhatsApp you will know what I mean, if you don’t then what planet do you live in?).

8 out of 25 people, started writing their reply, just few seconds after I had sent the message, and few seconds later I had a reply : “ WE WILL BE THERE!”

These people didn’t wait to check their schedule, they didn’t wait to check with their hubbies, they didn’t wait to confirm with their families… they just read my invite and said: “We will be there”!

I know this must sound silly and even stupid, but I had tears in my eyes, and as I thought about it more and more, I realized that when these exact 8 special people have texted me to invite us for their kids’ special day, I had replied in few seconds saying those exact same words: “We will be there”!

Even though we don’t see some of those 8 precious people very often, but we all make this tight circle called: “ We will be there”, we know that no matter what “We will be there”. Life can get busy and hectic and we can easily get lost in all the things we all have to do, but knowing that I have a group that will always be there, without taking time to even blink or think makes my heart swell with joy!

I am not saying that the rest of those 25 people aren’t as important. No far from that, they are still showing up, and coming to spend their precious time with me and my family, on my son’s special day. They are showing us love and appreciation and we are so grateful for that.  I get how busy life can be with little ones. Between football practice, swimming classes, art classes, and all kind of activities, mothers (and I am one of them) can’t plan a thing without getting back to their calendars, and checking how and when they are available. I get it, this is life with kids, we can’t do much about it. We, parents, just understand, we know how it is!

This wasn’t my first time inviting people to one of Adam’s birthdays (he had FOUR of them already!), but I guess this is the the time that the meaning of “we will be there” really resonated with me! Such a strong and powerful sentence, that you should consider yourself very lucky if you have ever heard it –or read it!

 

 

Ouiam

 

Here is Why You Should Stop Assuming That Every Homeschooler is An Anti-social!

 

As I try o smile and nod and make small talk and hope after every answer that I have finally convinced the hairdresser that I really am not interested in sharing the story of my life, I get hit hardly by yet another question! I tell you some people do more than justice to the art of resilience and persistence! So then of course the most common question follows: Do you have kids? And as I answer giving all the details, hoping that this will be the end of it, another question hits me in the face like the cold air: “Is your son sick? Is that why you homeschool?” I had no idea how to answer that, I couldn’t understand how someone in the 21stcentury could be so blatant, insensitive, and just plain nosy! So I answer with the only sentence that could make its way out of my mouth: “No, we are just weird”. I then proceed to putting my earphones pretending to be listening to something on my phone as a last effort to make the person handling my hair STOP TALKING!

 

As a homeschooler, we get tons of questions all the time, and I usually welcome them and make sure I answer them thoroughly and with all the details/info that I can give, because I believe that people are genuinely asking, because the whole concept is so new, specially here in the middle east, and because we are not used to see other people say NO to the system. We are used to do as we are told, and to follow rules and regulations, without even questioning them. One of the main questions that we get is:

 

“Aren’t you afraid that he won’t be social enough?”

 

If you are close enough and you do know my little sunshine, then you sure know that he is a walking chatterbox, who makes friends as he breathes. His social life is much better than mine and his dad’s, both combined. He loves interacting with everyone from the cashier at the supermarket, to the little kid sitting alone in playground, to the parents of his own friends.

If you are not that close and you don’t know my son, here are some facts for you:

 

Children are already competent social beings; they have the extreme ability to adapt and coexist, something that most adults lack as they grow older.

 

Children are not exactly some sort of adults-in-training, they are however somewhere between being and becoming. Being a child who is actively constructing their childhood, and becoming an adult as an end result.

 

If we can see children as the competent and complex human beings that they really are, we can begin to see their behavior beyond the polarity of positive and negative. We can begin to see the nuances of who they are, what kind of personality they have? Character? … etc.

 

Everyone is born with a predisposition toward a personality type. Extroverts are energized by interacting with others and the world around them, while introverts are drained by too much interaction, especially with a big group, and prefer to be with people they know well. Although all kids display traits of both types, they innately prefer one style over the other-This book is great if you want to know more about the extroverted and introverted types: Quiet by Susan Cain– so whether they go to school or not, they are who they are.

 

The other thing that I need to clarify here is that homeschoolers DO GET OUT OF THEIR HOMES. We do not hibernate as we homeschool. There are tons of activities that homeschoolers around the world plan, choose, and arrange for their children, depending on WHO their child is, what do they like and dislike and not just depending on a super old system called “school”.

 

There are homeschooling communities all around the world; and we have a great one here in Bahrain. We plan classes together, take turns in hosting and preparing lessons, we plan field trips, sports days, book clubs and many many different activities. The other advantage that we have is that kids mingle with all age groups, and instead of learning how to communicate with only their peers, they actually get the exposure they need to prepare them for the real world.

So please the next time you want to ask “How about his social life”, reconsider your question, and instead ask about what kind of activities, curriculum, adventures we do/have, to really know more about the homeschooling life.

 

On behalf of the homeschoolers of the world, I send you wild and free thoughts, with much love!

 

 

Ouiam

Tis The Season… To Eat Healthy!

 

Tis the season of blessings, joy, and love… and let’s not forget the good food too! Delicious meals, tasty cookies and cakes, great brunches, and dinners…. and just like that, the next time you will hop on that scale, you will not like what you will see! No need to worry! Myself and Live &Taste have got your back! It is absolutely doable to indulge in the deliciousness of this season while being conscious, aware, and kind to your body. Live & Taste, is the union of two beautiful women, who made the relationship between healthy and delicious possible! I have tried some of their goodies and I have loved them! So I have decided to meet up with them, dig a little deeper and offer you all what you need to know!

 

So before we get to Live & Taste, can you please tell us about yourselves? Who are you? Where are you from? What did you do before?

I’m Laetitia. I was born and brought up in Belgium. I went to law school, to pursue a career as a solicitor. I was partner in a law firm for few years.

I’m Theresa. I was born in Germany, and I grew up between Germany and France. I have a marketing degree and I was a marketing manager in a big travel company.

How was the idea for Live & Taste created? And why the name: Live & Taste (I see what you did with the initials, genius!)

Few years ago, we moved to Bahrain, having the chance to have a career break, and focus on our families. Being in Bahrain gave us the incredible opportunity to meet and become best friends. We started to do a lot of sports to get back in shape, after our respective pregnancies. Naturally, we quickly realized the huge importance of eating well. So, we slowly adopted a fully plant-based diet that was surprisingly appealing and tasty. It was a wake-up call. Then, because people were regularly asking us about healthy tips and recipes and because we love cooking, it was natural to create our blog Live and Taste and to publish healthy recipes!

The name “Live & Taste” was a nod to our first names, you’re right, Laetitia & Theresa!! The idea was: Live happily by tasting great healthy food.

What is Live & Taste?

Live and Taste is a food blog where we publish regularly plant-based (mainly) and healthy recipes. We try as much as we can to publish easy and quick recipes for weekdays and for busy mummies. Our philosophy is based on whole food, unprocessed food, superfood, raw food, refined sugar free, gluten free (mostly) or a limited amount of dairy.

Live and Taste reflects our vegan and healthy lifestyle. It’s a great place for inspiration & motivation for a balanced diet (and we use it as our own cookbook too !).

How do you come up with your recipes? From recipe books, or do you just try random things in your own kitchen?

We have a ton of cooking books and we are continuously looking for inspiration. We have the chance to travel a lot (being in Bahrain helps as we are close to so many beautiful countries) and it gives us a kick of inspiration for new recipes. We like to recreate classic recipes, with veganism and health in mind. We like to find inspiration through other food blogs too.

How do you manage to make beautiful healthy food, that also tastes so good?

The goodness is mostly coming from the combination of flavors, the creaminess (with a healthy sauce that we’ve added), a splash of nut butter on top of a smoothie bowl, a lot of herbs when you roast your veggies, roasted nuts on top of your salads (because sometimes you need something crunchy) etc.…and through the years, we’ve learned a lot about all those vegan ingredients.

Trust us, the way we eat bursts in flavor! And, we love to arrange beautiful pictures for our followers, that’s a big part of our job as food bloggers.

Do you cater for parties and gatherings?

We did few events and Pop up to inspire people to cook our recipes at home. It was a real success and we still do it sporadically. Unfortunately, we have less time right now to do it, as we need to focus first on the media (and to balance work and home).

 Do your kids eat the healthy food you make? If Yes, how do you convince them to even try it? and do you have any tips for other moms on that?

Definitely, they do. The 4 of them have different interests in healthy food but they start to be aware of healthy cooking (and can make a difference with junk food). We would say that to convince kids to try it out, we let them play in the kitchen (in a safe environment), we let them cook with us and let them try the food straight away from the oven tray for example. A great recipe you could try out with them, is our famous “Raw Truffles” (Recipe mentioned below). They can put all the ingredients in a blender, you blend and then, you let them roll the truffles ! For sure, it’s a process you need to repeat: introduce new food several times or hide it at the beginning AND keep it up. They will feel interested in healthy food, if you show them your interest into it!

What are your favorites dishes to make?

 Do we have to pick just one?? Plenty of recipes actually!

In this Christmas season, we would recommend a delicious “hot cinnamon chocolate” (Recipe mentioned below).

You’ll have to mix together 4 cups of almond mylk, 30 gr of dark chocolate (we love the local brand, organic dark chocolate) and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and heat it up. It’s a comfy and healthy beverage, that we love to drink while the weather is a bit chilly!

 Where do you see yourself and your business 5 years from now?

We had no idea how long we would eat this way (plant-based diet) but now it’s more than 6 years and we have so much more energy, our skin looks brighter and we feel both more positive. So, we will keep up posting healthy recipes, because we love it. We would like to hit the Pinterest market too, increase our blog traffic, make food videos and maybe, we might create a recipe book. Who knows…

What would you tell women and moms reading this post about healthy living, and if you have any tips for them to be able to have a healthier lifestyle yet still enjoy life’s delicacies?

 A lot of people misinterpret the way we eat and think that a healthy vegan and plant-based diet has to be so much restricted, with a lack of flavor, boring dishes, not enough protein, no more sweet etc.… but it’s actually the opposite. You’ll notice it quickly if you follow us. We feel energized and we do actually a lot of sports (high impact and yoga), while we are eating -a lot of-delicious food. So do not hesitate to look into it a bit more. Learn to care about your body. You will be fascinated by the large range of choices and flavors in our lifestyle. Try to add some vegan dishes to your weekly routine, add more whole food to your diet, reduce as far as possible processed food and refined sugars and SEE HOW IT MAKES YOU FEEL. On top of it, most of our recipes are very easy and ARE FOR ALL EATERS (you can find all the ingredients in Bahrain) and you can prep a lot during the weekend! If you have any questions about transitioning to a plant-based diet or regarding a recipe, just ask and send us a message or comment on the blog or on Instagram,  and we will be thrilled to help you..

Here are the links of the recipes mentioned above:

http://www.liveandtaste.com/recipe/raw-chocolate-truffles/

http://www.liveandtaste.com/recipe/hot-cinnamon-chocolate/

Blog:http://www.liveandtaste.com

Instagram: @live.and.taste

Facebook: LIVE.AND.TASTE

Happy Holidays..!!!

Ouiam

Less Is More… (This is why I stopped buying clothes- part 2)

Living minimally and in a simple non extravagant way is not something that the world was recently introduced to. Generations before us did it, not by choice, but out of necessity. My own parents and grandparents, and even myself as a kid, we lead a similar simple life and I remember it vividly, yet I have no recollection of how we all transitioned into this fancy, lazy, harmful new way. Every new thing/machine/device that has been invented to help humanity comes with some kind of harm: Microwaves, Phones, Ipads, Internet…etc.

Decades, if not a century later, history is repeating itself, except this time, it is by choice, and not out of necessity. People are more conscious about their lifestyles, and aware of the harm done to our planet and how by small decisions all of us can help whatever is left.

There is a huge wave of thinkers, researchers, environment lovers, who finally have been speaking out and using the social media as an outlet to increase awareness about the many ways we are harming our beloved planet, in ways we don’t even know of.

The more I knew about the whole thing the more I wanted in, and in this post I will share with you my way of doing it, which is basically thinking back about the life I have had as a kid and try to imitate it now. I am not a Guru in this matter, I am just a novice who started her journey, and I would like nothing more than sharing this journey with you.

Growing up I didn’t really need/own lots of clothes, I had what I needed and what fit into my closet. As a kid I spent all my money on books, and clothes came last of course- Yes I was a nerd lol- So now before buying anything new I think back to that era of my life, and how I focused on what was more important to me, and I try to do the same. Of course that is no walk in the park, with all the sales, pretty things in the shops, colorful and eye catching items almost calling your name, However, I always try to do the following:

1- Sleep on it: If you feel like you really want to buy something, sleep on it for a couple of days. Almost always you will realize that you don’t really need it, and if you still feel like it, then go ahead but at least you have tried.

2- Avoid malls. There is really NOTHING for me in the mall! I only go IF and ONLY IF I needed something.

3- Borrow, or buy second hand. For example, this Halloween Adam wanted to be a Superman, I asked my friends to check who has a superman costume, at home collecting dust, so I can buy it from them. One of my friends had one, she offered to lend it to us, and we happily took it! It was perfect, and we didn’t spend a penny on it!

4- Let go of the idea of: “I need to buy expensive things in order to fit in”. To me that is the most absurd idea ever! My clothes say nothing about who I am, and if someone thinks otherwise then probably they will never be in my circle anyways.

5- Go for experiences: My husband and I decided that we will condense Birthdays, anniversaries, Valentines, and whatever other holiday there is, and just save up and TRAVEL! We love exploring the world together along with our wonderful little boy- who may I say, loves traveling even more than we do lol!

6- We are very blessed to have family who help us tremendously. Adam is only four and obviously is growing bigger and bigger each day, so his clothes get smaller. We never buy him any clothes though, because once a year, his Grandmother buys few outfits for him and that’s more than enough. He owns few shorts, couple of jeans, few T-shirts, and a jacket. Two drawers worth of clothes. Just what he needs. then we give them to a friend who is a year younger than Adam, so it worked perfectly.

Some people might think that I am depriving myself and my family from life’s finest joys, to those I say for us the true joy is to be healthy and happy together, enjoying life’s experiences and challenges together. Giving back to our planet, community and the people we love the most. Preparing earth for the generations to come, and not destroy it instead. The less we own the happier we are.  Things will always be things, being attached to them doesn’t make any sense, instead we appreciate the people around us, our family, our close friends, and our planet.

With Love , Ouiam

This is why I stopped buying CLOTHES!

A couple of months ago, I celebrated a whole year of buying absolutely nothing. A whole year of not buying a single clothing item, no make up, no shoes, no handbags… nothing! If you are already raising your eyebrows, rolling your eyes, wondering how or why I did it, then please stick around and wait for what’s coming!

A little over 4 years ago, I sat in a hospital bed, in one of those fancy gowns that barely cover anything. I sat there drowsy from the amount of anesthetics I have had in the previous 24hours, wondering whether I would live to hold my baby in my arms, whether I would take him home, whether I will see my baby growing up, go to school, graduate, and even get married? Yes, I was told that I was dying –Due to a severe postpartum hemorrhage, you can know all about it here– At that moment nothing seemed to matter, nothing at all. Not my bank account, not what car I drove, not what kind of house I lived in, not what kind of handbags I carried… nothing. Thankfully God had other plans for me, and life wasn’t done with me just yet, that’s why I am still here today writing all about it. However, something deep in me changed forever. Nothing mattered other than health, and having my loved ones healthy and next to me. Being close to losing everything teaches you a great lesson about what is really important in life. You learn that true happiness – not the momentary one- comes from inside, and from just how much peace you have inside you.

So the first decision I made, once out of that hospital room, was to live every minute of my life with a meaning, and to spend whatever is left of my life focusing on what is really important, without failing to resist pressure and temptation our modern world imposes. Which led me to asking more questions about everything, even the known and established facts. What has helped in the process as well, was the years that I have spent being a flight attendant (4 years), travelling around the world. It allowed me to have a wider perspective of the world, it has also offered an uncensored view of all the hidden corners that almost no one talks about. One of the destinations I always dreaded going to though, was Bangladesh, and that’s because of all the children who spent their days in the markets selling random things instead of being in school, and because of all the factories that made clothes for different well knows brands, with a really really low cost.. too low to even feed the workers and their families, even though they worked all day long, every single day! I then came across a documentary called “The True Cost” which I recommend to everyone who wants to be the change in this world. The documentary talks about the clothing industry, and what it is doing to our world, a true eye opener! You can find it on Netflix.

Knowing where our clothes came from, was a deal breaker for me. Knowing that thousands of people were being mistreated, abused and even dead in order to make the fancy dresses, shirts or pants I wear made me sick. And even though I am fully aware that I am just ONE person, and that big brands could’t care less whether I buy their things or not, I still feel great every night when I go to bed, because I know I am making the right choices.

The other point that made the decision so much easier is knowing that 95% of the cotton used in the industry of clothing is Genetically Modified, and that cotton is touching the biggest, most sensitive organ I have: My skin! And just like that : I never bought a single thing Again!

How many jackets do you really need? How many black pants do you really need? How many white shirts do you really need? Think about it, will you? We shop because it makes us happy, this happiness wears off minutes if not seconds after wearing those clothes once, then we get rid of them either by throwing them or by donating them: which does sound good, but it still ends up with the same fate: The trash! Which is a whole other subject: Do we care enough about our planet, the home of our children, grandchildren, and the many generations coming after them?

We mostly buy things when they are on sale even if we don’t need them, we end up with huge closets, where you can see none of the clothes you actually have and you always end up wearing the same outfit again and again. Having a small wardrobe enables you to use each and every item you own wisely. You start seeing each and every piece you own clearly, and you make use of them all.

Once you pass this stage, it really becomes so much easier to control yourself, and once you start asking yourself questions like: “Do I reaaaally need this?”, “Will I ever use that?”, you will definitely start to make the right decisions.

If you wanna know how I incorporate all the above into my daily life, and how I make the decisions on how to spend my money, please stick around for my upcoming post ;).

PS: I have owned the clothes in the picture above for over 10 years! I still wear them with so much love, and they still look great- or at least I think so lol –

With love, Ouiam!

What’s Your Nighttime Routine…?

Thanks to social media I have come across unlimited useful things, whether be it in the parenting field, or the beauty and fashion one, and of course hands down to the food and recipes world (Thank goodness for Pinterest!). Recently I have been seeing everywhere fashionistas sharing their “nighttime beauty routines”, and each and every time I see those videos, I am blown away with the amount of time one needs to wash their face, apply the 3 different creams, the 2 serums, the masks and I don’t know what else!! I always have ONE question in my head: How the hell do they have time (or energy) for this?!

Anything that exceeds putting on my pajamas is unlikely to happen at any given night! Because between making breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, kissing boubous, homeschooling my only child, stalking people on Instagram (because hello! Who doesn’t!), looking presentable for when we go out (because we all know, the one time I won’t, I will probably meet all my friends, ex colleagues, acquaintance, and every single person I might have met somewhere in the past 12 years!), making small talk with the cashier, the security guy and random people, pretending to be all kinds of cartoon characters (because my child thinks I am also 4), calling my mother every single day (because after losing my father, my mind always goes to the darkest places, ALWAYS), going to the gym (because Yeah I wanna be fit and look good too), answering my child’s 345268974830 daily questions……. Well between all these things I HAVE NO TIME OR ENERGY FOR A NIGHTTIME ANYTHING! By the time my kid is asleep, I am probably seeing double, a bit dizzy and definitely so out of breath! I always need a superhuman force to take me from the couch where I collapse right after I put him to sleep, and get me to my bed! So it really amazes me that other women have the time, the energy and the patience to to have a nighttime beauty routine, every single night! And some of these women HAVE CHILDREN too!

Please don’t get me wrong, if you are one of these superwomen, who go the extra mile and take super good care of themselves, then good for you, here I am clapping and cheering for you, but please do share your secrete with us helpless, super tired and absolutely unaware of this world of nighttime stuff , mamas,  who barely make it past 7:30pm, and some of us even skip the “putting on my pajamas” part because their crazy tired bodies are just incapable of anything other than passing out hoping and praying for a little more than 5 hours of sleep! Just to wake up again with panda eyes, wild hair, a new pimple sending greetings, and a little hope to have an interrupted trip to the bathroom!

So yeah .. Cheers to nighttime beauty routines…while I excuse myself now that I still have one eye half open, so I can rock MY nighttime routine and put on my PJs 😉

Ouiam

This is How I Plan for Ramadan

It is the season of long days, and even longer nights. Hours spent in the kitchen preparing all kinds of food that might cross your mind. Hours spent trying to strengthen our relationship with our creator. If life is hectic during normal days, during Ramadan it becomes frantic, a total whirlwind of craziness, multitasking and tiny fights between you and your very hungry, and angry stomach.

Without a doubt, Ramadan is the busiest month EVER! And to keep my sanity, I need to keep things planned and well organized. If you know me you would probably know that in general I am a very well organized person, I make daily, weekly, and monthly plans, I have 2 agendas, and a big calendar on my fridge to keep things under control. So when Ramadan approaches, I roll up my sleeves, and take out all my lists, plans, sheets, agendas …etc .

A friend of mine recently asked me how do I plan everything, and I thought it could be a great post, so I decided to share my way of planning. I start days/weeks before Ramadan. I first tackle the kitchen. I prepare all what can be prepared before hand, and stored in the freezer. Anything… you name it! But mainly all kinds of Samboussas, which we love and eat daily during Ramadan. All kind of fillings: Tuna & black olives, Chicken & béchamel sauce, Chicken & noodles, Meat, Vegetables, Vegetarian taco filling, Spinach & cheese…..etc. Needless to say that we bake them, of course, we fry nothing!

I then go to meal planning! For all 30 days! I have no time to waste eating my head up thinking : Chicken or meat? And what’s for me?-since I am the only vegetarian in the house- Nothing fancy! Just an excel sheet with 30 columns. I do a little search online (Thank God for Pinterest) and voila! It takes about 2-3 hours, but then I am free for the next 30 days!

I also plan Adam’s lessons for the whole 30 days to come! This way I don’t struggle with the planning process during Ramadan. I keep a notebook in my handbag (close by), where I write down anything Adam asks me during our very busy days, then when I get a chance I look at them and plan our lessons. I also use a very simple weekly excel sheet, where I write down the lessons. I used to follow our Montessori program (the same way: using the Excel sheet), but recently we have enjoyed the notebook method much more, so we are sticking with it.

I then go on to plan our weekly activities. Our days go on the same pace from before Ramadan. Adam still needs to go on with his activities, so we plan different things for our afternoons. We aim to be back home by 5pm, this way I still have time to prepare for Iftar. You’ve guessed it right lol, also using an Excel sheet! I also use the big monthly calendar on my fridge, to write down every single appointment, class, work meeting, deadline, activity, playdate…etc.

I also have a daily note book, where I write down all the things I need to get done the next day (everyday). I write down every single task, no matter how silly it might sound, but with no food or water, I tend to forget things. I keep that notebook with me wherever I go, I cross off whatever gets done, the rest gets promoted to the next page/day and so on 😉

Our weekly shopping is also done through a list, but it is much easier because all I have to do is have a look at our meal plans for the week to come, -the one I already prepared for all the 30 days of Ramadan-and then see what we need and don’t have.

I know this might sound crazy to some, but for me this is what keeps me going. I hate to think of Ramadan as the month that will slow me down, it is the absolute opposite! It is a wonderful month that only comes once a year, a time when you assess and evaluate your life, and your achievements as a human being. It is the time when you are supposed to pave the way for yourself to become the best version of yourself for the next 11 months to come just to do it all over again! So I am not going to waste any precious time or lounge around all day long waiting for the day/ month to finish!

Let me know know if this was helpful 😉

Ouiam