Eight ways to keep your toddler busy!

Hello Mamas!

How hard it is to keep a little peanut busy, so you can finish that meal you are cooking. Or finally attack that pile of laundry that has been waiting for you all week. Or simply to enjoy that cup of coffee you have been craving for, since six o’clock this morning!! Well! take it from me, it is incredibly hard. Some days that meal will never leave that pot and other days that pile of laundry will just double in size, and sometimes you will never have the chance to even dream of that coffee. Yet it is not completely impossible. Toddlers at this age are eager to learn and explore new things; every little thing will amaze them and blow their little minds! So I believe it is exceptionally important to nurture and encourage this need they have to explore, and always keep their little minds busy as well as their little hands, in fun yet educational activities. I know that sometimes you just run out of ideas, and believe me, at some point, you sure will! These little human beings will drain your brain and never get satisfied! However and because I have been there, and still am, today I will share with you all, eight fun ways to keep your little one busy:

1- Edible Play dough:

If everything ends up in your little dude’s mouth like my case, then this is ideal for you!

1cup flour

1cup water

¼ cup salt

2 tablespoon cream of tartar

1 package of sugar-free jello

Mix all the ingredients together and cook over low heat on the stove. Stir frequently. You can use a whisk to get rid of the lumps and then cook for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring with a spatula. Once the dough starts to gather into a ball and doesn’t stick to your fingers, then you can take it off the stove.

2- Edible paint

IMG_7573

My little man would spend about 30 minutes busy painting and mixing all colors, with some occasional trips of that paint to his mouth, but it is perfectly safe because yeah it is EDIBLE!

1 Cup of flour

3 cups of hot water

Food colorants

In a pot, mix the flour with 1 cup of water, then gradually add the 2 other cups, keep on stirring until it thickens. Let it cool then separate the liquid into different bowls and add the food coloring (see picture above)

3- Whipped cream and food coloring

IMG_7548

This is my son’s favorite game, I simply put some whipped cream in a cupcake pan, add some food coloring and let the fun begin!

4- Ice painting

IMG_7704

Put some edible paint with some water into an ice tray, put it in the freezer, then give your little one some colored ice cubes and let him experiment!

5- Cotton painting

IMG_7602

Simply dip the cotton in the paint and let them color! How easy is that!

6- The tube of fun

IMG_7669

Ideally you would need some empty paper towel tube, but some plain paper would also do (check the picture), tape it into the wall, and let your toddler drop the little balls through it into a basket.

7- The tins with shapes 

IMG_7603

IMG_7605

IMG_7621

Take some milk tins (or any other tins), cut a hole in the lid in different shapes, then cut some paper into the same shapes of the holes (see picture), and let your toddler put each shape in the appropriate tin!

8- The water bag

IMG_7687

IMG_7691

Take a sandwich bag (zip lock bag), put some water and some edible paint in it, close the bag, and tape it into the wall. Let your child play with it.

I hope you and your little one enjoy these ideas! Thanks for passing by!

Ouiam

Thank God It’s Friday: What’s For Breakfast??

Hello there!

It is funny how some food can take you straight back to the origin of a memory. Every item on today’s menu (lunch), magically took me back to the beautiful home, where I spent all those beautiful years of my childhood! May be it is the appetizing smell of those vegetables being cooked, or the delicate aroma coming from that HARIRA (a Moroccan soup that I will soon post its recipe), on the stove. One thing I am sure of, though, is that with every stir and every move, I saw my mom in the kitchen, passionately and lovingly doing what she did best, while I would sneak in and be the littlest food thief I always was. I saw my mom in her apron, looking so pretty and gracious. Gently yet efficiently, transforming few items, into this gorgeous looking meal, that would take all of us to heaven!

Today we had some very precious people over, for lunch, and just like every time, we talked and talked and talked for hours, over lunch! It is always refreshing to spend some valuable time, with some healthy minds and virtuous souls. People who can teach you things you never knew they even existed! Just as your body needs food, your mind needs these inspiring and insightful conversations with people who fill your world with positivity and serenity!

My menu today was 100% Moroccan; however, today’s recipe is of none of the dishes I have cooked! It is not even my own recipe! Today my husband nicely and sweetly, suggested sharing with all of us, his recipe for making jam! He makes the best jams ever, so why not take advantage of his skills and expertise, right?…. yes RIGHT!

So without further ado, here is my husband’s easy and quick recipe for jam:

1Kg of any fruit you have

2 cups of sugar

1 lemon (we will use both, the zest and the juice)

Put the fruits in a pot , after washing and drying them, add the sugar, the lemon juice and zest and let it simmer over a low heat for about an hour, or until the liquid gels over a cold plate. If you think you have overcooked it, just add some water and cook it some more!

IMG_7587-0

IMG_7590

IMG_7592

Enjoy your Jam!! Xx

Ouiam!

Happy Reading: April

IMG_7599

By nature, I am a total bookworm. When I was a kid, my dad used to buy me three storybooks every Saturday, and I would be so excited and eager to read them all, that I would stay up all night, and finish all three of them. Then, I keep on re-reading them until the next Saturday finally arrives! But really what’s better than having an hour or two – or sometimes five until I finish the book I started then. Some books have this effect on me- while sipping some tea and waiting for my eyelids to get heavy.

I read anything and everything, really! I love words and sentences, and I think any book, in this world, is worth reading. Of course, I have my preferences, and every month, I spend hours on Google and Goodreads, checking for my kind of books. But my one rule has always been, FINISH THE BOOK YOU STARTED!  No matter how ridiculous this sounds, I truly believe that every book is sacred and it is highly disrespectful to leave it unfinished.

So every month, I download books on my kindle and buy few more on Amazon, because although I love my kindle, I still love to read an actual book. Flip the pages while the smell of the paper caresses my nose. However, I have to say that the kindle is much easier to carry around, especially when you are in the middle of reading few books at the same time, (always my case, the books I read in the morning are not the same ones I read at night). You just do not have to take all three (or five lol) books with you wherever you go, you just take your kindle! This month, and after a dear friend of mine, mentioned it, I will write a small review about some very interesting books, that I have read and greatly liked. And guess what? Yes i will do it every month (yaaay!!).

  • Scary close (Donald Miller): This book is simply out of this world. I usually do not like to read self-help books, so when I saw it on amazon listed as one, I hesitated. On the other hand, it was all over the web, and everyone was saying great things about it. So I decided to dig in. For people like me, who are interested in dropping the act and be themselves, this is definitely THE book!
  • Quiet (Susan Cain): This book will enable you to really understand your own personality. It treats the controversy about how the world sees and thinks of introverts and extroverts. Such a great and inspiring book.
  • Brain Rules For Baby (John Medina): a friend of mine recommended this book, and I just couldn’t put it down after i started it. If you have a baby, or about to have one, this book is a great read. It handles some very interesting topics, DOs and DON’Ts, while pregnant. TV: Yes or No and why?. How to handle tantrums. And many other interesting things.
  • The Tipping Point (Malcolm Gladwell): a very interesting book, especially if you want to start a business. It talks about the little things that make the big difference. The tipping point, as Malcolm says, is the moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point”
  • The invention Of Wings (Sue Monk Kidd): it is a book to get lost in, the writing and the storytelling is remarkable, short sentences that tell you everything you would want to know.

Now your turn, what is the last great book you have read?  Leave a comment and suggest one book to a friend (me!). what would you recommend?

Ouiam

Memories…!! 

  IMG_7572-0 

Sometimes memories of mine are so vivid and so real that I can just close my eyes and go right there, be there, feel the same way I did then. Memories are a funny thing aren’t they? They change over time, shift and collapse! We hold on to the ones we want and the rest just dissipates into a hazy fog! And a simple song, smell or even a specific texture can evoke these forgotten memories! Mine are with me all the time, they are my happy place, and my stress defense mechanism. Whenever I am down, upset, or uncomfortable, I run to my childhood memories and seek refuge in them! I run to the days when my dad used to take me to the bakery next to his work and we would buy my favorite cakes, and eat them in the car; while talking about his work and my school, who said what, and who did what in my class, and it always felt like a guilty pleasure that I shared with him. I would also run to the summery quiet afternoons, all bundled up in my mom’s arms, probably too big for that already, while she is telling me a story after another, and I never seemed to be satisfied, always wanting to hear more about the turtle who sewed the napkin and married the prince or the spoiled princess who married the homeless man and learned how to appreciate life. (I think she used to make up these stories lol). The moral of these stories never passed unnoticed, I would never say it out loud but it taught me some valuable life lessons!  I would also run to the mornings where my sister would fill the bathtub with water, put my swimming costume on, and pretend to put salt in the water because I have insisted on that so it feels like seawater! (Now how hilarious is that)! There are also the afternoons spent with my brother, eating dates while he gave me massages! It was so exciting because I felt like a grown up, I would close my eyes and tell him whether the pressure was good or not and he would say, “yes Ma’am”, and once done I would tip him with imaginary coins and say goodbye! Or when he would insist on turning me into a monkey because he was a magician and I would run terrified to the mirror to check if he succeeded in his mission! My favorite memories though, would have to be the ones with my grandma! (May her soul rest in peace). She would take some old clothes and transform them into these beautiful princess dresses that I would wear proudly, sit on the table with her and enjoy our tea parties! We would talk and sing and she would tell me stories about the past, most of them would make my jaw fall, because everything in her stories was so magical and new!

I also remember weekends spent at my aunt’s house! It was a mixture of cooking, makeup and acting classes. (I should specify that I was only  seven by then lol) my aunt would bring a chair to the kitchen, sit there and give me instructions, “pour the flour, OK enough!! Now go get two eggs from the fridge, don’t you break them…” I would have a little apron on that my grandma made for me, for occasions like these and i would be so happy I could cry! Then when my cousin comes home from work, she would bring her unwanted makeup and accessories, she would lay them on the floor and I would sit there dazzled not knowing from where to start! and when everybody gets busy i would sneak out and secretly head to the big mirror in the hallway, grab a comb and pretend to be a TV presenter!

Oh! and those summery evenings spent in the garden with my uncle playing on the “Oud” and all my brothers, sisters and cousins singing and clapping! Or the nights when the electricity would suddenly  go off, my dad would bring candles and my mom would get some sheets and we would pretend that we were camping! Until today whenever the electricity goes off, I get the same chill I used to get when I was a child!

These memories are so dear to my heart! They remind me of a precious time of my life that I owe to every member of my beautiful family who have worked so hard to make my days and nights filled with joy, beauty and laughter. These memories have become the essence of my sanity! And somewhere in the future when Adam will be all grown up, and think back to being little, I hope  he will remember some precious memories too, and they will be his happy place too, I try to make these everydays count , to be present and to make the ordinary extraordinary, the regular somehow special!

Ouiam

Thank God It’s Friday: Hello Tajine!!

 

IMG_7365

 

Hello Friday and Hello Tajine!!

This Friday, was a dusty one, it was windy and cloudy!  And a good day to stay home, drink some hot chocolate, while little peanut runs around, telling me all kind of stories, while I nod and laugh and pretend that I know exactly what he is talking about! Moments like these, make this time of my life magnificently awesome! It is the season of tiny things and a laughing baby and a house that never seems to be truly quiet. A season of a baby turning into a toddler. A season of me teaching small tiny things, to a small tiny person, and learning from everything he is! A season of tiny pajamas and the tiniest socks! A season that makes me feel sad, happy and bittersweet! A season, I know will end soon and I am not sure how ready I am for that, yet a new one will begin and I know I will be in love with it too, and it will be my favorite then, just like this one is my favorite now!  I sip my hot chocolate and try to be present! Be here. I take a second and I try to capture it all! The smiles, the cries, the running around, and the little kisses coming my way every time he passes by!

It is also the season of good food and yummy dishes, today’s dish is Moroccan and vegetarian. Here, I will share my way of making it. As all my other recipes, this one is easy, quick and of course super delicious!

All you need is:

1 tbsp of olive oil

1 cup of water

1 onion (cut into small cubes)

2 potatoes (cut into cubes)

1 carrot (cut into pieces)

1 tomato (cut into small pieces)

½  tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp ginger powder

Parsley and coriander (few leaves each)

Few olives

Heat up the pot, pour the oil and  add the onion and the spices, let the onions sweat, then add the tomato, stir, and add the water. Add the carrots and potatoes and let them cook over a low heat. When the vegetables are cooked add the parsley and coriander, then the olives,  stir for 3 minutes and Voila!!

Of course you can have your Tajine with chicken or meat, just add it with the onion and give it some time to cook before you add the vegetables!

Bon Appetit!!

Ouiam

When So Close To The End…..

IMG_4023

When so close to the end, yet a new start comes your way!

Where are you guys right now? Beginning? middle?? or in the process of closing some chapters, and opening some new ones? I always like to step back and really look at where i am! So When i think of myself before and after February 6, 2014, (Adam’s birthday), it is as if i am looking at two different people! Yet the same one! Me! The reason behind that is one moment. One very short and scary moment, when i looked right into my husband’s eyes, and said: “Take care of my son”. When i thought that i wasn’t coming back! (You can read all about it here). For that one minute, which lasted an eternity, i honestly believed that i have reached the end. In that same minute i looked back at my life and wished…! So when i opened my eyes again, and the doctor beside me said:  “you’ve made it!!” The first thing that came to my mind, was that list of things i wished for, few hours earlier! And I vowed that they will no longer be plain ordinary words written in a wish list! I was determined to make them a reality, then a beautiful memory that i will add and cherish for the rest of my life!
Now a little more than a year from Adam’s birthday, and things are still changing drastically in my life, determining who i really am. More importantly, who i really want to be! In every sense of that statement! Slowly after giving birth, i started welcoming the new me. Now, i would say things have changed to the better, but ask me again in ten years and i might have a different answer, i might poke fun at this naive me, for thinking that I have figured it all out! Because YES! We have the gift of always changing and evolving, but right now, i do think i have gone a long way, in a very short time.
The thought that maybe that day was the last day of my life -the end-, made me run my whole life  in a slide show, right before my eyes, and point out at things i wanted to change, things i wanted to do and things i needed in my life. Today i am more confident and i deeply trust my instincts, which i never had the courage to do before. Today i try to focus more on what really matters. Today i am more acceptant of ME, just the way i am, not the way i want people to see me, the bare bones, the real stuff. I am also less judgmental and more open-minded! Today i take a moment every day and close my eyes to be thankful for everything i have as well as things I do not have, because this only helps me develop empathy, and makes me feel for others. I am still not exactly where i want to be nonetheless. I am still working on it, and to make things a little easier on me, i started making monthly lists of small little goals that i wanted to accomplish. This has made the matter so much easier than having some kind of big scary list that just the fact of looking at it will give me a heart attack lol.

So this month, i have decided to share my list with all of you and here it is:

1- Downsize my stress zone to only: my little family and me. I usually stress so much and very often, over big things as well as the littlest ones! So this month I should try to only allow myself to stress about matters related to me and my little family ONLY. Everything else will have to just pass by, while I sit on my sofa and sip my tea! And it will right? Once I manage to do that, we can look into eliminating this stress once and for all 😉

2- Do one new thing that I have never tried before. This one goal is always present in my monthly lists. I am always hungry and eager to try new things, to explore and be more adventurous, and of course, it is more fun when i do all that, with my husband and my little one, as a family!

3- Make a new friend. After Adam was born, i have made some wonderful and thoughtful friends, they added a lot to my life. Therefore, this month i decided to go on the hunt of a new friend! And i am very excited!

4- Call one of my friends or relatives, whom i haven’t been in touch with for a long time. (and i have a feeling this will become part of my monthly goals)

5- Walk some more! Now that we have welcomed the spring, i can hardly wait to take long walks and just enjoy the beautiful weather!

6- Sleep earlier! Although Adam is usually asleep by 7pm, i am always doing something until midnight! And i always prefer to read than to sleep, so that takes another hour or so, which leaves me with about 6 hours of sleep and that is definitely not enough!

These monthly lists have been a great success so far, since big lists always confused me, these small ones, help me to focus on only few goals that I could reach easily and without breaking a sweat! Besides, i can always see and track the small changes almost daily and this always keeps me going.

How about you? Are you happy where you are now? Are you in the middle of a life-changing crisis like me lol? Do you think you have reached an end and trying to get to the next chapter? Please share!

Ouiam