November 30, 2016

Arts and crafts for Christmas

Christmas is almost here again! I can't believe that we are one month away from year 2017. I can imagine the decorations and lights everywhere that will make you feel that Christmas is coming, except here and in some other Muslim countries of course. Bazaars and promotions are a plenty for sure. Christmas means different for everyone. For some, it means family reunions and get together with delightful buffet. For some, it means giving, sharing, and reaching out to people in need. While for those who are still going to school, it's the long holidays to look out for! And there's the more significant meaning of Christmas - the celebration of God's incredible act of love through the birth of Jesus Christ.

For preschools, this time of the year means looking and preparing for arts and crafts about Christmas. For many years of teaching young children, I have tried a lot of fun arts and crafts out there but sadly, I didn't have most of the photos - maybe I have them but it may take some digging in my storage device. Anyway, last year I was able to take pictures of some Christmas arts and crafts I made with my Nursery class. I thought of sharing them here for educators and/or parents looking for ideas. Most of them are simple and just need a couple of materials. Check them out:

Santa hat
What you need: party hat template by ohhappyday, red poster paint, sparkles, cotton balls, glue, red yarn

Christmas Tree Sun catcher
What you need: Christmas tree template, colored tissue paper cut in small pieces, glue
(for another version, check this.)

Christmas tree mobile
What you need: Christmas tree template printed on green paper, glitter foam sheet cut in small shapes, glitter glue

Christmas card
What you need: board paper, colored raw noodles, sparkles, glue

Snow man
What you need: cardboard cut in circles, colored foam sheets, googly eyes, glue, mixture of white poster paint, water, and salt

Christmas wreath
What you need: bond paper for hand printouts, green poster paint, red yarn, glitter foam sheets

Christmas angel
What you need: white board paper, glitter glue, cotton balls, gold ribbon

Santa's reindeer
What you need: popsicle sticks, red and green yarns, brown and red foam sheets, brown poster paint, googly eyes, glue

These arts and crafts are just simple, yet they add color and Christmas ambiance to the classroom and at home. I hope that I find my other photos of Christmas arts and crafts, but these are all for now. Have yourself a merry little Christmas! :)

October 31, 2016

A strange encounter

Last night, we had a strange encounter right after parking our car in front of a fast food restaurant.

An old Arab man approached my husband and sounded needy. I can't understand Arabic but from the tone of their conversation, the old man was asking for help. After a while, Michael looked at me and told me that we're going to drop off the man in a nearby clinic, just a few minutes away from where we were. I would want to hesitate out of fear but Michael seemed assured that the man was harmless. The old man has pain in his legs that he wanted to get checked.

If we were in horror/thriller movies, something terrible might have happened to us last night. On the drive going to the clinic while the stranger was at the backseat, there were horrifying scenes playing out in my mind. I just told myself to let it be.

Fortunately, nothing bad happened. We dropped off the old man and he looked thankful. He even told my husband that he would pray to Allah to bless us a child, and that we already have a place in heaven for helping him.

It was indeed a strange night. I realized that I really don't trust people easily and I watched too much horror movies. Haha!

September 28, 2016

How safe is where you live?

I grew up in a fairly loud neighborhood. For a while, I even had a thought that our house was kind of out of place in relation to the families living around us, until I just learned how to adjust and ignore. There were mornings I would wake up to the noise of some couple cursing at one another about some fight I'd figure out upon further hearing them; or mornings I'd get up to Christmas songs and jingles from another house that might be thinking that it's their duty to wake up the whole neighborhood. Then at some really late nights, we'd hear people chasing someone or fighting probably caused by  some who consumed too much alcohol. Well, most days and nights can be peaceful.

Do we feel safe in that neighborhood? Yes, relatively. We'd been victims of petty thefts. Some items like pair of slippers and shoes were taken from our veranda a few times, and other items like broken electric fans and small appliances, even my bell lyre. Nevertheless, we learned to live and just let it be after all those instances. We never leave our shoes and slippers just lying in the veranda, and we also put a lock on our gate from then on. The stealing stopped, but the noises from the houses around us - they're still there but could be ignored.

Fast forward to where I live now with my husband. Yes, the kingdom puts a lot of restrictions to its citizens and residents, given that it is an Islamic country, but those restrictions do good to its people in general. Particularly, Riyadh is a safe city. And from my observations, I haven't seen loud places here because it seems there aren't any. Even when you visit parks - parks can really be crowded especially during weekend but you won't hear the people talking loudly to each other. Occasionally, you will hear the children laughing while playing but it is not annoying. Laughter is a sweet sound. Furthermore, whenever we pass by the amusement parks inside the mall, it's rare to hear the kids riding some wild rides scream. I don't know how they do it, but imagine braving a roller coaster without letting out a shout. It must take some practice to do that.

We live in a residence where only families are allowed. Most of the establishments here are segregated into two groups: bachelors and families/ ladies. That segregation also mostly applies to housing. Our neighborhood is generally peaceful, that's why I try to keep down the noises in our room, e.g. sometimes, I tell my husband to play the guitar gently so we won't disturb the neighbors. We don't have much of a problem in our residence. Do we feel safe here? Yes, definitely. We do not have worries that someone will break into our flat and steal our properties. Until recently, our car's rear quarter glass was smashed - someone broke in the car and took the spare tire in the trunk. If the hood was opened too, the battery might have been taken as well. Good thing that the hook in the hood was messed up for long, and it would be difficult to open it without knowing my husband's technique. We were so worried that night thinking who would've done it and what if they come back. We had the glass fixed and bought a spare tire.

September 1, 2016

Happy five years!

I just realized today that this blog has been going on for five years already! I started this blog in June 2011 and had my first post in August 2011.

It is nice to read the things I posted here and be taken back to previous occasions in my life. Nothing much has changed with how I write and the themes that I'm writing about. I still do not want to post too much negative stuff here, simply because I do not want to remember those unpleasant things whenever I read back - so I'm still sticking to writing about the good stuff and sharing some good music from artists who deserve more love.

Kudos to the readers and one-time visitors of this blog and to the experiences that inspired five years of blogging. Also, please take some time to listen to the song below. Cheers! :)

August 22, 2016

Guitar and ukulele wall hanger ideas

My husband and I were looking for wall hangers for our guitar and ukulele since last week because they were just lying around in a corner. We thought that these musical instruments deserve more love so we were really glad when we found the right items to hang them properly.

After some tour and search in IKEA, we found the Betydlig wall/ceiling brackets and Grundtal hangers. They worked perfectly fine with the guitar and ukulele and didn't cost us much. Here is how they looked like after Michael fixed them on the wall.
They look neat!
Up close
You just have to get the right measurements for the ukulele and guitar to fit and voila.
 Grundtal hangers for towels, now for ukulele
 Up close
 Betydlig wall brackets turned upside down - the anti-slip liners made for good cushion
Musical instrument wall hangers do not need to be expensive. There are a lot of cheaper alternatives you can find in hardware stores. We just found ours in IKEA and hoped this helps. Also, I'm sharing this cute song from Petite League. :)
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