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Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Zucchini Soup with Blue Cheese


My husband doesn't like zuchini. However, I do and when I was pregnant, I had a craving for this yummy green vegetable. And I wanted soup. I am not sure how I got the brilliant idea to make zuchini soup, but the idea was brilliant indeed. And I was craving blue cheese, and the only way I could eat it was by cooking it. All came together to create this creamy dreamy soup. Here's how you make it.
1 zucchini
1 tomatoe
1 bell pepper
2 potatoes
water
chicken or vegetable stock (not sure how much)
1 or 2 onions
2 garlic cloves
Olive oil
150g of blue cheese- Danish Blue or Gorgonzola

Cut the onions and the garlic into little cubes and cook in olive oil until translucent. Cut the vegetables into cubes and add: first the potatoe, then the zuchini, then the bell peppers and then the tomatoes.
I actually planned for it to be a plain zuchini soup, but then the bell pepper and tomatoe jumped into the pot and there was nothing I could do. add a cup of water, cook until soft.

Add chicken stock- it depends on how thick a soup you like. I used two cubes of chicken stock for half liter water.

Tranfser to a blender and blend until smooth. Alternatively, use a hand mixer. Then, piece by piece (not necessarily, but I like doing it that way) add the blue cheese. and mix until dissolved.

Serve with these.

My husband and my children loved this creamy soup! And so did I.
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Monday, 28 October 2013

Multicultural Mommy Wars: Weighting In on the Discussion


I swore to myself that I will never, ever write about the SAHM-vs. Working mom - dilemma. But I will. I will write about it because I have an opinion and it wants out. So many posts have been written where one side shames the other side and calls them names and fervently defends their own decisions. I will not write such a post. Instead, I will tell you my story.

My mom loves her job and is good at it. No, not good. Brilliant. She became one of the youngest female professors at the University she works at. She spends lots of time and effort on educating the public on all kinds of science-related topics and is the go-to person for the media whenever something happens in her field. She is the wisest, funniest, most intelligent woman I know. I honestly hope that my children will think as highly of me as I think of her.

At first glance, we couldn’t have been more different: I am a Stay-at home mom, while my mother has been working since she was 18. I have worked here and there during my studies but preferred to concentrate on one thing at a time. She, while being an introvert, is not afraid to talk on radio, television and in front of a huge audience, while I am shy and prefer to communicate in writing.

But there are more similarities. We’re both willing to work hard towards our goals. We both love what we’re doing. We’re both multilingual and we both have the experience in living in different countries.

Which brings me to my next point. We all know that women face many problems when it comes to work, from judgment to glass ceilings and hidden chauvinism. We all know that women judge each other for whatever choices they make.

The same discussion is made far more complex when different cultural norms and expectations are involved. Expat women, especially those who like me followed their husbands, are referred to as “trailing spouses”. Some can’t find jobs because they don’t know the language. Others can’t find jobs because they speak English but not at a native-speaker level, as expats job often require them to. Yet other women find themselves empowered by their newly-found opportunities, change careers, set up their own businesses, find their dream job, work from home.

I told you I am a SAHM. That is only partially true. My children go to daycare because I want them to learn Dutch and because I need lots of me-time. I have the best of both worlds, and I only get it because we just so happen to live in the Netherlands such choices are usually supported and respected.

I know the advantages and disadvantages of both sides. I know however, when I look at my baby boy, or play with my other children than I made the right decision. I also know when I work on a blog post or board the train to Amsterdam to give training that I made the right decision.

My working mom is my biggest supporter. She is this blog’s first reader and biggest fan. She is happy that I decided to stay at home with my children, but would be just as happy if I got a full-time job. I, on the other hand, had the experience of having a happy, self-fulfilled mom.

One of the lessons I’ve learned from living abroad is that women everywhere are all different. And also that women everywhere go through similar struggles.


And I have also learned that women can support each other in their decisions, work together, cheer on each other. Yes, we are all different. But we have more in common than we think. Let’s remember that next time we criticize another woman’s choices.  

You can still vote for my blog on the Expatica blog post competition.
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Friday, 25 October 2013

A Very Special Friday with Katie of Delightso.me

Disclaimer: this is a sponsored post and I was rewarded for publishing it here.

Katie is a travel and food blogger at www.delightso.me and she wrote a great post about Canarian child-friendly food, which you can read now. There is even a recipe included! 

Child-Friendly Canarian Food

Eating local food is one of the best parts of being on holiday. Whilst I love trying new foods, my kids don’t share my enthusiasm and aren’t keen on trying unfamiliar dishes when we’re abroad.

The Canary Islands are the perfect location for a family-friendly holiday. With fantastic deals on flights and package holidays from Jet2holidays in the UK and Air Berlin in Germany, a fortnight away with the kids doesn’t have to be expensive either.

If you’re planning on visiting the Canary Islands and want your kids to enjoy the local cuisine, take a look at my list of child-friendly Canarian dishes which your little ones are sure to love.

Papas arrugadas con mojo

Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/delightsome/10377740395/

A vegetable dish that your children will love? That’s right! Papas arrugadas con mojo is a popular dish found in almost all restaurants throughout the Canary Islands and is always sure to please. To make this dish, bite-sized potatoes are cleaned and then boiled in salt water before being left to dry until their skins have shrivelled up.

My kids love the salty tough texture of the skins which give way to a fluffy, almost sweet interior when they bite. The potatoes are served with two mojo sauces – a spicy red one and a mild green one. The bright colours always appeal to kids although you might want to avoid the red mojo if your little one doesn’t like spicy food.

Calamari a la romana
Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jtoledo/17246660/

This popular dish might seem a bit adventurous to offer children, but you don’t have to tell them that calamari is squid! Calamari a la romana comes in the form of small rings which are battered, deep-fried and usually served up alongside a salad and lemon wedges. They look very similar to onion rings, so getting kids to try them is never usually a problem.

My kids hate seafood and fortunately, calamari a la romana has a very subtle flavour and smell, unlike a lot of other fish and seafood dishes. After they’d gotten into the habit of eating it regularly, I told them that calamari is squid and they didn’t mind one bit!

Pata asada
This is a really simple dish that my kids fell in love with the first time they tried it. Pata asada translates into ‘roast pork’ and that’s all it is. Usually served on a small plate as part of a tapas selection or stuffed into a baguette, pata asada is a part of a huge leg of pork which has been slow roasted and sliced. It’s usually served cold and sprinkled with salt.

If you find a restaurant that does it well, you’ll be treated to a dish which is moist and remarkably addictive, but if you find an eatery that does it badly, you’ll be faced with something similar to shoe leather.

Carne Mechada
Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/avlxyz/5040743676/

This is one of my and my kids’ most favourite Canarian dishes. Just like pata asada, carne mechada is also served in a small dish forming part of a tapas selection, stuffed into a baguette, usually alongside a slice of cheese, or sometimes served as the meat of a main meal. This delicious speciality is made from beef which is slow-cooked with a selection of herbs and spices for hours until juicy and tender. The meat is then shredded and left to cook for a little bit in a sauce before being served.

Although it takes a long time to make, it’s more than worth it for the chance to enjoy this delectable dish at home. If you’d like to have a go at child-friendly carne mechada, follow the recipe below:

Ingredients
For the meat:
600g beef
¼ cup red wine
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 onion, chopped
2 bay leaves
For the sauce:
1 onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
340g tomato sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon oregano
¼ teaspoon cumin
Salt and pepper to taste

Recipe:

1.       Over a low-medium heat in a saucepan, simmer the beef with the red wine, onion, garlic and bay leaves until very tender – about three hours. Feel free to add more red wine if the beef looks too dry.
2.       Remove the saucepan from heat and leave the beef to cool slightly before shredding with two forks. Remove the beef from the saucepan and leave to one side.
3.       To make the sauce, sauté the onion and red pepper in the olive oil in a saucepan until the vegetables are soft.
4.       Add in the meat and stir in the remaining ingredients.
5.       Cover the saucepan with a lid and simmer for 30 minutes before serving in a baguette with cheese, as part of a tapas selection or as part of a main meal.

When you’re unfamiliar with the food yourself, encouraging kids to eat locally can be a really difficult task. This list of child-friendly Canarian recipes has been tried and tested by my kids who loved each dish so much that some of them feature regularly in our meals at home.

Katie is a travel-loving foodie who writes over at delightso.me. Since returning from the Canary Islands she’s enjoyed recreating some of the dishes she tried during her travels and is always on the lookout for authentic Spanish and Canarian cookbooks.


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Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Two Apple Pie Recipes



Harvest was plentiful this year. We had pears, plums, red currants, hazelnuts, tomatoes... and apples. Additionally, a friend gave us apples from her garden and I was busy making apple pie, and some more apple pie. I give you two recipes for apple pie because they're both wonderful and I just couldn't make a choice.

Polish apple pie



One is from my friend Kora and she kindly gave me permission to post the recipe here. It is a Polish recipe, the cake is called "szarlotka" (charlotte), and it has a crusty bottom and merengue on top. It is also extremely delicious- and easy!

Heat up the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

You will need:

For the dough:

3 cups flour
200g butter
5 egg yolks
0,5 cups sugar
1 package vanilla sugar
1,5 baking powder

For the filling: 5-6 apples, grated (+some lemon juice if needed)

For the merengue: 5 egg whites, 1 cup sugar and 1 tablespoon potatoe meal or maizena.

Mix together the ingredients for the dough and form a ball. Distribute 2/3 of the dough on a baking tray, cover evenly with grated apples and add the merengue on top. Grate the remaining 1/3 dough on top of the cake.

Bake for 50 minutes to an hour, but check after 50 minutes. The cake I made was somewhat too crumbly, but still delicious!

German covered apple pie



This is my MIL's recipe, and it is wonderful. I asked her to write it own for me and made it a while ago with our apples-delicious! The interesting thing about this cake is that it is covered with a layer of dough and the apples are underneath. I think if you skip the sugar in this recipe, you will get a nice dough for quiche- then of course you will have to change the filling as well. I wish I had a better photo of the cake, this was taken with my mobile phone. I wanted to take a picture with my camera, but it was gone before I could!

For the dough:

300g flour
1 egg
4 tablespoon sour cream
150g butter or margarine
125g sugar
1 package vanilla sugar

For the filling:
1kg acid apples
100g sugar
1 lemon
50g crashed almonds
50 grams raisins (golden raisins are best but others work as well)
1 egg yolk
1-2 teaspoons milk

Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius

Mix together flour, egg, sour cream, butter, sugar and vanilla sugar and set asied in a cold place for an hour. Peel the apples, remove the seeds and cut them into thin stripes. Add sugar, lemon zest and juice, cover and set aside.

Roll out the dough on a surface covered with flour. Cut out two circles- they should be as big as the form. Put one circle into the form and using a fork, cut little holes into it. If you have leftover dough scraps, press them on the sides of the form. Add almonds, raisins to the apple mixture and add to the form. Put the other dough circle on the pie s cover. Also cut little holes using a fork. Mix egg yolk and milk and "paint" the dough with it. If you have leftover dough scraps, roll them out and cut decorations out of them.

Bake for 40-45 minutes until golden brown. If you think the pie is baking too quickly, use a layer of aluminium foil to put over the cake.

Carefully take the cake out of its form and let cool. Serve with whipped cream (I didn't because the pie is delicious as it is).

Enjoy!

And, if you like my blog, you can give me a vote in this Expatica blog competition!
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Saturday, 19 October 2013

Delft, The Netherlands (Show me your Neighbourhood Around the World series)

Show me your neighbourhood around the world

To tell you the truth, I don't live in Delft anymore so it is not exactly my neighbourhood. But I decided to include it instead of the place I am living now. The first reason is that almost all my friends live there and I visit often. Another reason is that  because I've been living there for a few years, it still feels like home. And the last reason... it is one of the most beautiful and amazing places I've ever had the chance to live in. I think that when you see the pictures you'll understand why I chose this place instead of the town where I live. It is of course also amazing but it isn't Delft.

So now I am going to take you by the hand and show you my Delft.

1) a playground- this one is very close from the place we used to live. I mean, one of the places we used to live. 

The playground is cute and even used to have little tricycles for the children to play with. It belongs to a community centre, called Sint Olofbuurt where we used to hold playgroups (sadly they got cancelled).

2) a local mode of transport. Delft has buses and trams, but the bicycle wins. Everybody cycles. The bicycles are often old and in weird colours but they also come in many interesting shapes, like the so called bakfiets on the second picture. Because Delft has so many canals, the bicycles often fall into the canals, get fished out, and look like the one on the third picture.





3) a typical house
Now I know the picture shows actually shows two houses, but this is the Netherlands. Back in the old days, taxes depended on how big the house was. So instead of building big houses, they build tall and narrow houses. The picture was taken in the marketplace of Delft. Oh Delft, I miss your narrow and beautiful houses! 



4) a typical street
I think this picture captures a typical street of Delft perfectly.It has a canal, and narrow and old and beautiful houses.This particular street, called Oude Delft, also shows the world's smallest museum.




  
5) a daycare
I didn't dare to go inside, so you only see the windows- they're very nicely decorated for autumn, I think.



6) a supermarket
How could I not include the all-powerful Albert Heijn? Even though there are other supermarkets. I think that AH is the most  famous one. Of course this particular one in the center of the city is situated in an old houses (yes, in several as you see). There is no canal on that street, but the canals are close enough.



7) a church.
Delft only has around 100.000 inhabitants. But it has three huge churches situated very close to each other. I am enclosing two pictures: on the first one is the Oude Kerk, the Old Church.The second one is the Nieuwe Kerk, the New Church. Of course, they are both old ,the difference is that the Old Church was build earlier than the New one- in 1246, as opposed to 1496, the year the New Church was finished. If you think that the church towers are crooked, you are right. They totally are.



And last but not least, I'm leaving you with my goodbye shot I took before I headed back home.







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Friday, 18 October 2013

I am not a tourist!



When I passed my exams to secondary schools, my mom and I went to a trip to Italy. It was a great trip during which we visited different cities and saw many sights. We went there during the summer and it was very crowded. In Rome, we run into a group of German tourists, and heard one of them say: “Oh, these tourists!”.

I was shocked! After all, he was a tourist himself! Many years, 3 children and multiple international moves later, I found myself thinking something similar while sitting in a beach club in Scheveningen. It was a beautiful sunny cold day. Funnily enough, these tourists were German as well.

And I think that at that very moment it struck me that I am not a tourist. I am an expat, I may not necessarily belong, but a tourist, I am not. I feel very proud of myself when I order in Dutch rather than in English or German. And I feel even prouder of myself when the waiter responds in Dutch as well. My husband speaks Dutch. My children speak Dutch. We are not tourists. We live here.

The other moment that helped me realize how not at all a tourist I am, is the fact that after 4 years of living in the Netherlands, I finally managed to make some Dutch friends. We met through my children’s daycare and when my eldest daughter started school, we decided to stay in touch. Before that, all my friends were expats. Now, I have some Dutch friends as well, and love it.

But I was never a tourist in the Netherlands. My reason for being here was never to come, admire the sights, take a few pictures and come back. My reason for being here was and still is my family. I was the foreigner, the outsider, the odd one, but never a tourist.

I had a baby, no sorry, three babies in a foreign country. I bought a house. I have learned a new language and I made friends. I have found a job here. My child is going to school. Every day, I go out, run errands, cook dinner, work a little or just go for a walk. I have attended dancing classes, swimming classes, language classes and social media classes. My girl attends ballet classes. I went to physical therapy with my little girl. I took all three of them to the Consultatiebureau to get them vaccinated, measured, weighted and evaluated. I took them to the doctor when they were sick. I revelled in hearing my children speak all three languages and feeling at home here.

I may have been surprised by many things here, healthcare being one of them. I had the police called on me, and many times I found myself wondering whether the Dutch really are rude or are these just cultural differences. But I am not a tourist. I am an expat, which means that I am not from here, but I am here. And I am here to stay.

The fact that I am a TCK, a Third Culture Kid, makes my life easier in this regard. Once I had my network of like-minded, wonderful and inspiring people, I finally felt at home, and it didn’t matter at all that I didn’t speak the langue really well. It didn’t matter that my accent, and the fact that I spoke yet another language with my children gave me away as a foreigner anywhere I went.
It didn’t matter that I missed my family and friends that I left behind in my hometown Warsaw, and my other hometown Hamburg. It didn’t matter that I still had to learn all these new things because I was at home.

No, I am not a tourist. Definitely and absolutely not a tourist. After 4 years of living in the Netherlands, I have learned, experienced and grown so much. Through my blog, I am able to share my stories, give advice and hope to help and support other expats. After 4 years, my knowledge of this country has grown, as did my love for it.

I love living in the Netherlands. The beauty of it. The closeness of the sea. The way people smile at me, especially when I am out with my children. The history, the tolerance. I love the fact that the Netherlands are so small that it doesn’t take much to go somewhere else- and the Netherlands have so much to offer. I love my new house with its big backyard and our fruit trees.


There are many things I love about the Netherlands. The tourists? Not so much.

If you enjoyed this post, you can vote for it in th Expatica blog competition.
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Say my name but say it right




A few weeks ago, I’ve read Homa Sabet Tavangar’s “Growing Up Global” and it is a book I can recommend to everybody who raises globally-minded children. And also to those who don’t. In the first chapter, Homa writes about the importance of pronouncing names correctly. It has made a huge impression on me for so many reasons.

The Dutch pronounce the “G” sound in a throaty way so it sounds like “ch”. My friend Annegien pronounces her name using that throaty “G” sound, because, to quote her: “That’s my name”. She doesn’t change it so that it would be easier for me to say.

My parents named me Olga because it is a Slavic name that is also easy to pronounce. But they didn’t realize that I would be moving to the Netherlands, and my name would be mispronounced in a way that I am not comfortable with. My name isn’t “Olcha”. It is not what I call myself; it is not the name my parents gave me.

But then I realized that I’ve been already changing my name when I speak English, and it almost sounds like “Oh-g-a”, instead of Olga (the Polish “o” is pronounced like in the word “cord”, and the “l” is clearly pronounced, more like in Italian or Spanish).


While I can and did get used to the English pronunciation of my name, I think it’s because I feel like a citizen of the world, and when I pronounce my name that way, it mirrors that feeling. I’ve been called many things in many languages: Olguita by my Spanish friends, Olgalein by my husband, Oleńka by my parents, but these were all expressions of affection. But when the Dutch tell me: “In Dutch, it’s Olcha”, I consider it very patronizing.

The same goes for my children. K’s name has a “R” sound in it. I am fine with her name pronounced the Dutch or English way because my husband pronounces it differently than I do (I roll my R’s, he doesn’t). I am however not that fine with J’s name being pronounced the English way- like the Dutch sometimes do, because it should be a “Y”- sound, not “J” and both me and my husband use the “Y” sound to say her name.

So how should we pronounce our names? I think it is a matter of choice. I know that many Polish people have changed their names because they were unpronounceable for English speakers. I believe it is OK to translate your name if you feel comfortable doing it and if it’s your decision. But let’s not do it for other people’s sake!

Instead of dismissing a name with a meaning and history with “I can’t pronounce that!” or ”But in our language that name is pronounced like that”, let’s at least try to get it right.

And to give you an idea how the "G" sound is pronunced, I'm enclosing this video: 

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Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Savoury Pumpkin Bread Recipe


A few days ago, I made delicious pumpkin bread.It is a revelation!It is not sweet, but it is healthy and delicious. I started experimenting with my bread recipes (which means not using recipes), and came up with this little gem. I am feeling extremely proud of myself for trying this, and wanted to share becasue it's a great recipe!

- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 400- 450g flour (I think I used 350g wholewheat and 100g spelt flour)
- 100g sourdough (more for the taste, you can skip it. You can find the recipe here.
- a teaspoon salt
- a tablespoon sugar
- two tablespoons olive oil
- one package active yeast
- around one cup water

Combine all recipes until you'll get a sticky dough- you won't be able to knead it so just mix it with a spoon. Let rest until it doubles in size.

Put it into a bread form and let raise again- for some reason, I skipped this step and the bread was still perfect, so if you want you can skip this step as well.

Put in in the oven at 200 degrees until the bread is a golden brown and ready (I can't tell you how long I baked it, sorry!

Enjoy!
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Monday, 14 October 2013

Butlins Could Be An Option For A Family New Year Break

Have you ever spend New Year’s Eve in another country? Would you consider doing it? In 2009, when my eldest daughter was only 6 months old, we did just that. We went to Malta for a few days and had a great time. It was still warm and sunny and Malta is absolutely, stunningly beautiful, and full of history.

We spent New Year’s Eve in our hotel room, looking at the fireworks, but not being able to go out so late at night because our baby was sleeping and the last thing we wanted to do was to wake her up. We watched the fireworks from our windows.

The next day we packed up and went back home. So was our New Year’s Eve. We were fine with that, but I can’t help but thing: wouldn’t it be great to actually have a big New Year celebration, together with your family?

I think that for many busy parents, a fully organized New Year celebration can be a great option: everything is included, and you can just relax and have the celebration of your dreams! Enter Butlins, a UK-based company that aims to delight! Search for New Year breaks UK to find out more!

Have you thought of the UK as your New Year destination? We visited the UK a few years ago and it was a great vacation: we went to Portsmouth and later London. We had a great time, visiting the city, and relaxing. And the weather was much better than we expected!

I was three months pregnant with my second child. It was a perfect time for traveling, since my morning sickness has passed and my belly wasn’t showing yet so I could wear my normal clothes and had tons of energy for sightseeing and traveling. We took the train to the Isle of Wight (which is beautiful!), we saw the cathedral in Salisbury and walked around a lot. When then took the train to London and were able to see, among others, the British Museum, the Modern Tate Museum, Natural History Museum and Regent’s Park.

Great Britain is always a great travel destination, but I am sure it can be magical on New Year, and Butlins’ offer for this occasion looks amazing: fireworks, special shows, a party and more!

And check out Butlins new sparkly ad!





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Friday, 11 October 2013

October is Buy Nothing New Month!


I’ve heard about Buy Nothing New Month last year and didn’t give it much thought. This year, I didn’t really want to participate, either.

But thinking about it now, I realized that I’ve been actually doing Buy Nothing New Month for a while now. With the exception of the gifts I bought for my husband’s birthday (which were all mainly to replace the things that got broken), all the other things we got last month were hand-me-downs.

I don’t buy new clothes much, mostly because of my petite figure and sensitivities to certain fabrics; it is hard to buy something nice for me. So I rely on my mom buying second-hand clothes for me. The clothes for my children are hand-me downs and that’s great because I hate how much these clothes cost. I haven’t bought new toys for ages, because of all the stuff we were given for birthdays or other occasions. I realized I was already asking myself the question: “Do we need this?” even before Buy Nothing New Month begun.

I’ve also been trying to become better with my money. We’re relatively well-off. I am a SAHM and I get a certain amount of money every month to spend on household, children and myself. This works for us and it’s OK. I also get paid a little for sponsored posts on my blog and German lessons as well.

I’ve never been good with money, but now I am trying to make it last the month and not ask my husband for more. I am constantly asking myself questions such as: “What do I have at home that I could cook for dinner?”, “What can I make myself instead of buying ready-made products?”, “where can I find good quality products that don’t cost an arm and a leg?”, and so on. It feels great when I make the money last till the end of the month.

So while of course I bought some new things in the last few months, the ideas behind “Buy Nothing New Month” were already present in my life before that month even started. And I am doing well, I think.

Now, I don’t like the question: “do we need that?” all that much, because while we don’t really need a lot of things we use in our homes in order to survive, I think that life is so much more than just surviving. We need food, but do we need good quality food in order to survive? Not really. We need protection against the cold to survive, but we don’t really need clothes. And especially we don’t really need nice, good quality clothes, but we like the way good food tastes and we like how nice the clothes feel against our skin.

If we make life all about survival, it becomes less fun. But if we make life about making good choices, trying to save some money and be a little more environmentally friendly, maybe Buy Nothing New Month can help us.

And in the end, we decide, whether to live like we did before or to incorporate “Buy Nothing New Month” ideas into our lives.


What will you not buy this month?
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Thursday, 10 October 2013

October Multicultural Kids Blog Carnival: Multimedia for Multicultural Kids

MKB Blogging Carnival


It is my pleasure and a big honour to host the Multicultural Kids Carnival this month. Since I am a media researcher and love technology, we will explore how we can effectively use media to raise multicultural kids. I have many fabulous submissions for you and hope you can use our tips!

Media in general:

In her post, LadyDeeLG shares her very favourite resources for raising a trilingual child. A comprehensive list of great websites, books, apps, flashcards, DVD’s, CD’s, and even toys, I am sure that this post will prove incredibley helpful to everyone!

Ute over at Expat Since Birth lists her top media tools for multilingual and multicultural children, and the fact that they’re organized by language makes it very easy to search. If you don’t speak the langauges Ute lists, I am sure you will be inspired to search for similar resources in your languages.

I simply can’t tell you how much I love Lina’s post on how she uses all kinds of media for teching children Mandarin Chinese. In it, she recognizes the importance of media and how hard it would be for her to learn a foreign language in a non-native environment. She also acknowledges the importance of finding a balance between all the different media. Read Lina’s post at Best 4 Future!

In his post, “Being a multilingual and multimedia parent”, Jonathan talks about how the media, especially smartphone apps have influenced his life since he became a parent. From using an app to time his wife’s contractions, to learning how to text in Welsh, Jonathan recognizes all the benefits of using media, especially when it comes to raising his child with yet another language, Welsh. And if you really need more motivation to go over to his blog and read this very informative post, let me tell you two words: “cat videos”.

Tina from Mammynificent also shares some interesting media resources to raise multicultural children. Among others, there are some that I would have never thought of: watching tennis and cooking shows? Brilliant! I think the more resources the merrier and it’s also about not only using the right media, but also using it the right, and sometimes very creative ways!

Varya wrote a wonderful post in favour of screen time for children, and why it could be benefitial to their development if done correctly. Rather than being organized by medium or language, Varya very cleverly lists her media tools by the benefits they have: character development and family values, staying fit or language development! And you have probably never associated these benefits with screen time, right? But if done correctly, media can have a huge positive impact on children’s life- read Varya’s post on The Creative World of Varya!

Kristen of Toddling in the Fast Lane tells us how she celebrated  Muñecos de Nieve (Snowmen). She first found a fun Youtube video in Spanish about snowmen, and then she did a snowmen craft. And, the coolest thing of all? She has a book, too!  Check out her post over at Toddling in the Fast Lane! With winter approaching fast, she can also give you some ideas to try out yourself!

My post can be found here. It is about ways we teach tradition through technology, as contrary as that may sound. But it is possible, just read my post to find out how!

TV

 Cordelia of Multilingual Mama shares her experience of giving her children too much screen time and the consequences of it, which in her case… involved living with pigs- TV pigs, of course. In her funny post, Cordelia tells the story of how she suddenly found herself using TV as babysitter. In the end, Cordelia was so unhappy with the choice of programmes for her children that she instituted a clean break and put a ban on TV to give her children the opportunity to connect with something else.

Rina Mae of Finding Dutchland talks about how a newly find rendition of “Sesame Street” has brought out her inner child. While she has instituted a ban on TV and other media for her son, I am sure that she will show this one to her little one day!

Souad shares her disappointment with the TV show “Dora” that is supposed to teach children a little Spanish, but in fact they could teach children the wrong accents. She comes to the conclusion that TV can be wrong, too! Read Souad’s post on Babelkid.

Stephanie at InCultureParent has a list of multicultural diverse cartoons where the main protagonist isn’t white. Have you ever heard of the Burka Avenger, the burka-clad superhero who fights for girls education, and was inspired by Malala? Me neither, until I read this post! For more similar, diverse cartoons, visit InCultureParent!


Books

Taco De Lenguas has a very great post on the importance of books to younger children. Even as babies, the little ones can benefit from being read to. In her post, Abbi focuses on the three R’s of choosing books for children: rhyme rhythm, and repetition, with special attention paid to the latter two. She also underlines the importance of good literature for children by local authors- find out why in her post!

Olena of Bilingual Kids Rock tells us why it is so absolutely important to read out loud to children, especially in the minority languages. She provides a great list of resources to use, ideas to try out and resources to turn to for help. Did you know you can actually make your own books? And the other ideas are just as awesome. Check it out!

If you’re not sure how to find great books in the minority language, ask Leanna of All Done Monkey! In her post, she gives you some ideas where to start looking for good quality books in the minority languages, but she doesn’t stop there! She even tells you how to benefit from translation of majority language books, just make sure they’re good translation and regional differences in the minority language such as Spanish. A wonderful, useful post!

I have already featured Tina’s post of media resources, but her 9-year old daughter, who is a self-described bookworm, has comprised this wonderful list of her favourite books! I am so impressed with this clever and culturally sensitive girl that I really had to share her list with you! Find it on Desperate Homeschoolers.

Apps

Annabelle of The Piri Piri Lexicon reviews several multilingual iPad apps that she uses with her children. Annabelle acknowledges the difficulties of finding  good apps in the minority languages), and is not very satisfied with all of them, please have a look at her reviews and you’ll know what you’re looking for!   http://www.thepiripirilexicon.com/2013/04/our-favourite-multilingual-ipad-apps.html

I love the various approaches: some chose to tell a story, others did lists of their favourite resources. These posts are a must-read if you’re looking for good tools to teach your children cultural appreciation! And, please spend some time on these blogs- the people behind them are just wonderful!
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Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Do Try This at Home: My First Experience Live Blogging at TEDxDelft

Last Friday I attended TEDxDelft, an independent TED event that took place on the Technical University of Delft campus. I was to join the web team to blog about the talks before, and during the event. My job was to write about the speakers shortly after they were announced and do a post on volunteers to show the faces behind that event.

My first post was on prothesis researches Gerwin Smit, who developed the lightest prothesis ever! See my post here. I believe his work is so important because many people decide not to wear a prothesis due to its weight, and a lighter prothesis would greatly improve user experiences.  

The other one was about Christine de Kuiper, who was one of the curators and responsible for finding entertaining, challenging and inspiring speakers for the TEDxDelft event. I must say she did an incredible job because the speakers I had the chance to listen to were just that! I also love her comments about using "the wisdom of the crowd", causing people to become active citizens rather than just consumers.

During the event, I had my first experience live-blogging. I would watch a performance and had 20 minutes after that to write my post. I usually don't work like that, it takes me some time to think about an event or situation, but I managed to do this. 

I wrote again about Gerwin Smit. Again, I was impressed by his ways of thinking. He always seemed to ask himself the questions: "how can I help people who have lost a limb?" "How can I make my prothesis lighter?" "What other fields can I look at for inspiration?". Definitely a great mission!

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Another performace I was able to experience and write about was Krashna Musika, the choir and orchestra of TU Delft. This one I really wished I could have seen live, because even on screen, they gave me the goosebumps and performed beautifully.

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Other memorable performances included: Anne Walraven, who asks us not to share a nightmare, but share dreams instead, and not to wait for the next Martin Luther King, but take matters into our own hands.Musical duo Maartje and Kine with their witty and entertaining song about endangered pandas, as well as self-proclaimed nerd John Cohn, who told us about the importance of playfulness in our work, and reminded me of my father.

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All photos featured here are courtesy of Haal Beeld Fotografie and Tedx Delft

These were all great, inspiring and highly interesting talks. I had tons of fun- and survived my first experience live blogging. There were presentations, talks, musical performances, people dancing, a hidden little LEGO man and a tramcar race! And, at the end, everybody was given a... grasshopper to eat!

Would you eat a grasshopper? Do you have anything that you've always wanted to try at home but couldn't or didn't have the courage? I have some ideas- what about you?

And I want to take a moment to kindly thank you for your votes in the Circle of Moms competition. Thanks to you I made it to the 6th place out of 78 blogs and I am so grateful for all of you and your support. You can read my interview here. I am hoping this competition will allow me to get more sponsors- and make my blog even better! 

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