What to buy your kids for Christmas when you are trying to get rid of everything

While I lived in Kenya, I blogged every few days. When we moved back to Canada, I knew it was time to let blogging go and dive into Canadian life. Just before Christmas this year, I decided that I wanted to get back into blogging regularly. Bear with me as this blog is a little on the dusty side and I begin to find my writing ‘flow’ or ‘voice’  again.

I challenged myself to write a new blog post every day of January as we prepare to move across the pond and back to Kelvin’s motherland in Kenya. As you may have caught on by now, I have actually already failed at this challenge because, well, I ran out of time yesterday and then decided to veg out and watch a netflix documentary instead of starting my blogging on January 1st. Oops, already missed a day. Kelvin already commented that my one new years resolution has already flown out the window on day 1.

Keeping my first post on the lighter side, I want to share how we tried to keep Christmas simple as to not accumulate stuff that we would have to get rid of in the next month. I will share more about what we are packing another day as I seem to get that question a lot.

Kelvin and I are simple people who need very little stuff so it’s easy for us to refrain from buying our kids a lot but trying to get grandparents and aunties and uncles to stop spoiling your kids is no easy task!

The one ‘big’ gift we gave to our children was this collapsible tunnel. Did you have one growing up? We sure did and I loved it. The beauty of this gift is that is folds to be almost completely flat! And it’s super durable to put in a suitcase and not worry about it getting broken as it’s thrown about through airports. I got mine at Mountain Baby in Nelson.

Going against my wishlist of books and flashcards for my kids, my brother bought the girls this awesome device called the Dragon Touch Y88X Plus tablet for kids. In as much as I try keep my kids from technology, it is truly a life saver when you travel with little ones. This particular tablet is already loaded with kid friendly games and videos. It will definitely be helpful on those 10 hour flights.

This was an actual gift my auntie gave to the kids. It flashes like Rudolph’s nose when you put it on your head. The kids absolutely loved it and, obviously, so did Kelvin. It actually is not a bad gift. It’s small and light weight and if I happen to lose it on the journey, our hearts won’t be broken.

A few other gifts we gave the kids included new toothbrushes (always a necessity), a couple good books, and some small princess figurines. All easy to pack, fairly light weight, and we won’t be crushed if we lose them. Of course some gifts we may have gone a little overboard include the hoards of chocolate and the fuzzy Frozen jammies that will simply be too hot to sleep in in Kenya so they unfortunately will be left behind.

We tried to get out on Christmas day for walk….if you know us, we just aren’t cold weather people so this wasn’t easy for us.

Daddy and Mercy even did snow angels. Those brave souls!

Mercy obviously *loves* taking pictures…

I guess the most precious gift we got this year was spending time with my family for one last christmas in Canada. My kids adore their grandparents and uncle. I don’t think they realize that they aren’t going to be able to see them as often anymore.

I think any kid’s day is made complete when they get to lick the whip cream off the beater…
Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!

Two Weeks To Go!

The countdown is officially on. In two weeks today, we will be flying high on our way to Canada. 
I was the hostess with the mostess this past weekend. We decided to do a couple big goodbye get togethers with our fav people. Saturday, all my ladies came to my place for the whole day. They taught me to cook the real biryani swahili style. Most of my girls are true swahili people and make the raddest food around. I observed every step of the process with the hopes that I can make it for Kelvin on those days he is getting a bit homesick. The ladies had way too much fun trying manoeuvre all my ‘american’ kitchen items like the garlic press and stove. The whole day was a complete blast. These girls are some of the coolest people I know. 
A lot of chopping of vegetables. I loved that the recipe was made up of fresh everything – except for the gallons of cooking oil. 
One of the girls says to me, “Let me go stand outside on the balcony so I can know what it feels like to be one of those people who stand on balconies”. Sometimes I forget how poor their community really is.
Blending the spices.

We actually deep fried the onions and potatoes before we added them to the stew. We used an absurd amount of oil. I think I will have to modify that when I cook it myself.

This was me the whole time: taking notes and hovering over people as they cooked.

Food was finally done and we all sat down to eat. My muslim girls just spread the food out on a cookie sheet and at it with their hands. 

I invited some of my friends to come and chat with the girls a little bit about their future plans. Its nice to know that my ladies will have other women to help guide them even when I am gone. They of course loved Ndela, who is a famous musician and a make up artist. Ndela gave them some good make up tips.

The day was such a blast. We ate, laughed, DANCED, and just enjoyed one another. I am going to miss these girls WAY too much. 

Then Sunday came along and we invited all our best friends from church over for the afternoon.

The men took over the living room and talked politics for four hours straight. No joke.
 
Meanwhile, us ladies took over the guest bedroom and giggled our way through the afternoon. 
I have such beautiful friends.

 The men took a small break from politics talk to summon the women to make tea. Ah, yes, we are still in Africa.
A good little african wife I am serving tea to all the men!
It was Kelvin’s birthday the next day so we decided to celebrate with everyone around.
The night ended with a couple of speeches from us where I turned into a teary mess at the thought of not seeing my dearest friends for a long time. So many of them of getting married this year or starting off their careers or planning for children. Makes me sad thinking we are going to miss all of it. Afterwards, Kelvin and I knelt in the middle of the room and all our friends gathered around us in prayer. It was such a beautiful moment to listen to our beloved friends bless us as we start this new chapter in our lives. 

Things that made me glad this week

I had some issues with my google account and it’s storage limit. Thankfully, I figured it all out and now I am able to post pictures again!
Just a small glimpse into some highlights of my week (because there were some things that made me pretty sad this week-will share about it later). We must keep looking for things to be thankful for right? Give thanks in all circumstances…
1. Rose and Paul’s paradise wedding. 
This wedding was simply gorgeous! It was at the nicest resort in Mombasa and it looked out over the Indian Ocean. The deco was stunning and the food yum. The guest list was 80 people so it was wonderfully intimate. Not to mention, I totally adore Rose (as my new best friend here) and was delighted to see her walk down the aisle. 

 A high table perched over the Indian Ocean…divine. I also LOVED getting to dance my way into the evening. They played a lot of “white people” music and Rose’s family were the first ones to hit the dance floor and the last ones to leave. I got to let out my awkward white girl and just dance!! Ah, felt so wonderful.

2. Treats from home!

My best friend, Nikki, and her sister, Charly, put together this nice package for me a couple weeks ago as a random act of kindness. I was in tears as I was opening it at the post office (you have to open it in front of the people there so they can see what is inside and what to charge you in duty). I bet the ladies there thought I was nuts crying over chocolate and coffee. But it made me happy and we have been enjoying these treats all week. Not to mention the beautiful roses I snagged from the centre pieces at the wedding….

3. A subwoofer (sp?)

Nicky, the young man who works for us, came to me with a big fat grin on his face and told me that he managed to save up 5,500kes (like $70) to buy a subwoofer for his ‘home sound system’. He told me he saved for 4 months to be able to buy it. Part of me was excited about the fact that the idea of ‘saving’ is finally getting into his head. But then I wondered why a subwoofer? Don’t you want to go to school or something? So I asked him and he told me, “Now, in my area, I will be the one with the biggest sound system and making the most noise.” I had to giggle! Didn’t know making the most noise was something to be proud of?

4. Christmas!

Our Christmas campaign is out and we are having lots of awesome response from wonderful people! Keep it coming! We have yet to reach our target.

5. A fridge full of veggies and one large watermelon

Kelvin and I went to the market on Wednesday. You have to understand that this is no small market. It is the largest market in the coast of Kenya. It is ginormous! And totally overwhelming for a white girl like me. Nonetheless, I squeezed in between the vendors trying to get me to buy everything while I was dripping with sweat. We came out with a hefty bag of fruit and veggies to last us a while. I had to squeeze them into all the little spaces in my fridge. And down below is one large watermelon that made us giggle. This particular type of watermelon is in season right now and most of them are actually in the shape of a bean! We just had to buy one. Oh, and that’s Neema sleeping up there. It seems to be her new thing.

6. A few days at home with Kelvin.

Kelvin has spent more time at home this week preparing for our Christmas events and a Christmas play he is doing for church. I won’t lie, it’s been wonderful spending so much time with him this week.

7. Our new apartment!!!!!!

We are moving in next week. I know, I have told you that already. But I am just so excited! Come visit please.

Have a wonderful weekend and find some things to be thankful for this week ok?